Wizards

Kings-Blue Jackets Preview

Kings-Blue Jackets Preview

The Los Angeles Kings feel it may be good to get away to the Midwest as they continue a five-game road trip.

The Kings hope to take advantage of an injury-plagued Columbus Blue Jackets' blue line when these teams meet Tuesday night.

Los Angeles (2-3-2) opened this stretch with Saturday's 7-4 loss at Anaheim. Now the defending Stanley Cup champions will try to make up ground for their poor start on this trip that takes them to every Central Division city except Chicago.

"I think it's going to be good for us to kind of get away for a couple days on the road," said Kyle Clifford, who has a team-high five points.

Jonathan Quick was pulled from a start for the first time since last Feb. 22, and Los Angeles surrendered three power-play goals Saturday. The Kings, who got two goals from Dustin Brown, allowed at least seven in a game only once last season.

"Giving up that many goals is very uncharacteristic and we need to watch video and figure it out," defenseman Drew Doughty said.

Columbus (3-5-1) doesn't figure to pose much of a threat with an average of 1.89 goals for one of the NHL's worst marks.

The Blue Jackets are just as concerned about their defense. James Wisniewski suffered a concussion in Saturday's 4-2 home win over Detroit, and fellow defenseman Nikita Nikitin has been placed on injured reserve to join Adrian Aucoin on the sidelines.

That puts more pressure on players such as former Kings defenseman Jack Johnson, who spent nearly 35 minutes on the ice Saturday to establish a new career high.

"I've had nine months to get ready for this and that's why you train in the summer and I feel great and I keep telling the coaches to keep putting me out, I guess," Johnson said.

Columbus has recalled Nick Holden from Springfield of the AHL to give the club six defensemen for this game. Holden last played for the club two seasons ago.

The Blue Jackets improved to 1-1 on a six-game homestand as Artem Anisimov scored twice against the Red Wings and Steve Mason made 32 saves for his first victory.

"You couldn't be more happy than the way the guys played tonight," Mason said. "It was the first real 60-minute effort that we've been looking for and haven't been getting the last few games."

These clubs split four low-scoring games last season as they totaled 13 goals. Columbus went 0 for 17 on the power play in those games and has come up empty in 36 chances over its last 10 versus Los Angeles.

Los Angeles had won four straight at Columbus before a 3-1 defeat March 8. Johnson scored against his former team in the first contest between these clubs since the Feb. 23 deal that also sent Jeff Carter to the Kings.

The Blue Jackets have been solid on the penalty kill at 85.7 percent. The Kings have one of the league's worst power plays at 10.8 percent, but that unit is 4 for 14 over the last three games.

"The power play's been pretty good the last couple of games, that's one of our strong points," Doughty said.

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Wizards' John Wall reveals he's about to start jogging in rehab from Achilles injury

Wizards' John Wall reveals he's about to start jogging in rehab from Achilles injury

A couple of weeks ago, John Wall was spotted at a Washington Mystics game with no brace to support his Achilles injury, a sign that his rehab from the injury was moving in the right direction. 

On Monday night at the 2019 NBA Awards, the Wizards point guard gave affirmation that he is indeed continuing to get healthier and stronger.

"I feel great, man," Wall told NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller on the red carpet. "I'm doing a great job with my body, taking care of that."

Specifically, Wall has been able to slowly increase what he can do on his legs. The recovery and rehab for an injury as severe as his is a long road, and the point guard is making sure not to speed up the process and risk hindering the progress. However, he's about to reach a pretty big milestone in the journey during the coming weeks.

"I'm about to start jogging in like two weeks. Just riding the bike, I get to do exercises standing up now, so I don't have to sit down. I'm able to move, do ladder steps, doing those types of things," Wall said. "Just taking my time and progressing and letting everything heal the right way so I don't force myself back and get another injury."

As Wall continues to work to get back on the court, he's had plenty of motivational factors pushing him through some grueling months. His recent string of injuries have left some wondering if he'll still be an elite player when he finally.

He's heard those comments and he's using them to his advantage.

"I'm one of those guys that's very driven by all the hate and all the negative talk I'm getting. Keep it going," Wall said.

"Everybody said I can't be myself, I won't be nowhere near as good again. That's all the other stuff that's going to fuel me. I don't get upset about it, you're entitled to your own opinion. Please keep it going."

The haters have given Wall some extra juice, but so has his son Ace. Spending the offseason getting right has allowed Wall to work in another area of life: fatherhood.

The newest addition to his family has taken his desire for greatness to new heights.

"I've always had that drive that I want to be the greatest. To have a son like that, that's watching everything I can do. Even though he doesn't understand what's going on, he's putting memories in his head," Wall said. 

"So that gives me extra, extra motivation to another level I never thought I could. Like I said before, that's the best blessing a man could ever ask for is to have a son."

While Wall's offseason has been a busy one as he juggles rehab and being a dad, he's still been very involved in everything going on inside the franchise.

He's already chatted with first-round draft pick Rui Hachimura, and is excited for what is to come for the Wizards. Wall is also hoping that Hachimura will help improve his Japanese so that he can grow a larger following internationally. 

As the calendar slowly turns to July, both Wall and the Wizards' offseasons will ramp up. It's been an up and down time for both lately, but he's excited about the future.

"I think it's good," Wall said about the Wizards situation. "We added some pieces. See what we do in free agency to add some guys to bring back or we're going to go after somebody new. I think we'll be fine."

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Bradley Beal wins the 2019 NBA Cares Community Assist Award three years after John Wall

Bradley Beal wins the 2019 NBA Cares Community Assist Award three years after John Wall

While he was putting together the best season of his career, Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal was also making a profound impact off the court and those efforts have earned him a significant honor, the NBA's 2018-19 Community Assist Award.

The news was revealed at Monday's NBA Awards in Santa Monica, CA as Beal got the nod over nine other finalists. He is the second Wizards player to win the honor in just the last four years following John Wall in 2015-16.

Beal was involved in a variety of charitable efforts this past season. He has partnered with the Ron Brown College Preparatory High School in Northeast Washington to help underprivileged youth. He visited the school in December and gave out shoes.

During the All-Star break in February, as he made his second appearance in the annual showcase, Beal handed out meals at a food bank alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. This past year he also gave out Christmas presents in the Washington area and took a group of kids on a tour of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

Beal was named a finalist for the Community Assist Award in April along with Jarrett Allen (Nets), Mike Conley (Jazz), Khris Middleton (Bucks), Donovan Mitchell (Jazz), Dwight Powell (Mavs) and Pascal Siakam (Raptors). Part of the criteria was based on fan voting through social media that was held from April 24 through May 25.

Beal, 25, continues to ascend on the court as well. This year he posted career-highs in points (25.6/g), assists (5.5/g) and rebounds (5.0/g). He nearly made All-NBA in late May with the most votes of any guard that was left out.

In Beal and Wall, the Wizards have quite the combination. Both have been All-Stars on the court and now both can say they won the NBA's top honor for charity work as well.

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