Capitals

Stony Brook now has a man in the middle

Stony Brook now has a man in the middle

NEW YORK (AP) Stony Brook senior Tommy Brenton has one season left to make the NCAA tournament so he's making freshman Jameel Warney hurry up and help.

Brenton, a 6-foot-5 forward, is one of those players who fills every column in the stat sheet and is one of those players whom every coach wants on his team.

Warney, a 6-8 forward, has had a great start to his college career, something Brenton is hurrying along.

``I kind of gave Jameel the summer to be a freshman,'' said Brenton, who became the school's all-time leading rebounder last week. ``Once the preseason started, he was a sophomore. Hopefully by conference play he'll be a junior and then at the championship he'll be a senior. You've got to grow up quick here. I'm not letting him be a freshman and make those mistakes.''

Warney hasn't made many. The native of Plainfield, N.J., has started all nine games for the Seawolves (7-2) this season, averaging 11.3 points and 7.9 rebounds while shooting 61.5 percent (40 of 65) from the field.

He sounds like he wants to take advantage of having four seniors and four juniors to learn from. They all were on the Stony Brook team that lost to Vermont - at home - in the America East championship game last March.

``It's a learning experience every day,'' Warney said. ``Learning from Tommy, Dave (Coley), the upperclassmen, how to play hard every possession. At the start of the season I was nervous, but these guys, they're composed so it forces me to be composed about everything I do.''

Warney doesn't play like a freshman, something coach Steve Pikiell expected when he recruited the 255-pounder.

``The day he signed the national letter of intent I was comfortable with him. He's a real good player. He's got great hands. He's a terrific passer and he's got a nice temperament about him for a freshman,'' Pikiell said. ``And he's a worker, so I'm real pleased with that because you never know that when you get a kid out of high school. He watches film, he tries to improve. . We threw him right to the wolves and that's the way it is. I told him that when I recruited him. He's done a great job.''

Warney started right away and had eight points and five rebounds in the opening win over Marist. In Game 2, against Mount Ida, Warney made all eight of his field goal attempts - a school record - and pulled down nine rebounds.

``After the first game, I said that I'm going to be a contributor to this team,'' Warney said. ``Even though I'm a freshman, I can help in big ways.''

His first double-double was a 19-point, 11-rebound effort against Cornell. He's starting to steal the seniors' spotlight and they are fine with that.

``He's growing. He's getting better and better as each game goes on,'' Coley said. ``It's good to have someone like him down low.''

Pikiell was Jim Calhoun's first captain at Connecticut. The Seawolves played the Huskies pretty tough last month, leading 33-26 in the second half before falling to a UConn 3-point barrage, 73-62. There was no talk of moral victories after the game. Maybe it's Warney who has helped sharpen the Seawolves' attitude.

``When he touches it, he can score. I feel great about it because people are going to double-team him and he's the best passer on our team,'' Pikiell said. ``He's a tough matchup for people and his game is evolving.''

Quick Links

The Dougie Hamilton-Alex Ovechkin drama continued in Game 6 and the internet has thoughts

ovi-flapping.jpg
NBC Sports

The Dougie Hamilton-Alex Ovechkin drama continued in Game 6 and the internet has thoughts

Alex Ovechkin's assist to Brett Connolly in Game 5 started when Carolina Hurricanes defender Dougie Hamilton shied away from Ovechkin's imminent check.

To start Game 6, Ovechkin tried to ram Hamilton along the boards again, but Hamilton sidestepped him to get the puck to safety.

After Ovechkin tumbled to the ice when he missed the hit, he made his way back to the bench, when he appeared to, well, you decide.

Ovechkin's mocking did not go unnoticed by the broadcast crew on NBC Sports Network or by fans on Twitter. "And there it is, that's what Eddie was talking about," chuckled Pierre McGuire as Ovechkin appeared to raise his arms like a clucking chicken.

The Hurricanes would respond with a goal to even the game 1-1, but Ovechkin answered back at 15:12 of the first period on an assist from Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen to make it 2-1 Capitals.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS

Quick Links

The baffling exclusion of John Carlson from the Norris Trophy finalists

john_carlson_usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

The baffling exclusion of John Carlson from the Norris Trophy finalists

The finalists for the Norris Trophy – awarded to the defenseman who demonstrates the greatest all-around ability in the position – were unveiled on Sunday. Somehow, John Carlson was not among them.

This is the second consecutive year Carlson was a deserving candidate and the second year he will not even be among the top three.

The Norris Trophy is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association -- of which I am a member so I guess you can blame us -- but make no mistake, this is a snub in every sense of the word and a major oversight that Carlson cannot get the recognition he deserves.

Ballots will be made public after the awards are given out. Until then, we are not supposed to divulge exactly how we voted, but I will tell you that Carlson was in my top three, and he absolutely should have been a finalist this year.

If you had asked me prior to the 2017-18 season who the most important defenseman on the Caps was, I would have told you it was Matt Niskanen. I saw Carlson as an offensive-heavy player whose skills in his own zone were lacking. I had to eat those words later as Niskanen was injured in mid-October and missed the next month of the season. During that month, Carlson averaged 27:47 of ice-time per game, which led the entire league. He showed he could contribute offensively, defensively, on the power play and penalty kill. There was nothing he could not do.

Suddenly, the Caps’ top pairing of Dmitry Orlov and Niskanen was replaced by Carlson and whoever he was paired with. That continued into this season.

But while Carlson has reshaped his image in Washington, his reputation as an offensive first player instead of an all-around defenseman persists, and it cost him.

There is no set standard every voter sticks to when it comes to evaluating players for the Norris. You can look at whatever stats you want whether it is Corsi, Fenwick, points, PDO, defensive zone starts, high-danger chances for -- the list goes on. Here’s why Carlson was in the top three of my ballot: Not only did he play exceptionally well, but the Capitals relied on him more in more situations than any other team relied on a single defenseman.

Carlson finished the season ranked eighth in the NHL in time on ice per game at 25:04. Burns finished just ahead of him with 25:06. Both Giordano (24:14) and Hedman (22:46) played less.

Carlson was among the top 40 defensemen in shorthanded time on ice per game with 2:35, something only Giordano (2:40) could boast among the other finalists. Carlson was also first among all defensemen in power play time on ice per game with 4:05, significantly more than Hedman (3:19), Giordano (3:19) or Burns (3:17).

There is no situation in which the Caps are not comfortable putting Carlson out on the ice and no situation in which he is not expected to play heavy minutes. He has taken a bigger role defensively as the team’s top shutdown pair of Orlov-Niskanen has had a down year. Despite the heavier defensive workload, Carlson still managed to finish in the top four in points among defensemen with 70, a career-high.

I am not here saying that Burns, Giordano or Hedman are not deserving of being finalists. In fact, Carlson did not finish first on my ballot. It seems crazy to me, however, that he did not finish in the top three this season or last. All three finalists had strong seasons, but Carlson’s season was just as good and he was more heavily relied upon. He is one of the top offensive blueliners, but that’s not all he is.

Until he manages to overcome that reputation, which persists through no fault of his own, he will continue to be on the outside of the Norris race looking in. And that’s a shame considering how good he has been.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS