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Jan 16, 2013 12:09am
Medium lingzi 1454 posts

WASHINGTON —All those changes didnt get the Washington Capitals any further in
the playoffs. Pink Aaron Hernandez Jersey . Thats the
big-picture view, the one that says this season was another disappointing
performance by an immensely talented roster. Remember last summer, when the
Capitals in quick succession added five players who were the final pieces to
really, for-sure, this-time-without-a-doubt take them to the Stanley Cup?
Remember how they were the fashionable choice to win the Eastern Conference in
September, a notion reinforced after their 7-0 start? Then theres the other
view, the one that focuses on the last two months, when Nicklas Backstrom and
Mike Green finally got healthy and the team started to find a comfort level with
the defensive mindset preached by new coach Dale Hunter, who had taken over when
the tuned-out, run-and-gun Bruce Boudreau was fired in November. After barely
scraping into the playoffs, the Capitals eliminated the second-seeded and
defending champion Boston Bruins in a seven-game, low-scoring series and nearly
did the same to the top-seeded New York Rangers. “You know, we had our chances
to win it, and so did they,” Hunter said following Saturday nights 2-1 Game 7
loss at Madison Square Garden. “Its like two good teams battling each other.
What can you say? Its just that we came up short tonight. We had our chances
that we didnt bury. And they buried two, and we only got one.” Therein lies the
rub. When the goal is to play a 2-1 game, its quite often that its the other
team that scores two. In fact, 13 of the Capitals 14 playoff games were decided
by one goal. A lineup that includes Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Backstrom
and Green scored just 29 goals in those 14 games. So the Capitals are at a
crossroads. Do they stick with Hunter, assuming he wants to return? If he
doesnt, do they stay with the defensive close-to-the-chest system with another
coach? If they do, do they have the right personnel for it? Ovechkin, in
particular, is paid handsomely with the expectation that every year he will be
among the leagues elite players. This season, he was not. Even in the playoffs,
there were flashes of the Great Eight here and there, but he would disappear for
long stretches. Sometimes Hunter would keep him off the ice altogether for
extended periods, preferring to go with other matchups. Saturday night, with the
season on the line during the adrenaline rush of a Game 7—and with the
Capitals trailing most of the game—Ovechkin managed to put only two shots on
goal, the same number as defencemen John Carlson and Roman Hamrlik. After the
game, Ovechkin uncharacteristically sat at his locker for several minutes after
the interviews were done, still in his full uniform, staring straight ahead. He
has now played seven seasons in the NHL, and hes yet to get past the second
round of the playoffs. The Capitals took the day off Sunday, but questions about
Hunter, Ovechkin and everyone else will resume when they reconvene to pack up
their belongings for the summer. Hunter was asked about his future immediately
after the game and said it wasnt the right time to address such matters, but he
made an interesting switch from “we” to “you” when answering another question
about the style of play he implemented. “Its the right way to play, to win,” he
said. “Next year well, you know, you can, you know, start off and thats your
goal. To win.” Its also clear that Hunter, if he returns, will have to do a
better job of learning how to push the buttons of his players. Ovechkin wasnt
the only one who wasnt his top-notch self for Game 7. Except for a few minutes
in the second period, the Capitals were clearly outplayed by the Rangers. “We
didnt play our best game, didnt have enough fight, enough grit,” defenceman
Karl Alzner said. “Didnt battle for pucks enough, had a power play that was
awful. Its really too bad that in a game of this magnitude we stunk the bed,
pretty much. Its just not good enough for us.” Authentic Stevan Ridley Jersey . Pargo missed
the Hawks 103-87 win over the Cavaliers on Sunday with what was believed to be a
stomach virus. He had the surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. Elite Aaron Hernandez Jersey . McMaster was
put at the top of the CIS rankings for the sixth consecutive week on Tuesday by
the Football Reporters of Canada. http://www.nflpatriotsgearshop.com/stevan-ridley-jersey/
. Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte face off Saturday in the 400-meter individual
medley, a grueling race encompassing all four strokes and an appropriate next
chapter in this most intriguing of rivalries. Elite Wes Welker Jersey . Hes dominating, and
a contender just might want him. Dempster pitched four-hit ball over seven
innings, and the Cubs hung on to beat team president Theo Epsteins former club,
topping the struggling Boston Red Sox 3-0 on Friday. Aaron Hernandez Jersey . The ice dancers are
second after Fridays short dance program at Cup of China with 65.59 points.
