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Arkansas hopes slumping Wade can pick up scoring

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Arkansas hopes slumping Wade can pick up scoring

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) Mardracus Wade would love nothing more than to return to his role as a scoring threat for an Arkansas team in desperate need of exactly that.

Last season's top 3-point shooter in the Southeastern Conference first must find his shooting touch and a way to simply get back on the court for the Razorbacks (10-5, 1-1 SEC) when they host Auburn (8-7, 2-0) Wednesday night.

Wade, who connected on nearly half of his 3-point shots last season, has struggled so far in his second year under coach Mike Anderson. The junior is averaging 7.4 points per game and is shooting just 32.5 percent (13 of 40) on 3-pointers, a season after a breakout effort in which he averaged 10.8 points per game.

Anderson singled him out last week for not grabbing a rebound in 27 minutes of action in a loss at Texas A&M. Then, against Vanderbilt, he didn't start for the first time this season and didn't even play in the second half.

``I think he's just got to start performing, that's all,'' Anderson said. ``Bring some better practices that can take him into the game. I think basketball is a game of confidence. You've got to play with confidence.''

Following the win over the Commodores, Wade - who led Arkansas with an average of 28.8 minutes per game last season - took to Twitter to express his frustration with the lack of playing time.

``This is crazy ... Can't believe that,'' the Memphis native tweeted.

Wade deleted the post shortly afterward based on the advice of a friend, and he was clear this week that he knows he holds the key to his future. He's also confident he can regain last season's form, sooner rather than later.

``I've got to stay in the gym and continue to work and try to get better and just come out there and produce,'' Wade said. ``I know I will because I'm that type of player. I work hard. I don't get down too much on myself.

``I'm like a gym rat. I'm always going to be in here to get better and help my team out any way I can.''

Wade's sudden drop in production this season isn't nearly as pronounced as his rise last season, when he burst onto the SEC scene after averaging just 4 points per game as a freshman. The Razorbacks were in dire need of a breakout season from someone after sharpshooter Rotnei Clarke transferred to Butler.

Wade obliged, hitting 70 of 147 (47.6 percent) 3-pointers. He benefited from more touches after an early knee injury cost leading scorer Marshawn Powell all but the first two games of the season.

Powell, who has returned this season and is second on Arkansas in scoring with an average of 14.3 points per game, has been as surprised as anyone by Wade's shooting woes. The forward has noticed Wade's reluctance to shoot at times, saying he ``does a lot more pump-faking than he needs to.'' Powell isn't sure if his return has affected Wade's role.

``I mean, I'm telling him during the game, `Just shoot the ball; let the ball go,''' Powell said. ``If you miss it, you miss it. If you make it, we need it. ... Hopefully, he'll bring it.''

Arkansas needs Wade to emerge as a third scoring option to go along with Powell and leading scorer BJ Young. Through Arkansas' first two SEC games, no one other than Young or Powell is averaging more than 5 points per game.

``It can't continue,'' Powell said. ``You're not going to get any W's if that continues.''

Wade has been far from the only one to struggle from the outside this season for the Razorbacks, who are 11th in the SEC in 3-point shooting percentage (31.5). The shooting guard, however, might just be the key if Arkansas hopes to return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008.

``We've got to have a third scorer and a fourth scorer,'' Anderson said. ``Our team has been built a lot on balance, so we've got to have some guys to really step up. ... That scoring has got to come from other people.''

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4 things to know for Caps-Flames: Back in the Saddle(dome)

4 things to know for Caps-Flames: Back in the Saddle(dome)

The Capitals (6-2-2) started off the road trip with a win on Sunday in Chicago. Now they begin the three-game tour through western Canada starting with the Calgary Flames (5-4-1). You can catch all the action on NBC Sports Washington with Caps FaceOff Live kicking things off at 8 p.m. before Caps Pregame Live begins at 8:30 p.m. to bring you up to the 9 p.m. puck drop. Stick with NBC Sports Washington afterward for Caps Postgame Live, D.C. Sports Live and Caps Overtime Live.

