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huangjian123  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, August 8, 2018 11:21:30 AM(UTC)
huangjian123

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Of all the ways the Washington Capitals have tried to win in the playoffs Hector Rondon Houston Astros Jersey , none has been as effective as this.

They pushed the pace with speed and skill when Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom were part of the ”Young Guns.” They made every game a coin flip with tight, Dale Hunter hockey. Each time, an early exit followed.

This year is different. Suddenly, the Capitals are a suffocating defensive team that clogs the middle of the ice and makes even the fastest of opponents look slow.

The Vegas Golden Knights are the latest to get frustrated by Washington’s neutral-zone pressure that took a toll on Columbus, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, paving the way for this run to the Stanley Cup Final. After cruising through three rounds with ease, nothing looks easy right now for Vegas because the Capitals have mastered the art of frustration, and are two wins away from hoisting the Cup for the first time.

”Offensive teams have certain tendencies, certain routes that they take through the neutral zone, plays they like to make, so if you can be on top of them and turn over some pucks, stifle them, make it hard for them to gain entry with possession, that frustrates skilled players,” defenseman Matt Niskanen said Sunday. ”If you can be in their face, just standing in the way Rafael Devers Boston Red Sox Jersey , it’s amazing what that does.”

It’s amazing the transformation the Capitals have made since coach Barry Trotz challenged players late in the regular season to embrace this approach. It was clear as early as Game 4 of the first round that the 1-1-3 trap in the neutral zone had the ability to essentially shut down the opposing attack, and since the first two playoff games Washington is 10-2 when scoring first.

The Golden Knights have found how difficult it is to try to come back against the Capitals and need to adjust quickly down 2-1 in the Cup Final going into Game 4 Monday night. They have to make some adjustments before it’s too late.

”Our guys who have a lot of speed can go back deeper, gather some speed,” winger David Perron said. ”Then the defensemen can try to freeze the first forechecker, kick it wide. These guys coming with speed, if they’re confronted, which they will be most times at the blue line, you can put it in and go on the forecheck. You can have guys hang close to the right wing or up top, and as the puck is coming your way, win the one-on-one battle with support. … We also have to try to not let them set up, so if there’s a turnover, a quick one, we can punt it up, go back on offense.”

The Penguins and Lightning tried that and couldn’t crack the Capitals well enough to advance.

”They’re really good at slowing you down,” Lightning forward J.T. Miller said during the Eastern Conference final. ”Right when you want to just chip it and go, there’s a guy http://www.cowboysauthorizedshops.com/authentic-mike-white-jersey , there’s a wall there, and guys are ready to go back and get it on the other side. … It’s just their ability to stand up and make you force plays because it looks like there’s more ice than there is, and then all of a sudden they do a good job of staying in front and retrieving pucks.”

Vegas is built on speed, but it’s hard to harness it if players can’t get blue line to blue line with the puck to create any offense. When the Capitals took a lead in Game 3, they went into their now-patented scheme.

”It’s just kind of a group mentality to make life difficult on them,” winger Tom Wilson said. ”I think that’s when we’re at our best as a team is when we’re playing physical, we’re taking away time and space, making it difficult on their top guys.”

That difficulty wears on a team, and Trotz said it’s noticeable when an opponent tries to change its game and manage the puck differently to counterbalance the trap. When it works effectively, not only does it limit changes against, but it creates the kind of odd-man rushes that have paced Washington’s offense this postseason.

”It’s important to recognize moments when you can pressure, and we don’t want to get away from that, where we can send two guys and try to force teams into mistakes,” Niskanen said. ”If you can hold either the red line or the blue line with layers of support, you can force teams into turnovers, and we’ve done a good job of that.”



More Stanley Cup coverage: Super Bowl 52 will be played comfortably under the translucent U.S. Bank Stadium roof on a dry artificial turf Weston Richburg Color Rush Jersey , leaving the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles without worries of traction trouble or kick-altering winds.

That doesn’t mean the workers in charge of preparing a surface that’s championship-sufficient were free from challenges.

