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Trending Topics: With home ice squandered, Capitals face tough questions

The morbid beatdown the Bruins administered in Games 1 and 2 is a kind of heartbreaking that comes at you early and leaves you demoralized, but I don’t think it’s quite what the question-asker had in mind.

What’s happening to the Capitals very much is.

In Game 1, the Caps went up 2-0, cheap official nfl jerseys blew that lead, went ahead again early in the third period, blew that lead on a bad penalty, and lost early in overtime on a what-can-you-do goal from a star talent.

In Game 2, they went up 2-0 and then 3-1, blew that lead, scored a late game-tying goal, then lost midway through the first overtime period on a bang-bang play.

That’s two home games in which the Caps either held a third-period lead or scored a late equalizer to give the fans hope, only to snatch it away in overtime in consecutive games. This is, however, nothing all that new. In the Barry Trotz era, the Caps are 6-9 in overtimes, which is a lot of overtimes to play in six-plus rounds over four seasons. And fully half of those wins came in last year’s seven-game series against the Leafs, during which five of the six games went to OT.

After blowing home ice and heading to Columbus for Tuesday’s Game 3, the Caps’ problems beyond making their fans type “I want to die” into various social media text as a sort of rite of spring are coming into clearer focus. It is, in fact, the same old tune played by the same old band.218

To look at the Caps’ underlying numbers, you understand that they are great. Basically every non-goal 5-on-5 percentage is between 53 and 55, despite trailing for just 12 minutes in this series so far (and by the way, they’re 0-2 despite trailing for 12 minutes). But also, they’ve only scored two goals at full strength to the Blue Jackets’ five, all from at least middle-danger parts of the ice.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Caps don’t seem to cheap nfl jerseys cheap shipping be able to convert even the large amount of high-danger scoring chances they generate into actual goals on the scoreboard. They’ve taken 22 shot attempts from in close to the goaltender, and allowed just eight. The conversion rates there? A stunning 37.5 percent from the Jets (three goals on eight attempts) versus a not-so-stunning-if-you-watch-them-in-any-playoffs 0 percent for the Caps (zero on 22).

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Cubs GM Jed Hoyer disappointed in rotation’s struggles

As if on cue, Tyler Chatwood backed up those comments with a rare performance against the St. Louis Cardinals in a 5-3 loss: 4.2 innings pitched, seven strikeouts and seven walks. According to ESPN Stats & Information data, only two pitchers compiled nfl jerseys for cheap at least seven and seven in less than five innings pitched last year. Before that, it hadn’t happened since 2008. It meant throwing a lot of pitches — 97 — in a short outing, not exactly what fielders want when the temperature is 35 degrees at first pitch.

“I just have to be better with my command,” Chatwood said after the loss. “That’s the thing that’s hurt me so far. It was cold, but I could grip the ball.

“Our guys have to get back in there to hit and I’m leaving them standing there in the cold for a while. … That’s not a good recipe for success right there I don’t think.”

Chatwood isn’t the only disappointment in the starting staff so far, as his record dropped to 0-3 with his new team, despite giving up just one hit. The Cubs’ vaunted rotation — at least on paper — ranks near the bottom of the league after averaging just five innings per start through their first 15 games.206

That’s just one-third of an inning more than the worst team in that category, the Tampa Bay Rays.

“It’s going to happen,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said about longer outings. “I’m fully confident it’s going to happen. The starters are really good. There is a lot to look forward to with the starters.”

The Cubs had a slow beginning to last season on the mound, eventually righting the ship in the second half — and that includes their starting staff. But last year, they had the championship hangover to get over; this year, it’s just cold weather and some postponements. But every team has dealt with the same cheap nfl authentic jerseys conditions, some thriving better than others.

The Cubs have limped out of the gate at 7-8 and can partly blame the uneven play on a rotation that boasts three former all-stars in Jon Lester, Yu Darvish and Jose Quintana. None has looked his best thus far.

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Aaron Boone ponders dropping struggling Giancarlo Stanton lower in lineup

Stanton has batted third in each of the Yankees’ 16 games this season, including in Tuesday night’s 9-1 loss to Stanton’s former team, the Miami Marlins. In the eight games he has appeared in at home, he has hit .086 (3-for-35) with 20 strikeouts.

According to Elias, those 20 strikeouts are the most for a hitter authentic nfl jerseys cheap in his first eight home games during the modern era, which began in 1900. The 17 strikeouts he had through his first eight games as a member of the Marlins in 2010 are also tied for second on that list with three other players who all happened to accomplish that feat since 2002.

After striking out twice Tuesday, Stanton was booed loudly by fans who have grown frustrated with his performances in the Bronx.205

On the road, Stanton has been markedly better, batting .323 (10-for-31) with three doubles and seven RBIs in those eight games.

Asked if he could come up with a reason for the home-road statistical disparity, Stanton simply said: “No.”

If a change to the Yankees’ lineup comes, it likely will arrive during the team’s four-game home series against the Toronto Blue Jays that begins Thursday following an off day Wednesday. Boone said any changes that come during the series would depend upon how the Blue Jays’ pitching matchups line up with what the Yankees want to do offensively.

Right-handers Aaron Sanchez, Marco Estrada and Marcus Stroman are scheduled to start the first three games of the series for Toronto.

Boone said he might alter the first five or six spots in the lineup, nfl jerseys for cheap but don’t expect him to move Stanton into the bottom tier of the order.

“He’s one at-bat away from getting it locked back in, and then the last thing you want is him down in the order getting pitched around,” Boone said. “He’s too premier of a player, and an at-bat away, in my eyes, from locking it in.”

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Celtics praise injured teammate Kyrie Irving’s text message of support

Celtics All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving sent a group text message to his teammates before Game 2, the contents of which resonated with his teammates before they took a commanding 2-0 lead in a first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Irving, who attended Game 1 and sat official nfl football jerseys on the bench during the first half, was not spotted inside TD Garden for Game 2, but his teammates said his words of encouragement helped them before Tuesday’s 120-106 triumph.

“[Irving] sent us a message before the game today, just telling us what to expect,” said Shane Larkin, one of Boston’s ballhandlers thrust into a larger role due to Irving’s season-ending knee surgery.

“We have a lot of guys in here that have never seen a playoff game. So he really gave some words of advice today and we all read it, made some comments back, and he just had an open conversation with us and he’s definitely helping off the court now that he can’t be out there with us fighting.194

“He’s definitely still locked in with us every single game.”

It’s notable that Celtics players have gone out of their way to praise Irving’s leadership, particularly when juxtaposed to a situation like San Antonio and the lingering uncertainty surrounding Kawhi Leonard.

The Celtics have won their first two games of the playoffs in large part because of the contributions of players like Terry Rozier, who hasn’t committed a turnover in 78 minutes of floor time since elevating to a starting role in place of Irving.

For 21-year-old Jaylen Brown and 20-year-old Jayson Tatum, Irving’s leadership and playoff experience is even more valuable.

“Kyrie talked to us before the game, just kind of let us nfl football jerseys for sale know what to expect, a lot of things to expect, and for us to stay locked in, and not worry about if we hit some adversity or whatever, just play through it,” said Celtics All-Star big man Al Horford. “And I thought our guys just did that. [The Bucks] made a run and we stayed poised and moved onto the next thing.”

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Jason Garrett says he’ll always love Dez Bryant, but release best for Cowboys

Bryant went three straight seasons without 1,000 yards and was set to count $16.5 million against the cap in 2018. After much internal deliberation, Garrett said the decision was made to part ways with the franchise’s all-time leader in touchdown catches.

“Dez Bryant has been a great player for this franchise during his time here,” Garrett said Tuesday at the Albertsons Companies All-Star Gala in which Pat and Emmitt Smith were presented a Lifetime Achievement Award for their charity work. “Certainly a playmaker, a difference-maker. A guy that we all love. Love him as a player, as a person and that will never change.

“It’s a challenging situation. A lot of different factors go into these kinds of decisions and again the guidepost for all of this is: What’s in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys?authentic nfl jerseys cheap And that’s why we made this decision. Wish Dez nothing but the best going forward. He’s a special guy. I love him. I will always love him and the impact that he’s made on this franchise has been significant.”181

In an interview with NFL Network after his release, Bryant referred to “Garrett guys” and players who wear the “C,” as captains, as playing a part in the team’s decision. Dak Prescott, Jason Witten and Sean Lee were three of the Cowboys’ six captains in 2017.

“For me, I mean being a quarterback, being a captain, I take the blame,” Prescott said. “I take all the blame. When you lose, things like this happen. So Dez knows how I feel. We’ve shared messages and he knows my stance on everything so I wish him well.”

Bryant and Witten became close over the years, especially since Bryant moved into the same neighborhood as the Pro Bowl tight end. Witten said last Friday “was an emotional day for all of us,” but defended the captains.

