“Theo Epstein is trying to save the world again”

“Theo Epstein is trying to save the world again”

Over at The Big Read, Joe Posnanski talks to Theo Epstein about The Cubs Way and how, once again, he is trying to save a franchise which is more famous for its futility than its glory. There is a lot of good stuff in here, as it pretty much covers Epstein’s entire career. Just one…

Ravens tried trading up for Jalen Ramsey, Cowboys said no

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Ravens tried trading up for Jalen Ramsey, Cowboys said no

Ronnie Stanley was the Ravens’ choice, but they were chasing Jalen Ramsey.

The Ravens tried trading up to No. 4 with the Cowboys in Round 1 to take defensive back Jalen Ramsey of Florida St., an NFL source said, confirming an ESPN report. In return, the Ravens were offering the sixth pick and one of their fourth-round picks.

However, the Cowboys had trepidation about trading down to No. 6, afraid that another team might trade up to No. 5 and take running back Ezekiel Elliott. So the Cowboys stayed put at No. 4 and took Elliott, the Jaguars took Ramsey at No. 5, while the Ravens opted for Stanley at No. 6 over Oregon defensive end DeForest Bucker, who the 49ers took at No. 7.

Asked whether he had conversations about moving up in Round 1, Ravens general manger Ozzie Newsome said, “We had some conversation in the room, and I would say we talked to a team.”

Ramsey’s ability to play both safety and corner, along with his physicality, could have dramatically changed the look of the Ravens’ secondary. But getting Ramsey was always going to be difficult for the Ravens.

With that door now closed, it would not be surprising to see the Ravens take a cornerback with their early second-round pick (No. 36 overall) Friday night.

Mackensie Alexander of Clemson, Kendall Fuller of Virginia Tech, Cyrus Jones of Alabama, and Xavien Howard of Baylor are among top corners still on the board.

Oshie overcomes past postseason struggles with hat trick performance

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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.

MORE CAPITALS: CAPS TAKE GAME 1 BEHIND T.J. OSHIE'S HAT TRICK, OT GAME-WINNER

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

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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.”