From Comcast SportsNetCHICAGO (AP) -- Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler acknowledged Tuesday that he was wrong to shove teammate J'Marcus Webb on the sideline during the loss at Green Bay last week.He has no second thoughts about yelling at him, however."I probably shouldn't have bumped him, I'll go with that," Cutler told WMVP-AM in Chicago. "As far as me yelling at him and trying to get him going in the game, I don't regret that. I shouldn't have bumped him, I'll stick to that."Cutler drew widespread attention for berating and bumping Webb, the starting left tackle, on the sideline and for making some pointed postgame comments after the 23-10 loss to the Packers on Thursday. National analysts such as Terry Bradshaw and Bill Cowher spoke out, and so did Bears defensive back D.J. Moore this week, saying the quarterback was wrong to go after Webb like that.Cutler looked great in a season-opening blowout over Indianapolis, finding new receiver Brandon Marshall often, but it was a different story last week. He threw four interceptions and got sacked seven times, an all-too-familiar sight for a quarterback who took a beating the previous two years under former offensive coordinator Mike Martz. His tirade against Webb and lack of remorse he showed in the postgame interview brought back questions about his leadership and demeanor.As for why the outburst happened at that particular moment, Cutler wasn't sure."I can't put a definite reason why it happened," he said. "It happened. It's an emotional game. I put a lot into playing quarterback, and I take it seriously. It's just one of the things that happened during the game. Since then, we've talked about it, and it's really behind us."Cutler discussed the incident "with the powers that be" and with the linemen individually. Did he apologize to Webb?"That's between me and J'Marcus," Cutler said. "We've talked. It's in the past. We're moving on. He's our left tackle. He's my left tackle, and I expect him each and every week to play at a certain level. And I think he expects himself to play that way, too."Webb will certainly have to do better, considering Clay Matthews went off for 312 sacks, but he wasn't the only Bears player who had problems. Marshall had just two catches and dropped a potential touchdown pass, yet Cutler consoled him after that.So why didn't Webb get similar treatment?"Everyone's different," Cutler said. "Everyone reacts differently. I've known Brandon for a long time. I've played a lot of football with Brandon (in Denver). I know what Brandon's capable of at a high level, and I know no one was more disappointed in that stadium or as a Bears fan than Brandon Marshall for dropping that touchdown. I know that genuinely in my heart."He also said the offense as a whole needs to improve, including himself. But if there are any lingering issues surrounding the incident, Cutler doesn't see any."We went out there (for practice on Monday), started preparing for St. Louis, had a crisp practice, put in some good stuff," he said. "I think in our building internally, we kind of circle the wagons. I don't care if you win, you lose, there's going to be criticism. There's always going to be something that someone's picking on, someone's trying to make a story out of."He was asked if he can lead the Bears. To that, Cutler said, "Without a doubt. Without a doubt."He was also asked about Moore's comments."He's entitled to his opinion and whatever he wants to say is up to him," Cutler said.Cutler disputed the idea that he lost his composure against the Packers, saying, mistakes by him and other players derailed the Bears. He said he knew what he was doing "as we were calling plays, and everything was going smoothly."In fact, he insisted he wasn't rattled."I'm actually proud of that game," he said. "I thought I fought. I thought I competed hard, made a few errant throws. But whenever we got what we were looking for, I put the ball on the money for the most part."
The schedule makers did the Capitals no favors in their return from the bye week. They returned with a road game at 2 p.m. on Saturday in Detroit, then had to play the New York Rangers on Sunday at 12:30 p.m., less than 24 hours after the game against the Red Wings started.
That would have been tough at any point in the season. Having that back-to-back coming out of the bye week was a raw deal.
The record across the NHL for teams returning from the bye is 3-12-4. Many may argue this is too small a sample size to draw any conclusions from and that's probably true. Claiming every time a team loses out of the bye that it's because they have been off for a week is an easy excuse. Every team has to play the schedule it's given. Nashville had a similar challenge to Washington, playing a back-to-back out of the weekend against Minnesota and Columbus with both games on the road. The Predators, however, managed a win in the second game.
But still, the NHL needs to be smarter with how it schedules after the bye. No team should have to play a back-to-back in their first two games back, period. If that record continues to get worse, then the leauge will have to adjust to ensure teams coming out of the bye play each other. Otherwise they are giving a competitive advantage to the opponent and to any team that ends up with multiple games against teams in their first game back.
You can't blame the schedule for Washington walking away from this weekend with only one point. That's on them. But, you also can't argue that the schedule put them at a disadvantage for Sunday's game when they played a Rangers team that had been off since Thursday in New York less than 24 hours after the puck dropped in Detroit.
NEW YORK—Philipp Grubauer didn’t get the ‘W’ Sunday at Madison Square Garden, but his scintillating 28-save performance against the Rangers still managed to bolster the backup’s standing as the NHL’s best No. 2 netminder.
Grubauer, in fact, now leads the league in quality start percentage (.786), having posted 11 quality starts in 14 opportunities. The guy right behind him? Wild starter and Vezina Trophy favorite Devan Dubnyk, who boasts a .756 quality start percentage in 45 opportunities.
“Grubi has got a lot of the tougher starts, the back-to-backs, and he’s accepted that and he’s come out and played well,” Coach Barry Trotz said.
Indeed, Grubauer was called upon early and often in Sunday’s game as he stopped 18 of the Rangers’ 19 first period shots. It was the second game of a back-to-back set for the Caps, and it included a quick turnaround and no morning skate.
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Trotz acknowledged that the Caps’ post-bye week schedule factored into the goalie rotation over the weekend. The team practiced on Friday, then hit the road for back-to-back matinees in Detroit and New York. That meant no morning skate in either city. And because Holtby, who is also having a strong season, prefers to face shots during the morning skate prior to a start, the staff decided to tap him against the Red Wings since the starter against the Rangers would go two days without the benefit of a morning skate.
Which, of course, is the sort of thing that happens to backups.
“We thought [Grubauer’s] mindset would be much better to handle that than Braden, who is used to being in there all the time,” Trotz explained. “[Grubauer] was very accepting of that. He’s played fantastic for us this year.”
Grubauer said the Caps’ slow start against the Rangers actually helped him get back into the groove following six days off and the team’s challenging weekend schedule.
“It was good to get into the game, but that’s not the way we want to start,” he said. “You’ve got to find your rhythm again and it helped to get a couple of [quality] shots early.”
Trotz said the game could have been “5-0 in the first period, not 1-0” without Grubauer. And his players agreed.
“Grubi was outstanding, in the first especially,” defenseman Matt Niskanen said.
Nicklas Backstrom added: “Grubi kept us in there in the first period. He kept us in the game there. We were lucky we were only down a goal. It could have been more, but he made some huge saves.”
Performances such as that one have helped Grubauer rack up some outstanding numbers. Overall, the 25-year-old German is third in both save percentage (.932) and goals against average (1.98) among goalies with at least 15 appearances. In addition, he’s got three shutouts, including two in his last six starts.
It also seems likely that Grubauer will hear his number called frequently down the stretch with five sets of back-to-backs remaining. With 14 starts already this season, he just two behind the career-high he established last year.
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