<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - Sports]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.com en-us Mon, 25 May 2015 03:41:22 -0400 Mon, 25 May 2015 03:41:22 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Hundreds Rally for Tom Brady]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 19:32:24 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/free+brady.JPG

Tom Brady is living legend to the hundreds of fans who rallied at Gillette Stadium Sunday.

"He's a good player, he does nothing wrong," said one fan.

"Tom Brady's the greatest quarterback of all time," said another.

"I'm here for him," said another. "I got the sweater - it's a little hot for a sweater, but I'll take the heat."

Heat is what they are hoping this "Free Tom Brady" rally will put on NFL officials to remove the Super Bowl MVP's four game suspension.

"We're crazy when we're unified," said organizer Paublo Munoz. "We're an amazing team - as Patriots Nation, that is - and this really shows it."


Some came from New Hampshire and Rhode Island just to show their support and purchase shirts, dawning the words "Free Brady".


After getting married earlier this month, one couple had a change of plans for their honeymoon in hopes of a change in plans with disciplinary action taken against Brady.

"God bless Brady, because we're backing him, no matter what," said new husband Paul Goodrow. "We're not going on our honeymoon until that ban is lifted."


Last week, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he won't appeal the punishment dealt to the team. But these fans say the $1 million fine and losing two draft picks is way too harsh.

They also had some choice words for the NFL commissioner and Indianapolis Colts.

"Goodell is stupid," said a young fan.

Photo Credit: necn
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<![CDATA[Fan Attempts Selfie With Federer at French Open]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 10:33:23 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP978212670959.jpg

For Roger Federer, the menace did not come from the other side of the net.

After dispatching Colombian Alejandro Falla in straight sets, the 17-time Grand Slam winner was about to leave center court Sunday when a young man ran down the stands and made his way to the Swiss star unhindered. The fan brazenly put his hand across his shoulder to try and get a selfie with him.

Federer looked surprised, then a bit uncomfortable as he seemed to question with a hand gesture why the security guards did not intervene. One of them finally grabbed the man and took him away.

While there was no ill intent from this fan, the incident raised concerns about security at the event and clearly riled Federer.

"I'm not happy about it. Obviously not one second I'm happy about it," Federer said, adding that he received an apology from tournament director Gilbert Ysern. "It happened yesterday in the practice, too. I think it's true for all players that you have to feel safe when we play, feel safe on the courts. It shouldn't happen too often. It's happened twice in two days and also in 2009 during the final. I think people should react more quickly. First, it should never happen."

That was the only incident in an otherwise smooth start to the French Open for Federer, who advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 win over Falla.

Facing a player who pushed him to five sets at Wimbledon five years ago, the 2009 champion was never threatened this time, extending his unbeaten run against the 111th-ranked Falla to 8-0.

On a sunny first day of play at Roland Garros, last year's runner-up Simona Halep also advanced in straight sets in the women's draw.

Federer put Falla under pressure in the eighth game of the first set, breaking for a 5-3 lead when the Colombian could not handle a good backhand return. Federer shouted "come on" after earning a set point in his next service game and closed it out when Falla sent a backhand into the net.

Federer's flashy outfit, with pink shorts and a lilac shirt, was almost as eye-catching as some of the shots the former top-ranked player produced. The 17-time Grand Slam winner broke again for a 2-1 lead in the second set following a game in which he left Falla stranded with a perfectly hit defensive lob.

Federer wrapped up the second set with another break in the ninth game. At 4-3 down in the third set, Falla called a trainer to get his right thigh massaged. The Colombian held his next serve but could not prevent Federer from breaking him in the 10th game as the Swiss unleashed a forehand attack that he returned wide.

On the women's side, the third-seeded Halep hit an ace on match point to beat Russian Evegenia Rodina 7-5, 6-4, while ninth-seeded Ekaterina Markova breezed past American wild card Louisa Chirico 6-4, 6-2.

Halep made a big breakthrough at the French Open last year, losing in final to Maria Sharapova after not conceding a set in her previous matches.

Halep, who said she is stronger than last year both physically and mentally, is bidding to become the first Romanian to win a Grand Slam title since Virginia Ruzici at the French Open in 1978.

"I have stronger body and I have improved a lot in my game," she said. "Serve is better, so I feel more confident now with my game."

Up againt Halep in the second round will be veteran Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who defeated American Lauren Davis 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Lucic-Baroni, who won her first match at Roland Garros since 2002, upset Halep at the U.S. Open last year.

"I have not good memories from that match," Halep said. "I just was blocked and I couldn't hit the ball."

On paper, the 33-year-old Federer has a relatively easy draw until the fourth round, where he could meet 13th-seeded Gael Monfil before a potential quarterfinal with his Davis Cup teammate Stan Wawrinka, who beat Marsel Ilhan 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.

Federer, who achieved a career Grand Slam by winning the French Open in 2009 after three runner-up finish, has not made it to the final on the Parisian clay since 2011. He lost in the fourth round last year but has been playing excellent tennis recently and has a 26-5 record in 2015. On clay, he lost in final in Rome after claiming an 85th career title in Istanbul.

Among the seeded players to advance to the second round Sunday were also No. 19 Roberto Bautista Agut and No. 22 Philipp Kohlschreiber. The first seeded player to bow out was No. 25 Ivo Karlovic, who lost 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 to Marcos Baghdatis.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Marlins Walk-Off in 13th to Halt Skid]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 10:17:32 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/474568524.jpg

The Miami Marlins ended an eight-game losing streak in walk-off fashion with a 1-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.

