Capitals

Jeremy Lin will return to the New York Knicks

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Jeremy Lin will return to the New York Knicks

From Comcast SportsNet
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Jeremy Lin will be staying put, in New York and as the Knicks' starting point guard. Coach Mike Woodson repeated Wednesday that Lin will "absolutely" be back next season and will enter training camp as the starter at his position, even with the Knicks agreeing to a deal with veteran Jason Kidd. Lin has agreed to sign an offer sheet with the Houston Rockets for about 28 million over four years. The Knicks have said all along they planned to match any offer for their restricted free agent, and Woodson said the Knicks "never once" blinked at knowing they would have to pay that figure. The offer sheet still hasn't been signed and sent to the Knicks, who would then have three days to match, so Woodson said he couldn't comment much about it, but added that "Jeremy Lin has always been a big part of what we we're trying to do as we move forward with our franchise." Lin took to his Twitter page Wednesday to deny a report that he was unhappy with the Knicks for not signing him right away and forcing him to get another offer first. He earned the starting spot in February and emerged as a breakout star before his season was cut short by surgery to repair torn knee cartilage. Woodson said Lin would go into training camp as the starter because he doesn't believe players should lose their spots because of injury, and that he would benefit from playing with Kidd. "Jason's a veteran guy that brings leadership and I thought it would be a perfect fit for Jeremy Lin in terms of being able to tutor him as he grows as a point guard for our franchise, and Jason can still play and run a ballclub," Woodson said before the Knicks' summer league team practiced. "So that's important I think as we move forward." The deal that will pay Kidd about 3 million annually hasn't been completed, but the Knicks did get a couple finished Wednesday on the first day players could sign. They acquired center Marcus Camby from Houston in a sign-and trade deal and re-signed guard JR Smith. Steve Novak also has agreed to come back with a four-year, 15 million deal, but that also wasn't completed Wednesday. The Knicks signed forward James White from Europe, but Woodson said he wasn't sure if Landry Fields would be back. The starter at shooting guard most of the last two seasons has signed an offer sheet in Toronto worth about 20 million over three years. New York sent Toney Douglas, Josh Harrellson and Jerome Jordan and two second-round draft picks to the Rockets for Camby.

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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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