Playoffs begin tonight
UNDATED (AP) -- The NHL playoffs get underway tonight, with 16 teams aiming for the Stanley Cup.
Defending champion Pittsburgh will try to become the first team since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998 to win consecutive championships. The Penguins begin their quest tonight when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Also tonight, the New York Rangers visit Montreal, Boston is in Ottawa, Minnesota hosts St. Louis and San Jose travels to Edmonton.
NHL PLAYOFFS-BENCH TECHNOLOGY
APNewsBreak: NHL adding iPads on benches for playoffs
UNDATED (AP) -- NHL coaches will have more technology on the bench than ever before as the Stanley Cup playoffs begin.
The Associated Press has learned that three iPad Pros will be available for coaches on every bench and officials will also have them to review coach's challenges. All 16 playoff arenas have been outfitted with the iPads and also Macs for video coaches as part of a collaboration with Apple.
The playoffs open Wednesday night with five games, with the other three series beginning Thursday.
AP source: Stars bring back Hitchcock as coach
DALLAS (AP) -- A person with direct knowledge of the situation says Ken Hitchcock is returning to coach the Dallas Stars.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the team hadn't announced the hire.
Hitchcock won the Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999, coaching there for parts of seven seasons from 1995-96 through 2001-02. He has since coached the Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets and St. Louis Blues.
The 65-year-old was fired as Blues coach in February.
In other NHL news:
-- Doug Weight is returning as coach of the New York Islanders next season. Weight led the Islanders to within one point of a playoff spot after taking over a last-place team on an interim basis in January. The team announced Wednesday he was named to the position on a permanent basis. New York went 24-12-4 under Weight after he replaced the fired Jack Capuano on Jan. 17 when the Islanders were last in the Eastern Conference at 17-17-8.
-- The Carolina Hurricanes are not renewing the contract of goaltenders coach David Marcoux, who spent three years on the staff. The Hurricanes ranked 18th in the league this season by allowing an average of 2.8 goals despite allowing only giving up 28 shots per game -- the fifth-best average in the NHL. They missed the postseason for the eighth straight year -- the longest active drought in the league -- and have made the playoffs just once since winning the Stanley Cup in 2006.
-- Sidney Crosby has the best-selling jersey in the NHL for the first time since the 2013-14 season. The league says that shop.NHL.com sales show the Pittsburgh Penguins captain leading the Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews (tayvz) for the most popular jersey this season. Toronto Maple Leafs rookie Auston Matthews makes his NHL debut on the list at No. 4, followed by New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
Regular season wraps up today
UNDATED (AP) -- The NBA wraps up its regular season today.
The Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls would clinch the final two playoff spots with wins tonight. The Pacers are home to Atlanta while the Bulls host Brooklyn.
The Hawks plan to rest at least four starters in the finale. Kent Bazemore, Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard are injured.
Tim Hardaway Jr. and Dennis Schroder are getting an extra day of rest before the playoffs start. Thabo Sefolosha is listed as probable with a strained right groin.
Those six players have combined for 355 starts.
A win would give Indiana the No. 7 or 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Twelve other games are on the NBA schedule tonight.
In other NBA news:
-- The Cavaliers have waived center Larry Sanders as they finalize their playoff roster. Sanders was signed last month after taking two years off from basketball. With their roster at 13, the Cavs are expected to sign 7-foot-3 center Edy Tavares. Cleveland also is re-signing swingman Dahntay Jones. The Cavs will sit LeBron James for tonight's regular-season finale so he can rest a strained calf and All-Star guard Kyrie Irving will likely sit as well because of a sore left knee.
-- Philadelphia 76ers guard Gerald Henderson has been fined $25,000 by the NBA for throwing an elbow at Indiana Pacers forward Paul George in Monday night's game. And George has been fined $25,000 for publicly criticizing the officiating afterward.
Zach Lee, bullpen hold Rockies to 3 hits in 6-0 win
DENVER (AP) -- Zach Lee and four relievers combined on a three-hitter, Ryan Schimpf homered as part of a four-run first inning and the San Diego Padres beat the Colorado Rockies 6-0 today.
Lee earned his first major league win in his second career start. The righty was filling in for Luis Perdomo, who went on the disabled list before the game with shoulder inflammation.
Lee went 5 1/3 solid innings, allowing two hits, before turning things over to the bullpen to complete the first shutout of the Rockies at Coors Field since July 2015.
Around the league:
-- In other games today, the Yankees beat Tampa Bay 8- 4 and Detroit topped Minnesota 5-3.
