Capitals

Murray relaxed, unburdened ahead of new season

201301010007004699046-p2.jpeg

Murray relaxed, unburdened ahead of new season

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) People have been treating Andy Murray differently since he won his first major and ended that long drought for British men at tennis' Grand Slam tournaments.

He's been given some free rides, lots of accolades and - just for something new at the start of the season in Australia - he didn't have to answer a single question about Fred Perry or 1936; constant topics in his previous trips Down Under since 2006.

``I've had a lot of congratulations because a lot of people that were sort of general sports fans kind of knew my story a little bit of how long it had been since any British player had won a Slam and how many times I had lost in the finals,'' Murray said Tuesday as he prepared for his title defense at the Brisbane International. ``It was very nice for me to finally be able to move on and not worry about that stuff anymore.

``I got a few upgrades on flights and things like that, which is nice, but that's died down a little bit over the last few months.''

The Brisbane International was the first of Murray's three titles in 2012 - the other two were at the London Olympics and the U.S. Open, which both came after a devastating loss in the Wimbledon final.

``I probably just feel a little bit more relaxed maybe the last few weeks than I normally do a few weeks out from a Slam,'' he said. ``I'm sure once I get on the court everything stays the same.''

This time last year, he seemed to be more on edge, still desperate for a breakthrough after losing the previous two Australian Open finals, and his player-coach relationship with Ivan Lendl was new.

The tuneup in Brisbane didn't get him over the line at Melbourne Park last year, but it paid off later in the year when he ended a run of four Grand Slam final defeats by winning the first for a British man in 76 years since Perry's title in the United States.

``I always prepared to give myself the best chance to win the event. The last few years I'd got close but never managed to get over the final hurdle,'' he said. ``So whether it was a mental thing, whether it was things in my game I needed to improve, physical things ... who knows exactly?

``But now that I've managed to do it, I hope that when I'm in those situations again I'll deal with them better and put less pressure on myself, which will help me play better.''

Despite all the public acclaim, Murray didn't receive Britain's highest civic honor - a knighthood - in the New Year's list, although other athletes did.

Not that it bothered the 25-year-old Scot.

``You need to do a lot for a long time to deserve an honor like that,'' he said. ``I've only been doing it for a couple of years so I'll definitely need to win a few more matches and have more tournaments to have a chance of getting that.''

Quick Links

Capitals at Ducks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Capitals at Ducks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Coming off of the adrenaline-pumping 5-1 win over the Sharks on Thursday, the Capitals (32-19-7) will face off against the Anaheim Ducks (22-27-9) Sunday evening. The Capitals hope to maintain their energy with a win over the Ducks, the second-worst team in the Pacific Division.
 
The Ducks broke a seven-game losing streak (which began towards the end of January) to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday, but lost again to the Boston Bruins on Friday. The Ducks are seventh in the Pacific Division, only slightly above the Los Angeles Kings.


Here is everything you need to know about the Sunday night, which takes place at 9 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington.


CAPITALS at DUCKS HOW TO WATCH


What: Washington Capitals at Anaheim Ducks, Game 59 of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season
Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, Calif.
When: 9 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Capitals at Ducks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder Link)
Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals at Ducks on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.
Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS at DUCKS TV SCHEDULE


8 PM: Caps Faceoff Live
8:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live
9 PM: Capitals at Ducks
11:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live
12 AM: Caps Overtime Live


CAPITALS at DUCKS INJURY REPORT

Capitals: 
No injuries to report.

Ducks: 
Ryan Miller -- knee injury as of Feb. 15. 
Nick Ritchie -- illness as of Feb. 15.
Chad Johnson -- head injury as of Feb. 13. 
John Gibson -- back, neck and head injuries as of Feb. 8. 
Patrick Eaves -- flu-like symptoms as of Feb. 7. 
Ondrej Kase -- torn labrum in his right shoulder as of Jan. 18. 

CAPITALS at DUCKS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Alex Ovechkin, F, Capitals (39 goals, 27 assists, 66 points): Ovechkin is the leading goal scorer in the NHL. In the Caps’ last game against the Sharks, the team captain contributed one goal and one assist in the team’s blowout 5-1 win.

T.J. Oshie, F, Capitals (18 goals, 18 assists, 36 points): Oshie scored his 500th career point in his second goal against the Sharks on Thursday. He’s been a key player on the ice this February, scoring three goals and contributing with five assists. 

CAPITALS vs. DUCKS SERIES HISTORY


Number of all-time Meetings: 36
All-Time Series Record: Ducks lead 18-17-1
Last Meeting: Ducks win 6-5 (12/2/18)

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: 

Quick Links

Former Nationals GM thinks the Bryce Harper sweepstakes are almost over

Former Nationals GM thinks the Bryce Harper sweepstakes are almost over

Another day, another favorite in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes.

It’s not a completely new team this time around, but former baseball executive and current analyst Jim Bowden feels pretty confident in the Philadelphia Phillies landing the services of the star outfielder.

“I keep hearing there’s a lot of momentum and traction here on him going and signing with the Philadelphia Phillies,” Bowden shared on CBS Sports HQ. “And he could be rounding third and heading home shortly.”

Bowden appeared on the program to help react to the most recent betting odds on Harper, specifically those that have the San Francisco Giants as the clear favorites. Bowden disagrees with that projection, especially considering the length of the offers involved. 

It’s clear the Giants are hoping to sign Harper to a short term deal, but the former Nationals general manager is convinced the outfielder will end up getting a significantly longer deal.

10 years, $300 million is of course the terms of the deal the Nationals reportedly offered Harper months ago as the offseason was getting underway, so if he’s been holding out for a better contract then the Phillies may be forced to top it.

One point Bowden made during the interview was how badly Harper wants to win “right now.” The Giants, Padres, and White Sox don’t appear ready to truly compete for another few seasons, which is why he so emphatically endorses Philadelphia or Washington as the ultimate destination. 

The Phillies and Nats look like the only two competitors who can feasibly win the World Series as early as 2019, and if that’s truly important to Harper, it helps weed out the competition.

Of course, as with the litany of Bryce Harper rumors we’ve heard all winter long, this comes with a baseball-sized grain of salt. 

Various teams have taken turns atop the leaderboard when it comes to guessing where Harper will end up, and while the Phillies are probably the most consistent favorite of the offseason, there’s obviously a reason why they and/or Harper have yet to pull the trigger on a deal. 

The fit seems clear, and the money is there, but for now, Harper is still unemployed, which means every team still has an opportunity to wow him with an offer. It wouldn’t too be surprising if he ultimately ends up in Philadelphia, and if Jim Bowden is to be believed, that news could be coming sooner rather than later.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS