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Play continues at storm-delayed AT&T National

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Play continues at storm-delayed AT&T National

The third round of the AT&T National has been pushed back due to the powerful storms that wreaked havoc and caused widespread power outages across the Washington D.C. area Friday night.
PGA Tour and tournament officials are aiming for a two-tee start at 1 p.m., but the course will be closed to spectators and volunteers for safety reasons. Play had been scheduled to start at 7:10 a.m.

It was really a mess out there, said Mark Russell, the PGA Tours vice president of rules and competition, speaking as the sound of chainsaws echoed throughout Congressional Country Club. Ive never seen anything like this. Its like a tornado came through here.
According to Stewart Williams of Telvent DTN, the PGAs senior meteorologist, the course received three-tenths of an inch of rain, but winds from a fast-moving derecho gusted to 70 mph around 10:30 p.m. Friday, downing as many as 40 trees at the Bethesda club, disrupting power and obstructing many roads leading to the entrance.
It was all straight line winds, said Williams, who also warned of the possibility of more severe storms Saturday evening. The heat had a lot to do with. Thats what fueled the momentum to keep it going and build on itself.
Efforts to clear fallen trees, branches and other debris began late Friday night and continued Saturday morning.
Trees fell across the fairways on holes No. 14 and 18, according to Russell. But the course was spared major damage because none of the greens were damaged.
The golf course is going to be fine, Russell said. Inside the ropes is going to be good. The periphery is a mess.
Russell also said there will be a rules meeting at noon.
Were going to take a look and see what all they can get cleaned upand see how were going to play, he said. Powerful removal, were probably will have to use that rule a little more than we usually do. Theres a lot of debris out there.
If the third round begins on time, tournament host Tiger Woods will tee off at 2:40 and leaders Hunter Mahan, Brendon de Jonge and Jimmy Walker will begin at 3:10.
The decision to ban fans and volunteers was made for safety reasons.
Its just too dangerous out here, Russell said. There are a lot of hanging limbs, a lot of debris a lot of places. We just didnt think it would be safe to get a lot of people out here. Its unfortunate, but thats just the way we have to go to protect the public.
Tickets for Saturdays round will be honored on Sunday assuming power can be restored and the spectator areas can be cleared.
Its going to take a long time to clean this up, Russell said.
Asked whether he anticipates allowing fans on the course Sunday, he added, We hope we can do that.

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Trotz's future in Washington remains unsettled on eve Stanley Cup Final

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USA TODAY Sports

Trotz's future in Washington remains unsettled on eve Stanley Cup Final

Caps Coach Barry Trotz doesn’t have a contract beyond the Stanley Cup Final, and any potential talks about an extension will wait until the trophy is awarded, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday.

“No,” MacLellan said, asked if a decision on Trotz’s future had been made. “We’re going to address everything after the playoffs are over.”

Trotz’s four-year contract expires at season’s end.

It’s rare for a head coach to enter a season while in the final year of his deal. But that’s how the Caps decided to handle Trotz’s situation last offseason after another strong regular season performance ended with yet another second round playoff exit at the hands of the Penguins.

It was a suboptimal situation for Trotz, a 55-year-old who ranks fifth all-time in regular season victories but, until this year, had never led any team beyond the conference semifinals.

Despite his lame duck status, all Trotz did was produce his best coaching performance to date. 

Consider:

  • While visiting his son in Russia last summer, Trotz visited Alex Ovechkin in Moscow to discuss the changes he’d like to see the Caps’ captain make to his training and his game.
  • When the Caps reconvened for training camp in September, it was clear there were still some hurt feelings in the locker room. So Trotz and his assistants backed off, allowing some necessary healing to occur.
  • When the team suffered back-to-back blowout losses in Nashville and Colorado back in November, Trotz initiated a tell-it-like-it-is team meeting that many players have pointed to as the turning point of the regular season, which ended with the team’s third straight Metropolitan title.
  • Trotz also got his highly-skilled lineup to buy into a more structured, detailed style of play late in the campaign, a transformation that prompted MacLellan to call this playoff run the most defensively responsible of Trotz’s tenure.
  • In each of the two previous conference semifinals, Washington was defeated by Pittsburgh and, as a result, the Penguins had become a physical and a mental hurdle for the Caps. Earlier this month, Trotz helped direct Ovechkin and Co. past the two-time Cup champions.

Although MacLellan wouldn’t say much about Trotz’s contract, he did say that he’s noticed a big change in Trotz’s day-to-day approach to his job, a change possibly prompted by the coach’s free agent status.

“I think his demeanor has changed a little bit,” MacLellan said. “He seems a little lighter, a little looser, a little less pressure. Maybe a little more freedom about how he goes about things. He’s more relaxed, I guess would be the way to describe him.”

MacLellan also acknowledged the job Trotz’s has done this season, beginning with his delicate handling of the dressing room to start the year.

“I think he’s done a good job managing it,” MacLellan said. “To come in this year with so many questions—from my point of view, the lineup questions weren’t that big of a deal—but just the emotional state of our coming into to start the year [and] how to handle that. I think he’s done an outstanding job.”

Indeed, Trotz’s situation remains unclear on the eve of the Final. But we do know this much: He’s having one of the best contract years in NHL coaching history.

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Small Virginia town changes name to Capitalsville ahead of Stanley Cup Final

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FB/The Town of Lovettsville

Small Virginia town changes name to Capitalsville ahead of Stanley Cup Final

Welcome to Capitalsville, Va., population: #ALLCAPS

Hoping to become the Washington Capitals' Stanley Cup headquarters, the small Northern Virginia town of Lovettsville has renamed itself to Capitalsville, Va.

Caps superfan and Mayor of Lovettsville, Bob Zoldos, had a lightbulb moment while watching Game 7 in a local bar and restaurant, Velocity Wings. Overcome with emotion from the win, he decided to take his idea to the town council meeting Thursday and Capitalsville was born after a unanimous vote to "unleash the fury."

This is not the first time name changes have occurred ahead of a big game. Ahead of the Caps' first-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Blue Jacket Brewery located in downtown D.C. changed its Twitter handle to "Grujacket Brewery" in support of goaltender Philipp Grubauer.

The name change from Lovettsville to Capitalsville is temporary, with the plan to keep the new name through the end of the Stanley Cup Final. However, Zoldos hopes the sign brings in other Caps superfans from across the DMV to take in a piece of history 20 years in the making. 

Here's to hoping Capitalsville brings the city some luck heading into Game 1 on Memorial Day.

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