Capitals

Raiders plan to play Carter against Falcons

Raiders plan to play Carter against Falcons

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Oakland Raiders defensive end Andre Carter was always taught to do everything on the field at full speed. Recovering from a torn quadriceps injury required a bit more patience.

Nearly 10 months after being carted off the field in Denver, Carter plans to take the restraints off again in his 2012 regular season debut. Oakland coach Dennis Allen said Friday that Carter will be active for Oakland's game this week against the undefeated Atlanta Falcons.

How much the 12th-year pass rush specialist plays is uncertain, though Allen indicated he wouldn't put limitations on Carter.

``It gives us a little bit more veteran leadership,'' Allen said. ``He's a guy that understands how to do it and he's done it at a high level. He's come in and tried to help the whole group. He's been a good addition for us.''

Carter was signed on Sept. 26 to help a pass rush that has produced just three sacks in four games. The 33-year-old has 76 career sacks, including 10 last year with New England before he suffered the season-ending leg injury.

The quadriceps muscle in Carter's left leg was torn so badly that he required surgery, followed up by a grueling stretch of rehab.

While the injury scared away many potential suitors, Oakland showed an early interest in Carter and had him in for workouts twice before signing him following their Week 3 win over Pittsburgh.

That victory has been the lone bright spot in the Raiders' first season since Hall of Fame owner Al Davis died in October 2011.

Oakland is off to a 1-3 start for the sixth time in eight seasons, with most of the problems coming on the defensive side. The Raiders are 25th overall, 28th against the pass.

Part of that is due to injuries that have sidelined starting cornerbacks Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer. Michael Huff, the team's starting free safety since entering the NFL as a first-round pick in 2006, will make his third consecutive start at cornerback this week.

The Raiders pass rush has also been quiet. Defensive end Matt Shaughnessy leads the defense with 1 1/2 sacks, defensive tackle Richard Seymour has one while Dave Tollefson has 1/2 sack.

Carter, who began his NFL career across the bay with San Francisco, hopes to help change that. He spent two weeks learning Oakland's defense then joined the rest of the Raiders on Wednesday for his first padded practice since the injury.

``I knew the road to recovery was going to be a process,'' Carter said. ``It's something you definitely have to be very patient about. You don't want to rush anything. You don't want to have any major setbacks, so I did the necessary things as far as my recovery.''

Carter has been lining up primarily at right defensive end in practice, although he also worked on the left side Friday. The Raiders say they'll use him at both if need be to counter the Falcons' high-paced offense.

``He'll be a rotational player, and really that's how we've handled the defensive line anyway,'' Allen said. ``You have to try to limit the number of plays that they play, especially playing a team like Atlanta that throws the ball like they do. You want to make sure you keep some fresh rushers out there.''

Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey is also expected to play for the first time since suffering a concussion and neck strain after being knocked unconscious following a helmet-to-chin hit by Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Mundy on Sept. 23.

Notes: DE Tommy Kelly returned to practice after injuring his foot Wednesday. Kelly is listed as questionable but is expected to play. ... TE Richard Gordon (hamstring) is out.

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Alex Ovechkin scored the goal that sent the Capitals to the Stanley Cup Final

Alex Ovechkin scored the goal that sent the Capitals to the Stanley Cup Final

On June 4, 1998, Joe Juneau scored the biggest goal in the history of the Washington Capitals.

In Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final, Joe Juneau attacked the crease and shot in a rebound past a helpless Dominik Hasek in overtime to defeat the Buffalo Sabres and win the Eastern Conference.

That goal sent the Capitals to its first and, before 2018, only Stanley Cup Final.

Alex Ovechkin’s name was already etched in the history books for the Capitals several times over, but on Wednesday he added it again with the biggest goal of his career. His goal in Game 7 stood as the game-winner meaning it was the goal that sent the Capitals to their second Cup Final.

You can watch it here:

It did not come in overtime and was not quite as dramatic as Juneau’s. In fact, no one knew the significance of the goal at the time. It came just 62 seconds into the contest. It was a significant goal, but no one realized right away that it would be an historic one.

How fitting is it that Ovechkin scored the game-winner? Ovechkin who this team was built around, who reignited the franchise and built Washington into a hockey city. After all the criticism over the years, all the talk about how he can’t win, all talk about how the team should take away the C and all the talk about how the Caps should trade him and start over, this goal was not just a moment of history, but one of vindication.

When we look back on Ovechkin’s career, at all the individual awards and accomplishments, this one single goal will stand above the rest. This was the biggest game of his career and he scored the biggest goal of his career just 62 seconds in.

There’s one way he can top that: lead the Caps past Vegas for their first Stanley Cup.

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5.24.18: Rick Horrow talks with Andy Bush, EVP Global Events Octagon Worldwide

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USA TODAY Sports

5.24.18: Rick Horrow talks with Andy Bush, EVP Global Events Octagon Worldwide

Sports professor Rick Horrow talks with Andy Bush, EVP Global Events at Octagon Worldwide and wraps around the world of sports business for this week.

By Rick Horrow

Podcast Editor: Tanner Simkins

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE.