Hisashi Iwakuma cleared to resume throwing

Hisashi Iwakuma cleared to resume throwing

Hisashi Iwakuma has been sidelined for more than a month with a strained tendon in his middle finger, but the Mariners right-hander has been cleared to resume throwing after meeting with doctors. Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that Iwakuma will start slow by throwing tennis balls Friday and then hopefully advance to…

Oshie overcomes past postseason struggles with hat trick performance


Oshie overcomes past postseason struggles with hat trick performance

WASHINGTON D.C.--Over the summer, two NHL teams with little luck in the playoffs pulled of a blockbuster trade sending big name players across conferences in an attempt to change their postseason fortunes. The Washington Capitals sent Troy Brouwer, a prospect and a draft pick to St. Louis. What did they get in return? Someone who always seemed to disappear in the playoffs for them: T.J. Oshie.

Oshie continued rewriting his postseason reputation on Thursday with an overtime goal to complete a hat trick in the Capitals' 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"You always want to be the guy that's able to get the game winner, especially in overtime, the NHL playoffs, it's pretty cool," Oshie said.

The overtime goal marked the first playoff game-winning goal of Oshie's career. In fact, it is the first time Oshie has actually won a playoff game in which he scored, going 0-5 previously.

The final celebration, however, was a delayed one.

RELATED: Oshie: 'This is what the playoffs are all about'

Midway through the overtime period, Oshie carried the puck into the offensive zone and took it around the net looking for the wraparound. Goalie Matt Murray was there with the bad, but Oshie was able to tuck it underneath and just over the goal line...he thinks.

"I thought I saw it all t he way across - I don't know if I did or not - throw my hands up and look at the ref and he marked it a goal so that kind of assured me," Oshie said.

The Penguins weren't so sure and neither were the refs and the play was reviewed. Several overhead views showed nothing conclusive. In fact, it looked as if it was unlikely the puck completely crossed at any point. Another angle from the front, however, was able to show the puck underneath Murray's pad just past the goal line.

According to the explanation released by the NHL, "video review confirmed the referee's call on the ice that T.J. Oshie's shot completely crossed the Pittsburgh goal line."

The overtime goal marked Oshie's fourth goal of the playoffs, but his impact in his first postseason with Washington has been measured by more than just points. In Game 5 against Philadelphia, Oshie dropped the gloves with Brayden Schenn just 10 seconds into the contest in response to Schenn's cross check to the back of Kuznetsov's knee in Game 4.

The Caps sorely missed a true top line right wing last season. Oshie has filled that role exceptionally well.

"I think he's a good compliment with [Nicklas Backstrom] and [Alexander Ovechkin]," Barry Trotz said.

Oshie has the skill to take advantage of the room he is granted as teams compensate for Ovechkin. That was especially evident on Oshie's second goal when three Pittsburgh players keyed on Ovechkin, leaving Oshie open in the middle to send the puck through Murray's five-hole.

Considering how seamless the transition has been for Oshie this season and into the playoffs with his new team, it begs the question, why didn't this translate to more success in St. Louis?

"Just like any player that comes into a playoff situation, some guys have instant success, some guys struggle with it," Trotz said.

Oshie's not struggling anymore.

In a game that featured superstar players like Ovechkin, Backstrom, Kuznetsov, Braden Holtby, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, the player who stole the show was Oshie.

Perhaps it's time to put Oshie's past postseason reputation to rest.


Oshie: 'This is what the playoffs are all about'


Oshie: 'This is what the playoffs are all about'

Well, that was fun, wasn’t it?

If you like hockey at breakneck speed with offensive chances galore (80 shots combined), the Capitals and Penguins provided that.

If you like hard-nosed hockey along the boards and in front of the net (72 combined hits), the Caps and Pens provided that.

If you like drama, well, there was plenty of that, too, with T.J. Oshie making Penguins rookie goaltender Matt Murray feel like a human turnstile with a wraparound goal that completed his first playoff hat trick and gave him his first-ever playoff win in a game he scores a goal.

“I’m just excited we won,” Oshie said after the Caps’ wildly entertaining 4-3 win. “It’s cool to get the hat trick and score the overtime winner, but we have team goals right now, not individual ones.”

