Capitals

No. 10 Florida, Georgetown embrace unique opener

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No. 10 Florida, Georgetown embrace unique opener

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) One of the first things Florida coach Billy Donovan did upon boarding the USS Bataan was ask about touring the gun turret.

Forget the wind, the open-air backdrop, the chilly temperatures and potential court condensation.

This was bigger than basketball, and Donovan knew it.

``To be on this ship, sharing a moment like this, means more than I can ever express,'' Donovan said.

No. 10 Florida and Georgetown were thrilled to be part of the once-in-a-lifetime event - Friday's season opener on the deck of an ambitious assault ship.

Both teams toured the 844-foot Bataan on Thursday, posing for pictures and talking to everyone wearing a uniform and taking part in the Navy-Marine Corps Classic. Donovan even invited three former Navy basketball players assigned to the Bataan to help run shootaround.

Georgetown coach John Thompson III was equally taken back.

``For these kids to get the opportunity to come here and meet the sailors and the Marines that are on the Bataan,'' said Thompson, ``most of them, if not all of them, would never get this opportunity. Georgetown is a learning institute; that's part of our job.''

Donovan handled a much different part of the job Thursday.

He suspended starting point guard Scottie Wilbekin indefinitely for an undisclosed reason.

Donovan declined to divulge what the 6-foot-2 junior did, but said it wasn't anything criminal or anything that would be considered an NCAA violation.

Donovan said ``information was brought to me'' early Thursday that led to the suspension.

``You've got a group of 12 other guys that are looking to see how a coach is going to respond with what's right and what's wrong,'' Donovan said. ``This was the right decision to have him not be a part of this game because he needs to understand there's a level of accountability and responsibility that he has being part of this team.

``It's important for our guys to understand there's a commitment you have to make each and every day - on the court, off the court, in school and in every aspect of your life.''

The Gators, who have won 21 consecutive season openers, also will be without swingman Casey Prather. He sustained his second concussion in nine days this week. Throw in the unexpected departure of forward Cody Larson last month and Florida will be playing with five returning players and four freshmen against Georgetown.

``He has enough pieces where he can quickly substitute and make changes,'' Thompson said. ``They're down two quality players, and all that means is two other quality players are going to get minutes.''

Coaches have plenty of other worries.

Temperatures were expected to dip into the 50s and wind could be a factor. Plus, there's a chance condensation would build cause slippery conditions on the outdoor court.

``Whether there's wind or how the lighting is, both teams are going to have to be dealing with that,'' Donovan said. ``I don't think anybody gets an advantage. ... The only thing that could interrupt the game is if you've got guys slipping and sliding like an ice skating rink.''

Officials tested the court Wednesday night and found no issues. Just to be safe, though, they will have more than a dozen workers drying the court during timeouts.

``I'm telling my guys it's not going to affect you at all,'' Thompson said. ``The backdrop's not going to affect you, the weather's not going to affect you. That's how we're approaching it.''

Kind of a ``Hoosiers'' speech?

``We're going to get (a tape measure),'' Thompson added.

Florida and Georgetown haven't played since the NCAA tournament's round of 16 in 2006, a game the Gators won on Corey Brewer's circus shot in the final minute.

That victory helped Florida get to the Final Four, where the Gators won the first of back-to-back national championships.

Playing on the Bataan could be even more memorable.

``This is a game that is bigger in my opinion than any game we've had the opportunity to play,'' Donovan said.

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Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

The Stanley Cup is not the only trophy that will be awarded at the end of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights. The Conn Smythe will also be given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team during the playoffs.

Who will that player be?

It's not hard to figure out who the frontrunner is right now. Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't just been the best goalie in the playoffs, he's been the best player with a dominant postseason in which he has posted a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. He has been so dominant, he could win it even if Vegas loses the series.

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

The last player from the losing team to win the Conn Smythe was Jean-Sebastian Giguere from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.

But what about the Caps?

Alex Ovechkin is the leader of Washington and has been absolutely dominant throughout the postseason. He even scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Surprisingly, however, Ovechkin does not lead the team in points through the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov holds that edge with 24 points to Ovechkin's 22.

Will their offensive dominance propel them to win the Cup and the Conn Smythe? Will a different player emerge as the hero of the series?

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS:

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Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

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Associated Press

Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 26, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Contract makes Alex Smith a Redskins for at least three seasons

This post was originally published on March 19. 

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details. 

Until now. 

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. 

Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer). 

But there I another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million. 

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith but since we have no details we’ll set those aside for now. 

The cap hits on the contract are as follows: 

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022. 

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler