NHL teams likely to have 28-player rosters
UNDATED (AP) — The NHL continues to formulate plans for a possible return this summer.
The league has advised teams to prepare for a roster of 28 players and an unlimited number of goaltenders for training camp and the playoffs. Several general managers say they were told that would be the anticipated roster limit. Each team is limited to 50 personnel of any kind in one of the two cities that would host games.
The NHL announced Tuesday that it has abandoned the regular season and will go straight to a 24-team postseason if play is allowed to resume. The league shut down March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The NHL has had 16-team playoffs since it became a 21-team circuit before the 1979-80 season.
The NHL says training camp isn’t expected to begin before early July. Games could begin in late July or early August.
In other NHL news:
— The Penguins will head into whatever becomes of the NHL postseason without forward Nick Bjugstad (BYOOG'-stad). General manager Jim Rutherford says Bjugstad underwent spinal surgery to repair a herniated disk after experiencing a “setback” while recovering from a lower-body injury suffered just before the NHL went on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bjugstad had just one goal and two points in 13 games for the Pens this season.
— Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman (EYE'-zur-muhn) is keeping coach Jeff Blashill (BLA’-shihl) despite missing the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. Yzerman told reporters his previously announced plans to keep Blashill behind the bench have not changed. The Wings won a league-low 17 games and posted the third-worst winning percentage in team history.
— The Canucks are considering moving training camp to the United States because of Canada’s 14-day mandatory quarantine requirement for those arriving in the country. Canucks general manager Jim Benning says the team is still in the early stages of that possibility. He said he has talked to colleagues with other Canadian teams about the quarantine regulation and how it might put them at a competitive disadvantage. Concerns about Canadian coronavirus restrictions could push hockey south of the 49th parallel into the U.S. this summer.
Cup race rained out
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Wednesday’s NASCAR Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway has been rained out and rescheduled for Thursday night.
The starting order for the second Cup race at Charlotte this week was set based on the finishing order of the Coca-Cola 600 but with an inversion. Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Alex Bowman will start from the pole, while Coca-Cola 600 winner Brad Keselowski will start 20th.
The postponement also pushes back the upcoming Xfinity race from Thursday to Monday.
The second consecutive Wednesday night race would have been the fourth for the elite Cup Series since May 17.
Packers' Jones says his contract status won't distract him
UNDATED (AP) — Packers running back Aaron Jones says he wants to remain in Green Bay for his entire career and that he won’t let speculation about his future distract him as he enters the final season of his contract.
The Packers drafted Boston College running back A.J. Dillon in the second round last month, a move that raised questions about Jones’ long-term future with the franchise.
The 2017 fifth-round draft pick from UTEP tied for the NFL lead with 16 touchdown runs while gaining 1,084 yards on the ground. Jones also had 49 receptions for three touchdowns.
Knicks add to front office
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Knicks have hired three executives as they build the front office around new President Leon Rose.
Brock Aller was hired as vice president of basketball and strategic planning, Walt Perrin is the assistant general manager for college scouting and Frank Zanin the assistant general manager for pro scouting.
The Knicks also announced a one-year extension for general manager Scott Perry through the 2020-21 season.
COLLEGE ATHLETICS-ARIZONA STATE
Hurley angered by school’s handing of sexual harassment allegations
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona State men's basketball coach Bobby Hurley sent an email to Ray Anderson last season alleging the Arizona State athletic director minimized sexual harassment allegations by the wives of three athletic staff members against a school booster.
In the email obtained by Yahoo Sports, Hurley accused Anderson on Dec. 8 of disregarding the safety of and showing no sensitivity toward the women. Hurley also accused Anderson of coming up with a numeric scale to judge the harassment claims by the women, including Hurley's wife
MLB players ponder owners’ salary plan
UNDATED (AP) — Baseball players will take at least a few days and possibly until next week to respond to Major League Baseball’s proposed sliding scale of salary slashing.
But people familiar with their deliberations tell The Associated Press that players appeared likely to propose increasing the number of regular-season games this year while holding to their demand for full prorated salaries. One said that many players were angered by the teams proposal made Tuesday.
Stars Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole would lose the most under the proposal teams made Tuesday, about 77% of the $36 million each they were set to be paid this season. A big leaguer earning $1 million or less would keep at least 43% of his salary under the six-tier scale.
The reductions are being proposed by owners for a pandemic-delayed season in ballparks without fans.
The players’ association called the proposal “extremely disappointing.”
In other news related to the coronavirus pandemic:
— The NBA has reminded its teams that players currently outside the U.S. have been cleared to return, though quarantine rules may apply in some areas. Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf signed an order last week providing the exemption for professional athletes from rules put in place during the pandemic that would have otherwise barred their entry into the country. A small number of NBA players from foreign countries left for home during the pandemic.
— Basketball Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo told ESPN that the enshrinement ceremony for Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and five others will be delayed until the spring of 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The ceremony was to have taken place in Springfield on Aug. 29. Bryant, Garnett and Duncan all got into the Hall in their first year as finalists, as did WNBA great Tamika Catchings.
— The NBA has been sued by the owners of the building that houses the NBA Store, who say the league owes more than $1.2 million after not paying rent in April or May. The league responded by saying it doesn’t believe the suit has merit, because it was forced to close the New York store due to the pandemic. The suit claims NBA Media Ventures, LLC is required to pay $625,000 of its $7.5 million annual fee on the first day of each month under teams of its lease.
— A 16-player team tennis event featuring Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu (an-dree-EHS’-koo) will take place next month in Charleston, South Carolina. The Credit One Bank Invitation will also include Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys. It will be played from June 23-28. Organizers say the event will be conducted without fans.
— If the postponed French Open tennis tournament is held in September, it could be staged with a limited number of spectators or without any fans at all. The general director of the French tennis federation tells The Associated Press that limiting the number of people allowed inside the gates at Roland Garros to varying degrees is an option that is being considered. He says keeping everyone away from the tournament would be a last resort.
— The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has approved Keeneland’s request for a five-day, spectator-free meet July 8-12 that will allow the running of marquee prep races for the rescheduled Kentucky Derby and Oaks. Keeneland canceled its 16-day spring meet in March amid public health concerns because of the outbreak.
— The Nevada Athletic Commission has unanimously agreed to allow two UFC events and two Top Rank boxing shows in Las Vegas over the next two weeks. The decision ends the moratorium on combat sports that has been in place in Nevada since March 14, when the commission stopped competition amid the coronavirus pandemic. The UFC will stage shows on Saturday and June 6, while Top Rank is expected to hold boxing shows on June 9 and June 11.
— Formula One has approved a budget cap that will limit team spending to $145 million next season and even less in following years, excluding driver salaries and engine costs. FIA said in a statement that the cap will be scaled down to $140 million in 2022 and $135 million for 2023-2025. F1′s finances have taken a significant hit with the first 10 races of the season either canceled or postponed because of the pandemic.
— City and Wyoming state officials have announced that Cheyenne Frontier Days has been canceled for the first time in its 124-year history due to the coronavirus. Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr told The Associated Press that event organizers of the self-proclaimed world’s largest outdoor rodeo decided the risk of spreading the virus was too great for the more than 140,000 people who visit the city for Frontier Days over the last two weeks in July.
HORSE RACING-TRIPLE CROWN
Triple Crown entry deadline set
UNDATED (AP) — The final deadline to nominate horses to the rescheduled Triple Crown series is June 3.
Owners and trainers can make 3-year-old thoroughbreds eligible for the three-race series at a cost of $3,000. That’s half the original price as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which is forcing the series to be run out of order for the first time since 1931.
The late nominations were originally due March 30 but were postponed until the Triple Crown races were rescheduled. A total of 347 horses were made eligible to the Triple Crown during the early nomination phase.
The series opens with the Belmont Stakes at a shortened distance on June 20, followed by the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5 and the Preakness on Oct. 3.
BAFFERT-HORSE DRUG TESTS
Reports: 2 horses trained by Bob Baffert fail drug tests
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Published reports say that two horses from the barn of two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert have tested positive for a banned substance.
The New York Times and Louisville Courier-Journal have cited unidentified sources in reporting the positive tests occurred during the recent meet at Oaklawn in Arkansas.
The Times says one of the horses to test positive for lidocaine was Charlatan, considered a top contender for the Belmont Stakes in June.
Baffert says he's disappointed the Arkansas Racing Commission has violated its rules about confidentiality until the stewards have weighed in with a ruling.
Ex-catcher Pocoroba dies
ATLANTA (AP) — Former Atlanta catcher and 1978 All-Star Biff Pocoroba (poh-kah-ROH’-bah) died Sunday at age 66.
Pocoroba spent his entire 10-year career with the Braves, first joining the team for 67 games in 1975. His best season came in 1977, when he batted .290 with eight homers and 44 RBIs in 113 games.
Pocoroba helped the Braves win the 1982 NL West title and had to retire two years later at age 29 following a shoulder injury.
Tom Wages Funeral Services announced his death. No cause of death was given.