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s designated infielder C
October 10, 2018
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A salary-cap squeeze threatened to slam the Washington Capitals‘ Stanley Cup window shut. Instead Russell Shepard Jersey , it busted it wide open.

When the dollars didn’t add up to be able to keep a handful of key contributors to back-to-back Presidents’ Trophy-winning teams, the Capitals went bargain hunting to sign bought-out winger Devante Smith-Pelly, who general manager Brian MacLellan termed a ”project.” Up against the cap at the trade deadline, they acquired lightly used defenseman Michal Kempny from Chicago.

”Some of the best acquisitions are ones that are under the radar, ones that fit almost seamlessly,” coach Barry Trotz said. ”Some of the best deals that we’ve made are those ones that, even myself I’m like, `Hmm, that’s a little bit of an upgrade, not a big one.’ And they ended up being the biggest upgrades because they’re not sexy names.”

Kempny said ”probably nobody knew my name when I came here or played in Chicago,” and Smith-Pelly had his name on the back of three other NHL teams’ jerseys before this season. Now they’re key pieces for a team one win from the Stanley Cup after the Capitals hit on exactly the kind of moves every championship contender is looking to make.

All it cost was a one-year deal at the league minimum to sign Smith-Pelly after he was bought out by the Devils, and a third-round pick to get Kempny from the Blackhawks. Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Braden Holtby have led Washington to this point, up 3-1 on the Vegas Golden Knights with the chance to raise the Cup after Game 5 on Thursday night. But they wouldn’t be here without the contributions of Smith-Pelly and Kempny.

After a seven-goal regular season, Smith-Pelly has six goals in the playoffs Tyler Boyd Jersey , including potential series daggers in Games 3 and 4 of the final. This isn’t exactly where the 25-year-old thought he’d be just under a year ago when he found out a minute before the buyout deadline that the Devils were cutting him.

”You only get so many chances to stick,” said Smith-Pelly, a 2010 second-round pick who bounced from Anaheim to Montreal to New Jersey, never putting up more than 17 points in a season. ”I knew that this could be my last one, so I kind of took the buyout personally and listened to what the coaching staff had to say and what they wanted, and just went out there and did it.”

Smith-Pelly wasn’t even guaranteed a roster spot when he signed. He developed into a teammate on and off the ice that helped propel the Capitals to another division title despite losing forwards Justin Williams, Marcus Johansson and Daniel Winnik, and defensemen Nate Schmidt, Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk last summer. He was the Capitals’ Masterton Trophy nominee for perseverance and dedication to hockey after taking an incident of racist ”basketball, basketball, basketball” taunts and turning it into a positive when he facilitated money be donated to Fort Dupont Ice Arena in Washington.

”What happened was obviously pretty negative,” Smith-Pelly said. ”But for the people of Chicago to feel that they needed to donate money and for me to give it to Fort Dupont I thought turned a pretty bad thing into something that could change many kids’ lives in that area.”

Smith-Pelly always seems to find the positive. He brushed off a puck to the face at the morning skate Monday and scored a back-breaking goal that night.

Kempny has done the same. Stepping on a puck during pregame warmups led to a spill and stitches across the bridge of his nose, but the 27-year-old missed no time. He then pumped in a Game 4 goal that helped put the Capitals on the verge of winning the Cup.

It’s the latest impact Kempny has made on his new team after fitting in as a top-four defenseman alongside John Carlson.

”He played big minutes against top players, be it the (Evgeni) Malkins and the (Sidney) Crosbys, and he’s done a really good job Ito Smith Color Rush Jersey ,” Trotz said.” He’s just one of those players that is effective – efficient, effective, gets it done. You’re not going to see a lot of offense. He’s got some great looks, though. You talk about a guy who’s developing maybe from more of a stay-at-home type of defenseman to a guy who recognizes opportunity.”

This is the opportunity Kempny had been waiting for after being a third-pairing defenseman with the Blackhawks, and sometimes a healthy scratch. Coach Joel Quenneville wasn’t a fan, so the Capitals made a deal arguably more meaningful than Evander Kane to San Jose, Paul Stastny to Winnipeg, or Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller to Tampa Bay.

