Capitals

Lynch, Strahan and Ogden make Hall semis

Lynch, Strahan and Ogden make Hall semis

CANTON, OHIO (AP) First-time candidates John Lynch, Michael Strahan and Jonathan Ogden were among 27 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 2013 class announced Friday.

Joining Lynch, Strahan and Ogden among first-year eligible players are Morten Andersen, Larry Allen and Warren Sapp.

Lynch was a star safety for Tampa Bay and Denver over 15 seasons and was considered one of the hardest hitters in the game, as well as a strong coverage defender.

Strahan retired after the Giants won the Super Bowl following the 2007 season with 141 1-2 sacks, including a league-record 22 1-2 in 2001. He was the Defensive Player of the Year in `01 and played 15 seasons for New York.

Ogden was a fixture at left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens from 1996-2007, making the Pro Bowl in all but his rookie season.

Andersen retired in `07 as the NFL's career scoring leader with 2,544 points. He spent a quarter-century in the league with five teams: New Orleans, Atlanta twice, the Giants, Kansas City and Minnesota.

Only one placekicker, Jan Stenerud, is in the hall.

Allen was a Pro Bowler in 11 of his 14 seasons (12 with Dallas, two with San Francisco), playing both tackle and guard.

Sapp spent nine seasons with Tampa Bay and four with Oakland, making the Pro Bowl seven times, including 1999, when he was Defensive Player of the Year..

Also among those making the cut to 27 are former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Jerome Bettis, Cris Carter and Charles Haley. Senior committee nominees Curley Culp and Dave Robinson automatically make the semifinals and don't count in the 27.

The field will be reduced to 15 modern era finalists and the two senior nominees in early January. Voting for the inductees will take place Feb. 2, the day before the Super Bowl, in New Orleans.

Inductions will be Aug. 3 in Canton, Ohio.

The semifinalists:

FIRST-YEAR ELIGIBLE NOMINEES

Defensive Linemen - Warren Sapp, Michael Strahan

Offensive Linemen- Larry Allen, Jonathan Ogden

Placekickers - Morten Andersen

Safeties - John Lynch

ADDITIONAL NOMINEES

Cornerbacks - Albert Lewis, Aeneas Williams (also safety)

Defensive Linemen - Curley Culp

Linebackers - Kevin Greene (also DE), Charles Haley (also DE), Karl Mecklenburg, Dave Robinson

Offensive Linemen - Joe Jacoby, Will Shields

Running Backs - Jerome Bettis, Roger Craig, Terrell Davis

Safeties - Steve Atwater

Wide Receivers - Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Andre Reed, Steve Tasker

Coaches - Don Coryell, Bill Parcells

Commissioners - Paul Tagliabue

Contributors - George Young

Owners - Edward DeBartolo Jr., Art Modell

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

The goal that no one wanted: Alex Ovechkin gives up hat trick to set up T.J. Oshie

The goal that no one wanted: Alex Ovechkin gives up hat trick to set up T.J. Oshie

Alex Ovechkin had two goals, the puck on his stick and an empty-net yawning. The Caps held a 4-2 lead on Monday against the Vancouver Canucks late in the third period and the win looked all but secured. The only thing still up for grabs was the exclamation point empty-net goal.

Ovechkin took the puck in the defensive zone and weaved his way through the neutral zone. Once he hit center ice, there was only one player between him and the net. The hat trick looked all but certain…until he passed the puck away.

He easily could have taken the puck himself and fired it into the empty yet, but instead he chose to pass it off to T.J. Oshie on the wing.

Oshie delayed, but with the trailing Vancouver players skating into the passing lane, there was no way for Oshie to try to pass it back to Ovechkin and he very reluctantly shot the puck into the net.

When the players returned to the bench, the disappointment on Oshie’s face was clear to see. He wanted Ovechkin to get the hat trick, but Ovechkin wasn’t having it.

After the game, head coach Todd Reirden praised Ovechkin for his leadership.

