<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Sports]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Sun, 21 Dec 2014 10:59:47 -0500 Sun, 21 Dec 2014 10:59:47 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Caps Assign Burakovsky to AHL]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 08:40:29 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/459732008.jpg

The Washington Capitals assigned rookie forward Andre Burakovsky to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League on Friday.

Burakovsky, Washington's 2013 first-round draft pick, parlayed an impressive development camp, rookie camp, training camp and preseason into an opening-night roster spot. His inclusion was made even more noteworthy by his successful transition to center, an organizational experiment implemented this summer.

After a torrid start that saw him record eight points in his first nine games, Burakovsky has significantly cooled. The 19-year-old, despite still leading the Capitals with 2.07 even-strength points per 60 minutes, has five points in 17 November and December games. Burakovsky has been a healthy scratch in five of Washington's past eight games, his ice time plummeting to as low as 5:37 and mostly hovering around 10 minutes. In the three games he has played in, Burakovsky has not been trusted in late-game situations, taking six total third-period shifts

Coach Barry Trotz had been adamant about Burakovsky working through the rough patch in his development with the Capitals, recently balking at the idea of loaning him to Sweden for the World Junior Championships later this month. Thursday, however, Trotz vocalized potentially sending Burakovsky to the minors for the first time this season. 

“If he’s not playing in the next games here on a fairly regular basis,” Trotz told reporters after Washington's morning skate in Columbus, "then I’m going to have him go to Hershey for a bit and play lots of minutes.”

Burakovsky will play for the Bears on Friday against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Nats Park Transforms for Winter Classic Rink]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 19:41:49 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/460641198.jpg News4's Dianna Russini reports on the building stages of the upcoming Jan. 1 Winter Classic at Nats Park.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Wizards Play Santa for Five Families]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:21:30 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000008875948_1200x675_374549571781.jpg The Washington Wizards delivered presents to five families Wednesday. News4's Dianna Russini reports.]]> <![CDATA[U.S. to Bid for 2024 Olympics]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 04:15:47 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/TLMD-aros-olimpicos-juegos-olimpicos-olympic-rings-getty-images-470969827.jpg

The U.S. Olympic Committee has decided to bid for the 2024 Olympics, hoping to bring the Summer Games back to America after a 28-year absence.

The USOC board heard presentations from four candidate cities Tuesday — Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington — and voted to enter a field that already includes Rome and either Hamburg or Berlin, with Paris likely to join.

A decision on which city the U.S. will put forward for a bid is expected next month.

The United States hasn't hosted a Summer Games since the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

The country's last two tries have been flops, with New York (2012) and Chicago (2016) each finishing fourth in voting. The USOC chose not to bid for the 2020 Games, which will take place in Tokyo.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McCoy's Season Over, Placed on IR]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 12:47:21 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/460462774.jpg

The Redskins' season is virtually and mercifully almost over, but quarterback Colt McCoy's season ended Tuesday when he was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a neck injury.

Robert Griffin III will start Saturday against the Eagles and presumably in the season finale against the Cowboys barring injury or yet another substantial collapse in his play.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA["D.C. 2024" Makes Its Case to Host Summer Games]]> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 21:22:00 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/TLMD-aros-olimpicos-juegos-olimpicos-olympic-rings-getty-images-470969827.jpg

The D.C. 2024 Olympics committee made its bid to the U.S. Olympic Committee to be named the American candidate to host the Summer Games Tuesday.

D.C. Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser joined Washington 2024 Chairman and CEO Russ Ramsey, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Capitals and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, and local Olympian Katie Ledecky in California for the presentation.

"In D.C., when we want something, we go for it, and I am proud of the effort our team put forward today," Bowser said in a statement.

She says the proposal has the potential to speed up development in Wards 7 and 8.

Washington, D.C., is among four finalists for a possible U.S. bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, competing against Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The U.S. Olympic Committee officially announced the four cities as potential hosts over the summer. Of the four, L.A. is the only one to have hosted previously, in 1932 and 1984.

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments has endorsed the district's 2024 bid, calling the Olympics a "once-in-a-generation opportunity."

D.C. 2024 argues that D.C., Maryland and Virginia are more than equipped to handle the event. A section on its website titled "Why Washington" says the area has 129,000 hotel rooms, more than 136 million square feet of retail space and the most walkable city in the U.S.

The group has also suggested using existing stadiums in the region, and building out the region's existing transportation and housing options.

DC 2024 that says hosting the Olympics would cost the region $4 billion to $6 billion, but it claims that with proper planning, the economic impact could be greater than the cost.

”Should the U.S. Olympic Committee select Washington, D.C., I am committed to working with regional leaders to develop a plan that will benefit residents and leave a positive, lasting impact on our city," Bowser said.

The USOC board voted Tuesday to enter one of its four finalists into a field that includes Rome and either Hamburg or Berlin with Paris likely to join. A decision on which city the U.S. will put forward for a bid is expected next month.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rendering of Braves Stadium Depicts Loss to Nationals]]> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 10:12:24 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/183*120/B477oD1IcAAJ_Yl.jpg

The Atlanta Braves are opening a new stadium, scheduled to be ready for the 2017 season.

They recently released an updated rendering of SunTrust Park, which features them losing to the Nationals. 

The Nationals lost six of their nine games at Turner Field last season, for what it's worth. 

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

Photo Credit: Braves]]>
<![CDATA[Sources: Gruden to Return Next Season]]> Mon, 15 Dec 2014 21:54:26 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/192*120/web-usa-desean-jackson-jay-gruden-washington-redskins-nfl.jpg

Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden will return for a second season, sources told News4's Dianna Russini.

Five quarterback changes and a 3-11 record after six straight losses led to speculation about Gruden's future.

The first-year coach signed a five-year guaranteed deal in January after three years as the offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Gruden is the eighth head coach under owner Daniel Snyder. None lasted more than four years or earned a winning record in their first season.

<![CDATA[Cooley Report: Quarterback Musical Chairs]]> Mon, 15 Dec 2014 18:14:48 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000008838745_1200x675_372983363896.jpg Robert Griffin III has a lot to gain from playing the last games of the season.]]> <![CDATA[Robert Griffin III to Start Against Eagles]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 12:21:40 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/460467062.jpg

Robert Griffin III will start at quarterback for the Redskins Saturday against the Eagles, coach Jay Gruden announced.

"This is Robert's team right now," Gruden told reporters Monday. "From there, we'll take it one game at a time and make our judgments and conclusions after that."

Griffin replaces Colt McCoy, who aggravated a neck injury on the opening series against the Giants Sunday. Griffin went on to complete 18-of-27 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown.

This is the Redskins' fifth quarterback change of the season.

"It's not what you want," Gruden said. "You want somebody to take the position and play and have success, obviously. I have nothing against all three. I think all three quarterbacks have a good future. I just want somebody to take the position and run with it, and hopefully we'll see something like that this week with Robert."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Nats, Harper Agree to Deal: Report]]> Mon, 15 Dec 2014 09:37:22 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/456820488.jpg

The Washington Nationals and slugger Bryce Harper have agreed to a two-year deal, avoiding what would have likely been a fierce arbitration hearing, according to several reports.

A bit of background from The Washington Post on the disagreement that was reportedly settled:

Harper and the Nationals had been at odds over how his salary would be determined because of a rare dispute over the contract he signed as a first-round draft pick in 2010. If the sides had not settled, the Nationals and their most recognizable player would have engaged in a potentially contentious hearing Tuesday.

Harper and his agent, Scott Boras, believed Harper had the right to opt out of his prescribed 2015 salary ($1.5 million) and into baseball’s lucrative arbitration system. The Nationals contended his contract did not include the ability to opt out because it had never been included in the deal,

The two-time All-Star and 2012 National League Rookie of the Year will be eligible for free agency after the 2018 season.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kobe Bryant Surpasses Jordan]]> Mon, 15 Dec 2014 05:53:06 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/212*120/Kobe-Bryant-passes-Jordan-points_12-14-14.jpg

On Sunday evening in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Kobe Bryant further cemented his place in basketball lore by becoming the third greatest scorer in NBA history.

