Capitals

Tuesday's Sports in Brief

Tuesday's Sports in Brief

MIAMI (AP) Ozzie Guillen was fired Tuesday after one year as manager of the last-place Miami Marlins, whose promising season began to derail in April when his laudatory comments about Fidel Castro caused a backlash.

Miami's next manager will be the fifth for owner Jeffrey Loria since early 2010. Two managers he fired made the playoffs this year. The Marlins still owe Guillen $7.5 million for the three years remaining on his contract.

NEW LENOX, Ill. (AP) - Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk faces charges of driving under the influence and other misdemeanors after being found asleep in his pickup truck in a cornfield, police in suburban Chicago said.

New Lenox Deputy Chief Robert Pawlisz said officers found Fisk, 64, behind the wheel late Monday with an open bottle of vodka on the truck's floor.

``He was behind the wheel unconscious,'' Pawlisz said.

BOSTON (AP) - Former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine says David Ortiz spent more time than expected on the disabled list before playing one game and then returning to it after the team made a major trade that signaled it would not compete for a postseason berth.

Valentine made his remarks in an interview with NBC's Bob Costas airing several hours after John Farrell was introduced as Boston's new manager.

Ortiz was working out at Fenway Park on Tuesday and spoke to Farrell amid reports that he and the team were closing in on a two-year deal to keep the potential free agent in Boston.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Washington reliever Drew Storen, who failed to hold a ninth-inning lead against St. Louis in Game 5 of the NL division series, is among six extra players eligible for salary arbitration this winter under baseball's new labor contract.

San Diego shortstop Everth Cabrera, New York Mets catcher Josh Thole, Tampa Bay outfielder Sam Fuld, Colorado outfielder Tyler Colvin and Arizona third baseman Chris Johnson also are eligible because of the new deal, Major League Baseball and the players' union agreed Tuesday.

PRO FOOTBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - A teenager who has accused former New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor of sexually assaulting her when she was 16 cried as she described her encounter with the NFL Hall of Famer at the start of a civil trial.

Taylor pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of sexual misconduct and patronizing an underage prostitute for having sex with her in 2010 and is serving six years of probation. He leaned forward in his chair to watch the 19-year-old testify in U.S. District Court.

The teen, Cristina Fierro, who has since married, told a Manhattan jury hearing her lawsuit that she didn't know who Taylor was when she found him naked on a bed in a hotel room in Montebello, just north of New York City. She says another man forced her to have sex with Taylor for $300. She said she brought the lawsuit to hold Taylor accountable.

IRVING, Texas (AP) - Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee is facing surgery on his right big toe.

According to several reports, including one on the team's website, Lee has ligament damage in his toe that will require surgery and could end his season.

Lee, the team's leading tackler with 58 stops, got hurt in the second half of Sunday's win at Carolina. He was on crutches after the game.

BEREA, Ohio (AP) - Browns president Mike Holmgren is not committing to staying the rest of the season to work with new owner Jimmy Haslam.

Holmgren is stepping down after three years in Cleveland. He said he would like to help Haslam and incoming CEO Joe Banner in their transition, but doesn't know if that will be possible.

CYCLING

OSLO, Norway (AP) - Another former teammate of Lance Armstrong admitted using banned performance-enhancing drugs.

Retired Norwegian rider Steffen Kjaergaard said that he had used EPO and cortisone, and was immediately suspended from his job at the Norwegian Cycling Federation.

``I have long thought that it was best for cycling as a sport that I took this (secret) to the grave. But the last weeks have made me change course for my own sake and tell the truth,'' Kjaergaard said.

MADRID (AP) - Five-time Tour de France champion Miguel Indurain says he believes in Lance Armstrong's innocence after the American cyclist was stripped of his seven titles from the race.

The decision to strip Armstrong and ban him for life for doping leaves Indurain among four riders with a record five titles.

Indurain told Radio Marca that the entire case was ``bizarre'' since Armstong never tested positive for doping. Indurain says ``it is strange they take away his tours because of the testimonies of some teammates.''

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut and U.S. Olympic coach Geno Auriemma wants the rims lowered in women's basketball.

The Hartford Courant reported that Auriemma made the comments to reporters Monday following the taping of sports talk show for Connecticut Public Television.

``Lower the rim,'' Auriemma said. ``Do you think the average fan knows that the net is lower in women's volleyball than men's volleyball? It's about seven inches shorter so the women have the chance for the same kind of success at the net.''

He says volleyball nets are lower in the women's game, and lowering rims from 10 feet would be no different.

PENN STATE

CAMP HILL, Pa. (AP) - Jerry Sandusky became a state prison inmate with his transfer out of the Centre County jail, his home since he was convicted in June of child molestation.

