Patriots have varied plans for their time off

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Patriots have varied plans for their time off

FOXBORO -- With the bye week at hand, Patriots players have been afforded more time off than they've had all season. After today's practice, they won't have another until Tuesday of next week. For many, it's a chance to get away and decompress. For some others, it will be a chance to do extra work in preparation for the second half of the season.

Here are some of the things the Patriots have planned for their upcoming long weekend:

Tom Brady
Im not sure yet. I havent quite made any plans. Get a little rest, stay focused on what we have to do here and try to gear up for a really important next eight games of the year.

Stevan Ridley
I'll be down in Baton Rouge, watching the LSU-'Bama game, of course. I gotta get back and see my boys play and try to get this upset so I can come back and talk a little trash to Dont'a Hightower and Brandon Deaderick. I'll be right there in Baton Rouge . . . I'll probably be down on the sideline. Somewhere around. Not too far. I'm going down there to see my boys, man. I'm going back to see them and wish 'em luck. I'm with them out there on the field. I want them to get that win, like I said, so I can get back up here and talk a little bit . . . It's funny you get some time away and I'm going to another football game. I'm going back to my local high school game, then I'm gonna catch the LSU game, then I come on back. I'm leaving football to go to football. It's my life, man.

Steve Gregory
Right now getting healthy and being ready to play is the most important thing so I'll be around here . . . The season can be a grind. It's a long season. The bye week always comes, and it's good for guys to get away, get their mind off things a little bit. Even take a little trip, just get away from it for a little bit, but then get back, ready to play.

Tavon Wilson
I feel like a bye week is always good and I feel like ours came at the perfect time. Right in the middle of the season. I feel like it's perfect just to kind of relax, and kind of look at some things you've done wrong, some things you've done right and just try to build on those things . . . I'm definitely getting away. I'm gonna get away, relax a little bit and when I get back here next week then I'll be able to get ready for Buffalo.

Rob Ninkovich
I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to stay here, lay around, just kind of relax. Try and get myself back to feeling a little bit normal. Come next week, I'll be refreshed . . . You come in, get your lifts in, do the same things that you would do every other week. You just have a little bit more time to sleep in the morning so that you don't have to get up so early and so you don't have those long, 12-hour days . . . I'll probably sit down and watch some college games, the pro games as well. Obviously having the first chance to just kind of relax and watch a football game.

Brandon Spikes
Me personally, I'm still gonna be working. I wanna just be a professional. I wanna be the best at my position. I can't let a day get by. I'm definitely going to enjoy my family but at the same time, still trying to get the edge.

Bill Belichick
Well see how it goes. Right now were just trying to have a good day here today, take advantage of our day on the field with the players. We have some things that we definitely need to clean up after they leave going forward. Well just kind of take it day to day here and see how it goes.

STANLEY CUP FINALS: Guentzel's goal lifts Penguins by Predators 5-3 in Game 1

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STANLEY CUP FINALS: Guentzel's goal lifts Penguins by Predators 5-3 in Game 1

PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh rookie Jake Guentzel beat Nashville's Pekka Rinne with 3:17 left in regulation to put the Penguins ahead to stay in a 5-3 victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night.

Guentzel snapped an eight-game goalless drought to help the defending champions escape after blowing a three-goal lead.

Nick Bonino scored twice for the Penguins. Conor Sheary scored his first of the playoffs and Evgeni Malkin scored his eighth. The Penguins won despite putting just 12 shots on goal. Murray finished with 23 saves for the Penguins, who used the first coach's challenge in finals history to wipe out an early Nashville goal and held on despite going an astonishing 37:09 at one point without a shot.

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.

Ryan Ellis, Colton Sissons and Frederick Gaudreau scored for the Predators. Rinne stopped just seven shots.

The Penguins had all of three days to get ready for the final following a draining slog through the Eastern Conference that included a pair of Game 7 victories, the second a double-overtime thriller against Ottawa last Thursday.

Pittsburgh downplayed the notion it was fatigued, figuring adrenaline and a shot at making history would make up for any lack of jump while playing their 108th game in the last calendar year.

