Capitals

Browns add to new management, hire president

Browns add to new management, hire president

BEREA, Ohio (AP) New Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and his CEO, Joe Banner, have several personnel decisions to make once the season ends.

You can scratch president off their list, however.

With potentially more changes ahead for the new-look Browns over the next two weeks, Haslam and Banner announced on Tuesday they had hired Alec Scheiner to be the team's new president.

Scheiner, 39, will join Cleveland after eight years with the Cowboys. He was senior vice president and general counsel with Dallas the last five years.

``Alec and I started talking last June. We had a series of meetings,'' Banner said. ``We just felt like it was a great fit. He's going to impact the organization in a lot of ways.''

Scheiner will quarterback the Browns' day-to-day business operations in his new post, which will begin Jan. 7, and will focus on improving the team's gameday atmosphere at home games.

``We really want to enhance the fan experience everywhere. Wherever we can,'' Scheiner said. ``We have a challenge, and we will work hard on it.

``We want to create something that links us to the past, and to the community.''

Scheiner, raised in Lower Merion, Pa., attended Georgetown, and in 2008, took over the Cowboys' business operations, which included football analytics. He was a key cog in the fan experience at highly regarded Cowboys Stadium, which opened on May 27, 2009, and hosted the Super Bowl on Feb. 6, 2011.

``I want to thank the Cowboys for making my eight years there some of the most rewarding of my professional career,'' Scheiner said. ``I am looking forward to this challenge with the Browns, which I view as a tremendous opportunity to start at the ground level with a new and exciting leadership group.''

That unit, of course, features Haslam and Banner as the Browns look to create a new identity in the offseason.

``Jimmy and Joe have a great vision of what they want the Cleveland Browns to become and I am grateful to be able to be a part of it,'' Scheiner said. ``The Browns are an iconic franchise with an outstanding fan base and tradition. Together, we hope to do incredible things for the organization.''

Whether or not the coach will be with them - as that long-term vision plays out - remains to be seen. Cleveland began the season 0-5 under Pat Shurmur, who is in his season year. The Browns have persevered, though, and actually orchestrated a three-game winning streak late in the year. But they are still just 5-9 and in last place of the AFC North with two difficult games approaching - Denver (11-3) and Pittsburgh (7-7) - to end the season.

``We have not made decisions, but obviously, as time has gone on, we have thought about it more,'' said Banner, who said staffing decisions will be made ``quickly'' after the season finale. ``But we're not at the point where we've made definitive decisions.

``Our driving force is to gather a group of smart, effective people.''

Scheiner clearly plays into that mindset.

``For many years, the Cowboys have been a leading innovator among NFL franchises, and Alec played an integral role in this success,'' Haslam said. ``We are confident that his expertise will be a tremendous asset, not only for our organization but our fans as well.''

In 2010, Scheiner made the Sports Business Journal's ``Forty Under 40'' list.

``Our objective is to build the Browns organization with the best people in their respective fields, and we believe the hiring of Alec is indicative of this goal,'' Banner said. ``Alec brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in many facets with one of the most successful franchises in the NFL.''

Dallas owner Jerry Jones, for one, will certainly miss Scheiner's efforts.

``Alec is a bright and talented executive who has provided our organization with quality service. He knows his way around the NFL and has fine leadership ability,'' Jones said. ``He is a tireless taskmaster and will be a great addition to the Browns front office.

``He is a rising star and an asset to our league.''

In a conference call with the media, Scheiner was asked about the Browns' traditional ways - what with the logo-less helmets and classic uniforms. Scheiner didn't think too many changes were needed in that realm, and he was quick to embrace the team's tradition along the way.

``It's more about connecting with what he have already ... in more effective ways,'' he said. ``You can always do better.''

That said, Banner explained that Scheiner would have a say in any decisions regarding the potential modernization of the team's look, something that has been rumored as a consideration in the new era.

``He would contribute to that. He would be part of that discussion,'' Banner said. ``But that would be something that ultimately will be Jimmy's decision.''

As for cheerleaders, well, Scheiner is going from a franchise that is famous for them to one that doesn't even have them.

And, new regime or not, that appears like it'll stay that way.

``I don't think we're focused on that decision,'' Banner said with a laugh. ``It's not something we've spent time on.''

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NOTES: LB James-Michael Johnson and DB T.J. Ward were placed on injured reserve with knee injuries. Both Johnson, a rookie, and Ward are starters for a defense that allows 22.1 points per game. Johnson made eight starts, played in 10 games and finished with 35 tackles. His role expanded when Scott Fujita sustained a season-ending neck injury. Ward had 68 tackles and one interception. ... The Browns are 3-0 vs. the AFC West, with the first-place Broncos on deck.

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3 stars of the game: Burakovsky's big night propels Caps to the Stanley Cup Final

3 stars of the game: Burakovsky's big night propels Caps to the Stanley Cup Final

For just the second time in franchise history, the Capitals are Eastern Conference Champions. They will play the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup FInal after a dominant 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Alex Ovechkin gave the Capitals the lead just 62 seconds into the game. It was a lead they would never relinquish as Braden Holtby recorded his second consecutive shutout.

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final will be Monday in Las Vegas.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Andre Burakovsky: It's been a rough year for Burakovsky, but all that was erased on Wednesday with his brilliant two-goal performance to lead the Caps.

The Caps were clinging to a 1-0 lead in the second period, but the Lightning were buzzing, outshooting the Caps 8-1. They had all the momentum until Burakovsky stole a bouncing puck from Dan Girardi and fired a quick shot far-side for the beautiful goal.

Burakovsky added a second goal later in the second as John Carlson banked a pass off the boards to launch him on a breakaway. Burakovsky coolly shot it through the open five-hole of Vasilevskiy to make it 3-0.

It's incredible to think that Burakovsky had not recorded a point yet this postseason prior to Game 7, was a healthy scratch for Game 5 and was talking about seeing a sports psychologist over the summer after the morning skate for Game 6.

2. Braden Holtby: The goaltending for much of the series was Andrei Vasilevskiy who led Tampa Bay's comeback in the series with his phenomenal netminding. He was outplayed in the most important games by Holtby, however, who recorded shutouts in both Game 6 and Game 7. The last goal the Lightning scored in the series came 33 seconds into the second period of Game 5. That's 139:27 of continuous play and 60 straight saves for Holtby.

Holtby was phenomenal in Game 7 with big save after big save as the Lightning pushed to tie. His biggest save came in the second period when he denied Alex Killorn on the breakaway. The score was just 2-0 at that point.

This marks just the fifth time a goalie has recorded a shutout in Game 6 and Game 7 in a playoff series.

3. Alex Ovechkin: It took Ovechkin just 62 seconds to put the Capitals ahead and it turned out to be the goal that sent Washington to the Stanley Cup Final. How fitting for it to be Ovechkin to score the game-winner?

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Referees miss blatant boarding by Paquette on Orpik

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USA TODAY Sports

Referees miss blatant boarding by Paquette on Orpik

A rough hit to the back of Brooks Orpik left him down on the ice and slow to get up. Cedric Paquette skated back to his bench and waited for the trainer to attend to Orpik and (probably) for the referees to call his number and send him to the box.

The penalty, however, never came.

You always hear in hockey that if you can see a player's numbers, you should pull up on the hit.

What that refers to is the numbers on the back of a player's jersey. You are not allowed to hit a player directly in the back into the boards.

The official definition of boarding according to the NHL rule book is, "any player who checks or pushes a defenseless opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to hit or impact the boards violently or dangerously." Hitting a player "in the numbers" is a defenseless position.

Apparently Cedric Paquette didn't know that and, unfortunately for the Capitals, neither did the referees.

Someone explain to me how this is not a boarding penalty:

Sometimes referees are put in a tough position because a player turns his back right before they take the hit, thus putting themselves in a vulnerable position to draw a penalty. That was not the case here. Orpik never turned.

When Tom Wilson hit Pittsburgh Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese in the second period, the hockey world spent the next day debating whether it was an illegal hit. There is no debate here, no grey area. Just a clear board.

And no call.

You can understand referees wanting to put away the whistles for a Game 7, but you have to call the blatant dangerous plays like this. This was a bad miss by the referees, plain and simple.

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