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UNC TB Bernard entering NFL draft as sophomore

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UNC TB Bernard entering NFL draft as sophomore

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) North Carolina tailback Gio Bernard is eager to make his early jump to the NFL.

The sophomore announced Friday he would enter next spring's draft after a big year in which he ranked among the nation's top rushers and punt returners to earn All-America honors.

``I didn't want to base my projections or where I was (in mock drafts),'' Bernard said during a news conference. ``I think it was moreso that I wanted to move on to the next step in life and fulfill a dream.''

The 5-foot-10, 205-pound tailback led the Atlantic Coast Conference in rushing, scoring, all-purpose yards and punt-return average. He was a first-team all-ACC selection the past two years, and was a third-team All-American by The Associated Press earlier this week.

A native of Boca Raton, Fla., Bernard is draft-eligible because he has been out of high school for three seasons. He missed the 2010 season with a knee injury and also missed almost three full games this year with another knee injury, but said fear of another injury wasn't a major factor in his decision.

``It didn't really weigh that much,'' Bernard said. ``As a football player, you take risks. Playing the game is a risk in itself. Those things happen. You don't really have control of those things. ... Those are things that you can't really think about it. You just have to go into it with an open mind and just play the game.''

Bernard said he planned to come back to earn his degree in spring 2014.

Bernard entered the season with questions about how he would fit in new coach Larry Fedora's spread offense. But he ran for 1,228 yards and 12 touchdowns, ranked 11th nationally by averaging 122.8 yards per game and led the country by averaging 16.4 yards per punt return.

He scored a league-best 19 touchdowns, including two on punt returns. That included a 74-yard return for the go-ahead touchdown with 13 seconds left to beat North Carolina State 43-35 in October, snapping a five-year losing streak in the rivalry.

``We've always prided ourselves on being balanced,'' Fedora said. ``I just knew that I was excited about the opportunity of having a player of his caliber. At the time, I really didn't know how good Gio was because I hadn't seen him on film.

``I don't like to make decisions on guys when they're in shorts. But in the first two days of spring ball, we were in shorts and I knew right then how special he was and what he was going to be in the offense.''

Bernard tore his right anterior cruciate ligament on his third day of preseason practice in 2010, but returned a year later to run for a UNC freshman record 1,253 yards while becoming the first Tar Heel to run for more than 1,000 yards since 1997.

Bernard leaves UNC with 2,481 yards rushing in two seasons, good for 10th in the school record book.

``I don't want to say it's not about money because it's a business and he's going to be making a living and that plays a part in it,'' Fedora said. ``But I think for him, it's more about fulfilling a dream. ... I dreamed about it as a kid. I didn't go very far, but he has this opportunity and I'm ready to live through him in this opportunity.''

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2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Capitals vs. Islanders starts Aug. 12, schedule, opponents, format, odds

2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Capitals vs. Islanders starts Aug. 12, schedule, opponents, format, odds

The Stanley Cup playoffs are finally here after qualifying and round robin play concluded in Toronto and Edmonton on Sunday.

Five months after the season paused for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the NHL has whittled 24 teams down to 16. The Capitals will play the New York Islanders and old coach Barry Trotz in the first round. They celebrated winning the Stanley Cup together two years ago.

Trotz left to take the job in New York and famously said after receiving his championship ring in an emotional meeting with his former players that he wished them well and that they could win it all again "but you'll have to go through the [explitive] Island, OK?"

So 24 teams are down to 16 with games set to continue in Toronto and Edmonton. The first round begins on Tuesday. This year's road to the Cup will look significantly different than past seasons, but it won't be any less meaningful to the players pushing for the Cup.

For the latest Capitals news and analysis from NBC Sports Washington, download the MyTeams App.

RELATED: 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs opponent set: How Capitals fared vs. ex-coach Barry Trotz and Islanders

How does the bracket look?

Well, you see....there is no bracket. Not in the traditional sense. The NHL has re-seeded teams No. 1 through No. 8. So the Chicago Blackhawks, the No. 12 in the qualifying round, upset the No. 5 seed Edmonton Oilers in their home city and are now listed as the No. 8 seed.

None of it really matters. Whichever four teams advance to the Eastern and Western Conference semifinals will be re-seeded again. If No. 4 Boston is the best seed remaining after the first round, it would play the lowest-seeded remaining team. In this case, No. 8 Montreal.

But we are back to a best-of-seven format. The qualifying round was best-of-five - except for the top four teams in each conference who played round-robin games against each other for seeding. That's how Presidents' Trophy-winner Boston ended up No. 4 in the Eastern Conference.

What does this mean for the Capitals?

The Capitals finished the regular season with a 41-20-8 record and 90 points. They barely claimed the Metropolitan Division title for the fifth consecutive year, edging out the Flyers by one point. They rank third in the Eastern Conference behind the Bruins and Tampa Lightning.

But they weren't playing well in February and March and looked suspect during round-robin play. Norris Trophy finalist John Carlson is injured and missed the final two round-robin games, third-line center Lars Eller left the Toronto bubble for the birth of his son and has to quarantine at least until Wednesday.

But re-seeded tournaments are inherently unpredictable and beating the Islanders could suddenly mean a second-round series against a beatable opponent instead of another date with the No. 2 Lightning.  

Where will the Stanley Cup Playoffs take place?

Eastern Conference games will continue to be held at Scotiabank Place in Toronto while Western Conference games will still take place at Rogers Place in Edmonton. These two hub cities will serve as respective bubbles for each conference. The Stanley Cup Final will join the conference champs together in Edmonton

Who is here?

The 2019 champions (St. Louis Blues), the 2018 champs (Capitals), a Bruins team that came within a game of the title last season and a Tampa Bay squad that just never can get over the hump in the playoffs. Oh – and the fading dynasty that is the Chicago Blackhawks still has some fight left in it. The Philadelphia Flyers are a legitimate darkhorse despite being the top seed. The Colorado Avalanche have so much talent just hitting its prime. There’s tons of intrigue with this tournament and it could easily go haywire. Just the way we like it.

Who is missing?

Sideny Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins for one. They went out in the qualifying round to Carey Price and the Canadiens. The Pens might have a 12.5% chance at the No. 1 overall pick, but the NHL loses a meal ticket.

Also gone is superstar Connor McDavid and the Oilers. All the NHL wants is its most dynamic player on its biggest stage and it just rarely seems to happen.

And say goodbye to the Toronto Maple Leafs, whose fans face a long, cold Fall for once instead of summer. The 1967 champions and their star-studded roster will have to wait until next year. Again.

Who never made It

Twenty-four teams took part in the expanded postseason. The seven that did not make the cut were the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE

FIRST ROUND

(No. 1) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (No. 8) Montreal Canadiens

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Canadiens vs. Flyers, 8pm

Friday, Aug. 14: Canadiens vs. Flyers, 3pm

Sunday, Aug. 16: Flyers vs. Canadiens, 8pm

Tuesday, Aug. 18: Flyers vs. Canadiens, 3pm

Wednesday, Aug. 19: Canadiens vs. Flyers, TBD*

Friday, Aug. 21: Flyers vs. Canadiens, TBD*

Sunday, Aug. 23: Canadiens vs. Flyers, TBD*

 

(No. 2) Tampa Bay Lightning vs. (No. 7 ) Columbus Blue Jackets

Tuesday, Aug. 11: Blue Jackets vs. Lightning, 3pm

Thursday, Aug. 13: Blue Jackets vs. Lightning, 3pm

Saturday, Aug. 15: Lightning vs. Blue Jackets, 7:30pm

Monday, Aug. 17: Lightning vs. Blue Jackets, 3pm

Wednesday, Aug. 19: Blue Jackets vs. Lightning, TBD*

Friday, Aug. 21: Lightning vs. Blue Jackets, TBD*

Saturday, Aug. 22: Blue Jackets vs. Lightning, TBD*

 

(No. 3) Washington Capitals vs. (No. 6) New York Islanders

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Islanders vs. Capitals

Friday, Aug. 14: Islanders vs. Capitals

Sunday, Aug. 16: Capitals vs. Islanders

Tuesday, Aug. 18: Capitals vs. Islanders

Thursday, Aug. 20: Islanders vs. Capitals, TBD*

Saturday, Aug. 22: Capitals vs. Islanders, TBD*

Sunday, Aug. 23: Islanders vs. Capitals, TBD*

 

(No. 4) Boston Bruins vs. (No. 5) Carolina Hurricanes

Tuesday, Aug. 11: Hurricanes vs. Bruins, 8pm

Thursday, Aug. 13: Hurricanes vs. Bruins, 8pm

Saturday, Aug. 15: Bruins vs. Hurricanes, 12pm

Monday, Aug. 17: Bruins vs. Hurricanes, 8pm

Wednesday, Aug. 19: Hurricanes vs. Bruins, TBD*

Thursday, Aug. 20: Bruins vs. Hurricanes, TBD*

Sunday, Aug, 23: Hurricanes vs. Bruins, TBD*

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE

FIRST ROUND

(No. 1) Vegas Golden Knights vs. (No. 8) Chicago Blackhawks

Tuesday, Aug. 11: Blackhawks vs. Golden Knights, 11:30pm

Thursday, Aug. 13: Blackhawks vs. Golden Knights, 5:30pm

Saturday, Aug. 15: Golden Knights vs. Blackhawks, 8pm

Sunday, Aug. 16: Golden Knights vs. Blackhawks, 6:30pm

Tuesday, Aug. 18: Blackhawks vs. Golden Knights, TBD*

Thursday, Aug. 20: Golden Knights vs. Blackhawks, TBD*

Saturday, Aug. 22: Blackhawks vs. Golden Knights, TBD*

 

(No. 2) Colorado Avalanche vs. (No. 7) Arizona Coyotes

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Coyotes vs. Avalanche, 5:30pm

