Capitals

Caps brace themselves for life without hockey

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Caps brace themselves for life without hockey

Now what?Now that Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr have proclaimedthey are at an impasse in negotiations for a new Collective BargainingAgreement, and with no talks scheduled between now and Saturdaysmidnight deadline, NHL players will need to start making preparations for lifewithout hockey.Yeah, weve got to get our ducks in a row here becauseweve always been thinking, Oh, something will happen, something will happen.Capitals veteran left wing Jason Chimera said.What will happen on Sunday is that the Capitals lockerroom at Kettler Capitals Iceplex will be locked. If the players who remain inthe area want to keep in skating shape, theyll need to rent ice at Kettler.
There may be some ice available here at KCI and someother rinks around town, Chimera said. I think during the day, with kids inschool, there should be ice available. The prices are more for ice here than in Edmonton, thats forsure. I saw some of the prices to rent ice for an hour and I was like Holy !We better solve this soon or guys are going to need an ice-time stipend orsomething from the PA players association.Worse yet, players would be forced to do their own laundryand stock up on some air fresheners.Yeah, well have to put stuff on the patio, Chimera said.I dont think my wife will like my gear hanging in the house too much.With the possibility of a lockout looming, players were encouragedlast season to save one of their paychecks. And with escrow checks expected tobe delivered in mid-October, most players will not feel the financial pinch of alockout until early November, when the checks stop entirely.Now 36 with a wife and two school-age children, Chimera saidhell remain in the area until a settlement is reached. But in 2004, he remembersholding out the same hope for labor peace and endured an entire season withoutan NHL paycheck.I just kind of hung around hoping for something tohappen, said Chimera, who was a 25-year-old member of the Edmonton Oilers duringthe last lockout Some guys did three-on-three leagues for a bit, justtouring around, but eventually I went to Italy. One of my agents bestfriends was coaching a team, so I went there and played for a couple of months.It was a different experience, thats for sure.Back then, Chimera was dating his future wife and the twoapproached the trip to Italyas an adventure.We just kind of packed up and moved, he said. It wasjust the two of us so it was easy and it was neat to see different stops, but Iremember the feeling last time when the season got cancelled, I think it wasprobably one of the worst days.While the players and owners brought entirely differentproposals to the table in meetings this week in New York, few around the league believe thedifferences between the two side are great enough for them to surrender 3.3billion in annual revenue.Guys lifetimes in the NHL, the span during which theyplay, is pretty small, Chimera said. I think its five years, average, so ifyou lose two of those five years, its pretty drastic. It would be a shame tolose any time, thats for sure.And not just for the players. Chimera joked that a lockoutcould put some strain on a few hockey marriages, as well, saying his wife isalready pushing him out of the house after a summer of together time.She wants me to go on a road trip, seriously, hesaid. She wants to get rid of me. So its a weird feeling when this stuffhappens. Hopefully, something will get done.

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5 reasons the Caps beat the Lightning in Game 6

5 reasons the Caps beat the Lightning in Game 6

After losing three straight, the Capitals battled back in Game 6 on Monday. With their 3-0 win, Washington forced the Eastern Conference Final into a decisive Game 7 on Wednesday.

Here is how the Caps did it.

1. Braden Holtby matched Andrei Vasilevskiy save for save

Andrei Vasilevskiy was just as great in this game as he was in the three previous, but one of the major differences in this one was that Holtby was just as good. He may not have been tested as much (Vasilevskiy made 32 saves, Holtby 24), but he was big when the team needed.

In the second period with the scored tied at 0, Holtby made one of the most critical saves perhaps of the entire season when he denied Anthony Cirelli with the toe on a 2-on-1. When the Caps took the lead, Holtby really shut the door in the third period with 10 saves to cap off what was his fifth career playoff shutout and first shutout of the entire season.

2. T.J. Oshie’s timely goal

Over halfway into the game, it looked like it was just going to be one of those nights. Caps fans know it well by now. Washington outplays their opponent, they get chance after chance and develop a whopping advantage in shots, but they run into a hot goalie and a random play suddenly turns into a goal for the other team, game and season over.

Vasilevskiy was on his way to having perhaps his best performance of the series. Considering how he played in the three games prior to Game 6, that’s saying something. The Caps were doing everything right, but he continued to make save after save. Then on the power play in the second period, John Carlson struck the inside of the post, the horn went off and the roar of the crowd gave way to dismay as the referee waved his arms to indicate there was no goal and play continued. Just seconds later, T.J. Oshie gave the Caps the 1-0 lead.

You have to wonder if doubt was starting to creep into the back of the minds of the players when that puck struck the post as they wondered what else they had to do to beat Vasilevskiy. Luckily, that feeling didn’t last long.

3. Special teams

Braydon Coburn’s tripping penalty in the second period gave Washington its only power play of the night and its first since the second period of Game 4. They had to make it count given how well Vasilveskiy was playing and they did.

Washington now has a power play goal in each of their three wins against the Lightning and no power play goals in their three losses. So yeah, it’s significant.

Tampa Bay had two opportunities of their own, but Washington managed to kill off both power plays in the penalty kill’s best performance of the series.

4. Washington’s physical game plan

On paper, the Lightning are better than the Caps in most categories. One area in which Washington has the edge, however, is physical play and it was clear very early that they intended to use that to their advantage in Game 6. Tampa Bay was pushed around and they seemed to struggle to recover.

Ovechkin was a one-man wrecking ball out there hitting everything that moved. The energy he brought with every hit was palpable and both the team and the crowd fed on it.

Washington was credited with 39 hits on the night compared to Tampa Bay’s 19. Ovechkin had four of those as did Nicklas Backstrom while Devante Smith-Pelly contributed five and Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik each led the team with six.

5. Fourth line dagger

Tampa Bay’s fourth line was the story of Game 5, but Washington’s fourth line sealed the deal on Monday with its third period goal.

Chandler Stephenson beat out an icing call, forcing Braydon Coburn to play the puck along the wall. Jay Beagle picked it up, fed back to Stephenson who backhanded a pass for the perfect setup for Devante Smith-Pelly.

Smith-Pelly scored seven goals in the regular season. He now has four in the playoffs.

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.