Capitals

Cristobal returning to Miami as associate coach

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Cristobal returning to Miami as associate coach

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) Mario Cristobal is returning to the Miami Hurricanes.

The school said that Cristobal was hired on Thursday as the Hurricanes' associate head coach and tight ends coach. It's Cristobal's fourth stint at Miami: He played for two national-championship teams there between 1988 and 1992, was a graduate assistant from 1998 through 2000 and then returned as an assistant coach from 2004 through 2006.

Cristobal spent the past six seasons as the head coach at Florida International, which fired him last month after two bowl appearances.

At Miami, Cristobal assumes the duties of coaching tight ends from Brennan Carroll, who will now coach wide receivers.

Also Thursday, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that former Miami player Kareem Brown is returning as a graduate assistant with the defensive line. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Brown's hiring had not been formally announced by the university.

For Cristobal, it's yet another Hurricane homecoming.

He won two national championships with Miami as a player and was a first-team All-Big East offensive lineman as a senior in 1992. He was a graduate assistant at Miami from 1998 through 2000, then returned as an assistant coach from 2004 through 2006.

And now, he starts a fourth stint as a `Cane.

``Even with all the places I've been, I've always loved the University of Miami,'' Cristobal said last year.

Cristobal has also coached at Rutgers, was briefly with the Denver Broncos as a player in 1994 and had a playing stint in NFL Europe. He was not immediately available for comment Thursday.

Cristobal left Miami to become the head coach at FIU, turning around a moribund program and taking it to a Sun Belt championship and the first two bowl games in the school's history. He spent six seasons at FIU before being fired - a move that surprised many around the Panthers' program - and speculation immediately began that he and Miami would find a way to reunite.

Cristobal's addition would figure to be a major help for Miami in recruiting, particularly in South Florida. Cristobal is a Miami native, with strong ties to virtually all of the region's top high school programs, and recruited all parts of talent-rich Florida extensively when he was running the program at FIU.

``Welcome back to the family Coach Cristobal,'' Miami running back Dallas Crawford wrote on Twitter.

Brown, who played at Miami Norland High, was with the Hurricanes from 2002 through 2006 and was drafted by the New England Patriots. He had brief stays with the Patriots, New York Jets, New York Giants and Tennessee Titans as an NFL player.

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Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

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Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

CHICAGO—Four fans were ejected from United Center on Saturday night for taunting Devante Smith-Pelly as the Capitals’ winger sat in the penalty box.

The fans, according to a team spokesman, yelled “basketball, basketball, basketball” at Smith-Pelly, who is black. Smith-Pelly was in the box for fighting in the third period of an eventual 7-1 loss to the Blackhawks.

The taunts were confirmed by an off-ice official, the spokesman said, and the fans were subsequently removed from the arena.

Smith-Pelly did not speak with reporters after the game but is expected to address the incident at the team’s next media availability. The team is scheduled to practice Sunday at KeyBank Center in Buffalo.

Caps Coach Barry Trotz did not hold back when asked about the fans' comments.

“There’s absolutely no place in the game of hockey or our country for racism,” Trotz said. “I think it’s disgusting, and there’s no place for it. …It just shows ignorance.”

The Blackhawks responded on Twitter with an apology to Smith-Pelly, who is one of roughly 30 black players in the NHL.

February is Hockey is For Everyone month in the NHL.

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3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

Just about everything that could go wrong did for the Capitals on Saturday in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Caps were coming off a strong 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, but none of that carried over in the trip to Chicago. The Caps took on a Blackhawks team that had lost eight in a row, but Chicago quickly took control in the first period and never looked back.

Washington gave up 21 shots on goal in the first period and found themselves down 3-1 after the opening frame. Things did not get much better from there as they gave up another three goals in the final four minutes of the second.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Jonathan Toews: Toews opened up the scoring in the first period with a quick shot from the corner that caught Braden Holtby by surprise.

Later in the first, he recorded an assist as his pass sparked a breakout that led to Brandon Saad's deal that gave Chicago back the lead. The Caps tried to make a game of it in the second period, but Toews intercepted a pass from Brooks Orpik that led to a 2-on-0 with himself and Patrick Kane that Kane netted to give the Blackhawks a 4-1 lead and signaled to everyone that the rout was on. Saturday was only the second three-point night of the season for Toews.

2. Patrick Kane: Toews helped the Blackhawks take control early, but Kane helped provide the knockout punches in the second period. A bad pass from Orpik was intercepted by Toews that led to a 2-on-0 with Kane. Holtby made the initial save on Toews, but Kane was able to knock in the rebound for the goal.

Kane also added an assist on Artem Anisimov's power play goal which extended Chicago's lead to 6-1.

3. Tom Wilson: Before this one got out of hand, it looked like Wilson had erased the tough start for the Caps as he deflected a shot from Matt Niskanen into the net to get Washington on the board.

Saturday's tally was his third goal in two games and his 10th of the season, marking the first time in his career he has reached double digits in goals.