Capitals

Gabby Douglas joins Jay Leno on 'Tonight Show'

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Gabby Douglas joins Jay Leno on 'Tonight Show'

From Comcast SportsNet
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Olympic champion Gabby Douglas basked in the "Tonight" spotlight and the admiration of fellow guest Michelle Obama, but the teenager already is thinking ahead to 2016. Host Jay Leno, who noted that Douglas' last name was an anagram for "USA gold," asked Monday if the gymnast intended to compete in the next Summer Games, in Rio de Janeiro. "Oh, definitely," she replied, reaffirming previous statements. The 16-year-old looked like a winner, dressed in a gold metallic skirt and a fitted, black motorcycle jacket. Her hair, worn in a utilitarian bun during the Olympics, was gathered in a chic ponytail. Her best accessory were the two gold medals she carried onstage, handing one to Leno and the other to Mrs. Obama for closer inspection. "I don't even deserve to hold this," Leno said later as he returned it. Douglas became the third consecutive U.S. athlete and first African-American to win the all-around title. She and her teammates gave the U.S. its first Olympic title in women's gymnastics since 1996. Leno asked Douglas about meeting Prince William's wife, who offered her congratulations to the team, including Aly Raisman. "It was definitely an exciting experience. ... Aly told her she liked her fashion, and she was like, Well, I love your leos (leotards),'" Douglas said. She admitted indulging in post-Olympics fast food to the wrong person: healthy eating advocate Mrs. Obama, who teased the champion. "You're setting me back, Gabby," Obama told her. "Sorry!" replied the athlete, who confessed to chowing down on a McDonalds' breakfast sandwich to celebrate her victories. But she impressed Mrs. Obama and Leno with a detailed description of how, starting at age 6, she learned to navigate the 4-inch-wide balance beam. The host wanted to know if the dream of winning matched the reality. "I think it's very different, and when I mean different,' it's in a better way," Douglas replied. "I mean, I never thought I would be doing the show with the first lady, or even you, Jay." Leno started to reply, when Mrs. Obama jumped in. "Even you too, Jay!" she said. On another sports-related topic, Leno put the first lady on the spot about what he called "this whole kiss cam thing" at a recent basketball game. Last month, she and President Barack Obama were at a U.S. Olympic men's basketball team exhibition game in Washington when the arena's "Kiss Cam" panned to them. She appeared to shake her head "no" to a smooch. That's not what happened, Michelle Obama told Leno. "I had just walked in and sat down, and I just saw my face on the Jumbotron. And I'm still a little embarrassed. ... I didn't see the kiss cam' part," she said. After the couple was booed, daughter Malia set them straight. "She was just disgusted with us," Obama recounted. "She said, Why didn't you kiss?'" The 13-year-old quickly proved her skills as a problem-solver. "I've arranged for you to get another chance on the kiss cam," she told her parents, according to the first lady. The president delivered, giving the first lady a big kiss on the lips and adding a peck on the forehead for good measure. Then Leno turned serious, asking Obama what she's proudest of in her husband's first term. "Truly, health reform," including protection for those with pre-existing conditions," she said.

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John Carlson agrees to big-money deal to stay with the Capitals

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USA TODAY Sports

John Carlson agrees to big-money deal to stay with the Capitals

On Friday, the Capitals shipped out Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to clear space on the salary cap for John Carlson's massive contract extension.

On Sunday night, Carlson signed on the dotted the line. 

The 28-year-old became the latest core Cap to sign a long-term deal, inking an eight-year extension that will carry an $8 million average salary. 

His cap hit is now the second highest on the team—behind Ovechkin’s $9.538 million charge and just ahead of Kuznetsov’s $7.8 million hit.

With Carlson locked up, the defending Stanley Cup champion now has the majority of its core signed through at least the 2019-20 season. Among the players with at least two years remaining on their deals are forwards Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nickas Backstrom and Lars Eller, defensemen Carlson, Matt Niskanen and Dmitry Orlov and goaltender Braden Holtby.

The Carlson news did not come as a surprise.

The Caps wanted to keep him. Carlson, who makes his offseason home in Washington, wanted to stay with the club that drafted him 27th overall in 2008. And on Friday night in Dallas, GM Brian MacLellan all but guaranteed that a deal was going to happen when he said, “We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”

It ended up taking a little more than 24 hours, but in the end MacLellan got his D-man.

“John has been an exceptional and consistent player for our franchise and has blossomed into being one of the top defensemen in the NHL,” said MacLellan in a statement on Sunday. “Defenseman like John are a rare commodity in our League and, at 28 years of age, we feel he is just entering his prime.”

Indeed, Carlson notched a career-high 15 goals and 53 assists last season, and his 68 points led all NHL defensemen. He also became the eighth defensemen in Caps’ history to record 60 points in a season and the first since Mike Green accomplished the feat in 2009-10. Meanwhile, Carlson’s average ice time (24:47) also marked a career high.

“As a right-handed defenseman, John plays in all key situations and has contributed greatly to our team’s success on the special teams,” MacLellan added. “We are pleased for both parties to have come to an agreement and for him to continue his great career as a Washington Capital.”

With Carlson under contract, the Caps now have a little more than $13 million in cap space underneath the $79.5 million ceiling, according to www.capfiendly.com. Michal Kempny, Jay Beagle, Alex Chiasson and Jakub Jerabek are all unrestricted free agents, while Tom Wilson, Devante Smith-Pelly, Travis Boyd and Madison Bowey are restricted free agents.

Carlson’s also signing kicks off a big week for MacLellan.

In addition to negotiating with the free agents he hopes to retain, he’s expected to have a formal interview with associate coach Todd Reirden, who is the leading candidate to replace Barry Trotz as head coach.

So buckle up, there figure to be a few more important announcements in the coming days.

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Interested teams have begun reaching out to John Carlson

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Interested teams have begun reaching out to John Carlson

Free agency does not start until July 1, but John Carlson's agent is already taking calls from other interested teams.

The interview period began at 12 a.m. on Sunday morning, which means teams are now able to reach out to any potential free agents, but no contracts can be signed until July 1. While Brian MacLellan said Friday that a new deal with Carlson to keep him in Washington was "really close," Carlson's agent, Rick Curran, has made it clear there was no deal in place yet as of Sunday.

So does this mean Carlson now has one foot out the door?

Not necessarily.

At this point in the negotiation, Carlson has a major advantage and that advantage is time. Sunday's interview period is just another way to hold the Caps' feet to the fire. The closer we get to July 1, the more pressure the team is under to get a deal done.

But the Caps still have some leverage too.

“I love it here and all that,” Carlson said during on breakdown day. “I want to stay here, but there's more to it than that.”

By rule, as his current team, the Caps are the only team that can offer Carlson an eight-year deal.

So Carlson may have turned up the heat a few degrees on the Caps, but it's not time for fans to worry just yet.

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