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Lockout affects different players different ways

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Lockout affects different players different ways

Let’s face it. From a financial standpoint the NHL lockout is not seriously hurting millionaire players like Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Vinny Lecavalier.

The players feeling the biggest sting from the NHL’s work freeze are first- and second-year players like Capitals forward Jay Beagle, who on Monday will go without a paycheck for the second straight pay period.

Unlike Ovechkin, who earns $9.5 million a season with the Capitals and is reportedly fetching $6 million playing for Dynamo Moscow of the KHL, Beagle has been counting on his wife, Ashley, to pay the bills.

Ashley Beagle works at a local hospital as an oncology nurse.

“She’s actually bringing home the dough right now,” Beagle said. “She’s been working long hours. It takes a special person to [work with cancer patients] and she’s great at it, too.”

Beagle said the domestic role reversal has gone pretty well.

“I’m the house wife right now,” he said. “I’m cooking all the meals. I clean the house. But I don’t do any of the laundry. I can’t do that.”

Beagle, 27, recently signed a three-year, $2.7 million contract with the Caps that would have paid him $700,000 this season and $1 million in each of the next two years. While that sounds nice, it is well below the NHL average salary of $2.4 million a season, which is $1 million more than the average NHL salary was seven years ago.

Prior to signing his first NHL contract, Beagle made $65,000 a year in his first two seasons with the AHL Hershey Bears. He then split the 2010-11 season between the Bears, where he made a prorated $105,000 a season, and the Capitals, where he made a prorated $500,000.

It wasn’t until last season that Beagle finally received a full season of NHL pay at $525,000.

Beagle said every NHL player was informed last season that a potential lockout was looming and that they should manage their money accordingly. For someone like Ovechkin, that means planning on life without a biweekly check of $733,727.84.
 
For Beagle, it means missing out on $51,846.15 every two weeks.

“It’s not like we planned on these paychecks, and now they’re gone,” Beagle said. “Even midway through the summer we were like, ‘OK, let’s go into a mode of saving and watch our spending a lot more tightly.’

“It’s unfortunate for guys who haven’t been in the league that long and have been in the minors for awhile. It hits you a little harder because you don’t have that much money saved up. But when we missed a paycheck on the 15th  [of October], we knew that was coming.”

Beagle insists this lockout is more about principle than it is about dollars and cents. He, like all NHL players, simply wants his current contract paid in full.

According to the players’ union, the owners’ most recent proposal would cut that salary by 12.3 percent. In other words, Beagle’s $700,000 salary would be sliced by $86,100, while Ovechkin’s $9.538 million salary would be sliced by $1.173 million.

That, in essence, is the crux of the players’ argument.   

“A lot of the guys feel the same way,” Beagle said. “We don’t really care as much about missing the paychecks. We just want to get a deal done and get to playing hockey. That’s what bothers me. I don’t look at it and say, ‘I’m missing this much money.’ I look at it as, ‘I’m missing this many games.’ Getting paid is nice, but the bottom line is I just want to get a deal done and play. But I know things have to be worked out. It’s a business.”

Until the league’s owners and players can figure out a way to divide an estimated $3.3 billion in annual revenue, Beagle will continue cleaning the house and cooking up some of the best steaks he and his wife have ever tasted.

“I’ve got some signature dishes she looks forward to coming home to,” he said.

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Believe it or not, this isn't the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup

Believe it or not, this isn't the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup

In what is perhaps the most unexpected Stanley Cup Final pairing in recent memory, the Washington Capitals and the Las Vegas Golden Knights are going to make history this year.

Either it is going to be the first expansion team to win a title in their first season, or it will be a team looking to end a 27-year title drought for one of the biggest cities in the United States.

But what it will not be is the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup.

Going even farther back than the Capitals last Stanley Cup appearance (1998), the Georgetown Hoyas and UNLV Rebels met in the 1991 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Sin City took the first, and up until now, the only postseason bout between these two cities. The Larry Johnson-led University of Las Vegas squad powered right past the Hoyas in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament.

[D.C. sports and Second Rounds, I know right?]

Coming fresh off the NCAA title in 1990, UNLV waltzed right to the Final Four before meeting their demise against Duke. It also ended up being the last game for Dikembe Mutombo in a Georgetown uniform.

While in all likely-hood this will not be the final game/ series for Alex Ovechkin rocking the red, it may be his last and only chance for him to play this far into a postseason.

In the past two seasons, Vegas has gone from zero professional teams to having a Stanley Cup contender, a WNBA franchise, and lined up to take over the Oakland Raiders in 2020. 

Now time for the Golden Knights' Cinderella story to come up a little bit short. 

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Capitals listed as underdogs in their first Stanley Cup since 1998

Capitals listed as underdogs in their first Stanley Cup since 1998

The odds have never gone the way of the Washington Capitals.

After years of being the common pick to finally break through and win the Stanley Cup, this was most definitely not the year.

Yet, here we are with the Capitals as one of the final two teams standing.

For their upcoming Stanley Cup Final, the Caps are the underdogs against the Las Vegas Golden Knights.  The opening line from OddsShark has the Golden Knights as -135 money line favorites to win the Stanley Cup. The Capitals were listed as +115 underdogs.

Vegas (the betting entity, not the team) has not exactly been the most reliable this year though. After all, the Golden Knights were 100/1 odds to win the whole thing. Now they are four games away.

In their past two series, Washington was not the favorites. The Capitals have not been favorites since the First Round against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

For years in the Alex Ovechkin era, they have been the favorites to not only go on to play for the Stanley Cup but winning it.

In 2018 they started the season tied for the fifth best odds to win the Cup (14/1), one of their lowest opening marks in the past decade. For the full perspective, Washington was tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs and behind the Dallas Stars at the start of the season.

Without question this underdog role has fit them quite well, they shouldn’t want anything to change heading into the biggest postseason series in 20 years for Washington D.C.

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