Capitals

Tedford plans thorough evaluation at Cal

Tedford plans thorough evaluation at Cal

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) California coach Jeff Tedford said he expects to meet next week with athletic director Sandy Barbour to discuss his future after the Golden Bears finish their worst season during Tedford's tenure.

Tedford said Tuesday he will begin a thorough evaluation of what went wrong for the program as soon as the season ends Saturday night at No. 15 Oregon State.

``The first place I will look is in the mirror,'' Tedford said. ``We'll do a deep dive and figure out where we can improve.''

Tedford said he will meet with assistants and each player to get their input on how to improve the situation at Cal. The Bears (3-8, 2-6 Pac-12) are having their worst season since finishing with a 1-10 mark in 2001 that led to the firing of Tom Holmoe and the hiring of Tedford.

After a bright start to his tenure with seven wins his first year, a school record-tying 10 wins in 2004 and a share of the conference title in 2006, things began falling off the rails during what started as a promising 2007 campaign.

The Bears won their first five games that season and were poised to move into the top spot in the AP poll before losing at home to Oregon State. Starting with that loss, Tedford has a 34-36 mark over his last 70 games.

Cal failed to become bowl eligible for the first time under Tedford in 2010 and has been even worse this season. The Bears have lost four straight games - the longest skid since Tedford arrived - capped by a 59-17 loss last week to Oregon that was the most lopsided for the school since 1999.

``Teams go through adverse moments,'' defensive back Steve Williams said. ``This is one of our adverse moments. Coach Tedford has been here a long time. He's been with us a long time. I'm behind him 100 percent.''

The recent struggles led Tedford to this thorough evaluation, where he said he will look at every aspect of the program from recruiting to academics to practice format and scheme.

``We'll evaluate all of that and take coaches' input and all the coaches and figure out where we feel like we can improve in every phase,'' he said. ``You really have to put a microscope on it. How can I be better as a head coach? What can I do to help the staff? What can I do to help our players?''

Whether Tedford will get that chance remains to be seen. If Cal decides to get rid of Tedford, the school would owe him $6.9 million for the final three years of his contract.

With recruiting season picking up in December, a decision on Tedford's status would likely come soon after the season ends. For now, Tedford is operating as though he will be back and is ready to start looking in depth at recruiting needs next week.

``We're moving forward as we have work to do,'' he said. ``We're moving forward making plans to get where we need to be and do the things we need to do.''

While Tedford acknowledged that recruiting off a down season can be difficult, he said he believes potential recruits will see an opportunity to play immediately at Cal and look at the improved facilities he helped get built.

The Bears finished their first season at renovated Memorial Stadium, which underwent a $321 million facelift. There is also a $150 million on-campus High Performance Center attached to the stadium that has modernized outdated facilities.

That is just part of Tedford's legacy, which also includes a school-record 85 wins.

``He's one of the hardest-working guys you'll ever be around,'' senior offensive lineman Tyler Rigsbee said. ``He's kept a great attitude and kept this team together, which is not easy to do, especially this year with some really tough losses. Teams will disintegrate or guys will start bickering at each other. He's done a good job keeping us as a family. He's going to go back to the drawing board and work as hard as he can to get us in the position to win games.''

There are also questions about the future of another key figure at Cal, star receiver Keenan Allen. Tedford said he expects Allen to decide next week whether to return for his senior season or leave early for the NFL.

Allen is the career record holder in receptions at Cal with 205. He has 2,570 yards receiving and 17 career touchdown catches. He will likely miss his third straight game this week with an injured left knee.

Allen is considered one of the top receivers eligible for the draft and Tedford said he will research where Allen would be projected to go if he decides to leave school early.

``That's important information,'' Tedford said. ``I will try to gather as much information for him and sit down so he can make an educated decision. I'll support him in whatever he wants to do, but it's really important we get him all the proper information.''

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.