Capitals

Morehead State suspends Sean Woods for 1 game

201211212110762224751-p2.jpeg

Morehead State suspends Sean Woods for 1 game

Morehead State suspended coach Sean Woods Friday for one game after he pushed an Eagles player during Wednesday's loss at No. 8 Kentucky.

Woods will sit out Monday night's home game against Norfolk State.

Morehead State athletic director Brian Hutchinson suspended Woods Friday after meeting with the coach.

``This will allow Coach Woods to consider his action and behavior, and allow him time to contemplate the appropriate way to conduct himself with his players and on the sideline,'' Hutchinson said in statement released by the university that

The first-year Eagles' coach pushed Morehead State's Devon Atkinson in the back as the senior point guard walked toward the bench after fouling out with 5:51 remaining.

Woods said in a statement that the situation ``will not happen again.''

``My behavior during Wednesday night's game was inappropriate and unacceptable,'' Woods said in the statement. ``I am truly sorry.''

The former Kentucky guard rarely stood still during the 81-70 loss to his alma mater, pacing the sidelines and getting in Eagles players' faces. Morehead State responded with a physical game in which the Eagles held the lead against Kentucky in both halves.

After the game, Woods defended his coaching style, saying he wanted his team to reflect his passion for the game.

``How did they look tonight? They look just like me, right?'' Woods said. ``They see me every day and that's how we're going to be every day. We're going to fight. ...

``Every day we step out in practice and in games, we have got to have a chip on our shoulders that we have something to prove.''

But Woods crossed the line against Kentucky.

It was his second intense sideline encounter with a player this season. During a 67-45 loss at Maryland on Nov. 12, Woods was seen yelling in the face of Chad Posthumus while the junior center was sitting on the bench.

Eagles junior forward Drew Kelly said that Woods' behavior doesn't make the team uncomfortable.

``We can handle it and it makes us better,'' Kelly said after the Kentucky game.

Friday's statement was Woods' second apology this week.

On Monday he criticized some of the current Wildcats' attitude and for their limited knowledge of Kentucky basketball history. It bothered him that Wildcats freshman center Willie Cauley-Stein was unaware of Christian Laettner or ``The Shot'' that beat Kentucky in the 1992 NCAA East Regional final.

``They don't get it,'' said Woods, a point guard on that Kentucky team and whose jersey hangs from the Rupp Arena rafters.

``They play basketball, but they don't know what basketball really is. And they're very, very fortunate. We live in a microwave society now, and it's a shame that kids don't know the history.''

Woods later apologized for those comments via Twitter.

Quick Links

Key Caps questions: Will the Caps suffer a Stanley Cup hangover?

usatsi_10890819.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Key Caps questions: Will the Caps suffer a Stanley Cup hangover?

The dog days of summer are officially here, but it's never too hot to talk some hockey.

Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir and Capitals correspondent JJ Regan are here to help you through the offseason doldrums. They will discuss key questions facing the Caps for the upcoming season as Washington prepares to defend its title for the first time in franchise history.

Today's question: Will the Caps suffer a Stanley Cup hangover?

Tarik: The term ‘Stanley Cup Hangover’ exists because, well, it’s a real thing. And the Caps, like all teams that battle into early June, are vulnerable to suffering from it next season.

Why? Think about it. No. 1, the core group just completed the longest season—106 games—of their lives (and, somewhere, the party is still going). No. 2, the top guys aren't exactly a bunch of spring chickens. No. 3, human nature.

A little more on that last one. Alex Ovechkin and Co. have spent the entirety of their professional hockey careers chasing Lord Stanley’s Cup. And now they have it. At long last. Hoisting the Cup was as much a moment to cherish as it was a gigantic relief for a team that had been labeled perennial underachievers. Shifting gears from that feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment back to hunger and determination is difficult.

Something else that worries me a bit? They don’t have experience dealing with a truncated offseason. Rest and recovery matter. And they aren’t going to get much of either this summer.

All that said, they don’t have to stumble through the 2018-19 season. If you're looking at things from the optimist's point of view, the Cup run did something for Ovechkin and his teammates that none of the previous failures could: It showed them EXACTLY what it takes to play deep into the spring.

Eleven out of 12 forwards from the championship squad are expected back. Five of six defensemen and the goalie are returning, as well. Sure, they’ve got a new head coach, but he’s been here for four years already, giving him a huge advantage over a bench boss who’s starting from scratch. So there’s continuity and chemistry already built in.

I look at it like this: The core guys who’ve been around a while—Ovechkin, Backstrom, Carlson, Holtby, etc.—have a rare opportunity before them. After coming up short for so many years, they’ve been gifted an extraordinary chance to make up for lost time over the next 12-24 months. In fact, Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, Backstrom, Oshie, Eller, Carlson, Niskanen, Orlov, Kempny and Holtby have two more years together, as a core, before the next round of tough decisions will need to be made.

But it’s going to be up to them. Are they going to be satisfied with one Cup? Or will they get greedy? I’m betting on the latter.

Regan: The Capitals could enter next season hungry, motivated, in the right mindset, completely prepared in every way to avoid a Cup hangover and it may still happen. Why? Because the Capitals (and Vegas for that matter) will enter next season with less time to rest, recover and prepare after a grueling playoff run than any other team in the NHL.

First things first, no, I do not think the Caps will struggle because they are are partying too hard this summer and won't be ready for the start of the season.

It took a long time Washington to finally reach the top of the mountain. It won't be lost on Alex Ovechkin, or any of the veterans, that the year he came into training camp early and in really good shape, that was the year he was able to lead his team to the promised land. Considering all the struggles, all the early playoff exits, all the years it took to finally win, I expect the veterans will look at how they prepared last season and take that lesson to heart going into camp. Those players will enter the fall in as good a shape as the time they have this offseason will allow them to be.

But this team is not just composed of veterans of the Ovechkin era who suffered through all of those postseason struggles.

What about the youngsters? Will Jakub Vrana have the same motivation as Ovechkin or a Nicklas Backstrom to show up to camp ready next season? What about Chandler Stephenson, Christian Djoos and Madison Bowey? If any of the team's young players aren't exactly in "game shape" by the fall, they won't be the first and they certainly won't be the last to struggle with early career playoff success.

There's also a new head coach to consider. In a lot of ways, I think coming into the season with a new coach in Todd Reirden will help. I don't expect too much adjustment under a coach the team knows very well, but I do expect more motivation at the start of the regular season than you usually see from a team coming off a championship.

There are a lot of reasons why the Caps could actually avoid a Cup hangover, but the fact is that time puts them at a disadvantage. Even if they overcome all the other factors, there's nothing they can do to suddenly give themselves more time to recover and to train. For that reason alone, I do expect a few early-season struggles from the defending champs.

Other key questions

How will the Caps look different under Todd Reirden?

Quick Links

Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 31-53

rankings_31-53_hero_image.png
Various sources

Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 31-53

<< Go here to see our ranking of the 2018 Redskins, players 31-53. >>

At NBCSportsWashington.com, we projected the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offensedefense) right after minicamp. Now we are taking it one step further and ranking the 53 players we think will make the team.

The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2018 Redskins. No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings between now and the start of training camp. 

Today we’re starting up the list with the players we ranked from 31-53, Here are some of the players in our latest update:

—Seven of the team’s draft picks, including the pick they made last week.     

—All three specialists.

—The team’s leading rusher from 2017.   

Go here to see our ranking of the 2018 Redskins, players 31-53