NHL: Players can start voluntary group workouts next week

NHL: Players can start voluntary group workouts next week
By STEPHEN WHYNO AP Hockey Writer
The NHL cleared the way for players to return to practice rinks next week and firmed up its playoff format even as a ninth player tested positive for the coronavirus. Teams can reopen facilities and players can take part in voluntary workouts starting Monday. It’s another step toward hockey returning this summer. Earlier in the day, the league announced every playoff series will be a best-of-seven after the qualifying round and teams will be re-seeded along the way instead of bracketing. That news came on the heels of the Pittsburgh Penguins revealing one of their players tested positive for the coronavirus and has recovered from COVID-19. That brings the total of NHL players testing positive to nine.

NASCAR announces another wave of races through August

NASCAR announces another wave of races through August
By JENNA FRYER AP Auto Racing Writer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR’s All-Star Race will be a midweek event on July 15 at Charlotte Motor Speedway as part of a new revision to the schedule that runs through the first weekend of August. The revisions involve Pocono Raceway and the speedways in Indianapolis, Kentucky, Texas, Kansas and New Hampshire. NASCAR made no mention of whether spectators will be allowed at any of the events but Indianapolis, Kentucky and Kansas all said their events would not have fans. NASCAR leadership has not been available for public comment since May 17.

Another win falls into Keselowski’s lap in final moments

Another win falls into Keselowski’s lap in final moments
By JENNA FRYER AP Auto Racing Writer
BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) — Brad Keselowski inherited his second win of the season when Chase Elliott and Joey Logano collided as they raced for the victory Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway. Keselowski was in third with a lap and a turn remaining when he lucked into his second victory in three Cup races. Logano had cleared Elliott for the lead with three laps remaining but Elliott was stalking him while seeking his second win in three days. They made contact in the fourth turn and drifted into the wall. Keselowski slid past for the win.

Chase Elliott ends week of misery with overdue Cup victory

Chase Elliott ends week of misery with overdue Cup victory
By JENNA FRYER AP Auto Racing Writer
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Chase Elliott ended a week of miserable finishes with an overdue Cup victory.  Elliott raced to his first win of the season Thursday night in the rain-postponed event at Charlotte Motor Speedway to close a frantic 12 days for NASCAR. The event marked the fourth Cup race since the series resumed racing May 17 and Elliott had two frustrating losses in that span. There was little suspense in this one for Elliott, who reeled in Kevin Harvick with 27 laps remaining and closed out the victory. Elliott also won the Truck Series race Tuesday night at Charlotte.

Fitzpatrick: modified schedule could benefit Steelers

Fitzpatrick: modified schedule could benefit Steelers
By WILL GRAVES AP Sports Writer
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick thinks a potentially altered preseason schedule could benefit one of the league’s best defenses. The Steelers are returning 10 of 11 starters from a unit that finished fifth in the league in 2019. Fitzpatrick believes that continuity would be an advantage if the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts preparations for the 2020 regular season. Fitzpatrick says while he is missing the chance to hang out with his teammates during organized team activities, he believes the team will get up to speed quickly whenever players are allowed to get together.

Ex-Pirates infielder Kang banned 1 year by Korean league

Ex-Pirates infielder Kang banned 1 year by Korean league
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Korean Baseball Organization has suspended ex-Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang for a year and ordered him to perform 300 hours of community service over a series of historical drunk driving cases. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reports the suspension for Kang will come into effect when he joins a KBO team. He applied to come off the voluntarily retired list last week in a bid to return to the Korean league. Yonhap said the 33-year-old Kang was in the U.S. and didn’t attend Monday’s KBO disciplinary committee hearing. Kang was the first position player to jump directly from the KBO to the majors when he signed with Pittsburgh in 2015.

Keselowski wins 600 to extend Johnson’s losing streak

Keselowski wins 600 to extend Johnson’s losing streak
By JENNA FRYER AP Auto Racing Writer
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Brad Keselowski extended Jimmie Johnson’s losing streak to 102 races by holding off the seven-time NASCAR champion in overtime early Monday in the Coca-Cola 600. Keselowski started in the back of the field, worked his way to the front at Charlotte Motor Speedway and gambled in not pitting when caution stopped Chase Elliott from winning with two laps remaining. Elliott pitted and Keselowski led a train of eight cars that stayed on the track. He lined up in front of Alex Bowman on the inside line with Johnson on the bottom ahead of Keselowski teammate Ryan Blaney. Keselowski got the push to get into clean air and denied Johnson a victory.

NASCAR grabs much-needed momentum in return to live racing

NASCAR grabs much-needed momentum in return to live racing
By JENNA FRYER AP Auto Racing Writer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR needed a makeover even before it got a chance to stand alone in the sporting world spotlight. The largest motorsports series in the U.S. had been planning sweeping changes for 2021 in hopes of creating improved energy, new viewers and a fresh approach to a staid schedule. The coronavirus pandemic put those plans on pause and NASCAR is now frantically trying to recover from a 10-week layoff. So far, the stock car series is succeeding. After three races in South Carolina, NASCAR shifts to Charlotte Motor Speedway riding a wave of momentum behind solid on-track competition.

Jerry Sloan, Jazz Great & Hall Of Fame Coach, Dies At 78

The Hall of Fame basketball coach Jerry Sloan has died. His death was announced by the Utah Jazz, the team he took to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998. The Jazz say he died Friday from complications related to Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia. Sloan spent 23 seasons coaching the Jazz, and the team finished below .500 in only one of those years. Sloan won 1,221 games in his career, the fourth-highest total in NBA history. Jerry Sloan was 78 years old.

Cubs Institute Pay Cuts, Pirates Announce Furloughs

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates are trimming payroll while they await word on the fate of the Major League Baseball season. The Cubs are instituting pay cuts because of the coronavirus crisis, but there will be no furloughs through the end of June. The Pirates announced Thursday they are instituting furloughs for several employees in business operations beginning on June 1. A person with direct knowledge of the situation says the Cubs’ pay cuts were based on compensation. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein and president of business operations Crane Kenney took the highest reductions.