The 68-year-old former Penn State assistant coach arrived early in the morning at the State Correctional Institute at Camp Hill, just outside Harrisburg, a state prison system spokeswoman said.

He faces testing and evaluation that will take a week or more before he can be assigned a security risk level and sent to one of the state facilities as his ``home'' prison. At Camp Hill, experts will assess his mental state, physical health and education level, and determine whether he needs treatment.

PRO BASKETBALL

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) - Kobe Bryant has sat out of practice with the Los Angeles Lakers for the second straight day to rest his injured right foot.

After Bryant missed Tuesday's practice, he said he probably won't play in the Lakers' preseason game against the Clippers on Wednesday night.

NEW YORK (AP) - Centers will no longer be guaranteed a spot in the NBA All-Star game.

NBA.com reported that the league will announce a change to its All-Star ballot on Wednesday, removing the center position. Fans will be required to vote for three frontcourt players, instead of two forwards and a center.

The change makes sense with fewer teams relying on a traditional center anymore.

NEW YORK (AP) - A New Jersey woman who worked for the NBA as a senior account executive filed a $3 million gender discrimination lawsuit against the league, saying it forced her and two other women with young children out of their jobs.

Lawyers for Brynn Cohn of Hoboken filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, seeking unspecified damages from the National Basketball Association.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly says quarterback Everett Golson did well during a full workout and will start for the No. 5 Fighting Irish at No. 8 Oklahoma on Saturday.

Kelly said Tuesday that Golson is at 100 percent. Kelly benched Golson against Brigham Young last week as a precaution, saying he wanted to give him more time to recover from a concussion sustained in a helmet-to-helmet hit against Stanford.

AUTO RACING

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Dale Earnhardt Jr. was cleared for this weekend's race at Martinsville Speedway after missing the last two weeks to recover from a pair of concussions.

NASCAR's most popular driver was examined by neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty one a day after he ran 123 laps at half-mile Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Ga. Petty monitored Earnhardt during Monday's test at Gresham.

COLLEGES

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri athletics department is tightening employee use of school-issued credit cards after an audit found a series of improper purchases, including bills for more than $7,600 from a Las Vegas strip club.

TENNIS

VALENCIA, Spain (AP) - Sam Querrey of the United States defeated Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 7-6 (4) at the Valencia Open.

Top-seeded David Ferrer edged Olivier Rochus 7-5, 7-5 to reach the second round.

BASEL, Switzerland (AP) - Nikolay Davydenko of Russia edged fourth-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (3), in the Swiss Indoors first round.

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Wilson's return sparks Capitals to a 5-2 win at Minnesota

Wilson's return sparks Capitals to a 5-2 win at Minnesota

Tom Wilson stayed on brand in his return from a long suspension.

The Capitals’ big man scored a goal and took a penalty on the same play in his first game of the season, a 5-2 win against the Minnesota Wild Tuesday night. 

Wilson won’t get the 16 games back he missed for an illegal check to the head of St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist. But he tried to make up for it in his debut. 

Wilson scored Washington’s second goal at 19:32 of the first period when he drove the net hard and deflected a pass from teammate Dmitry Orlov past Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk. But this being Wilson, nothing is totally uncontroversial.  

The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder was moving fast. There was no stopping him. Wilson, with some help from Wild defenseman Ryan Suter, collided with Dubnyk. The puck was already in the net, but the referee decided Wilson needed to go think about what he’d done after Dubnyk got clocked in the head. It was a two-minute goalie interference call. 

That’s an odd play rarely called. Either the goal counts or it doesn’t, but maybe because Wilson had already scored before running into Dubnyk both calls could stand. 

“It was a first for me to score and get a penalty on the same play,” Wilson told reporters in St. Paul. “I was just going hard to the net and Snarls [Orlov] put it right on my tape. It was a great pass at full speed. I was trying to do everything I could to get out of the way. I’ll take the goal and the kill went out there and got it done. It was good to see.”

It was far from Wilson’s only contribution in his first game back. He also fought Marcus Foligno at 11:58 of the second period on the faceoff after Minnesota cut a Washington lead to 3-1. He didn’t back down when asked to go by Foligno. 

“He’s a key player for our team, brings so much energy both on the ice and off the ice,” forward Andre Burakovsky said. “Huge lift for the team to get him back earlier. Didn’t expect that and I think he had a really strong game today. Obviously, he got the goal in his first game back and then some dirty works. Obviously, I think he’s a huge guy for us in PK and it showed today.”

