Redskins long snapper plays through broken arm

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Redskins long snapper plays through broken arm

From Comcast SportsNet

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) -- Late in the third quarter of Robert Griffin III's NFL debut, Washington Redskins long snapper Nick Sundberg grabbed the rookie quarterback on the sideline and made a request.

"I know we're rolling right now, but keep it up," Sundberg said he told Griffin. "Because I don't want to go out there for another punt."

This wasn't a teammate simply urging the offense to score more points. Sundberg was in pain.

It'll go down as the other remarkable performance in RG3's stellar first game. Sundberg broke his left arm in the first half and continued to play -- snapping the ball four times for punts, twice for field goals and twice for extra points in the second half of Washington's 40-32 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

"We've got a story to tell to our kids and our grandkids, how we played with a guy who played a whole game with a broken arm," defensive tackle Barry Cofield said Monday. "I'm going to remember both. RG3's going to come first, obviously, because that's what they're going to ask me about, but when my grandson scrapes his knee, I'll tell him about the guy who played with a broken arm."

Sundberg was hurt when his arm was squeezed between a helmet and a facemask during the punt that was blocked by the Saints and returned for a touchdown. He knew immediately what had happened because he broke the same bone in high school. The doctors on the sideline kept urging him to get an X-ray, but Sundberg instead kept asking for something to ease the pain so he could keep playing.

"I think at the end of the day you've got to look at yourself and see what you're made of," Sundberg said. "It was terrible, but I felt like I really didn't have another option."

The Redskins -- like most NFL teams -- have only one top-notch long snapper on the roster. Will Montgomery is listed as the backup, but that's mainly because someone has to be the backup. The team will have to sign another snapper if Sundberg can't play, which appears likely now that he's been fitted with a large cast that will make snapping difficult.

Sundberg said he got hit on the broken arm a few more times during the game. Yes, it hurt.

"It's one of those things you've kind of got to keep telling yourself it doesn't hurt, it doesn't hurt, it doesn't hurt," he said. "At some point, you convince yourself: There's only a few more minutes left, only a couple more snaps, I can get through it, I can get through it."

Then came that conversation with Griffin in the third quarter, which naturally caught the rookie off guard.

"He was like, What do you mean?'" Sundberg said. "Dude, my arm hurts so bad, and it hurts so much worse to throw punt snaps. I was like, Don't make us punt again.' Then we kind of laughed about it, and I was like: I'm serious.' He's like, Oh.' No pressure rookie, but I don't want to punt again."

Sharks' Marleau strengthens his case for Hall of Fame with career night

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Sharks' Marleau strengthens his case for Hall of Fame with career night

Whether Sharks all-time leading scorer Patrick Marleau is worthy of the Hockey Hall of Fame is a subject that can be hotly debated in sports bars throughout North America.

Monday’s performance in Colorado gave some major ammo to the side that argues in his favor.

Marleau had one of the greatest single game performances of his 19-year career, scoring four goals – all in the third period – of the Sharks’ 5-2 win over the Avalanche. 

How rare is four goals in a single period? It’s happened just 12 times, the most recent of which was Mario Lemieux on Jan. 26, 1997 at Montreal, according to Elias. Just five months later, a teenage Marleau would be drafted by the Sharks with the second overall pick.

Marleau spoke with NBCSN and CSN analyst Bret Hedican after the game.

“Everything seemed to click there in the third,” he said. “Some really good plays from a lot of different players. Was able to finish them off.”

What seemed to spark Marleau was a line change by coach Pete DeBoer to start the final frame, after the Sharks had managed just four shots in the second period, and 13 through 40 minutes. Marleau was taken off of the Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski line, and put on the left side of the Logan Couture line, with Mikkel Boedker on the other wing.

Boedker’s hard work in getting the puck to the point resulted in Marleau redirecting a hard Marc-Edouard Vlasic pass to the front of the net to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead they would not relinquish.

He scored three more from there: a wraparound, a two-on-one with Pavelski, and a breakaway.

Switching lines is not unfamiliar to Marleau, who has played up and down the Sharks lineup this season after spending most of last season as the third line center.

“I play a bunch of different positions. Over the years you get a little experience and you know how to handle those situations,” Marleau said of his versatility. “It was a fun period.”

Vlasic said: “He was everywhere in the first two periods, and all of a sudden he exploded in the third. … He’s fast, he’s skilled. There’s a reason he can score four.”

Marleau’s second goal of the night was the game-winner, and even that was a bit historic. It was his 96th career game-winning goal, and he’s now tied for 10th all-time in that category with Mats Sundin (courtesy Darin Stephens). He is already one of just three players to have a game-winning goal against 29 other teams (Sundin, Brendan Shanahan), after getting one against Philadelphia on Dec. 30.

Four of Marleau’s five career hat tricks have come on the road, including his most recent one, also at Colorado on Nov. 20, 2011. He is just the third Sharks player to record four goals in a game, joining Owen Nolan and Tomas Hertl, and is the first to do it in a single period.

Marleau now sits just three goals from 500 in his career. Reaching that milestone seemed like a tossup to start the year, but now it’s virtually inevitable that he’ll become just the 45th player to reach that lofty mark before the end of the season.

He remains, of course, the Sharks’ all-time leader in games played (1459) and points (1059).

It all adds up to a few extra strides towards that hockey cathedral in downtown Toronto.

Jazz finally explain how a team and city should co-exist, but rarely do

Jazz finally explain how a team and city should co-exist, but rarely do

Despite the planetary systems of evidence to the contrary, sometimes a sports owner understands the duties and responsibilities of the job and foolishly (read: admirably) acts in accordance with them.
 
In other words, there are more than a hundred owners across North America looking at Gail Miller and wondering if she is (a) nuts, (b) dangerous, (c) evil, or (d) all the above, with oak leaf clusters.
 
Gail Miller owns the Utah Jazz, having taken the basketball team over upon the death of her husband Larry in 2009, and will do so until she turns it over to a legacy trust of family members who will be required by contract to reinvest any and all profits generated by the NBA franchise back into the care and upkeep of the team (h/t Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune).
 
That is, as opposed to turning the profits into a bank for the family, or a way to get rich before selling the franchise to someone who moves it to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland or Zagreb.
 
In other words, she has set up a system by which the team will almost surely stay in Salt Lake City for decades to come, as opposed to playing arena blackmail, city blackmail or other kinds of popular ownerly games. No whining, no sniveling, no milking the citizens without their consent – why, by modern ownership standards, this is a scandal.
 
All because of an antiquated notion she clings to despite all rationality – the right thing to do.
 
Compare and contrast the events in our own local burgs, and shake your head in admiration.
 
In fairness, there are tax advantages for her and her family in doing this, and the bar for decency is so low that getting tax breaks for not doing something despicable seems like an entirely equitable deal.
 
Nevertheless, her decision to keep the team (a) in the family and (b) in the city where they reside is such a stunning development that it took more than a year of fevered negotiations with the NBA to make sure that what she chose to do would meet with the league’s approval.
 
“We worked with the NBA for probably more than 12 months trying to put together a package that satisfied the NBA's needs for financial covenants, eventual opportunities for participation in management and the governance,” team president Dennis Haslam said. “It took a long time, but we got there.”
 
Larry and Gail Miller bought the Jazz for  $22 million 30 years ago, which are currently valued at a hair beneath $900 million. In other words, the family has done reasonably well by the city, and the city by the family. And the annual profits are more than sufficient to keep everyone living in spectacular comfort.

But what she has done is introduce a foreign concept to modern wealth. Enough money for everyone.

“The Jazz are not our family's team,” son Steve Miller kind of fibbed, because it remains the family’s team. “They are a community asset. They are the Utah Jazz.”
 
Even allowing for the discordant nickname that has endured for those 30 years, again despite all logic, the Jazz have finally explained what the relationship between a team and its town ought to be, and almost never is. Owners long ago decided that their teams were theirs and only theirs, and the fans to whom they pay lip service in exchange for all the money their fans pay them have come to know that love unrequited is just a scam with free T-shirts.
 
The people of St. Louis, San Diego, Oakland and whoever is next in the discard bin have discovered that loving a team is typically an act of misplaced faith.
 
But Salt Lake City got the right owner, one who knows what the true debt really is, and how best to repay it. Gail Miller is not a hero, but she is someone who gets how sports is supposed to work, which is frankly a much rarer thing than mere heroism.
 
If she drinks, she’s earned one – even if all she did was momentarily shame her financial compatriots by showing the kind of loyalty that usually ends up only going the other way.