Capitals

No. 23 Notre Dame beats South Florida 73-65

201301261153428265562-p2.jpeg

No. 23 Notre Dame beats South Florida 73-65

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Jerian Grant scored 18 points and Tom Knight had 17 as No. 24 Notre Dame beat South Florida 73-65 on Saturday.

Eric Atkins added 13 points and Pat Connaughton contributed 12 for Notre Dame (16-4, 4-3 Big East), which had lost three of four, including a 63-47 loss to Georgetown last Monday.

Notre Dame forward Jack Cooley, who entered averaging 14.8 points, finished with six points and 14 rebounds.

Zach LeDay had 17 points and Anthony Collins added 12 for South Florida (10-9, 1-6).

Notre Dame used a 20-3 run to go ahead 48-40 with 13 minutes to play. Connaughton's 3-pointer broke a 40-all tie before Knight dunked and Grant connected on a 3 to make it 48-40.

South Florida got within 52-48 midway through the second half on LeDay's basket. Notre Dame responded by scoring the next six points, a three-point play by Grant and a 3-pointer by Atkins.

Victor Rudd gave South Florida a 37-28 lead with a dunk on the first possession of the second half.

Collins had 10 points as South Florida grabbed a 35-28 halftime lead. The point guard's three-point play tied it at 28 4 minutes before intermission.

Toarlyn Fitzpatrick hit a long-range jumper, JaVontae Hawkins had a tip-in and Rudd made a jumper that put the Bulls up 35-28 in the final minute of the half.

Notre Dame took a 24-18 lead on Connaughton's rebound basket with 8 minutes left in the opening half. The Fighting Irish failed to score during the first-half's final 5 minutes.

The Fighting Irish played without sixth-year forward Scott Martin, who is out indefinitely with a bad left knee.

Quick Links

The Dougie Hamilton-Alex Ovechkin drama continued in Game 6 and the internet has thoughts

ovi-flapping.jpg
NBC Sports

The Dougie Hamilton-Alex Ovechkin drama continued in Game 6 and the internet has thoughts

Alex Ovechkin's assist to Brett Connolly in Game 5 started when Carolina Hurricanes defender Dougie Hamilton shied away from Ovechkin's imminent check.

To start Game 6, Ovechkin tried to ram Hamilton along the boards again, but Hamilton sidestepped him to get the puck to safety.

After Ovechkin tumbled to the ice when he missed the hit, he made his way back to the bench, when he appeared to, well, you decide.

Ovechkin's mocking did not go unnoticed by the broadcast crew on NBC Sports Network or by fans on Twitter. "And there it is, that's what Eddie was talking about," chuckled Pierre McGuire as Ovechkin appeared to raise his arms like a clucking chicken.

The Hurricanes would respond with a goal to even the game 1-1, but Ovechkin answered back at 15:12 of the first period on an assist from Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen to make it 2-1 Capitals.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS

Quick Links

The baffling exclusion of John Carlson from the Norris Trophy finalists

john_carlson_usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

The baffling exclusion of John Carlson from the Norris Trophy finalists

The finalists for the Norris Trophy – awarded to the defenseman who demonstrates the greatest all-around ability in the position – were unveiled on Sunday. Somehow, John Carlson was not among them.

This is the second consecutive year Carlson was a deserving candidate and the second year he will not even be among the top three.

The Norris Trophy is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association -- of which I am a member so I guess you can blame us -- but make no mistake, this is a snub in every sense of the word and a major oversight that Carlson cannot get the recognition he deserves.

Ballots will be made public after the awards are given out. Until then, we are not supposed to divulge exactly how we voted, but I will tell you that Carlson was in my top three, and he absolutely should have been a finalist this year.

If you had asked me prior to the 2017-18 season who the most important defenseman on the Caps was, I would have told you it was Matt Niskanen. I saw Carlson as an offensive-heavy player whose skills in his own zone were lacking. I had to eat those words later as Niskanen was injured in mid-October and missed the next month of the season. During that month, Carlson averaged 27:47 of ice-time per game, which led the entire league. He showed he could contribute offensively, defensively, on the power play and penalty kill. There was nothing he could not do.

Suddenly, the Caps’ top pairing of Dmitry Orlov and Niskanen was replaced by Carlson and whoever he was paired with. That continued into this season.

But while Carlson has reshaped his image in Washington, his reputation as an offensive first player instead of an all-around defenseman persists, and it cost him.

There is no set standard every voter sticks to when it comes to evaluating players for the Norris. You can look at whatever stats you want whether it is Corsi, Fenwick, points, PDO, defensive zone starts, high-danger chances for -- the list goes on. Here’s why Carlson was in the top three of my ballot: Not only did he play exceptionally well, but the Capitals relied on him more in more situations than any other team relied on a single defenseman.

Carlson finished the season ranked eighth in the NHL in time on ice per game at 25:04. Burns finished just ahead of him with 25:06. Both Giordano (24:14) and Hedman (22:46) played less.

Carlson was among the top 40 defensemen in shorthanded time on ice per game with 2:35, something only Giordano (2:40) could boast among the other finalists. Carlson was also first among all defensemen in power play time on ice per game with 4:05, significantly more than Hedman (3:19), Giordano (3:19) or Burns (3:17).

There is no situation in which the Caps are not comfortable putting Carlson out on the ice and no situation in which he is not expected to play heavy minutes. He has taken a bigger role defensively as the team’s top shutdown pair of Orlov-Niskanen has had a down year. Despite the heavier defensive workload, Carlson still managed to finish in the top four in points among defensemen with 70, a career-high.

I am not here saying that Burns, Giordano or Hedman are not deserving of being finalists. In fact, Carlson did not finish first on my ballot. It seems crazy to me, however, that he did not finish in the top three this season or last. All three finalists had strong seasons, but Carlson’s season was just as good and he was more heavily relied upon. He is one of the top offensive blueliners, but that’s not all he is.

Until he manages to overcome that reputation, which persists through no fault of his own, he will continue to be on the outside of the Norris race looking in. And that’s a shame considering how good he has been.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS