Capitals

Wednesday's Sports In Brief

Wednesday's Sports In Brief

NFL

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has advised league officials and players implicated in the NFL's bounty probe that he plans to complete all hearings by Dec. 4 and make a ruling shortly after.

In a document obtained by The Associated Press, Tagliabue directs the NFL to produce key witnesses in the New Orleans Saints cash-for-hits program, including former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and former defensive assistant Mike Cerullo.

Four players initially were suspended, but those punishments were vacated and Tagliabue appointed to oversee new hearings.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) - The college football playoff system will be televised on ESPN for 12 years once it starts after the 2014 season.

The network announced an agreement in principle which will schedule the title game on a Monday night, at least a week after the semifinals.

The deal also includes broadcast rights for the three ``host bowls'' that will be in the semifinal rotation in years they're not holding playoff games. ESPN already had contracts for the same 12-year period through 2025 with the ``contract bowls'': the Rose, Sugar and Orange.

The agreement includes rights for TV, radio, mobile, online and international.

NHL

NEW YORK (AP) - NHL labor talks broke off soon after they resumed, with players maintaining their new proposal was a huge economic concession and Commissioner Gary Bettman pretty much saying the only deal he will agree to is the one management proposed last month.

On the 67th day of a lockout that already has wiped out more than a quarter of the season, the sides headed home for Thanksgiving with no end in sight to the sport's fourth work stoppage. The union's negotiating committee planned to brief players Friday.

Union head Donald Fehr said the sides were $182 million apart in a five-year deal, which comes to $1.2 million annually for each of the 30 teams.

BASEBALL

MIAMI (AP) - Mark Buehrle issued a parting shot at the Miami Marlins' management after his stay with the team lasted only one tumultuous season.

The left-hander, who signed a four-year contract a year ago, was part of the blockbuster trade that also sent All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes and right-hander Josh Johnson to the Blue Jays. With the deal, the Marlins pared $146.5 million in future payroll.

Buehrle issued a statement saying, ``I was lied to on multiple occasions.''

Team President David Samson said the Marlins didn't lie to Buehrle, but instead were compelled to make drastic changes after a last-place finish and disappointing attendance.

BOXING

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - The family of Hector ``Macho'' Camacho are deciding whether he should be removed from life support after a shooting in his hometown left the former champion clinging to life and his fans mourning the loss of a dynamic and often troubled athlete.

Doctors at the Centro Medico trauma center in San Juan found that Camacho had irregular and intermittent brain activity, said Dr. Ernesto Torres, the center's director.

Torres said doctors will conduct additional tests but warned the prognosis remains dire.

The 50-year-old Camacho was shot in the head Tuesday night in the city of Bayamon. His condition worsened overnight and his heart stopped at one point, Torres said.

COLLEGE SPORTS

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Two University of Iowa wrestlers were suspended from the team after they were arrested for illegally hunting rabbits on campus.

Athletic director Gary Barta said freshmen Alex Meyer and Connor Ryan were arrested Tuesday by campus police. Barta said they used BB guns and air rifles during the hunt. Both were suspended indefinitely and will face disciplinary action through school policies.

Meyer is an 18-year-old from suburban Des Moines who wrestles at 174 pounds. Ryan is an 18-year-old from Bettendorf who wrestles at 141 and 149. Neither has wrestled in a match so far this season for Iowa, which is 3-0.

SOCCER

CHICAGO (AP) - Another pro women's soccer league will try to succeed where two previous attempts have failed.

The currently unnamed eight-team league will launch in the spring with clubs located in Boston, Chicago, Kansas City, New Jersey, Portland, Seattle, western New York and Washington.

With a vested interest in ensuring national team players have somewhere to play in the years leading up to the 2015 World Cup, U.S. Soccer is stepping in this time to seek to create a viable economic model. The teams will still be privately owned, but the federation will pay for the salaries of 24 national team players. U.S. Soccer also will fund the league's front office.

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A special night for Barry Trotz on his return to Washington

A special night for Barry Trotz on his return to Washington

WASHINGTON — Barry Trotz stood on an the unfamiliar visitors’ bench and scanned the rafters at Capital One Arena as the national anthem played. 

It had to be around here somewhere. He looked to one side of the scoreboard and then the other. Finally his eyes locked on the 2018 Stanley Cup banner hanging in the south end of the arena, a testament to a season he will remember the rest of his life. 

"I was just focused on the game. Until the national anthem, I didn’t even know where it was,” Trotz said. “I was looking on the other side, around the clock, and then I turn around and there it is. That’s a proud moment for everybody involved: ownership, Ted Leonsis, and [Brian MacLellan] in management, and the players and everybody, the fans. That’s the one you want.” 