Bryant passed Michael Jordan's total of 32,292 points in the first half of Sunday's game at Target Center. Only needing nine points on the day, most expected Bryant would surpass the required total before halftime, and Bryant did not disappoint.

Though Bryant missed his first three shots and the Minnesota Timberwolves were consistently putting a hard double team on the Lakers' star, the 19-year veteran began to slowly solve the defensive riddle.

After eight scoreless minutes on Sunday, Bryant's first two points on the night came from the foul line. By the time the first quarter ended, Bryant had four points on five shots, but he did not appear to be in any particular hurry to pass no. 23 on the all-time scoring list.

Instead, Bryant was happy to chaperon the Lakers to a three point lead after one quarter. In the second quarter, Bryant would return from his rest and immediately launch a three-pointer. Bryant took the ball on a turnaround jump shot to pass Jordan, but the ball went in and out. On the next possession, Bryant would head to the free throw line and sink two free throws.

Bryant moved to third all-time on the NBA scoring list, and Jordan dropped to fourth.

The game was momentarily halted as Bryant received hugs and congratulations from his teammates. The Timberwolves' PA announcer congratulated the 36-year-old and the fans in attendance applauded in appreciation. For a night, Minnesota felt like the home of the Lakers again.

With Jordan out of the way, Bryant is still a long way behind Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Malone's total of 36,928 points and Abdul-Jabbar's total of 38,387 points would likely require Bryant to play past the summer of 2016, when Bryant's current contract is set to retire.

On Sunday in Minneapolis, no. 24 passed no. 23 on the all-time scoring list, as Bryant further solidified his case for being the greatest Laker of all time in the city where the Lakers were born.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Best of NFL: Week 15]]> Sun, 14 Dec 2014 23:22:57 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/460466000.jpg Don't miss the most dramatic images from the fifteenth week of the 2014 NFL season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Eagles' McCoy on Playing Sunday Night]]> Sun, 14 Dec 2014 15:12:02 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP383450712423.jpg Philadelphia Eagles' star running back, LeSean McCoy, ran for 159 yards and a touchdown in a convincing win against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. McCoy looks to continue that trend against the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football, where he always seems to come though for the Eagles.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Caps Experience Vintage Night At Verizon]]> Sun, 14 Dec 2014 11:56:48 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/4604317981.jpg

As the Washington Capitals transformed into a regular-season powerhouse and Stanley Cup contender several seasons ago, Verizon Center naturally paralled that evolution.

Once a haven for opposing fans, the arena overflowed with red-clad, cacophonous supporters, providing the Capitals with one of the NHL'a most pronounced home-ice advantages. Only the San Jose Sharks could boast the same success between the 2008-09 and 2011-12 seasons, matching the Capitals' 110 wins in 164 home games. 

Lately though, the Capitals had given their fans very little to cheer about. Five wins in 14 games prior to Washington's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday, the team's worst start at Verizon Center in seven years, produced little excitement. The silence of indifference was often met by frustrated sighs of resignation, sounds that had become more distinctive than the wail of the Capitals' goal horn.

Yet there was a throwback feel Saturday. The Capitals, in a scoreless tie with the Lightning midway through the second period, were forced to kill a two-minute two-man disadvantage. Lightning forward Ryan Callahan, hugging the left post, poked at a rebound that skittered toward the goal line, inches away from siphoning the energy out of the building. Braden Holtby contorted himself, scooping the puck with his stick blade and quickly freezing it.

For the first time this season, Verizon Center truly erupted. "Holt-by" chants were followed by thunderous roars with each successful clear. Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green charged out of the penalty box. The Horn Guy trumpeted his trademark cadence, the deafening "Let's Go Caps!" call-and-response functioning as fuel at ice level. 

"People sometimes [don’t] realize how much energy they can give us, but we’ve got to give them something to get excited [about]," coach Barry Trotz said. "If it’s a great hockey game and we need a boost, we’ll take any energy they can give us.

"It was loud. It was loud and it was fun. I think they recognized the commitment and the detail and the hard work of those guys at that critical moment in the game and we thank them for that because to tell you what, after that [the five-on-three penalty kill], those guys were pretty gassed and they can feed off that energy.”

