Capitals

Bryan Stow in attendance at Game 2 of Series

Bryan Stow in attendance at Game 2 of Series

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Bryan Stow, the San Francisco Giants fan brutally beaten at Dodger Stadium on opening day 2011, attended Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday night as a guest of the team.

Giants spokeswoman Staci Slaughter said Stow's family requested privacy. The team did not announce where Stow was watching the game against the Detroit Tigers at AT&T Park.

The Santa Cruz paramedic and father of two was back at the ballpark at last. After he was assaulted outside Dodger Stadium on March 31, 2011, he spent months at a Los Angeles hospital in a medically induced coma. Stow sustained serious brain injuries during the attack.

``We are truly thrilled to have Bryan with us tonight at the World Series,'' Giants CEO Larry Baer said. ``It's been a long road back. We're very grateful he has progressed and could join us.''

During the game, the scoreboard greeted Stow with the message ``Welcome to Bryan Stow and his family.'' Fans cheered.

The Giants raised more than $70,000 for the Bryan Stow Fund in 2011 alone, with third base coach Tim Flannery also holding two benefit concerts last offseason - with more in the works for this winter in the Bay Area. In fact, Flannery said he still has another check to present to the Stow family.

Pitcher Tim Lincecum gave $25,000 to assist the longtime San Francisco fan in April 2011.

Stow was beaten in a parking lot outside Dodger Stadium after the teams' March 31, 2011, season opener.

The Giants partnered with Stow's employer, American Medical Response, to gather donations at AT&T Park two weeks later during the Dodgers-Giants series opener.

In a rare scene at the start of that series, a player from each team addressed fans before first pitch. Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt and Dodgers second baseman Jamey Carroll came together for a joint message: This rivalry must stay on the field, without violence and hatred.

The teams gathered on the pitcher's mound to make clear there should be no further acts of violence in this long-standing rivalry. There were no major incidents during the series.

Stow, whose progress is posted by the family on www.support4bryanstow.com , has his sense of humor, his family said in the latest update Oct. 9. They said he cheated at the card game UNO.

``As always, there are good days and not so good days. Despite the extra bone growth he developed, he still is working hard in all his therapies,'' the update reads. ``It is painful for him and he is adamant that his fingers are broken (they aren't) and one time insisted he had a broken foot. His memory is very unpredictable and we don't know what he will remember and what he won't. We imagine that this is something that will be a part of his recovery for a long time.''

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Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

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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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