Erskine presence could be message-sender to Lucic

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Erskine presence could be message-sender to Lucic

ARLINGTON, VA The Washington Capitals could be stiffening up for Game 4 after getting pushed around by the Bruins in their own building on Monday night. Capitals coach Dale Hunter put bruising defenseman John Erskine on a defenseman pair with Dennis Wideman at practice on Wednesday afternoon at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, and mentioned a desire to protect his players on the ice.

After the whistles and before the puck was dropped they were going after us. Lucic was going after Backstroms head, but weve got to play through it and protect the players on the ice, said Hunter in an interesting choice of words. Right now, you know, weve matched them up. Erskine is healthy again and hes a big, strong guy in front of the net. He takes the body and hes an honest player.

Erskine has dropped the gloves with Milan Lucic in their past, and is one of the few players that was able to go toe-to-toe with No. 17 when the fists started flying. The Caps tough guy actually dropped Lucic to the ice during their first NHL fight when the Bs power forward was a 19-year-old rookie, but Lucic avenged that with his own hockey fight win two years later.

So those that have become squeamish about the dropped gloves and blood that have always been a part of playoff hockey might want to switch off the game when Lucic and Erskine share the ice together tonight.

It doesnt take a crystal ball or ESP to see a playoff scenario where Erskine comes calling looking for Lucic on Thursday night, but thats not a very good talent trade for the Bruins.

Meanwhile Jason Chimera, who stands as the only player in this series thats knocked an opponent out of commission for the playoffs with his regular season charging hit from behind on Adam McQuaid, spoke of the fine line between playoff-style intensity and proving theyre not a wussy team.

The Washington grinder regretted his stupid penalty when he speared Brad Marchand between the legs, and admitted that the Caps need to be smarter than that against the Bruins.

We cant take stupid penalties. Mine was a stupid penalty. You cant do that. No matter how much Marchand is diving and stuff like that, is embellishing a bit, said Chimera. You cant do stuff like that because its going to be called. You got to play hard within the whistles.

Were not a wussy team. We dont have to prove were tough to anybody. Were a skilled team. We dont need to prove were tough to anybody. Weve got guys who can fight, but you dont need to prove toughness in playoffs. Its going to be just winning some hockey games.

Theres been plenty of talk about toughness, diving and emotion heading into Thursday nights Game 4 at Verizon Center, and it sounds like the pot might be bubbling over given some of the signs heading into a pivotal playoff game between the Bruins and Capitals.

Clayborn beats out Seymour, Vrabel to enter Patriots Hall of Fame

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Clayborn beats out Seymour, Vrabel to enter Patriots Hall of Fame

Raymond Clayborn has been voted into the Patriots Hall of Fame, beating out both Mike Vrabel and Richard Seymour for the honor. The corner, who is tied for the franchise record for interceptions with Ty Law (36), will be the 26th person inducted to the Hall. 

Clayborn was a three-time Pro Bowler (1983, 1985, 1986) during his 13-year Patriots career from 1977 through 1989. He was drafted by the Patriots in the first round (16th overall) out of Texas in 1977, and chipped in both in the secondary and as a kick returner. As a rookie in the return game, he averaged 31 yards per return and brought back three for touchdowns. 

Clayborn reacted to the news on Twitter soon after the announcement was made. 

"I was fortunate to be a season ticket holder during Raymond's entire Patriots career," Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said in a statement. "For the first half of his career, he teamed with Michael Haynes to form one of the best corner tandems in league history. Throughout his career, Raymond was a physical, shutdown corner.

"One of my favorite memories was watching the 1985 team advance to the Super Bowl after Raymond helped us break the Orange Bowl curse when he stymied future Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino with a dominant performance against Pro Bowl receivers Mark Duper and Mark Clayton. Raymond had six passes defensed and an interception to help us claim our first conference title. It was the greatest upset victory in franchise history at the time and one the entire New England region celebrated. It is a well-deserved honor and I look forward to presenting him his hall of fame jacket."

Clayborn has been a finalist for each of the last four years but was not able to generate enough support in the annual online vote to beat out Ty Law (2014 inductee), Willie McGinest (2015) or Kevin Faulk (2016). Clayborn was eligible to be voted in by the senior committee since he's now been retired for 25 years, but he did not receive the requisite eight of 10 senior committee votes to be elected in that way. 

As it turns out, he didn't need to be. When Kraft called Clayborn with the news, he said Clayborn received over 40 percent of the vote to beat out the pair of three-time Super Bowl champs.