Capitals

Boeheim starts last road tour through Big East

Boeheim starts last road tour through Big East

Jim Boeheim has started his last slate of road games in the Big East.

And it seems to be sending him down memory lane.

After No. 7 Syracuse beat South Florida 55-44 in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, the first conference road game this season for Boeheim's team, he spoke at length about his past, his half-century at the school as a player, student and coach - and how he would have stopped coaching if the Orange were leaving in a heyday for the rapidly changing Big East.

``We were in a good league, and then a great league, and a great league, and pretty good, then it was great, then it was good, then it was great and now it's something different,'' Boeheim said. ``It changes all the time. It's not the same.

``If it was the same and we were leaving, I wouldn't leave. I would have just retired. It's not the same.''

It was announced in September 2011 that the Atlantic Coast Conference council of presidents unanimously voted to accept Syracuse and Pittsburgh, two schools that were considered Big East cornerstones. They'll officially move leagues next fall, and Louisville and Notre Dame - in all sports but football - have since been approved for addition to the ACC as well.

Boeheim has long spoken of his affinity for the Big East, the league that was founded in 1979 as a basketball conference and counted Syracuse as a charter member. These days, even someone like Boeheim has trouble figuring out who's coming and going through the Big East in this realignment trend for major conferences.

``It's Houston and SMU and you can't even name all the teams that are going to be there and when they're going to be there,'' Boeheim said. ``It's not the same. The ACC is a very stable league, I think - knock on wood, knock on some president's head. We hope it's stable. But who knows? Nothing's really stable. Things are going to be changing. I'll be fishing someplace and playing golf. But there's many changes yet to come, no question.''

Those changes don't include Boeheim looking elsewhere.

He has 904 wins and passed Bob Knight (902) for No. 2 on the men's college basketball all-time victory list last week, trailing only Duke's Mike Krzyzewski - someone whom Boeheim has no designs on catching, since he said Krzyzewski plans to coach forever.

``I feel I have a good job,'' Boeheim said. ``I'm from Central New York. I grew up there. I was a walk-on there. I've been there for 68 years. I've been at Syracuse for 50. I've never seriously considered leaving, ever, at any time. If I knew what I knew about the NBA a couple years ago I might have thought about going to be the NBA, but it's a little bit past my time for that right now.''

Not even being around NBA stars like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade - and former Syracuse star Carmelo Anthony - during his stint as an assistant under Krzyzewski with USA Basketball had Boeheim looking to the pro game.

In short, he knows the national team isn't quite the same as the rigors of the pro game.

``It's unbelievable to work with those guys. But it's not like that in the league,'' Boeheim said. ``If I could go work with those guys, I'd sign on for that. They wouldn't even have to pay me that much. But they were so good. The pros, all the myths and everything, we had them five months for five years and we never had a guy late for a practice, meeting, nothing. We never had to sit down and talk to somebody.''

There was a certain irony to the timing of Boeheim speaking at length about why he never left Syracuse, given that Doug Marrone - the Orange football coach for the past four seasons - reached an agreement to become the Buffalo Bills' new coach Sunday, according to the three people familiar with the negotiations who spoke to The Associated Press.

Boeheim said his reason for staying put this long was simple.

``Nobody wanted me. I found a place that wanted me so, you know, I stayed there,'' Boeheim said. ``It's sad where we are but you can't look at a football coach or a basketball coach who sees an opportunity that he feels is good for him. If he loses two years in a row, he's going to be fired. So how can you be loyal? They're going to fire you if you don't win. I don't fault coaches for looking.''

More than 3,000 Syracuse fans, by Boeheim's estimate, made the trip to Tampa for the game against USF. And of those, plenty surely were those who merely wanted an escape from a tough few weeks of winter in Central New York.

Yes, Syracuse's winter weather can be oft-maligned. In time, it changes. His address does not.

``I like it there. It's a good place,'' Boeheim said. ``Three months, the weather's bad - and we play basketball in them.''

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Caps leave All-Star Game with plenty of highlights, but no wins

Caps leave All-Star Game with plenty of highlights, but no wins

ST. LOUIS -- There was no All-Star championship for the Metropolitan Division All-Stars this year. The Metro was not able to defend its crown in 2020 as it fell 9-5 to the Atlantic Division in the first game of the All-Star Game tournament on Saturday.

Despite the early loss, the Capitals certainly left their mark on the event. Here were the highlights:

An ovation for Oshie

T.J. Oshie began his NHL career in St. Louis and remains a fan favorite there even now in the midst of his fifth season in Washington. That was evident when Oshie was introduced to the crowd to thunderous applause.

“I think it's a pretty cool story,” Oshie said. “It's something that I'm going to enjoy telling the kids and grandkids down the road. But I think the coolest part for me was just the cheers from the fans when my name was called a couple times there. I enjoyed playing here. I love playing in D.C. though, but I had some good experiences here, some heartbreaks, some pretty good teams we played on. Just to get back here, just kind of crazy that my first All-Star Game ended up being in St. Louis. It was a great weekend, it was fun, the fans were awesome as always.”

The starting lineup

Todd Reirden went with what he knew to start the game as Oshie and John Carlson both started the game with Braden Holtby in net. The only non-Cap to start was New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal.

The Barzal, Oshie, Carlson trio seemed to find some chemistry through the game and Oshie had nothing but positive things to say of the speedy forward after the game.

“Obviously his skill level's off the charts, just skating, his stickhandling and vision on the ice,” Oshie said. “Obviously we would've liked to put up some more goals, but it's nice trying to get open and have him find me than chase him around the ice and just try to not get made a fool of. It was awesome. He's a great kid. It was nice kind of getting to know him off the ice here these last couple days.”

While Oshie wished for more production, that line actually acquitted itself nicely. Oshie recorded one goal and one assist, Carlson had one goal and Barzal had two assists.

Carlson scores a milestone

The Atlantic Division jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but Carlson scored the first goal of the game for the Metro.

Holtby broke up a scoring chance for the Atlantic as he blocked a centering pass with his stick which sparked the breakout in the other direction. Carlson and Barzal had a 2-on-1 opportunity and Barzal set up Carlson for the shot past a helpless Frederik Anderson. Oshie recorded a secondary assist on the goal.

That was not just the Caps’ first goal of the game, it was the first goal by a Caps defenseman at the All-Star Game in franchise history, according to the team. Quite the milestone.

“That’s great,” Carlson said. “I guess I had no idea.”

Oshie scores in St. Louis

I mean, he had to, right? His first All-Star game coming in St. Louis, there was no way Oshie was going to walk away from this game without scoring.

The Metro Division cycled in the offensive zone and Seth Jones dropped the puck off to Oshie near the blue line. He cut up the middle then fired a shot to the corner to beat Anderson, making him the eighth player in Caps’ franchise history to score at an All-Star Game.

Coach Osh in the house

Oshie’s family has always been the talk of Washington because of how adorable his daughters are and that was on full display again on Saturday. But it was Oshie’s dad who stole the show.

Oshie’s father suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. That makes traveling very difficult. After Oshie’s goal, however, the broadcast cut to Oshie waving up to his father who had been able to make the trip to St. Louis.

“It's always great to have Coach Osh around,” Oshie said. “He missed our fathers' trip this year, it's kind of hard for him to travel, but we were able to make it work for him to come to St. Louis where a lot of the people you see working down here behind the scenes probably know him better than they know me, so he got to see some old friends. Just special to have him here to witness my first All-Star Game in person.”

Oshie added, “There's certain milestones that I've made in my career that I want him to be a part of if he's able to make it and this was one of them He came to St. Louis quite a bit when I played and he has a lot of friends here, a lot of people that treat him really good as well. This was something that I didn't want him to miss."

Holtby ends on a high-note

Let’s face it, the All-Star Game does not favor the goalies. A 3-on-3 tournament is meant to promote as much scoring as possible. As a result, it is often a tough night for the netminders and that was true for Holtby who made five saves on nine shots in his single period of play. But Holtby was able to end his night on a high note with one of the top saves of the game.

David Pastrnak set up Shea Weber on the far-side for what looked like a lay-up on Holtby, but Holtby was able to stretch the pad for the fantastic toe save to deny Weber.

“It felt good to make a save,” Holtby said.

“It's difficult, but it's fun too,” Holtby said of the 3-on-3 format. “It's challenging. I think guys are starting to figure it out a little bit more with the cross-ice pass and stuff. But it's fun to be a part of.”

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Oshie gets warm All-Star welcome on St. Louis return, scores with dad in attendance

Oshie gets warm All-Star welcome on St. Louis return, scores with dad in attendance

Former St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie was welcomed back to Enterprise Arena fondly by the NHL All-Star crowd that included his family.

At the end of Oshie's entrance on to the ice, the camera showed plenty of Blues players cheering for him. In seven seasons with St. Louis, Oshie played 443 games and tallied 310 points (110 G, 200 A) and a +71 plus/minus rating. He even served as an alternate captain for his final two seasons before being traded to the Capitals for Troy Brouwer, Pheonix Copley and a 2016 third-round draft pick. 

That wasn't all for Oshie's All-Star performance -- he scored 5:29 into the first period to give the Metropolitan Division team a 3-2 lead.

Oshie is the eighth Capitals player in franchise history to score in the NHL All-Star Game.

Oshie's family, including his dad, Tim, affectionately known as "Coach Osh," was in attendance to witness his first All-Star appearance, making the moment even more special.

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