Capitals

Saint Louis wins first game since Majerus' death

Saint Louis wins first game since Majerus' death

ST. LOUIS (AP) Dwayne Evans wanted to honor Rick Majerus with a win less than 24 hours after the former coach's death.

Evans scored 17 points and Jordair Jett added 14 points to lead Saint Louis to a 62-49 victory over Valparaiso on Sunday. Mike McCall Jr. added 10 points for the Billikens (4-3).

Majerus, 64, passed away Saturday at a Los Angeles hospital due to heart failure. The Milwaukee native compiled a 517-216 record over 25 years with Saint Louis, Ball State, Utah and Marquette.

``Coach dedicated his life to basketball,'' Evans said. ``I can't think of a better tribute than to get a win.''

Majerus guided the Billikens to their first NCAA tournament appearance in 12 years last season. The Billikens, who finished 26-8, upset Memphis before losing to Michigan State.

Majerus, who had a history of heart problems, took a leave of absence due to health issues in August. The school announced last month that he would not return.

The team found out about his passing after practice on Saturday.

``It was upsetting, tears were shed,'' forward Cody Ellis said. ``But it brought us together as a team. It helped us regroup. ... We definitely came today to play for him.''

Saint Louis guard Kwamain Mitchell said he learned more than just basketball from Majerus.

``He developed me into a man,'' Mitchell said.

Billikens interim coach Jim Crews said that although Majerus had been in failing health, it was still hard to accept the news.

``He's been a friends' friend to me,'' Crews said. ``He's been a father figure to many of these young guys. It hurts. I love Rick.''

A moment of silence was observed before the game. Following the silence, fans in the near sellout crowd clapped and cheered for 50 seconds before the national anthem was played.

Saint Louis players wore black ribbons on the front of their jerseys. The student cheering section, of which Majerus was a big supporter, donned black shirts. Majerus used to make sure to acknowledge the Slunatics, as they are called, after each home game.

``He always let us know that he appreciated us,'' said senior Marty Kovarik, vice president of the group. ``Before the season, he would take some of us to dinner and tell us just how important he thought we were to the team. It made us feel good - like we were a part of things.''

Majerus, who was extremely popular among fellow coaches, guided Utah to the NCAA championship game in 1998. He reached 15 wins 20 times and had 30-plus wins twice.

``He was brilliant,'' said Indiana coach Tom Crean, who along, with Majerus, shared a coaching path that ran through Marquette. ``He was a guy I could call at any time and he would give me ideas.''

Crean said there was a time when Majerus was among the most popular sports figures in Wisconsin.

``He (could) have become mayor of Milwaukee or governor of Wisconsin,'' Crean said. ``He was that well-loved.''

Saint Louis athletic director Chris May said Majerus helped lift the team to national prominence. He was hired on April 30, 2007, and guided the Billikens to a top-20 ranking last season for the first time since 1994-95.

``He put his heart and soul into the program,'' May said. ``What I remember most was his enduring passion to see his players excel both on and off the court.''

There was also a moment of silence in honor of Majerus prior to the St. Louis Rams game against San Francisco on Sunday.

Saint Louis used a 10-0 run late in the first half to take the lead for good 25-19.

Ryan Broekhoff, Matt Kenney and Kevin Van Wijk had 10 points each for Valparaiso (5-2).

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Capitals are the class of the Metropolitan Division for fifth year in a row

Capitals are the class of the Metropolitan Division for fifth year in a row

You know what’s fun? Winning Metropolitan Division titles. 

No, it’s not as good as the big prize. The Capitals will never top their 2018 Stanley Cup championship. But winning a competitive division against their biggest rivals five years in a row? Pretty, pretty good. 

Washington took its fifth in a row officially on Tuesday when the NHL announced that the regular season had concluded thanks to the ongoing coronavirus. The Capitals just outlasted the Philadelphia Flyers with 90 standings points to 89. The difference over 69 games? One extra Caps game going into overtime for a single point. 

Credit to the Flyers for making a late run. No one was playing better in the NHL than Philadelphia just before the season was halted. Whether that carries over into the Stanley Cup Playoffs remains to be seen. 

But the Capitals should take pride in that streak. It’s hard to do in an age of parity. They play in a division where the Pittsburgh Penguins won two Stanley Cups in the previous four seasons. The two teams slugged it out three times in the second round. That’s the luck of the draw, and so four straight division titles -- and two Presidents’ Trophies -- meant just one Cup for Washington. 

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It’s also rare to dominate a division the way the Capitals have for five years. The Anaheim Ducks won the Pacific Division title every year from 2013 to 2017. Prior to that, the Detroit Red Wings won the Central Division an astounding eight times from 2001 to 2009. It doesn’t get you a championship -- Washington won the expired Southeast Division from 2008 to 2011 -- but it does mean you played great hockey year after year.

And to do it in the reconstituted Patrick Division, where long-time rivals like the Penguins, Flyers, Rangers, Islanders and Devils joined with newer rivals Carolina and Columbus, makes it even sweeter. Add another banner to the rafters at Capital One Arena. The Caps are the class of the Metropolitan Division yet again. 

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Nationals will not lay off full-time business or baseball employees amid coronavirus pandemic

Nationals will not lay off full-time business or baseball employees amid coronavirus pandemic

The Washington Nationals decided to use “partial furloughs” to keep their baseball and business employees at work through the end of their contracts or the calendar year.

The road map works like this:

All full-time business and baseball employees will receive a reduction in pay and hours ranging from 10 to 30 percent. If the employee’s contract runs to the end of baseball season -- typically Oct. 31 -- then these parameters apply from now until then. If the employee is not on contract, these reductions persist until Dec. 31.

No full-time employee is being laid off because of the economic impact from coronavirus.

An example: If a person works a 40-hour week, and has the 10 percent reduction in pay and hours, they are down to a 36-hour week at 10 percent pay cut.

The reduction scale slides. The highest-paid employees, like Mike Rizzo, are taking the largest reduction in pay. Then on down the line.

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The Nationals deciding to do this now allows their staff to know what the future holds as opposed to wondering month-to-month what decision the organization will make in regard to their job status.

Major League Baseball organizations remain uneasy about their financial future in 2020 since the season has stalled. The league and its team owners are in the midst of negotiations with the MLBPA while attempting to find a safe, revenue-satisfactory path back to the field.

Meanwhile, teams across the league are assessing their non-player finances, and the approach varies. For instance, the Anaheim Angels decided last week to furlough some non-playing employees.

In Washington, no full-time employee will be laid off because of this salary adjustment.

USA Today was first to report the Nationals’ overall decision.

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