Trotz could afford a reflective mood as he spoke after a 2-0 win against the Capitals in his first game back in Washington since leading the franchise to its first Stanley Cup last June. The Islanders broke a scoreless tie with two goals in the third period just 2:26 apart. They are the surprise of the NHL after losing star center John Tavares to free agency last summer. They are all alone in first place in the Metropolitan Division now well past the halfway point of the season. 

Trotz stayed focused before the game. He arrived hours before game time and holed up in his office trying to figure a way the Islanders could win the second of a back-to-back against the rested Capitals.

At the first television timeout of the first period, Trotz steadied himself for the video tribute the Capitals put together. There, on the giant scoreboard, the indelible images flashed: Trotz at his opening press conference in 2014, promising his new team had what it took to win a championship, winning the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year, laughing with his players, skating the hot laps during last year’s playoffs, lifting the Stanley Cup. The Capital One Arena crowd stood and roared for the entire break in the action.  

“My heart got full of all the good memories,” Trotz said. “I was looking up there. I was trying not to look too much because I was getting pretty close to that sensitive side of myself. But it was extremely well done and it was just great memories. Everybody was a part of something special.”

Afterward they had another mini reunion outside the Washington locker room, his home for four years. Trotz and Lane Lambert, his assistant for all four years with the Caps, chatted with players as they came out. It wasn’t as emotional as the championship ring ceremony when the two teams first met on Nov. 26 in Brooklyn. Trotz’s voice wavered as he addressed his former players before that game. This time was all laughs. 

Capitals assistant Blaine Forsythe was there and head coach Todd Reirden briefly stopped by. Tom Wilson and Matt Niskanen and Devante Smith-Pelly came over to say hello. Brooks Orpik, who had a memorable night of his own with a ceremony for playing in his 1,000th NHL game earlier in the week, leaned against a wall and chatted with Trotz and Lambert, who jabbed Caps goalie coach Scott Murray and said he better have a “hotter suit” the next time they meet, which will be in New York on March 1.

Maybe then the Islanders will have come down to earth or maybe Trotz is in the midst of another magical season. Maybe these two teams, with so much shared history, are destined to meet again in the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

“They’ve got the same team. They’re a good hockey team. There’s no question,” Trotz said. “They’ve got lots of mettle and it starts with their leadership and [Nicklas Backstrom] and [Alex Ovechkin] and that core group….That whole group, Johnny Carlson, all the guys that have here for a long time, they’ve got lots of mettle. I’m fortunate to have another great group to work with on the Island. As I said to them, I hope we can have the same experience down the road. It’s special doing that.”

 

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Barry Trotz returns to DC and hands the Capitals a fourth straight loss

Barry Trotz returns to DC and hands the Capitals a fourth straight loss

The New York Islanders outlasted the Capitals in a defensive battle Friday with two third period goals to hand Washington a 2-0 loss in Barry Trotz's return to Capital One Arena. The loss is now the Caps' fourth straight and knocks them down to third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Here are three reasons Washington lost.

Defense

You could definitely see the effect Barry Trotz has had on this Islanders team in this one. Last year, the Islanders were laughably terrible on defense. On Friday, they frustrated the Caps offense all night long.

New York was positionally sound all game long, forcing the Caps to the outside and limiting all of their offensive opportunities. Every time it looked like Washington had a rush developing, the Islanders got back and got in front of the puck. Every time the Caps tried to set up their offense, New York forced them to the perimeter and kept them from the high-danger areas. Thomas Greiss was there to clean up the rest as he recorded his second shutout of the season.

Washington was limited to just 19 shots on goal on the night, 15 through the first two periods.

A third period breakthrough

Braden Holtby looked very sharp for the Caps all night long in his first game since he suffered an eye injury on Jan. 12. He was finally beaten in the third period thanks to a great deflection by Josh Bailey.

Mathew Barzal showed some great puck control as he entered the offensive zone, wheeled around away from the initial defensive pressure, carried it to the high slot and fired a shot. By wheeling around, that allowed Bailey the chance to park himself in front of Holtby for the deflection.

In such a tight defensive game, you knew it was going to be an ugly goal like Bailey’s that would finally break through.

A third-period 2-on-0

John Carlson pinched into the offensive zone. When that happens, that means it’s Michal Kempny’s job to hightail it back on defense if the puck gets past Carlson.

Instead, Kempny tried to step up and to try to keep the puck in at the blue line. Cal Clutterbuck got the puck past him, and it was off to the races with him and Matt Martin on a 2-on-0. Clutterbuck called his own number and finished off the play with the goal to put the Islanders up 2-0.

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