Frances Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat led the dance with 69. GREEN BAY,
Wis. —If any more Green Bay receivers go down, the Packers could always use
Morgan Burnett. With Minnesota rolling behind Adrian Peterson, the Green Bay
safety picked off Christian Ponder twice in the red zone in the second half
Sunday. Mason Crosby converted the miscues into a pair of field goals,
James Starks gave Green Bay its first touchdown on the ground in almost two
months and the Packers overcame Petersons monster day for a 23-14 win. “I
thought Morgan Burnetts interception in the third quarter in the end zone was
the key play of game,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “It shifted the
momentum.” The victory was Green Bays 10th straight over an NFC North opponent
and gave the Packers (8-4) a share of the division lead after Chicago lost to
Seattle in overtime. The Packers and Bears play at Soldier Field on Dec. 16. “I
cant say there are many Seattle fans in the locker room,” Aaron Rodgers said,
“but we appreciate the help.” The Packers lost in Seattle earlier this year on
the Inaccurate Reception. Peterson finished with 210 yards rushing, the most hes
had since blowing out his ACL and MCL last December. That included a career-long
82-yard touchdown that gave Minnesota a 14-10 lead at halftime. But his big
numbers werent enough to make up for the absence of Percy Harvin, who missed his
third straight game with a sprained ankle. Ponder didnt help matters with his
interceptions, one in the end zone and the other around the Green Bay 10. “As we
walked into the tunnel, Everson Griffen was behind me talking. He was like, Why
does it feel like we won? But were leaving here with a loss,” Peterson said.
“Thats the type of feeling it was. We know that its things that we did that cost
us the game.” The loss wont cost Ponder his job, however. Vikings coach Leslie
Frazier said he didnt consider switching quarterbacks during the game and wont
consider such a move this week. The Vikings (6-6) fell a game behind Seattle in
the race for the second NFC wild card. “We can win with the personnel that we
have,” Frazier said. “Weve shown that we can. We just have to do a few things
better. Theres no reason to panic.” The Packers didnt panic despite injuries to
Jordy Nelson (hamstring) and T.J. Lang (ankle) leaving the offence scrambling
and Peterson almost single-handedly wiping out Green Bays early 10-0 lead. He
put the Vikings in great position to pad that lead, ripping off a 48-yarder on
the first play of the second half thaat gave Minnesota the ball at the Green Bay
12. Patriots
. But two plays later, Ponder got flushed out of the pocket.
Rather than take the sack or run out of bounds, he heaved the ball into the end
zone—and right into Burnetts hands. “Id seen it was a pretty spiral, and I
made sure I got my paws on it,” Burnett said. Rodgers overthrew Jarrett Boykin
in the end zone on third-and-7 from the 29, and the Packers looked as if they
were going to go for it. But after a Minnesota timeout, McCarthy sent out
Crosby, who had missed six of his last 11, including one from 53 yards just
before the half. This one was good, however, the kick wobbling through the
uprights for a 47-yard field goal. Rodgers was picked off on a trick play, but
the Packers defence bailed him out, stuffing Peterson for no gain on
third-and-1. A tipped Chris Kluwe punt gave the Packers the ball at their own 49
and, four plays later, Starks bolted 22 yards for the score and Green Bays first
lead since the second quarter. It was Green Bays first rushing touchdown since
Oct. 7. A 15-yard unnecessary roughness call on Tramon Williams gave Minnesota
the ball on the Green Bay 25. But once again, Burnett was there, stepping in
front of Kyle Rudolph and snatching the ball at the 13. “This one definitely
hurts,” Ponder said. “For what this game means to the team, to this state, its
disappointing—especially with the way Adrian played—to go out and throw
two interceptions.” The Packers ground out an 11-minute drive before Crosby
sealed the win with his third field goal of the day, a 31-yarder. Rodgers made
three big third-down conversions to keep the drive alive, running for one and
finding Jennings (8 yards) and Randall Cobb (33 yards) on the others. Rodgers,
who turned 29 Sunday, finished 27 of 35 for 286 yards. “Everythings right in
front of us,” Rodgers said. “Weve got to go win our home games and get a couple
wins on the road.” NOTES: Burnetts two interceptions matched his single-game
career high. He also had two last year against the Bears. ... Peterson is the
second player to gain 100 yards rushing against the Packers this year, and first
since San Franciscos Frank Gore in the season opener. ... The 11-minute scoring
drive was Green Bays longest of the season. ... With 1 1/2 sacks Sunday,
Jared Allen now has 14 of Rodgers. ... Petersons 21 carries gives him 1,640 for
his career, topping the previous Vikings record of 1,627. ... Green Bay has won
24 of its last 26 regular-season games at home. ’ ’ ’ 

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