Capitals

Saints not fretting uncertainty over Payton

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Saints not fretting uncertainty over Payton

METAIRIE, La. (AP) Regardless of the allure the Dallas Cowboys or some other franchises might have for a coach a successful who commands top dollar, Drew Brees cannot envision Sean Payton coaching anywhere but New Orleans next season.

Brees said he does not believe money is what motivates Payton as much as the pride he takes in what he has built with the Saints, and the desire to parlay his accomplishments in New Orleans into more championships when he is re-instated following his one-season suspension in connection with the NFL's bounty probe.

``I'd be shocked if he wasn't here next year,'' Brees said after practice on Wednesday. ``I have not even thought for a second that he wouldn't be here, honestly. Not even thought for a second.''

Payton's contract status has been in doubt, at least publicly, since NFL commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed last month that the league had a problem with certain language in Payton's 2011 extension, which would have run through 2015. The clause in question allowed Payton to opt out early if general manager Mickey Loomis left the club for any reason.

Because Payton was a top offensive assistant in Dallas from 2003 to 2005 and has a good relationship with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and because Payton's children live in the Dallas area, there has been widespread speculation that Payton could return to the Cowboys should current coach Jason Garrett be fired after this season.

Payton, suspended from last April through next February's Super Bowl, has not commented on his contract situation, and neither has his agent, Don Yee.

The terms of Payton's suspension also prevent him from talking with any NFL employee - with limited and pre-approved exceptions - and Brees said he has not been able to talk to Payton about next season.

Brees said he would be highly skeptical of any reports of Payton's departure from New Orleans until he hears it from the coach himself, particularly if those reports cite only anonymous ``sources.''

``We also know how the whole sources thing works, don't we?'' Brees said. ``Sources can pretty much say whatever you want them to say because you never really have to be accountable for it. Like I said, I'm not worried.''

Brees' teammates largely echoed their quarterback's sentiments.

``What everybody thinks is that Sean will be back,'' Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins said. ``For right now, Sean Payton is our head coach. Just like a player has a contract that has to work out, there's going to be negotiations and that whole situation will play out.''

This Sunday the Saints play in Dallas, where Garrett has been unable to avoid questions about his own future and the Payton speculation, despite the fact that the Cowboys are riding a five-game winning streak that has placed them firmly in playoff contention after a shaky 3-5 start.

``Certainly, as coaches and individuals, we have to live'' with job uncertainty and speculation, Garrett said. ``There is always a lot of stuff going on on the periphery.''

``Sean is a great coach and good friend of mine. He has done a great job in this league for a long time,'' Garrett added. ``I'm focused on doing my job as well as I can.''

If Dallas can beat New Orleans this week and close out with a victory over the Redskins, the Cowboys would finish 10-6 and would be guaranteed a spot in the playoffs, which might make it harder to for Jones to justify jettisoning Garrett. Jones has recently expressed confidence in Garrett in any event and credited him with how he has shepherded the team through the recent death of Cowboys practice squad player Jerry Brown in an auto accident.

``He's just a great communicator with his players and his colleagues,'' Jones said of Garrett. ``I've seen in him that in trying circumstances that he can do good things. My hat's off and I give him a lot of credit for how we're playing right now.''

Loomis and Saints owner Tom Benson could end the uncertainty by getting Payton locked into a new and perhaps more lucrative extension than the more than $6 million annually Payton would have earned had his 2011 deal gone through. And it remains to be seen whether they'll get a deal done before the league year ends a few weeks after the Super Bowl.

In the meantime, most Saints players said they'd spend their time worried about how to beat Dallas and Carolina in New Orleans' last two games.

``We would love to have Sean back, but that's out of our hands,'' running back Pierre Thomas said. ``That's between Mickey, Mr. Benson, and him. That's not between us. We can't have any say-so in it.''

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Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 Eastern Conference Final 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream

Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 Eastern Conference Final 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream

When the Capitals take the ice in Game 6, they will be playing for their playoff lives. After losing Game 5 on Saturday to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Caps must win on Monday or their season will be over.

In order to do that, the Caps will have to change some things. First, they have to figure out how to win at home, something they have yet to do in this series. Second, they will have to find a way to get to Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy who has been dominant the past three games. Alex Ovechkin also needs to win the matchup against the fourth line since he has only two five-on-five points through five games. Finally, the defense will have to be better. Matt Niskanen took the blame for Game 5, but really it was a tough night all around.

Also, a few penalty calls against Tampa Bay would be nice too.

Where: Capital One Arena

When: 8:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Lightning, Game 6 will be broadcast on NBCSN

Live Stream: You can watch Capitals-Lightning Game 6 on NBC Sports' live stream page.

WHEN IS GAME 6 OF THE CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING PLAYOFF SERIES?

Game 6 of the Capitals vs. Lightning 2018 NHL Playoff series takes place on Monday, May 21 at 8:00 p.m. at Capital One Arnea.

WHAT CHANNEL IS GAME 6 OF CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING ON?

The TV broadcast of Game 6 between the Capitals and Lightning is on NBCSN. Capitals pre- and postgame coverage takes place on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 on NBCSN
10:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime

WHERE CAN I STREAM GAME 6 OF THE CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING SERIES?

Game 6 between the Capitals and Lightning is available to stream online on Monday, May 21 live here through the NBC Sports live stream page.

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR GAME 6 OF CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING?

Capitals projected lines:

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Chandler Stephenson - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana - Lars Eller - Brett Connolly
Devante Smith-Pelly -  Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos

Braden Holtby with Philipp Grubauer as backup.

Lightning projected lines:

Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov
Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Yanni Gourde
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - J.T. Miller
Chris Kunitz - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh - Anton Stralman
Braydon Coburn - Mikhail Sergachev

Andrei Vasilevskiy starts with Louis Domingue as backup.

CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING GAME 6 OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers

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USA TODAY Sports

Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers

WASHINGTON  -- Kike Hernandez and Yasiel Puig each hit two-run homers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 7-2 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Hernandez's blast off Stephen Strasburg in the fifth inning put the Dodgers up 3-2. Yasmani Grandal also homered off Strasburg (5-4), who allowed three runs and five hits over 6 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts.

Alex Wood (1-4) pitched six innings, allowing just three hits and two earned runs. Wood came out to start the seventh, but returned to the clubhouse after showing some discomfort during his warm-up tosses.

Trea Turner homered for Washington, which swept Arizona last weekend and then went five days without playing a full game because of rain before getting swept by the Dodgers.

Los Angeles, after losing six consecutive games, has now won four straight overall and five of six over Washington this season.

Washington's Juan Soto, at 19 the youngest active player in the majors, made his debut in the eighth as a pinch-hitter and struck out against Erik Goeddel.

The Dodgers added two runs in the ninth. Josh Fields recorded the final four outs for his second save of the season.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.