Maybe, but the Penguins looked a step behind at the outset. The Predators, who crashed the NHL's biggest stage for the first time behind Rinne and a group of talented defenseman, were hardly intimidated by the stakes, the crowd or the defending champions.

All the guys from the place dubbed "Smashville" have to show for it is their first deficit of the playoffs on a night a fan threw a catfish onto the ice to try and give the Predators a taste of home.

The Penguins, who led the league in scoring, stressed before Game 1 that the best way to keep the Predators at bay was by taking the puck and spending copious amounts of time around Rinne. It didn't happen, mostly because Nashville's forecheck pinned the Penguins in their own end. Clearing attempts were knocked down or outright swiped, tilting the ice heavily in front of Murray.

Yet Pittsburgh managed to build a quick 3-0 lead anyway thanks to a fortunate bounce and some quick thinking by Penguins video coordinator Andy Saucier. Part of his job title is to alert coach Mike Sullivan when to challenge a call. The moment came 12:47 into the first when P.K. Subban sent a slap shot by Murray that appeared to give the Predators the lead.

Sullivan used his coach's challenge, arguing Nashville forward Filip Forsberg was offside. A lengthy review indicated Forsberg's right skate was in the air as he brought the puck into a zone, a no-no.

It temporarily deflated Nashville and gave the Penguins all the wiggle room they needed to take charge.

Malkin scored on a 5-on-3 15:32 into the first, Sheary made it 2-0 just 65 seconds later and when Nick Bonino's innocent centering pass smacked off Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm's left knee and by Rinne just 17 seconds before the end of the period, Pittsburgh was in full command.

It looked like a repeat of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against Ottawa, when the Penguins poured in four goals in the first period of a 7-0 rout.

Nashville, unlike the Senators, didn't bail. Instead they rallied.

Ellis scored the first goal by a Predator in a Stanley Cup Final 8:21 into the second. Though Nashville didn't get another one by Murray, they also kept Rinne downright bored at the other end. Pittsburgh didn't manage a shot on net in the second period, the first time it's happened in a playoff game in franchise history.

Nashville kept coming. Sissons beat Murray 10:06 into the third and Gaudreau tied it just after a fruitless Pittsburgh power play.

No matter. The Penguins have become chameleons under Sullivan. They can win with both firepower and precision.

Guentzel slipped one by Rinne with 3:17 to go in regulation and Bonino added an empty netter to give Pittsburgh early control of the series.

Posey stays out of the fray during Strickland-Harper brawl

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Posey stays out of the fray during Strickland-Harper brawl

SAN FRANCISCO  — As an irate Bryce Harper charged toward the mound, Buster Posey just stood and watched from behind home plate.

And when the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants cleared their benches Monday and punches flew both ways, the All-Star catcher did his best to remain just outside the fray.

Not where some expected to find the Giants team leader with his pitcher, Hunter Strickland, exchanging head shots with Harper.

“Posey did NOTHING to stop Harper from getting to his pitcher,” former major league pitcher Dontrelle Willis wrote on Twitter. “I’ve never seen that before in my life.”

Posey declined to enter the fracas, instead remaining around its edges and watching as the players scuffled in “a pretty good pile,” as Giants manager Bruce Bochy called it.

Posey dealt with a concussion in April after being struck in the head by a pitch, but did not say he held back because of concerns related to that. He did say he was wary about the risk of injury.

“There were some big guys tumbling around out there,” Posey said. “You see Mike Morse and Jeff Samardzija are about as big as they come and he was getting knocked around like a pinball. So it was a little dangerous to get in there.”

Still, social media was abuzz at the sight of Posey not sticking up for his teammate.

“Strickland must have told @BusterPosey he was hitting him and let him come cause he didn’t even give a soft jog,” Willis wrote.

“Says all you need to know that Buster Posey didn’t bother to hold back Harper,” tweeted Fox broadcaster Kevin Burkhardt . “Let him go get his pitcher.”

Also absent from the fight: hard-nosed Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. As his teammates flew over the dugout railing, Bumgarner stayed put, perhaps because the left-hander is still recovering after injuring his pitching shoulder and ribs in a dirt biking accident in April.