supposed to play Maria Sharapova.

#1 von chenyan94 , 13.09.2018 06:00

James Neal has become a source of leadership and inspiration for the Vegas Golden Knights during their improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final.

So Taron Johnson Jersey , it came as no surprise that the 11-year veteran made a point of seeking out teammate Alex Tuch, a 22-year-old rookie who missed a chance to score the potential tying goal late in Game 2 against the Washington Capitals

”I talked with him a little bit today,” Neal said Friday. ”It’s all good. He’ll get a bigger one for us later in the series. He’s been great for us so far, so no reason to think about that anymore. At the end of the day, it’s a great save and you move forward.”

Braden Holby snuffed the shot with his goalie stick in a 3-2 victory that evened the series heading in Game 3 on Saturday night.

Vegas snagged a winner when they selected Neal from Nashville last June in the expansion draft. They got a skilled forward who scored 20 goals in 10 straight seasons (now 11) and a player who turned out to be perfect for a team that had to mesh immediately to be successful.

”He’s a natural leader,” Golden Knights right wing Ryan Reaves said. ”He likes leading the boys into battle. When he has something to say he’s going to say it, and people are going to listen.”

Neal reached the Stanley Cup Final last year with the Predators, who lost to Pittsburgh. Now here he is again, with another crack at winning it all.

”It’s a special team and a special group of guys,” Neal said. ”I’ve been to the finals before, so just try to give them little tips. I try to lead by example, do the right things on the ice. We’ve got a group that responds well.”

Neal seriously wants to win, but he isn’t always serious. And that’s the way his teammates like it.

”I’m not going to pump his tires too much because I don’t want to hear about it, but he’s definitely one of those guys that keeps it loose Alex Okafor Jersey ,” Reaves said. ”You need guys like that around the team. You can’t be 100 percent business-like all the time. You’ve got to have fun.”

Vegas goaltender Marc Andre-Fleury is the only other player on the club who’s played in the Stanley Cup Final, so he and Neal have been taking turns doling out advice.

”In the locker room he’s a big voice,” Fleury said of Neal. ”He’s been to the finals, so it’s good to have someone else who can share that experience.”

Although Neal is a rarity in that he’s been to consecutive Stanley Cup Finals with two different teams, his most emphatic message is: Don’t take this ride for granted.

”You see how badly he wants to win,” left wing David Perron said. ”To go through that last year and not come out on top, he’s got a huge chip on his shoulder and really wants to get it this time. He’s talking to guys, telling them you never know if you’re going to get another opportunity, so you’ve got to find a way to bring your best.”

Toward that end, the 30-year-old Neal has helped carry the team with his stick. He has five goals and five assists in 17 games during the playoffs, including Vegas’ first goal in Game 2 on Wednesday.

Asked whether Neal is more valuable as a player or a leader, Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant replied, ”On the ice is the major thing for me. When he scores goals like he did the last game, he makes our job a lot easier as coaches. James has been outstanding for us. He definitely helps our room with the young players Demar Dotson Jersey , for sure.”

Most notably, Tuch.

”He’s been a mentor to me. He brought me aside today and told me what I could have done better on that shot but also that I have to move on,” Tuch said. ”Everyone knows how good a hockey player he is. I don’t know if people knew he was that much of a leader. Maybe it was a different vibe in Nashville. But this year he’s been a huge leader for us, one of our (six alternate) captains, and it’s been great.”



More Stanley Cup coverage: Digging deeper into a culture war that he’s repeatedly stoked, President Donald Trump called off a visit to the White House by the Philadelphia Eagles, citing the dispute over whether NFL players protesting racial injustice must stand during the playing of the national anthem.

Trump said in a statement Monday that some members of the Super Bowl championship team ”disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country.”

He said the team wanted to send a smaller delegation Tuesday, but ”the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better.”

Instead, Trump said he would be hosting ”a different type of ceremony,” featuring the U.S. Marine Band and the U.S. Army Chorus, that ”will honor our great country Fran Tarkenton Jersey , pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the National Anthem.”

None of the Eagles took a knee during the anthem in 2017.

One of the people set to attend the ceremony told The Associated Press less than half of the team’s 53-man roster planned to go. The person spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the decision.

PRO HOCKEY

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Washington Capitals are one win away from the first Stanley Cup in franchise history after a 6-2 blowout of the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 4 gave them a commanding 3-1 series lead.

Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals will get their first chance to hoist the Cup in Game 5 on Thursday night in Las Vegas. No team since the Detroit Red Wings in 1942 has blown a 3-1 lead in the Cup Final.

Evgeny Kuznetsov dished out four assists, T.J. Oshie, Tom Wilson, Devante Smith-Pelly, John Carlson, Michal Kempny and Brett Connolly scored and Braden Holtby stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced.

The desperate Golden Knights outchanced the Capitals by a wide margin but fell apart after James Neal clanked a shot off the post instead of hitting a wide-open net early in the first period. The expansion team’s Cinderella run is in danger of coming to a quick end.

Marc-Andre Fleury allowed six goals on 23 shots, and by the time Neal and Reilly Smith scored in the third period, it was too late.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Kyler Murray says he is committed to playing football for Oklahoma this season even after becoming a top-10 pick in the Major League Baseball draft.

Murray, the favorite to replace Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield as the Sooners’ starting quarterback, was selected ninth overall by the Oakland Athletics on Monday night, putting him in position for a signing bonus of about $4.8 million to play baseball.

The speedy Murray has been a major league prospect since high school. He played outfield for the Sooners and hit .296 with 10 homers, 13 doubles and three triples in 189 at-bats this season.

Still, his selection so early in the first round was a surprise Noah Spence Jersey , and it could mean a change in career paths for the former five-star football recruit.

The slot value for the No. 9 pick is $4,761,500. If the A’s don’t sign him, they would lose that amount from their available bonus pool of $9,553,200 this year but would get the No. 8 pick as compensation next year. The deadline for Murray to sign is July 6.

SOCCER

ZURICH (AP) – FIFA can afford to have Morocco host the 2026 World Cup, according to President Gianni Infantino, even if the rival North American bid promises billions of dollars more in revenue.

Ahead of next week’s vote by FIFA member federations in Moscow, Infantino said: ”FIFA can afford whatever the congress decides.”

”We have to live with that and to make the best of any decision which is taken,” said the FIFA leader, who Moroccan bid leaders have publicly suspected of favoring the joint United States-Canada-Mexico bid.

In a FIFA panel’s evaluation of the candidates, the North American bid got the only maximum mark for its tickets and corporate hospitality sales plan.

A difference in projected ticket sales of $1.3 billion between the two bids helped lead the report to note ”significantly higher” forecast revenue of $14.3 billion from North Americans and $7.2 billion from Morocco.

TENNIS

PARIS (AP) – Serena Williams called off her Grand Slam comeback, pulling out of the French Open because of a chest injury before she was supposed to play Maria Sharapova.

Williams announced her withdrawal at a news conference at Roland Garros on Monday.

Williams’ voice quivered as she said she can’t serve because of a problem with her tight pectoral muscle.

She and Sharapova were scheduled to play a fourth-round match Monday.

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