Capitals

Cowboys lose leading tackler Lee to toe injury

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Cowboys lose leading tackler Lee to toe injury

IRVING, Texas (AP) Dallas Cowboys coaches won't be talking to linebacker Sean Lee through his helmet mic anymore this season.

Instead, he might be in their ears all the time on the sideline.

Lee is out for the rest of the season with ligament damage in his right big toe, an injury that will require surgery. Coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday an MRI showed the extent of the damage and the team's leading tackler and on-the-field defensive coordinator was placed on injured reserve. He will have surgery in about a week.

Lee was injured in the second half of last weekend's 19-14 win against Carolina, and he was already donning a headset before the game ended.

``I remember seeing him on the head phones on the sidelines,'' said his replacement, Dan Connor, an offseason pickup in free agency. ``He was really coaching out there. There's no reason why he shouldn't.''

It's not the first time Lee has been sidelined by a significant injury. He missed a year with a torn knee ligament at Penn State, and he could have missed a significant stretch last year with a dislocated wrist. He ended up sitting for a game and a half before coming back and playing the rest of the season with a cast.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Lee didn't want to believe he needed season-ending surgery this time, but ultimately knew better.

``He has such an intensity about him,'' Garrett said. ``He said, `You know, I'm not getting down. I'm ready to go I'm going be part of this football team and we're going to get this thing fixed. I'll be back before you know it.'''

The Cowboys moved up in the draft to take Lee in the second round in 2010, and he was still available in part because of his history with injuries. He started 15 games last year, finishing with 105 tackles and tying for the team lead with four interceptions. He had 58 tackles in six games this year and another interception.

``I can't tell you how well he's been playing since he's been our starting inside linebacker,'' Garrett said. ``He's a bell cow for us and a guy that really everybody on our defense and football team looks up to.''

Connor will replace Lee as a starter heading into Sunday's home game against the Giants, but the Cowboys signed veteran linebacker Ernie Sims, who played 13 games last year for Indianapolis. Bruce Carter, the other Dallas starter at inside linebacker, will call most of the defensive signals.

``It's something that definitely stings when you lose your middle linebacker, but at the end of the day, they're not going to cancel or postpone the games because Sean Lee got hurt,'' defensive end Marcus Spears said. ``You don't have time to dwell on it.''

The Cowboys are fourth in the NFL in total defense and made two key stops in the fourth quarter at Carolina to help Dallas rally from a 14-13 deficit. Garrett showed faith in the defense by running on third-and-9 to set up the go-ahead field goal with still 3:25 remaining.

Garrett made that decision after the injury to Lee, who also missed two games his rookie season with a hamstring problem.

``This is not new,'' Garrett said. ``This has happened a lot. And you rally around it. Sean Lee's the kind of guy that will stay engaged in our football team, and we appreciate that about him.''

Dallas also put punter Chris Jones on injured reserve and signed safety Charlie Peprah. The Cowboys added linebacker Jerry Brown to the practice squad a week after he was let go by Indianapolis.

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Three reasons the Capitals lost to the Panthers

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USA Today Sports

Three reasons the Capitals lost to the Panthers

Friday’s game had a little bit of everything. After spotting the Florida Panthers a 4-1 lead, the Capitals furiously battled back to tie the game at 4, then tied the game at 5 with just 1:25 remaining in regulation to earn an improbable point. The comeback ultimately fell short, however, as the Panthers earned the 6-5 shootout win.

Here are three reasons the Caps lost.

Bad puck management

A disastrous first period saw the Panthers score four goals and the biggest reason for that was the Caps’ puck management. They were sloppy with the puck leading to a number of costly turnovers, and Florida took advantage.

A good illustration of this game with Washington already trailing 2-1: Jakub Vrana made a lazy pass in the defensive zone that was easily intercepted by Jonathan Huberdeau, who forced a really nice save from Braden Holtby.

Whew, bullet dodged. Actually, not so fast.

Brett Connolly won the resulting faceoff, but Michal Kempny attempted a backhanded pass behind the net that was easily stolen away by Vincent Trocheck. Florida went tic-tac-toe with Trocheck to Huberdeau to Colton Sceviour who finished off the play for the goal.

No control in front of the net

Trocheck scored a rebound goal from the slot that bounced off of Lars Eller and into the net. Evgenii Dadonov scored from the slot on the power play. Sceviour scored from the high-slot after what was a generous pass from Huberdeau who looked like he could have scored from closer in…from the slot. Jared McCann pounced on a loose puck in the slot to beat a sprawling Holtby and Huberdeau scored off a rebound right in front of Holtby.

See a pattern?

The Panthers had complete control in front of the Caps’ net and all five of their goals came from in close.

Penalties

The Caps had a pretty good start to the game, but that was derailed by a Jakub Vrana penalty just 6:10 into the game. Evgeny Kuznetsov was called for hooking about 10 minutes later and Dadonov scored to put Florida up 2-1.

Despite the penalties and going down 4-1 in the first, the Caps battled back to a 4-4 tie in the second. Then the penalties popped up again.

Alex Ovechkin was called for interference on Aaron Ekblad late in the period. It was a tough call as the puck as was at Ekblad’s feet, but Ovechkin made no attempt to play the loose puck at all and simply hit Ekblad, drawing an interference call. Less than a minute later, the Caps were called for too many men giving Florida 1:15 of a two-man advantage to work with and Huberdeau scored the go-ahead goal.

After three-straight goals, the Caps’ penalties completely derailed them and swept momentum back in the Panthers’ favor.

But wait, there’s more.

With the time ticking away on the too many men penalty, Kuznetsov was tossed out of the faceoff dot. He argued with the linesman and apparently argued a bit too hard because the linesman went to the referee and Kuznetsov was booked for unsportsmanlike conduct giving Florida another 10 seconds of 5-on-3.

Despite all of that, the Caps still managed to tie the game with just 1:25 remaining in the game. Matt Niskanen, however, took a penalty with just 23 seconds left. With a 4-on-3 power play to start overtime, 

Overall, Washington gave the Panthers seven power play opportunities including two 5-on-3s, gave up two goals on the man advantage and completely killed their own momentum.

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10.19.18 Rick Horrow sits down with Zach Leonsis of Monumental Sports

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USA TODAY Sports

10.19.18 Rick Horrow sits down with Zach Leonsis of Monumental Sports

By Rick Horrow

Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE

Top 3 sports biz items of the week:

1) The NHL’s new season has been infused with a bit of flare and fun that it is not used to. According to The Hockey News, players across the league have started to show a bit more personality on the ice, something that fans have been “begging for” for years. The highlight of the first week came during a wild 7-6 win for the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Chicago Blackhawks. Maple Leafs C Auston Matthews and Blackhawks RW Patrick Kane exchanged jeers after each scored a goal within the final minutes of regulation. Meanwhile in Raleigh, the Hurricanes now have one of the league’s best post-game celebrations. After a win, the whole team applauds the crowd before “skating from their own blueline to the other end of the ice and jumping into the boards.” This playful nature is one thing that the NHL has lacked compared to its NBA and NFL counterparts. With more fun, expect more fans. And to the fun mix add Gritty, the startling new Muppet-like orange Philadelphia Flyers mascot, who calls his fans “Gritizens,” has been on with Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel, and after mere weeks has amassed over 136,000 Twitter followers.


2) E-commerce giant Amazon is used to disrupting industries in a quick and swift fashion, but its dive into sports broadcasting has been described as “humble.” According to SportsBusiness Journal, Amazon has been linked with some of the world’s biggest leagues and tournaments, such as the NFL and Premier League, despite not being a longtime player in the sports broadcasting industry. “There is more to come from Amazon, full stop. We are in it for the long-term, that’s for sure,” said Amazon Prime Video European Managing Director Alex Green. “We just get our heads down and try and do the best possible job. We are quite humble about it. Amazon may be a big name but in sports broadcasting we are not. Let’s face it.” Amazon recently celebrated its first exclusive sporting event broadcast when it streamed the U.S. Open to tennis fans in the U.K. as part of a $40 million, five-year deal. While that effort did not go smoothly, with thousands of fans unable to access the livestream, Amazon has assured its current and would-be broadcast partners that their humbling performance would only improve.


3) NFL owners are preparing for a big vote at their fall meeting this week regarding cross-ownership. According to SportsBusiness Journal, the decades-old rule currently prevents “owners of other big four sports teams in NFL markets from buying a football team,” while also preventing NFL owners from buying non-NFL Big Four sports teams in an existing NFL market. The ballooning of franchise valuations has led owners to reconsider the rule due to the shrinking pool of potential buyers for clubs. To illustrate this, when the Carolina Panthers came up for sale earlier this year, only three bidders emerged before David Tepper bought the team for $2.275 billion. Even that NFL record setting sale came in under expectations. However, the league has not strictly upheld the cross-ownership rule. Back in 2010, Stan Kroenke exercised an option to buy the then-St. Louis Rams despite owning the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. Kroenke skirted around the rule after he handed off the Colorado teams to other family members, setting precedent and setting up the NFL for a sensible rule change.