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WR Titus Young still not at practice for Lions

WR Titus Young still not at practice for Lions

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) Detroit Lions wide receiver Titus Young is still in exile.

Young wasn't at practice Tuesday and his status remains very much in doubt. He was deactivated for the Lions' 34-31 loss to Houston on Thanksgiving for what coach Jim Schwartz described as ``unacceptable'' behavior during the previous weekend's loss to Green Bay.

Schwartz didn't provide any detail Tuesday on when Young might return.

``We'll reevaluate that as we go and again, we'll decide based on his behavior getting him back with the team and getting him possibly back in a role,'' Schwartz said. ``It's more when he gets back with the team - if he gets back with the team - but it's more when he gets back and the behavior that he does then.''

Schwartz was asked if he thinks Young has played his last game as a Lion, but the coach said that kind of talk is premature.

``I think it's way too soon to tell,'' Schwartz said. ``But it's definitely going to be in his court when it comes to his actions.''

Young, a second-year receiver out of Boise State, has 33 catches for 383 yards and four touchdowns this season.

Although Young's future is uncertain, the Lions can expect to have star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in the lineup when they host Indianapolis on Sunday. The NFL said Monday that Suh wouldn't be suspended after his foot caught Houston quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin area.

Suh was on his chest after being taken down by an offensive lineman and extended his left foot to hit Schaub below the belt. Schaub went to his knees, doubled over in pain, but stayed in the game. The Texans went on to win in overtime.

It wasn't clear from replays whether Suh meant to kick Schaub, and the defensive lineman hasn't spoken publicly about the play.

``I don't think it was any big news that he wasn't going to be suspended. I thought that his play was within the natural course of the game,'' Schwartz said. ``What I saw was his head was down and away from that play. In my mind you would have to have eyes in the back of your head to be able to do it, but that game's over with.''

The Lions (4-7) have lost three straight. They moved the ball well at times without Young last week - rookie Ryan Broyles had six catches for 126 yards, giving Detroit another dangerous threat alongside Calvin Johnson. Matthew Stafford threw for 441 yards.

Broyles said he's been in touch with Young recently but didn't want to comment further on his teammate's situation.

``We've got the tools,'' Broyles said. ``We've got the quarterback and we've got the system to make plays, and we've just got to make one more.''

Schwartz, meanwhile, is still taking heat for throwing a challenge flag after a long Houston touchdown run. The play was subject to an automatic review, but because Schwartz threw his flag, he was hit with a 15-yard penalty and the review was negated - giving the Texans a TD that replays showed shouldn't have counted.

``I wish I had taken a shoe off and thrown it like that guy did to President Bush that one time,'' Schwartz joked. ``Or if I had a hat, if I wore a hat I could have thrown that ... or thrown the headset down. I mean, I've smashed headsets before - that would have been a much better solution there.''

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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.

“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”

Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall). 

That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.

MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.

MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more. 

He earned $4 million last season.

Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.

MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.

“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”

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Capitals go to the WHL again, select defenseman Alex Alexeyev with first-round pick

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Capitals go to the WHL again, select defenseman Alex Alexeyev with first-round pick

The last time the Washington Capitals had a first-round draft pick, they selected a WHL defenseman. They did not go off script on Friday.

With the last pick of the first round, selecting for the first time as defending Stanley Cup champions, the Capitals selected Alexander Alexeyev, a left-shooting, two-way defenseman from St. Petersburg.

Alexeyev, 18, certainly boasts NHL size at 6' 4", 196 pounds. He currently plays for Red Deer in the WHL, a junior league that has become a major pipeline for the Capitals. In his second season with Red Deer, he tallied 37 points in 45 games.

The NHL Central Scouting's rankings list Alexeyev as the 22nd best North American skater of the draft. TSN projects him to be a top-four, two-way defenseman.

Analyst Craig Button described Alexeyev as a "Smart, effective defenceman who moves the puck, plays with a calm and doesn't make things complicated for himself."

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