The hit came in the 13th inning with the bases loaded and was courtesy of Martin Prado. Prior to Prado stepping to the plate, the Orioles intentionally walked Giancarlo Stanton to load the bases. After getting into a favorable count, Prado hit the game-winning drive to right field to put the game in the books.

The Marlins were 0-5 under manager Dan Jennings before the win. The skipper made great strides in this one with crafty pitching decisions and gamesmanship. Jennings alerted the umpires to a foreign substance on Orioles' reliever Brian Matusz. The unknown substance was on the pitcher's arm and led to his ejection.

Miami celebrated the win in grand style in multiple ways. First, the team did the traditional pile-up on the field which was followed by a Dee Gordon dunk over Prado. Finally, the team including Jennings took to the pool in left field for an impromptu pool party.

Carter Capps was credited with the win and he earned it with three shutout innings. Capps dominated Baltimore's lineup with six strikeouts while allowing one hit. The right-hander had the Orioles flailing as he overpowered them.

Prior to Capps, Miami received six shutout innings from Dan Haren. The veteran has enjoyed a fine year with a 3.09 E.R.A. Sam Dyson, Mike Dunn, A.J. Ramos and Bryan Morris all contributed to the shutout as well.

The Marlins will try and take the series on Sunday when Tom Koehler takes the mound.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Is Chargers Move to LA Legal?]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 21:39:55 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/172*120/GettyImages-457517872.jpg

For quite some time now, the Chargers have been laying the ground work for a move to Los Angeles if the team and the San Diego government cannot come to an agreement on a new stadium in either Mission Valley or Downtown.

Carson is calling. Inglewood could be, too. But one major issue could prove to be an obstacle too large to overcome: Moving a football team from San Diego to L.A. might not be legal.

Chargers fans are dedicated to keeping their beloved team in America’s Finest City, even if it means they have to sue the NFL to do it, and they have found someone willing to help them if necessary.

“The Chargers and the NFL are basically saying give us what we want or we’re going to move the team,” says former City Attorney Mike Aguirre. “That really is a violation of the anti-trust laws.”

San Diegans who have followed the last decade and a half of stadium wrangling may have memories of Aguirre being a thorn in the Chargers’ side. He says he’s always been pro-Chargers, that he’s learned from those days and sees a constructive way of moving forward.

“It’s easy to come across as being anti-Chargers,” says Aguirre. “That’s where you have to be super, super cautious to say this is not anti-Chargers, this is pro-keeping the Chargers here in San Diego.”

The meat of the idea comes from a few different places. One is the Sherman Act. Another is the anti-trust lawsuit a group of NFL players brought against the NFL during the 2011 Lockout. Another is Boltman.

“What we would like to do here is get support and feedback from the fans that this is the best option if the Chargers turn their backs on us,” said Dan Jauregui, better known to many by his alter-ego Boltman. “The beauty of all this is it is not coming from the Mayor’s office or the city or CSAG. It’s coming from the Charger fans. No political issues from the city.”

In a written statement entitled, Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures, Jauregui outlines the idea of bringing a lawsuit against the NFL:

“We strongly feel that if the Chargers continue to threaten our city and hold fans hostage after a fair and reasonable finance plan has been submitted, we will have no choice but to prepare to make our case in court under the laws that prohibit unfair competition. I have also prepared a “demand” letter to the city of San Diego, requesting they file an injunction against the NFL to protect the rights of San Diego fans by asserting the city’s rights under anti-trust law. This demand letter has not yet been served to the city. We have arrived at this point very reluctantly, but we believe as Americans we have the duty to assert our rights under the laws that require our markets to be kept open and free. The NFL cannot be allowed to use unlawful monopoly power to deprive us of what the fans have worked and sacrificed to make possible: a very successfully NFL team.”

It is extremely difficult to win an anti-trust case in America. If any current business knows that, it’s the National Football League.

“What’s great about this issue is the NFL has already lost,” says Aguirre. “So if the city were the raise it as a serious issue and really get behind it the hope would be the NFL would see the city is serious and force everybody in to a position of, Let’s try to work this thing out.”

The case most germane to the idea came about in 2011. A group of NFL players led by Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and a few others filed a class action suit against the NFL and its 32 member teams on anti-trust grounds. Their complaint read, in part:

“The NFL Defendants comprise the only major professional football league in the United States. Together, they monopolize and/or restrain trade in, and/or have combined and conspired to monopolize and/or restrain trade in the United State market for the services of major league professional football players.”

That phrase, restrain trade in, is one of the keys here. Section 1 of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act says, in part:

“Every contract … or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal …”

That’s the verbiage that could cause serious problems for the Chargers and the NFL if an attempt is made to move the team to the Los Angeles market. The NFL lost its case in 2011 (a decision “overwhelmingly” upheld by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals) and would face a similar argument in San Diego.

According to Aguirre, restraining trade is legal if it’s done under reasonable circumstances such as a financial hardship.

“Normally what you would say is, look we can’t make money there. We can’t make a go of it. We’re not making as much as we need to keep the team going,” says Aguirre. “None of that argument can be made. (The Chargers are) making plenty of money. They’re making more money than they’ve ever made.”

According to numbers from the statistical website www.statista.com the Chargers have seen an increase in revenue every season for the last 15 years. In fact, the team’s revenues reportedly doubled from $131 million in 2001 to $262 million in 2013.

NFL Executive Vice President Eric Grubman has even said, “We have a healthy business. We are not losing money. We have never said that.” As a fun side note, Grubman’s Twitter handle is @EricNFLMoney.

Another reason for relocating the Chargers, says Aguirre, is the possibility of giving the San Diego market another NFL franchise.

“There’s no way for them to leave under the circumstances of the NFL saying we won’t give you another team. If the NFL were to say well we’ll give you another them, that’s a different story. They’re basically exploiting the fact that the NFL controls the number of teams. If you restrain trade it’s OK if it’s reasonable. If a monopoly restrains trade, then that’s a much more difficult case to make.”

Once again, Grubman’s response to whether or not San Diego would get an expansion team was less than favorable. He told the San Diego Union-Tribune it’s a “low probability.”

So if the groundwork for the lawsuit is there, another big question is money. Attorney fees are not cheap so who pays for it? Although it could be a taxpayer lawsuit, the taxpayers could avoid footing the bill.

“The taxpayers would not pay the legal fees unless the city council decided to invest in it and do it themselves,” says Aguirre. “Then it would be a combination of the city attorney and outside counsel. It could be structured in a lot of different ways.”

Taking this approach could get messy, and would likely be used only in a worst-case scenario to help level the playing field against the financial superiority in Los Angeles.

“It would not be requiring the city of San Diego to try to match the economic abilities of a much larger market like Los Angeles,” says Aguirre. “That’s the idea, to use all the arsenal if necessary.”

Aguirre would likely not be involved in the actual litigation. He suggests the same attorneys who helped the NFL players in 2011 take the lead on a lawsuit.

So what would be the underlying motivation of such a drastic course of action? To force the Chargers and local government to work together and truly pull out all the stops to make a stadium deal in San Diego.

“We are only trying,” says Jauregui, ”to help keep the Chargers in San Diego.”

Boltman is simply to make sure the Chargers don’t bolt, man.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clock Ticks But Fortune Smiles for Federer at French Open]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 20:53:22 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP896641031794.jpg

There are two distinct sounds when Roger Federer graces the courts of Roland Garros. One is the pop of backhands and forehands kicking up puffs of red clay. The other, getting ever louder, is the scratchy tick of life's clock.

At age 33, with 34 bearing down in August, time is increasingly the enemy to Federer's quest to add to his already record haul of Grand Slam titles.

The count climbed to 17 with his seventh win at Wimbledon in 2012, when he was still a young 30-year-old. Then, abruptly, it stopped. In Federer's golden spell from 2004-2009, there were 24 Grand Slam finals. Federer played in 20 of them, winning 14. But since his 2012 Wimbledon win against Andy Murray, just one of the 10 subsequent Grand Slam finals featured the Swiss: an epic five-setter lost to Novak Djokovic last year.

Of all places for Federer to prove that he still has another major title in him, Roland Garros would seem the least favorable. The slow red dust blunts nuances of his game so effective on other, faster surfaces. Having one of the sharpest tactical minds and best right hands tennis has ever seen were never quite enough for Federer at the only major he's not won multiple times. He needed a sprinkling of luck, too. Federer's only victory at the French Open, in five finals, came in 2009 against Robin Soderling, who did him the favor of taking "King of Clay" Rafael Nadal out of the picture in the fourth round.

Good fortune, in the shape of Maria Sharapova's fingers, is smiling on Federer again this year. The defending women's champion, called upon to pluck out the seeded men's names in Friday's draw, delivered a road map that could hardly be more favorable for Federer.

Sixth-seeded Nadal and third-seeded Murray were both drawn in the half of top-seeded Djokovic. That means second-seeded Federer would only have to play, at most, one of those infernal three who beat him at the semifinal or final stage of majors in 2013 and 2014. And such a blockbuster match could only happen in the June 7 final, if Federer gets that far.

"There is a chance to go very deep," he acknowledged. "How deep remains to be seen depending on the level of play."

Federer opens his 62nd consecutive Grand Slam campaign, extending his record, on Sunday against a qualifier. In the women's championship, last year's losing finalist Simona Halep, seeded three, opens against Evgeniya Rodina, ranked 91. The 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic plays Yaroslava Shvedova, quarterfinalist in 2010 and 2012.

Federer has a relatively easy-looking path until the fourth round, where he could meet 13th-seeded Gael Monfils before a potential quarterfinal against his Davis Cup Swiss teammate Stan Wawrinka, seeded eight. In the semifinals, a possible meeting with either Japan's Kei Nishikori, seeded five, or fourth-seeded Tomas Berdych looms.

But all that is just on paper. The end, in the Wimbledon second round in 2013, of Federer's astounding streak of 36 Grand Slam quarterfinals or better punctured the idea that he's assured a place in the second week of a major tournament. Roland Garros last year ended in the fourth round for Federer, with a five-set loss to Ernests Gulbis. The Latvian, ranked 25, is in Federer's section of the draw again this year.

"There (are) a lot of good players out there that want to win the tournament that can win the tournament. Others that are dangerous on the day," Federer noted. "Whether it's in semis or in the finals, if you lose, you lose at one point or another, and that's not funny. So my objective is to not lose."

