Capitals

Dykstra sentenced in bankruptcy fraud case

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Dykstra sentenced in bankruptcy fraud case

LOS ANGELES (AP) Former All-Star outfielder Lenny Dykstra was sentenced Monday to 6 1/2 months in prison for hiding baseball gloves and other heirlooms from his playing days that were supposed to be part of his bankruptcy filing, capping a tumultuous year of legal woes.

U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson weighed Dykstra's battle with drugs and alcohol versus the crimes he committed and opted to give the ex-big leaguer a lenient prison term but saddled him with 500 hours of community service. He also ordered Dykstra to pay $200,000 in restitution.

Dykstra, 49, apologized for his actions and promised to turn his life around.

``I don't think I'm a bad person,'' said Dykstra, who was in handcuffs and wearing a white prison-issued jumpsuit. ``I made some bad decisions.''

Pregerson initially issued a 14-month sentence, but revised his ruling after he noted Dykstra had already served seven months in federal custody awaiting sentencing. Dykstra was already behind bars after pleading no contest to grand theft auto and providing a false financial statement.

The sentences will run concurrent and Dykstra could be released by mid-2013, Pregerson said.

Prosecutors sought a 2 1/2-year sentence after Dykstra pleaded guilty earlier this year to bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets and money laundering.

The sentencing was part of a downward spiral for Dykstra, who earned the nickname ``Nails'' during his 12-year career with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies because of his gritty style of play.

Dykstra, who bought a mansion once owned by hockey star Wayne Gretzky, filed for bankruptcy three years ago, claiming he owed more than $31 million and had only $50,000 in assets.

After the filing, Dykstra hid, sold or destroyed at least $200,000 worth of items without permission of a bankruptcy trustee, prosecutors said.

Court documents show Dykstra said he put an oven, sconces and chandeliers into a storage unit, but prosecutors said he actually sold the items for $8,500. Then Dykstra went to another house where his ex-wife lived and sold a cache of baseball memorabilia to a Las Vegas dealer for $15,000 and pocketed the proceeds.

Deputy federal public defender Hilary Potashner said Dykstra has battled drug and alcohol abuse that date back to his playing days when he took painkillers. Dykstra was arrested last year by Los Angeles police who said they found cocaine, Ecstasy and synthetic human growth hormone at his home. As part of the grand theft auto case, prosecutors dropped 21 counts against him in exchange for his no contest plea.

Potashner added that when Dykstra ran into financial troubles several years ago, he became a person who was out of control.

Pregerson tried to comprehend the host of legal problems facing Dykstra, including a recent nine-month sentence after he pleaded no contest to exposing himself to women he met through Craigslist.

``There's just a sort of spectrum of conduct I can't understand,'' Pregerson said. ``What I am trying to understand is: Who is Mr. Dykstra?''

Dykstra's attorneys stressed their client has learned a valuable lesson and has paid a high price for his celebrity status. Potashner said in court that Dykstra was ``beaten to a pulp'' recently while in a Los Angeles County jail and had some teeth knocked out.

Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County sheriff's department, said there had been a fight involving Dykstra and some deputies in April after the former ball player had to be taken to a hospital for undisclosed reasons. Dykstra was the aggressor and had to be physically restrained, Whitmore said.

``The accusation the defense attorney is making in court is not accurate,'' said Whitmore, who added Dykstra suffered a bloody nose during the incident.

On Monday, Dykstra had about a dozen supporters in court, including his ex-wife and his son, Cutter, who is playing for the Washington Nationals' Single-A team in Maryland.

As the gray-haired Dykstra was being led away from court, he turned to the group and gave a thumbs-up.

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3 reasons why the Caps lost to the Lightning

3 reasons why the Caps lost to the Lightning

After a rough start, the Caps battled back to make a game of it against Tampa Bay, but ultimately fell 4-2 to the Lightning. Here's why.

The first period

To put it simply, this game was lost in the opening period. Washington was the better team for the second and third but they could not overcome the 3-0 lead they spotted the Lightning in the first. Beyond the goals, the Caps just did not play well. Even the simplest of plays looked difficult as Washington struggled to get the puck out of their own zone, gave up numerous turnovers and scoring chances and just looked overmatched. Braden Holtby also looked shaky allowing three goals on just eight shots. Usually he is able to cover up some of the mistakes the defense makes it front of him, but he was not there to bail the team out on Tuesday in what was a really rocky start.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS FROM CAPS-LIGHTNING

Taking a penalty 34 seconds into the game

Entering Tuesday’s game, Tampa Bay boasted the second best power play unit in the league. Playing a disciplined game is part of every game plan, but that is especially true against such a dominant unit. Giving up a penalty just 34 seconds into the game was not an ideal start. The call itself was debatable. Brett Connolly was called for interference when he knocked over Dan Girardi in the offensive zone. The puck was just behind Girardi as he had lost control of it in his skates. The sticking point here is that Girardi no longer had possession and Connolly could have played the puck instead of the player. Most referees would probably let that go with the puck so close, but Connolly was not so lucky. Whether it was a good call or not, the Caps found themselves down a man and down a goal soon after as Brayden Point scored the power play tally.

A missed opportunity from Kuznetsov on one end, a goal for Nikita Kucherov on the other

Even after spotting the Lightning a 3-0 lead, the Caps made a game of it. Lars Eller struck on the power play in the second period and Alex Ovechkin pulled Washington to within one with about nine minutes left to play. Just over a minute later, Evgeny Kuznetsov stole the puck away from Nikita Kucherov, the frontrunner for league MVP this season, at the Tampa blue line giving the Caps a short 2-on-1. Defenseman Andrej Sustr was textbook on the play forcing Kuznetsov as far wide as he could go while still covering the passing lane and Kuznetsov elected to shoot from the faceoff dot rather than attempt the pass to T.J. Oshie.Andrei Vasilevskiy made a routine blocker save to deny what looked like a great opportunity to tie the game. As always happens in hockey, a failed opportunity on one end led to an opportunity in the other direction. Less than a minute later, Kucherov made up for his mistake by scoring a breakaway goal to put the game out of reach at 4-2.

MORE CAPITALS: KEMPNY EXCITED TO MOVE FROM LAST PLACE CHICAGO TO FIRST PLACE WASHINGTON

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3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps

3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps

The first 20 minutes of Tuesday's game did not go well for Washington. The Tampa Bay Lightning scored three times in the opening frame and rode that lead all the way to the 4-2 win.

With the game heading towards a repeat of their blowout loss to Chicago, the Capitals rebounded in the second period to make a game of it as Lars Eller scored on a power play. Alex Ovechkin pulled Washington within one in the third period, but Nikita Kucherov slammed the door shut with a breakaway goal to extend the lead back to 2.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Brayden Point: Tampa Bay won this game in the first period when they took a 3-0 lead. Point scored two of those three goals. His first came only 2:30 into the game. He retreated to the blue line on the power play believing Jay Beagle would clear the puck. When Beagle turned the puck over, he recognized it and immediately crashed the net, taking a Ryan Callahan pass in the slot and shooting it through the five-hole of Braden Holtby.

On his second goal, Anton Stralman saw an opportunity on the Caps’ line change and passed the puck up to Point at the blue line. Point turned on the jets to get behind the defense and went five-hole again on Holtby to make the score 3-0.

2. Alex Ovechkin: After the first period, Washington slowly took this game over for much of the remaining 40 minutes. Ovechkin was a big part of that as he totaled an incredible 19 shot attempts for the game. Nine of those shots were on goal and he found the back of the net in the third period for career goal No. 594.

3. Tom Wilson: Through the first period, the Caps looked well on their way to a repeat of the 7-1 debacle they suffered Saturday in Chicago. They had nothing going in this game until Wilson drew a trip from Vladislav Namestnikov in the second period. Eller would score on the resulting power play giving Washington some much-needed life.

The Namestnikov penalty was the 29th drawn penalty of the season for Wilson, which moves him into a tie with Matthew Tkachuk for the most drawn penalties in the NHL.