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Owner says Dolphins have keepers at coach and QB

Owner says Dolphins have keepers at coach and QB

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross thinks years of instability in the coaching and quarterback jobs are over, and the team's losing will end soon, too.

Speaking with reporters Monday, Ross said he was pleased about the work of first-year coach Joe Philbin and rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, even though the Dolphins went 7-9 to finish below .500 for the fourth consecutive season.

``The two biggest ingredients in a winning team are your coach - and I think we have our head coach - and second is a quarterback you can build around,'' Ross said. ``This is a quarterback-centric league, and you see every great team that is there consistently has a quarterback. I think we have our quarterback.

``Once you are there, it is a lot easier, I think, to put the building blocks around them.''

Ross believes those blocks can be in place in 2013. When asked the organization's plan for the coming year, he laughed and said: ``Win.''

Philbin was hired a year ago as a first-time head coach - and Miami's seventh coach in eight years - after Ross unsuccessfully courted Jim Harbaugh in 2011 and Jeff Fisher in early 2012. While Philbin wasn't the first choice, Ross said he was impressed by the coach's organizational skills on the job, and the way he followed through on the plan he laid out before the season.

``We have a really solid head coach here, and a guy that I think will be here a long time and hopefully bring all those victories that everybody wants,'' Ross said.

Tannehill, the first quarterback drafted in the first round by Miami since Dan Marino in 1983, became the first Dolphins rookie QB to start all 16 games.

``What really impressed me is his intelligence and the type of person he is,'' Ross said. ``He's a high-character guy, and that's what you want.''

Ross completed his purchase of the Dolphins in January 2009, when Bill Parcells was the football czar and Tony Sparano the coach. Parcells stepped down in 2010, and Sparano was fired late in the 2011 season.

But according to Ross, only now does the organization bear Ross' stamp.

``This is really the first time I've really gotten involved,'' he said. ``I didn't select the people that were here before. I was handed a situation that, for one, I was kind of pinned to the wall. I have a lot of respect for Bill, but I didn't put together that organization. I also felt that I should learn a little bit before I started making moves. Making moves for the sake of making moves is sometimes probably the worst move you can make. You want to sit back and really assess the situation, which I was able to do.''

One position of stability for the Dolphins has been general manager Jeff Ireland, who is beginning his sixth year with the team even though many fans consider him the chief culprit for the recent losing.

Ross was asked why Ireland is the lone holdover from the Parcells regime.

``His football intelligence, his knowledge, his hard work,'' Ross said. ``He has the respect of his peers and he is one of the youngest general managers around. I like dealing with youth and enthusiasm. And I think he has the knowledge and desire. He is smart, and he is committed.''

Ireland has the Dolphins well-positioned this offseason, with five of the first 82 draft picks and more than $40 million in cap space. Philbin has said he prefers to build through the draft, and Ross agrees.

``Free agency certainly isn't the answer. We've all seen that,'' Ross said. ``Oftentimes there's a reason why a guy is out there as a free agent.''

But the billionaire real estate developer said he's willing to spend whatever it takes to build a winner.

``Certainly all my resources are there, and if the right players are there, I don't care what it costs,'' Ross said. ``We'll go after them.''

The Dolphins have reached the playoffs only once in the past 11 years, and home attendance is in decline. This season, they ranked fourth-worst in the NFL at 57,379 per game.

``I can understand, when you're not winning, why some people might not show up. We put a winning team on the field, I think we'll fill up the stadium,'' Ross said. ``We're moving in the right direction, and I feel good about it, more so today than I ever have.''

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3 Caps who impressed against the Blues in preview of the season opener

3 Caps who impressed against the Blues in preview of the season opener

Nicklas Backstrom scored with less than seven seconds remaining to give the Capitals the 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday in a preseason preview of the regular-season opener. Radko Gudas and Richard Panik also scored.

Here are three players who impressed for the Caps.

1. Richard Panik

Panik got plenty of practice on the penalty kill with 4:16 of shorthanded ice time shorthanded. In that time he gave a glimpse of why he was so coveted by the Caps as a free agent.

In the first period, Panik pounced on a loose puck at the top of the faceoff circle in the defensive zone. Seeing he had room to work with, he did not just clear it down the ice and instead elected to skate up with it. He fought off the backcheck from Tyler Bozak through the neutral zone, drew an additional two Blues players to him, then drew a holding call from Bozak because he would not give up the puck.

Panik's 4:16 of penalty kill time was more than top penalty killer Carl Hagelin's 2:26, though the fact that Hagelin took two minors on the night probably had something to do with it.

Late in the game, Panik was also added to the power play as a sixth attacker with the goalie pulled. He would score the game-tying goal with just 1:09 left in regulation.

2. The goalies

Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov both played about a half of the game. It is really hard to evaluate a goalie on just 30 minutes of work, so I will give a shoutout to both as both played very well.

Vanecek got the start. He looked a little awkward at first, but settled in as the game went along for a solid performance. He stopped 13 of the 14 shots he faced with the only goal he allowed a weird deflection off of Brett Leason’s skate.

Samsonov took over about halfway through the second period and within minutes found himself defending the net on a 5-on-3 penalty kill. The penalty killers helped out their young netminder allowing only one shot on goal, but it was a good one. Colton Parayko one-timed a slap shot, but Samsonov was there to stop with no rebound. Soon after the penalty was over, Vladimir Tarasenko was all alone in front of the net, but was denied by Samsonov’s who stretched the blocker to deny the high shot.

Sanford scores on the PP. Samsonov wasn't tight against the post. Showed him too much daylight and Sanford made him pay.

Samsonov finished with 11 saves on 12 shots.

3. Connor McMichael

Boy, somebody got a confidence boost from Monday’s game. 

McMichael was given a second preseason game as a reward for his solid performance on Monday and he definitely showed off the confidence that comes along with being a first-round draft pick.

In the first period, McMichael found himself all alone with the puck on a mini-breakaway on Jordan Binnington. Just a reminder, this is the Binnington who was the starting goalie for the Stanley Cup champions.

So what did McMichael do? He skated to the front and tried the stick between the legs shot. It may not have worked, but you have to respect the confidence this kid had just to try, though no doubt the coaches probably had a few words for him in the locker room about it.

There was one area in which McMichael struggled, however, and that was on the faceoff where he lost all five draws he took on the night.

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WNBA Semifinals: Aces at Mystics - Game 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream how to watch

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WNBA Semifinals: Aces at Mystics - Game 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream how to watch

After a thrilling back-and-forth contest to start the WNBA Semifinals, the Washington Mystics and Elena Delle Donne are back in action to host the Las Vegas Aces for Game 2.

Washington took Game 1 97-95 over Las Vegas in their first game in nine days to start the series. Rusty and stuttering out of the gate, the Mystics were able to gut out a win after an explosive run in the third and early fourth quarter. 

Emma Meesseman (27 points) led the charge for Washington. In the third quarter, she took over the game totaling 13 of the team's 26 points and got the Mystics back in control of the contest. Elena Delle Donne finished with 24 points and hit the game-clinching basket in the final minute of regulation.

A'ja Wilson had 23 points in a losing effort, despite playing all but three minutes. Off the bench, Kelsey Plum emerged with 16 points to give the Aces an additional spark. 

Game 2 is on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 8:30 p.m. ET at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. The best-of-five series features the high-powered and No. 1 seeded Mystics against the most defensively sound squad in the No. 4 seeded Aces.

The Aces entered the series with a ton of momentum, fresh off one of the craziest wins in WNBA history. They gut-punched the top seed in the opening half and nearly stole it in the closing seconds. Nevertheless, it appears the Mystics with the third-best offense in the WNBA's existence found their footing and will be better prepared for Game 2. 

ACES VS. MYSTICS GAME 2:

Who: Las Vegas Aces at Washington Mystics

What: WNBA Semifinals Game 2

When: Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, 8:30 p.m. ET

Where: Entertainment and Sports Arena, Washington D.C.

TV Channel: ESPN2

Live Stream: WatchESPN

MYSTICS vs. ACES WNBA SEMIFINALS SCHEDULE:

Game 1: Mystics 97, Aces 95 (Mystics lead 1-0)

Game 2: Thurs, Sept. 19: Aces at Mystics, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Game 3: Sun, Sept. 22: Mystics at Aces, 5:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Game 4: Tue, Sept 24: Mystics at Aces, Time TBD, ESPN2 (if necessary)

Game 5: Thurs, Sept. 26: Aces at Mystics, Time TBD, ESPN2 (if necessary)

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