Washington Capitals

Loyola switching leagues

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Loyola switching leagues

By Ben Standig
CSNbaltimore.com

The Loyola Greyhounds made a run to the NCAA Tournament this past season as mens basketball champions of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The mens lacrosse team took it a few steps further, winning the national championship.

After the upcoming season, any postseason trips or titles will come under a different conference banner. More specifically, as a member of the Patriot League.

The Greyhounds are heading to the Patriot League starting July 1, 2013 for the 2013-14 academic year, the league announced this week.

Loyola becomes the 10th member of the conference, formed for the 1990-91 season, which includes Navy, Army and American University. Boston University will also become a member for the 2013-14 campaign.

Mens basketball and lacrosse will be among 17 Loyola teams competing in the Patriot League including women's basketball, men and women's cross country, men's golf, women's lacrosse, women's rowing, men and women's soccer, men and women's swimming and diving, men and women's tennis, women's indoor and outdoor track and field and women's volleyball.

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Ovechkin's rival, countryman still hoping 'Great Eight' wins Stanley Cup

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Ovechkin's rival, countryman still hoping 'Great Eight' wins Stanley Cup

Alex Ovechkin has already cemented himself as one of the greatest goal-scorers in the history of hockey. But what continues to prevent him from really joining the discussion of being one of the three to five greatest players in NHL history is a lack opf a Stanley Cup victory.

After all, Ovechkin and the Capitals have done nearly everything there is to do but win a Stanley Cup.

But Capitals fans are not the only ones hoping that the championship feat happens before Ovechkin hangs up his skates.

Evgeni Malkin, Ovechkin's fellow countryman and three-time Stanley Cup champion forward for the Pittsburgh Penguins, is one of the many still hoping to see the Capitals' superstar hoist Lord Stanley's Cup.

RELATED: What can we expect from Ovechkin going forward

"I was a bit luckier than (Ovechkin), that’s why I won those cups,” Malkin told the Sports-Express' Igor Eronko which visiting Moscow with the Stanley Cup, the first time the top prize in hockey has made its way to Russia's capital city. 

“He has everything ahead of him. I wish him to win the cup.”

The Capitals had a series of offseason changes that saw the departures of Marcus Johansson, Justin Williams, Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk. But with Ovechkin still possessing otherworldly scoring prowess, a Vezina Trophy winner in Braden Holtby, superstar table-setter Nicklas Backstrom, scoring dynamo T.J. Oshie and a litany of young stars like Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky, the window for a Stanley Cup is not closed yet.

When it does eventually close, lets hope Malkin, and the entire Capitals' fan base get to watch Ovechkin celebrate a Stanley Cup title. 

RELATED: Ranking the 10 best Capitals players of all time

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Redskins' Gruden will readjust to calling plays by going off script

Redskins' Gruden will readjust to calling plays by going off script

RICHMOND—The Redskins offense is dealing with some challenges on the field. Their top two wide receivers from last year left as free agents and replacements Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson have little game experience with quarterback Kirk Cousins. Tight end Jordan Reed (toe) was a surprise entry on the PUP list. Running back Rob Kelley needs to prepare to get ready to carry the load for 16 games.

There is one other change the team must deal with. Sean McVay, the team’s offensive coordinator, left in January to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. He had been calling the plays for the past two years. That duty will now fall on head coach Jay Gruden.

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

Play calling is not new to Gruden. He did it from 2011-2013 for the Bengals when he was the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati. Gruden also made the play calls in 2014, his first season as the Redskins head coach.

Still, he wants to make sure that he’s ready to retake the play caller’s headset. The method he will use is to throw away the script.

“I think early on we’re going to have scripted practices, and once we get going, get our main core of plays in there, I think we’ll have a lot of unscripted practices where I can call plays,” he said. “So I think that’s the most important thing, the unscripted practice. Whether it’s two -minute, whether it’s drives down the field, whether it’s third downs, all that good stuff, do a lot of unscripted work, red zone and go from there, but I feel pretty comfortable already.”

That certainly makes sense. Games are not scripted and the successful play callers who can adjust to the ebb and flow of the game. You can’t duplicate the dynamic but you can come close in 11 on 11 work on the practice field.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

Another key to making this work will be trusting his defensive and special teams coaches. If Gruden can’t delegate to them he will be getting pulled in too many directions on game days.

“How well I handle that will be how successful I will probably be as a coordinator calling plays and as a coach,” he said. “I feel good about the staff that I have around me. Coach [Greg] Manusky and Jim Tomsula and Torrian Gray on the defensive side of the ball, I don’t think I have to worry so much about that, Ben Kotwica, Bret Munsey on the special teams. The big thing is I have got to be involved in the football game, make sure I’m ready for the red flag tosses and all that good stuff, but for the most part I have confidence in the defense and special team coaches and players.”

We will see how well it works out. As a rookie coach he occasionally seemed to be overwhelmed by all that he had piled on his plate (the situation was complicated by his curious decision not to hire a quarterbacks coach). But now, with three years under his belt and an exponentially better understanding of what is involved in coaching an NFL game, there should be more confidence that he can handle it.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.