With momentum firmly seized, Nicklas Backstrom flung a backhand past Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop less than two minutes later, the first of his three goals in a 4-2 victory. Of course, it wouldn't have been a Capitals game without cardiac-arrest-inducing anxiety; Tyler Johnson and Matt Carle scored twice in the final five minutes to give Tampa Bay an unexpected opportunity to tie the game. 

Eric Fehr relieved the mounting tension with an empty-netter from just inside the red line with 39 seconds left. The crowd exhaled and cheered once more, a vintage night complete. 

"The energy was great," defenseman Nate Schmidt said. "When you have that kind of energy in a game, it makes a big difference. It gets everybody into it. The fans into it, us into it."

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

Photo Credit: NHLI via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gr8 Wish for Little Girl]]> Sat, 13 Dec 2014 10:36:12 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000008821074_1200x675_371737667612.jpg Caps forward Alex Ovechkin made one little girl's dream come true.]]> <![CDATA[Washington Capitals Help Grant 8-Year-Old's Wishes]]> Fri, 12 Dec 2014 20:41:31 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000008817956_1200x675_371541059716.jpg This morning the Washington Capitals helped an 8-year-old girl have her wishes come true on the ice.]]> <![CDATA[Wilson's Ability to Agitate Assists Caps]]> Sat, 13 Dec 2014 08:46:53 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/460336586.jpg

Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson glided toward the goalmouth midway through the second period Thursday, adhering to the net-front directive of the coaching staff. There he met Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski, who proceeded to snap his stick across Wilson's face, the left side of which still felt sore the next morning.

That lingering discomfort stung a little less knowing that it gave the Capitals an opportunity to win. Wilson resisted the urge to retaliate and drew two penalties on the play as a result, handing Washington's second-ranked power play four minutes with the score tied 1-1.

"Last night, he knew we were running into a goaltender that was keeping them in the game and he knew that our power play's been pretty good all year, that that would give us an advantage," coach Barry Trotz said of the Capitals' 3-2 overtime loss. "He was thinking about the team over himself. Trust me, I tell him, 'Just take a number and there will be a time and a place where you can say, 'OK remember when you got me there? Let's settle a score here.'

"I think he understands that role and he gave us a chance to win a hockey game. That's being a very good teammate, understanding the moment, understanding the situation and to me, that's a young player who gets it."

Wilson's ability to agitate opposing skaters has been an asset this season. Excluding coincidental minors (of which there have been a few), Wilson has drawn 1.8 penalties per 60 minutes this season, a figure that leads the Capitals and ranks 10th among NHL forwards with at least 10 games played.

In the Capitals' past two games, Wilson has accounted for 8:30 of their 12:36 of total power-play time. Trotz attributed that to Wilson's willingness to, among other things, venture into the harshest on-ice environments.

"You've got to be smart about it," WIlson said Friday. "You've got to be mature and be professional because it can really change a game. A power play can win you games, it can lose you games so you've always got to be conscious of that and you always want to put our team up a man because we're so good on the power play so it's definitely a conscious thought." 

Knowing when to prod an opponent has been an ongoing topic of discussion as it relates to Wilson, who had little choice but to fight during his rookie season while affixed to the fourth line. His five fights this season still lead the team, but playing with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom carries a heightened level of responsibiity, including not putting Washington at a disadvantage. 

"Trust me, he's not not retaliating because he's scared to," Trotz said. "He's doing the right thing at the right time. That's showing a lot of maturity and being a great team guy. That's how teams win, when people are not selfish."

As Wilson skates or is escorted away from post-whistle scrums that he is often at the center of, a wry smile usually creeps across his face, probably more than enough to further ruffle his particular adversary. Within that grin, he communicates that he is capable of personally inflicting punishment, but would rather his teammates do so instead. 

"You see me smiling, it's just kind of letting them know like they got the better hand on the cheap shot, but hopefully our power play's going to put one in," Wilson said. "There's no worse feeling, you can get punched in the face 10 times, but if you're sitting in the box and the other team scores a goal, you ask most guys, that's one of the worst feelings in hockey."