“He could have easily got in the red and tried to score himself and it wasn’t even a thought,” Reirden said. “He passed right to Osh and Osh couldn’t go back to him and that’s the way it worked out. It doesn’t bother him one bit and I think that’s where you see a different player than maybe you saw three or four years ago that is not focused on individual stuff. He’s doing the right thing and he feels if you do the right thing for long enough, you’re going to get rewarded.

“We were benefactors of that last season with being able to win out at the end. He’s really got a lot of buy-in right now for doing the right thing. I think his leadership is really in the last probably year, year and a half has really gone to a new level.”
 
Reirden saw leadership on the play. Oshie saw disappointment.
 
Ovechkin offered his own explanation for giving up the shot as he said, “Save it for next time.”

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

 

Quick Links

Markieff Morris and Kelly Oubre Jr. show how they can change everything for Wizards in win over Blazers

Markieff Morris and Kelly Oubre Jr. show how they can change everything for Wizards in win over Blazers

Most nights, with little variance, the Wizards know what they are going to get from John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. They are consistently what they are, both good and bad, and mostly good.

The same cannot always be said about Markieff Morris and Kelly Oubre Jr. Both are capable of brilliance, it's just those moments come and go and sometimes with mysterious timing. Both players help the team more often than not, but can be unpredictable and enigmatic.

Monday night saw both Morris and Oubre at their best as the Wizards topped the Blazers 125-124 in overtime at the Moda Center. It was a worthy reminder of how much the two of them can change the outlook for the Wizards as a team on any given night.

Let's begin with Morris because this may have been the best game he's played with the Wizards since joining them in a Feb. 2016 trade. On both ends of the floor, he  was a force, but particularly on offense.

Morris erupted for 28 points in 25 minutes on 9-for-15 from the field and 6-for-10 from three. His six threes were a career-high. He also had 10 rebounds, a block and a steal.

It was the most efficient night in Morris' career and, by one measure, one of the most efficient in franchise history. His 28 points were the most by a Wizards or Bullets player in 25 minutes or less since A.J. English dropped 30 points in 23 minutes in 1990.

Morris' threes were well-timed. He hit two in the extra period, including one with 38.5 seconds remaining to put the Wizards up four. He also made one with 1:04 left in regulation and another right before that with 1:39 to go, both to give the Wizards a lead at the time. 

The clutch threes invoked memories of a game-winner Morris hit in the very same building two seasons ago. That also happened to be his best year with the Wizards.

Morris has improved his three-point shooting in recent years with a career-best 36.7 percent last season. When he's knocking them down, the Wizards can be uniquely good at spacing the floor, as Wall and especially Beal and Porter can be dangerous from three.

What Morris did against Portland was a major departure from a pair of uninspired games to begin the season. He had 21 points and 12 rebounds total in his first two games, both losses, as he failed to compensate for Dwight Howard's absence. On Monday, he stepped up and helped lead the Wizards to victory.

Like Morris, Oubre had been scuffling through two games. A different version of him showed up in Portland.

Oubre amassed only 17 points in his first two games and shot just 5-for-16 from the field and 1-for-7 from three. Against the Blazers, Oubre scored 22 points and shot 9-for-13 overall and 3-for-3 from long range.

Oubre added six rebounds, a block and a steal and a host of winning plays that didn't show up in traditional stats. He drew a loose ball foul on Mo Harkless early in the fourth quarter and took a charge on C.J. McCollum with under two minutes in overtime.

Oubre played pretty much exactly how head coach Scott Brooks often says he should. He ran the floor in transition and attacked the rim when the ball swung his way. He was more selective with his three-point attempts than usual. He wreaked havoc on defense with deflections, didn't gamble for steals and he hustled for rebounds. 

Monday night showed the perfect version of both Morris and Oubre. The Wizards need that to be the model for how they aspire to play every single night. If they do, this team's ceiling is significantly higher.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: