Update on the latest in sports:
Bruins host Hurricanes in Eastern Conference finals opener
BOSTON (AP) – The Boston Bruins will be without one of their top defensemen, Charlie McAvoy (MAK’-uh-voy), when they open the NHL Eastern Conference finals against the Carolina Hurricanes. Charlie McAvoy was suspended one game for a shoulder to the head of Columbus forward Josh Anderson in the second-round clincher. McAvoy’s one-game suspension will keep him out of Game 1.
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Steve Kampfer or John Moore could replace McAvoy in the lineup. Connor Clifton was promoted to Boston’s top defensive pairing with Zdeno Chara (zuh-DAY’-noh CHAH’-rah) at practice on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek (muh-RAZ’-ik) is on the verge of returning from an injury, but coach Rod Brind’Amour (BRIHN’-dah-mohr) hasn’t announced who will be in goal Thursday night. Curtis McElhinney has won three straight playoff games as Mrazek’s replacement.
It’s the fifth time the two franchises have met in the playoffs, including two when the Bruins played the Hartford Whalers before they moved to Carolina. Boston holds a 3-1 edge, with Carolina’s lone victory in the 2009 conference semifinals coming on Scott Walker’s overtime goal in Game 7.
Raptors, Nuggets can advance
UNDATED (AP) – The Philadelphia 76ers will try to fight off elimination when they host the Raptors for Game 6 of the NBA playoffs. Toronto took a 3-2 series lead with a 36-point win in Game 5, its largest in franchise playoff history.
Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid (joh-EHL’ ehm-BEED’) is battling an illness. The All-Star center doesn’t know if he will feel better Thursday night, but he knows he has to play better. He had just 13 points and eight turnovers in the Raptors’ 125-89 rout on Tuesday.
The Denver Nuggets have a chance to make it to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2009 when they take on the Trail Blazers in Portland. The Nuggets have won two straight games behind their dominant center Nikola Jokic (NEE’-koh-lah YOH’-kich) to take a 3-2 lead in the series
Denver forward Paul Millsap is coming off a Game 5 in which he had 24 points. Jamal Murray has been hampered by a sore shoulder and an aching right thigh but he’s been hitting off-balanced shot after off-balanced shot all series.
Nats try to stop a 4-game slide
UNDATED (AP) – The Nationals try to stop a four-game slide in a series opener at Dodger Stadium.
Washington was swept over three games in Milwaukee this week, dropping to 14-22, closer in the standings to the last-place Marlins than the first-place Phillies. Scheduled starter Patrick Corbin was 1-0 with a 0.77 ERA in four starts against Los Angeles last season while with Arizona.
Meanwhile, rain and snow could interrupt the Rockies’ scheduled home game against the Giants. Forecasts called for overnight snow that would change to rain in the afternoon. Colorado has already postponed one game this year because of projected snow, against Atlanta in early April. Kyle Freeland is slated to face Giants’ lefty Derek Holland (1-4) if the teams do play.
What was under Kikuchi’s hat Wednesday night?
UNDATED (AP) – Yankees manager Aaron Boone says he is looking into what appeared to be a substance under the bill of Mariners’ pitcher Yusei Kikuchi’s (YOO’-say kih-KOO’-chee) cap during Seattle’s 10-1 win over New York last night. Social media users spotted a greasy, brown spot on the Japanese rookie’s hat during the broadcast. The rookie left-hander from Japan allowed only three soft hits in 7 2/3 innings.
After the game, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he was aware cameras showed a dark substance – perhaps illegal pine tar – smudged under the brim of Kikuchi’s cap. Boone said. “So, I’ll take a look at it and we’ll kind of see what we can make of it.”
A team spokesman for the Mariners said Kikuchi would not comment about whatever was on his hat.
In other MLB news:
– The Chicago Cubs have banned a fan indefinitely from Wrigley Field for using what appeared to be a racist hand gesture behind an African American television reporter during a game at their ballpark. The Cubs sent a letter yesterday to the bearded man who flashed an offensive sign behind former Cubs outfielder Doug Glanville. Glanville was working for NBC Sports Chicago at the time. The team said it had been unable to contact the fan by phone, and have not publicly identified him. The fan could be prosecuted for criminal trespass if he tries to enter the ballpark.
– Former major league pitcher Bobby Jenks has agreed to accept a $5.1 million settlement from Massachusetts General Hospital and a doctor he says caused his career-ending spine injury. The Boston Globe reports that Jenks reached an out-of-court settlement Wednesday with the Boston hospital and the doctor the day before his medical malpractice suit was scheduled to start. Jenks says the 2011 surgery was botched while the doctor was simultaneously overseeing another operation. Jenks played seven years in the majors from 2005 until 2011 with the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox.
SPORTS BETTING-FOX SPORTS
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) – Fox Sports viewers tuning in to broadcasts this fall will not only see the game, but also will get betting predictions. The network announced a partnership Wednesday night with the parent company of the PokerStars online gambling giant.
Fox Sports is buying just under 5% of The Stars Group for about $236 million. Both companies will offer real-money sports betting this fall in states where it is legal and they are licensed.
The Stars Group says it has market access through licensing in 13 states, and is seeking licensing in others.
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) – Georgia has added Donnell Gresham, a graduate transfer from Northeastern, to its backcourt for next season. The 6-foot-2 guard started 33 games and averaged 9.7 points last season as Northeastern won 23 games and lost to Kansas in the NCAA Tournament. Gresham started 59 of 67 games the last two seasons.
The addition of Gresham, announced by coach Tom Crean on Thursday, comes one day after Georgia signed point guard Sahvir Wheeler from Houston. Wheeler is the fifth top-100 signee of a recruiting class headed by Anthony Edwards, a 6-foot-5 guard from Atlanta.