Digest (July 1): Capitals sign center Dowd to one-year contract; Beagle off to Canucks

With the Washington Capitals bringing back almost their entire roster from their recent Stanley Cup championship, the first day of NHL free agency went as expected for the team — quiet. As other clubs have entered into bidding wars, Washington has used July 1 for depth signings the past three years, preferring to promote from within or upgrade through trade. The Capitals' first fringe move came within the first hour of free agency, signing 28-year-old center Nic Dowd to a one-year, $650,000 deal, the league minimum. With Jay Beagle leaving the organization for a four-year, $12 million contract in Vancouver, Dowd will offer some veteran competition at Beagle's old fourth-line center role. Within 10 minutes of the Dowd signing, the Capitals also announced a two-year extension for prospect center Travis Boyd, who was a pending restricted free agent. Boyd's contract has an average annual value of $800,000.Though Beagle acknowledged disappointment with his own point production last season — seven goals and 15 assists in 79 games, Washington could miss his penalty-killing and 58.5 faceoff percentage. "We waited [for Washington] obviously quite awhile, and then when teams started reaching out, [Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan] called my agent and said, 'The Caps are not going to be there,' " Beagle said on a conference call Sunday. "So, we kind of left it at that. I'm still planning on obviously calling Mac here soon just to talk to him and thank him for everything and the opportunity to play there." The organization also added a pair of veteran centers, Michael Sgarbossa and Jayson Megna, to one-year, two way contracts. They're expected to play in the American Hockey League next season.

— Isabelle Khurshudyan, The Washington Post



Barton gets 4-year deal with Nuggets ; Gay back to Spurs


Will Barton (Lake Clifton, City) is getting a major raise from the Denver Nuggets. A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that Barton will sign a four-year deal that — if played to conclusion — would be worth more than $50 million. The final season will be at Barton's option, according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because neither Barton nor the Nuggets were commenting publicly. Barton made about $3.5 million this past season, when he averaged career highs of 15.7 points and 4.1 assists. Rudy Gay (Archbishop Spalding) is also returning to his team, the San Antonio Spurs. A person familiar with the terms told the AP that Gay has agreed to a one-year, $10 million deal to be back in San Antonio next season. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal cannot be finalized until later in the week. Gay opted out of the final year of his deal with San Antonio, and wound up re-signing for a raise of about $1.6 million over what he would have made. Gay was primarily a reserve for the first time last season, his first with the Spurs. He averaged 11.5 points on 47 percent shooting.

Et cetera

Antoaneta gives Allsop first career training victory

Big Lick Farm's Antoaneta emerged from a stretch duel with Sophia Is an Angel a head in front at the wire in Laurel Park 's ninth race Sunday to give trainer Carl Allsop his first career victory. Antoaneta ($17.20), a chestnut daughter of Skipshot who had been running under trainer and Big Lick Farm owner-operator Reid Nagle in South Florida, ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.92 over a firm turf course to improve her record to 3-3-0 from nine starts. Winners Circle Partners XII's Chief of Staff, a veteran campaigner in the West and Midwest, made his Maryland debut a successful one with a half-length victory in the featured eighth race. Ridden by Feargal Lynch for trainer Hugh McMahon, Chief of Staff ($7.20) ran seven furlongs in 1:22.57 over a fast main track in the $45,000 second-level optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up. Jonathan Stark's Maryland homebred Aunt Mitzi lit up the toteboard with a 2 ¼-length upset at odds of 87-1 in the third race, a maiden claiming event over the Exceller turf course. Ridden by J.D. Acosta, 4-year-old Etched filly Aunt Mitzi returned $176 for her first win from six career starts. Live racing returns to Laurel Park with a 10-race program Friday that includes carryovers in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 ($3,156.72) and $1 Super Hi-5 wagers ($1,426.18). First race post time is 1:10 p.m.

WNBA: Brittney Griner scored 24 points, DeWanna Bonner added 23 and the Phoenix Mercury stayed alone into first place with an 84-74 win over the Washington Mystics (10-6) on Saturday night. Yvonne Turner hit a 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock that made it 80-74 for the Mercury (13-5) with 36.6 seconds left and stopped a 10-3 Washington run. Elena Delle Donne had 27 points and 13 rebounds for the Mystics. Washington had a four-game winning streak ended.

National Women's Soccer League: The Washington Spirit fell, 2-0, to the host Chicago Stars. Washington dropped to 2-9-4 (10 points) as Chicago improved to 5-3-7 (22 points).

From Sun staff and news services