OWINGS MILLS - One of the NFL’s best pass rushers will face the Ravens on Sunday, and the left side of their offensive line is banged up.
Both left tackle Ronnie Stanley (foot) and left guard Alex Lewis (concussion) missed Thursday’s practice, leaving their availability for Sunday’s game against the Raiders in doubt. Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack who had 15 sacks last season, has established himself as premier pass rusher during his young career. Mack does not have a sack yet this season, but he is capable of getting them in bunches. If neither Stanley nor Lewis can go on Sunday, the Ravens’ offensive line could be particularly vulnerable to a Mack attack.
James Hurst would likely start in place of Stanley at left tackle, with either Ryan Jensen or John Urschel starting at left guard if Lewis doesn’t play. Jensen took Moore’s place at left guard in Week 3 after Lewis left the game with his concussion.
The Raiders (2-1) could look to bring pressure on Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco’s blindside if they sense the offensive line is vulnerable. During a conference call Wednesday, Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said Mack was still playing at a high level, despite the absence of sacks.
“He’s a good football player, doing a nice job,” Del Rio said. “I think Khalil, as we go through the year, will do what Khalil does, which is disrupt offenses.”
The Ravens hope Mack won’t disrupt them on Sunday.
The Capitals turned a lot of heads in 2015 when they selected Russian goalie Ilya Samsonov with their first-round pick.
With Braden Holtby in tow, taking a goalie seemed like a risky move. Since then, however Samsonov has certainly justified the team's faith in him.
There's just one question: When will he come to North America?
Samsonov is currently under contract with his KHL team, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, until 2018, but it appears he plans to leave once that contract is up.
Ilya Samsonov announces that he will remain in #KHL until 2018.— Aivis Kalniņš (@A_Kalnins) September 29, 2016
The fact that he will remain in the KHL is not noteworthy given the agreement between the NHL and KHL in which both leagues have agreed to respect the other's contracts.
He was not expected to leave before 2018. The news here is that this seems to suggest he will be leaving once that contract is up.
After getting drafted by the Caps in 2010, Evgeny Kuznetsov signed a new two-year deal with his KHL team in 2012 thus delaying his NHL debut.
While he ultimately did come to Washington when that contract expired, it highlighted the risk teams take when drafting Russian players. Ultimately, you don't know when they are going to leave the KHL.
For now it appears Samsonov is on track to come to North America in 2018, but a lot can change between now and then.