Capitals

Cajuns, Pirates eagerly await New Orleans Bowl

Cajuns, Pirates eagerly await New Orleans Bowl

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Even as quarterback Terrance Broadway celebrated Louisiana-Lafayette's first bowl victory at college football's highest level one year ago, there was a part of him left unfulfilled.

``All I was doing was watching, and that hurt,'' said Broadway, who as a 2011 transfer from Houston could practice but not play last season. ``I had practiced all year, ran the scout team, but (did) not have the whole bowl experience. ... Now I have another opportunity, and we're going to try to make the most of it.''

That opportunity comes Saturday afternoon when the Ragin' Cajuns (8-4) of the Sun Belt Conference make their second straight appearance in the New Orleans Bowl, this time against East Carolina (8-4) of Conference USA.

Broadway, a sophomore, was supposed to serve as ULL's No. 2 QB this season behind senior Blaine Gautier. But when Gautier broke his throwing hand in late September, Broadway stepped in and put up some of the best all-around numbers ever seen from a Cajuns quarterback.

Broadway had 2,526 yards and 16 TDs passing to go with 661 yards and eight TDs rushing.

So while East Carolina's Ruffin McNeill sees himself as a defensive-minded coach, he concedes the New Orleans Bowl could turn into a high-scoring shootout, with each team approaching its 2012 scoring average of more than 30 points.

``With both explosive offenses, there's a chance for that to happen,'' McNeill said. ``In a game such as this, there'll be some momentum shifts. So I think it's important for us to understand that.''

The Pirates have demonstrated they can respond when things go wrong both within a game and within a season. In early October, a 40-20 drubbing at Central Florida dropped ECU to 3-3. Since then, the Pirates have won five of six, capped by a 65-59 victory over Marshall in their regular-season finale.

``This group has really faced adversity well, handled it well, as well as any success,'' said McNeill, a former ECU player. ``I like that about this team.''

He also likes the production he has gotten from sophomore quarterback Shane Carden, who like Broadway also can be a threat to run, and new running back Vintavious Cooper, who was named Conference USA Newcomer of the Year after transferring from Southwest Mississippi Community College.

Carden has passed for 2,838 yards and 21 TDs to go with eight touchdowns rushing. His top target has been Justin Hardy (1,046 yards receiving, 10 TDs). Cooper, who played quarterback in junior college, rushed for 1,030 yards and has averaged 114.4 yards rushing in his past five games, including a career-high 172 yards against Alabama-Birmingham.

``They can really score in bunches,'' Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth said. ``That scares you because they've been in some shootouts. Their quarterback can make plays with his legs; he can throw the ball down the field, and most important he can extend plays and get out of the pocket when you think you have him bottled up.''

Cooper said learning to read defenses as a quarterback helped him identify weaknesses in opponents' alignments before snaps on which he knows he'll get the ball. Still, he figured his adjustment to a new position at a higher level of football would take longer than it did.

``I've had a crazy year,'' Cooper said. ``I wouldn't expect what happened to me this year to happen.''

His success helped land ECU back in the Superdome, where the Pirates have already won once this season, defeating Tulane 28-23. Tulane was the one common opponent both New Orleans Bowl teams had this season. The Ragin' Cajuns beat Tulane 41-13 in Lafayette, which is a little more than a two-hour drive west of New Orleans on Interstate 10.

Fans from Lafayette helped set a New Orleans Bowl attendance record of nearly 43,000 last year. All signs point to them coming back in droves this season, making it a virtual road game for ECU.

``We heard about them winning last year and owning the Superdome,'' Cooper said. ``I love playing on the road. Nothing like being in front of 30,000 people who don't want you to do anything right. You look forward to being booed and you look forward to scoring touchdowns to shut that crowd up.''

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Caps make second blue line addition, acquire Jakub Jerabek from Montreal

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USA TODAY Sports

Caps make second blue line addition, acquire Jakub Jerabek from Montreal

The Capitals continued to retool their scuffling blue line on Wednesday, acquiring 26-year-old defenseman Jakub Jerabek from Montreal in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2019.

The move comes a couple of days after GM Brian MacLellan dealt a conditional third-round selection to Chicago for swift skating Michal Kempny.

Both Jerabek and Kempny are left shot, puck-moving defensemen who move well and make crisp outlet passes. Both also hail from the Czech Republic.

RELATED: BRADEN HOLTBY BLAMES HIMSELF FOR TAMPA LOSS

The team sees Jerabek as a No. 5 or 6, I’m told.

On Wednesday, the Caps also officially said goodbye to Taylor Chorney, who was claimed off waivers by Columbus. Chorney will report to the Blue Jackets.

The Caps were off on Wednesday as they made their way Florida for Thursday night’s meeting with the Panthers, so it’s unclear how Coach Barry Trotz intends to deploy his new defensemen.

But it’s probably safe to assume that Kempny will move into a spot within the top four with John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen.

MORE CAPITALS: GET TO KNOW MICHAL KEMPNY

That figures to leave Brooks Orpik and Jerabek on the third pair, while rookies Christian Djoos and Madison Bowey jockey for position as the next man up.

Kempny is expected to make his Caps’ debut on Thursday night.

Is the Caps’ D corps better? Well, that remains to be seen. But it had become clear to MacLellan and Co. in recent weeks that the status quo was not going to cut it. This month, in fact, the team has allowed 39 goals in 10 games. Only the Rangers (40) have allowed more in the same span.

With the trade deadline looming next Monday, the Caps now have roughly $617,000 in cap space, according to www.capfriendly.com, and are at the roster maximum of 23 players. So they would need to make a move in order to add another body.

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NHL Trade Tracker 2018: Latest deadline rumors, deals

NHL Trade Tracker 2018: Latest deadline rumors, deals

The 2018 NHL Trade Deadline is nearly here, marking the final point in the season teams can make major shakeups before preparing for the stretch run and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The 2018 NHL Trade Deadline takes place a week earlier than in 2017, and teams have until 3:00 p.m. ET on Monday afternoon to make their final pre-deadline deals. That being said, the trade deadline is not the end of player movement in 2018, but signifies the end of the open trade window.

But with less than w eek left, the trade rumors are swirling, with teams putting out feelers and reaching out to potential trade partners.

The Capitals started the trade deadline period a week early, with a minor trade on Monday and another on Wednesday.

RELATED: TRACKING THE FAVORITES TO WIN NHL AWARDS

2018 NHL TRADE DEADLINE TRACKER:

February 21: TRADE — The Montreal Canadiens trade D Jakub Jerabek to the Washington Capitals for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. (TRADE ANALYSIS)

February 21: RUMOR — The Columbus Blue Jackets have shown interest in acquiring Artem Anisimov from the Chicago Blackhawks, a team attempting a major rebuild toward the end of the 2017-18 season.

February 20: TRADE — The Toronto Maple Leafs trade C Erif Fehr to the San Jose Sharks for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

February 20: RUMOR — The Ottawa Senators are looking to deal D Erik Karlsson and C Bobby Ryan. The Sens have already begun to enter "tank" mode. Moving Karlsson and/or Ryan would make it all but official.

February 20: TRADE — The New York Rangers trade D Nick Holden to the Boston Bruins for D Rob O'Gara and a third-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

February 19: TRADE — The Chicago Blackhawks trade D Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals for a third-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. (TRADE ANALYSIS)

February 19: RUMOR — The Anaheim Ducks look to be targeting Vancouver Canucks LW Thomas Vanek, but the Canucks may 'kick tires" on a potential trade if the return isn't right. 

February 19: TRADE — The Detroit Red Wings trade G Petr Mrazek to the Philadelphia Flyers for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft and a conditional third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.

February 19: RUMOR — The Pittsburgh Penguins are interested in pursuing speedy New York Rangers RW Michael Grabner.

February 17: RUMOR — The Ottawa Senators' fire sale continues to heat up. The St. Louis Blues are reportedly interested in Senators RW Mike Hoffman and C Derick Brassard.

February 15: TRADE — Toronto Maple Leafs trade RW Nikita Soshnikov to the St. Louis Blues for a fourth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.

February 15: TRADE — The Chicago Blackhawks trade D Ville Pokka to the Ottawa Senators for LW Chris DiDomenico.

February 13: RUMOR — New York Rangers LW Rick Nash is rumored to be a major trade target for virtually every team within playoff reach. The Nashville Predators have been rumored to be the favorites for the former No. 1 overall draft pick.

February 13: TRADE — The Los Angeles Kings trade RW Marian Gaborik and C Nick Shore to the Ottawa Senators for D Dion Phaneuf and C Nate Thompson.