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Rowdies face difficult MLS schedule in Suncoast Invitational

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The Tampa Bay Rowdies are serious about joining the MLS. So serious, in fact, they’re giving themselves a taste during the 2017 Suncoast Invitational. The Rowdies are in a field with five MSL teams, including league runner-up Toronto. Montreal was the Eastern Conference runner-up. In addition, the tournament includes D.C. United, the Philadelphia Union and the Chicago Fire. Four of the five MLS teams in this year’s edition of the Rowdies Suncoast Invitational qualified for the 2016 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. Along…

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This time, Lightning loses in overtime after a comeback

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One step up, one step back. The Tampa Bay Lightning, one night after one of their most impressive overtime victories over Montreal, had a second straight comeback blunted in an overtime loss to Toronto. This time, they fell to the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-2. The Bolts came from a 2-0 deficit to tie Thursday night’s game, but lost when Valterri Filppula was called for goaltender interference, setting up the team’s winning power play. Nazem Kadri scored from in-close for the…

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MLB players police unwritten rules for acceptable conduct

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Hall of Famer Joe Morgan knows that for more than a century, baseball players have policed themselves. Like it or not. Seven months after Jose Bautista‘s famous bat flip against Texas in the AL playoffs, he got hit by the Rangers and responded with a hard takeout slide that led to a brawl Sunday. “If you were willing to show the other team up and to do that, then you’ve got to be willing to take what goes with it,”…

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Rays strand eight more runners in loss to Toronto Blue Jays

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The Tampa Bay Rays have been stranded. Pretty much, that sums up the team’s 6-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays Friday night.  The Rays drove in only one of nine runners in scoring position, and they’ve driven in only one of 26 on the homestand. “We’re going to get going offensively. We just didn’t,” manager Kevin Cash said. “Hopefully, we’ll turn it around. We know we’re better than what we’ve done the last couple of nights offensively. The guys…

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Panthers take first place from Lightning in Atlantic Division

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First place slipped away from the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday night. The Lightning, ahead by percentage points coming into the game, lost the most important game of its rivalry with the Florida Panthers Saturday night. Playing on its second consecutive night, and its first game without defenseman Anton Stralman, the Lightning lost 5-2 to the Panthers. Tampa Bay scored first but gave up four straight goals to lose. Tyler Johnson and Steven Stamkos scored for the Bolts, both on the…

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Even with trade deadline, Steven Stamkos unlikely to leave

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Forecast: silence. Yes, the NHL trade deadline is now less than two weeks away. And the world’s slowest negotiations, between the Lightning and Steven Stamkos, still isn’t complete. So could moving him be an eventuality for the Lightning? Probably not. Even if Stamkos ends up somewhere else, it isn’t likely to happen quickly. Stamkos has a no-trade clause in his contract, which means he doesn’t have to go anywhere if he doesn’t want. Besides, the team is on the fringes of…

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French players work through heavy hearts after Paris attacks

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Pelicans center Alexis Ajinca admitted he had a hard time focusing on basketball Friday night. The Saint-Etienne, France native was worried about the safety of his family in Paris, where terrorist attacks killed at least 120 people. He didn’t get confirmation they were all safe until after New Orleans’ 100-81 loss at Toronto, and he was especially concerned for a cousin who was at the soccer friendly rocked by the sound of nearby explosions. “It’s just a crazy world. You…

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