Items filtered by date: Monday, 12 June 2017

Montana's Gianforte Pleads Guilty, Won't Serve Jail Time In Assault On Journalist

Republican Greg Gianforte speaks to supporters at a May 25 election night party in Bozeman, Mont., after being declared the winner.

Janie Osborne/Getty Images


by /NPR


Montana representative-elect Greg Gianforte pleaded guilty Monday to a charge of misdemeanor assault after body-slamming a reporter from The Guardian on the eve of Gianforte's election to the U.S. House.

He received a six-month deferred sentence and will serve no jail time.

Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs was asking Gianforte a question on May 24 when the Republican candidate threw him to the ground.

"A Gallatin County judge sentenced Gianforte to 40 hours of community service, 20 hours of anger management classes and a $300 fine," Montana Public Radio's Eric Whitney reports.

According to Whitney Bermes, a reporter for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the judge initially gave Gianforte four days in jail, where under the terms of a jail work program he would be able to spend two of those days working.

However, after consulting with prosecution and defense lawyers, the judge changed the initial sentence minutes later, Bermes reported: "NO jail time for Gianforte. But has to do 40 hours of community service, 20 hours anger management."

In Montana, the maximum penalty for misdemeanor assault is a $500 fine and six months in jail, as Montana Public Radio's Corin Cates-Carney reported.

"When you make a mistake, you have to take full responsibility," Gianforte told reporters. "That's what I've done today and you know, I look forward to putting this behind me."

The Two-Way has previously described how the incident unfolded:

"On the eve of a May 25 special election for the House in Montana, Gianforte was about to do a television interview when Jacobs asked a question about congressional Republicans' health care plan when — as captured in an audio recording — Gianforte physically attacked him. Jacobs is heard on the recording saying the candidate had body-slammed him and broken his glasses.

"A spokesman for Gianforte issued a statement saying Jacobs, brandishing a cellphone, interrupted an interview and badgered the candidate with questions, and that Gianforte reacted by attempting 'to grab the phone that was pushed in his face.' ...

"[However,] as we reported, three Fox News reporters who were in the room preparing for the interview with Gianforte confirmed that the candidate 'grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground ... then began punching the reporter.' "

The representative-elect entered the plea days after reaching a deal with Jacobs, which involved an apology from Gianforte and a donation of $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists in exchange for Jacobs agreeing not to file a lawsuit.

Part of the deal was that Jacobs wouldn't object if Gianforte entered a plea of "no contest," which would not formally be admitting guilt.

In a statement to the court, Jacobs said he hoped the sentencing would send a message about the "important role of the free press and the need to help heal our political system." He adds:

"While I have no doubt that actions like these were an aberration for Congressman-elect Gianforte personally, I worry that, in the context of our political debate, they have become increasingly common. In recent years, our discourse has grown increasingly rancorous and increasingly vile. This needs to stop."

Montana Public Radio's Whitney adds that after the assault on Jacobs, "state and national Democratic Party officials called on Gianforte to resign the U.S. House seat he won." His swearing-in date has not yet been set.

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Trump’s Cabinet, With a Prod, Extols the ‘Blessing’ of Serving Him




WASHINGTON — One by one, they praised President Trump, taking turns complimenting his integrity, his message, his strength, his policies. Their leader sat smiling, nodding his approval.

“The greatest privilege of my life is to serve as vice president to the president who’s keeping his word to the American people,” Mike Pence said, starting things off.

“I am privileged to be here — deeply honored — and I want to thank you for your commitment to the American workers,” said Alexander Acosta, the secretary of labor.

Sonny Perdue, the agriculture secretary, had just returned from Mississippi and had a message to deliver. “They love you there,” he offered, grinning across the antique table at Mr. Trump.

Continue reading the main story

Reince Priebus, the chief of staff whose job insecurity has been the subject of endless speculation, outdid them all, telling the president — and the assembled news cameras — “We thank you for the opportunity and the blessing to serve your agenda.”

So it went on Monday in the Cabinet Room of the White House, as Mr. Trump transformed a routine meeting of senior members of his government into a mood-boosting, ego-stroking display of support for himself and his agenda. While the president never explicitly asked to be praised, Mr. Pence set the worshipful tone, and Mr. Trump made it clear he liked what he heard.

“Thank you, Mick,” he told Mick Mulvaney, his budget director. “Good job,” he told Scott Pruitt, his E.P.A. chief. “Very good, Daniel,” he said to Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence.

The commander in chief, who has been known for decades as a fan of flattery and who speaks of himself in superlatives, even indulged in a bit of self-congratulation. He declared himself one of the most productive presidents in American history — perhaps Franklin D. Roosevelt could come close, he conceded — and proclaimed that he had led a “record-setting pace” of accomplishment.

Never mind that Mr. Trump has yet to sign any major legislation, or that his White House has been buffeted by legal and ethical questions surrounding the investigation into his campaign’s possible links to Russia and his firing of the F.B.I. director who had been leading that inquiry.

The highly unusual spectacle before the cabinet meeting got down to business and the TV cameras were banished seemed designed to deflect attention from the president’s faltering agenda and the accusations leveled against him last week by the fired F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, which are threatening to further overshadow his agenda and haunt his presidency.

Days before, Mr. Comey had charged that Mr. Trump had lied about his firing and inappropriately sought to influence the Russia investigation. On Monday, the president said the country was “seeing amazing results” from his leadership.

“I will say that never has there been a president, with few exceptions — in the case of F.D.R. he had a major Depression to handle — who’s passed more legislation, who’s done more things than what we’ve done,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ve been about as active as you can possibly be, and at a just about record-setting pace.”

The tableau in the Cabinet Room drew instant derision from critics. And within hours, Democrats had pounced.

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Trump travel ban dealt another blow, faces high court next


SEATTLE — Another U.S. appeals court stomped on President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban Monday, saying the administration violated federal immigration law and failed to provide a valid reason for keeping people from six mostly Muslim nations from coming to the country.

The decision by a unanimous three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals helps keep the travel ban blocked and deals Trump a second big legal defeat on the policy in less than three weeks.

The administration said it would seek further review at the U.S. Supreme Court, as it has already done with a ruling against the travel ban by another appeals court last month. The high court is likely to consider the cases in tandem.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions insisted the new decision would harm national security — an argument the judges rejected.

“The executive branch is entrusted with the responsibility to keep the country safe under Article II of the Constitution,” Sessions said in a written statement. “Unfortunately, this injunction prevents the president from fully carrying out his Article II duties and has a chilling effect on security operations overall.”


Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin, who sued to stop the travel ban, said the 9th Circuit ruling “really shows that we have three branches of government and that there are checks and balances. ... So to me, this is everything that we learned in social studies in high school just coming to play exactly the way it should.”

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia last month found the 90-day ban unconstitutional, saying it was “steeped in animus and directed at a single religious group” rather than necessary for national security. It cited the president’s campaign statements calling for a “total and complete shutdown” on Muslims entering the U.S.

The 9th Circuit, which heard arguments in Seattle last month in Hawaii’s challenge to the ban, found no need to analyze those statements. It ruled based on immigration law, not the Constitution.

“Immigration, even for the president, is not a one-person show,” the judges said, adding: “National security is not a ‘talismanic incantation’ that, once invoked, can support any and all exercise of executive power.”

Judges Michael Hawkins, Ronald Gould and Richard Paez — all appointed by President Bill Clinton — said the travel ban violated immigration law by discriminating against people based on their nationality when it comes to issuing visas and by failing to demonstrate that their entry would hurt American interests.

The president’s order did not tie citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen to terrorist organizations or identify them as contributors to “active conflict,” the court said. It also did not provide any link between their nationality and their propensity to commit terrorism.

“In short, the order does not provide a rationale explaining why permitting entry of nationals from the six designated countries under current protocols would be detrimental to the interests of the United States,” the ruling said.


