WAMC Sports Report 3/29/23: Predators remember Nashville shooting victims, defeat Bruins 2-1
Juuse Saros stopped 35 shots, Cody Glass scored late in the second period and the Nashville Predators beat the league-leading Boston 2-1 on Tuesday night, halting the Bruins’ seven-game winning streak. Chasing the Western Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot, the Predators won for just the third time in eight games. Former Bruins defenseman Jeremy Lauzon added an empty-netter late in the third. Boston’s David Pastrnak scored his 52nd with less than a second left in the game. Linus Ullmark made 21 saves for Boston, which suffered only its fourth regulation loss at home (30-4-3). The Predators and Bruins wore helmet stickers and held a moment of silence to show support for The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, after a shooting there Monday claimed the lives of three 9-year-old students and three adult staffers.
Filip Chytil, Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane scored early and Igor Shesterkin made 28 saves as the New York Rangers beat the hapless Columbus Blue Jackets 6-2. Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad and Vincent Trocheck also had goals for the Rangers, who clinched a playoff berth on their day off Monday and then won for the seventh time in eight games. They are 9-1-1 in their last 11 and moved two points behind second-place New Jersey in the Metropolitan Division. They play the Devils on Thursday in Newark.
Morgan Frost scored his second goal of the game with 2:15 left in the third period and the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on Tuesday night. Frost gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead in the second period with a goal just as the power play expired and he clinched their fourth straight win off a 2-on-1 effort for his 16th goal of the season and a 2-1 lead. Owen Tippett added an empty-netter. Brendan Gallagher and Rafael Harvey-Pinard scored for the Canadiens. Montreal was eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.
David Perron had a hat trick in the third period and the Detroit Red Wings overcame the ejection of coach Derek Lalonde to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 7-4. Perron posted his ninth career three-goal game. He scored on a wrist shot early in the third, put Detroit ahead 5-4 on the power play with 3:40 left and added his 19th goal of the season 45 seconds later. Lalonde was assessed a game misconduct during the second period. He profanely argued after unsuccessfully challenging Pittsburgh’s third goal on a claim of goalie interference. Detroit squandered an early three-goal lead and won for just the fourth time in 16 games.
Final Washington 130 Boston 111
Kristaps Porzingis had 32 points and 13 rebounds, and the Washington Wizards boosted their flickering postseason hopes with a 130-111 victory over the Boston Celtics. The Wizards won despite the absence of Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma and pulled within 2 1/2 games of Chicago for the final play-in spot in the Eastern Conference. Washington has six games remaining in the regular season. The Celtics had their three-game winning streak snapped and fell to 2 1/2 games behind Milwaukee for the top record in the NBA. Jayson Tatum led Boston with 28 points.
Lamar Jackson’s frustration over contract negotiations reached a boiling point when he announced Monday that he has requested a trade from the Baltimore Ravens. Staying in Baltimore might be his best and only option. If the two sides can’t agree on a long-term deal by July 17, Jackson could play this season on the $32.4 million franchise tag. The 2019 NFL MVP hasn’t generated any interest in free agency after the Ravens placed the nonexclusive franchise tag on him. Some teams immediately said they wouldn’t pursue Jackson. The Washington Commanders joined that list Monday.
Dan Snyder’s departure from the NFL is moving closer to reality. A group led by Josh Harris and Mitchell Rales and another group led by Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos have submitted fully financed bids for the NFL’s Washington Commanders, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Two people confirmed the bid from Harris. Both spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday because details of the bid have not been publicly announced. The Harris/Rales group includes basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta also has been in the running. Snyder had yet to accept an offer when the league’s finance committee met Monday so his future wasn’t openly discussed.
Embattled Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder could very well sell the franchise before an investigation into his organization’s conduct can be complete. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said even if that’s the case, any report will be made public. Goodell said Tuesday at the league's annual meetings that the NFL is “committed to releasing the findings.” Snyder and the Commanders are still under investigation by former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White. She was retained by the league to look into various aspects of the organization stemming from a congressional review into workplace misconduct. The review also included a referral to the Federal Trade Commission for potential business improprieties.
