Capitals

Badgers, Cardinal open Rose Bowl week

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Badgers, Cardinal open Rose Bowl week

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Wisconsin is in the Rose Bowl for the third straight year. This time, the Badgers are bringing a familiar face with them on the sideline.

Athletic director Barry Alvarez, who won three Rose Bowls during his coaching career in Madison, Wis., is handling coaching duties for the 99th Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 following the departure of Bret Bielema for Arkansas.

Alvarez joined his team at Disneyland on Wednesday, along with Stanford coach David Shaw and the Cardinal players in the traditional kick off to the week's festivities leading to the historic game in Pasadena.

They were welcomed by Mickey Mouse, who high-fived the head coaches.

``I thought these days are over,'' Alvarez said. ``It's like a Christmas present for me.''

The Badgers (8-5) will be looking for a win against No. 8 Stanford (11-2) after losing on their last two trips to Pasadena against TCU and Oregon. Star running back Montee Ball will be playing in his final college game, and is happy to have Alvarez overseeing the team.

``You've heard so much for what he's done for the program,'' Ball said in front of Sleeping Beauty's castle, decked out in a wreath and garlands made of shiny ornaments with faux snow on its turrets. ``You finally see him in action on the sideline. It's surreal. He brings this kind of swagger and confidence, and it's great. That's what you need in this sport.''

Alvarez was contacted by senior linebacker Mike Taylor as soon as he and some of the other players got over the surprise of Bielema's swift departure.

``You realize the only option is coach Alvarez,'' Taylor said. ``He's been here a long time and has built this program. The guys will rally around. It's still Wisconsin football no matter who the coach is.''

Alvarez has already hired Gary Andersen from Utah State to take over the Badgers. Andersen plans to stay in the background during the Rose Bowl and focus more on evaluating players and preparing for next season.

For the game against Stanford, Alvarez said he will rely on his coordinators to handle the game plan and he will manage the coaches, many of whom will follow Bielema out the door after the New Year's Day game.

``I didn't recruit these guys. I'm not intimate with them, but it's a great group of kids,'' he said. ``This is a resilient group.''

The game features a rematch of the 2000 edition, won 17-9 by Wisconsin and Heisman Trophy-winning tailback Ron Dayne. That was Stanford's most recent trip to the game. The Cardinal played in the first Rose Bowl in 1902.

Stanford played the last two years in the Orange and Fiesta bowls.

``Those two don't mean nearly as much as this game,'' tight end Zach Ertz said. ``This is something we all looked forward to growing up.''

Ertz was back at Disneyland for the first time since coming to the theme park as a 3-year-old, when he went on the Dumbo the elephant ride ``20 times. My mom always brings it up.''

A now grown Ertz was more interested in checking out the companion California Adventure park, while Ball was headed to the Tower of Terror.

``I get a little nervous still before the drop,'' he said, smiling.

In his third trip out West, Ball plans to go easy when Wisconsin visits Lawry's Prime Rib for its turn at the Beef Bowl on Friday night. Stanford will visit the Beverly Hills restaurant on Thursday.

``The first year I had three of them (cuts of beef),'' he said. ``I felt really sluggish at the game. Last year I had 1 1/2, so maybe one this year.''

And Ball has a strategy for the Beef Bowl as much as for the big game itself.

``Do not drink any water or juice because it will fill you up,'' he said. ``Attack the meat first and then the sides. The wide receivers and the running backs, enjoy it, but try to eat as light as possible.''

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'It's like losing a brother': The human aspect of the NHL trade deadline

'It's like losing a brother': The human aspect of the NHL trade deadline

The NHL trade deadline is always a fun time for fans. It's a time for buyers to bring in the final key pieces of a Stanley Cup roster or maybe those one or two players needed to complete a run to the playoffs. For sellers, it is time to move players away and begin looking towards the future. It's a time when everyone with any interest in hockey pours over rosters, cap hits and stats trying to determine who could fit where like pieces on a chessboard.

The feeling is much different for the players.

"It's difficult," Nick Jensen said of the trade deadline. "It's a whirlwind. Everything's going on, you're kind of comfortable at the place you're at, you have a place where you played for a while and your family's there and all of a sudden, for me, I got traded and that night I was gone and I never really looked back."

To the players, the trade deadline is not just about shuffling names from roster to roster, this is real life. A player's life can change with one phone call and the news that he now has to pack his bags for a new city and get there in a matter of days, sometimes hours.

The uncertainty of the trade deadline affects every player of every team. Obviously there are those like Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom who know they are not going to be traded, but that doesn't mean friends can't be traded for or away. Whether your team is in a rebuild or a Cup contender, there's a chance the roster could look very different by 3 p.m. on Monday for any team in the NHL.

