Capitals

Drew trying to restart his career with Red Sox

Drew trying to restart his career with Red Sox

BOSTON (AP) Stephen Drew is moving to Boston to restart what once looked like a promising career.

The former first-round draft pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks was derailed by a serious ankle injury in 2011. He was traded last season to Oakland after returning from the injury and agreed to $9.5-million, one-year contract to pay with the Red Sox in 2013.

His older brother, J.D., played five seasons with the Red Sox and earned a World Series title with Boston in 2007.

That year, as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Stephen Drew was playing his first full season in the majors and just missed facing his brother in the World Series when the Colorado Rockies swept his team for the National League title before losing to the Red Sox.

``Playing in a big series- Boston and the Yankees - will be different,'' Drew said in a conference call with the media on Thursday. ``He's talked to me about things like that. It's a little bigger market than Arizona. The `07 the World Series, we were pretty close to playing Boston and that would have been pretty neat. It worked out the best for him and for the Red Sox.''

But the shortstop knows people will immediately make comparisons to him and his brother.

``You guys know J.D. - he's laid back and I'm laid back, but probably a little more emotional,'' he said. ``At the end of the day, I'm a different person than J.D. and J.D's a different person than me. J.D. played right field and I play shortstop. I've always had a little more pressure playing in the middle of the field. I don't really throw my bat, but you guys know that. At the end of the day, J.D. and I are a little different.''

Coming back after a fractured right ankle on a collision at home plate that had him sideline from mid-July until late June of last season, Drew hit .193 in 39 games with two homers and 12 RBIs with the Diamondbacks until he was dealt to Oakland, where he played the final 40 games batting .250 with five homers and 16 RBIs.

``Going through it gets kind of crazy,'' he said. ``I put a lot of hard work and dedication into the rehab process not knowing if I was going to ever play baseball again or not.''

Before the injury, Drew played 135 games or more in four straight years with Arizona. His best was when he hit .291 with 21 homers and 67 RBIs in 2008.

Drew's reputation took somewhat of a hit when Diamondbacks' owner Ken Kendrick questioned the amount of time the shortstop took to get back from the injury. He also understands that he's coming to a market where his brother was similarly criticized for taking a while to recover from his injuries.

``I understand Boston. The team's been around a long time and the fans are kind of passionate. They have a right to be,'' he said. ``As players you go through hard times. You go out and play and just leave it out there on the field - that's all you can do. At the end of the day, you go home and think about things and try to fix it. You adapt - just like you do after every tough at-bat.''

Drew is likely to become Boston's 11th starting shortstop in a revolving-door position. Mike Aviles started 123 games there last season then was sent to Toronto as compensation for the Red Sox prying their new manager, John Farrell, away from the Blue Jays. Aviles later was traded to the Cleveland Indians.

Slick-fielding Jose Iglesias, 22, had been considered Boston's shortstop of the future, but he struggled at the plate, batting .118 in 24 games last year. He may also have been moved down in the organizational depth chart by Xander Bogaerts, 20, who has played just 23 games at Double-A.

Boston started the shortstop maneuverings in 2004 when it traded Nomar Garciaparra in the middle of the season.

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Capitals have been their own worst enemy, and they were again on Friday

Capitals have been their own worst enemy, and they were again on Friday

The Capitals managed to earn a point on Friday in a 6-5 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers, but the game felt like a missed opportunity for Washington. After giving up four goals in the first period, seven power plays including two 5-on-3s, and two power play goals, the Caps knew they had no one to blame but themselves for the loss.

“We were still not quite there maybe emotionally,” Lars Eller said.

At least not for the first period. The Caps allowed four goals in the opening 20 minutes to dig themselves into a 4-1 hole. Each goal came from the slot as the Caps had no control over the front of their own net.

“Just tough to start that way, to kind of dig ourselves a big hole,” Brett Connolly said. “Obviously, it’s good to come back and get a point but we don’t need to do that to ourselves. It takes a lot of energy to get back in that game.”

Washington battled back to tie the game at 4, but penalties ultimately derailed their momentum, allowing Florida to retake the lead.

After scoring three straight goals, the Caps took three minor penalties in the final three minutes of the second period.

Alex Ovechkin was called for interference on Aaron Ekblad as he made no attempt to play a loose puck that trickled past the Florida defenseman. He was clearly focused on delivering the hit and nothing else.

Less than a minute later, Eller was caught on the ice a tad early, and Washington was called for too many men.

“I see Backy coming for a change, they had full possession,” Eller said. “I don't see behind my back, I think the guys are telling me he has one skate over so I think it was an unnecessary call, but what am I going to say? It's a tough one.”

With 1:15 of a two-man advantage to work with, Jonathan Huberdeau scored the go-ahead goal late in the period.

Even after a furious comeback, the Caps could not escape the second with the score tied because of the penalties.

Just 43 seconds after Huberdeau’s goal, Washington went right back to 5-on-3. Evgeny Kuznetsov was tossed from a faceoff by the linesman and argued the call, eventually earning himself an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

“He said something he shouldn't have said to the referee,” Reirden said of the call.

The Caps' penalty problems were exacerbated by the continued problems of the penalty kill.

Heading into Friday's game, Washington was only killing off 72.2 percent of the power plays they faced. They allowed another two power play goals Friday as they continued to struggle when facing the extra man.

“We have room for improvement for sure,” Reirden said of his penalty kill. “It’s a new system, new with the way we’re killing, its new personnel. We’re learning. We’re missing a key guy in Tom on that as well. It’s not easy, either, when you’re 5-on-3 when they’ve got talented players that can convert in that spot. It’s definitely a work in progress and I didn't expect it to go smoothly to start with. That’s one of the areas that we knew was gonna be new to our team this year and it’s gonna continue to take some work. It’s something that definitely is a work in progress.”

Mistakes put the Caps down 4-1, they put them down 5-4, they cost them a valuable point against a previously winless Panthers team before a four-game road trip through Canada, and they are ultimately why the defending Stanley Cup champions are only 3-2-2 to start the season.

And they know it.

“We’re still trying to find our game,” Connolly said. “Would we have liked to have picked up where we left off? Yes. But it’s not easy. We played a lot of hockey last year and a short summer and you come in here and there’s a lot of distractions, a lot of that kind of stuff. We’ve done some good things and we’ve done some not so good things.

"I think if you look at last season we weren't very good either at the start. We weren't at our best. Just take the positives and know that we can overcome that. It hasn’t been disastrous. We’re still getting points, we’re still above .500 right now with a tough couple back-to-backs to start the year. So not the worst start, but obviously we have another level.”

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Panthers head coach calls for league to review Ovechkin’s hit to Pysyk

Panthers head coach calls for league to review Ovechkin’s hit to Pysyk

The Florida Panthers played over half of Friday’s game with five defensemen after a hit from Alex Ovechkin ultimately knocked Mark Pysyk out of the game.

Early in the second period, Ovechkin attempted to enter the offensive zone with the puck, but it was swept away at the blue line back to Pysyk. Pysyk quickly chipped the puck away and then was on the receiving end of a hit from Ovechkin.

In real time, the hit did not appear to be a big one. It wasn't even the biggest hit Ovechkin delivered in the game, as in the third period he sent Aleksander Barkov flying with a shoulder hit. But Pysyk went down to the ice after the hit and left the game soon after.

After the game, Florida head coach Bob Boughner did not mince words.

“Pysyk got a high hit to the head,” he said.

When asked if he thought the league should review the hit, Boughner said, “I hope they do because if you see the replay, it's high. It's a head shot. And the league's trying to clamp down on that. Whether there's no call, I don't blame the refs. Maybe they missed it. That happens. But those are the kind of plays that need to be reviewed.”

Based on the replay, it is hard to determine if the principal point of contact was the head. Ovechkin does not launch himself, but does appear to take an upward trajectory into Pysyk. Still, it seems like a hard sell to say Ovechkin was targeting the head.

But the hit did send Pysyk out of the game, and in today’s NHL, when head hits are a big topic of conversation and when a player is injured on a play, the NHL has shown it takes those plays more seriously.

Pysyk returned to the game for one more shift after receiving the hit, but left the game after and did not return.

“Right now we're still getting him checked out, but we'll see more in the morning,” Boughner said.

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