Capitals

Red Sox star gets some bad injury news

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Red Sox star gets some bad injury news

From Comcast SportsNet
CHICAGO (AP) -- Carl Crawford has a sprained ligament in his throwing elbow and the Boston Red Sox left fielder will remain sidelined for a while. The team released a statement Thursday night saying Crawford's diagnosis was made by the Red Sox medical staff and confirmed by Dr. James Andrews. Crawford received a Platelet Rich Plasma injection and will be shut down from baseball activity "during the initial phase of his treatment." The club did not announce a timetable for Crawford's return, but he is expected to miss at least another month or two -- maybe more. "It is what it is what it is," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "We'll just let Mother Nature to take the time to heal him up and get him back. I don't know how to explain it or put it into my thought. I wish he was 100 percent. Not playing for a while is going to kill him more than it's killing me." The Red Sox were already short-handed in the outfield because of an injury to All-Star center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who finished second in the voting for AL MVP last season. Ellsbury is expected to be out until June because of a right shoulder injury sustained against Tampa Bay on April 13. Boston acquired outfielder Marlon Byrd from the Chicago Cubs on Saturday to help fill the void. Byrd hit just .070 (3 for 43) with Chicago, but collected his fifth hit in four games for the Red Sox on Thursday night in a 10-3 victory against the White Sox. Crawford was largely viewed as a disappointment last year when he hit .255 with 11 homers, 56 RBIs and 18 stolen bases in his first season with Boston after signing a 142 million, seven-year contract as a free agent. He is yet to play in the big leagues this season. Over the previous eight seasons, the 30-year-old Crawford hit above .300 five times for Tampa Bay, leading the American League in stolen bases four times. In his last season before coming to Boston, he batted .307 with a career-high 19 homers, drove in 90 runs and stole 47 bases. Crawford also was shut down during spring training after experiencing inflammation that stemmed from offseason surgery on his left wrist. He remained at the team's training complex in Florida after the club broke camp and participated in extended spring training games. When the soreness in his left elbow lingered, Crawford traveled to Birmingham, Ala., to be examined by Andrews, a noted specialist in elbow injuries. Crawford was diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament. Lars Anderson, normally a first baseman, started in left field for Boston against the White Sox on Thursday night. Anderson played 571 of his 578 minor league games and his first 25 big league games at first base.

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Barry Trotz finds contract he was looking for, expected to be named New York Islanders new head coach

Barry Trotz finds contract he was looking for, expected to be named New York Islanders new head coach

Barry Trotz did not remain unemployed for very long.

Trotz, who led the Capitals to the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup title, resigned from his post less than a week after the team's championship parade in Washington, D.C.

But the former bench boss appears to be headed to New York to become the Islanders new head coach, according to Darren Dreger of TSN.

Trotz's contract was expected to expire at the end of the 2017-18 season, but upon winning the Stanley Cup, an automatic two-year extension was triggered, raising his $1.5 million yearly salary by $300,000. But Trotz wanted to be compensated as one of the top five coaches in the NHL.

While the terms of his deal have yet to be finalized, according to Elliotte Friedman, Trotz's deal could be in the 5-year, $20 million range.

With the Islanders, Trotz inherits a team that finished 35-37-10 last season under head coach Doug Weight, despite having John Tavares, one of the best centers in the NHL, and several young studs like Mathew Barzal, Jordan Eberle, and Josh Ho-Sang. But Tavares enters the offseason as a free agent, and many teams will be looking to pay top-dollar for his services. 

Trotz will report to Lou Lamoriello, who was named the Islanders' president and general manager in May after spending three seasons in the same role with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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The Caps' Cup-winning roster is a lesson in building through the draft

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USA TODAY Sports

The Caps' Cup-winning roster is a lesson in building through the draft

Every year, the Stanley Cup-winning team shows the importance of building through the draft. This year, that team is the Washington Capitals.

With the NHL Draft starting on Friday, let’s break down the Capitals roster from the playoffs to see just how it was put together.

Acquired by the draft: Nicklas Backstrom, Madison Bowey, Travis Boy, Andre Burakovsky, John Carlson, Christian Djoos, Shane Gersich, Philipp Grubauer, Braden Holtby, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, Alex Ovechkin, Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana, Nathan Walker, Tom Wilson

Acquired as a free agent: Jay Beagle, Alex Chiasson, Brett Connolly, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, Devante Smith-Pelly

Acquired by trade: Lars Eller, Jakub Jerabek, Michal Kempny, T.J. Oshie

The first thing to note is that the vast majority of Washington’s roster is made up of draft picks. Specifically, the majority of the Caps’ top six on offense, three of its top six defensemen and both goalies were drafted by the team.

Of the free agent signings, only two were big money players in Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik. In 2014, defense was a major question mark for the Caps and Brian MacLellan made a splash as the new general manager by signing both blue liners to big deals. The majority of the signings, however, are cheap, low risk and high reward players.

Finally, the trades include players who filled obvious needs. The Caps needed Oshie to shore up the top six, Eller was brought in to be the third line center, Kempny stepped in as a top-four defenseman and Jerabek was brought in for defensive depth.

So what does this show us?

First, the draft is absolutely critical to building a team’s core. True superstar players are hard to come by. Once a team gets one, they do everything they can to keep them. The draft is a team's first opportunity to acquire a certain player and, if they have superstar potential, sign them long-term. John Tavares this season looks headed to free agency and the buzz around him stems from the fact that he is very much the exception, not the rule. The base of the Caps’ Stanley Cup team was built by drafting star players like Ovechkin, Backstrom, Kuznetsov, Carlson, Holtby, etc.

This also shows the importance of the draft for depth. In the salary cap era, teams need to find enough cap room for their stars and their depth players. Having young players is absolutely critical because their low cap hit allows for the team to sign the expensive stars and make the important addition in free agency  or by trade. This is a formula that only works if those young players are productive as well.

Players like Vrana and Burakovsky, for example, played big roles in the playoff run, but also carried low cap hits.

So the Caps built a core through the draft and filled key roles with trades and mostly cheap free agent signings.

There is no formula for how to win a Stanley Cup, if there was everyone would do it, but this is about as close as you can come to one. A team has to draft very well and then build around those draft picks to be successful. You cannot hope to build simply through trades and free agency because of the cost. Trades always require sending an asset the other way and very often that asset turns out to be prospects or draft picks. Free agency, meanwhile, requires team overpay for top targets leading to serious cap trouble down the line.

There are always trades and free agent signings that prove to be important, but those are only pieces to a much large puzzle. To win a Stanley Cup, you have to build through the draft.

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