Capitals

Purdue to pay Hazell $2 million plus incentives

Purdue to pay Hazell $2 million plus incentives

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) New Purdue coach Darrell Hazell will earn at least twice the salary of his predecessor.

The school announced over the weekend that its Board of Trustees had approved the hiring of Hazell at a base annual salary of $2 million including radio, television and marketing appearances, plus as much as $1 million more in bonuses. Former coach Danny Hope earned a Big Ten low of $950,000 annually.

Purdue also will lend Hazell $725,000 interest-free to cover the cost of his buyout at Kent State, where he was head coach for the last two seasons. The school says the loan will be forgiven in installments over time as Hazell meets the conditions of his six-year contract.

The 48-year-old Hazell also will have $2.1 million to pay assistant coaches.

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Capitals could sit Lars Eller even if he is cleared in time for Game 1 against the Islanders

Capitals could sit Lars Eller even if he is cleared in time for Game 1 against the Islanders

The Capitals may be without forward Lars Eller in Wednesday's Game 1 against the New York Islanders even if he is cleared by the NHL in time to play. That was the thought of head coach Todd Reirden on Monday who expressed he would have to make a decision to avoid any possible injury that could keep him out longer.

Eller left the bubble in Toronto for the birth of his second child. He is now back in Toronto under quarantine in his room and cannot leave until he tests negative four times over a four-day period, per NHL protocols. It is unclear when Eller took his first test. If it was Monday, he will not be ready in time for Wednesday's game. If it was on Sunday, there's a chance he could be cleared to play by Wednesday.

"The NHL will be the ones that decide that, have the overall final call on it," Reirden said.

But even if Eller just manages to clear before the 3 p.m. game time on Wednesday, there's a chance he still may not play.

While under quarantine, Eller is not allowed to leave his hotel room at all.

"He’s not allowed to leave his hotel room, so he hasn’t been doing any exercise outside of his room and until we’re told differently that will be how it is," Reirden said.

That could be a problem.

RELATED: CARLSON MAKING STEPS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

Eller first left the bubble on Aug. 5. By Wednesday, he will have gone a week without being on the ice or being able to exercise, beyond whatever he can do in his room. Typically in these situations, players get a practice in before getting back into the game lineup and Reirden made it clear on Monday that he may have to consider sitting Eller for Game 1 to prevent any sort of injury after missing a week.

“I think it’s something you have to consider is the player hasn’t been on the ice," Reirden said. "He obviously plays a huge role on our team and if you remember a few years ago the success and kind of the X factor that he was for our team when we won against Vegas. So I think it’s important that we handle this situation and make the proper the decision to give this player the best chance to be able to, if it’s not Game 1, then he’s ready to go for Game 2 and he’s as close to healthy in terms of conditioning-wise, he’s ready to go on the ice and be able to add the things he can add and do it safely so that we can have him for an extended time here in this playoffs because he is definitely a big factor in our team success.”

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If Eller is out, Travis Boyd will likely play in his place. Boyd centered the third line in Eller's absence in the last two round robin games.

Luckily, that is the only real question mark down the middle for Washington. Nicklas Backstrom, who missed a practice last week but played against the Boston Bruins on Sunday, said Monday that he had "no concerns" in terms of his status heading into the playoffs.

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Terry McLaurin ranked above AJ Green, Adam Thielen as top WRs entering 2020 season

Terry McLaurin ranked above AJ Green, Adam Thielen as top WRs entering 2020 season

Terry McLaurin had an outstanding season for the Washington Football Team in 2019, a campaign that ultimately ended just eight yards short of breaking Gary Clark's franchise rookie record.

Based on the eye test and his numbers alone, it's easy to see why Washington is so excited about the second-year pass-catcher for years to come. But if those two things weren't enough to convince you that McLaurin is going to be a star, the advanced analytics will change your mind.

Pro Football Focus has ranked McLaurin as the 13th-best wide receiver entering the 2020 season, ahead of former Pro Bowl pass-catchers Adam Thielen, T.Y. Hilton and A.J. Green, to name a few.

Here's what the advanced analytics website had to say about the Washington pass-catcher:

McLaurin had one of the biggest surprise rookie seasons in recent memory last year. The former third-round pick earned an 86.5 receiving grade, sixth in the league, but it was also the second-best grade we have ever given to a rookie wide receiver. He is an advanced route-runner who can separate downfield at a high rate — he generated separation at the sixth-highest rate in the league on targets of 10-plus yards downfield against single coverage last year. McLaurin averaged 2.05 yards per route run last year, 14th among wide receivers, and he did that despite seeing the second-lowest rate of accurate targets among rookie wide receivers. If Dwayne Haskins can take that next step forward, McLaurin figures to be a force to be reckoned with in Washington.

As the blurb mentioned, McLaurin exceeded all expectations as a rookie in 2019. His 58 catches and 919 receiving yards were by-far a team-high. The third-round pick's seven receiving touchdowns were responsible for almost half of Washington's touchdowns in 2019 via the pass.

PFF took notice of McLaurin's production in 2019 despite the little help he had around him. McLaurin earned an 86.5 receiving grade a year ago, which was the sixth-best mark in the league. That rating was the third-highest overall grade of any rookie last season.

But of all the advanced analytic stats, this one is perhaps the most impressive one: In PFF's history, only Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014 had a higher-graded rookie season than McLaurin had a year ago. 

RELATED: MCLAURIN, NOT AMARI COOPER, WAS PFF'S HIGHEST-GRADED WR IN THE NFC EAST IN 2019

The last part of PFF's breakdown of McLaurin is what will likely determine the second-year wideout's success the most. While Washington head coach Ron Rivera has yet to name Dwayne Haskins the starter, many signs point towards the 23-year-old being Washington's starter in Week 1.

Once Haskins became Washington's starter midway through the season, he and McLaurin began to form a solid duo before injuries prematurely ended both of their rookie campaigns. The connection between the two can be traced back to 2016, when they first became teammates at Ohio State.

Now in Washington, no two players on offense mean more to both the short- and long-term success of the Football Team's offense than Haskins and McLaurin.

McLaurin was a third-round pick and saw 11 other pass-catchers hear them name called before Washington eventually selected him 74th overall in 2019. When Washington picked No. 17, they knew they were getting a speedy wide receiver with excellent character and a fantastic special teamer.

One year later, they have one of the league's brightest rising stars in the game, a player all the other 31 teams would love to have.

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