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Professional leagues plan to play after superstorm

Professional leagues plan to play after superstorm

With much of the Northeast immersed in the recovery from Superstorm Sandy's devastating blow, the NFL and NBA plan to carry on with their schedules.

The New York City Marathon is still hoping that the course will be clear by Sunday and runners will be able to get to the starting line in Staten Island.

NBA spokesman Tim Frank on Tuesday said through his Twitter account the season-opening games Tuesday night in Miami, Los Angeles and Cleveland - the Wizards flew out of Washington Monday 7 a.m. - are set to tip off on time.

``For the many asking: Tonight's NBA games will be played. We are still assessing the situation with regards to the rest of the week,'' he tweeted.

Of concern: Philadelphia is supposed to host its opener on Wednesday.

However, the NBA's communications staff announced on Twitter that the Nets' first game at their new Brooklyn home against the crosstown-rival Knicks on Thursday will go as scheduled at 7 p.m.

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin believes Sunday's game in Jersey against the New York Giants to go on as scheduled and plans to prepare that way. Tomlin said he understands the league will be looking at any logistical issues caused by the storm's aftermath may present but added the Steelers will stick to their weekly routine unless they hear from NFL officials.

Tomlin might have to wait a day for the final word. All 32 teams were notified Monday that the league's offices would be closed through Tuesday.

The NFL had already moved its trade deadline back two days to Thursday because of potential complications from the storm. The deadline now is 4 p.m. EDT Thursday, when waivers for vested veterans also begin.

Around the league, the Giants, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles reported no damage at their practice facilities. The Baltimore Ravens, though, were running a generator at their complex. Players were off but the hope is electricity will be restored for regular practice Wednesday.

Five days before 50,000 runners take to the course that meanders through the streets of New York City's five boroughs, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he expects the marathon to go on scheduled. Race organizers were moving forward with their plans - leaving open the possibility of changes from past years.

``The marathon has always been a special day for New Yorkers as a symbol of the vitality and resiliency of this city,'' New York Road Runners President Mary Wittenberg said in a statement.

``NYRR continues to move ahead with its planning and preparation. We will keep all options open with regard to making any accommodations and adjustments necessary to race day and race weekend events.''

Lower Manhattan was especially hit hard and many runners need to take the ferry to the start on Staten Island. Also, Bloomberg said it could be four or five days before the subways were running again. That could mean no trains on race day.

Record-setting Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps was in Rio de Janeiro, the site of the 2016 Summer Games, but his thoughts were back in Maryland.

``I'm kind of nervous to go back home because I don't know if my house is going to be under water or not. It will be an interesting trip,'' Phelps said. ``I know that we will all sort of bounce back from everything that is going on. It's kind of wild seeing all the pictures and all the coverage - it's all I have been watching really since I have been here. It's sad. it's part of life.''

The St. Cloud State women's hockey team was stranded Tuesday in Rhode Island. The Huskies were supposed to catch a flight out of Boston on Monday after playing a weekend series against Providence College.

They hope to fly back to Minnesota on Thursday. Their home opener is Friday.

In response to the storm, Indiana State is giving fans several opportunities to make donations in the days leading up to their football game against Illinois State on Saturday.

Terre Haute Catholic Charities will give a free ticket to each fan that donates at least five pounds of items. Donors to the American Red Cross will also get a free ticket to the game.

Looking ahead on the sports calendar to August, Oak Hill Country Club, the site of 2013 PGA championship in upstate New York, lost several trees in the storm. But still standing is the famed Leaning Oak - supported by a steel beam since 1956 - on the right side of the 12th hole.

``The Leaning Oak, that tree weathered the storm and is unscathed, which is remarkable considering how long it's been supported by that steel beam for decades now,'' tournament director Ryan Cannon said, ``and the trees that did come down were not all that far from the leaning oak. pretty amazing.''

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AP Sports Writers Barry Wilner and John Wawrow contributed to this report.

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Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

The Stanley Cup is not the only trophy that will be awarded at the end of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights. The Conn Smythe will also be given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team during the playoffs.

Who will that player be?

It's not hard to figure out who the frontrunner is right now. Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't just been the best goalie in the playoffs, he's been the best player with a dominant postseason in which he has posted a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. He has been so dominant, he could win it even if Vegas loses the series.

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

The last player from the losing team to win the Conn Smythe was Jean-Sebastian Giguere from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.

But what about the Caps?

Alex Ovechkin is the leader of Washington and has been absolutely dominant throughout the postseason. He even scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Surprisingly, however, Ovechkin does not lead the team in points through the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov holds that edge with 24 points to Ovechkin's 22.

Will their offensive dominance propel them to win the Cup and the Conn Smythe? Will a different player emerge as the hero of the series?

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS:

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Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

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Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 26, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Contract makes Alex Smith a Redskins for at least three seasons

This post was originally published on March 19. 

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details. 

Until now. 

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. 

Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer). 

But there I another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million. 

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith but since we have no details we’ll set those aside for now. 

The cap hits on the contract are as follows: 

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022. 

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler