<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Sports]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Sun, 26 Oct 2014 04:12:37 -0400 Sun, 26 Oct 2014 04:12:37 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Giants Tie Series Against Royals ]]> Sun, 26 Oct 2014 03:44:47 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/457868870%281%29.jpg

The World Series was slipping away from the San Francisco Giants.

A botched grounder led to a three-run deficit, and they were in danger of falling behind the Kansas City Royals three games to one.

Instead of panic, it was time for some Panda-monium. Pablo Sandoval's single set up Hunter Pence to score the tying run in the fifth inning and the 2012 Series MVP followed with dramatics later in the game.

The San Francisco Giants evened up the World Series 2-2 against the Kansas City Royals, with an 11-4 win in Game 4.

The Giants were down 4-1 in the third inning, but scored 10 unanswered runs the rest of the way. The big blow in the 4-hour game came in the sixth inning, where the Giants scored three runs to take a 7-4 lead.

Sandoval delivered in the sixth with the winning, two-RBI single that put the Giants on top 6-4.

"We're going to battle and scratch and claw,'' Giants second baseman Joe Panik said.

With the World Series tied at two games apiece, the title will be decided at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium next week.

"We never give up, that's the thing,'' said Sandoval, who shook off a stomach bug after starting to feel ill Friday. "We've been doing it all year in these situations. We know how that feels.''

Pence, eyes ablaze, had three hits, three RBIs and a nifty sliding catch in the ninth inning, and Panik hit a two-run double in a four-run seventh.

"We had to win this game tonight no matter what,'' said Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong, who was knocked out of the game in the third inning.

Vogelsong only went 2 2/3 innings, giving up seven hits and four earned runs, but the Giants still have not lost a postseason game Vogelsong has pitched in.

Reliever Yusmeiro Petit (3-0) went three shutout innings to earn the win.

Up next, Giants ace Madison Bumgarner will take on James Shields in Game 5 Sunday night at 5:07 p.m. at AT&T Park.

"This was a great ballgame, I thought, especially the way we came back,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Showcasing baseball at its exciting best, the game included a sprawling catch by Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson that left a pair of divots, and the first use of expanded video review in Series history, which became a turning point. Jeff Kellogg's safe call at second base was upheld by replay ump Jerry Meals on catcher Salvador Perez's pickoff attempt of Joaquin Arias, helping the Giants build the pivotal rally.

Four fans in the first row near the Giants dugout wore giant, of course, white panda heads as they cheered on Sandoval, nicknamed Kung Fu Panda and a veteran of the team's World Series titles in 2010 and '12. The switch-hitter batted just .199 right-handed during the regular season but came up with his first two-hit game from that side of the plate since Aug. 25, emphatically tossing his bat after lining a single to center that put the Giants ahead 6-4.

Sandoval said he vomited after batting practice and took medication.

"No one was taking me out of the lineup,'' he said. "I play giving my heart and soul to the team.''

Lost in the torrent of runs was the earlier fit of pique by Bochy, who threw his hat to the dugout floor when his team botched a third-inning grounder. The mood was different by the eighth, when former Journey singer Steve Perry sprinted to the front row of the second deck behind home plate and led the crowd of 43,066 in a sing-along of "Lights.''

The outlook seemed far different in the third , when ominous, dark clouds formed over the bayside ballpark, and the Royals burst ahead 4-1 against Vogelsong with the pitcher's help. He failed to step on first while covering and trying to catch Brandon Belt's throw on Eric Hosmer's tapper. Orange-clad fans quieted, and there even were scattered boos.

"I thought we had the situation right in the palm of our hand,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said.

But Petit settled the NL champions with his scoreless relief.

"The way Petey threw tonight saved our bullpen. He was our MVP tonight for me,'' San Francisco pitcher Jeremy Affeldt.

Yost stayed with starter Jason Vargas into the fifth, removing him after Panik's leadoff double. Royals relievers had been 7-0 in the postseason, but Yost couldn't get to his hard-throwing HDH triad of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland.

Jason Frasor and Danny Duffy combined to allow the tying run in a two-run fifth. And Brandon Finnegan, the first player to appear in the College World Series and World Series in the same year, allowed Sandoval's two-run single and Brandon Belt's RBI's single in the sixth.

Click here for full Giants coverage.



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<![CDATA[Giants Edged by KC, Down 2-1 in WS]]> Sat, 25 Oct 2014 01:12:24 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/457810112.jpg

Sparkling defense, a stingy bullpen and just enough timely hitting. That same winning formula of fundamental baseball put the Kansas City Royals on top in the World Series.

The San Francisco Giants were edged by the Kansas City Royals 3-2 in Game 3 of the World Series and are now down 2-1 in the best of seven.

Down 3-0 in the sixth inning, the Giants rallied for two runs on a Michael Morse double and a Buster Posey groundout, but the Royals bullpen shut out the Giants for the final three innings.

But Jeremy Guthrie outpitched fellow Series newcomer Tim Hudson and four Royals relievers combined on four hitless innings, as Kansas City beat the San Francisco.

"This is the way our games have gone all year,'' said Royals manager Ned Yost, who made several lineup changes that paid off. "I'm getting really good at protecting a one-run lead because a lot of times that's exactly what we have to deal with.

"But I have the necessary tools to be able to do that. It's not me doing it. It's the guys that we put out there that are doing it. We have the type of pitchers in our bullpen that can accomplish that,'' he said.

Alex Gordon hit a run-scoring double and Lorenzo Cain made two slick grabs in right field as the Royals backed Guthrie with nifty glove work. All night long, Kansas City looked perfectly comfortable playing in the tricky territory at unfamiliar AT&T Park.

Eric Hosmer had a sixth-inning RBI single on the 11th pitch of his at-bat against lefty Javier Lopez. It was the first World Series hit for Hosmer _ on his 25th birthday.

Cain drove in the first run with a groundout after Alcides Escobar's leadoff double in the first.

Game 4 is Saturday night, with right-hander Ryan Vogelsong scheduled to pitch for the Giants against lefty Jason Vargas.

"We've got to keep grinding. It's going to be a tough series,'' said Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson, added to the starting lineup in Game 3.

Yost moved Cain from center field to right in place of Nori Aoki for a defensive boost in the expansive outfield at AT&T Park. Cain chased down Buster Posey's slicing line drive in the first for a pretty catch from his knees, then snagged Travis Ishikawa's sinking liner in the second.

Gordon was moved up from sixth to second in the lineup and came through with his RBI double following Escobar's single in the sixth.

On a night that began with a remembrance of late Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, Kansas City produced just enough offense even without designated hitter Billy Butler. The Series shifted to AT&T Park and National League rules for three games.

The Giants had their six-game home winning streak in the World Series snapped. The unbeaten run dated to the 2002 wild-card club of Barry Bonds and Co. that lost in seven games to the Angels.

The Royals seemed unfazed by the fanfare and tough conditions in improving to 5-0 on the road this postseason. Of the first 56 times the World Series was tied 1-all, the Game 3 winner went on to win in 37 of those instances and four of the last five.

A cast of Giants Hall of Famers were celebrated on the field in a star-studded pregame featuring a "Play Ball!'' chant by Huey Lewis.

Pinch-hitter Michael Morse hit an RBI double with none out in the sixth to chase Guthrie. Yost turned it over to his fantastic bullpen, and Kelvin Herrera immediately walked Gregor Blanco.

With the hard-throwing Herrera clocking 99-101 mph on the radar gun, Joe Panik had a tough time attempting a sacrifice bunt. His high-bouncing grounder still did the trick to advance both runners, and Buster Posey pulled the Giants to 3-2 on a groundout.

Then, the Royals shut down San Francisco the rest of the way.

"I don't know if there's a better bullpen, because that seventh, eighth and ninth inning, and you get a tough go when you're facing those guys,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Hopefully you get some runs early, but Guthrie did a great job on us.''

Herrera worked 1 1-3 innings, rookie Brandon Finnegan got two outs in his World Series debut, and Wade Davis pitched a 1-2-3 eighth. Greg Holland got three quick outs for the save.

The four hitless innings of relief were the most in the World Series in 22 years.

"Our bullpen's been lights out. We've got 100 percent confidence in (those) guys getting their job done,'' Dyson said. "From an offensive standpoint, we're just trying to put runs on the board and get them in position.''

Guthrie, who attended nearby Stanford, retired 10 straight during one stretch and combined with Hudson to retire 20 in a row. That was the longest Series streak since the Yankees' Don Larsen and the Brooklyn Dodgers' Sal Maglie retired the first 23 batters during Larsen's perfect game in 1956, according to STATS.

"What a gutsy performance,'' Royals teammate James Shields said. ``He went out there and pitched his heart out. He did a phenomenal job.''

As a gorgeous Bay Area afternoon turned into a breezy night along the water, the 39-year-old Hudson left in the sixth to a rousing ovation from the orange towel-twirling sellout crowd.

Hudson waited 16 years for his first World Series chance only to watch Escobar hit the game's first pitch for a double. Escobar scored on Cain's groundout, and Hudson settled in nicely after the second. The right-hander retired 12 in a row before Escobar's one-out single through Hudson's legs in the sixth. Gordon followed with his RBI double.

GUTHRIE'S MARK

In a quirky stat, Guthrie became the fifth starting pitcher in World Series history to not record a walk or a strikeout through five innings and the first since Hall of Famer Greg Maddux in Game 2 of the 1996 Series for Atlanta against the Yankees.

UP NEXT

Royals: Vargas, an 11-game winner who pitched the ALCS clincher against Baltimore, attended Game 1 of the Giants' 2010 World Series at AT&T Park against Texas with his wife as a fan.

Giants: Vogelsong is the only pitcher to yield no more than one run in his first five postseason starts. That run ended in the NL Championship Series when Vogelsong allowed four runs in three innings of a no-decision against St. Louis. ... Bochy said he and pitching coach Dave Righetti discussed going with ace lefty Madison Bumgarner in Game 4 on short rest if trailing something they know he can handle physically despite his heavy workload.

The Giants will look to even up the series tomorrow with Ryan Vogelsong taking the hill.

Full Giants coverage here.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[H.D. Woodson Football Coach's Comeback]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:48:02 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000008296194_1200x675_347561027687.jpg After a two-year suspension H.D. Woodson's Greg Fuller is back on the sidelines. Jason Pugh reports.]]> <![CDATA[Capital Letters: Decisions, Decisions]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:01:55 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/457222258.jpg

Welcome back to "Capital Letters," an aptly titled and sporadic feature in which I answer any and all questions regarding the local professional hockey team. Please send all questions to @AdamVingan and follow me anyway because my mother will think that I'm more popular. 

I'll save Evgeny Kuznetsov -- No. 92 in your program, No. 4 on your forward lines and potentially No. 1 in your heart -- for last, as it might require the longest response. 

As for Tom Wilson (No. 43), he's expected to play 8-10 minutes with the Hershey Bears on Friday against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

"Wilson is going to play 5-on-5," Bears coach Troy Mann told Tim Leone. "We'll just see how it's going. They've asked for 8-10 minutes [in Washington]. If he's playing 5-on-5, he will probably be in that range. I might throw him on the second power play unit, as well, or maybe save that for Sunday just depending on how things are going."

If all goes well, then I would anticipate Wilson making his season debut against the Detroit Red Wings next Wednesday, likely in a minor role before being gradually elevated in the lineup. 

Moving on, the biggest surprise so far this season has been Andre Burakovsky. Here's a 19-year-old rookie not only transitioning to center but also to the NHL, both of which present unique challenges. And through six games, he has certainly impressed.

Among all rookie skaters, his six points are second-most in the league and the most by a Capitals player in his first six games since Alex Ovechkin's seven in 2005. At even strength among his teammates, he has four points (tied for second with Troy Brouwer) and a Corsi percentage -- a proxy for puck posession -- of 62.5 (first). Burakovsky, to borrow from Japers' Rink, "has shown himself to be a dynamic player."

Honorable mention to Marcus Johansson, who said before the season that he was going to shoot more, and has. His 8.77 shots per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 trail only Ovechkin and more than double his output from the last two seasons combined (4.11). 

Honestly, there hasn't been anyone whose performance thus far has negatively impacted my opinion of them. Glenn Healy may beg to differ with me, though.

Alright, back to Kuznetsov. Because Capitals fans always have to be in a huff about something (like right now when you inevitably scoff at me for telling you that you are always in a huff), Kuznetov's deployment as fourth-line center has confounded many.

He's averaging roughly nine minutes of even-strength ice time per game, three fewer minutes than he did in a slightly larger sample size last season. Interestingly enough, he is receiving favorable deployments, starting 82 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, but is being roughed up in shot differential (46.81 Corsi percentage). His linemates (Liam O'Brien, Chris Brown and Michael Latta) are not doing much better, though.

Before you lambaste coach Barry Trotz for his decision-making process, read what he had to say to colleague/fellow hot dog enthusiast Alex Prewitt

"I'm looking for a guy like Kuzy to have a real strong career for the next 15 years or so," Trotz said. "What happens here in the next two weeks, or a month from now, will have what I think very little bearing on his long-term success here."

And Kuznetsov?

"It's big problem for me last season when I come," Kuznetsov told Prewitt about his ice-time preference. "Right now, I understand. Give me six minutes or eight minutes. It doesn't matter to me. All we need to do, win the game."

Rest easy. 

Speaking of Kuznetsov's linemates, one has to wonder what the future holds for O'Brien and Latta (and Brown) when Wilson and Aaron Volpatti return from their injury-induced absences.

O'Brien is a terrific story, a player passed over in multiple drafts who wows the Capitals' front office, earns an entry-level contract and wags his tongue at John Scott. Unfortunately, I believe his story will end in Hershey in the coming weeks. It won't come as an indictment of his overall play, but simply a logical move to make room on the roster. 

Latta, however, may stick around. He and Brown have split time on the fourth line, each appearing in three games, but Brown is waiver-exempt. Latta isn't, so that may give him the edge.

Schmidt, who I must say is one of the smiliest people I've ever met, seems destined for Hershey as well when Dmitry Orlov heals from offseason wrist surgery. Jack Hillen should function as the seventh defenseman.  

Last season, the Capitals allowed 29 goals within two minutes after scoring, tying the Los Angeles Kings' record set in 2010-11. The first instance this season came Wednesday in Washington's 3-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Ovechkin whiffed on a shot from the left point, allowing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to scoop up the puck and scoot up ice for a game-tying goal 20 seconds after Mike Green gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead.

What will it take for them not to give up 28 more? Not missing shots from the point that allow for breakouts in the other direction, for one. For what it's worth, the Capitals have been better in "close" situations this season, defined as the score being within one goal in the first and second periods or tied in the third. Their Corsi percentage is 54.9, compared to 47.66 last season.

Really though, one isn't too much to worry about. Call me when they get to five. My number is [REDACTED].


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.



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<![CDATA[The 'Skinny: Cowboys]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:56:00 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/162*120/4575177541.jpg

Welcome back to the second season of "The 'Skinny," a weekly preview of the local professional football team's upcoming game and opponent. Every Thursday, you can find any and all information* about the Redskins' next opponent in this space.

(*Sometimes, it may be some or most information.)

Opponent: Dallas Cowboys (6-1)

Game information: Mon., Oct 27 -- AT&T Stadium -- 8:30 p.m. -- ESPN

Last Week: Hey, the Redskins won a football game, defeating the Titans 19-17. How about that? Meanwhile, the Cowboys keep winning football games, their 31-21 victory against the Giants being their sixth straight.

What's The Skinny?

When the season began, few expected the Cowboys to be the league's best team nearly midway through, but here we are. Dallas is buoyed by running back DeMarco Murray, who leads the NFL with 913 rushing yards on 187 carries, 61 more than any other player. To thank his offensive line, Murray purchased iMacs for each of them

If the Redskins focus too much of their attention attempting to lock down Murray, then they might get burnt by Tomo Romo. The quarterback's 69.2 completion percentage is the best in the league. Terrance Williams and Dez Bryant have combined for 10 touchdown catches.

That is a lot to handle for Washington, which cannot defeat NFC East rivals (eight straight losses) or win on Mondays (4-15 since 2000). Projected starter Colt McCoy was 6-15 as a starter for the Browns in a previous life. All of those numbers conspire against the Redskins, but obviously the numbers are not playing the games, so you never know. 

Statistic Of The Week: Murray is the first running back in NFL history to start the season with seven straight 100-yard rushing efforts. He is also on pace to break Larry Johnson's single-season rushing attempt record of 416 set in 2006.

What They're Saying

“I’m approaching this like any other game … There’s no extra emotions. I’m not going out there trying to be no hero. I’m just trying to be the player I am.”

- Defensive end and former Cowboy Jason Hatcher on facing his former team


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.



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<![CDATA[War of the Words: Battle Heats Up Between SF, KC Librarians]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:07:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Juan+Marichal+and+Dan+by+Jim+Hart.jpg

The war of words is heating up between two public libraries 1,500 miles apart, as dueling librarians do their part to boost their hometown baseball team's quest to win the World Series crown.

Sounding a bit Shakespearean, Liesl Christman, the Twitter czar for the Kansas City Public Library, tweeted on Wednesday morning, hours after the San Francisco Giants crushed the Royals in Game 1 on Tuesday, 7-1: "'Tis but a flesh wound - @Royals will rally! Tonight, #LetsThrowFire!"

If the Giants win it all, Christman promised Wednesday her library will buy and shelve San Rafael author Dan Fost's book, "The Giants Baseball Experience: A Year-by-Year Chronicle from New York to San Francisco."

If the Royals win, Christman hopes the San Francisco Public Library will be forced to stock George Brett's "From Here to Cooperstown," which is about the Royals, on its shelves.

Michelle Jeffers, the digital guru at the library in San Francisco, said she'd consider the request, but from what's she's heard, that book is out of print.

"Even better!" Jeffers joked, adding that under different circumstances she and Christman might be very good friends.

Then Jeffers tweeted: "Guess we'll see what happens tonight when the Giants shhhhhhh-ut you down in Game 2."

No one is happier about the librarian smack talk than Fost, a former San Francisco Chronicle reporter who is now a full-time author and freelance writer. Each time the Giants make it to the World Series – this is third time in five seasons – he is asked to write a new edition. "This is a mutually symbiotic relationship," he said on Wednesday.

As for the baseball book bet, Fost is also genuinely enthralled Kansas City readers may be flipping through pages he wrote.

"What a great idea to promote reading," he said. "I'm so moved."



Photo Credit: Jim Hart
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<![CDATA[Sources: RGIII Out Against Cowboys]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:17:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/457492620.jpg

Though Redskins coach Jay Gruden has not publicly ruled out the possibility of Robert Griffin III returning from his dislocated ankle Monday against the Cowboys, sources tell News4's Dianna Russini that he will not play and Colt McCoy will start. 

Griffin, who has not played since Week 2 against the Jaguars, received a heavier workload at practice Wednesday while wearing a protective brace on his left ankle. Gruden said that McCoy is the projected starter against Dallas "as of right now."

"I'd like to make a decision tomorrow after practice," Gruden told reporters Wednesday.

McCoy replaced Kirk Cousins in the second half of Washington's win against Tennessee last week, completing 11 of 12 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown.


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.



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<![CDATA["Polite" Librarians Talk World Series Smack]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:59:38 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/lib-th.jpg

You know things are getting intense when public librarians start talking smack about the World Series.

In a series of back-and-forth tweets, the city librarians in San Francisco and Kansas City began taunting each other – with book titles, of course – over which team is going to win Game 1 of the World Series Tuesday, the Giants or the Royals.

"We're polite but fierce!" the San Francisco library tweeted. "Get ready to cry some blue tears for @Royals when @SFGiants take the win tonight."

Michelle Jeffers, the social media guru for the San Francisco library and the mastermind of the tweets, had an obvious answer for why she was dissing the Kansas City library 1,500 miles away.

"Well, they started it," she said with a laugh.

In fact, they did. At 11 a.m., the Kansas City Public Library, tweeted: "Hey @SFPublicLibrary we have a book for you!" The link showed this title: "So, You Think You Know Baseball? A Fan's Guide to the Offical Rules," by Peter E. Meltzer.

"What? They think we don't know the rules?" Jeffers joked.

Liesl Christman, the digital contest specialist at the Kansas City library, happily admitted to "starting it." And she said she chose the baseball rules book while flipping through the catalog, trying decide what bibliophile zinger to fling.

"Yeah, I was hoping to get a response," Christman said from Kansas City by phone. "I just didn't realize it was going to go on so long."

The Twitter tete-a-tete went on for so long, partly, because Jeffers wasn't going to take it lying down.

She shot back: "Thanks, but maybe you should read this." And she sent them a link to Dan Fost's book, "The Giants Baseball Experience: A Year-by-Year Chronicle from New York to San Francisco."

Kansas City took aim again, pointing out that the Giants haven't always been in San Francisco - the team was once a favorite in the Big Apple. Christman tweeted a stack of "fairy tale" books with the hashtag #TaketheCrown.

Jeffers fired off another dig, albeit a courteous one, simply stating that the Giants history has been amazing "coast to coast."

"I didn't want to diss them too bad," Jeffers said. "I was trying to be polite because we're librarians here."


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<![CDATA[Cowboys Waive Michael Sam]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:37:30 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GERRY_MCCARTHY__1409761483_39578161-620x503.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys have waived defensive end Michael Sam, the NFL's first openly-gay player, from the team's practice squad.

Sam, 24, joined the Cowboys on Sept. 3 after being cut from the Rams. He was drafted by St. Louis in the 7th round and totaled nine tackles and three sacks in three preseason games before being cut by the Rams. 

He never played in a game for the Cowboys and the team has not released a statement on his departure.

After the announcement, Sam tweeted thanks to team owner Jerry Jones for the opportunity, as well as friends, family, teammates and fans.  He added he was disappointed, but looked forward to fight for an opportunity to play every Sunday in the NFL.

According to DallasCowboys.com, the release of Sam makes room for linebacker Troy Davis who worked out with the team Monday.

Sam is a Texas native who played high school football at Hitchcock High School before playing for Missouri.  While at Missouri, he was named SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year and had 11 1/2 sacks in the 2013 season.

The 6-1 Cowboys are off to their best start since 2007 when then finished the regular season at 13-3.  Monday night they'll face an NFC East rival, the 2-5 Washington Redskins, in Arlington.



Photo Credit: Gerry McCarthy / Dallas Morning News Staff Photographer
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<![CDATA[Caps Cutting Down Opponents' Shots ]]> Sat, 25 Oct 2014 17:43:55 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/457222332.jpg

No one needs to be reminded of the Washington Capitals' porous defense last season (or last season as a whole, really), but among their myriad problems was an inability to limit shots against.

As a refresher, the Capitals allowed 33.5 shots per game, 27th in the NHL, and 31.3 shots per 60 minutes at 5-on-5, 26th. That was seemingly alright by former coach Adam Oates and then-general manager George McPhee, the latter of whom told former colleague Katie Carrera that "We play a system where teams get probably more shots the way we play but most of them are from the outside, we’ll allow those."

Coach Barry Trotz, however, does not subscribe to that particular ideology, which is reflected in his team's statistics through five games:   

Shots Against Per Game

  • 2013-14: 33.5 (27th)
  • 2014-15: 25.0 (5th)

Shots Against Per 60 Minutes 5-on-5

  • 2013-14: 31.3 (26th)
  • 2014-15: 23.8 (5th)

Blocked Shots Per Game

  • 2013-14: 14.7
  • 2014-15: 17.2 

Corsi Percentage 5-on-5

  • 2013-14: 47.7% (24th)
  • 2014-15: 52.4% (11th)

(A proxy for puck possession totaling shots on goal, missed shots and blocked shots)

Limited sample size aside, early returns are encouraging. In three of Trotz's first five games, the Capitals have allowed 25 or fewer shots. In 130 regular-season games under Oates, they did so 12 times. 

There are a few reasons for that significant improvement. Trotz encourages his players to block shots, something Oates dissuaded them from doing. A stabilized defensive corps, made so by the offseason acquisitions of Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik, has also helped.

“Nisky’s better than ever I thought he was defensively," forward Jason Chimera said. "His stick is one of the best sticks I’ve seen for a long time. And Orpi, everyone knows Orpik blocks shots. We’ve been pretty solid right now.”

Another is the Capitals, as Trotz presented Monday, "don’t spend particularly a lot of time in our end." A simple eye test proved that Washington struggled to break out effectively last season, with sloppy execution leading to prolonged shifts chasing the puck in the defensive zone. An emphasis on controlled zone exits has led to smoother transitions up ice. 

"When we get into the zone, we’re communicating better with each other and we’re finding the open lanes and we’re finding a way to get out of the zone as opposed to previous years where we got it, we just tried to rim it up the boards or tried to force plays," said forward Eric Fehr, one of Washington's best skaters at exiting the zone last season. "We do a good job of communicating with each other and finding outlets.”

As a result, less of a burden has been placed upon the goaltenders, who are no longer forced to make several game-preserving saves.  

"How we’re playing is the right way," goaltender Braden Holtby said. "It gives everyone a certain job. We know what the group expects out of us as goaltenders that we’re going to have those two or three saves a game that we need to make and it’s not seven or eight of them. It’s a controlled number because everyone’s doing their role so well that we’re keeping our shot totals down, we’re keeping those chances-against down and developing offense through it. What we’ve done on the defensive end is the reason why our record is what it is.”

In describing what his "five, five, five" on-ice philosophy looks like when working at optimum efficiency, Trotz has offered the visual of five red jerseys playing in all three zones at once. The adjustment is ongoing, but the Capitals are already seeing the benefits. 

“That’s a hard part of the game because it’s simple but very difficult to train your mind to go hard in those areas, especially the wingers to get back that extra five feet, take those extra two strides when you don’t think that they mean anything when they do," Holtby said. "The centers to get low, the D-men to get back quick for their partner when sometimes you let up naturally, it's those parts of the game that are extremely tough and people don’t notice and I think we’ve done an outstanding job of it so far.

"It’s those little things that Barry wants to implement and that’s what’s going to make us successful.”


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.



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<![CDATA[Caps' Wilson Reassigned To Hershey]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 19:11:44 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/185770109.jpg

His rehabilitation from offseason ankle surgery apparently nearing an end, the Washington Capitals reassigned forward Tom Wilson to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League with the expectation that he will make his season debut this weekend.

The 20-year-old Wilson, one of three rookies to appear in all 82 of his team's games last season, fractured his left fibula in what the Capitals plainly described as a "fall" this summer. The Capitals bandied about potential rehabilitation routes for Wilson, including starting the process with minimal fourth-line minutes in Washington before handling more substantial ice time in Hershey. 

After practice Monday, coach Barry Trotz predicted that Wilson "probably" would appear at some point during the Capitals' three-game, week-long Canadian road trip. 

Instead, Wilson is expected to play in two of the Bears' three games this weekend: Friday against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Saturday against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in Hershey's home opener. 

“Obviously I want to play,” Wilson said Monday. “It’s really tough watching the guys do battle every night and watching from the press box. But you don’t want to rush it back. Hopefully, I’m going to be here for a long time and help this team win some games down the road. So I just want to make sure that when I come back it’s going to be 100 percent and I’m going to be able to help out as best as I can.” 

When Wilson returns to Washington's lineup, where he will slot in provides ample intrigue. Trotz and general manager Brian MacLellan envision a significantly larger role for Wilson, who was exclusively utilized in a fourth-line role last season. In order to provide him with that opportunity, top-six tinkering will be necessary.

Wilson's assignment is not being considered a conditioning loan, which carries a maximum length of 14 days. As he is signed to an entry-level contract, he will also receive an AHL salary, listed by CapGeek as $70,000.


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Laich Won't Join Caps On Road Trip]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:23:04 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/193*120/4628567231.jpg

Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich did not practice Monday with an apparent left-shoulder injury and will not join the team on its upcoming three-game road trip through western Canada. 

"I think we're looking at probably the first game back from the trip [Oct. 29 against the Detroit Red Wings]," coach Barry Trotz said. "Not too serious but serious enough where I don't think he will be quite effective for us in the three games.

"It's not a six-week thing. I think it's a week to 10 days and he should be ready to roll."

Laich exited the Capitals' 2-1 shootout victory against the Florida Panthers on Saturday with roughly five minutes remaining in regulation after a shoulder-to-shoulder collision with Shawn Thornton.

Trotz classified the injury as "upper body" after the game, perhaps a somewhat comforting diagnosis considering Laich has missed 70 regular-season games in the past two seasons with a recurring groin injury. 

Washington will place Laich on short-term injured reserve retroactive to Saturday for the time being. In his place, Jay Beagle, who missed the Capitals' first five games with an upper-body injury sustained during the preseason, will be activated from injured reserve and make his season debut against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday. 

The 29-year-old is expected to serve as the right wing on a line with Marcus Johansson and Andre Burakovsky, Laich's linemates for the past two games. Trotz, however, will shuffle his forward lines if necessary.

"It's sort of ideal where Beags can play a number of positions," he said. "I put him out there [at practice] just to see how that might work and look. I've got Plan B in order if it's not working as well as I thought."

Following the game against the Oilers on Wednesday, the Capitals play their first back-to-back set of the season against the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks on Saturday and Sunday.


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Skins Defeat Titans, Cousins Benched ]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 11:51:08 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/457502560.jpg

When Kirk Cousins relieved Robert Griffin III several weeks ago when the latter suffered a dislocated ankle, he threw a touchdown on his first pass and it was believed that he could realistically lead the Redskins to success. Perhaps even better than his predecessor. 

Then the Redskins didn't win with Cousins under center and we all found out that he's pretty terrible. That's why he was mercifully benched at halftime for third-stringer Colt McCoy against the Titans on Sunday. On McCoy's first pass of the season, he also threw a touchdown, a 70-yarder to Pierre Garcon. The Cult of Colt -- albeit a different Colt -- was reborn.

One second-quarter sequence more or less encapsulated Cousins' incomprehensible woes. Bashaud Breeland intercepted Charlie Whitehurst at Washington's 42-yard line. On literally the next play, Cousins' pass intended for Andre Roberts was picked off by Wesley Woodyard. For a change of pace, Cousins threw an interception -- his ninth of the season -- in the first half after the other eight came in the second. He also fumbled. His 11 turnovers lead the NFL.

No matter. McCoy's touchdown gave the Redskins a 13-10 lead. Tennessee took a 17-16 in the fourth quarter on a 38-yard catch by Derek Hagan, who spent last season as a sports talk radio analyst. McCoy then marched Washington up the field, setting up a game-winning field goal from Kai Forbath to end a four-game losing streak in a 19-17 victory. 

(Can't you see that I'm trying to craft a legend here? I haven't even gotten to the part where hysterical Redskins fans attempt to trade McCoy in their minds for a multiple second-round draft picks yet! Also, it's sort of ironic that Cousins' first win as a starter came in a game that he wasn't allowed to finish.)

Anyway, there is sure to be some sort of reinvigorated quarterback controversy this week leading up to next Monday's matchup against the Cowboys. You're shocked, I know. Just enjoy the win while you can.


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.co



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Caps & Canines Join Forces]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 10:05:33 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000008220579_1200x675_344588355765.jpg The Caps are going to the dogs, but it is all for a fantastic cause. ]]> <![CDATA[Best of NFL: Week 7]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 23:38:23 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/457509990.jpg Don't miss the most dramatic images from the seventh week of the 2014 NFL season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA["War Machine" Attempts Suicide: PD]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 13:54:24 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/War-Machine-vegas-MMA.jpg

A professional mixed martial arts fighter accused of beating his porn star ex-girlfriend and one of her male friends tried to commit suicide in a Las Vegas jail, authorities said.

Jonathan "War Machine" Koppenhaver, 32, was found Tuesday in a cell at the Clark County Detention Center sitting on the floor with his feet resting on the bunk, Las Vegas Metropolitan police said in a statement.

The officer noticed what appeared to be a torn piece of linen around his neck that was tied to the leg of his bunk, police said.

The officer called to Koppenhaver several times, but he did not respond, according to police. When the officer went inside the cell he noticed that Koppenhaver was struggling to breathe, police said.

The officer cut the ligature from Koppenhaver’s neck and his breathing became less strained and he started to speak, police said.

Koppenhaver was moved to a medical isolation cell, where he was placed on suicide watch.

Police said they found a suicide note inside Koppenhaver’s cell.

Koppenhaver, a former porn actor, was booked into Clark County jail in August.

He's accused of beating adult film actress Christy Mack and her male friend at a Las Vegas home on Aug. 8 before fleeing to the Los Angeles suburb of Simi Valley, where he was arrested a week later.

Koppenhaver faces charges including attempted murder and dozens of assault counts.

Koppenhaver made his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut in 2007 and legally changed his name in 2008. He lost his only pay-per-view bout that same year.

He fought out of San Diego for a variety of promotions and had a 14-5 record as a welterweight. He lost his last fight, in Iowa, last October.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Simi Valley Police/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[The 'Skinny: Week 7 v. Titans]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 07:11:39 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/457119396.jpg

Welcome back to the second season of "The 'Skinny," a weekly preview of the local professional football team's upcoming game and opponent. Every Thursday, you can find any and all information* about the Redskins' next opponent in this space.

(*Sometimes, it may be some or most information.)

Game information: Sun., Oct. 19 at 1 p.m. at FedEx Field. Broadcast on CBS.

Last Week: Stop me if you've heard this one before, but the Redskins lost. Again. To whom doesn't matter. (It was Arizona.) Meanwhile, the Titans actually won a game, defeating the Jaguars 16-14.

What's The Skinny?

Oh, you're still here? I commend you on your resolve. They pay me to be here.

Anyway, the Redskins have lost four straight games, three of which were double-digit defeats. The equally mediocre Titans, who just snapped a four-game losing streak of their own, may provide the Redskins with an actual opportunity to win a football game.

My colleague Rick Snider at Washington Post Express has provided five reasons why you should still watch, which are five more than I can think of. 

Statistic Of The Week: Washington currently has a 0.4 percent chance of making the playoffs, so there is little to no hope that a win Sunday will catapult it back into contender status.

What They're Saying 

"I'm losing track."

- Redskins coach Jay Gruden mistakingly stating that the team's record was 1-6 during a press conference this week. The joke writes itself. 


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Caps' Schmidt Happy to Be Contributing]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 17:06:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/454224643.jpg

Nate Schmidt strolls into the locker room after practice, almost bouncing with each step, offering a smile and fist bump to anyone he passes on the way to his stall in the back right corner. 

"Always smiling, that kid," defenseman Mike Green recently remarked, a grin creeping across his face.  

It's an infectious positivity that has characterized the 23-year-old since childhood. That sunny disposition has cheered up countless teammates and once prompted former Hershey Bears coach Mike Haviland to ask him to complement his pleasant off-ice personality with a fiercer attitude on it, something Schmidt is just now getting the hang of. 

“I just enjoy the little things," Schmidt said earlier this week. "Just coming to the rink, being up here, playing in Washington. I enjoy that. But it doesn’t change if I go somewhere else. I just like to have a very positive outlook on everything, so I try to stay positive around the guys. And it’s contagious too.

"When you are positive, it kind of comes full circle, maybe you bring someone else along who maybe brings someone else along. If you bring the right vibes to the rink or you bring the right vibes to your life, it makes a big difference, I think.”

Schmidt, as is his wont, is just happy to be here, but he earned his place on the Capitals' opening-night roster after an impressive preseason. Signed as an undrafted free agent from the University of Minnesota in April 2013, he appeared in 29 games last season as one of four Capitals defensemen to make their NHL debuts, a product of Washington's dubious defensive depth. 

Such an opportunity became significantly less replicable this summer. Displeased with the flimsy blue line, new general manager Brian MacLellan lured veteran defensemen Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik to Washington from the Pittsburgh Penguins on July 1 for a combined cost of nearly $68 million.

With Dmitry Orlov, the presumptive sixth defenseman, recovering from offseason wrist surgery, there was realistically one spot up for grabs come training camp. 

“For me, it actually kind of made me work that much harder," Schmidt said, recalling his initial reaction to the free-agent signings. "I thought to myself like I really need to make an impression. Otherwise, I’ll be just another one of those young guys that are grouped together. With a new staff, they didn’t know much about us because there was such a limited viewing for all of us, so I thought there was something that really needed to step out to try and separate myself from the rest of the young guys."

"I had nothing to lose. The expectation was probably I was supposed to start in Hershey, but if I come in and play well, maybe I get a chance.”

So Schmidt overhauled his offseason training regimen. He began to run less and skate more, honing his signature skating ability and building lower-body strength. He revamped his diet, significantly reducing his body fat percentage. Last month, he arrived in Arlington prepared to impress. 

"The thing that jumps out at you is his ability to skate," said assistant coach Todd Reirden, who was familiar with Schmidt prior to either of them joining the Capitals organization through scouting. "He's an elite skater at all levels of hockey, but you can definitely notice it at the National Hockey League level as well. He clearly made a different commitment in the summer to his off-ice training. He's much stronger in down-low battles and his compete level is at a higher level than the games I watched from last year."

Schmidt skated 13:14 in Washington's season-opening shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens last Thursday, but even more of an affirmation of the Capitals' faith in him came two days later. With Green making his season debut against the Boston Bruins after an upper-body injury held him out of the opener, coach Barry Trotz kept Schmidt in the lineup over veteran Jack Hillen.

“He’s really gotten better and played really well," Trotz said. "He’s turned some really good situations into good offense. His transitional game is really good and he’s such a strong skater.

"I just felt confidence-wise, Nate was in a good place."

Schmidt will tell you the same thing. It no longer unsettles him to be living at the team hotel next door to the practice facility. He doesn't peruse and parse his teammates' statistics looking for proof of some sort of edge anymore. 

With Orlov eligible to return early next month, Schmidt, who is waiver-exempt, may be the most logical corresponding roster move. At the very least, he can make that decision a difficult one.

"I was so nervous about every little thing that happened," Schmidt said. "This year, my experience has showed me that things will happen, you create your own luck and you determine your own destiny with how you play."

He then crosses the street toward his hotel, a spring in his step and a smile on his face.


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Orioles Lose 2-1 to Royals in Game 3]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 23:28:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/457224202.jpg

The Kansas City Royals have embraced the bloop, bunt and sacrifice fly all postseason.

Add in more sparkling defense and that dominant bullpen, and the wild-card Royals are suddenly one win from the World Series.

Billy Butler drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning, and the Royals' steel-curtain bullpen shut down the Baltimore Orioles the rest of the way for a 2-1 win Tuesday night and a commanding 3-0 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Third baseman Mike Moustakas made two marvelous plays as the picture-perfect Royals won their 10th straight postseason game, including all seven this year. Making its first playoff appearance in 29 years, the only thing that's slowed Kansas City so far was a rainout Monday.

Kansas City will send Jason Vargas to the mound for Game 4 on Wednesday, trying to advance to its first World Series since 1985. Miguel Gonzalez will try to help the Orioles stave off elimination.

The Royals' Jeremy Guthrie and Orioles' Wei-Yin Chen hooked up in a tense pitching duel for five innings.

Chen gave up a leadoff single to Nori Aoki in the sixth. Eric Hosmer followed with a one-out single to put runners on the corners, and Orioles manager Buck Showalter brought in hard-throwing reliever Kevin Gausman to face Butler.

The Royals' designated hitter sent a fly ball to left field for the tiebreaking run -- just the latest example of Kansas City doing the little things right.

One of the best bullpens in baseball took care of the rest -- the relievers combined with Guthrie to retire Baltimore's final 16 batters.

After winning pitcher Jason Frasor breezed through the sixth, Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis nailed down the next two innings. All-Star closer Greg Holland worked a perfect ninth for his third save of the series, setting off a wild celebration in the stands.

It was the 13th game to be decided by one run this postseason, matching the record set in 2011 and tied last year. Six games have gone to extra innings, including the Giants' 5-4, 10-inning victory over the Cardinals hours earlier in the NLCS.

After failing to take the lead in the first two games of the series, Baltimore managed to strike first, temporarily silencing a frigid, flag-waving capacity crowd.

It happened in the second inning, when Steve Pearce and J.J. Hardy connected off Guthrie with back-to-back doubles for a 1-0 lead. Ryan Flaherty later drew a walk, but Guthrie retired Nick Hundley and Jonathan Schoop to escape his biggest jam of the night.

Guthrie wound up grinding through five innings against his former team, allowing just one more hit in his first start since Sept. 26 -- a span of nearly three weeks.

Chen matched him pitch-for-pitch until the fourth, when the Royals put together one of their quintessential innings: a pair of bloop singles by Lorenzo Cain and Hosmer, a walk by Butler, and an RBI groundout by Alex Gordon that tied the game.

The Royals played catch up with their gloves, too.

Moustakas made a diving grab to rob Pearce of a single in the fourth.

Then in the sixth, Moustakas tracked a popup by Adam Jones into foul territory, steadied himself at a railing near the dugout, then extended himself to catch the ball and tumbled into the stands.

The blue-clad crowd rose to its feet to give Moustakas a rousing cheer, and many fans were still standing when Butler drove in the go-ahead run in the bottom half of the inning.

By the time the Royals' "Big Three'' of Herrera, Davis and Holland had closed it out, the small-market and perennially downtrodden Royals were on the verge of another postseason sweep.

STATS AND STREAKS

Orioles DH Nelson Cruz had his streak of six straight multihit playoff games end. He was 0 for 4. ... Pearce had been 0 for 9 in the series before his double in the second inning.

UP NEXT

Orioles: Gonzalez has not started since his final regular-season outing on Sept. 28. "I'm going to try as best as possible to give our team a chance,'' he said.

Royals: Vargas has also had a long stretch without a start, last taking the hill against the Angels in Game 1 of AL Division Series on Oct. 2. "I'll be ready to go,'' he said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Laich Earns Honest Abe's Beard for Sacrificing Body]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 20:56:20 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/brooks+like+honest+abe+beard.jpg Brooks Laich earned Honest Abe's Beard from his Washington Capitals teammates for sacrificing his body to block a shot in a win over Boston. Jason Pugh reports.]]> <![CDATA[MCM Weekend Events for All ]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 19:33:43 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20141014+Marine+Corps+Marathon+File.jpg

The Marine Corps Marathon invites runners and spectators to attend a variety of events held throughout the Marathon's big weekend later this month.

Events start on Thursday, Oct. 23 with the Health & Fitness Expo, and continue until Oct. 26.

Health & Fitness Expo presented by GE
DC Armory
The MCM Health & Fitness Expo will showcase more than 200 exhibitors and displays from Thursday to Saturday. The Expo will feature running products, access to running industry experts, free massages and food samples. Race packets should also be picked up at the Expo. The event is open to the public. The Expo will be open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. 

First Timers Pep Rally 
Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
On Friday, this event celebrates the 10,600 first-time marathon runners taking part in the MCM. The event includes a First Timers Pep Rally, special dinner, free appetizers, and cash bar. Admission is $10 per runner and $15 per guest. The event will also include a MCM Expert Panel Q&A, music, cheerleaders, and giveaways. The event will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

MCM Runners bRUNch 
MCM Finish Line
On Saturday at 9 a.m., MCM staff will lead a 5K warm up run at the Marine Corps Memorial. Brunch will be served adjacent to the MCM and MCM10K finish line, and all participants will receive a commemorative bib and MCM coin.

MCM Kids Run 
Pentagon North Parking Lot
3,000 children from ages 5-12 will take part in the one-mile MCM kids run. Participants will receive a T-shirt, medal, and snacks upon completion. Opening ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. Saturday.

MCM Runners Conference 
Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
On Saturday, MCM staff will hold two 60-minute programs that feature local and national running experts as well as guided panel discussions. The sessions are free, but runners must pre-register to attend. The event beings at 1 p.m. 

Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
Prepare mentally and physically at the Carbo Dining in the evening before the race. The event, starting at 6 p.m. Saturday will include world class speakers, Marine Corps style live entertainment, prize giveaways and a perfect buffet for pre-race carb loading. 

MCM10K
National Mall
10,000 people will run 6.2 miles Sunday through the streets of D.C. in the MCM 10k. Runners will complete their race parallel to the MCM, finishing at the Marine Corps War Memorial. The race starts at 7:55 a.m.

MCM Finish Festival
Rosslyn, Virginia
Celebrate the 29th MCM from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the post-race festival as runners make their way to Rosslyn from the finish area. The festival will include a Restaurant Row, live entertainment, giveaways and sponsor displays.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report Links GoPro to Brain Injury]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 20:12:17 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP886669197394.jpg

The French commentator whose reported remarks had sparked reports that a GoPro camera may have played a role in Formula 1 racing legend Michael Schumacher's brain injury is now urging everyone to "stop all speculation."

Schumacher, 45, has been immobile and unable to speak after he fell and hit a rock in a skiing accident last year while he was wearing a GoPro camera mounted on his helmet.

European news outlets had reported that racing commentator Jean-Louis Moncet told Europe 1 radio that Schumacher's son Mick told him the placement of the camera contributed to the brain injury — but Moncet denied that Tuesday on Twitter.

"The problem for Michael was not the hit, but the mounting of the GoPro camera that he had on his helmet that injured his brain," Eurosport had earlier quoted Moncet as having said.

But Moncet appeared to contradict that suggestion in a tweet Tuesday.
"STOP ALL SPÉCULATION," he tweeted. "Mick could not say something about camera or injury of Michael because we did not speak together."
Following the initial report linking the GoPro to Schumacher's injury, shares of the Bay Area-based company plummeted, losing as much as 10 percent in trading Monday, Business Insider reported.

A GoPro spokesman declined to comment on the report linking the camera to Schumacher's injury but said the company was monitoring the situation closely.

Schumacher emerged from a medically-induced coma in June but remains in serious condition.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[2014 Marine Corps Marathon Route]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:25:00 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20141014+Marine+Corps+Marathon+File2.jpg

The Marine Corps Marathon is nicknamed the “Marathon of the Monuments” for good reason: Runners experience the scenic landscapes and spectacular national monuments of Arlington, Virginia and Washington, D.C. as they make their way through the 26.2 mile marathon course.

Last year, race organizers changed the route to be flatter than it was in the previous six years.

In 2014, runners will start their course at 7:55 a.m. in Arlington and head to D.C. after a few miles. At mile four, NBC4 will be on the Key Bridge to welcome the runners.

Then, as they travel through D.C., runners pass the Kennedy Center, the Lincoln Memorial and the Smithsonian museums.

Along the scenic Potomac, runners will travel through the “Run to Honor” section, where Ohio Drive is decorated with American flags to commemorate fallen service members.

After traveling along the National Mall, the course moves back to Virginia for the last 10K. Runners will witness the energy of the Crystal City Family Festival, travel along Army-Navy Drive and experience a variety of entertainment along Crystal Drive.

The course then takes runners towards the Pentagon on Boundary Channel Drive, and for the first time, runners will remain on that road toward the Pentagon’s North parking lot. As the finish line approaches, the course unfolds along the Arlington National Cemetery.

Runners will face a final uphill battle as they reach the finish at the access road to the Marine Corps War Memorial.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Randle Faces Shoplifting Charge]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 20:31:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/joseph-randle-mugshot-inset.jpg

Frisco police say they arrested Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle for allegedly shoplifting $123 in underwear and cologne Monday night at Stonebriar Centre Mall.

According to police, Randle, 22, was stopped by Dillards loss prevention employees and detained at about 8:15 p.m. after they saw him make a purchase at a counter and then walk to another part of the store where he allegedly put a tester bottle of Gucci Guilty Black cologne ($84) and a 2-pack of black Polo underwear ($39.50) into his Dillards bag.

When he left the store and into the parking lot, he was stopped by store employees.

After Frisco police compared the contents of Randle's Dillards bag with his receipt and watched surveillance footage of him in the store, he was placed under arrest on a Class B misdemeanor for theft between $50 and $500 and put into a Frisco police car.

While there, the officer said Randle said if he knew he was going to be arrested he would have just kept walking to his car.

According to the police report, Randle told officers that he didn't pay for the merchandise because he did not want to take the time to do it.

After being booked into jail, Randle posted $350 bond and was released at about 1:20 a.m. Tuesday.

Randle, a second-year player out of Oklahoma State who was drafted by the Cowboys in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, is a backup running back for the team. In six games this season, Randle has carried the ball 16 times for 113 yards. In 2013, the back carried the ball 54 times in 13 games for a total of 164 yards.

According to RotoWorld, in 2013 Randle signed a four-year $2.39 million contract that included a $188,820 signing bonus.  His base salary in 2014 is $495,000. He is set to make $585,000 in 2015, $675,000 in 2016 and is a free agent in 2017.

At this time, there has been no statement from the Dallas Cowboys.

NBC 5's Catherine Ross contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Air Force Captain Proposes to Cheerleader During Game]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 13:05:30 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/212*120/457130192.jpg

The Arizona Cardinals may have defeated the Washington Redskins on Sunday, but Cardinals cheerleader Claire Thorton, 23, was the big winner when her Air Force Captain boyfriend got down on one knee during a break in the game and proposed.

Eric Straub, 26, dressed in his flight suit, completed a successful mission when Thorton said “Yes!” in front of thousands of screaming NFL fans who watched the proposal on the stadium’s Jumbotron.


"It was pretty amazing,'' Thornton told TODAY.com. "I was shaking really bad. He's like 'Put the ring on!' And I'm like, you put it on me!'

Thorton thought that Straub, an F-15 pilot in the Air Force, was getting a special welcome home from the Cardinals during the game since he had just returned from a deployment in the Middle East the night before.

Meanwhile, the airman had already organized with Cardinals officials that he would propose to his cheerleader girlfriend when he came out on the field.


“It was so loud you couldn't hear anything. I had all these things I wanted to say, but once I got down on my knee, I had no idea what to say. I think all I said was, 'I love you marry me!' It was funny.''



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Images From Cardinals 30, Redskins 20]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 20:11:01 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/182*120/457132978.jpg Check out some of the images from Sunday's Redskins game.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Cooley Report: RGIII Deserves a Shot]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 19:46:34 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/455437016.jpg Chris Cooley says it's clear Robert Griffin III deserves another shot at quarterback when he returns from injury in light of Kirk Cousins' recent play.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[ALCS Game 3 Postponed Because of Rain]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 17:09:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/royals-AP692508127407.jpg

Game 3 of the AL Championship Series has been postponed because of rain.

The game was pushed back from Monday to Tuesday at 8:07 p.m. EDT. Wei-Yin Chen starts for the Orioles against former Baltimore pitcher Jeremy Guthrie.

Game 4 was rescheduled Wednesday at 4:07 p.m. EDT, and both managers said they could bring back their Game 1 pitchers on regular rest: James Shields for Kansas City and Chris Tillman for Baltimore. They also could remain with the starters who had been slated to pitch Game 4: the Royals' Jason Vargas and the Orioles' Miguel Gonzales.

Kansas City leads the best-of-seven series 2-0. Game 5, if needed, would be Thursday at 4:07 p.m. EDT.

Major League Baseball Senior Vice President Peter Woodfork says: "We want a game we know we can get through nine innings, hopefully play dry baseball, not risk player safety or uncomfortable fans.''



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Cardinals Edge Giants to Tie NLCS ]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 09:08:34 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/457139424.jpg

The St. Louis Cardinals have evened the National League Championship Series 1-1 after three late homers fueled St. Louis to a 5-4 walk-off win over the San Francisco Giants.

Cardinals outfielder Kolten Wong delivered a walk-off home run off Sergio Romo in the bottom of the ninth inning to end the night.

With the Giants ahead 3-2 in the seventh inning, Cardinals pinch-hitter Oscar Taveras tied the game with a home run off reliever Jean Machi. Matt Adams followed with another home run off Hunter Strickland in the eighth inning that put the Cardinals ahead 4-3.

The Giants tied the game in top of the ninth after a wild pitch from Trevor Rosenthal scored pinch-runner Matt Duffy, who was running on the pitch, from second base.

The Cardinals won after losing All-Star catcher Yadier Molina to a strained oblique muscle in the sixth. Molina was getting further tests and manager Mike Matheny said it ``didn't look real good.''

"We just knew we had to keep grinding,'' Wong said. "When you lose someone like Yadi, it's definitely tough for us, but we told ourselves we've been going through this all year. Grinding up and down, not getting any easy pass, so we're all so confident.''

It was a rare postseason failure for the reliable San Francisco bullpen, which allowed a home run in each of the final three innings.

"They are the reason we're in this situation, and you give (the Cardinals) credit,'' manager Bruce Bochy said. "They threw out some good at-bats and we made a couple of mistakes and they took advantage of them.''

The best-of-seven series resumes Tuesday night with Game 3 in San Francisco with John Lackey going for St. Louis and Tim Hudson starting for the Giants.

Wong hit an 0-1 pitch from Sergio Romo for his second big home run this postseason. The rookie's seventh-inning drive was the decisive blow in Game 3 of the NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

St. Louis, last in the NL with 105 home runs during the regular season, has hit 11 homers in six playoff games, seven in the seventh inning or later. Earlier, Matt Carpenter connected for the fourth time this postseason.

Seth Maness retired Pablo Sandoval on a comebacker with the bases loaded to end the top of the ninth, and got the win.

Maness came on after closer Trevor Rosenthal couldn't hold a one-run lead. Rosenthal's pitch bounced off the glove off backup catcher Tony Cruz and Duffy, running on a full count, never broke stride and slid home with the tying run.

Molina bent over in pain after a swing and didn't make it out of the batter's box on a double-play ball in the sixth. Wincing, he gingerly walked off the field.

Adams, whose three-run shot off Clayton Kershaw put St. Louis in front for good in their clinching playoff win over Dodgers, homered off Giants reliever Hunter Strickland.

Gregor Blanco's fourth postseason hit in 31 at-bats put the Giants up 3-2 in the seventh, but Taveras re-tied it in the bottom half with a homer off Jean Machi just inside the right-field foul pole.

Carpenter hit a solo home run off Jake Peavy in the third. Randal Grichuk singled with the bases loaded in the fourth to make it 2-0.

The Giants came back against Lance Lynn.

UP NEXT

Giants: Hudson pitched well vs. Washington in Game 2 of the Division Series, allowing a run in 7 1-3 innings.

Cardinals: Lackey has a win each of the last three postseason series and is the active leader with 111 postseason innings.

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