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Rex, Woody excited for Jets' new 'beginning'

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Rex, Woody excited for Jets' new 'beginning'

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) The big, bold statements are back - and so is Rex Ryan.

The New York Jets coach, kept on board despite owner Woody Johnson firing general manager Mike Tannenbaum last week, had no Super Bowl guarantees - but he's certainly back to being the brash Ryan from before.

``We are going to be a dangerous football team,'' Ryan warned Tuesday. ``I can promise you that. I'm going to tell you: You're not going to want to play the Jets.''

During a nearly 40-minute ``season-ending'' news conference that came nine days after the Jets' 6-10 season ended, both Johnson and Ryan - each decked out in green ties - spoke about being excited for the team's future.

And, as far as Johnson is concerned, that future begins with Ryan, who acknowledged he was concerned he might be fired after the season because he ``failed'' to leave his imprint on all aspects of the team. But Johnson said that was never a scenario in his mind.

``I think Rex Ryan is perfect for the New York Jets,'' Johnson said. ``He is 100 percent this team.''

It sounded a bit the way Ryan's introductory news conference did four years ago, when the talk was about how the Jets would meet President Obama soon and how the franchise was going for the Super Bowl.

``I'm approaching this day like it's the first day. Period,'' a fired-up Ryan said Tuesday. ``Like my first day as a head coach. This is a new chance for me. This is a beginning, certainly not an end.''

While Ryan has toned down that talk during the last few seasons, he made no mistake that he is rejuvenated - after a few days in the Bahamas - and rededicated to bringing the franchise where he always has intended.

``We're not going to be bullied,'' Ryan said. ``We might not win every game, and no team does. But you've got to stand for something. We're going to be the team you don't want to play.''

That wasn't the case this season, of course, as the Jets failed to make the playoffs for the second straight year after consecutive trips to the AFC championship game in Ryan's first two seasons.

While Tannenbaum was fired and the Jets continue to search for a replacement - a process Johnson said Ryan will be part of - significant changes are being made to the coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano was fired after one season in which the offense ranked among the league's worst.

``I want to be more of an unpredictable offense,'' Ryan said. ``As hard as we are to attack defensively, I want to be offensively.''

Quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh is also out after four seasons.

Neither Sparano nor Cavanaugh could get starting Mark Sanchez to make the next step in his development, and he actually regressed this season - culminating in the first benching of his career. Sanchez's 52 turnovers the last two seasons are the most in the NFL, and Ryan and Johnson insisted money wouldn't factor into any decisions on personnel - despite the fact Sanchez is owed $8.25 million in guarantees and would cost the Jets a $17.1 million salary cap hit if they cut him.

The Jets also couldn't figure out a way to effectively use backup quarterback Tim Tebow, who failed to get into the end zone all season as he stood mostly on the sideline after being expected to be a major part of Sparano's offense. Tebow is expected to be traded or released - but personnel moves will largely depend on the next general manager.

``It is way too early to say what any of our players' futures are,'' Ryan said.

Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, whose contract is expiring, also won't be back. Ryan has worked with Pettine the last 10 years, but said Pettine was interviewing for the same job in Buffalo and the two felt it was time for him to look at other opportunities.

Ryan hinted that Pettine's replacement would come from within the franchise, likely secondary coach Dennis Thurman, but didn't want to announce anything since ``the ink's not dry.''

Special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff retired after the season, and will be replaced by his assistant, Ben Kotwica.

Ryan's much-discussed tattoo of his wife wearing a Sanchez jersey - photographed while he was in the Bahamas - also came up. The coach said he has had it on his right arm for nearly three years, and was able to joke about all the commotion.

``I know what you're thinking: Obviously, if Sanchez doesn't play better that number is changing,'' Ryan said, smiling. ``I've been married 25 years and, in my eyes, my wife is the most beautiful woman in the world.''

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Evgeny Kuznetsov accepts IIHF suspension for cocaine while Capitals, NHL lay out next steps

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Evgeny Kuznetsov accepts IIHF suspension for cocaine while Capitals, NHL lay out next steps

After news broke of Evgeny Kuznetsov’s four-year suspension by the IIHF for testing positive for cocaine, the Capitals center released a statement Friday accepting the suspension and expressing his regret for the situation 

Said Kuznetsov:

"Recently, the IIHF notified me that, due to a positive test for a banned substance, I would be suspended from international competition for four years. I have made the decision to accept this penalty. Representing my country has always been so close to my heart and something I take so much pride in. Not being able to put that sweater on for four years is very hard to take. I have disappointed so many people that are important to me, including my family, teammates and friends. From the first day I took the ice in D.C., the Washington Capitals organization and our fans have been nothing but great to me and my family. I feel absolutely terrible for letting you down. I realize that the only way I can win you back is to take ownership of my situation and my actions from this point forward."

The question now is what happens next?

Both the Capitals and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly also released statements on Friday saying that Kuznetsov “has voluntarily sought help through the education and counseling program provided for in the NHL/NHLPA collective bargaining agreement and has agreed to a regular testing protocol relating to his involvement with that program.”

In addition, Kuznetsov will meet with commissioner Gary Bettman “to discuss his situation and review his conduct prior to the start of Training Camp preceding the 2019-20 season.”

While the positive test has resulted in a four-year suspension with the IIHF, it is unclear if any such discipline will be levied on Kuznetsov by the NHL.

Said Daly, “Unlike the IIHF, cocaine is not considered a performance-enhancing drug and is therefore not a Prohibited Substance under the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program.  Instead, it is considered a drug of abuse that is tested for and for which intervention, evaluation and mandatory treatment can occur in appropriate cases.”

Daly left the door open for NHL discipline as he concluded, “We intend to reserve further comment on any additional actions that may or may not be taken with respect to today’s announcement (disciplinary or otherwise) pending the completion of the Commissioner’s meeting with Mr. Kuznetsov.”

The Capitals, meanwhile, expressed support for Kuznetsov saying “we are committed to ensuring he has the necessary support required to work through this situation.”

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Evgeny Kuznetsov receives IIHF suspension after testing positive for cocaine

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Evgeny Kuznetsov receives IIHF suspension after testing positive for cocaine

Evgeny Kuznetsov has been suspended for four years by the IIHF after testing positive for cocaine, the organization announced Friday. The test was found in a sample taken on May 26, 2019, at the World Championship.

The suspension will last through June 12, 2023.

A video posted on Twitter in May showed Kuznetsov in a hotel room next to lines of an unidentified white powder. The Capitals center released a statement afterward saying that he has “never taken illegal drugs in my life and career.” He also claimed the video was from 2018 in Vegas after Washington won the Stanley Cup.

After a review, both the NHL and the Capitals accepted Kuznetsov’s explanation of the situation and considered the matter closed.

A team official told NBC Sports Washington on Friday that the team does intend to make an official comment on the news of Kuznetsov’s suspension.

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