Moving swiftly to give Alex Ovechkin help at the defensive end while raiding a rival, new Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan signed Pittsburgh Penguins free agents Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik on Tuesday to deals totalling more than $65 million. . The 27-year-old Niskanen, the more offensive-minded of the pair of defencemen joining the Capitals, got a $40.25 million, seven-year contract. "Its a very big commitment from Washington. Thats no small thing. Youre talking a seven-year commitment for a very substantial amount of money," said Niskanen, who got married Saturday. "Im excited for that challenge." The 33-year-old Orpik, more of a stay-at-home blueliner who had spent his entire career with the Penguins, was given a $27.5 million, five-year package. "Ive got to be honest: Up until this year, I never really envisioned myself leaving Pittsburgh. As everyone knows, theres been a lot of changes there. It really was a perfect time," Orpik said. "The past year, there was such strong expectations for the team, both internally and externally, and I think we had a really tough time handling those expectations." The Capitals got off to a fast start on the first day of NHL free agency, also adding Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Justin Peters on a $1.9 million, two-year deal, while re-signing centre Michael Latta to a $1.15 million, two-year contract. Last season, three-time NHL MVP Ovechkin and the Capitals missed the playoffs for the first time in seven years, leading ownership to make changes. George McPhees contract was not renewed after he spent 17 seasons as the teams GM, while Adam Oates was fired with a year left on his three-season deal. MacLellan was promoted from assistant general manager to replace McPhee, while Barry Trotz was hired as the new coach. Washington also has added assistant coach Todd Reirden, who was hired by the Capitals after the Penguins fired him last week. "Hes been huge," Niskanen said. "Todd helps young defencemen get better." And in one more Penguins-to-Capitals transaction Tuesday, Washington signed right wing Chris Conner to a one-year, two-way contract. He has 22 goals and 28 assists in 178 NHL games, including 19 with Pittsburgh last season. As for all those people moving from Pittsburgh — which also recently changed its GM and coach — to Washington, Niskanen said: "It would seem odd, wouldnt it? But its professional sports. ... If the Caps call, youve got to listen." Speaking about the Capitals, Orpik said: "Ive played against that group enough to know what the potential of that group can be. ... I think they needed some direction, and I think Barry will provide that." Niskanen, 27, led NHL defencemen with a plus-33 rating last season, when he set career highs with 10 goals and 36 assists. The 6-foot, 209-pound defenceman has 35 goals, 132 assists and 266 penalty minutes in 491 career NHL games for Pittsburgh and Dallas. The 6-foot-2, 219-pound Orpik has 13 goals, 119 assists and 734 penalty minutes in 703 career games. He is a two-time U.S. Olympian and was an alternate captain for the Penguins since 2008. The 27-year-old Peters went 7-9-4 with a 2.50 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage for the Carolina Hurricanes last season. "When the head coach on the team looks you in the eye and tell you he wants you to be there, that goes a long way," Peters said. He said that he wasnt told how hell be used with the Capitals — strictly as a No. 2 behind Braden Holtby, or splitting time in the top goalie spot — but added that he thinks it will "work itself out." ___ AP Sports Writer Joseph White contributed to this report. . Raonic, the mens No. 8 seed from Thornhill, Ont., needed more than three hours to overcome Frenchman Gilles Simon 4-6, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 and become the first Canadian man into the fourth round at Roland Garros. . Harrison Barnes had 15 points and Reggie Bullock scored 11 for the Tar Heels (17-3, 4-1 ACC), who took the court for the first time without starter Dexter Strickland. The junior guard tore his right ACL last Thursday at Virginia Tech and will miss the rest of the season.TORONTO -- Marcus Stroman was nearly unhittable, and his Blue Jays teammates couldnt stop hitting. Stroman gave up one hit over seven shutout innings as Torontos bats pounded Boston Red Sox pitching on the way to a 8-0 victory Thursday afternoon at Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays took three of four games against the Red Sox to move within 2 1/2 games of the American League East-leading Baltimore Orioles. Like fellow prospect Aaron Sanchez did over two shutout innings Wednesday night, Stroman (6-2) put on a show that was not only good for an important victory in a division race but tangible evidence of a strong future. The right-hander tamed a dangerous Red Sox lineup with six strikeouts while not giving up a hit until the seventh inning. At the plate, the Blue Jays kept the good times rolling. Since getting blown out by Boston 14-1 Monday in the series opener, theyve scored 20 runs. First baseman Juan Francisco led the onslaught Thursday, going 3-for-4 with four RBIs and three runs scored. Francisco finished a double short of being the third player in franchise history to hit for the cycle. Left fielder Melky Cabrera went 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Runs came early and often for the Blue Jays (54-49) against Boston starter Rubby De La Rosa (3-3), whose earned-run average rose from 2.64 to 3.54 with his rough outing that included giving up six earned runs on nine hits in four-plus innings. A couple of walks and a single in the first inning led to Torontos first run when catcher Christian Vazquez was charged with a passed ball that Cabrera scored on. Francisco was credited with a triple to lead off the second, though Red Sox centre fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. got to the ball and couldnt makke the catch. . Either way, it spelled more doom for Boston (47-55), as Ryan Goins drove in Francisco with an RBI double and scored on one by Cabrera to make it 3-0. After a leadoff single in the third by catcher Dioner Navarro, Francisco blew the game wide open with a two-run home run, his 15th of the season. Hitting Jose Bautista and surrendering singles to Navarro and Johnson marked the end of the day for De La Rosa. Reliever Burke Badenhop gave up Franciscos two-run double that gave the Blue Jays a seven-run lead. All the while, Stroman went about his work with efficiency. The 23-year-old handed out three walks but was otherwise flawless for the first six innings and 91 pitches he threw. Leading off the seventh, Shane Victorino broke up the no-hit bid with a bloop single that just dropped into centre field in front of Anthony Gose. The sellout crowd of 46,683 then saluted Stroman with a nice ovation. Stromans magical day wasnt over, as he managed to get David Ortiz -- who tormented the Blue Jays all week -- to fly out before inducing an inning-ending double play out of Mike Napoli. The rookie finished with 66 strikes on 97 pitches and his sixth career major league victory. The Blue Jays tacked on another run in the eighth as Cabrera doubled to drive in Jose Reyes and was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple. Notes -- Ortiz appeared to tweak his back on a swing in the ninth and left the game. ... The Blue Jays begin a three-game series Friday at the New York Yankees. ... By starting at second base, Bostons Brock Holt became the first player in franchise history to start a game at every position except pitcher and catcher in a season. ' ' '
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05 déc. 2019
Capitals general manager
Capitals general manager