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AP Source: Chiefs interviewing Reid for coach job

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AP Source: Chiefs interviewing Reid for coach job

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Kansas City Chiefs were courting former Eagles coach Andy Reid on Wednesday as they searched for a replacement for Romeo Crennel, who was fired this week after the worst season in franchise history.

Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt was meeting with Reid in Philadelphia, a person familiar with Reid's plans told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans were not made public.

ESPN.com first reported the interview would take place.

Reid, fired Monday after 14 seasons in Philadelphia, also planned to interview for the open job in Arizona. The Cardinals dismissed Ken Whisenhunt on Monday.

The Chiefs have a connection with Reid through team president Mark Donovan, who spent his previous six years as the Eagles' senior vice president of business operations.

Hunt began his search for Crennel's replacement in Atlanta, where he interviewed offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter on Tuesday. But one day later, Falcons coach Mike Smith said Koetter had signed a new contract and would not be pursuing a head coaching job this season.

``I don't want to really get into any of the details,'' Smith said Wednesday. ``Dirk is going to be here with us. He informed me of that last night. We talked at length.''

Hunt told the AP in an interview this week that he would lead the search for the Chiefs' next coach, not embattled general manager Scott Pioli. Hunt said he had ``the appropriate resources available to help me in the process,'' but would not say who is assisting in the search.

``We're very well organized,'' Hunt said. ``We want to be thorough, but efficient as well.''

Hunt's decision to spearhead the coaching search coincides with his plan to take greater control of football operations. Pioli had been responsible for all personnel moves since he was hired in 2009, including the hiring and firing of head coaches.

Pioli parted with Herm Edwards shortly after he was hired and replaced him with Todd Haley, but their relationship was strained. Haley was dismissed in December 2011 and Crennel was made interim coach. He was given the job on a permanent basis in January.

Crennel was fired Monday after going 2-14 in his first full season.

It was widely thought Pioli would also be fired after a series of failed drafts and poor free-agent acquisitions. Hunt said he had not decided whether to release the GM.

It's likely that the decision won't be made until Hunt hires a coach.

``I don't have a timeline laid out per se on that,'' Hunt said. ``Obviously the beginning of February there are a lot of important events related to the upcoming draft, the combine and so forth, and we want to be solidified in that regard before that.''

The Chiefs have the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft for the first time in franchise history.

Hunt refused to discuss potential candidates to replace Crennel, but did offer a lengthy list of qualities he's seeking in an ideal head coach.

``I'd say a proven leader,'' Hunt said. ``Somebody who has demonstrated the ability to build a successful program, or been part of building a successful program. Somebody of high integrity, somebody who is a successful teacher and communicator. Somebody who has a high football IQ, but at the same time likes to roll up their sleeves and work hard.''

Reid would appear to have most of those qualities.

The Eagles were 3-13 the year before he arrived, but two seasons later, they went 11-5 and finished second in the NFC East. It was the first of five straight years in which the Eagles won at least 11 games, and included a trip to the Super Bowl after the 2004 season.

Reid was 130-93-1 in Philadelphia, the most wins in franchise history. He helped the Eagles win 10 playoff games - the Chiefs haven't won one since 1993 - and six division titles.

Reid is considered a bright offensive mind with success developing quarterbacks, an area of particular need in Kansas City. His best years coincided with Donovan McNabb's best years, and the 54-year-old coach also worked with Brett Favre early in his career in Green Bay.

``I'm not going to go into discussing who we're talking to,'' Hunt said Monday, before adding: ``We do have a list of candidates who are priority for us.''

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AP Sports Writers John Wawrow and George Henry contributed to this story.

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5 things to know about the newest Capital Radko Gudas

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NBC Sports Washington

5 things to know about the newest Capital Radko Gudas

Most fans know little about Radko Gudas other than the fact that he has a reputation for being a dirty player. Here are some facts to help you get to know the newest Capital a little better.

1. Gudas has been suspended four times in his career

First the bad news. Gudas has a lengthy suspension history and is one hit away from getting a significant suspension from the Department of Player Safety. Here’s a look at all four of his suspensions:

Dec. 2, 2015: Check to the head of Mike Zibanejad, suspended two games

Oct. 10, 2016: Late check to the head of Austin Czarnik, suspended six games

Nov. 19, 2017: Slash to the head of Mathieu Perreault, suspended 10 games

Feb. 20, 2019: High-stick to the head of Nikita Kucherov, suspended two games

These plays are why Gudas has the reputation that he does.

Fans will want to compare Gudas with Tom Wilson, but really there is no comparison here. If you watch these plays from Gudas they certainly seem much more intentional than anything Wilson does.

The good news is that Gudas is working on playing a cleaner game.

“I worked on it in the summer and I thought I adjusted the game enough to still be able to play physical, just not be a liability out there for me team,” Gudas told reporters in a conference call on Tuesday. “It's always something hard to adjust, but we still have to do it. It's our job. If you don't hurt the team that you're playing for while doing it, that's where you can find (the line) as a player.”

This is not just lip service as Gudas’ penalty numbers have gone in each of the past three seasons, going from 116 in 2015-16 to 93, to 83 to 63 in 2018-19.

2. Gudas has had two fights against the Caps

Gudas has not been shy about dropping the gloves in his career and has done so twice against Washington.

The first instance came back on Nov. 11, 2014 while he was playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning. A scrum broke out after Eric Fehr barreled into goalie Ben Bishop and Gudas and Wilson became engaged leading to both players dropping the gloves.

The second fight came this past season. In a game between the Caps and Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 8, Gudas laid a big hit on Nic Dowd and Devante Smith-Pelly immediately came to his teammate’s defense. The fight was more of a tussle than anything else as neither player could get their hands free.

3. Gudas was voted as Philadelphia’s best defenseman in 2018-19

Now on to the good news. The Caps have actually gotten a good defenseman.

When it was announced that the Caps had traded Matt Niskanen for Gudas, the initial reaction was that Washington’s defense had gotten worse, but that was a necessary price to pay considering the team needed to clear cap space. That may not be the case.

Gudas had a very good 2018-19 season for the Flyers, so much so that he was given a team award as the most outstanding defenseman as voted on by sportswriters and broadcasters.

Did it help that pretty much everyone on Philadelphia’s blue line had a bad year? Yes, there is no denying that. Gudas is not the caliber player that he should be an NHL team’s best defenseman. But he is a lot better than most people give him credit for.

Make no mistake, this was not a simple salary dump by Washington. Brian MacLellan very shrewdly freed up some cap space by bringing in a defenseman who can play at a level that is just as good if not better than Niskanen can at this point.

4. Gudas has experience playing with Michal Kempny and Jakub Vrana

Gudas is from the Czech Republic and has some experience with some of his new Czech teammates. He and Kempny played on the U18 and 20 Czech teams together. Gudas and Vrana were teammates over the summer in the World Championships which Kempny could not participate in because he was injured.

“I played with a lot of the guys throughout the years that I play in the league, but with Michal, I used to play on the national team (with him),” Gudas said. “We're the same age. We played some important games together in youth. And with Jakub, I know him from the world national team a little bit now and I think we hit it off pretty well. Looking forward to work with them, too.”

5. Gudas is family with former Cap Michal Neuvirth

Neuvirth and girlfriend Karolina Gudasova had a baby girl in September 2017. As you can guess from Karolina’s last name, she is the sister of Radko thus making him the uncle to their girl, Emilka. Now Gudas is officially Neuvirth’s brother-in-law after Neuvirth and Karolina were married which led to hilariously random pictures like this.

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Free Agency Bracket: Brett Connolly vs. Brooks Orpik

Free Agency Bracket: Brett Connolly vs. Brooks Orpik

It is almost time for NHL free agency to begin, and the Capitals certainly have needs to fill and a limited budget. Who would be the best fit? Who would be the best free agent target for Washington to pursue? That’s what NBC Sports Washington wants to find out!

Our experts got together and made a bracket of the 16 best free agent fits. The bracket is divided into four regions: Third line forward, fourth line forward, depth defenseman and Caps’ free agent. Now we want you to tell us who you want to see rocking the red next year!

Every weekday we will match two free agents up against one another and present a case for each player. Then you get to vote and decide who advances!

Check out today’s matchup:

Region: Capitals free agents

Brett Connolly vs. Brooks Orpik 

 

2018-19 stats 

Brett Connolly (27 years old): 81 games played with the Capitals, 22 goals, 24 assists, 46 points, 13:20 TOI

Playoffs: 7 games played with the Capitals, 2 goals, 0 assists, 4 points, 13:50 TOI

 

Brooks Orpik (38 years old): 53 games played with the Capitals, 2 goals, 7 assists, 9 points, 15:40 TOI

Playoffs: 7 games played with the Capitals, 1 goal, 1 assist, 18:12 TOI

 

Hockey-Graph contract projections

Brett Connolly: 3 years, $3,536,091 cap hit

Brooks Orpik: 1 year, $1,150,064 cap hit

 

The case for Brett Connolly 

The Capitals have already re-signed one of their third-line free agents with Carl Hagelin’s new deal. Is there room left for Connolly? There is an argument to be made here. Connolly has made himself comfortable in Washington. He tied his career highs in goals twice (15) and then broke through with a career-best 22. And he is one of the league’s most productive players given his limited ice time. 

There are just too many big names in front of Connolly to get him much power-play time. Those 22 goals wouldn’t be easy to replace and GM Brian MacLellan said scoring depth is a concern this offseason. If he is again willing to sacrifice role for a bump in pay and some security then maybe Connolly returns to a place he re-ignited his career. The talent is certainly there as the No. 6 overall pick in the 2010 draft and Connolly is headed into his age-27 season so a three or four-year deal takes care of his prime years. 

It might be out of Washington’s hands anyway. Even if the Capitals want to keep him, other teams could use money AND ice time to entice Connolly. But can they strike gold again with another cheap third-line winger as they did with Connolly? That’s not easy to replicate. They could simply sign Connolly and take care of it, but the salary cap is tight.    

The case for Brooks Orpik

A leader, a winner, a three-time Stanley Cup champion. Hard to measure what Brooks Orpik has done for the Capitals in his five years with the team. Did the Capitals overpay an aging defenseman when they signed Orpik before the 2014-15 season? Maybe. But it worked out for everyone even after last summer’s buyout and subsequent return. Orpik contributed again last season – though a knee injury limited him and bothered him most of the season. He even scored a game-winning overtime goal in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Some of this will depend on what Orpik wants to do. He said it would be later in the summer before he makes a firm decision on whether to play at age 39. 

But while the Capitals have solidified their blueline with the trade for Radko Gudas and have two young players – Jonas Siegenthaler and Christian Djoos – available to play the left side, it’s always nice to have a veteran there. Orpik might not want to play a limited No. 6/7 role even if Washington wants him back. And maybe the Capitals want to give those young players ice time. But Orpik won’t cost much more than they do. Do you bring him back? 

Who’s your pick? Vote here. 

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