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Half the Team Had the Coronavirus. The Wizards Are Still Recovering.
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Bertans had finally been freed from isolation while his teammates were gone, returning home to his wife and daughter. His first practice was an ordeal — “I could definitely tell that I hadn’t done anything for almost two weeks,” he said — and then he missed all seven of his shots in a 16-point loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Jan. 29.“The feel for the game was the biggest struggle,” he said.Smith was having his own problems. The league uses something called cycle threshold, a measure of the amount of virus in the body, to help determine whether a player can be cleared to return. Generally, that number needs to be at least 30, with higher numbers implying less of the virus. A week after first testing positive, Smith was registering cycle threshold values of only 28, he said.Smith would run up the stairs of his home to gauge his fitness.“Everybody is different, and I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a situation where I couldn’t breathe,” Smith said.His teammates and coaches were rooting for him from afar.“It reminded me of the Winter Olympics,” Sheppard said. “Americans don’t know anything about these sports, but within two days we’re all experts. It was the same thing with Ish: ‘Come on, Ish! You’ve got to get above 30!’”Smith knew he was fortunate, he said. He had medical supervision. He was undergoing daily testing. His symptoms were never serious. He thought of his siblings, who are teachers, and countless others living through the pandemic without that type of support.“I’ve got no complaints,” he said. “You just have to pick it up and keep it moving.”Smith returned on Jan. 31, scoring 13 points in a dramatic win over the Nets. Brooks celebrated with a can of White Claw.The Wizards have had more lows than highs, going 3-8 since their patchwork season resumed. Practice time has come at a premium. There is no playbook for a pandemic, Brooks said, and he can only hope that his players have endured the worst of it, and that they can build some chemistry. But there are no guarantees, not this season.
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The N.H.L. Schedule Is Shaky, but McDavid and Draisaitl Are Steady
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In the month ahead, the N.H.L. plans to employ the serene scenes of Lake Tahoe as a backdrop for two outdoor games. But the 19 days of competition in January brought a bit of chaos to the league’s schedule.Since the season began on Jan. 13, dozens of players have been placed on the Covid-19 protocol-related absence list, which includes players who test positive and those who are being monitored because of close contact with someone who tested positive.Despite the format changes and shortened schedule, the season has had its share of constants. Most of the league’s top teams from last season have continued to thrive, and superlative performers like Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl raised their scoring pace to seldom-seen levels, continuing their offensive dominance from last season.All statistics and standings are updated entering Thursday’s games.The schedule has had to be rewritten.The N.H.L. had a rocky path to resumption, and the turbulence did not end once the parameters of the 2021 season were set.The Devils, Buffalo Sabres, Vegas Golden Knights, Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche were affected by the virus as the calendar turned from January to February.The league has made postponement decisions on a case-by-case basis. Unlike the N.B.A., the N.H.L. has set no minimum number of dressed players for a game to be staged. The N.H.L. has avoided some cancellations by having practice squads available to each team.For Vegas, only the coaching staff was initially affected, and the team played its Jan. 26 game against the St. Louis Blues with its general manager and minor-league coaching staff behind the bench. But after at least three coaches and two players were added to the Covid-19 list, three of the Golden Knights’ games were postponed.Earlier this week, the league announced the postponement of Devils games through at least Saturday. The team, which last played on Sunday, had 14 players on the Covid absence list on Tuesday. The Buffalo Sabres, the Devils’ most recent opponent, will not play again until at least Monday. The league on Wednesday postponed the Wild’s games through at least Tuesday. Then Thursday night, the league said Colorado’s games through Feb. 11 would be postponed because of players entering virus protocols.The league’s stars are off to strong starts, and two have been traded.In this season of turmoil, few things have been certain. But the Edmonton Oilers’ two-headed monster of Draisaitl, the reigning most valuable player, and McDavid, the 2016-17 M.V.P., has been rock solid once again.How copious has this tandem’s scoring been? The pair closed the month by combining for 11 points in an 8-5 victory over the Ottawa Senators. In January, they had a staggering 43 points in 11 games, with McDavid averaging two points per game and Draisaitl falling a point shy of that clip. McDavid’s eight goals tied him for the league lead in January with Vancouver’s Brock Boeser, and his 14 assists were second only to Draisaitl’s 15.To put the Edmonton duo’s feats in context, Anaheim Ducks skaters produced 41 points in January, meaning Draisaitl and McDavid outscored that entire team.Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner and Colorado center Nathan MacKinnon were among the top five January scorers, but MacKinnon is out with a lower-body injury to start February.A star was also involved in a blockbuster trade, with the Winnipeg Jets shipping the sniping winger Patrik Laine and the former first-round pick Jack Roslovic to the Columbus Blue Jackets for center Pierre-Luc Dubois.In net, most teams have split starts more evenly among their top two goalies. Carolina’s Petr Mrazek, Vegas’s Marc-André Fleury and Vancouver’s Thatcher Demko have thrived in platoons. Mrazek and Fleury posted goals-against averages of one or below in January — they also ranked first and second in save percentage — while Demko did the same in his last three starts. Colorado’s Philipp Grubauer led the league in wins with six.Kings center Anze Kopitar, 33, has also returned to peak form, as the 10-month layoff for nonplayoff teams benefited Los Angeles’ 30-something veterans. His 11 assists in January were the fourth most in the N.H.L. He had one more than the wunderkind defensemen Cale Makar of Colorado and Quinn Hughes of Vancouver, who finished first and second in last year’s Calder Trophy voting.Some rookies have impressed early.This year’s Calder Trophy voting for the N.H.L.’s top rookie may be dominated by players in their 20s, instead of teenagers from the last couple of drafts.Goalie Vitek Vanecek, 25, was thrust into action for Washington after Braden Holtby departed for Vancouver in free agency, the backup Henrik Lundqvist announced he would miss the season because of a heart condition and the starter Ilya Samsonov tested positive for coronavirus, according to The Washington Post. Vanecek was the January rookie of the month after winning five games, tops among rookies.But Kevin Lankinen, 25, leads all rookies in save percentage and goals-against average, having turned the corner on his competitors in the Chicago Blackhawks’ open casting call for a No. 1 goalie.The top point producer and nickname-earner among rookies has been Minnesota winger Kirill Kaprizov, also known as Kirill the Thrill and Dollar Bill Kirill. Kaprizov, a 23-year-old Russian, was a fifth-round pick in 2015 who then charted a magnificent career at the professional and international level in his home country. He was the youngest player on the gold medal-winning side at the 2018 Olympics and an offensive leader for C.S.K.A. Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League.When he arrived in the N.H.L., Kaprizov became the first player in league history to record three points and an overtime game-winning goal in his debut. For an encore, he set up the overtime winner in his second game.Devils defenseman Ty Smith, 20, tied Kaprizov for the rookie lead in both points and assists in January. Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller, 21, leads all rookies with a plus-seven rating, an uncommon achievement for a player on a last-place team with a negative goal differential.The Rangers held Alexis Lafreniere, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft, out of the World Junior Championships so he could prepare for the N.H.L. season. But he had just one point, a goal, in eight January games.Races begin in new divisions.All seven Canadian franchises were moved into the new North Division, requiring more shuffling.Five former Pacific teams merged with three former Central squads to make the West Division. The former Central Division teams — St. Louis, Colorado and Minnesota — occupied the first three positions in the standings before Thursday’s games. The Avalanche have one of the league’s best goal differentials at plus-14.After moving to the Central, the Florida teams got off to strong starts, despite being affected by Dallas’s postponements. The Panthers posted a 5-0-1 record in January, while last year’s Stanley Cup champion, the Tampa Bay Lightning, darted out to a 4-1-1 start.The North is the only seven-team division, yet it has five of the 10 highest-scoring teams thus far. Montreal — which was seeded 24th in the 24-team playoffs last season — leads the league in goals per game and in goal differential. The Canadiens are in first place, ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who retooled their supporting cast during the off-season.In the East, the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres were tossed in with six former Metropolitan Division teams, including the Devils, Islanders and Rangers. In what promises to be a competitive race, the Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers are tied for the division lead.Veterans have milestones approaching.Alex Ovechkin returned to action on Saturday after his four-game absence due to the league’s coronavirus protocols. He resumed his pursuit of the career goal-scoring record, and in dramatic fashion. His overtime game-winner against Boston was his 708th goal, tying him with Mike Gartner, another Capitals great, for seventh on the career list. Ovechkin remained 186 goals behind Wayne Gretzky’s record entering Thursday’s game against the Rangers.Another record that once seemed unassailable now appears likely to fall. San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau last week played his 1,731st game, tying Ron Francis for fourth on the career list. If Marleau finishes the season with at least 45 games played, he will surpass Gordie Howe for the N.H.L. record. Howe, though, played an additional 419 games in the World Hockey Association.