The judges pointed to a June 5 tweet by Trump saying the order was aimed at “dangerous countries.” That helped show he was not assessing whether the six countries had ties to terrorism, they said.

The White House predicted a win at the Supreme Court.

“Frankly, I think any lawyer worth their salt 100 percent agrees that the president’s fully within his rights and his responsibilities to do what is necessary to protect the country,” spokesman Sean Spicer said.

Trump’s suspension of the U.S. refugee program also remains blocked. The 9th Circuit said he was required to consult with Congress in setting the number of refugees allowed into the country in a given year and that he could not decrease it midyear. The refugee program is not at issue in the 4th Circuit case.

The president issued the executive order after the initial version caused chaos and protests at airports and was blocked by a Seattle judge and a different three-judge 9th Circuit panel. The new version was designed to better withstand legal scrutiny and spelled out more of a national security rationale.

Several states and civil rights groups challenged the revised ban, saying it remained rooted in discrimination and exceeded the president’s authority.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii blocked the new version in March, citing what he called “significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus” in Trump’s campaign statements.

The 9th Circuit narrowed Watson’s ruling in some minor ways, allowing the administration to conduct an internal review of its vetting procedures for refugees and visa applicants.


Thanawala reported from San Francisco. Associated Press writers Mark Sherman in Washington, D.C. and Jennifer Sinco Kelleher in Honolulu contributed to this report.


This story has been corrected to show Trump tweeted June 5, not June 6.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Dennis Rodman says he's in North Korea to 'open a door'


PYONGYANG, North Korea -- Dennis Rodman, the former NBA bad boy who has palled around with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, flew back to Pyongyang on Tuesday for the first time in Donald Trump's presidency.

He said he is "just trying to open a door" on a mission that he thinks his former "Celebrity Apprentice" boss would support.

Rodman, one of the few people to know both of the nuclear-armed leaders, sported a black T-shirt advertising a marijuana cybercurrency as he talked to reporters briefly before his flight from Beijing to the North Korean capital.

Asked if he had spoken to Trump about his trip, he said, "Well, I'm pretty sure he's pretty much happy with the fact that I'm over here trying to accomplish something that we both need."

Rodman has received the red-carpet treatment on four past trips since 2013, but has been roundly criticized for visiting during a time of high tensions between the U.S. and North Korea over its weapons programs.

His entourage included Joseph Terwilliger, a professor who has accompanied Rodman on previous trips to North Korea.

Rodman said the issue of several Americans currently detained by North Korea is "not my purpose right now."

In Tokyo, a visiting senior U.S. official said Rodman's trip is as a private citizen.

"We are aware of his visit. We wish him well, but we have issued travel warnings to Americans and suggested they not travel to North Korea for their own safety," U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon told reporters after discussing the North Korean missile threat and other issues with Japanese counterparts.

In 2014, Rodman arranged a basketball game with other former NBA players and North Koreans and regaled leader Kim Jong Un with a rendition of "Happy Birthday." On the same trip, he suggested that an American missionary was at fault for his own imprisonment in North Korea, remarks for which he later apologized.

A foreign ministry official who spoke to The Associated Press in Pyongyang confirmed Rodman's visit was expected but did not provide details. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the ministry had not issued a formal statement.

Any visit to North Korea by a high-profile American is a political minefield, and Rodman has been criticized for failing to use his influence on leaders who are otherwise isolated diplomatically from the rest of the world.

Americans are regarded as enemies in North Korea because the two countries never signed a peace treaty to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War. Thousands of U.S. troops are based in South Korea, and the Demilitarized Zone between the North and South is one of the most heavily fortified borders in the world.

A statement issued in New York by a Rodman publicist said the former NBA player is in the rare position of being friends with the leaders of both North Korea and the United States. Rodman was a cast member on two seasons of Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice."

Rodman tweeted that his trip was being sponsored by Potcoin, one of a growing number of cybercurrencies used to buy and sell marijuana in state-regulated markets.