Elsewhere in the majors:
--The Kansas City Royals have made a pair of moves to fortify their struggling bullpen, recalling left-hander Scott Alexander and right-hander Jake Junis from Triple-A Omaha. Both pitchers are available for the Royals' game tonight against the Oakland Athletics.
--Blue Jays slugger Josh Donaldson is back in the lineup at designated hitter for the finale of a two-game series against Milwaukee. He was held out of the starting lineup by a sore right calf. Donaldson is batting .333 with two homers and three RBIs.
-- The Washington Nationals have placed infielder Stephen Drew on the 10-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain. To fill the roster spot, the Nationals selected the contract of infielder Grant Green from Triple-A Syracuse.
-- The San Francisco Giants are looking at a week without Buster Posey after the star catcher was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list Tuesday. Posey was struck in the helmet by a 94 mph fastball from Arizona's Taijuan Walker on Monday and was experiencing some unspecified lingering symptoms a day later. Also, Melvin Upton Jr. signed a minor league deal with the Giants on Wednesday.
-- Rangers reliever Matt Bush has returned to Texas to get an injection in his sore shoulder. The hard-throwing right-hander has been experiencing soreness in his right AC joint, which is a problem he occasionally had last season as a rookie. The team says there are no plans to put Bush on the disabled list.
-- The Detroit Tigers have signed first baseman James Loney to a minor league contract. The team says the 32-year-old will report to extended spring training. Loney played in 100 games last season for the New York Mets, hitting .265 with nine home runs and 34 RBIs.
-- Chris Marinak and Chris Park have been promoted to Major League Baseball executive vice presidents by Commissioner Rob Manfred, and Morgan Sword and Bryan Seeley have been elevated to senior vice presidents. Marinak's new title is EVP of league economics and strategy, and Park's is EVP of global marketing and partnerships.
--The Dodgers have placed outfielder Franklin Gutierrez on the 10-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain sustained when he was caught stealing against the Cubs.
St. Louis sues NFL, teams over Rams relocation to LA
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The city of St. Louis and that region's sports authority are suing the National Football League over the Rams' relocation to Los Angeles.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday in St. Louis Circuit Court also names the NFL's 32 teams as defendants and seeks unspecified damages and restitution.
The lawsuit alleges the Rams failed to meet league relocation rules when leaving for Los Angeles before last season, constituting a contractual breach with St. Louis.
Around the NFL:
-- The Los Angeles Chargers have re-signed tight end Jeff Cumberland to a one-year contract. The Chargers signed Cumberland last year after he spent six seasons with the New York Jets, but he injured his Achilles tendon during their second preseason game. He missed the entire regular season.
Longtime NFL scouting specialist Tom Modrak dies at 74
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (AP) -- Longtime NFL scouting and personnel specialist Tom Modrak, who broke into the league with his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers, has died. He was 74.
Modrak died at his home near St. Augustine, Florida, on Tuesday as a result of a neurological disease discovered late last year. Modrak spent the past five years serving as executive director of BLESTO, a scouting service affiliated with numerous NFL teams.
South Carolina G Dozier testing NBA waters
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina point guard P.J. Dozier is testing out the NBA draft.
Dozier has not hired an agent, making him eligible to return to college for his junior season. He was second on the Gamecocks at 13.9 points a game and was a big part of the team's first run to the Final Four, which ended with a 77-73 loss to Gonzaga in the national semifinals.
The 6-foot-6 Dozier spoke with his family and South Carolina coach Frank Martin before deciding to head to the NBA Draft Combine that takes place May 9-14.
In other college basketball news;
-- -- Kansas star freshman basketball player Josh Jackson has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor count of criminal property damage alleging he vandalized a woman's car outside a bar. Jackson is accused of damaging the driver's door and a taillight of a car belonging to Jayhawks women's basketball player McKenzie Calvert last December.
Turkey considering bid for 2026 Winter Olympics
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Turkey is considering a bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH'-jehp TY'-ihp UR'-doh-wahn) made the announcement Wednesday during a campaign rally ahead of a referendum on strengthening the powers of the president.
In 2013, Istanbul lost to Tokyo in the vote for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
McLaren's Alonso to miss Monaco GP to race at Indy 500
WOKING, England (AP) -- McLaren says Fernando Alonso will race for the team at the Indianapolis 500 and miss the Monaco Grand Prix.
McLaren will be racing in the famous race in the United States for the first time in 38 years.
The Indy 500 and the Monaco GP both take place on May 28.
McLaren says the Monaco GP will be the only Formula One race Alonso will miss. The British-based team hasn't announced who will replace Alonso for the race.