Capitals

AP Source: Arizona fines Dockett '6 figures'

AP Source: Arizona fines Dockett '6 figures'

PHOENIX (AP) Arizona defensive tackle Darnell Dockett has received a ``six-figure'' fine from the Cardinals for his behavior in the waning seconds in a 7-6 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed Friday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the punishment had not been made public. The exact size of the fine was not known and it was uncertain whether the punishment would impact Dockett's participation Sunday in Seattle.

Dockett refused to go along with a coach's directive to allow the Jets to score late in the game so the Cardinals could get the ball back and go for the tying touchdown.

He indicated in a tweet Friday night that he was appealing through the players' union.

``Thank God for the (at)nflpa,'' Dockett wrote, ``that's all I got to say... I ain't got no worries.''

The fine first was reported by XTRA-AM 910 sports talk show host and Cardinals reporter Mike Jurecki.

The punishment stems from a directive from the coaching staff to allow the Jets to score when they had the ball deep in Arizona territory in the final minutes. Dockett refused and got into a heated on-field argument with safety Kerry Rhodes about it.

The issue became moot when the Jets' Shonn Greene purposely downed the ball at the Arizona 1 and ran out the clock.

Defensive coordinator Ray Horton told reporters Friday that he was the one who suggested to coach Ken Whisenhunt that the Jets be allowed to score. Whisenhunt has declined to discuss the situation, calling it an internal matter.

The emotional confrontation between Dockett and Rhodes came as the team headed toward its eighth consecutive loss. The prospects that the team would score in the final seconds with no timeouts were obviously dim, because it was one of the Cardinals' worst offensive performances in franchise history. With Ryan Lindley making his second start, the Cardinals tied a franchise low with five first downs and were 0 for 15 on third-down conversions.

Whisenhunt refused to replace Lindley with John Skelton, who was benched three games earlier. But Skelton will return as starter against the Seahawks.

Dockett said earlier this week he had apologized to Rhodes and the two had agreed to move on. But Dockett emphatically said he had never quit in a game and never would.

``It's something that I don't believe in, something that I didn't understand,'' Dockett said then. ``It was frustrating at the time. At the end of the day, I am never, never going to lay down and quit. I've been playing football for over 20 years. I've given this organization, I've given Florida State, I've given my high school everything I've got. I love the game. I play with passion and I'll never quit.''

The emotional, 6-foot-4, 290-pound, 31-year-old lineman is in his ninth NFL season, all with Arizona. He made the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2009.

He earns $3.4 million this year on a contract that runs through 2015.

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Follow Bob Baum athttp://www.twitter.com/Thebaumerphx

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Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

las_vegas-sign-no_caps-stanley_cup_final.jpg
Twitter/City of Las Vegas

Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

The Washington Capitals official #ALLCAPS hashtag started in 2017 during a Caps-Penguins game after the Pittsburgh Penguins' official Twitter account decided to tweet in all lowercase letters during the game. 

Now, as the Caps look to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final ahead of Game 1 Monday, Vegas has followed suit by changing their iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign to include only lowercase letters, a jab at the Capitals #ALLCAPS.

Additionally, the City's official Twitter account has changed their handle to "the city of las vegas" without any capital letters and the hashtag #nocaps.

It will be interesting to see how the Capitals' official Twitter will respond...

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Stanley Cup Final 2018: X-factors that could swing the series

Stanley Cup Final 2018: X-factors that could swing the series

The Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights have met only twice in their history. Neither team was expected to get to this point so you can go ahead and throw away the stats, the matchups, the data and the history. A new story will be written in the Stanley Cup FInal.

Who will ultimately win the Cup? Here are four factors that could ultaimtely swing the series.

1. Goaltending

The Caps have faced elimination only twice in the playoffs and Braden Holtby did not allow a single goal in either game. He enters the Stanley Cup Final having not allowed a single goal in 159:27. Andrei Vasilevskiy began to take over the series with his performance in Game 3, Game 4 and Game 5, but Holtby outplayed him to finish off the series in Washington’s favor.

Marc-Andre Fleury, meanwhile, has been the best player in the playoffs. Not the best goalie, the best player.

Through 15 games, Fleury has a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. As good as Vegas has been this postseason, Fleury has stolen several games for the Golden Knights.

Both of these goalies are certainly capable of stealing away a series for their respective teams. Which one will outplay the other?

2. Time off

Rust is a real thing in hockey. Just any team when they come off a bye week. When the Caps and Golden Knights take the ice on Monday, May 28, it will be the first game for Vegas since May 20. That’s over a week off.

Yes, getting rest at this time of the year is important, but too much rest leads to rust and that should be a major concern for Vegas, especially for a team that was playing so well and has so much momentum.

In the Eastern Conference Final, the Caps stunned the Tampa Bay Lightning by winning both Game 1 and Game 2 in Tampa. Could they do it again with a rusty Vegas team? Will the long layoff cost the Golden Knights one or even two home games to start the series?

3. The McPhee factor

Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee was the Caps’ general manager for 17 years starting with the 1997-98 season. He was fired in 2014, but was ultimately responsible for building the core of the Washington team that is now headed to the Stanley Cup Final.

But that also means he knows those players very, very well.

Nicklas Backstrom, Travis Boyd, Andre Burakovsky, John Carlson, Christian Djoos, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana, Tom Wilson, Braden Holtby, Philipp Grubauer and of course, Alex Ovechkin were all drafted by McPhee. Jay Beagle was also signed by as an undrafted free agent.

A general manager does not sign or draft anyone without knowing a good deal about the kind of player they are. Does that give McPhee a bit of an edge when it comes to facing the Caps?

4. Speed

The Golden Knights are fast. When the expansion draft was all said and done it was clear McPhee had targeted two things specifically: defensemen and speed. The result is an exceptionally fast Golden Knights team that no one has been able to keep up with so far.

Vegas' speed mixed with the goaltending of Fleury has proven to be a lethal combination. Their mobility makes it hard to get the puck from them or even keep it in the offensive zone. Once they get it, it’s going down the ice very quickly and you better keep up with them or it's going to end up in the back of the net. Once they build a lead, it is very difficult for teams to dig their way out as evidenced by their 10-1 record this postseason when scoring first.

Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh were both fast teams as well and the Capitals were able to combat that with strong play in the neutral zone. The 1-3-1 trap has given opponents fits and generated a lot of odd-man breaks for the Caps. Will it be as effective against a speedy Vegas team?

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