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Hornets G Eric Gordon says knee injury legitimate

Hornets G Eric Gordon says knee injury legitimate

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Disputing speculation that he's unhappy in New Orleans, Eric Gordon said Thursday that the injury to his right knee is legitimate and he wants to play for the Hornets.

Gordon said he had a setback after trying out for the U.S. Olympic team this past summer. He insisted that he's not sitting out to show his displeasure over the Hornets matching a four-year, $58 million offer from the Phoenix Suns.

``I know things haven't been going as well as hoped,'' Gordon said after practice at the team's suburban training facility. ``It's tough as a player to go through these things. You're looking for the best from yourself, and you look forward to doing what is best for the team. As a player, I definitely look forward to helping this franchise and always look out for the best for this team. It has been very frustrating not to be able to play.''

Gordon was dealt to the Hornets last year in the Chris Paul trade, but wound up playing only nine games because of his knee. He returned late in the year after surgery, and the team thought he was over the problem. But it cropped up again, forcing him to miss all of the preseason and Wednesday night's opener against San Antonio.

When Gordon's picture was shown on the scoreboard during pregame ceremonies, the home crowd booed loudly. Coach Monty Williams also seemed a bit skeptical about the seriousness of the injury.

``He probably does feel pain,'' Williams said. ``That would be the only reason why a guy can't play.''

When pressed by reporters for details of Gordon's injury, the coach grew impatient.

``I'll find out more as we go forward,'' Williams said. ``I'm not going to do this every game. I've told you he's not playing. He's out indefinitely.''

When Paul was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers, Gordon was the key part of the package that New Orleans got in return. The Hornets slumped to last place in the Western Conference last season, but they hope to rebuild around Gordon and No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis, who scored 21 points in his pro debut.

``I know from a fan's perspective that it is very frustrating for them, but as a player it is most frustrating for me and this organization,'' Gordon said. ``I know it's tough, but it's very hard on me. This is an injury that I have battled with and it's frustrating, because this is a great city and a great organization and I definitely want to be a part of it. Being a part of it for me is being out there playing. The reason I'm not playing is because of this injury.''

Gordon said there are no structural problems in his knee, but it's just too sore for him to play.

``I have had a little bit of a setback as far as this injury,'' he said. ``There has been a little bit of soreness and swelling. I'm always listening to the doctors and they've told me there is swelling, but obviously I can tell myself that there has been a little bit of swelling.''

While Gordon doesn't know when he might be able to play, he hopes to have a better idea by the weekend.

``There is no timetable,'' he said. ``That is something for me and the doctors to figure out.''

Gordon again stressed that the injury is real.

``That's why I'm not playing,'' he said. ``The past few days I have been practicing, because I thought it was something I might be able to deal with pain-wise. I went to the organization the other day and told them that it was not feeling good. It is very painful.''

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4 reasons the Caps beat the Blue Jackets in Game 4

4 reasons the Caps beat the Blue Jackets in Game 4

The Caps put together their best performance of the series Thursday in a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 4 of their 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs first-round series.

he win pulled Washington even with Columbus in the series 2-2.

Here's how the Caps got the big win.

4 Reasons why the Capitals beat the Blue Jackets in Game 4

1. Tom Wilson factors in the offense

Wilson’s hands are good for more than just punching.

He proved that again on Thursday as he scored the first goal for the second consecutive game. Chandler Stephenson and John Carlson provided the pressure on Sergei Bobrovsky. With Bobrovsky scrambling in the crease, Evgeny Kuznetsov passed the puck back to Wilson who fired the one-timer past the Columbus netminder.

In the first two games of the series, Wilson had no points and no shots. In the last two games, he has two goals and 13 shots on goal.

2. A great keep-in by John Carlson

We saw how dangerous it was when penalty killers fail to clear the puck in Game 1 when the Caps failed to clear in the third period leading to the game-tying power play goal.

In Game 4, the roles were reversed. Trying to kill off an Artemi Panarin penalty, Cam Atkinson attempted to clear the puck with the backhand. Carlson skillfully corralled the puck out of the air at the blue line to keep it in the zone.

The power play was able to reset and T.J. Oshie scored the rebound goal soon after.

3. Braden Holtby closes the door to finish the second period

After the Caps took the 2-0 lead, the Blue Jackets made a late push to try to pull one back.

In the last 10 minutes of the second period, Columbus had 13 shot attempts, five of which were not net. Several of those shots were high-quality opportunities, but Holtby came up with the big saves that the team was not getting earlier in the series.

His play ensured the Caps took the 2-0 lead to the locker room.

4. Alex Ovechkin extends the lead to three

Washington entered the third period up 2-0. In each of the first three games, the Caps held a two-goal lead and allowed the Blue Jackets to battle back and tie the score. Even with a two-goal lead, it still felt at the start of the third that the next goal would decide the game. If Columbus pulled within one and got the crowd back on their side, we have seen what that momentum can do for them.

This time, however, Ovechkin struck first. After a board battle behind the net, the puck trickled out to the faceoff circle. Ovechkin grabbed it and quickly snapped the puck past Bobrovsky before anyone could react.

The goal gave Washington their first three-goal lead of the series and shut the Blue Jackets’ comeback down before it could begin.

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Tarik's 3 stars: Ovechkin said Caps would even the series, on Thursday, he helped them do it

Tarik's 3 stars: Ovechkin said Caps would even the series, on Thursday, he helped them do it

COLUMBUS — Alex Ovechkin confidently predicted earlier this week that the Caps were going to win twice at Nationwide Arena and take their first round series back to Washington knotted, two games apiece.

And, on Thursday night, that’s exactly what Ovechkin made sure his team did.

No. 8, who was playing in his franchise-record 101st playoff game, scored his third goal of the playoffs early in the final frame and the Caps beat the Blue Jackets 4-1 in Game 4.

Tarik’s Three Stars of Capitals-Blue Jackets Game 4

1. Tom Wilson, Capitals

After a slow (and penalty-plagued) start to this series, Wilson has become a force. Yes, he took another minor, but the good is far outweighing the bad these days. Big Willy recorded a goal, an assist and a team-high seven shots. 

2. Braden Holtby, Capitals

Holtby had his best game in, well, a long time. He stopped 23 shots, including all eight he saw in a contentious second period.

The goal he surrendered was a nearly unstoppable tip-in by Boone Jenner.

3. T.J. Oshie, Capitals

Osh just plays the game so dang hard.

So it should come as no surprise that he delivered in his team’s biggest game of the season to this point. Oshie, of course, scored the game-winning goal on the power play midway through the second period.

It was No. 77’s second tally of the series. He also directed six shots at the Columbus net and made a couple of hits...all from a player who's been fighting through injury the past few weeks.

Agree? Disagree?

Let us know what you think in the comments.