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Nathan Peterman Jerseyin Deutsch in Medien und Literatur 20.09.2018 05:17
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LAS VEGAS — Everyone knew that this would be a year of firsts for the expansion Vegas Golden Knights when they began play early last October.
Things like first goal (James Neal). First win (at Dallas Clay Matthews Jersey , 2-1). First shutout (Oscar Dansk, 7-0, vs. Colorado). And, if things went really well, maybe even a first playoff win (1-0 vs. Los Angeles Kings).
But very few expected the team that openly calls itself “The Golden Misfits” to possibly earn the first Stanley Cup in team history.
But that’s a very real possibility as the Western Conference champion Golden Knights begin the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Finals on Monday night against the Alex Ovechkin-led Eastern Conference champion Washington Capitals at T-Mobile Arena.
Can you imagine a victory parade on the famed Las Vegas Strip with the Stanley Cup as the featured participant?
“No, I try not to think about that,” Neal, who lost in the 2017 Finals to the Pittsburgh Penguins as a member of the Nashville Predators, said. “I don’t want to try and get too far ahead, you know. Definitely a dream for sure. Man, it would be crazy, huh.”
Almost as crazy as people lining up at 6:30 in the morning to make sure they get a seat to watch a 35-minute practice at 11 a.m. as was the case on Saturday at City National Arena in the suburb of Summerlin, where the Golden Knights practice.
Or Celine Dion wearing a Marc-Andre Fleury jersey during one of her sold out shows at nearby Caesars Palace. Or the Statue of Liberty in front of the New York New York Hotel being draped in a huge Vegas Golden Knights jersey.
“It’s crazy how much support we’ve gotten all season here,” Fleury Kyle Williams Jersey , who can become just the 11th goalie in NHL history to have his name engraved four times on the Stanley Cup, said. “Waiting in line to come into practice Having the wave and chants during practice? Never seen that before. It’s been amazing.”
Now the Golden Knights, who have had an eight-day break since knocking off Winnipeg in five games in the Western Conference final, are just four wins away from capping their storybook season in spectacular fashion.
“I don’t like thinking too far ahead,” Fleury said. “I just want to win. I don’t care what happened before and stuff. We’re so close. I want to win. I want to be a part of this team winning the Cup. That’s all that matters.”
They’ll have to get by a Washington team also trying to make history by winning its first Stanley Cup and is a remarkable 8-2 on the road in the playoffs, including a 4-0 blanking of Tampa Bay in Game 7 of the Eastern finals on Wednesday. The record for road wins in a playoff is 10.
Getting to the Stanley Cup Finals took a tremendous burden off the back of star left wing Ovechkin who has scored 664 career goals, including 12 in this postseason. The 32-year-old, now in his 13th season, has an NHL-best 15 points (8 goals, 7 assists) on the road in the playoffs and was very emotional during postgame interviews after finally garnering his first berth in a Stanley Cup Final.
“We’ve never been in this position before,” Ovechkin said. “All my career, I played for this team, and we never get the success like that. The town is going nuts.”
More than 6,000 fans came to Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington De'Anthony Thomas Jersey , Va., on Saturday for the team’s final morning skate and to send the team off to Las Vegas, where the Golden Knights are a combined 35-11-2 this season. Some have joked part of the reason for the expansion team’s home success was the so-called “Vegas Flu” that hit teams that may have felt a little listless after spending the previous night out on the town.
Ovechkin said that won’t be a problem Monday night or for Game 2 on Wednesday night at T-Mobile Arena.
“We’re going (to Vegas) to play hockey, not to pool party and play in a casino,” he told NHL.com. “We’re going there to play hockey and do our thing, and then we’re going to have all the summer and whatever we want to do, we can to do it.”
Vegas won both regular-season meetings between the two teams, 3-0 behind 26 saves by Fleury on Dec. 23 in Las Vegas, and 4-3 on an Alex Tuch goal with 5:12 remaining on Feb. 4 at Capital One Arena in D.C.
Shane Ray is aiming to keep both his weight and his spirits up as he heads into a fourth surgery on his troublesome left wrist.
"I ain't been getting down about it. I just need to get it fixed so I can play and be 100" percent, Ray said Tuesday after watching his team's first minicamp practice.
Ray said he's optimistic he won't lose as much weight or strength as he did last year, when he dropped 17 pounds and essentially played one-handed for half the season before opting for a third operation in December so that he could get a jumpstart on his offseason rehab.
Ray dropped to 225 pounds last season, when he posted just 15 tackles and a single sack a year after collecting 48 tackles and eight sacks.
"I've already gotten myself up to 247, 250" pounds, Ray said. "I'm planning on being back in the weight room within two to three weeks. So P.J. Williams Jersey , it's not like I'm going to be sidelined as long as I was last year."
Ray is also switching doctors for Thursday's operation in Houston. He hopes to return to practice by mid-August and play in the season opener against Seattle on Sept. 9.
Ray broke his left wrist at the start of training camp last year when he got tangled up with offensive lineman Menelik Watson. After surgery to repair both bones and ligaments, he missed the first six games and the final two.
With a jumpstart on his rehab, "I thought I was out in the clear" by the start of the offseason program two months ago, Ray said. "But I'd wake up every day and I'm like, 'Man, my wrist is still hurting.'"
The soreness didn't subside and swelling appeared, so he sought medical advice last week when doctors discovered an unhealed, fractured bone and recommended yet another operation.
"It's frustrating but all I can do is try to keep a positive mind," Ray said. "I'm more anxious to just get it done and over with so I can start my healing process and get back out here with my team."
The setback is bad timing for Ray, whose fifth-year option the Broncos declined to exercise last month, denying him a $9.23 million guaranteed salary in 2019. That would have surpassed the four-year, $9.18 million rookie contract he signed in 2015 after winning SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors at Missouri.
Moreover, the Broncos selected North Carolina State pass rusher Bradley Chubb with the fifth pick in this year's draft. Chubb lined up opposite Von Miller as both a down lineman in a 4-3 scheme and stand-up rusher in the 3-4 Tuesday.
Being sidelined for two to three months heading into a contract year isn't ideal, but "I can't let that stress me out Nathan Peterman Jersey ," Ray said.
"Of course, everybody knows this is my contract year, but most importantly, I can't go ensure my next contract if I'm not healthy. I don't want to go out there like I did last year and try to force something and put bad film out there and let that be the judge of who I am as a player. Because a lot of that happened," Ray said.
"With the injury, I should have sat down. I went out and played. It wasn't good as it should have been obviously because of the injury. And I feel like a lot of people tried to use that against me. So, this time I'm going to be smart. I'm going to do the best thing for me, which is to make sure I'm 100 percent healthy. And then once I'm 100 percent healthy, I'll be able to be out here and be the player that my coaches and my teammates know I am."
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