“I don’t know what all that’s about,” Witten said. “I know when you go through these processes there’s a lot of things that probably go into it. I know I enjoyed my time with Dez and I think that I appreciated everything that we were able to do. Certainly invested a lot in him and he has helped me become a better player, nfl jerseys for cheap too. So I appreciate that time together. Look, being a captain is a huge honor for me and the other guys and I know what those guys’ character is all about. There’s really nothing there.”

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Sidney Crosby, Penguins Breeze Past Flyers 5-1 in Game 3

A three-goal second period powered the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Sunday. The victory gives Pittsburgh a 2-1 series lead in the authentic nfl jerseys cheap opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Sidney Crosby scored a goal and assisted on three more to finish with four points in the win. Matt Murray also had a nice game in goal, stopping 26 of the Flyers’ 27 shots.

According to NHL.com’s Dan Rosen, Crosby now has 171 career points in the playoffs, which leaves him one point back of Mario Lemieux’s franchise record.

Crosby scored his fourth goal of the series to put the Penguins ahead 1-0 in the first period. Pittsburgh then exploded with three unanswered goals in the second period to take a commanding 4-0 lead.

Only five seconds elapsed between the Penguins’ third and fourth goals. Evgeni Malkin sent a vicious slap shot past the right pad of Brian Elliott at the 6:48 mark of the period. Crosby won the ensuing faceoff and immediately got the Penguins on the attack. He passed the puck back to Brian Dumoulin, whose wrist shot slipped between Elliott’s five-hole.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Jonathan Bombulie, Malkin and Dumoulin combined to score the fastest two goals in Penguins postseason history. Seven seconds separated Ron Stackhouse and Rick Kehoe’s goals in Game 4 of the 1980 preliminary round.

Getting off to a fast start may be the most critical factor for both teams. The Penguins were up 3-0 after the first period in Game 1, and the Flyers took a 2-0 lead 47 seconds into the second period of Game 2. Philadelphia then dug itself into a big hole halfway through Game 3, with Crosby’s opener taking a lot of energy out of the arena.

Game 4 isn’t a must-win situation for the nfl jerseys for cheap Flyers since they’d still be alive even with a defeat. Dropping a second straight home game would leave Philadelphia in a precarious position nonetheless, as it would need to win twice in Pittsburgh to advance.

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Reuben Foster Won’t Participate in Offseason Workouts

The San Francisco 49ers will hold linebacker Reuben Foster out of offseason team activities, the team announced Sunday.

“[Foster] will not participate in team activities as he is tending to his legal matters,” 49ers CEO Jed York, general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan said in a statement, nfl jerseys cheap china free shipping per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. “As previously stated, his future with the team will be determined by the information revealed during the legal process.”

Police arrested Foster in February on allegations of domestic violence, and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday it was bringing charges, including felony domestic violence, against him.

In an official statement, the district attorney’s office said Foster’s live-in girlfriend was bruised and suffered a ruptured eardrum. The girlfriend also told authorities Foster “dragged her by her hair, physically threw her out of the house, and punched her in the head eight to 10 times.”

Shortly after the charges were announced, the 49ers said they had been made aware of Foster’s situation but indicated he’d remain with the team. Foster’s status with San Francisco “will depend on what is learned through the legal process,” according to the 49ers (h/t Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports).

NFL Network’s Jim Trotter reported the NFL wouldn’t place Foster on the commissioner’s exempt list until the league wraps up is own investigation into the allegations. As a result, nfl jersey free shipping it was up to the 49ers as to whether he would participate in any offseason workouts.

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Juventus’ Buffon, Benatia can’t blame referee Oliver for Madrid meltdown

It is often said that a good referee is the referee who makes his decisions and is not seen. Unfortunately for Michael Oliver, in his biggest game to date, this was not the case.

All was going well in the Champions nfl shop free shipping League quarterfinal second leg between the two European giants of Real Madrid and Juventus, especially if you supported the Italians who were 3-0 up, until the final moments of the match.

With the clock ticking down at the Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid began a last-ditch attack. As the ball was played into the Juventus penalty area, defender Medhi Benatia inexplicably barged into the back of Madrid’s Lucas Vazquez just as the forward was about to shoot. Benatia made a challenge for the ball but made no contact. He was guilty of impeding his opponent by physical contact, a clear foul.

Anywhere else on the field, this action would have resulted in a free kick being awarded. But in this instance it provided a penalty kick to Madrid and near certain Champions League elimination for Juventus.