Here are 4 things to know for Tuesday’s game.

Kempny is back on the top pair

Based on the lines the team used in Monday’s practice, Michal Kempny will return to his normal spot on the top defensive pairing alongside John Carlson.

The defense has stabilized quite a bit since Kempny has returned, though he started both games he has played on the third pair. This move would suggest that he has felt fine since returning and there are no lingering concerns over his hamstring.

Kempny’s return not only stabilizes the top defensive pair, but the trickle-down effect boosts the entire defense. Jonas Siegenthaler has been playing on the top pair in Kempny's absence. He has done as well as could be hoped for a young player in just his second NHL season, but moving him to the third pair takes some of the pressure off the young blueliner. Plus, putting him on the third pair with Radko Gudas makes for a pretty darn good bottom-pair.

NHL points leader John Carlson

Carlson enters Tuesday’s game leading the NHL in points with 18. In 10 games he has been held without a point only once. He has six multi-point games and a seven-game point streak.

Carlson’s start to the season puts him in pretty elite company as only two other defensemen have managed 18 or more points in their first 10 games. They are Paul Coffey and Bobby Orr.

You don’t get more elite than that.

Calgary has not lost in regulation at home

In four games at the Saddledome this season, Calgary is 3-0-1. The lone loss came against the Los Angeles Kings thanks to Drew Doughty’s overtime winner. In their three wins, the Flames have outscored opponents 11-2.

The Caps have been road warriors so far this season with a 4-1-0 record away from home. In addition, Alex Ovechkin has scored five of his six goals this season on the road. Washington also has beaten the Flames seven of the last 10 games these two teams have played in Calgary.

A special teams battle

No team in the NHL has been called for more minor penalties this season than Calgary which has 46 already. Their 122 PIMs ranks second only to Vegas’ 125.

Washington is currently clicking at 27.0-percent on the power play, good for 9th in the NHL. The Flames, however, rank 5th on the penalty kill at 87.5-percent.

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Bill Callahan reveals plans to start Case Keenum at least until Redskins Week 10 bye

Bill Callahan reveals plans to start Case Keenum at least until Redskins Week 10 bye

The Redskins drafted Dwayne Haskins 15th overall but still seem reluctant to start the rookie quarterback. Case Keenum has started all but one game for the 1-6 Redskins this season, and interim head coach Bill Callahan seems intent on keeping it that way. 

"Case is still our quarterback, and that’s where we’re at currently, and I don’t see anything changing in the future," Callahan said Monday in an interview with the Redskins Talk podcast.

With a game coming Thursday night, it seems far fetched for the Redskins to go to Haskins on a condensed time frame this week. But after Thursday's game against the Vikings, Washington will have a 10-day break before a game in Buffalo. Could that be the spot to finally give Haskins the start? Not for Callahan.

"We believe in Case, what he’s done, and what he’s capable of doing," Callahan said.

So the Redskins will go to the bye week without making Haskins the starter? 

"That’s the direction we’re heading in right now."

Keenum has hardly impressed this season. He has completed 66 percent of his passes and thrown nine touchdowns against just four interceptions, but five of those TDs came in the first two weeks. In Weeks 3 and 4 Keenum turned the ball over six times in six quarters before being benched for Haskins. The rookie did not impress in the second half against the Giants either, throwing three picks, before Colt McCoy was named the starter for Week 5 against New England.

After a loss to the Patriots, the Redskins fired head coach Jay Gruden. Once Gruden was gone, the team went back to Keenum, and it sounds like that will be the plan for the foreseeable future. 

At 1-6 and with virtually all playoff hopes eliminated it would not be a surprise if Haskins gets the call after the bye week when the Jets come to FedEx Field. For now, however, that seems like anything but certain. 

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