Nadal's seeding dropped lower than ever at Roland Garros this time, leaving him vulnerable in the draw, after the nine-time champion endured his worst season on clay in 10 years. The 14-time Grand Slam champion enters the tournament with five losses in 2015 on the surface where he used to be superhuman, accumulating a 66-1 record at Roland Garros.

Federer has been playing excellent tennis and has a 25-5 record in 2015. On clay, he lost a final in Rome to Djokovic after claiming an 85th career title in Istanbul. His previously aching back is now old history.

"I feel like I have had a great last 12 months," Federer said. "I've just got to make sure I adjust my game according to the playing conditions here, and then we will see how far it takes me."

After his Rome final, Federer returned to Switzerland for a family break before touching base with coach Stefan Edberg, the former player who has been instrumental in adjustments to Federer's game following a below-par 2013.

"2013 cost me a lot of energy," Federer said. "We now have a good momentum; 2014 and 2015 have been good. I feel much better. But that doesn't mean anything when it comes to results."

Time will be the judge of that.

<![CDATA[Beckham Looking to Team up with UM to Get Stadium]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 21:03:29 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/050714+david+beckham+in+miami.jpg

Worldwide soccer star David Beckham and University of Miami president Donna Shalala are talking about partnering on a stadium for both soccer and football.

And Miami-Dade county mayor Carlos Gimenez is encouraging the partnership between Beckham's group and UM.

"Something I actually asked them to do some time ago, so I'm happy we're at this point," Mayor Gimenez said. "I don't know how far into it they are... it's a good development."

The parking lots next to Marlins Park are one of the sites being considered. The land is owned by the county and it would be a much shorter drive for UM students to watch a game compared to Sun Life Stadium.

UM still has a long term contract with Sun Life Stadium, but President Shalala in the past has said she thinks it's too big for Canes games.

Two other sites being considered are the old Bertram Yacht yard just east Of Miami International Airport and a property in Overtown, just south of Interstate 395.

"I'll be happy to support the team wherever they decide to go," said soccer enthusiast Mitchell Torres, who is very involved in Beckham's plan to bring a soccer to South Florida.

Miami already has professional soccer, a team in the the North American Soccer League, and two clubs with the National Premier Soccer League, but they are considered lower tiered teams.

But MLS, says Torres, is considered the top tier, "You are looking at the top players, you're looking at the best product on the field, you are looking at big money, you are looking at global recognition," he said.

This effort is Beckham's third attempt to bring a club to Miami. People like Torres are hoping the third time's the charm.

All you have to do is look at any soccer event that happens in South Florida, it is sold out so I am certain that once this happens the support is going to be overwhelming.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Marlins Charity Event Features No Players]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 17:18:39 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/471006638.jpg

The Miami Marlins hosted a charity event at their ballpark on Thursday evening and zero members of the active roster showed up.

The annual "Fish 'N Chips" event offers fans an opportunity to mingle with players while taking part in casino related activities. This year's iteration included members of the coaching staff including new manager Dan Jennings. However, the coaches were the only members of the team to attend as no players were seen.

The official invitation for the event stated the following:

"Please join the Marlins Foundation for an evening of fun and stakes at the Craps, Blackjacks, Roulette, Poker and Domino tables as you rub elbows with your favorite Marlins players, coaches and alumni."

In the middle of a seven-game losing streak, the Marlins may not be in the best of moods. The team has endured a long stretch of disappointing losses and saw their former manager Mike Redmond given the boot. Giancarlo Stanton left without talking to the media following Thursday's loss.

Marlins fans were upset about the lack of players in attendance and took to Twitter to vent.

A few more fans commented on the situation directly to NBC 6 as well.

"Well, the team probably lost a few more fans tonight since none of the players showed up to the charity event that they were advertised to be there," said Serdar Sirin.

"Jennings becoming the manager removes the buffer that Redmond had in the clubhouse," Kenny Crespo said.

"Think some of them need some time in AAA or AA to remind them they play a child's game for large sums of money while there are real problems in this world," added Robert Garcia.

Marlins president David Samson commented on the event Friday.

"The foundation events are very important to us and of course I'm disappointed no players were there," Samson told the Miami Herald's Manny Navarro. "I think win or lose what we do in the community matters most. Obviously we want to win more and they're working very hard to win. But from my standpoint when you have a commitment, when you have a commitment with the community, you got to do it."

Last year's version of this event featured multiple players in attendance including Justin Bour, Garrett Jones and Christian Yelich among others. In previous years, the event also featured other high-profile names including Hanley Ramirez.

The Marlins players will show up for Friday night's game when they take on the Baltimore Orioles at Marlins Park as they look to halt a skid.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Marlins Drop Sixth Straight]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 22:12:02 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/474149924.jpg

The Miami Marlins lost a sixth consecutive game as the Arizona Diamondbacks came away 6-1 winners on Wednesday.

The loss dropped manager Dan Jennings' record to 0-3 since taking over for Mike Redmond. It was also an embarrassing loss for Miami as it allowed six steals. Arizona stole at will on numerous pitchers and catcher Jonathan Solano.

David Phelps gave up four runs on five hits in his five innings of work. It was a rare poor start for Phelps who has been Miami's most consistent arm this year. The right-hander is now 2-1 on the year but still holds a solid 3.21 E.R.A.