Premier League referee Oliver, 33, had no hesitation with his decision and showed immense character to give such a monumental spot kick. His decision was based purely on the actions of Benatia.

Of course Oliver would have been aware of the magnitude of the occasion but, at that precise moment, all thoughts of where he was — the game, the timing, the occasion — would have become secondary. As a referee, the call comes from your gut and what you have witnessed. Oliver was in an optimal position and his body language showed a positive and decisive reaction.

The reaction of the Juventus players was predictable, official nfl shop given the consequences — they were moments away from extra time and could have avenged last season’s defeat in the final to the same opponent.

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The entire NBA wants to put Aron Baynes on a poster

Few would have blamed Baynes if he simply covered his head or rolled out of the way of the speeding reigning MVP. But as Westbrook raced past Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum at the top of the 3-point arc,authentic nfl jerseys cheap Baynes did the only thing that made sense to him — he scrambled to his feet then leapt to contest as a full-throttle Westbrook launched into him.

The force of their mid-air collision knocked Baynes from just inside the charge circle to below the baseline. A desperation swipe by Tatum might have caused Westbrook to lose control of the ball going up and prevented Baynes from enduring an undesirable career highlight.

Instead, the sequence displayed what Baynes has brought to the Celtics all season: A sturdy backline defender who is utterly fearless in giving up his body despite opponents routinely attempting to put him on a poster.

“My job is to try to make every shot attempt of the opponent’s as tough as I can. If that’s me putting my body on the line then each time I’m going to step up and do it,” Baynes said. “It’s fun for me. I like it when guys are focused on [trying to dunk on] me because then they’re not focused on their game.”

Baynes logs only 18.3 minutes per game, but he starts each half alongside All-Star Al Horford in Boston’s frontcourt, and there’s an obvious difference in the Celtics’ defensive intensity when Baynes is on the floor.

The Celtics own a defensive rating of 97.2 with Baynes on the court this season. That’s the best individual defensive rating for a qualifying player in the NBA this season and it’s also 4.3 points per 100 possessions better than Boston’s league-best defensive rating of 101.5 overall.

Jaylen Brown was one of the first teammates to reach Baynes as he laid face-down under the basket.

Baynes had just put his life in jeopardy when he contested a Giannis Antetokounmpo dunk attempt, and now Baynes needed a minute to, as he would later quip, make sure all his parts were in the right place.

A Matthew Dellavedova screen had pinned both Horford and Shane Larkin, nfl jerseys for cheap allowing Antetokounmpo a free run at the hoop late in the first quarter of an October meeting between the Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks. Baynes left his man on the opposite block and rose up as the Greek Freak reared back for a ferocious tomahawk.

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The Patriots Would Have Regretted Trading Rob Gronkowski

Now that the New England Patriots traded wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Los Angeles Rams, ESPN’s Adam Schefter has reported that the Pats will not be dealing superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski.

If that’s the case, nfl jerseys cheap shop New England fans have dodged a bullet.

Had Patriots head coach Bill Belichick opted to trade Gronkowski, he would have run the risk of entering the 2018 NFL season with a roster lacking the talent to compete with emerging NFC heavyweights, as well as New England’s top-flight AFC counterparts.

A Gronkowski trade would have given fellow Super Bowl contenders such as the Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints a leg up on a Patriots roster that is quickly resembling a shell of its former self. And a deal involving Gronk could have even tipped the AFC scales in favor of the Pittsburgh Steelers (who have more top-end talent as is) or the Jacksonville Jaguars (who are already much deeper).

The Patriots have made three of the last four Super Bowls, but as team that hasn’t drafted a player in the top 25 since 2012, New England has become too thin to sacrifice Gronk.

They might have won the AFC Championship in both 2016 and 2017, but the Pats cruised through one of the weakest divisions in the weaker of the two conferences. And according to Football Outsiders’ adjusted games lost formula, only 10 teams were healthier during that span.

Although the Patriots went 13-3 in 2017, tbey ranked lower than the Eagles, Vikings, Rams, Saints and Steelers in terms of DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) at Football Outsiders.

And while at least Philly, Minnesota,nfl shop free shipping Los Angeles and New Orleans appeared to get better in free agency, New England lost stalwart left tackle Nate Solder, playmaking cornerback Malcolm Butler, flashy running back Dion Lewis and productive veteran wide receiver Danny Amendola in March before trading Cooks to the Rams this week.