Wilson didn’t get the assist on the goal that put the game away. Alex Ovechkin found Orlov for a one-timer on a pass from the left faceoff circle to the right. But it was Wilson driving hard toward the goal that kept a Wild defenseman with him and allowed Orlov the space to finish Ovechkin’s pass. Those little things have been missed in the 16 games Wilson was suspended. He was relentless. 

One big issue for the Capitals: The penalty kill. Wilson has been a big part of that group in recent years and without him – and, to be fair the departed Jay Beagle and the injured Brooks Orpik – Washington entered the game 29thin the NHL in penalty kill percentage (71.7 percent). Wilson wasn’t eased into anything. He played 5:23 on the penalty kill and the Capitals killed five of six Wild power plays. 

[Wilson] does a lot not just on the ice, but in our room. Adds a ton of energy. Well respected player for how he trains,” Capitals coach Todd Reirden. “Going through a tough time and obviously kind of a surprise for us to get him back today. We were hoping to at any point here and we were able to take advantage of a fortunate bounce for our team before even the game started. But I didn’t expect him to have as strong a game as he did." 

"Obviously able to convert on a great play on a line rush, but just the other things he did. Our penalty kill, the opposition scores a goal and, you talk about shifts after goals, not giving the team any more momentum than they’ve already gotten and he gets in a fight there. There’s a lot to like about Tom Wilson and I thought he had a strong game. It was great to have him back.”

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4 reasons the Caps beat the Wild

4 reasons the Caps beat the Wild

Think the Caps missed Tom Wilson? It sure looked like it.

Washington looked like a completely different team with Wilson back in the lineup Tuesday in a dominant 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild.

Here are four reasons the Caps won:

Tom Wilson

Wilson made his season debut Tuesday after his suspension was reduced by a neutral arbitrator earlier in the day. Wilson’s addition to the lineup had two effects. One, it made the lineup a lot deeper. Without Wilson, Todd Reirden was having trouble putting together the right lineup. Several players cycled on the top line and every line behind the top had to shuffle. Wilson came back onto the top line and immediately the rest of the lineup fell into place.

The top line looked better, the second line looked better and the third line looked better with their regular lineups back intact.

Wilson’s return also brought a lot of energy to the team and that was evident from the very start of the game. The Caps outshot Minnesota 12-6 and took the 2-0 lead in the first period of the game. Compare that to the rather lethargic game we saw on Sunday, clearly, Wilson brought a spark.

Oh, yeah, Wilson has also had a pretty darn good game too. He scored in the first period of the game in a typical Wilson play. He completely blew past Minnesota defenseman Ryan Suter and tipped in a pass from Dmitry Orlov as he crashed the net on goalie Devan Dubnyk.

Somehow Wilson was also given a goalie interference penalty… but the goal still counted? Regardless of what was an obvious reputation penalty, it was a good return for Wilson, who also had a fight with Marcus Foligno and helped set up Orlov’s second goal by crashing again and drawing the defense over to him.

Dmitry Orlov

Orlov broke a 19-game goal drought with a goal just 7:23 into the game.

Lars Eller had the puck and cut to the blue line in the offensive zone turning to the middle. Minnesota got caught puck watching as the defense shifted with Eller, leaving Orlov open on the left. Eller found him and Orlov took advantage of the extra space to score his first goal of the season.

Orlov would add an assist on Wilson’s goal and a second goal in the third period off a beautiful pass from Alex Ovechkin.

The typically reliable defensive pairing of Orlov and Matt Niskanen struggled at the start of the season prompting Todd Reirden to switch up the pairs and place Orlov with John Carlson. Clearly, the move had the desired effect in Tuesday’s game.

The schedule

Tuesday’s game was the Wild’s first at home since Oct. 27. Minnesota was coming off a seven-game road swing and they looked a bit weary at the start of the game. As mentioned above, the Wild were outshot 12-6 in the first period and then 15-8 in the second.

Really, this game was a perfect storm. Not only were the Wild tired from a lengthy road trip, but they also were dealing with a Caps team that was pumped up by the return of Wilson.

Part of what made Sunday’s loss to Arizona so disappointing was the fact that the Coyotes were on the second leg of a back-to-back with their starting goalie on IR. The Caps were not able to take advantage, but they certainly took it to a vulnerable, road-weary team on Tuesday.

The penalty kill

Washington’s porous penalty kill was the reason the Caps lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets Friday and a major reason they fell to Arizona. The PK finally stood tall on Tuesday as the Caps were able to kill off four out of five penalties on the night. The lone power play goal the team gave up came in the third period when the Caps were already up 5-1 and the game was no longer in doubt.

You can add the penalty kill to the long list of things that Wilson instantly improved in his return. Wilson logged 16:47 of total ice time on Tuesday and 5:23 of that came on the penalty kill.

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