Carter Capps came out of the pen first and struck out four in his two innings of work. Capps relaxed on his wild wind-up motion. Earlier this year, Capps had jumped off the mound during his wind-up which was deemed to be an illegal pitch by MLB.

Dee Gordon's slump continued with an 0-3 day. Gordon saw his average fall under .400 due to what has been a prolonged slump. The second baseman was hit with a pitch in the ninth inning to reach base for the only time in the game.

The Marlins loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the ninth for their only rally of the day. That resulted in only one run however which scored when Giancarlo Stanton grounded into a double-play.

The Marlins will look to avoid a four-game sweep on Thursday when they send Mat Latos to the mound.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Top French Open Stars, and 1 Who Missed the List]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 13:28:27 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/thumb-458711872.jpg

NBC’s coverage of the 2015 French Open begins this Sunday, May 24, at 1 p.m. ET. Follow along for live opening-round coverage, and don't miss the the live Women’s Final on June 6 and the live Men’s Final on June 7.


Sunday, May 24 1 - 3:30 p.m. ET First round (LIVE)
Monday, May 25 12 - 3 p.m. (all) First round (LIVE ET)
Saturday, May 30 12 - 3 p.m. ET Third round (LIVE)
Sunday, May 31 12 - 3 p.m. ET Fourth round (LIVE)
Thursday, June 4 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. (all)  Women's semifinals (LIVE ET)
Friday, June 5 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. (all) Men's semifinals (LIVE ET)
Saturday, June 6 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. ET Women's final (LIVE)
Sunday, June 7 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. ET Men's final (LIVE)

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Blackhawks Offer Late-to-Work Note After Longest Game in Team History]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 07:46:15 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/blackhawks-ducks-G2-3.jpg

Can you call in "hockey" to work? The Blackhawks say so. 

Following the Blackhawks' triple overtime win in Game 2 against the Anaheim Ducks, a game that is now the longest game in Hawks history, the team shared their latest excuse note for fans who stayed up late to watch the game. 

The note, signed by the Chicago Blakchawks, asks for employers and teachers to excuse fans from their "lateness" or "sleepiness" Wednesday.

"He/she was up too late celebrating the win," the note reads.

But fans won't have much time to recover. The Blackhawks will look to defend home ice when the series resumes at the United Center Thursday night. The puck will drop at 7:00 p.m.

Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn, Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Blackhawks Beat Ducks 3-2 in Triple Overtime]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 03:53:52 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/474027552.jpg

The Blackhawks tried just about everything to get a puck past Frederik Andersen while Game 2 of the Western Conference finals wound through three overtime periods and deep into the night, eventually becoming the longest game in Chicago's 89-year history.

Andrew Shaw even headed the puck into the net — which was amazing, but illegal.

After nearly 110 consecutive scoreless minutes by Chicago, Marcus Kruger got it done with plain old work in front of the net, ending a landmark game and evening a series that's already the endurance test everyone expected.

Kruger batted home Brent Seabrook's shot 16:12 into the third OT, and the Blackhawks earned a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 2 on Tuesday night.

"I got lucky," Kruger said. "Happy to see that go in."

Shaw and Marian Hossa scored power-play goals in the opening minutes, but Chicago couldn't score again in the longest game in Honda Center history until Kruger got in front and forced a ricochet past Andersen, who made a career-high 53 saves.

The Blackhawks celebrated with more relief than excitement, realizing they only had about 42 hours until the puck drops for Game 3 in Chicago on Thursday.

"I just hope we don't have any more like that," Shaw said. "I think this helps us, and showed us what can happen if we keep sticking to it and competing. We'll find a way to win."

Corey Crawford made 60 saves as the Blackhawks finally handed the Ducks their second loss of the postseason.

The game was the 17th-longest in NHL history, and the longest since Dallas and San Jose went four overtimes on May 4, 2008.

Shaw attempted to end it during a power play 8:47 into the second overtime by knocking a high-arching rebound of Patrick Kane's shot into the net with his helmet in a stunning soccer-style play, but the goal was illegal. The officials briefly conferred before waving it off — NHL rules prohibit players from deliberately knocking the puck into the net with anything except their sticks.

"It was just a reaction right there," Shaw said. "You do whatever you can to get that puck across the line. But we just kept working and competing, and we got lucky. ... Overtime goals are huge, so I tried to sell it as much as I could. It was just exciting, the reaction at the net. I was just out there using my head, I guess."

Corey Perry tied it late in the second period for the Ducks, who dropped to 9-2 in the postseason with their first home loss in seven games, missing numerous chances to end it. Andrew Cogliano also scored for Anaheim, which was shut out over the final 78:42.

"There were a few posts, a few crossbars," Perry said. "It's a tough one to swallow, but you get right back at it, put it behind you and get ready for the next one."

These Western powers came into the series with ample rest after easily winning their second-round series, but they used up much of that extra energy in a marathon Game 2.

Anaheim hadn't played a game with multiple overtimes since May 3, 2009, while Chicago won two multiple-overtime games in the first round against Nashville. The game was the second-longest in Ducks history, trailing only a five-overtime game at Dallas in 2003.

Two days after Anaheim comfortably won the series opener to improve to 6-0 at Honda Center in the postseason, Kruger's fortunate goal ended a nail-biting rematch.

