Capitals

Rhule formally takes over as Temple's coach

201212171450534483644-p2.jpeg

Rhule formally takes over as Temple's coach

PHILADELPHIA (AP) From Joe Paterno to Tom Coughlin, Matt Rhule has been mentored by some of the winningest coaches in football.

Now, Rhule gets a chance to apply all of it at Temple.

Rhule, 37, who will leave his post as assistant offensive line coach with the Super Bowl-champion New York Giants to take over the Owls, was formally introduced on Monday on campus, after agreeing to a contract over the weekend. He has 15 seasons of coaching experience, and is a former linebacker at Penn State.

He will replace Steve Addazio, who left Temple earlier this month to take the same post at Boston College. Addazio was with the Owls for just two years.

``We had a diverse and talented pool of candidates and an overwhelming amount of interest, but one person distinguished himself from the rest - Matt Rhule,'' Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw said. ``Matt is the perfect person to take Temple Football to the next level.''

The Owls are coming off a 4-7 season, in which they went 2-5 in the Big East.

Rhule is the third coach at Temple in the last four years, joining Addazio and Al Golden, who left for Miami. It is Rhule's second stint at Temple, after serving as an assistant for both of those previous coaches.

``One of the emphases in my mind is really watch a kid play and how he develops,'' Rhule said. ``Give kids an opportunity to develop.''

The Owls, searching for a lasting identity in football, would love to see that. A year after winning the New Mexico Bowl - 37-15 over Wyoming in Addazio's debut season - they took a significant step back this year.

``Matt is a good, young coach. He has very good command, and is thorough and detailed in his assignments and with personnel,'' Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. ``He has an outstanding background in the game, and the players like and respect him. He will be a great representative for Temple.''

Rhule - who will finish the season with New York, a team that will advance to the NFC postseason with wins in its final two games - applied for the Temple position when Golden left to take the job at Miami, and lost out to Addazio.

The second time, though, was a charm.

``I want to thank Bill Bradshaw for giving me this opportunity, he turned me down two years ago, and he was right two years ago, I wasn't ready then, but I'm ready now,'' Rhule said. ``The great thing about what Coach (Addazio) did, was he kept the infrastructure we built under Al (Golden) with the coaches that had been here. Steve didn't wipe it all out.

``Then I worked for Tom Coughlin, and I don't think you do what he did at Boston College, and do what he's done at both Jacksonville and the New York Giants, without having a system. He's unflappable. He doesn't ever show weakness. I watched that for a year. I've been trying to build for this job for a long time.''

And now, the time is here. But this will not be an easy task.

The Owls had an anemic offense this season, finishing 107th overall and with a 322-yard average. They lost five of their last six games, with only a 63-32 win over Army to show for the final month of the season.

``From the minute that he stepped foot here and became our assistant, you could tell he was a guy that was passionate about football,'' Giants tackle David Diehl said. ``He loves the game; he loves being around it. He's a guy who brings that energy each and every day.''

Rhule stressed that his recruiting message will center be on how long he plans to stay at Temple.

``I'm going to tell a recruit, if it's within my power, I'm going to be here as your head football coach when you graduate,'' Rhule said. ``That's what we're looking for.''

Of course, where Rhule's Owls will play long term is a bit of an unknown. Temple returned to the Big East this season after a stay in the Mid-American Conference. With the embattled Big East still in shuffle mode, who knows where the Owls might land in the future.

Either way, though, it appears Rhule will be with them every step of the way.

Quick Links

3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

You may think this was an ugly four-game road trip for the Caps, but with a 3-2 win in Buffalo on Monday, Washington managed to earn five out of a possible eight points.

Here is why the Caps beat the Sabres and managed to save the road swing.

A missed high-stick (maybe) from Ovechkin

Ovechkin scored the first goal of the game in the second period as he deflected a high-shot from Christian Djoos down past goalie Chad Johnson. But did the deflection come on a high stick? The play was reviewed and the goal was ultimately upheld. According to the NHL, it was determined that "video review supported the Referee's call on the ice that Alex Ovechkin's stick was at or below the height of the crossbar when he tipped the puck into the Buffalo net."

NBC Sports Washington analyst Alan May broke the play down during the second intermission and made his case for why the NHL actually got the call wrong.

Was that a high stick? I don't know. As compelling an argument as May made, it still looks inconclusive which means the review made the right call. What surprises me is that the referee did not disallow the goal on the initial call.

Whether the review is truly inconclusive or flat out wrong, Washington was fortunate to walk away from this sequence with the goal.

MORE CAPITALS: BIZARRE SEQUENCE LEADS TO CAPS SCORING AND GETTING PENALIZED AT THE SAME TIME

A centimeter of ice

Hockey is a game of inches and it took less than an inch to put Washington up 2-0. When an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot hit off the boards and bounced back to the front of the net, it sparked a scrum next to goalie Chad Johnson. Eventually, John Carlson was able to get a swipe on the puck sending it trickling to the goal line, but Kyle Okposo was there waiting and appeared to kick it out to safety just before it crossed. A review triggered by the Situation Room, however, revealed that the puck had just barely managed to cross the goal line before Okposo got to it.

Here's the view the NHL released after the review:

Philipp Grubauer's third period

After dominating the first 40 minutes of the game and taking a 2-0 lead, Buffalo predictably made a late push in the third period with two goals to pull within one. Washington outshot the Sabres in the first and second periods, but Buffalo reversed that trend in a big way in the third as they outshot the Caps 17-6. Grubauer turned aside 15 of those shots and was impressive after barely being tested in the first two periods.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE GAME FROM CAPS-SABRE

Quick Links

3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

Coming off an ugly 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, a Buffalo Sabres team missing star Jack Eichel was just what the doctor ordered for the Caps to get back on track. Washington dominated the first two periods and then survived a late surge from Buffalo for the 3-2 win.

After battling to a scoreless first, Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson spotted Washington a 2-0 lead in the second. They then held on in the third period as Buffalo began to tilt the ice in their favor, with Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring the empty-netter to put this game out of reach. Evander Kane would pull Buffalo within one, but with only three seconds left it was too little, too late.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin opened up the scoring in the second period as he deflected down an innocent shot from Christian Djoos past Chad Johnson.

Ovechkin also set a physical tone as he battled with defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen all game long. After taking a high elbow from Ristolainen early in the game Ovechkin skated up to Ristolainen prior to the faceoff on his next shift and let him know that it was on. 

2. John Carlson: Carlson had a hand in both of Washington's first two goals. He recorded a secondary assist on Ovechkin's goal as he made a blue line pass to Djoos which Djoos fired on net and Ovechkin deflected. Carlson then managed to hit the puck past the goal line in a scrum next to Johnson. It looked initially like Kyle Okposo had managed to kick out the puck just before it crossed, but Carlson was awarded the goal as a review showed the puck had completely crossed the line.

3. Philipp Grubauer: A Sabres team that ranks last in the NHL in scoring and that was also without its leading scorer did not test Grubauer much in the first two periods. Facing a 2-0 deficit, however, Buffalo made a third period push to try to tie the game, but Grubauer was up to the task as he turned aside 15 of the 17 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes. He finished with 32 total saves on the night.