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Jays' Dickey thrilled to join team that's 'all in'

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Jays' Dickey thrilled to join team that's 'all in'

TORONTO (AP) New Toronto ace R.A. Dickey said Tuesday he's thrilled to join a team that's ``all in'' to win the World Series and thankful the New York Mets did not meet his contract demands.

The Blue Jays formally introduced Dickey at Rogers Centre after acquiring the National League Cy Young Award winner from the Mets last month.

Dickey said the Mets helped him cultivate his knuckleball and said there is no acrimony between him and his former team, but he's glad to be moving on.

He said Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos is doing everything to win now after also acquiring All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes and pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle from Miami. Dickey said if Toronto doesn't win it won't be because Anthopoulos didn't try.

``You can see that he's all in, the moves that he made,'' Dickey said. ``If we don't win, it won't be because of him.''

Anthopoulos, having a busy offseason, agreed to a $30 million, three-year contract with the 38-year-old knuckleballer after being given a 72 hour window to work out a contract as part of the trade. Dickey said even before he agreed to the terms he knew he would sign with Toronto because of all they had done.

``I immediately knew that we should be very competitive,'' Dickey said. ``I'm hoping to play 10 more years, but this could also be my last contract. And when you see that, you want to win.''

Dickey said he's looking forward to calling himself a Canadian for six months a year and reinivorgating a team that hasn't reached the playoffs since winning back-to-back World Series in 1992 and `93.

``I think this can be a special few years for this city, this country and the players,'' he said. ``I remember the glory days with Joe Carter hitting the home run against Mitch Williams.''

After going 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and leading the NL with 230 strikeouts, Dickey was scheduled to earn $5.25 million next year with the Mets. At first they offered a deal adding $14 million over two years. New York later increased its offer to an additional $20 million over two years, still short of what Dickey wanted.

``I even told him this when I met him, I didn't think he got the respect he deserved,'' Anthopoulos said.

Anthopoulos said too many have overlooked Dickey's last three solid seasons. He even thinks Dickey can improve on his Cy Young season as he continues to work on mastering the knuckleball.

Dickey languished in the minors for 14 seasons and switched from conventional pitcher to full-time knuckleballer in a last-ditch effort to save his career. It took him years to finally master the floating, darting pitch, which he often throws harder (around 80 mph) and with more precision than almost anyone who used it before him.''

``The first time I really felt I could be consistent with it was late 2009,'' Dickey said. ``I still have more to learn. I'm still hungry and passionate about my craft.''

Anthopoulos called it an ``expensive'' trade because they gave up a lot of young talent, including top catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud and minor league right-hander Noah Syndergaard, but said you don't often get a chance to acquire a Cy Young award winner.

``Guys like this don't come around very often and they don't get traded very often,'' Anthopoulos said.

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

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USA TODAY Sports

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. 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 Towes 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. Toews' interception led to a 2-on-0 in the second period. Holtby made the initial save on Toews, but Kane was able to knock in the rebound for the goal. He 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.

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4 reasons why the Caps lost to the Blackhawks

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4 reasons why the Caps lost to the Blackhawks

The Caps were outplayed in just about every facet of the game on Saturday in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. It is hard to narrow it down to just a few reasons they ultimately lost this game, but here are the most glaring.

The first period

The opening 20 minutes of this game was, to be blunt, awful. The Caps managed only nine shots attempts, six of which went on net. Chicago, meanwhile, fired 21 shots on goal with 29 total shot attempts. Washington was held to 21 shots on goal or less six times this season, so to allow 21 to an opponent in 20 minutes is not a good start. Of course, you can’t allow that many shots and escape unscathed and Washington found themselves down 3-1 at the end of the first. The Caps were outskated and sloppy with the puck and thoroughly dominated by the Blackhawks.

A bad early goal

Chicago did not need any help scoring in this one. The first goal of the game came when Jonathan Toews just threw a quick shot from the corner on net that caught Braden Holtby off guard. Holtby allowed six goals on the night, but only two of them looked soft. It was an inauspicious start to the game and a save Holtby really needed to make.

Two breakaways in the second period

A breakaway represents a breakdown in the defense. When you give up two in a span of 1:10, including a 2-on-0, that means you're not having a good night. In the second period, Brooks Orpik tried a cross-ice pass that was easily picked off by Toews that launched a 2-on-0 with him and Patrick Kane. There may not be a worse tandem in hockey to give up a 2-on-0 against than that. Just about a minute later, Ryan Hartman weaved his way through the defense to spark his own breakaway. It wasn't a good pass that launched him or a bad line change. Hartman's feet were moving and the Caps' were not. As bad as the first period was, it looked as if the Caps had stopped the bleeding as the score remained 3-1 with less than four minutes remaining in the second which is in no way is an insurmountable deficit. In the remaining four minutes, Chicago extended its lead to 6-1.

Defense

Holtby allowed six goals in this game before he was replaced by Philipp Grubauer for the start of the third period. Of those six, only two were "soft" goals Holtby should have had. The other four were the result of poor defense. The breakaways were already described in detail above. The second goal of the game came when Orpik and Madison Bowey both challenge Brandon Saad as he drove into the Caps' zone, leaving Vinnie Hinostroza to go in on net unimpeded. When Saad got the pass to him, Holtby did well to stop the initial shot, but could not get the Saad rebound shot. In the closing seconds of the first period, Holtby stopped a Carl Dahlstrom shot, but the rebound went to a wide open Nick Schmaltz who had all the space he could want to shoot in the rebound. John Carlson finished the game with a minus-3, Orpik, Bowey and Christian Djoos were minus-2 and Matt Niskanen was a minus-1.