"You just try to limit the mistakes as much as possible," Cogliano said. "You're drained. I think both game plans on both teams get a little lax, because you're out there for so long. Physically it's tough. Guys cramp. You're out there for so long, going through so many hits, and the game is so fast-paced, especially against this team. It's a tough pill to swallow right now, but you've just got to get over it. We've got to recover."

Perry put a shot off the crossbar roughly 10 minutes into the first OT, and Sami Vatanen hit the posts behind Crawford twice in extra time. Andersen made two enormous saves early in the second overtime, and Crawford matched him with a handful of stunners late in the period.

The Blackhawks never led in Game 1 while struggling to match the Ducks' depth and going scoreless on three power plays. Chicago kept its bench short in Game 2, largely playing only four defensemen — Duncan Keith logged just under 50 minutes of ice time, while Niklas Hjalmarsson and Brent Seabrook both topped 47 minutes — and relying on its top-end talent.

In the end, Kruger came up with his second goal of the postseason.

Chicago capitalized twice in the opening 6:19 after poor penalties by the Ducks. Shaw and Hossa both scored their second goal in three games after nine-game droughts to open the postseason.

Anaheim played a dominant second period, outshooting the Blackhawks 17-1 in the final 13 minutes. Perry finally evened it late, deflecting a long shot from captain Ryan Getzlaf for his eighth goal in 11 games.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Curry's Daughter Steals the Show]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 21:38:21 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/0519-2015-RileyCurry.jpg

Few, if any, can steal the spotlight away from Steph Curry during this year's jaw-dropping, MVP season.

But 2-year-old Riley Curry did just that Tuesday night after the Golden State Warriors defeated the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

Curry, who dropped 34 points en route to the 110-106 win, brought along his daughter to the post game press conference.

Riley instantly stole the spotlight, waving to the media and telling her All-Star dad to "be quiet" after he was talking "too loud."

At one point during the press conference, Riley got off Curry's lap and disappeared from the camera's view while her father fielded questions from reporters.

But moments later she re-appeared under the press table and again waved at the audience.

Riley Curry, you are the real MVP.

Visit NBC Bay Area's Warriors page for more team coverage.

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<![CDATA[South Florida Back in the Game for a Super Bowl]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 22:34:57 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/stephen+ross+84404664.jpg

The Miami Dolphins and the South Florida Super Bowl Bid Committee have been invited to bid for the 2019 and 2020 Super Bowls.

The Dolphins will be up against Tampa, Atlanta and New Orleans in the running for the big games.

South Florida Super Bowl Bid Committee chairman Rodney Barreto said Tuesday night "I'm ecstatic. We're back in the game. Stephen Ross' investment is paying off already."

The Dolphins and the committee have a year to come up with their bid.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dolphins, Tannehill Discuss Contract Extension]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 16:01:38 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/051915+ryan+tannehill+press+conference+new.jpg

The Miami Dolphins are holding a press conference Tuesday to officially announce the contract extension for quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Tannehill's contract was extended through the 2020 season.

<![CDATA[Patriots Won't Appeal Punishment]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 16:17:47 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/vlcsnap-2015-05-19-13h12m20s15.jpg

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Tuesday that the team will not appeal the penalty handed down by the National Football League in the wake of the Deflategate controversy.

Speaking from the NFL owners' meetings in California, Kraft said he decided to accept the punishment in an effort to "end the rhetoric." He said that while he still believes the penalty handed down was "unreasonable and unprecedented," he respects Commissioner Roger Goodell.

"The entire process has taken way too long," he said. "I can try to end it, or extend it."

Kraft also acknowledged that his position on how to handle the situation has changed.

"I think maybe if I made the decision last week it would be different than it is today," Kraft said.

The NFL fined the Patriots $1 million and took away two draft picks as punishment for the deflation of footballs below the league-mandated minimum for the AFC championship game. 

Quarterback Tom Brady was also issued a four-game suspension, which he has already appealed. His appeal must be heard within 10 days of its filing on May 14.

The NFL Players Association formally requested Goodell recuse himself as an arbitrator in Brady's appeal later Tuesday afternoon and asked for a neutral party to set in.

"If the NFL believes the Ted Wells report has credibility because it is independent, then the NFL should embrace our request for an independent review," the union said in a statement.

If it is upheld, Brady would miss the first four games. The Patriots open the NFL season at home against Pittsburgh on Sept. 10, then travel to Buffalo before a home game against Jacksonville. After a bye week, their fourth game will be in Dallas.

Brady would be eligible to return for the fifth game on Oct. 18 at Indianapolis. The probe began after the Colts complained that Brady used deflated footballs in their 45-7 loss to the Patriots in the AFC title game.

<![CDATA[Dolphins Sign Ryan Tannehill to Contract Extension]]> Mon, 18 May 2015 16:58:30 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/460874130.jpg

The Miami Dolphins continued their active off-season by extending quarterback Ryan Tannehill's contract through 2020 on Monday.

“We are committed and believe in Ryan as our quarterback for the long-term and we are excited to be able to sign him to this extension,” Miami's General Manager Dennis Hickey said.

Extending Tannehill was seen as a necessary and critical move for the Dolphins. This off-season has seen the team add several key pieces to a revamped roster. The team also drafted DeVante Parker who could end up Tannehill's top target on offense.

“We are thrilled that we were able to sign Ryan to an extension. He is an ascending talent, a team leader and checks all of the boxes you are looking for at the position," Dolphins Executive Vice President of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum added.

