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Brown said his teammates supported his decision
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Alex Ovechkin has etched his name into the record book, becoming the first player since the NHL's inaugural season to open a season with consecutive hat tricks. Ovechkin scored his fourth, fifth and sixth goals of the season in the first period of the Washington Capitals' home opener against the Montreal Canadiens. He scored his first three goals of the season in the Capitals' season opener in Ottawa on Thursday night. Back-to-back hat tricks to start a season have not been seen since the 1917-18 season, in which Cy Denneny, Joe Malone and Reg Noble each accomplished the feat. Fellow Russian Evgeny Kuznetsov assisted on each of Ovechkin's first three goals Saturday night, as Washington took a 4-0 lead into the first intermission. Ovechkin added a fourth goal, also with a Kuznetsov assist, in the second period en route to a 6-1 Capitals win. "It's a fun time when you play like that and your line's feeling it," Ovechkin said. "When your line's feeling it, you just want to be out there more and more. Sometimes you play well but you don't score. Right now, it's we play well, we score goals, we're All three forwards are dangerous, and we just have to continue to play like that." The Caps' captain, who made his NHL debut in the 2005-06 season, now has 114 career multigoal games, tying him with the retired Teemu Selanne for the most since the 1993-94 season. This is the first time Ovechkin has ever tallied back-to-back hat tricks. The last Capitals player to do so was Peter Bondra, from Feb. 3 to 5 in 1999. Washington's next game is Monday night at the Tampa Bay Lightning, against whom Ovechkin has 41 career goals. According to Ovechkin, his chances of putting together another hat trick for that game are slim, since he'll be without his good-luck charm: his sister-in-law. "Every time she's in town, like I score a hat trick," Ovechkin said. "Back-to-back and she's leaving Monday. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to talk Torrey Smith Womens Jersey to someone to keep her here." It is the first known demonstration of any kind during the anthem in an NHL regular-season game. The NHL has no rules governing what players must do during the national anthem. Brown, who was scratched for Tampa Bay's season-opening win against Florida, remained standing throughout the anthem Saturday night. Brown, one of approximately 30 black players in the NHL, used the same protest before a preseason game against the Panthers last month. "I wanted to do something to show my support," Brown told the Tampa Bay Times after the Lightning's 5-4 loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday. "There are some issues that we have to talk about. So, in my mind, just trying to bring a little more awareness, and any type of conversation that we can get started would be great. I know there's going to be negative backlash. But, in my heart, I know I did what was right."The Lightning issued a statement later Saturday, saying, "The Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate the moment before every game when we can unite as a community, paying homage to a flag that is representative of our nation and those who have sacrificed. At the same time, we respect our players and individual choices they may make on social and political issues." Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem in the preseason a year ago to make a statement about social inequality and police treatment of blacks in the United States. Since then, the protest has spread to other sports. Brown, 27, is the son of former NFL running back Ted Brown, who played eight seasons for the Minnesota Vikings. The Associated Press contributed to this report. "Las Vegas was an amazing experience," Pelinka said on the eve of Lakers training camp. "The energy in that building -- I've been 20 years in the NBA, [and] I've never experienced that level of energy around summer league games. It's capturing that lightning in a bottle that we felt there and carrying it forward. We felt it every day [working out this summer]. The heartbeat and the soul of that Lakers team is what happens on the court."That "heartbeat and soul" was fueled by Ball, who started something in mid-July that has only snowballed with momentum ever since. On Sunday, Ball and the Lakers return to Las Vegas to play a preseason game against the Sacramento Kings. Ball (mildly sprained ankle) is considered questionable to play and might miss another chance to face potential rookie rival point guard De'Aaron Fox. Ball did not get to play Fox in summer league, when the Lakers held him out of a highly anticipated meeting because of a groin injury. No matter what happens on Sunday, Las Vegas will likely be a special place for Ball. After all, that is where it all started for the No. 2 overall pick. Ball might have opened his summer league slow, struggling with his shot, but he finished strong, registering two triple-doubles with four games of 10 assists or more and averaging 16.3 points, a summer-league-leading 9.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.0 blocks per game.Despite missing the championship game with a calf strain, the 19-year-old rookie was named MVP. He was the first in Las Vegas Summer League history to have more than one game with 10 assists. And no other rookie has ever had a triple-double in Vegas, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
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