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

Photo Credit: NHLI via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McCoy to Start for 'Skins if Healthy]]> Thu, 11 Dec 2014 16:40:39 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/460110842.jpg

Colt McCoy will start at quarterback for the Redskins Sunday against the Giants as long as he is medically cleared to do so, coach Jay Gruden said Thursday.

"We've had looks at all three quarterbacks and based on what we have seen out at practice, for the whole training camp and offseason and the game situations, right now we feel Colt is in the lead," Gruden told reporters. "So if he's healthy and gets a clean bill of health then he will be our starter."

McCoy suffered a neck injury last week against the Rams, but tests concluded that there was no structural damage, according to reports. He practiced Wednesday.

"I threw the ball well," McCoy said. "It never was a shoulder. I'm just dealing with a little aggravated disc, an aggravated nerve in my neck. If that calms down, we'll be fine."

Robert Griffin III will remain McCoy's backup.

"We've seen a lot of him and if he gets another opportunity to play -- which could happen, it could happen as soon as the first quarter of this game, it could happen next week, I don't know -- but our decision is to go with Colt and see how he does," Gruden said. "The rest of it will take care of itself."

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Roberts, Breeland Fight at Practice]]> Wed, 10 Dec 2014 13:29:01 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/215*120/B4gnMarCQAA5Myz.png

A fight broke out between Redskins wide receiver Andre Roberts and cornerback Bashaud Breeland at practice Wednesday.

NBC4's Jason Pugh was at practice Wednesday; he reported that Roberts and Breeland were going one-on-one in drills, but right now it's unclear what sparked the fight.

When asked if the disagreement between Roberts with him and Breeland had been squashed, he half smiled and declined to comment. Breeland and Roberts have yet to speak to media, but their teammates are saying the fight was no big deal, Pugh reported.

The altercation, caught on video, shows Breeland throwing two punches; Roberts threw a few as well. It's difficult to determine from the video who may have struck first.

Here's some background on the incident from CSN Washington:

Moments before the scuffle broke out, Breeland had been in tight coverage of Roberts on a deep pass from Colt McCoy. Roberts did not hold onto the ball, and both players tumbled to the turf. 

Breeland briefly grabbed his groin area with both hands as he got up. It’s possible the rookie was injured as the two players hit the ground because he bent over for a moment before returning to the drill line.

When Roberts and Breeland returned to the sideline, Roberts removed his helmet and confronted Breeland. The players squared up and then exchanged a few punches before teammates Ryan Clark, E.J. Biggers and Ryan Grant, among others, separated them.

Roberts also shoved Clark as Clark attempted to diffuse the situation.

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

Photo Credit: @CSNRedskins]]>
<![CDATA["Streaky" Brouwer In Search Of Consistency For Caps]]> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 18:47:23 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/459367926.jpg

Troy Brouwer knows that he'll likely never be a point-per-game player, though he'll certainly try. The Washington Capitals forward has prided himself on being diverse in his on-ice contributions, playing sound two-way hockey and complementing the skill of his linemates. 

In three-plus seasons as a top-six fixture with the Capitals, Brouwer has developed into more of an offensive threat. He will play in his 238th game with Washington on Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning with 68 goals, 19 more than he scored in 238 games with the Chicago Blackhawks prior to a 2011 draft-day trade. 

Lately though, Brouwer's contributions have been scant, limited to two goals in Washington's past 15 games, each scored from his station in the slot on the power play. Last Tuesday marked the one-month anniversary of Brouwer's last even-strength goal, netted with goaltender Braden Holtby pulled in favor of an extra attacker in a 6-5 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Nov. 2. He has scored 0.37 goals per 60 minutes at even strength through 26 games, his lowest rate since his first full NHL season in 2008-09. 

"I've been a little bit streaky this year as far as my consistency," Brouwer acknowledged Monday. "I've got to pick that up to help our line continue to progress and be a dangerous line that teams don't want to go out on the ice against."

He later added, "I've got to be more consistent as far as being involved in the games. There's been a few games where I've kind of on the outside chasing the puck a little bit. I just need to be more of a factor in games rather than just kind of being there."