Miami is trying to take part in the postseason for the first time since 2008 and everything has lined up in its favor lately. Not only have the Dolphins improved their product on the field, but they have received an unexpected helping hand from the league. 

Tom Brady was recently suspended for four games by the NFL for his role in the well-publicized "DeflateGate" scandal. While Brady is appealing the penalty, he is likely to serve at least part of the suspension. Any games missed by Brady could lead to losses for the New England Patriots. Come January, one or two games could mean all the difference for Miami.

Tannehill has been Miami's quarterback since 2012 and has posted improved numbers in each of the past three seasons. The QB is now potentially in line to hold the title for a long time. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[What We Learned From American Pharoah's Preakness Win]]> Mon, 18 May 2015 11:27:50 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/American-Pharoah-Preakness-15-May-2015.jpg

That was easy, wasn't it?

Two weeks after struggling but winning the Kentucky Derby, American Pharoah ignored thunder, lightning, rain and the opposition and splashed his way to a seven-length victory in the Preakness on Saturday at Pimlico Race Course.

And now, it's on to the Belmont Stakes on June 6 for a shot at the Triple Crown and racing immortality.

"He's just an amazing horse," trainer Bob Baffert glowed after winning his sixth Preakness. "Everyone talks about the greatness, and it's just starting to show now. To me, they have to prove it. Today, the way he did it, he just ran so fast. It was like poetry in motion."

Here are some things learned about American Pharoah from the Preakness:


Inside or outside, American Pharoah is one tough customer. Saddled with an unfavorable No. 1 post, the 3-year-old colt broke a bit slow, but was urged to the lead by jockey Victor Espinoza. In the eight-horse field, only Mr. Z gave chase but for just a little while. AP, as owner Ahmed Zayat sometimes calls him, motored along the rail and cruised home for his sixth straight win. In the Derby, he drew the No. 18 post, started from No. 16 after two horses were scratched, and won by a length despite not being on his A game. For the upcoming Belmont Stakes, at 1 1/2 miles the longest and most grueling of the three races, post position won't be an issue. By the way, the last horse to win the Preakness from the No. 1 post before Saturday was Tabasco Cat in 1994.


Rain or shine, track condition is not a problem. American Pharoah gave every indication he could deal with a torrential downpour two months ago in Arkansas. A champion as a 2-year-old, his debut this year came in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. He won there, too, by 6 1/4 lengths. So once the skies opened on Saturday, there wasn't too much concern about how the sloppy track would affect his performance. "So much rain we had, and so much water, it's insane," winning jockey Victor Espinoza said. "American Pharoah was traveling super in there." How bad was it? "I saw a picture of the track with a river running on the rail, and I thought he's got to run through that?" Baffert said.


A two-week turnaround took nothing out of American Pharoah. Maybe it did, but it didn't look that way. His stride was a graceful as ever — much better than it was in the Derby — and as Baffert says, he "floats over the track wherever he goes." In the weeks leading up to the Belmont, though, Baffert knows that can change. After all, this will be the trainer's fourth attempt to give racing its first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. American Pharoah has won six of his seven lifetime starts, and looks as strong as ever. Then again, 2004 Derby winner Smarty Jones looked awesome, too, after his record 11 1/2-length win in the Preakness — but three weeks later in the Belmont, he was run down in the final yards by Birdstone. "I've seen horses that you don't see it until two weeks later (after the Preakness)," Baffert said. "That's when it starts showing up on these horses. I've been through it. About two weeks out, you'll start seeing if it's getting to them a little bit, and that's why it's so difficult (to win a Triple Crown).


So now we all know American Pharoah is fitted with ear plugs — or else his ears are stuffed with cotton — for his races, because he's sensitive to noise. Not a good thing for a horse going for a Triple Crown and performing before 100,000-plus fans. Nonetheless, the cotton worked again, and he was as attentive as he needed to be. He may have covered the 1 3-16 miles in the slow time of 1:58.46, but he finished ahead of everyone else and was not distracted. "I could tell they (the horses) didn't like it when they got pelted like that," Baffert said. "And I was worried about the cotton balls in his ears. How is he going to react? Maybe I should take them out." No need.


Can American Pharoah end a 37-year Triple Crown drought that began after Affirmed became the 11th horse to sweep the Derby, Preakness and Belmont in 1978. Here's a sampling of opinions from three Triple Crown winning connections:

Penny Chenery (owner, Secretariat): "The question will be how quickly he recovers and doesn't lose too much weight. He seems to have a level head, though, and seems to be in command of his talents."

Steve Cauthen (jockey, Affirmed): "He looks like the real deal."

Ron Turcotte (jockey, Secretariat): "The sport needs a Triple Crown winner and he could very well be the one."


Now that American Pharoah has dusted off his rivals in the Derby and Preakness, who's left to take him on in the Belmont? Well, it sure looks like a bunch of Derby also-rans who skipped the Preakness are going to show up in a bid to play Triple Crown spoiler. Among them are a bunch trained by Todd Pletcher: Materiality (sixth in the Derby), Carpe Diem (10th) and Peter Pan Stakes winner Madefromlucky. Also probable are Frosted (fourth in the Derby), Keen Ice (seventh), Mubtaahij (eighth) and Frammento (11th). "I really don't think about the third leg yet," Baffert said. "It's going to be tough. I've always said this is the easiest of the three legs, and the next race is going to be ... everybody right now is sharpening their knives getting ready."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ducks Beat Blackhawks in Game 1]]> Sun, 17 May 2015 18:13:45 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/ducks+hawks+game+1.jpg

The Anaheim Ducks took a 2-0 lead over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final, and they withstood a late charge as they finished off a 4-1 victory in the contest. 

