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How the Washington Capitals’ infusion of youth helped them forget old pain

The kids have been alright for the Washington Capitals this postseason.

“They’re not kids,” corrected Evgeny Kuznetsov.

“I don’t think it makes sense in my mind just to blow it up or make a major change. As soon as that Game 7 finishes, everybody’s angry and that shouldn’t happen and we should have played better in the game — I get all that, but how do you address that? It’s a good team. And there’s issues too. Obviously, there’s some issues and they need to be addressed internally,” he said last May.

“It helps a lot that I played with some guys in Hershey too,” echoed Vrana. “We had a really good group of guys over there. With a bunch of those guys here … it’s definitely better than being alone. They’re nice guys.”

Maybe it was some of their postseason glory that transferred over to the Capitals this season. Maybe it was having some blazing fast young legs in a league that puts a premium on speed, legs that can push veteran players in practice or for ice time. Maybe it was just the exuberance of youth, and the benefit of not having marinated in the toxicity of postseason failures of the past.

None of these situations apply to Jones.

Jones’ stats look similar to what they were when he signed his latest extension. His contract still ranks high among wide receivers in many key metrics, including annual value per year (eighth), first-year cash (fourth), three-year cash flow (seventh) and guarantees (third). And because he has three contract years remaining and free agency is not a concern, it’s even more difficult to understand Jones’ ultimate goal with a holdout.

While the WR market has not changed dramatically, there has been a small shift this offseason in which lesser players (Sammy Watkins, Jarvis Landry, Davante Adams) signed contracts that carry a higher average per year than that of Jones. The Falcons’ star certainly can make the case that he is better than those players.

However, there are number of position markets on which better players end up trailing lesser players at some point during the course of their contracts. Jones’ quarterback Matt Ryan, for Cheap Reversible Basketball Jerseys example, trailed Derek Carr, Matthew Stafford and Joe Flacco before the Atlanta Cheap Pirates Jerseys passer signed his new deal.

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