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Pac-12 study finds no abuse in WSU football

Pac-12 study finds no abuse in WSU football

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) A Pac-12 investigation found no evidence of physical or mental abuse of players in the Washington State football program under coach Mike Leach, the league said Tuesday

The findings of the independent review mirrored the findings of Washington State's own internal review of the allegations, which was released last month.

Former Washington State receiver Marquess Wilson contended near the end of last football season that players were suffering physical and mental abuse at the hands of coaches. Wilson, who quit the team, subsequently recanted his allegations.

But university President Elson Floyd asked the school and the Pac-12 to investigate the charges anyway.

``I am pleased with the outcome of both reviews,'' Floyd said in a press release Tuesday. ``The well-being of all WSU students is our highest priority and it was important to take seriously allegations against the program.''

The Pac-12 report was compiled after 20 interviews with coaches, players, parents of players and athletic department staff members.

Wilson, the leading receiver in Washington State history, contended in a letter sent to journalists on Nov. 10 that he quit the team prior to the UCLA game as a protest to ``physical, emotional and verbal abuse'' by the coaching staff. He complained that coaches would ``belittle, intimidate and humiliate us.'' He did not provide details.

The same night he sent the letter, Wilson sent a text message to athletic director Bill Moos in which he recanted those allegations.

Leach also has denied the allegations of abuse.

The Pac-12 investigation was conducted by the law firm of Bond Schoeneck & King of Overland Park, Kan. Investigators interviewed Wilson, who told them there was no physical abuse.

``I wasn't trying to accuse anybody of abuse,'' the report quoted Wilson as saying. ``I mean, they never touched us.''

Wilson said he was just trying to explain why he quit the team.

``I definitely could have used a different word,'' Wilson said. ``I couldn't think of anything or another word at the time I was writing it.''

Leach told investigators that Wilson ``never worked hard'' and was criticized by coaches for that.

Moos, the athletic director, said the release of the Pac-12 report should bring an end to the issue.

``My support for Mike Leach and his methods and his plan have never wavered,'' Moos told reporters. ``I'm even more enthused about the path we are on.

Leach was fired from Texas Tech after the 2009 season after claims that he mistreated a player suffering from a concussion. Leach disputed the allegation and it was not proven. Leach has sued Texas Tech, contending he was fired so the school could avoid a large payment that was due to him at the end of that year.

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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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