Shohei Ohtani watch is on. Not Ohtani’s home runs or strikeouts or any of his magnificent numbers from the field. Nothing like that. It’s all about how much his next contract will be worth. Ohtani is among a group of players going into their final season before they are eligible for free agency. There is still time for signatures and press conferences before opening day, but history shows a new contract becomes less likely once the real games begin. The list of impending free agents also includes Aaron Nola, Matt Chapman, Teoscar Hernández, Ian Happ and Julio Urías.
The NCAA has taken a seat on the bench in the political game. The organization that governs college athletics was once at the forefront of hot-button issues such as the Confederate flag and transgender rights. But that stance evolved quickly as one Republican-controlled state after another rushed to pass laws that cover everything from abortion to transgender rights to drag shows. The NCAA’s new approach came into sharper focus this week as Texas prepares to host both the men’s and women’s Final Four. Not a word has been spoken about moving these events out of Houston and Dallas.
Former longtime Hartford men’s basketball coach John Gallagher is being hired for the same role at Manhattan, according to multiple published reports. Gallagher resigned from the Hawks at the start of last season as Hartford transitioned down from being a Division I program. He had been at the America East Conference school for 13 years. The Manhattan job in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference is open after longtime coach Steve Masiello was fired in October. Masiello soon joined rival Iona as an assistant under Rick Pitino and has since joined Pitino at his new role at St. John’s.
LSU coach Kim Mulkey is returning to Texas for another Final Four. The former Baylor coach says some people with ties to her lengthy tenure in Texas will be in the stands when the Tigers play Virginia Tech in the national semifinals Friday night in Dallas. Mulkey is the third coach to lead multiple schools to the Final Four. She made four trips with Baylor. It's her first with LSU in her second season. South Carolina coach Dawn Staley returns to the scene of her first national championship five years ago. The Gamecocks play Iowa.
Jordan Miller entered the transfer portal two years ago and wasn't immediately on Miami's radar. That is, until a guy who the Hurricanes know as "Clutch" called. Clutch's real name is Gary Collins and he coached Miller during his AAU years. He called Miami assistant Bill Courtney and predicted Miller would be a breakout star. Fast forward two years. Clutch was right, and Miller and the Hurricanes are headed to the Final Four in large part because of his perfect shooting performance against Texas in the Elite Eight. Miller was 7 for 7 from the field and 13 for 13 from the foul line in Miami’s 88-81 win.
Black female athletes
Black female representation in the coaching and sports administrative ranks has often existed on a minute scale. That's true even in a sport like basketball, which along with track and field has the highest concentration of Black female college athletes. The number of women coaching women’s sports has increased in the past decade but Black women continue to lag behind most other demographic groups. Some Black female players say having been coached by a Black woman at some point in their careers was crucial to their development.
Julie Ertz has been named to the U.S. roster for a pair of upcoming matches against Ireland after taking time off for the birth of her son. Ertz has not played for the United States since the bronze medal-winning victory over Australia at the Tokyo Olympics. She and husband Zach Ertz of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals welcomed a son last August. The United States first plays Ireland on April 7 in Austin, Texas, before the second match on April 11 in St. Louis. They are the last international games for the United States before coach Vlatko Andonovski selects a 23-player roster for the World Cup this summer.
Some Russian athletes can soon return to international sports, although their status for the Paris Olympics is still up in the air. The International Olympic Committee has recommended that individual athletes from Russia and Belarus should be allowed to return to competition under a neutral status as long as they have no military links. But the IOC held off on deciding whether they can compete at next year’s Paris Olympics. While the IOC said Russia and Belarus should remain barred from team sports such as soccer and basketball, it still defied repeated calls by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to exclude all Russian athletes while his country is being occupied and attacked.
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