Capitals

Rebuilding Bills will continue to play in Toronto

Rebuilding Bills will continue to play in Toronto

TORONTO (AP) The Buffalo Bills and Rogers Media announced a new agreement Tuesday that will keep Rogers Centre as the team's second home.

Buffalo will play one regular-season game at the home of the Toronto Blue Jays for the next five years, and the new contract also includes one preseason game in 2015.

The existing five-year deal - which was worth $78 million - expired when Seattle posted a 50-17 win over Buffalo Dec. 16. But an extension had long been expected despite lingering attendance problems. Only 40,770 fans attended the Seahawks' win, far short of a sellout. Some 53,000 fans had been expected.

It was not a good day for the Bills, all around. With 5:20 left in the game, fans in one end zone began chanting ``Let's Go Blue Jays!'' Of course, it was fine by Seattle, which rolled to its third of what would be six consecutive wins.

``This was exciting for us,'' Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said at the time. ``We looked at it like a little bit of a bowl-game situation.''

There was a halftime show, as well, so perhaps Carroll was on the right track with that theory. Organizers went so far in a bid to drum up support by having Korean pop star PSY perform his hit ``Gangnam Style'' after the second quarter ended.

Buffalo, which finished 6-10 and underwent a coaching change this month, is just 1-4 in regular-season games in Toronto, and some players have spoken out about the deal, worried that taking away a home game from the Buffalo region is somewhat counterproductive.

``Yeah, I did call it a joke,'' Bills center Wood said at the time. ``It stunk that we were up there. And I was heated when I said it was a joke. And I'm not going to sit here and retract all my statements because that's what I meant and what I felt.

``Those non-Bills fans that go to the game are just cheering for plays as opposed to cheering for a team. And that kills you.''

Defensive tackle Kyle Williams concurred.

``It's very similar to a road game, but also I understand the business side of things,'' Williams said then. ``I don't think you'd find a guy in here that wouldn't agree that they would much rather be in Ralph Wilson Stadium.''

Wood understands how playing in Canada's financial capital and largest city benefits a small-market team such as the Bills by generating additional revenue and luring fans to attend the team's games at Orchard Park. He emphasized he wasn't criticizing Toronto as a community, because he enjoys makes numerous trips there.

``I love the city of Toronto for eating and for pleasure,'' Wood said. ``But the game just has a different feel. And it's not a whole lot of fun to play in at this point.''

The Bills recently extended their lease at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., for 10 years, which should solidify the franchise's short-term future.

After the season ended with a 28-9 win over the New York Jets, Buffalo fired coach Chan Gailey, replacing him with Doug Marrone. Buffalo lost three of its final four games.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

The Capitals are the Eastern Conference Champions!

After dispatching Tampa Bay in Game 7, the Caps claimed the conference crown for just the second time in franchise history. But they're not done yet. Now it's on to Vegas to face the Golden Knights for the Stanley Cup.

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break down the Caps' win over the Lightning and look ahead to the matchup with the Knights.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

The pre-draft workout process can be an exhausting journey for players, with so many flights, hotel rooms and NBA arenas that they can all blend in together. Michigan big man Moritz Wagner, though, may have felt a sense of comfort in Washington for his pre-draft workout for the Wizards on Wednesday.

It was just over a year ago that his Michigan Wolverines cut down the nets at Capital One Arena as champions of the Big Ten conference.

"It was good memories, man. Never gets old," he said while glancing around the stadium.

Wagner, 21, will be seeing a lot more of Capital One Arena once he joins the NBA ranks and it is conceivable he ends up in Washington. They hold the 15th pick in the first round and the 44th pick in the second round and Wagner could be within their reach.

Wagner had an impressive workout in Washington and could provide what the Wizards need. He is a big, mobile and can spread the floor. Wagner was terrific at stepping out to hit threes off pick-and-rolls at Michigan and that ability would work well with Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall.

Wagner measured in at just under 7-feet at this month's NBA Combine, fifth-tallest among those who attended. He averaged 14.6 points as a junior this past season and made 39.4 percent of his threes on 4.1 attempts per game.

With three years of college experience and an NBA-ready jumper, Wagner believes he can step right in and help the Wizards.

"I think what we did at Michigan, sharing the ball and playing as a team, very organized basketball, that can help big-time," he said. "It's basically pro basketball I was playing on a different level."

As Wagner will tell you, he is very confident in his abilities. He is comfortable in his own skin and that includes openly discussing his faults. He feels good about his ability to score at the next level. Defense is where he needs to prove himself.

Despite his size, Wagner wasn't much of a rim protector in college. He averaged just a half-block a game as a junior. The Wizards need rim protection badly and he likely would not provide that.

Wagner, though, believes he can bring more to the table defensively than the numbers would suggest.

"I think I've been an offensive guy all of my life, but the more that you mature as a player, you understand that both sides are important. Without defense, you aren't going to play at any level," he said.

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen, especially with the way the league is going. Switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Wagner is from Germany and looks up to Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki, who is entering his 21st season and will be in the Hall of Fame someday. Nowitzki's game has always been built around shooting and, though he developed into a decent shot-blocker in his prime, was never an elite rim protector.

Wagner hopes to follow in his footsteps playing a similar style.

"He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball," Wagner said. "It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

Hear more from Wagner in his one-on-one interview with Chris Miller in our latest Wizards Tipoff podcast. His interview can also be found in the video above:

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