”Adding Kempny helped a lot,” MacLellan said. ”I think we had him projected right. He’s a good skater, a good puck mover. I know he was not always in the lineup in Chicago, but he was our No. 1 target going into the trade deadline.”

Carlson watched video of Kempny’s games to get an understanding of his new defense partner. Kempny had to regain his confidence after feeling like the ”last warm body on the bench.”

”When you are not playing, you can’t be a better player. It’s impossible,” Kempny said. ”I never played in Chicago against top lines. I didn’t know if I could play against them or not. But I got a chance here, so I proved to myself that I can play against top lines.”

The Capitals have shown they can play against and beat anyone, with Smith-Pelly and Kempny proving to be perfect pieces for a team eying a championship.

”Everything’s worked out very well Will Richardson Jersey ,” Smith-Pelly said. ”If we end up winning, that would b

BALTIMORE — The Los Angeles Angels broke a six-game losing streak on Friday night. They hit two homers and scored a 7-1 victory over the slumping Baltimore Orioles.

That’s a step in the right direction for a team that’s struggled lately, and the Angels hope to keep moving forward in the second game of this weekend series on Saturday at 4:05 p.m. ET at Camden Yards.

The Angels have been battered by injuries, and manager Mike Scioscia is hoping they can turn things around.

“It’s been tough,” Scioscia said. “We’ve been banged up, a lot of injuries. When you lose the top guys in your rotation and a lot of starters, it’s tough. We’re just grinding through a rough stretch right now, so we’re just trying to turn it around.”

The Angels (42-41) will send left-hander Tyler Skaggs (6-5, 2.69 ERA) to pitch Saturday versus Baltimore’s Andrew Cashner (2-8, 4.70).

Skaggs has been effective in June, going 3-1 with an 0.67 ERA. He lost his last start, on Monday against the Royals, despite giving up just one run in seven innings.

He has no record or ERA after pitching just once against the Orioles, who now have lost six in a row. Skagg’s only appearance against Baltimore was a start in 2014, when he pitched shutout ball over 4 2/3 innings Youth Dallas Cowboys Jerseys , allowing no hits with seven strikeouts and two walks.

Cashner has struggled at times this season but also thrown well despite not getting much help from his team’s bats. He has not recorded a win since May 21.

Cashner has made five career appearances, including two starts, against the Angels and has a 1-0 mark with a 3.94 ERA.

The Orioles’ already injury-riddled bullpen took another hit when the team said Friday that reliever Darren O’Day, on the disabled list with a left hamstring injury, is deciding whether to have surgery on the leg.

The sidewinder has been moved to the 60-day disabled list, so he won’t be back until at least late August. He injured the hamstring when trying to field a bunt against Seattle earlier this week.

Baltimore made a flurry of moves Friday. The Orioles recalled left-hander Paul Fry and right-hander Ryan Meisinger from Triple-A Norfolk.

Both made their major league debuts in Friday’s loss. Meisinger came in first, and the right-hander allowed one run on two hits in 1 2/3 innings. Fry also went 1 2/3 innings but did not give up a run. The left-hander struck out the first two hitters he faced — including Mike Trout.

The Orioles also optioned starters/long men Jimmy Yacabonis and Yefry Ramirez back to Norfolk after they combined to pitch nine innings versus the Mariners Thursday. In a separate move, the Orioles designated infielder Corban Joseph (brother of catcher Caleb) for assignment.

Baltimore now stands at 23-58 at the halfway point, one of the worst records in major league history. In addition, the Orioles have lost 16 of their past 17 home games.

Still, manager Buck Showalter is holding out hope that the team can do something positive in the final 81 games and wants the Orioles to believe that also.

“(The first half) has been tougher on our fans and our players (than on me),” Showalter said. “As tough and as bad as things have been for 81 games, they can be just as good the other way around.”
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