"It can be a little distracting at times for the whole team in general if you're a team that you think was going to be making some moves, but it can also especially be distracting if you're a guy that's being talked about being traded," said Jensen who was traded to the Caps in 2019 as a deadline move.

Some players find themselves to be the unwilling trade chips of a deal as general managers try to tweak their rosters. The news of a trade, however, can sometimes be a welcome relief. That certainly has been the case for most deadline pickups for Washington in recent years.

From a competitive standpoint, typically the Caps have sought reinforcements from teams that know they will not be headed to the playoffs. Players come to Washington with the hope of competing for a Stanley Cup or perhaps of being able to find a better fit and a bigger role than the one they are leaving.

"I was in really bad situation [in Chicago]," said Michal Kempny, who was a trade deadline pickup for the Caps in 2018. "Every change was good for me. I just kind of waited what's going to happen and I got traded here."

"To come here and have some big-time meaningful games coming up, and be right in the thick of the race, it's a lot of fun," the newly acquired Brenden Dillon said.

But that's on the ice. The off-ice implications are a bit more complicated.

Off the ice, players have to think about their homes, their wives or girlfriends and their kids. Off the ice, players are faced with the realities of a world that is not built around the schedule of a professional athlete.

"My wife had just finally started living with me because she was in grad school before that so it was like oh finally we get to live together," Jensen said, "And then we lived together for like five months then I get traded and like oh here we go again. Dealing with when you get traded the stuff outside of hockey can be tough like that."

Initially, players do not have to worry about much in terms of housing. They are put up in a hotel and can adjust to their new surroundings. Then they are left to trying to adjust to their new team.

"It's kind of different.," Kempny said. "New city, new organization, new teammates. It's part of our job and those things happening every year to a lot of guys."

Adjusting to a new team can be especially difficult when it is one as tight as the Caps.

While players are certainly excited to join the organization, there also comes with it a level of intimidation of walking into the locker room.

"It feels like a tight-knit family in here, and there's a reason that they've had so much success not just this year but in years past," Dillon said. "I'm just trying to be a piece to the puzzle, come in and do what I can."

"I'm coming into a team where I got traded for a guy that was here that a lot of the guys were pretty fond of so that's kind of in the back of your mind too," Jensen said. "I know the guys really liked [Madison Bowey.] I heard he was a really great guy so I know losing guys at trades can be tough in that sense because you could grow as a family here and it's like losing a brother. Going in and trying to replace that can be tough too."

Adjusting to a new team, adjusting to a new system, adjusting to a new city and doing it while also trying to figure out where you're going to live and if and when your family may move with you is a lot for anyone to handle. The trade deadline comes with the added pressure of having to adjust quickly. A player who is traded in December still has over half the season left to play. It comes with all the same challenges, but there is more time for a player to get his game in order.

At the trade deadline, however, it's crunch time. There is only about a quarter of the season left to play and suddenly all the off-ice things that most people would refer to as "life" become a distraction from the task at hand, something in which the players have to shut out.

"The approach I always took is I always try to control the things that I could control and getting traded is out of my control," Jensen said. "I just focus on each game and take the same approach that you always take whether you're being traded or not being traded. If you focus on the stuff outside of your game, it's just a distraction, it's a waste of energy and it kind of puts a toll on you a little bit.

"It's not easy. It's not easy shutting things out like that, but that's kind of the approach you've got to take."

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Wizards vs. Bucks: time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

Wizards vs. Bucks: time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

The Wizards head back to the nation's capital Monday night for a matchup with Giannis Antetokoumpo and the Milwaukee Bucks at Capital One Arena.

Bradley Beal led the Wizards with an astounding 53 points in the team's loss Sunday night to the Chicago Bulls. Beal passed Jeff Malone on the team's all-time scoring list for second place. He now only trails Elvin Hayes.

The Bucks are coming off a dominant 21-point win over the 76ers on Friday night and look to continue their stellar play in D.C. against the struggling Wizards.

Here is everything you need to know.

WIZARDS vs. BUCKS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington D.C.

When: Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards vs. Bucks will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Bucks on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the MyTeams App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. BULLS TV SCHEDULE

6:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders

6:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live

7:00 PM: Wizards vs. Bucks

9:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live

10:00 PM: Wizards Talk

WIZARDS vs. BUCKS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Bradley Beal, Wizards (29.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 6.0 APG): Beal will look to carry the Wizards to victory against the Bucks after the team was unable to defeat the Bulls on Sunday night.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks (30.0 PPG, 13.6 RPG, 5.8 APG): The Greek freak is on a fast-track to another MVP trophy and has the Bucks in a prime position to come out of the Eastern Conference.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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