Friday, Aug. 14: Coyotes vs. Avalanche, 2pm

Saturday, Aug. 15: Avalanche vs. Coyotes, 3pm

Monday, Aug. 17: Avalanche vs. Coyotes, 5:30pm

Wednesday, Aug. 19: Coyotes vs. Avalanche, TBD*

Friday, Aug. 21: Avalanche vs. Coyotes, TBD*

Sunday, Aug. 23: Coyotes vs. Avalanche, TBD*

 

(No. 3) Dallas Stars vs. (No. 6) Calgary Flames Sunday

Tuesday, Aug. 11: Flames vs. Stars, 4:30pm

Thursday, Aug. 13: Flames vs. Stars, 10:30pm

Friday, Aug. 14: Stars vs. Flames, 10:30pm

Sunday, Aug. 16: Stars vs. Flames, 2pm

Tuesday, Aug. 18: Flames vs. Stars, TBD*

Thursday, Aug. 20: Stars vs. Flames, TBD*

Saturday, Aug. 22: Flames vs. Stars, TBD*

 

(No. 4) St. Louis Blues vs. (No. 5) Vancouver Canucks

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Canucks vs. Blues, 10:30pm

Friday, Aug. 14: Canucks vs. Blues, 6:30pm

Sunday, Aug. 16: Blues vs. Canucks, 10:30pm

Monday, Aug. 17: Blues vs. Canucks, 10:30pm

Wednesday, Aug. 19: Canucks vs. Blues, TBD*

Friday, Aug. 21: Blues vs. Canucks, TBD*

Sunday, Aug. 23: Canucks vs. Blues, TBD*

*If necessary

Updated odds to win the 2020 Stanley Cup

An impressive showing in round robin play has the Golden Knights as slight favorites to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they lost to the Capitals in 2018 in five games in their first season as an expansion club, according to one sportsbook. The Caps rank seventh with +1278 odds.

Vegas Golden Knights: +606

Colorado Avalanche: +617

Philadelphia Flyers: +617

Tampa Bay Lightning: +667

Boston Bruins: +747

St. Louis Blues: +956

Washington Capitals: +1278

Dallas Stars: +1600

Carolina Hurricanes: +1678

Calgary Flames: +1978

Vancouver Canucks: +2389

New York Islanders: +2611

Arizona Coyotes: +3078

Chicago Blackhawks: +3167

Montreal Canadiens: +3233

Columbus Blue Jackets: +3911

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Stanley Cup Playoffs 2020: Capitals vs. Islanders first round schedule, date, time, TV channel, how to watch

Stanley Cup Playoffs 2020: Capitals vs. Islanders first round schedule, date, time, TV channel, how to watch

The Washington Capitals will take on the New York Islanders in the first round of the newly formatted 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.

After winning their round robin finale against the Bruins, Washington earned the No. 3 seed and a date with former head coach Barry Trotz. The first round of the  Stanley Cup Playoffs begin on Tuesday, April 11 in Toronto for the eight remaining Eastern Conference teams. Game 1 of the Capitals-Islanders series is on Wednesday, August 12 at 3:00 p.m. at Scotiabank Arena. 

RELATED: 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs opponent set: How Capitals fared vs. ex-coach Barry Trotz and Islanders

Game coverage on NBC Sports Washington begins at 2:00 p.m. ET with Caps Pregame Live. After the game ends, tune in to Caps Postgame Live, with Capitals Overtime following the game broadcast. There will be extended hour-long Caps Pregame and Postgame Live shows throughout the series. 

You can watch every game on the MyTeams by NBC Sports App. Download the MyTeams app here, and then stream the Capitals playoff games right here

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CAPITALS vs. ISLANDERS FIRST ROUND PLAYOFF SCHEDULE 2019

Game 1: Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders
Date: Wednesday, August 12
Time: 3:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
How To WatchStream Game 1 of Capitals vs. Islanders on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan FM)

Game 2: Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders
Date: Friday, August 14
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
How To Watch: Stream Game 2 of Capitals vs. Islanders on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan FM)

Game 3: Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders
Date: Sunday, August 16
Time: 12:00 p.m. ET 
TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
How To WatchStream Game 3 of Capitals vs. Islanders on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan FM)

Game 4: Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders
Date: Tuesday, August18
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
How To WatchStream Game 4 of Capitals vs. Islanders on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan FM)

Game 5 (If necessary): Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders
Date: Saturday, April 20
Time: TBD
TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
How To Watch: Stream Game 5 of Capitals vs. Islanders on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan FM)

Game 6 (If necessary): Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders
Date: Saturday, August 22
Time: TBD
TV Channel: TBD
How To WatchStream Game 6 of Capitals vs. Islanders on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan FM)

Game 7 (If necessary): Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders
Date: Sunday, August 23
Time: TBD
TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
How To WatchStream Game 7 of Capitals vs. Islanders on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan FM)

Stay connected to the Capitals with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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