Capitals

Cincinnati sticking with struggling Legaux at QB

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Cincinnati sticking with struggling Legaux at QB

CINCINNATI (AP) Coach Butch Jones' son showed up for Cincinnati's family trick-or-treat day dressed as the Bearcats' quarterback - and yes, it was still Munchie Legaux.

Jones is sticking with his struggling quarterback.

The junior has thrown five interceptions in the last two games, leading to losses at Toledo and Louisville that knocked the Bearcats (5-2, 1-1 Big East) out of the national rankings and out of a front-runner position in the conference race. The worst was a lob into the end zone in overtime that was intercepted, helping Louisville pull out a 34-31 win on Friday.

Jones said on Tuesday that he won't consider replacing him.

``I haven't flinched and not on person on our football team has flinched, and I'm not going to,'' Jones said. ``I believe in him.''

Playing in a cold, driving rain, Legaux had his worst game of the season on Friday, throwing three interceptions, including the clincher in overtime. He finished 13 of 28 for 157 yards with one touchdown.

When Jones' son, Adam, showed up for the Bearcats' trick-or-treat event on Monday, he was dressed as Legaux.

``He was a quarterback and he was Munchie Legaux and he wanted to go see Munchie,'' his father said.

Jones is prepared to go through more growing pains with Legaux, who balances good throws with the occasional forced pass that can turn the game around. The Bearcats expect Syracuse (4-4, 3-1) to try to shut down their running game on Saturday at Nippert Stadium and force Legaux to throw.

``I think he has all the quarterback intangibles,'' Jones said. ``He understands the offense. I think he has great physical tools. I just think it's experience. It's something he's going through.

``It's a growth process he's going through. But we do everything in practice with it. I have trust and belief that he will continue to get better at that. He's had some setbacks, but he will get better.''

The school declined to make Legaux available for interviews on Tuesday.

Jones will try to help the first-year starter by giving him more chances to run on Saturday. He carried five times for 32 yards and a touchdown in Louisville, and could get more scrambles to take a little pressure off his passing.

Jones has been reluctant to have Legaux run frequently because he could get hurt.

``We're going to make a commitment to run him more,'' he said. ``Five games left, every game's a playoff. Just try to change some things up offensively. Plus I think some of the things our opponents do lend themselves to our quarterback running the football.''

Jones indicated that senior defensive end Walter Stewart likely won't play again. Stewart, the Bearcats' top pass rusher and team leader, has missed the last two games because of a spine problem. He's gotten two medical opinions about the risks of playing again.

Jones has offered him a chance to become part of the coaching staff. Stewart might get another medical opinion before making a decision.

``He's realistic,'' Jones said. ``He's deciding what he wants to do with his life if playing football is not there. Obviously I'm trying to convince him to give coaching a try.''

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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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