Brad Richards scored the lone goal of the game for the Blackhawks, and Corey Crawford made 23 saves as the Blackhawks find themselves behind in a series for the first time this postseason. 

The Blackhawks got a power play just over a minute into the game when Corey Perry slashed Patrick Kane in the neutral zone, but it was Anaheim that had the first good scoring chances. Jakub Silfverberg nearly scored a short-handed goal off a Ryan Kesler rebound, but Corey Crawford made the save as the net came off the moorings to keep it scoreless.

After that failed power play, the Blackhawks seemed to take control of the tempo of the contest. Patrick Sharp had a nice one-timer from the slot off of a feed from Teuvo Teravainen, but Frederik Andersen made the save. Kane then got a loose puck in the middle of the ice and nearly scored into an empty cage, but Andersen hit the shot up over the net. Off the ensuing face-off, Sharp got another shot off at the net, but Andersen made the save once again.

The Ducks started pushing back a bit after the midway point of the period, and they ultimately scored to take the lead. David Rundblad failed to break up the zone entry by the Ducks, and Jakub Silfverberg made a gorgeous play as he circled around to the boards and fired a pass back to the point. Hampus Lindholm then ripped a shot in toward the net that evaded Crawford, and the home team grabbed a 1-0 lead.

The Blackhawks had a few more good chances to score late in the first period, but the game-tying goal wasn’t coming. Teravainen established possession through the middle of the slot, but the Hawks couldn’t force in a shot through traffic as the Ducks held onto their lead through 20 minutes of play.

After the intermission, the Ducks started pushing back at the Blackhawks, and they were rewarded with a goal. Johnny Oduya and Rundblad both failed to clear the puck from behind the net, and then Nate Thompson’s shot toward the front was kicked out by Crawford. Kyle Palmieri then picked up the rebound and rifled a one-timer over the goaltender’s shoulder, and Anaheim seized a 2-0 advantage.

The damage could have been even worse for the Blackhawks later in the period as Niklas Hjalmarsson was sent off for tripping, but the Hawks’ penalty kill came up big against the league’s top-ranked power play as they killed off the infraction. Matt Beleskey did have one good shot on goal during the man-advantage, but Crawford blocked it away to keep it a two goal game.

With less than a minute to go in the period, the Blackhawks finally were able to solve Andersen as they scored a key goal. Brad Richards made the play happen as he wrestled the puck away from Francois Beauchemin at the blue line, and then his breakaway ended with a goal as he snuck a shot between Andersen’s blocker and chest to make it a 2-1 game after two periods of play.

As the third period got underway, the Blackhawks got a pair of power plays but were unable to convert on either of them. Richards did come close to getting his second goal of the day on the first man-advantage situation, and Brandon Saad had a killer rebound chance as well, but Andersen made some good saves as he kept his team in front despite the pressure.

Just after the halfway mark of the period, the Ducks got an odd-man rush scoring chance thanks to a missed play by Duncan Keith, and they made Chicago pay. Crawford was able to stop the initial shot off the stick of Andrew Cogliano, but Thompson picked up his second point of the day as he flipped the puck past the sprawled out goaltender to give Anaheim a 3-1 lead with about eight minutes to go.

The Blackhawks ended up surrendering an empty net goal late in the third period, and they find themselves trailing in a series for the first time since they trailed 3-2 in the Western Conference Final last season. They will try to even things up when the two teams meet for Game 2 in Anaheim on Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. Central time. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Atlanta Braves Complete Sweep of Marlins]]> Sun, 17 May 2015 15:32:59 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/473766678.jpg

The Miami Marlins were almost no-hit by Shelby Miller while being beat by the Atlanta Braves by a final score of 6-0 on Sunday.

Justin Bour singled up the middle with two outs in the ninth to end the no-no bid. The ball was hit hard and was followed by a single off the bat of Dee Gordon. The game would soon end on an easy pop-out by Martin Prado. Miller was vying for the first no-hitter in MLB this season.

Besides almost being no-hit, the Marlins free-fall also continued with the loss. The Marlins have lost six of their last seven games and are now six games under .500. The rough stretch of games has dropped Miami in the standings. The Braves have been a big reason for the Marlins poor overall record as Miami is only 2-7 against them.

Perhaps the best chance for Miami to enter the hit column prior to the ninth came in the seventh inning when Giancarlo Stanton lined out to left field. The ball was hit hard but Todd Cunningham was able to reach up and grab it for the out. Miller made quick work of Miami for the other 25 outs before the aforementioned Bour knock.

Henderson Alvarez was activated from the disabled list for the start and showed signs of rust. Alvarez who began the season as Miami's ace allowed six runs in his 5.1 innings. Five of those runs came in the second inning which brought back memories of Saturday's loss.

Brad Hand took over after Alvarez exited and did a good job of saving the other arms in the pen. Hand has struggled at times this season but has had several impressive outings as well.

The Marlins will turn the page and take on the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday when they send Dan Haren to the mound.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>