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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) Rex Ryan and Woody Johnson met the media Tuesday, wearing Jets-green ties and presenting an unusually united front for a coach and owner coming off an abysmal season that produced far more in the way of turbulence than touchdowns.

The general manager is gone, along with the offensive, defensive and special teams coordinators.

Ryan isn't going anywhere because Johnson really likes him.

More than that, ``I trust him,'' Johnson said.

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

So, basking in that comfort zone, Ryan laid out his plans for the future of the 6-10 New York Jets, speaking mostly in generalities and giving few, if any, specifics about two guys named Sanchez and Tebow.

Ryan made big, bold pronouncements - the kind he made when he was hired four years ago:

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

- ``We're not going to be bullied. Fans don't like for their team to be embarrassed. We were embarrassed at times last year. That's not going to happen. 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.''

He managed to stop short of guaranteeing a Super Bowl trip.

Ryan told the packed press conference room at the training facility that, yes, he thought he might get fired after the season because he ``failed'' to leave his imprint on all aspects of the team, particularly on offense. That, and perhaps the fact the Jets haven't made the playoffs in two straight seasons.

``I don't think I've done as good a job of implementing who I am throughout this team,'' Ryan said. ``I want a physical, aggressive, attack style.''

To get it, he's wiping the slate clean, zoning out all the bad vibes tied to Mark Sanchez being an ineffective starting quarterback and leader, and Tim Tebow being his invisible backup.

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

It was the end for general manager Mike Tannenbaum and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, who were both fired, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, whose contract was not renewed, and special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff, who retired.

Johnson said Ryan will have a say in hiring the new GM. San Francisco director of player personnel Tom Gamble has been considered by many to be the front-runner, but he has attracted interest from several teams. So has Atlanta director of player personnel David Caldwell, who was hired Tuesday by Jacksonville.

The team also met with Marc Ross, the Giants' director of college scouting, and in-house candidate Scott Cohen, the Jets' assistant GM. Johnson acknowledged that the team has told candidates they will have to be willing to work with Ryan, who brushed off any talk that he could be considered a lame-duck coach.

``I'm pretty sure I'll have the exact same agenda as the general manager,'' Ryan said. ``We want to win.''

Sparano was fired Tuesday after one season in which the offense ranked among the league's worst, and quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh is also out after four seasons.

``I have failed in that area,'' Ryan said.

Neither Sparano nor Cavanaugh could get Sanchez to make the next step in his development, and the quarterback 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. 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.

``We'll play the player that fits what we do best,'' Ryan said, refusing to commit to Sanchez.

The Jets also couldn't figure out a way to effectively use Tebow, who failed to get into the end zone all season and stood mostly on the sideline, though he was supposed 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.

Ryan hinted that Pettine's replacement would come from within the franchise, likely secondary coach Dennis Thurman. Westhoff will be replaced by his assistant, Ben Kotwica.

Ryan's much-discussed tattoo of his wife wearing a Sanchez jersey - photographed while he was vacationing in the Bahamas - also came up. The coach laughed at the question, saying he's had it on his right arm for nearly three years.

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

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'He's a heart-and-soul guy:' Capitals begin to process Oshie injury after Game 4 loss

'He's a heart-and-soul guy:' Capitals begin to process Oshie injury after Game 4 loss

RALEIGH — T.J. Oshie shuffled out of the Capitals locker room, hunched over, half dressed, his face a mask of anguish and pain, his right arm pinned against his body. 

He made it to the X-ray room at PNC Arena on his own, two medical staffers at his side, moaning as he entered to learn his fate. Moments later, his teammates came off the ice at that same spot, 2-1 losers to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 4 of a Stanley Cup playoffs first-round series. 

Players clomped past in various states of frustration and distress. Nicklas Backstrom smashed his stick against a wall and, when it only half broke, finished it off with one last theatrical whack. 

It was a perfect summation of Washington’s visit to Raleigh, where it arrived with a 2-0 series lead and left tied 2-2 with a critical Game 5 back home at Capital One Arena on Saturday. 

Oshie will not be with them. He will be out “for quite some time,” said Capitals coach Todd Reirden. Carolina forward Warren Foegele nudged Oshie from behind as both skated near full speed and he crashed hard into the boards in Washington’s offensive zone. 

Oshie yelled out in pain and lay on the ice for several minutes. He was helped off the ice and Foegele received a two-minute penalty for boarding. That did not sit well with Oshie’s teammates, who failed to score on the power play. They thought the play deserved more – a major penalty, for sure, and supplemental discipline by the NHL Department of Player Safety. They didn’t get the five minutes. They might get a suspension when the league looks at the play.   

“It was a defenseless player that was quite a distance from the boards,” Washington coach Todd Reirden said. “It’s an extremely dangerous play and (Oshie) will not be with our team for a while.”

Added captain Alex Ovechkin: "Did you see that? What did you think? I was on the ice, I watched the puck, so I didn't see what happened there, but if you think it's not a dirty play, you have to watch it again."

The frustration was understandable. Oshie had 25 goals in 69 games this season. He missed 11 with a concussion in November before returning. On Thursday, he’d moved up to the top line with Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom and he’s been a staple on the second line much of the season. He is as skilled a player as there is on the Capitals and has a goal and an assist in the series. 

“It’s always tough. He plays the game so hard,” goalie Braden Holtby said. “He’s a heart-and-soul guy. I have no idea what it is or whatever. But the thing with [Oshie] is no matter what he’s going to find a way to have a positive impact on our team - whether in or out. It doesn’t matter. He’s a leader and he’s a guy that guys want to fight for.”

Carolina didn’t agree with the Capitals, of course. Foegele called it “an unfortunate play” where he was just trying to lift Oshie’s stick and he lost an edge and careened into the boards. It doesn’t matter now. With the series now even, Washington will have to build on a much better game than it played Monday night in a 5-0 loss, but without one of its best players. On Friday they can begin figuring that out. On the plane ride home Thursday night they were still trying to process what happened to Oshie. 

“We have all those meetings. GMs make meetings with referees and watch the video and it's two minutes?” Ovechkin said. “We're players and we have to go out there and play, but those guys have to make a decision. They can't be afraid. If the guy hurt, it's a dirty play, it has to be not two minutes. It has to be different call."

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'He barely hit him': Rod Brind'Amour finds a way to downplay T.J. Oshie injury

'He barely hit him': Rod Brind'Amour finds a way to downplay T.J. Oshie injury

The Capitals were incensed by Warren Foegele’s shove to the back of T.J. Oshie in Game 4 on Thursday that sent Oshie dangerously into the boards and knocked him out of the game. Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour, however, does not know what all the fuss is about.

“You see a lot of hits that are way, way worse than that,” Brind’Amour told the media after the game.

Oshie entered into the offensive zone with the puck and Foegele came in on the backcheck. Oshie had a good position on the puck, blocking Foegele out with his back. Foegele responded with a cross-check to the back of Oshie that knocked him over face-first awkwardly into the boards. Oshie appeared to strike the boards with his right shoulder and was doubled over in obvious pain as he slowly made his way off the ice.

Ovechkin was so angry that he followed Foegele and continued yelling at him after he went into the penalty box.

But Brind’Amour did not see it as a dirty play.

“I think [Oshie] just went in awkward,” Brind’Amour said. “I don't know the extent of the injury or whatever. Barely hit him I thought, really. He gave him a little shove, but it certainly wasn't what we've been seeing out here.”

In fact, Brind’Amour did not think a penalty was going to be called at all until Oshie stayed on the ice.

“There wasn't a penalty being called and then obviously he crashed into the boards hard and that's when the arm went up because he stayed down,” Brind’Amour said. “You don't like to see that, but I think more than anything he just was not ready for the hit.”

For those of you keeping track at home, Brind’Amour took issue with two consenting players fighting one another, but a cross-check to the back leaves a guy doubled over in pain and, well, he just was not ready for the hit.

Right.

Of course, you can file this away under, “What is he supposed to say?” It’s not as if Brind’Amour would come out and bury his own player for an illegal hit. He is going to defend his guy. Having said that, there were probably better ways to handle the injury of an opposing player rather than diminishing it quite as much as Brind’Amour seemed to.

“We've got way more injuries than they do,” Brind’Amour said. “I don't worry about their team.”

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