Wizards

Donovan not sure he wants to play at World Cup

Donovan not sure he wants to play at World Cup

NEW YORK (AP) Landon Donovan isn't sure he wants to play at the 2014 World Cup, a stance that prompted U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann to say he intends to speak with the longtime American star.

The 30-year-old Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder, a veteran of three World Cups, has been sidelined by a string of injuries this year and has appeared in just eight of 20 national team games since Klinsmann became coach.

``If I'm not enjoying playing any more, the World Cup is the last thing on my mind,'' Donovan said in an interview with ESPN released this week. ``I need to make sure that I'm enjoying playing every day. If I'm not enjoying it, none of that stuff really matters. And your body's going to tell you it's time to take a break and that's what my body has done this year, there's no question.''

Donovan said he can picture himself not playing at the World Cup. He has an American-record 49 goals in 144 international appearances, but his injury layoffs have given him doubts.

``When you're not part of the team all the time, you can start to question your value and your worth there,'' he said. ``I'm human. I think about those things, and I wonder that from time to time - am I capable and/or do they still want me around?''

Speaking during a conference call Thursday, Klinsmann said Donovan is wanted by the national team, which starts the 10-game final round of World Cup qualifying in February.

``I find it really courageous of him to talk openly about what's going through his mind,'' Klinsmann said, adding: ``He's always in our plans, absolutely.''

Klinsmann seems to be giving Donovan plenty of time to make up his mind.

``It's really down to him, himself, what he wants to further achieve in his career, what he wants to do,'' the coach said. ``Whatever he decides to do will be very respected by us.''

Donovan's availability for the next U.S. game, a Nov. 14 exhibition at Russia, depends on how far the defending champion Galaxy progress in the Major League Soccer playoffs.

His absence has created a void in the American attack.

``When one player is not there, there is a chance for another player to step in and make a case for a spot,'' Klinsmann said. ``We'll all be curious to see how it continues.''

Donovan has been sidelined this year by bronchitis, a hamstring injury and a knee injury. The U.S. is 3-2-3 with Donovan under Klinsmann and 8-4-0 without him.

``It's probably affected my relationship with everybody on that team,'' Donovan said of the absences. ``When you're a guy who's never been hurt for the most part and then all of a sudden you have all these injuries, I think people start to question it - maybe he's faking it, or maybe he's not really hurt or maybe he doesn't want to come in.

``That's really frustrating and candidly it's pretty hurtful because I've spent more time on a soccer field than anybody in the history of this program. I've played in games I shouldn't be playing in for health reasons or otherwise. I feel like I've given a lot to this program, and when you get the sense that people think you're not genuine, then that can hurt you.''

Klinsmann thought Donovan had the wrong impression, and intends to invite him to lunch or dinner.

``I don't know if he has a feeling that maybe some players didn't buy in or whatever. I didn't see that,'' Klinsmann said. ``If it's Landon's thought, then he can obviously talk about it. It's no problem.''

Donovan is not interested in a loan to Everton, where he played in early 2010 and early 2012.

``I'm no good to any team if I'm playing half-hearted or if I'm playing at 80 percent physically,'' Donovan said. ``I can go through the motions and do an OK job, but I don't want to be doing an OK job. I want to be making an impact.''

NOTES: Klinsmann hasn't spoken with Jozy Altidore since dropping the forward from his roster for World Cup qualifiers last month and said he hasn't decided whether to include him for the Russia game. ... The draw for the final round of World Cup qualifying will take place Tuesday. ... Klinsmann hasn't decided whether to have a January training camp. He may reduce the size or push it into late January, ahead of the next qualifier.

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Austin Rivers wants to interview Jay-Z and Barack Obama; still cant John Wall on his podcast

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USA Today

Austin Rivers wants to interview Jay-Z and Barack Obama; still cant John Wall on his podcast

Just one episode into his new podcast 'Go Off,' Wizards guard Austin Rivers is already learning plenty about the media world. With plans to become a television analyst when his playing days are done, Rivers is gaining a new appreciation for what it takes to speak at-length without stumbling over his words.

He's also starting to realize one of the biggest pain points for a media member: waiting on guests. Rivers has tried to line up interviews with his teammates and it's been much easier said than done.

Rivers is set to have Dwight Howard on as his first guest, but the original plan was point guard John Wall. Wall, though, has been giving him the runaround.

"That's the hardest thing is getting guests to show up," Rivers said. 

"It's impossible to get John on my podcast. At this point, I just don't expect it anymore. He says he'll do it next week and then the week comes. John has like 15 things to do a day. I don't know what these guys do. I play in the league, too. I know how un-busy my life is outside of this. And I've got a kid. John has a brand to run. He's a different level. Sorry, you can see the frustration on my face with not getting John on my podcast, man."

Rivers hopes to have many of his teammates on. He mentioned Kelly Oubre Jr. and how an interview with Oubre "might be a little out there." He also gave a hint about what his conversation with Howard will be like.

"I'm definitely gonna have some interesting topics to bring up with Dwight. I told him 'listen, you might want to check with your publicist before coming on my podcast.' We only talk about real conversations on here," Rivers said.

Rivers says he plans to start with fellow NBA players and then work in special episodes with guests outside of the league and even outside of basketball. He hopes to record an episode with financial advisors to talk about money and investments. He wants to take a deep dive into the AAU circuit and how it can be fixed.

Eventually, Rivers wants to aim very high with his guests. He gave a list of his dream interviews and there are some big names.

"Kobe Bryant or Dwyane Wade. Dwyane Wade is my favorite player. I'm gonna get Dwyane Wade on my podcast, for sure. I'm gonna go ahead and put that out there," Rivers said.

"Off-the-court, I would love to get Denzel Washington on there. That would be my dream... I want to do a podcast with me and my dad and Jaden Smith and Will Smith. I think that would be really dope, talking about parent-to-son success and how he related to his son to have a work ethic and how my dad did it to me."

Rivers went even higher. He wants to interview a president.

"I guess if I could go the highest, I would go Jay-Z or [Barack] Obama. But let's be realistic, here," Rivers said.

"[Interviewing Obama] would be incredible, bro. I would be so nervous. I'm not there yet, I'll be honest. I need like six or seven or eight more podcasts before I can get Obama on there because I'm gonna be stuttering. I can't do it with Obama yet. I don't know if I could handle Denzel right now."

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Capitals prospect report: Axel Jonsson-Fjallby goes home

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Capitals prospect report: Axel Jonsson-Fjallby goes home

Early in October, reports began popping up saying Axel Jonsson-Fjallby was headed back to his native Sweden to play for Djurgardens IF in the SHL. Those reports were refuted by the team which said that he remained in Hershey and had no plans to return to Sweden at that time.

Just over a month later and Jonsson-Fjallby’s move back to Sweden is official. On Tuesday, the Capitals announced he had been loaned to Djurgardens IF.

Jonsson-Fjallby scored two goals and three points in 15 games with the Bears.

While Jonsson-Fjallby was technically loaned by the Caps, it seems clear going back to Sweden was his decision. Capitals Outsider quotes a Bears spokesperson saying, “We are obviously disappointed, but it was Axel’s contractual right.”

To be fair, Jonsson-Fjallby was adjusting to a new country. That’s difficult. You do not know what a player’s specific situation is when it comes to family or how he is adjusting to living in a new place. Having said that, this was not a good move in terms of his NHL career.

Adjusting to the North American game takes time. Going back to Sweden to play the European game obviously delays that transition.

Not every player has to go to the AHL to adjust. Evgeny Kuznetsov was talented enough that the Caps were willing to bring him along straight from the KHL to the bottom six in the NHL as he adjusted and developed. Jonsson-Fjallby, however, is not Kuznetsov.

When Jonsson-Fjallby is finally ready to return to North America, he will now have to start the process of adjusting to the North American game again, putting him behind all the players in the system that are there now.

He may feel like it is the right move to return home personally, but in terms of his hockey career, this was a step in the wrong direction.

Other prospect notes:

  • Jonas Siegenthaler made his NHL debut on Friday with both Brooks Orpik and John Carlson out with injuries. He was impressive in his first game playing alongside Madison Bowey. He played in his second game on Wednesday which ties him for the franchise lead in games played by a Swiss-born player. He remains with the Caps on their current road trip.
  • llya Samsonov started in both of Hershey’s games over the weekend with Vitek Vanecek still out with an upper-body injury. Samsonov won one of those two games bringing his record for the season to 3-5.
  • Nathan Walker returned to Hershey after the Caps placed him on waivers. He scored in his very first game back on Saturday against Springfield. He also got into a fight in his second game back on Sunday.
  • Riley Barber had no goals in the first six games of the season. Now he has five in the past seven. Over the weekend, Barber recorded a goal and an assist in both of Hershey’s games. He now leads the team in points with 11 and sits third in goals behind Liam O’Brien (7) and Mike Sgarbossa (6).
  • Tyler Lewington has racked up 454 career penalty minutes with Hershey, passing Don Cherry who had 424 while with the Bears. He currently sits second in the AHL in penalty minutes with 54. A lot of fans like Lewington because he is not afraid to drop the gloves, but not all of those minutes are from fighting. Lewington also leads the league in minor penalties with 12.
  • With his goal Friday in a win over Rensselaer, Chase Priskie became Quinnipiac’s all-time leading scorer among defensemen with 29 goals. “It’s great to be in the record books, but at the same time it’s the players that I’ve been able to play with for the last four years,” Priskie said. “Without them, a lot of those goals don’t happen and I can’t give enough praise to the guys I’ve been able to play with that have been able to get me the puck in the right situations. I’ve been able to do the easy part. I just try to come in and do whatever I can to help the team win.”

 

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