Update on the latest sports
NHL playoffs get underway
UNDATED (AP) — Hockey is back after a hiatus of more than four months.
The NHL playoffs got underway Saturday afternoon with Game 1 of the best-of-5 qualifying round between the Hurricanes and Rangers. The Hurricanes got their traditional home-game introduction a thousand miles from Raleigh, North Carolina, with no fans in the stands to appreciate it.
The puck dropped, Carolina’s Jaccob Slavin scored 61 seconds in and teammate Justin Williams fought New York’s Ryan Strome a couple of minutes later.
Similar fisticuffs could unfold in the other games on opening day when the Edmonton Oilers face the Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers face the New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens face the Pittsburgh Penguins and Winnipeg Jets face the Calgary Flames.
The dynamics are far different than usual: It’s the middle of summer, all games are being played in empty arenas in Toronto or Edmonton, Alberta, without fans watching in the arena. But players and coaches expect the chase for the Stanley Cup to bring the same level of intensity.
If all goes as planned, the Stanley Cup winner will be crowned about two months from now.
AP source: Cardinals-Brewers postponed again after 4 more St. Louis positives
UNDATED (AP) — Saturday’s Cardinals-Brewers game in Milwaukee has been postponed, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person tells The Associated Press that one more player and three staff members for the Cardinals have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Friday’s series opener was postponed after two Cardinals players tested positive. The team had hoped to resume play Saturday and make up Friday’s game as part of a doubleheader Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies said they had no new positive results from Friday’s round of COVID-19 testing. Players are being allowed access Citizens Bank Park for staggered workouts beginning in the afternoon.
The Miami Marlins also received no new positive results, according to a person familiar with the situation. But second baseman Isan Diaz has decided to opt out of the season, becoming the first Miami player to do so. Diaz consistently tested negative while the season was on hold. He played in two of the Marlins’ three games before their season was halted.
At least 21 members of the Marlins’ traveling party have been infected by an outbreak at the start of a season-opening trip. The team hasn’t played since Sunday in Philadelphia but hopes to resume games next week.
In other MLB news:
— The Cardinals will see if they can begin their series at Milwaukee after St. Louis became the latest team to get shut down by the coronavirus. The Brewers’ home opener was postponed Friday because two Cardinals players tested positive for COVID-19. Six clubs were off yesterday because of the virus and its effects — Miami and Philadelphia had positive tests in their organizations, leaving Washington and Toronto with no games this weekend.
— With the Nationals on a four-day break, new reliever Will Harris will get a chance to heal without missing too much action. Harris was put on the 10-day injured list Friday with a strained right groin. The move was retroactive to Wednesday, when he gave up two unearned runs in the eighth inning of Washington’s 5-1 loss to Toronto. If Harris is ready to go when he’s eligible to be activated next Saturday, he will have missed only three games. The World Series champs won’t play again until hosting the New York Mets on Tuesday. Their weekend series at Miami was postponed, and they have days off Monday and Thursday.
— The Marlins have acquired left-handed reliever Richard Bleier from the Baltimore Orioles for a player to be named. Miami has been seeking to shore up its roster after more than dozen players tested positive for COVID-19. The team has had its season suspended since Sunday. Bleier went 3-0 with a 5.37 ERA and four saves in 53 games last season. This year, he’s pitched three scoreless innings in two appearances.
Hamilton takes pole position for British GP
SILVERSTONE, England (AP) — Lewis Hamilton set a new track record at the British Grand Prix and clinched a record-extending 91st pole position on Saturday.
He clocked a time of 1 minute 24.303 seconds at the Silverstone, England, circuit where he was won a record six times. He was .313 seconds ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and about 1 second faster than Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Hamilton needs five more wins to equal Michael Schumacher’s Formula One record of 91 GP wins. The defending champion is also odds-on to equal the F1 great’s record of seven world titles.
Tennis player tests positive at Palermo Ladies Open
UNDATED (AP) — A tennis player entered for the Palermo Ladies Open in Italy has tested positive for the coronavirus. She is not being named and has withdrawn from the tournament, which is continuing. Organizers say the player is asymptomatic and will remain in isolation “until cleared by a physician per the established protocols.” The WTA Tour says all those who may have been in close contact with the individual are undergoing testing.
The tournament marks the return of tour-level tennis following a five-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In other news related to the coronavirus pandemic:
— The organizers of the Madrid Open tennis tournament have been advised by health authorities in the Spanish capital not to hold the rescheduled event in September due to the resurgence of the coronavirus. The organizers said they had requested an evaluation of the health situation in the city and regional health officials “advised not to stage the tournament due to the current trend of COVID-19 cases.” The tournament is scheduled to be played from Sept. 12-20. The organizers said they are “analyzing and closely evaluating all the possible options.” Spain’s biggest tennis event was postponed from the spring due to the severe virus outbreak in the country.