North Korea has been hailed by marijuana news outlets and British tabloids as a pothead paradise and maybe even the next Amsterdam of pot tourism. But the claim that marijuana is legal in North Korea is not true: The penal code lists it as a controlled substance in the same category as cocaine and heroin.

Americans have been sentenced to years in North Korean prisons for such seemingly minor offenses as stealing a political banner and likely could not expect leniency if the country's drug laws were violated.


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Trump friend floats possibility of firing special counsel in Russian probe

by John Wagner/The Washington Post


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A friend of Donald Trump on Monday raised the politically explosive possibility that the president could take action to fire Robert S. Mueller III, the recently appointed special counsel tasked with looking into Russian meddling in last year’s election and potential collusion with the Trump campaign.

“I think he’s considering perhaps terminating the special counsel,” Christopher Ruddy said during an appearance on PBS’s “NewsHour.”  “I think he’s weighing that option.”

Ruddy, who is chief executive of Newsmax Media and a member of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., confirmed his view in a text message to The Washington Post but did not elaborate. Ruddy told PBS that he thinks it would be “a very significant mistake” for Trump to seek Mueller’s termination.

Ruddy was at the White House on Monday but did not meet with the president, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said.

“Chris Ruddy speaks for himself,” Spicer said.

Ruddy appears to have based his assessment on public comments made over the weekend by a member of Trump’s personal legal team.

During a Sunday television appearance on ABC News' “This Week,” Jay Sekulow said he was “not going to speculate” on whether the president might order the firing of Mueller. But Sekulow added that he “can't imagine the issue is going to arise.”

On PBS on Monday, Ruddy said that Trump’s consideration of moving to fire Mueller was “pretty clear by what one of his lawyers said on television recently.”

Trump does have the authority to remove the special counsel. Muller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and Trump could order Rosenstein to fire Mueller or he could order that regulations that govern the appointment be repealed and then fire Mueller himself.

Such an action, though, would be politically perilous at a time when some Trump critics are already accusing him of obstruction of justice in the wake of his firing of former FBI director James B. Comey. Former president Richard Nixon's attempt to remove a special prosecutor during his tenure led to the resignations of two top Justice Department officials amid the Watergate scandal.

The prospect floated by Ruddy puts Rosenstein in an awkward position. He is scheduled to testify before two congressional hearings Tuesday and is likely to face even more pointed questions about the Russia probe and the independence of the Justice Department in light of Ruddy's comments.


Video link: Attorney General Jeff Sessions will face questions in a public testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 13.


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Jeff Sessions personally asked Congress to let him prosecute medical marijuana providers

by Christopher Ingraham/The Washington Post


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Attorney General Jeff Sessions is asking congressional leaders to undo federal medical marijuana protections that have been in place since 2014, according to a May letter that became public Monday.

The protections, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, prohibit the Justice Department from using federal funds to prevent certain states "from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana."

In his letter, first obtained by Tom Angell of and verified independently by The Washington Post, Sessions argued that the amendment would "inhibit [the Justice Department's] authority to enforce the Controlled Substances Act." He continues:

I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime. The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.

Sessions's citing of a "historic drug epidemic" to justify a crackdown on medical marijuana is at odds with what researchers know about current drug use and abuse in the United States. The epidemic Sessions refers to involves deadly opiate drugs, not marijuana. A growing body of research (acknowledged by the National Institute on Drug Abuse) has shown that opiate deaths and overdoses actually decrease in states with medical marijuana laws on the books.

That research strongly suggests that cracking down on medical marijuana laws, as Sessions requested, could perversely make the opiate epidemic even worse.

In an email, John Hudak of the Brookings Institution characterized the letter's arguments as a "scare tactic" that  "could appeal to rank-and-file members or to committee chairs in Congress in ways that could threaten the future of this Amendment."

Under PresidentBarack Obama, the Justice Department also sought to undermine the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment. It circulated misleading talking points among Congress to influence debate over the measure, and it attempted to enforce the amendment in a way that "defies language and logic," "tortures the plain meaning of the statute" and is "at odds with fundamental notions of the rule of law," in the ruling of a federal judge.

The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment has significant bipartisan support in Congress. Medical marijuana is incredibly popular with voters overall. A Quinnipiac poll conducted in April found it was supported by 94 percent of the public. Nearly three-quarters of voters said they disapprove of the government enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized it either medically or recreationally.

Through a spokesman, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R.-Calif.) said that "Mr. Sessions stands athwart an overwhelming majority of Americans and even, sadly, against veterans and other suffering Americans who we now know conclusively are helped dramatically by medical marijuana."

Advocates have been closely watching the Trump administration for any sign of how it might tackle the politically complex issue of marijuana legalization. Candidate Trump had offered support of state-level medical marijuana regulations, including the notion that states should be free to do what they want on the policy. But Sessions's letter, with its explicit appeal to allow the Justice Department to go after medical marijuana providers, appears to undermine that support.

The letter, along with a signing statement from President Trump indicating some skepticism of medical marijuana protections, "should make everyone openly question whether candidate Trump's rhetoric and the White House's words on his support for medical marijuana was actually a lie to the American public on an issue that garners broad, bipartisan support," said Hudak of the Brookings Institution.


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Jones and Shaw crowned 2017 Rapha Nocturne London Elite Criterium winners

An action-packed day of racing on the streets of the City of London

JLT Condor’s Brenton Jones was crowned 2017 men’s elite criterium winner at the Rapha Nocturne London on Saturday night as Drops Cycling’s Lucy Shaw emerged victorious in the women’s event. Finishing in a time of 36:28.484, Jones led home a JLT one-two as teammate Graham Briggs crossed the line in second, 0.150 seconds behind. Third place on the podium was taken by 2014 winner Tobyn Horton of Madison Genesis, who finished 0.354 seconds behind the winner. Click here for the Elite Mens race reuslts. 

In the women’s elite criterium, Shaw took the title in a time of 36:52.997, 0.257 seconds ahead of Storey Racinu Neah Evans. Elizabeth-Jane Harris took third, crossing the line 0.28 seconds after her Storey Racing teammate. Click here for the JLT Womens race reuslts.


Briggs and Evans lead the Rapha Nocturne Series standings heading to the second leg in Copenhagen on August 19.

The men’s and women’s elite races concluded an action-packed day of racing in the City of London, with penny farthing, folding bike and fixed gear among the many races to take place in the shadow of the city’s iconic St Paul’s Cathedral.

Men’s elite winner Jones said: “It was a race we wanted to win as a team. To win and get second with Graham Briggs is a great result.

“I started pretty far back and I didn’t get to the top five until about a kilometre to go but I paced it smart, I kept my cool all race and knew when I needed to get to the front and got the job done in the end.

“My teammates rode really well at the front and kept a nice lead out for me in the finish.”


Women’s elite winner Shaw said: “I’m really happy with that. It was straight off from the go, I was on the back foot.

“My teammate bridged across and I sat tight for a bit. We formed a really good group together and I had a really good lead out from my teammates at the end, so I was pleased with that.

“I was confident that could do well, but I knew the competition was going to be really fierce.”


Rapha Nocturne Women's Elite

Images from the Women’s Elite Race during the Rapha Nocturne taking place at the Square Mile in the heart of London


The Rapha Nocturne London is part of a World Criterium Series with the next leg in Copenhagen, on August 19. For more information and to buy tickets go to

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation, said: “We are proud to host an event of such magnitude in the Square Mile.

“The Rapha Nocturne not only brings together athletes but visitors from around the world, to the heart of London, in an impressive show of the diversity of the City of London.”


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Tour de Suisse: Sagan comes close to 14th career stage win World champion has to settle for second to Matthews in Bern



A stage winner in Bern at last year's Tour de France, world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) had to settle for second place behind Michael Matthews on stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse. Since 2011, Sagan has won at least one stage of the WorldTour stage race and holds the race record with 13 stage wins.

The aggressive finale of the stage saw Trek-Segafredo take control on the uphill run with Sagan comfortable in the first few wheels. AG2R-La Mondiale's Domenico Pozzovivo caused a further selection of the fast men inside the final kilometre as he pushed the pace but couldn't drop the likes of Sagan, Matthews or John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo).

Team Sunweb's Nikias Arndt took control of the finale as he dragged Matthews to the head of the reduced peloton with the Australian then finishing off of the sprint to claim the win. Against the barriers on the right-hand side of the road, Sagan had to settle for second place but hasn't given up on extending his winning run as he explained.

"It was another tough stage at the Tour de Suisse, with a hectic finale on a hot day. The squad perfectly executed the plan we had in the morning," said Sagan, who was eighth on stage 2. "My sensations were good and I gave it my best, but unfortunately in the final sprint, I got closed and took second. We will try again in the coming days."

Bora-Hansgrohe director Jan Valach added that he was happy with how the team rode the stage and ensured the sprint final despite the tough parcours. Valach explained that the team is likely to give Sagan a day off for stage 4 due to the hard finish in Villars-sur-Ollon.

"The squad worked really well today. The plan was to let just a small group break away, and this is what took place. Juraj Sagan pulled at the front, together with BMC, then Maciej Bodnar put in a solid effort and we reeled in the escapees with less than 15km to go," Valach said. "They positioned Peter at the front in the final kilometre but he was pipped on the line by Matthews. Tomorrow we have a short stage for the climbers, with a climb and then a summit finish, and we will try our best with Patrick Konrad and Jay McCarthy."

Sagan will have several more opportunities to add to his haul of Suisse wins and fine tune his winning form ahead of next month's Tour de France. Sagan is aiming to continue his green jersey winning streak and equal Erik Zabel's record of six consecutive victories in the sprint 

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The five most controversial calls in Stanley Cup Final history


On Sunday night in Nashville, Kevin Pollock was welcomed into an exclusive and very unwelcome fraternity -- the NHL Zebra Haters' Club.

He joins esteemed members like Leon Stickle, Kerry Fraser, Bill McCreary and Stephen Walkom, each of whom was inducted into the club following controversial, series-altering calls that helped shape the outcome of a Stanley Cup Final.

And while their names may never be etched onto the Stanley Cup, their infamous contributions will nonetheless be part of its lore.

So, without further ado, here are the five most controversial (some might say "egregious") calls in Stanley Cup Final history:

No. 5: Marty McSorley's stick measurement in Game 2 of the 1993 finals

Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings had a 1-0 lead and were 1:45 away from taking a commanding 2-0 lead in their series against the Montreal Canadiens when Habs coach Jacques Demers called a timeout and asked referees for a measurement of McSorley's stick.

Fraser skated to the Kings' bench, pulled out a measuring device and determined that McSorley's stick had an illegal curve, warranting a two-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. Demers pulled goaltender Patrick Roy to create a 6-on-4 power play, and Canadiens defenseman Eric Desjardins scored the tying goal just 32 seconds later to send the game into overtime.

Desjardins netted the game winner 51 seconds into overtime to give the Canadiens a 2-1 win -- the first of four consecutive victories for Montreal. Years later, McSorley said the Canadiens' equipment staff had wheeled the Kings' stick rack into their locker room to measure for illegal curves.

No. 4: No offside call in Game 6 of the 1980 finals

The New York Islanders entered Game 6 against the Philadelphia Flyers with a 3-2 series lead and an opportunity to become the second NHL expansion team to win the Stanley Cup.

With the score tied at 1 in the first period, Islanders forward Duane Sutter beat goaltender Pete Peeters on a cross-ice feed from Butch Goring, giving the Isles a 2-1 lead with 5:52 remaining.

Replays clearly showed that when Clark Gillies entered the offensive zone and dropped the puck back to Goring, the puck left the offensive zone into neutral ice, after which Goring brought the puck back over the blue line. Linesman Leon Stickle waved the pass clean.

Although the Flyers twice rallied to tie the score, the Islanders clinched their first of four consecutive Stanley Cups with Bob Nystrom's goal 7:11 into overtime. After the game, Stickle admitted he made the wrong call. He was vilified by fans every time he returned to Philadelphia.

No. 3: The quick whistle in Game 6 of the 2017 finals

In front of a raucous crowd at Bridgestone Arena (where they had gone 9-1 in the playoffs), the underdog Nashville Predators needed a win to send the series back to Pittsburgh for a seventh and deciding game.

With 1:07 gone in a scoreless second period, the Predators appeared to take a 1-0 lead when Filip Forsberg's shot squirted past Penguins goaltender Matt Murray and Preds forward Colton Sissons poked it into the open net.

Positioned to Murray's right in the far left corner of the offensive zone, Pollock was blocked from the action by the bodies of Forsberg and Penguins defenseman Trevor Daley. He blew the play dead, thinking Murray had smothered the puck. Pollock whistled the play dead about a second before Sissons celebrated what he thought was the game's first goal.

The game remained scoreless until the Penguins' Patric Hornqvist netted the game winner with 1:35 remaining in the third period, and Carl Hagelin finished off the Predators with an empty netter. After the game, Pollock reportedly apologized to Sissons for his mistake.

No. 2: Over the line in Game 6 of the 2004 finals

One win from clinching their second Stanley Cup in franchise history, the Calgary Flames thought they had taken a 3-2 lead against the Tampa Bay Lightning on a power-play goal by forward Martin Gelinas with 6:57 remaining in regulation.

Flames forward Oleg Saprykin raced the puck through all three zones and fired a shot on Tampa goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin that caromed off the netminder and onto the right skate of Gelinas. The puck ricocheted in the direction of Khabibulin and crossed the goal line before the goalie could kick the puck back out of harm's way.

Referees Bill McCreary and Stephen Walkom never saw the puck cross the line, nor did they seek out a video review. It was not revealed that Gelinas had actually scored until the following faceoff, when a television replay showed the puck clearly crossing the line.

The game spilled into overtime, where Martin St. Louis netted the winning shot 33 seconds in to send the series back to Tampa. The Lightning won their first Stanley Cup following a 2-1 Game 7 victory that was fueled by a pair of goals from Ruslan Fedotenko. Later it was revealed that Fraser was originally scheduled to work Game 6 in Calgary but was replaced after Calgary fans reacted angrily to Fraser's calls in Game 4.

No. 1: Skate in the crease in Game 6 of the 1999 finals

Dominik Hasek and the die-hard fans of the Buffalo Sabres will probably carry this one to their graves. The Sabres were facing the Stars in Buffalo with a chance to send the series back to Dallas for a seventh and deciding game. Hasek and Stars netminder Eddie Belfour put on a goaltending clinic, each allowing just one goal and forcing the game into a third overtime.

With 5:09 left in the third OT, Stars forward Brett Hull gained position in front of the net, took a pass from Jere Lehtinen and had his initial attempt stopped by Hasek. The puck careened out of the crease, but Hull kicked the puck back to his stick and deposited the game winner, prompting his teammates to spring from the bench and onto the ice in celebration.

But wait.

When Hull's shot crossed the goal line, the toe of his left skate was in the crease. At the time, the NHL rulebook (78-b) read:

Unless the puck is in the goal crease area, a player of the attacking side may not stand in the goal crease. If a player has entered the crease prior to the puck, and subsequently the puck should enter the net while such conditions prevail, the apparent goal shall not be allowed. If an attacking player has physically interfered with the goalkeeper, prior to or during the scoring of the goal, the goal shall be disallowed and a penalty for goalkeeper interference will be assessed. The ensuing face-off shall be taken in the neutral zone at the face-off spot nearest the attacking zone of the offending team.

The rule was put into effect to protect goaltenders, and referees Terry Gregson and Bill McCreary later contended that because Hull did not interfere with Hasek, his goal was allowed to stand. The NHL has since removed the rule, but that has not appeased the passionate fans in Buffalo, who are still seeking their first Stanley Cup.


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2017 MLB Draft: Six things you should know from the first round

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The first day of the three-day 2017 MLB amateur draft is in the books. A total of 75 picks were made Monday night. Here is our recap and analysis of the first round. Now here are six takeaways from Monday's draft action.

Twins do not buck history

Thanks to California high schooler Hunter Greene, it looked very possible that we would see a prep right-hander selected with the No. 1 pick for the first time in draft history this season. Greene, who also plays shortstop, was the consensus top prospect in the draft class according to the various scouting publications.

The Twins, however, did not buck history. They passed on Green and instead selected California high school shortstop/center fielder Royce Lewis with the No. 1 pick. Greene instead went to the Reds with the second overall pick. So still, no high school right-handed pitcher has ever been taken with the first overall pick in the MLB draft. We'll try again next year.

L.A. was well represented

Both Lewis (JSerra Catholic HS) and Greene (Notre Dame HS) are from Los Angeles area high schools, which means the first two picks of the 2017 draft hailed from SoCal.


The draft, of course, was first implemented in 1965. So Lewis and Greene are the first L.A. area players to be selected with the first and second picks in the same draft ever.

Virginia was well-represented too

A pair of Virginia hitters, Pavin Smith and Adam Haseley, were selected within the first 10 picks of the draft. Smith went seventh overall to the Diamondbacks and Haseley went eighth overall to the Phillies. It's been a while since two position players from the same college went in the top 10.


Ventura went on to long a very long and productive big league career. Monty Fariss ... did not.

The Rays took a true two-way player

Two-way players are all the rage in baseball nowadays. The Padres tried it with Christian Bethancourt, and now the Dodgers are trying it with outfielder Brett Eibner. A two-way player who can both hit and pitch seems pretty great! It's very hard to do though.

The Rays, however, will give it a shot with their first round pick, Louisville lefty/first baseman Brendan McKay. McKay was announced as a first baseman only during the draft broadcast, though that was wrong.


McKay was considered a top 10 talent both on the mound and at first base, so many folks were eager to see whether he'd be drafted as a pitcher or hitter. The Rays will let him try both. Here are his college stats:

  • As Pitcher: 31-10, 2.15 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 11.2 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 in 310 IP
  • As Hitter: .328/.432/.533 with 46 doubles and 27 home runs in 186 games

Tampa Bay is always willing to think outside the box, plus they have to continually look for value in unusual places given their shoestring payroll, so they'll try to develop McKay as both a pitcher and a hitter. Fun!

Two Little League champions were drafted


Video link: baseman Nick Pratto (Royals, 14th overall) and catcher Hagen Danner (Blue Jays, 61st overall) are longtime teammates who won a Little League World Series championship together back in 2011. Pratto, in fact, had the walk-off hit to beat Japan. Here's the video:


Pratto and Danner were also teammates at Huntington Beach High School in California. Now they're both day one draft picks. Perhaps one day Pratto will step up to the plate with the Royals while Danner is squatting behind the plate with the Blue Jays. That would be pretty cool. 

The Astros had a great day

Not only do the Astros own the best record in baseball, but they also had an excellent day one at the draft. First, they nabbed a consensus top 10 talent with their first round pick, No. 15 overall. The player, UNC righty J.B. Bukauskas, slipped for no apparent reason. He didn't float huge bonus demands or anything. Bukauskas was expected to go top 10, and instead Houston got him at No. 15. Lucky them.

On top of that, the Astros also had two extra picks Monday courtesy of the Cardinals and the hacking scandal. St. Louis had to send the 56th and 75th overall picks to Houston as compensation for the scandal. The 'Stros used those picks on Texas A&M righty Corbin Martin and Arizona second baseman J.J. Matijevic, two players who had a chance to be selected within the first 50 picks of the draft. So, on Monday, the Astros landed a top 10 talent in Bukauskas and two extra top 50 talents in Martin and Matijevic, both courtesy of the Cardinals. Not a bad day at the office.


  • Published in Sports
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