Capitals

Nowitzki practices after knee drained again

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Nowitzki practices after knee drained again

DALLAS (AP) Dirk Nowitzki went through a full practice with the Dallas Mavericks on Friday after having his swollen right knee drained for the second time in a month.

Nowitzki said he doesn't know why the swelling keeps coming back and that arthroscopic surgery remains an option if it keeps happening.

``I'm not going to play on a swollen knee all season,'' Nowitzki said. ``So I think if it comes back a couple of more times, we'll definitely have to look at something else.''

It is the same knee and same issue Nowitzki dealt with early last season. The Mavericks held their perennial All-Star out for a four-game stretch in January to improve his game conditioning and give him time to strengthen his right knee.

The only real difference this time, according to Nowitzki, is that his leg strength is really good.

``Hopefully it will be OK from here on out,'' he said.

The 34-year-old Nowitzki, who is going into his 15th NBA season, said he would keep working and see how the knee responds over the weekend. The Mavericks scrimmage Saturday as part of a fan day, then practice Sunday before their first preseason game at home Monday night.

Nowitzki didn't play in the Mavericks' loss Tuesday against FC Barcelona Regal in Spain.

Coach Rick Carlisle said Nowitzki was held out of that game after the 7-footer had an ``awkward movement'' in practice the coach said might have triggered the swelling. The coach didn't elaborate on what that movement was.

``We're looking at it very closely,'' Carlisle said after practice. ``He did a good job today, and we'll see where things are at with each day.''

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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.

“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”

Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall). 

That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.

MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.

MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more. 

He earned $4 million last season.

Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.

MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.

“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”

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Capitals go to the WHL again, select defenseman Alex Alexeyev with first-round pick

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Capitals go to the WHL again, select defenseman Alex Alexeyev with first-round pick

The last time the Washington Capitals had a first-round draft pick, they selected a WHL defenseman. They did not go off script on Friday.

With the last pick of the first round, selecting for the first time as defending Stanley Cup champions, the Capitals selected Alexander Alexeyev, a left-shooting, two-way defenseman from St. Petersburg.

Alexeyev, 18, certainly boasts NHL size at 6' 4", 196 pounds. He currently plays for Red Deer in the WHL, a junior league that has become a major pipeline for the Capitals. In his second season with Red Deer, he tallied 37 points in 45 games.

The NHL Central Scouting's rankings list Alexeyev as the 22nd best North American skater of the draft. TSN projects him to be a top-four, two-way defenseman.

Analyst Craig Button described Alexeyev as a "Smart, effective defenceman who moves the puck, plays with a calm and doesn't make things complicated for himself."

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