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Latest Huskies upset only highlights inconsistency

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Latest Huskies upset only highlights inconsistency

SEATTLE (AP) For the first time since sharing the national title in 1991, Washington has knocked off two teams ranked in the AP Top 10 in the same season thanks to its 20-17 win over then-No. 7 Oregon State on Saturday to go along with the Huskies' upset of Stanford in late September.

Despite those highlights, it's been a maddeningly inconsistent season at Washington.

The Huskies enter the final third of the season at 4-4. They've lost all three of their road games by at least 30 points and haven't won outside Seattle since Oct. 1, 2011. They are the only team from a BCS conference that has yet to score more than 21 points this season against an FBS team.

Yet if Washington (2-3 Pac-12) can solve its problems playing on the road, beginning with a rare Friday night game at California, its final four opponents have just a combined record of 9-24. Three of those final four will come on the road, meaning Washington needs at least one road victory to reach bowl eligibility for the third straight season.

And knowing these Huskies, they won't make it easy on themselves in the final weeks.

``More than anything it's understanding what the challenge is and embracing it. It's not something to shy away from,'' Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said Monday. ``It's a great opportunity for our football team to mature, to take another step in the right direction of understanding the focus that is needed when you go on the road as a team.''

The Huskies' upset of Oregon State on Saturday night featured another strong defensive effort at home, making up for the continued lagging of Washington's offense. The Huskies forced a season-high four turnovers, all interceptions of Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion that helped balance giving up 427 total yards.

It was a significant improvement over the lackluster, half-hearted effort put forward a week earlier in a 52-17 loss at Arizona during which the Wildcats rolled up 533 total yards on Washington and created concerns that the Huskies' season was spiraling out of control.

Those concerns have been tempered for the moment, with the focus now on fixing an offense that continues to show very little pop.

``I'm waiting for the game to come where we put it all together and play consistently disciplined and executing plays down after down after down, because when we do we'll be pretty good,'' Sarkisian said. ``It's never too late to get there.''

Washington is the only team from a BCS conference that has yet to score more than 21 points this season against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent. The Huskies scored 52 in their win over Portland State of the Big Sky Conference, but otherwise their season-high is 21 points in a win over San Diego State and their loss at Oregon.

Five of the defenses the Huskies have faced rank in the top 50 nationally in total defense, but the lack of scoring is a frustrating trend for an offensive coach like Sarkisian.

``It's on us. Granted we have played some pretty good teams, but our inconsistency is just glaring to me. It's not one guy, it's not two guys. I just feel like we keep taking our turns. Sometimes it's the play-caller that takes his turn,'' Sarkisian said. ``It takes 11 guys executing on every snap to win that snap and for whatever reason or another we just stub our own toes with mistakes we really shouldn't be making. That's the fight for us. I know that we are better than the way we have been playing.''

One offensive highlight of the Huskies' win over Oregon State was the more consistent play of quarterback Keith Price. After committing 10 turnovers in the previous three games, Price had only one miscue against the Beavers, an interception that was the fault of a receiver who stopped his route.

Sarkisian's game plan was to rely on the run game. The plan worked as Bishop Sankey ran for a pair of scores and Price was only asked to make a few critical throws.

``I thought our guys really matched the physicality that was needed in that game,'' Sarkisian said.

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Get to know newest Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny

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Get to know newest Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny

On Monday, with the NHL trade deadline approaching, the Washington Capitals addressed a need for blue line depth by acquiring Michal Kempny from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a conditional third-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

But before you begin to analyze how the move impacts the Capitals' outlook heading forward, lets take some time to get to know the newest member of the Caps.

Who is Michal Kempny?

Michal Kempny is a 27-year-old defenseman from the Czech Republic. He was born on Sept. 8, 1990 in Hodonin, a small town in southwestern Czech Republic near the border of Austria and Slovakia. Kempny began his hockey career playing for SHK Hodonin. Kempny knew very little english upon arriving to the NHL, but credited his girlfriend Showtime shows to helping him become more comfortable speaking the language. 

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What International Experience Does Michal Kempny Have?

Michal Kempny played professionally for HC Kometa Brno of the Czech Extraliga and Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League. Kempny was a standout player on the international stage, playing for the Czech Republic U18, U20 and Men's National teams.

MORE ON THE TRADE: WHERE DOES KEMPNY FIT IN THE CAPS ROSTER

When Did Michal Kempny Make His NHL Debut?

Michal Kempny was signed to a one-year contract as an undrafted free agent by the Chicago Blackhawks in May, 2016 and made his NHL debut in October, 2016. Kempny scored his first NHL goal on Dec. 30, 2016 against Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward. Kempny appeared in 50 games for the Blackhawks during the 2016-17 season, recording two goals and six assists. The Blackhawks re-signed Kempny to a one-year extension during the offseason. Kempny played in 31 games this season before being traded to the Capitals.

What Type of Hockey Player is Michal Kempny?

Kempny is a 6-0, 194-pound defenseman with a strong left-handed shot. Known for his play on the offensive end, Kempny was never able to gain the trust of Joel Quenneville on the defensive end. But Kempny has a good bit of offensive upside, thanks to his passing skills and strong shot, which is why the Blackhawks took a flier on him in the first place and why he was an ideal trade candidate for the Capitals. But again, Kempny's size is less than ideal for a top-tier blue-liner and while he doesn't shy away from contact, he is rarely much of a physical presence. 

What Does Michal Kempny's Contract Look Like?

Michael Kempny is set to become an unrestricted free agent the the end of the 2017-18 season and has a cap hit of just $900,000.

RELATED: TROTZ REACTS TO RACIAL COMMENTS MADE BY CHICAGO FANS

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Its Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

Its Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

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Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

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