Players bond over memories of .... childhood pets?

765588.jpg

Players bond over memories of .... childhood pets?

From Comcast SportsNet
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Jeff Fisher took an offbeat approach for breaking the ice when St. Louis Rams veterans and rookies met for the first time. Besides standing and reciting their names, schools, favorite movies, etc., during introductions, the new players were asked to recall the name of their first pet along with how it died. Fisher said several mentioned hamsters and turtles, while some remembered the family dog or cat getting squashed by trains or buses. "We had one whose parents just put him down that morning," Fisher said Wednesday. "You know, it was sad. No, it was good. Good introduction." Cornerback Cortland Finnegan recalled lighthearted goings on when he was a rookie playing for Fisher in Tennessee. There, he got saddled with the nickname Fido. "It's something coach Fisher always throws in there for giggles," Finnegan said. "I played the nickel and I would always run after the wrong guy." Rams rookies got hung with nicknames, too. Finnegan said one looked like Greg Oden, and another resembled Gonzo, the Muppet. There are limits to the frivolity. Players won't be asked to sing and Fisher went out of his way to emphasize there will be no hazing, no rookies taped to goal posts or the like. "They're here to help us win," he said after the team completed a second day of organized team activities. There is fresh optimism surrounding a franchise that's a sorry 15-65 the last five years. Defensive end Chris Long, the second overall pick of the 2008 draft, is playing for his fourth coach entering his fifth season and can't recall a vibe quite like this. "There's been a lot of changes since I've been here. This is by far the one I'm most excited about," Long said. "I think we're all very excited about it. It's a new beginning for a lot of people and, in the same sense, you have to re-prove yourself." Fisher does not seem worried about all those lean seasons in the recent past. "We've completely forgotten about last year," the coach said. "This is a team that's going out there to win, period. There's players that are emerging that were here. There's players that are improving. We've got an influx of talent through free agency and the draft and we're going to play hard and win games." Fisher said much of the base offense and defense have been installed. The Rams worked on situational play and the red zone Wednesday and might delve into the two-minute offense on Friday. A handful of rookies have been unable to attend. Running back Isaiah Pead, a second-round draft pick, was among four who attend schools on the quarter system and can't participate until the end of exams. Plus, Pead and two wide receivers who could get plugged into the offense immediately, second-rounder Brian Quick and fourth-rounder Chris Givens, are attending an NFL rookie premiere event in California. "It's mandated by the league that they come out there, so unfortunately they're missing some quality work," Fisher said. "It's a photo thing, and (trading) cards and those kinds of things. Really great timing." The Rams added a pair of veterans for depth, signing free agent linebacker Mario Haggan and offensive tackle Barry Richardson, and both were on the field Wednesday. Richardson started every game the last two seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs and the 32-year-old Haggan also has been strong on special teams.

Quick Links

5 must-see moments from Wizards' loss to Sixers

5 must-see moments from Wizards' loss to Sixers

Here are five plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 120-112 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night that are worth revisiting...

1. These are in chronological order, but the first highlight from this game is the best one of the night.

John Wall pulled off one of his best dunks of the season, a reverse slam with his left hand. Wall was fouled on the play and knocked down the free throw:

Wall finished with 29 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds.

2. Bradley Beal was the star on an otherwise disappointing night for the Wizards. He dropped 40 points for the fourth time this season. Two of his points came on this stepback jumper that looked like a three-pointer at first:

3. Here's more of Beal. This time he stole a pass and threw it down on the other end:

4. Marcin Gortat had another solid night with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Here was his best play of the night, a two-handed putback slam on a Wall miss:

5. Friday was Bojan Bogdanovic's first game with the Wizards since getting traded to them on Wednesday from the Brooklyn Nets. He was limited to just two points in 18 minutes. And those two points came on a goaltending call:

It just wasn't the Wizards' night, on the court or off of it. In this clip Jason Smith is left hanging on a handshake attempt. Poor Jason:

As mentioned above, Beal had another great game. He just didn't get much help.

[RELATED: Ian Mahinmi leaves Wizards loss to Sixers with back injury]

Quick Links

The Capitals will be shorthanded again in Nashville on Saturday

The Capitals will be shorthanded again in Nashville on Saturday

The three Capitals who sat out Friday’s 2-1 win over the Oilers will also miss Saturday’s game against the Predators, Coach Barry Trotz said.

Defensemen Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik, both suffering from lower body injuries, and winger T.J. Oshie, who has an upper body ailment, did not travel accompany the team to Nashville.

The plan, according to Trotz, is for the three injured players to join the team on the second leg of the road trip. The Caps are scheduled to practice at the Devils’ home rink on Monday afternoon before heading to New York to face the Rangers on Tuesday.  

“We didn’t want to rush anything,” Trotz said. “We didn’t know on Brooks really until this afternoon.”

Trotz added: “We said, ‘Let’s not rush anything. We’re in a good spot. Let’s get everyone healthy.’”

RELATED: Kuznetsov shuts down McDavid as Caps continue streak at home

Niskanen suffered an apparent left leg injury Wednesday night in a collision with Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas. The first sign that something was bothering Orpik came Thursday when he missed practice.  Oshie, meanwhile, remains sore after absorbing a couple of big blows in Philadelphia.

All three players are officially listed as day-to-day.

Friday’s game against Connor McDavid and the surging Oilers marked the first bit of injury-related adversity the Caps have experienced this season.

It didn’t faze them.

A blue line that including seventh defenseman Taylor Chorney and minor league call-up Aaron Ness helped limit McDavid, the NHL’s leading scorer, to a secondary assist and just one shot on goal in 21:42 of ice time.

Meanwhile, prospect Riley Barber made his NHL debut with Oshie sidelined. Barber recorded two shots on goal in 9:56 of ice time.

Washington's lineup will likely remain unchanged against P.K. Subban and the Predators, who have earned a point in three straight games (2-0-1). 

MORE CAPITALS: Wayne Gretzky loves how much Alex Ovechkin wants to win a Stanley Cup