All eight teams that won Game 1 in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs went on to win their series and the Capitals are hoping to follow suit in Round 2.

For Oshie, Thursday began with a Penguins fan placing a “Let’s Go Pens” poster in front of his door and his daughter, Lyla, giving it a healthy kick.

“I actually found that on my doorstep when I went to the rink this morning, so my wife got a little clever with it when I wasn’t around,” Oshie said of her Instagram video of Lyla’s strong right kick.

Oshie continued that sentiment well into the night, scoring a game-tying, a go-ahead and a game-winning goal all in the same evening.

Several players were asked if this is what they expected in what could easily be the most entertaining series of the 2016 playoffs.

“I don’t see why it would go any different,” said Caps goalie Braden Holtby, who stopped 42 of 45 shots to improve to 5-2 in the post-season. “They’ve had success this last little stretch, playing that way, a more speed game and we’re comfortable with that.

“We’re focused on getting the puck below their goal line and going to work and grinding them out. Hopefully in a long series it’ll work in our favor.”

Alex Ovechkin failed to score in the contest but he was a force again, recording four shots, including a breakaway backhander, and a team-high seven hits.

“It’s always fun when we win those games because to be honest with you, they’re hard games,” Ovechkin said. “You have to be fresh all the time. You have to take a little bit shorter shifts. But we did all the time.”

The only player who had little involvement in the game was Caps defenseman Dmitry Orlov, who allowed Nick Bonino to get past him for a goal by Ben Lovejoy 10:40 into the second period and saw just one shift after that.

The two teams will practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington on Friday before going back at it in Game 2 on Saturday night.

Oshie can’t wait.

“Oh yeah,” he said. “The momentum shifts, the big hits, the goals, overtime, the big saves. This is what the playoffs are all about.”

Doctson on joining Redskins: 'I'm happy and ready to get to work'


Doctson on joining Redskins: 'I'm happy and ready to get to work'

The Redskins traded back one spot in the first round of the NFL Draft, then used the No. 22 pick to nab TCU’s Josh Doctson—the big wide receiver they currently lack.

Doctson, who is listed at 6-foot-2, 202 pounds, hauled in 79 passes for 1,326 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior. He finished his TCU career with the school record for receiving yards (2,785) and receiving touchdowns (29), despite beginning his career at Wyoming.

“My game starts with the most dominant trait a receiver should have, and that’s catching the football,” Doctson said via conference call from Chicago. “I want to make sure I catch the football in all situations if the quarterback decides to throw it to me and trusts me to catch it. I want to make sure that I have all that trust.”

Doctson is the first wide receiver to be drafted by the Redskins in the first round since Rod Gardner in 2001. The Redskins entered the draft with the No. 21 overall selection, but traded it to the Texans for the No. 22 pick and a sixth rounder in 2017. Houston selected Notre Dame wide receiver Will Fuller with the 21st pick.

Doctson joins a Redskins' receiving corps that includes Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Jamison Crowder, Andre Roberts and Rashad Ross. Doctson is two inches taller Garcon, four inches taller than Jackson and six inches taller than Crowder.

“Josh was obviously a very productive receiver at TCU and made a lot of big plays in his career,” Coach Jay Gruden said. “He’s got height. He’s got the mad leaping skills, which are very appealing in the red zone. And he’s another guy who is going to bring great athleticism to this offense, and we’re excited to have him.”  

Gruden added: “Josh was clearly the best on the board at that time for us.”

Gruden also said he expects Doctson to contribute immediately.

“You check all the boxes with him, as far as person [and] off the field,” he said. “He’s got great work ethic, too. We did our due diligence on that. So you bring in a receiver with the great skill set that he has, and a guy that’s willing to get better and learn and work. I anticipate him challenging for a lot of balls in this offense.”

Doctson expected to be drafted in the mid-to-late first round. He did not, however, expect to end up in Washington. But he’s glad he did.

“I wasn’t expecting it all,” Doctson said. “I met with them one time—and it was an informal interview at the combine. I didn’t really think they were interested in me at all. Which is why I’m saying it was so sudden and really abrupt, being picked by the Redskins. But, hey, I’m happy and ready to get to work.”