The host Minnesota Vikings came close to reaching the big game, for one.

When they beat the New Orleans Saints with that last-play touchdown pass in the divisional round on Jan. 14, the NFL would have normally already been in takeover mode of the stadium by then. The victory by the Philadelphia Eagles over the Atlanta Falcons that weekend was a big help for the league’s exhaustive operations; it sent the Vikings on the road to face the Eagles for the NFC title rather than hosting another postseason game at their not-yet-2-year-old home.

”That would’ve really pushed us back and crunched the time,” said Ed Mangan, the NFL’s field director. ”We’ve had a few other teams in the past that got close, so you always start out with a `what if.’ You have a Plan A, a Plan B and a Plan C, and you have a backup plan for each one of those. So you’re always prepared for it.”

Then there’s the winter weather, which has its own share of the spotlight this week next to the Patriots and Eagles. Just because the game itself will be played in climate-controlled conditions doesn’t mean the crews are always comfortable, with some outdoor work to be done in the single-digit temperatures. The downtown setting, with a major hospital, several churches and plenty of apartment buildings within a few blocks of the front doors, added some urban-specific security hurdles.

Commuting to the site last week, too, could have been made trickier by a storm that dumped more than a foot of snow on the region. But the City of Minneapolis and Minnesota Department of Transportation snowplows produced a championship-caliber performance.

”We’ve never been held up getting anywhere,” said Mangan Evan Bouchard Oilers Jersey , whose team is also responsible for the practice facilities at suburban Vikings headquarters in Eden Prairie (for the Patriots) and at the University of Minnesota a short ride from downtown (for the Eagles).
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So are all the preparations finally caught up?

The answer is yes, according to Eric Finkelstein, the NFL’s senior director of events.

”We’ve been talking to the team and were for multiple months, and we were able to delay the things that we knew we could afford to delay and get a jump on the stuff that we knew we had to get done, even during the playoff game run,” Finkelstein said.

Vikings fans are still decompressing from the loss to the Eagles that dashed their dream of an unprecedented Super Bowl on home turf. So having the home stadium as the backdrop for the big game could be a painful sight either on television or in person. The good news for them and their healing process is that almost all of the team’s logos will be invisible, covered by NFL and Super Bowl signage. The six-panel purple end zones have been pulled off, replaced with Patriots and Eagles paint.

”We want this to look like the Super Bowl and know that you’re here,” Finkelstein said.

The field itself remains the domain of the indefatigable George Toma, the NFL’s grounds crew master who is working his 52nd Super Bowl. Yes, that’s all of them. He’ll turn 89 on Friday, and his pride in the job is just as high as it was five decades ago.

”The cheapest insurance for an athlete from preschool all the way up to professional is a good, safe playing field,” Toma said, ”and that’s what we try to do. For the people in the stands and the people on TV, we try to give them a field of beauty and then some.”

There’s less pressure Danny Shelton Color Rush Jersey , per se, this week than four years ago in New Jersey during the NFL’s first outdoor Super Bowl in a northern site. There’s still plenty to do.
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More than 1,0he field at a time rehearsing for the halftime show. So Toma and his crew use a magnetic rake of sorts to comb the field for any stray nuts, bolts or random wardrobe pieces that might have popped off. They use a stamping tool to gauge the stiffness of the turf every 8 feet or so, to make sure there are no dangerous soft spots. The sand-rubber mixture that serves as the artificial sod underneath the fake grass is supposed to be 1+ inches thick.

Having worked two years for the Vikings at their practice facility and served as the spring training groundskeeper for the Minnesota Twins at their baseball facility in Fort Myers, Florida, Toma has a special affinity for this Super Bowl being held in Minnesota.

”I’ve been through a lot of stadiums worldwide, but in my book I love this stadium,” Toma said. ”This is the best stadium I’ve been in. Why? Everything’s right here for you. We come out that tunnel, and we’re only 100 feet to the playing field for our equipment and for our paint and everything. Not only that, but the people who run this stadium are outstanding, and then some.”



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