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Sekou Smith, Award-Winning N.B.A. Reporter and Analyst, Dies at 48
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"เราอยู่ในแชท 307 ออเบิร์น" คุณสมิ ธ กล่าว "ทุกเช้าไม่ว่าจะเป็นพ่อหรือเซกุหรือพี่น้องของฉันเราคนหนึ่งกำลังเขียนรายงานสภาพอากาศหรืออะไรก็ตามที่เกิดขึ้น" อัปเดต 28 มกราคม 2021 22:08 น. ETMr สมิ ธ เริ่มอาชีพนักข่าวในปี 1994 ในฐานะนักกีฬาพาร์ทไทม์ที่ The Clarion-Ledger ใน Jackson, Miss. ในขณะที่เป็นนักศึกษาที่ Jackson State University หลังจากจบการศึกษาในปี 1997 เขายังคงทำงานเป็นหนังสือพิมพ์จนกระทั่งเขาย้ายไปที่อินเดียแนโพลิสเพื่อทำปก Pacers ในปี 2544 สำหรับ The Indianapolis Star เขาเข้าร่วม The Atlanta Journal-Constitution เพื่อปกปิด Hawks ในปี 2548 หลังจากที่นาย Triche เชิญให้เขาสมัคร ระหว่างทางมิสเตอร์สมิ ธ ติดต่อกับนักเขียนหลายคนโดยเฉพาะผู้ที่เข้าเรียนในวิทยาลัยและมหาวิทยาลัยสีดำที่มีคุณค่าทางประวัติศาสตร์ ลีและมาร์คสเปียร์สนักเขียนเอ็นบีเอของเว็บไซต์ ESPN The Undefeated ซึ่งเป็นเพื่อนกับมิสเตอร์สมิ ธ เมื่อ 20 ปีที่แล้วในขณะที่พูดถึงนักเก็ตสำหรับ The Denver Post คำพูดที่นุ่มนวลและอารมณ์ขันของ Mr. Smith ทำให้เพื่อนของเขาหลงใหล “ เขาอาจเป็นนักแสดงตลกข้างสนามได้ถ้าเขาต้องการ” นายสเปียร์สบอกกับเดอะไทม์ส "เขาเป็นนักแสดงตลกผู้ล่วงลับอย่างโรบินแฮร์ริส" ในปี 2552 มิสเตอร์สมิ ธ ได้รับการว่าจ้างจาก Turner Sports ของ NBA ในตำแหน่งนักวิเคราะห์และนักเขียนออนแอร์อาวุโสของ NBA.com เขาเขียนคอลัมน์รายสัปดาห์ "The MVP Ladder" และเริ่มบล็อก NBA และพอดคาสต์ "Time to Hang" ซึ่งเขาสัมภาษณ์ผู้เล่นผู้สื่อข่าวและโค้ช ร่วมกับอายานาน้องสาวของเขามิสเตอร์สมิ ธ รอดชีวิตเฮเธอร์พูลเลียมภรรยาของเขา ลูกชายของเขากาเบรียลและคาเมรอน; ลูกสาว Rieli; พ่อของเขา; พี่สาวของเขาชาร์เมลแม็คและมิสตี้สแตนตัน; และพี่ชายของเขาเอริค สมิ ธ มีความสามารถในการกระตุ้นความคิดเห็นเช่นเมื่อเขาหมั้นกับมิสเตอร์ลีและมิสเตอร์สเปียร์สในการสนทนาเรื่องการเสียชีวิตในพอดคาสต์ของเขาหลังจากการเสียชีวิตของ Kobe Bryant เมื่อปี
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