Coach Barry Trotz has spoken with Brouwer about being more of an active participant away from the puck, moving his feet more to create plays and prevent him from becoming a bystander.

Equally important to Trotz is Brouwer functioning as a stabilizing presence for rookies Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky as they work through their ongoing transitions to center. Trotz has recently implemented a platoon system of sorts in which Kuznetsov and Burakovsky share playing time between Brouwer and Marcus Johansson. Kuznetsov will likely play against the Lightning on Tuesday, while Burakovsky should be a healthy scratch for the second straight game.

“The other responsibility that I’ve talked to him and Marcus is that I’ve put probably the two young centermen in between those two guys, and now you have to embrace that,” Trotz said. “We talked about that, that’s really a responsibility of the veteran guys, embrace it. That’s part of being a good leader… I thought they were pretty effective in [a 4-1 victory against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday], and hopefully when that happens, you can get four lines going and be pretty dangerous.”

It is up to Brouwer and Johansson to revitalize the second line, which has scored once since Nov. 11 and received the lowest amount of even-strength ice time among forwards in each of the past two games. For Brouwer in particular, that process begins with leading by example.

"With our two young centermen that we're rotating between, Burra and Kuzy, with having one guy or the other guy each night, we have to have a baseline on our line which is consistency and being able to be good in our D-zone, being able to help those guys out in tough situations and push forward," Brouwer said. "For me, being the older guy on the line, that needs to be primarily my responsibility with the young guys on our line.

"I feel like I've been alright with it, but I've got to continue to get better. Our line needs to be a dangerous line for this hockey team and it starts with me being more consistent."

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cooley Report: Fletcher v. Haslett and the QB Carousel]]> Mon, 08 Dec 2014 20:24:22 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/london-fletcher-rested-bye.jpg Chris Cooley shares his opinion on former Redskins linebacker London Fletcher's comments about defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and the quarterback situation.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NFLer Hill Probed for Sex Assault]]> Mon, 08 Dec 2014 19:51:38 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/sammie-hill-getty.jpg

The Tennessee Titans say they are aware police are investigating a sexual assault allegation involving defensive lineman Sammie Hill.

"We will let the police investigate the allegation, and we will provide any assistance they need," the Titans said in a statement Monday. "We have discussed the matter with Sammie, and we will continue to gather facts."

Atlanta Police Department spokesman John Chaffee wrote in an email that a woman told police she had been sexually assaulted by Hill and they are working with the woman for more information.

The woman apparently contacted Houston police first. Spokesman Victor Senties confirmed to The Associated Press that Houston police took a report Friday from a woman alleging she had been sexually assaulted in Atlanta and forwarded that to police there.

Hill, who played at Stillman and a West Blocton, Alabama, native, is a six-year veteran in the second year of a three-year deal with Tennessee. The 6-foot-4, 328-pound Hill has started 12 games this season.

Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Troll Redskins, RGIII Trade]]> Mon, 08 Dec 2014 09:21:25 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/460112010.jpg

Asked last week about the blockbuster trade between the Rams and Redskins that allowed the latter to draft Robert Griffin III two years ago, St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher was pleased with the bounty of draft picks that the team received in return. 

“It wasn’t difficult for us,” he told reporters. “We looked at our roster and it wasn’t difficult to see that we had a lot of holes. So, it was easy for us to do.”

Before the Rams defeated the Redskins 24-0 on Sunday, Fisher sent receiver Stedman Bailey, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, defensive tackle Michael Brockers, running back Zac Stacy, left tackle Greg Robinson and linebacker Alec Ogletree to handle coin toss duties. 

The meaning behind that particular group? All six were drafted as a result of the Griffin trade. Jenkins and Brockers were 2012 picks, while Stacy, Bailey and Ogletree were all 2013 picks and Robinson was a 2014 pick. 

Of course, Griffin served as the backup quarterback, entering the game in the final minutes after Colt McCoy sustained a neck injury. 

That's some mighty fine trolling, Jeff Fisher. Mighty fine trolling.

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Best of NFL: Week 14]]> Mon, 08 Dec 2014 00:08:44 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/460128832.jpg Don't miss the most dramatic images from the fourteenth week of the 2014 NFL season.]]>