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The Washington Capitals overhauled their defence, by paying huge money to a pair of former Pittsburgh Penguins. Numbers Game breaks down the signings of Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik. The Capitals Get: D Matt Niskanen and D Brooks Orpik. Niskanen, 27, picked a terrific time to have the best year of his career, scoring a career-best 10 goals and 46 points while playing a career-high 21:18 per game. He was also a career-best plus-33, which is all well and good, but he was one of six regular defencemen (minimum 62 games played) to have a combined on-ice save percentage and on-ice shooting percentage (PDO) at 5-on-5 of 103.0 or better. An on-ice shooting percentage over 10.0% is difficult for any defenceman to sustain, but Niskanens 10.32% was the third-best of his career; basically, its the kind of good fortune that shouldnt be expected, but its not out of the realm of possibility from season to season for Niskanen. Where the puck luck really stuck with Niskanen last year, was that he also had a .928 on-ice save percentage during 5-on-5 play, so getting favourable percentages at both ends of the ice during the same year contributed to that strong plus-minus. That shouldnt diminish the evaluation of Niskanen entirely, though, because he has consistently been on the right side of the puck possession ledger, and that makes him an asset to any team that acquires him. While Niskanen hasnt typically played hard minutes, and in some years has been excessively sheltered, hes likely to face more difficult matchups now that hes the highest-priced defenceman on the Capitals roster. Signed for seven years and $40.25-million, Niskanen landed the biggest free agent contract of the year. There was probably an element of paying for the good fortune that Niskanen experienced last year, and it is a gamble that Niskanen is going to be able to live up to the money involved in that contract, but if a team is going to swing for the fences on a free agent defenceman, doing so on a guy with consistently strong possession numbers is at least a reasonable foundation on which to make that investment. Which brings us to Brooks Orpik, a 33-year-old who has made his bones as a physical, hard-hitting defenceman, registering more than 200 hits in five of the past seven seasons. The unfortunate part, however, is that Orpik in position to hit so much -- particularly in recent years -- because his team doesnt have the puck as often when hes on the ice and the problem with a defensive defenceman who is already on the wrong end of the possession game is that hes certainly not likely to get better as he gets older. For example, in the 2013-2014 season, there were seven defencemen that were over 35 and scored fewer than 20 points (as Orpik has in every season of his career, except one). Its an okay list, some useful players, but six of the seven were 35 or 36. Orpik is signed through his age 38 season and the only -- the only -- NHL defenceman that played more than 60 games without scoring more than 20 points last season was Tampa Bays Sami Salo, who has never played the kind of physical, banging style that characterizes Orpiks game, in part because Salo was always hurt anyway. This doesnt offer much encouragement that the Capitals wont have massive regrets about the Orpik signing; the only question is how soon will those regrets occur? Can he give the Capitals a couple of solid years, maybe facing lower-calibre of competition than he did in Pittsburgh? Thats probably the best hope, but its a longshot that the last two, maybe even three years, wont have the Capitals paying big money for a spare part on their blueline. Orpik is signed for five years, at a cap hit of $5.5-million per season. Big money, long term. Pittsburgh anticipated that they would lose both Niskanen and Orpik and, in addition to having an opening or two for some prospects, they also signed Christian Ehrhoff to add stability to their defence. Its entirely understandable for the Capitals to make a move to upgrade their defence. They allowed 33.5 shots per game, ranking 27th in the league, last season, so the defence needed to get better. Ultimately, the Capitals are better today after adding Niskanen and Orpik, but that should never be up for debate when committing close to $11-million annually to two players. What has to matter is how much better they are, whether the money spent is worth it and what the fall-out will be. The Capitals dont have to make any moves --- they are under the $69-million salary cap -- but they have $28,762,500 committed to their defence, according to Cap Geek. The only teams spending in that neighbourhood for their defence are Philadelphia and Tampa Bay, who have Chris Pronger and Mattias Ohlund, respectively, on long-term injured reserve. St. Louis and Chicago are spending in the $24-million-to-$25-million on their respective bluelines right now, so its hard to imagine that the Capitals maintain the status quo, leaving a hole at second line centre while sticking with the most expensive defence corps in the league. We will see what other moves the Capitals have in mind this summer but, right now, it appears that they spent a lot of money to get better in the short-term; signing deals that appear to have more downside risk because of the long terms involved. Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. Authentic Taylor Gabriel Jersey . The defeat leaves the 41-year-old Nestor to concentrate on the mixed-doubles event after winning 12 straight matches and winning Australian titles in Brisbane and Sydney with two different partners. "This was a little bit of a let down, but all credit to them," said Nestor. Authentic Mitchell Trubisky Jersey . Hollis-Jefferson went 5-for-6 from the field and added six rebounds, while Stanley Jefferson contributed 14 points for the Wildcats, who used their trademark tough defense to dominate the games final 24 minutes and advance to Tuesdays winners bracket matchup with Kansas State. http://www.cheapbearsjerseysauthentic.com/?tag=authentic-kyle-long-jersey . Hes still nowhere close to throwing yet. The four-time MVP was in good spirits when he made his first public appearance on the field since having neck surgery Sept. Authentic Dion Sims Jersey . In his first game with Boston University, the 17-year-old Eichel picked up five assists as his Boston University Terriers thumped St. Authentic Bobby Massie Jersey .NYCFC confirmed to The Associated Press on Saturday that this week Lampard signed a contract to start in July — midway through the new teams first season in MLS. DENVER -- Chris Owings has been in a little bit of an offensive funk. Leave it to hitting friendly Coors Field to snap him right out of it. Leave it to this park to get the entire Arizona lineup revved up. Owings, Paul Goldschmidt and Miguel Montero homered as the Diamondbacks reached double-digits against the Colorado Rockies again, completing a sweep with a 12-7 win Thursday night. Arizona took all three games at Coors Field for the first time since April 2008. This series was quite an offensive display by the Diamondbacks, too, as they scored 32 runs and collected 48 hits over the three games. "(This) happens every other week here, doesnt it?" Bronson Arroyo said. "Doesnt usually happen to those guys, though. We just happened to put all the runs on the board this time." Even Arroyo (5-4) pitched differently in this park. He went with fastballs 60 per cent of the time -- something the 37-year-old usually doesnt do. But hey, this quirky park sometimes calls for an unorthodox approach. "I threw an offbeat game," said Arroyo, who allowed four runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings. The Rockies were once again off their game as they lost their seventh straight. Its their longest skid since losing nine in a row late in the 2012 season. "We come to play every single day," said Troy Tulowitzki, who had a homer and a double. "Its just not happening right now. A night after the Diamondbacks put up 16 runs, they pounded Rockies starter Juan Nicasio (5-4). The right-hander struggled with his command, allowing a season-high seven runs in 5 1-3 innings. Manager Walt Weiss called a team meeting before the game, just so he could check in with his team during this horrendous stretch. He said there are "no magic words in this game or magic words for success." Is this rock bottom? "I dont know," Weiss said. "We have a game tomorrow. Well try to win a game tomorrow." The top five hitters in the Diamondbacks lineup -- Gerardo Parra, Owings, Goldschmidt, Montero and Martin Prado -- feasted on Rockies pitching, going a combined 13 for 24 with nine RBIs. "I know weve got a good hitting ball club. I knnow that," Montero said.dddddddddddd "We showed it the last couple of games." Did they ever. According to the Diamondbacks, its just the second time the team has had back-to-back games with 18 or more hits. Its only the fifth time theyve scored 12 or more runs in two straight. "You hear stuff about Coors Field coming up through the minors leagues," said Owings, who finished 3 for 5 with four RBIs. "You watch a lot of games here, see a lot of runs scored. But I wouldnt say that plays into anything you do differently here. You hit the ball hard. "The ball might do some different things here." Owings had a two-run homer in the eighth that gave Arizona a 9-6 lead. The cushion was valuable at the time as Rockies pinch hitter Brandon Barnes hit an inside-the-park homer in the bottom of the inning, when the ball sailed over the head of centre fielder Ender Inciarte, hit off the base of the wall and caromed away. It was the 14th inside-the-park homer in Rockies history and first since Eric Young Jr. had one on Aug. 8, 2012, in Los Angeles. Arizona added to its lead in the ninth with three more runs. Inciarte ended the game by making a leaping catch at the wall on Wilin Rosarios deep drive. Arroyo had a 7-3 lead heading into the seventh inning, when he ran into trouble. A usually reliable bullpen struggled, too. The Rockies scored three times on RBI singles from Drew Stubbs, Michael Cuddyer and Corey Dickerson. With the bases loaded and two outs, Oliver Perez was brought in to face pinch hitter Justin Morneau, who grounded out to third to end the rally. "That was huge," Arroyo said. "He came in and gave us that one out we needed and really broke the game open for us." NOTES: The Diamondbacks open a three-game home series against Atlanta on Friday, with RHP Brandon McCarthy taking the mound. ... Colorado held a moment of silence for Don Zimmer, who died Wednesday at 83. Zimmer spent three seasons as a coach with the Rockies. ... Colorado RHP Eddie Butler makes his debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday. ... OF Charlie Blackmon hit his third leadoff homer of the season. ' ' '

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