King’s on-field antics and celebratory dances have gained notoriety in recent years. Former Raiders coach Jack Del Rio called the punter’s over-the-top behavior “unacceptable” during the 2016 season after King earned unsportsmanlike penalties in consecutive games. He was penalized for picking up an official’s flag in a Week 13 game against the Bills, then flagged the following week for taunting the Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill, after Hill returned a punt of his for a touchdown.
Gruden apparently had seen enough to know he was ready to move on from the talented 29-year-old. Cutting him saves the Raiders $2.9 million on the salary cap.
Besides getting double the chance to beat Gruden, whom King said he never met, King chose the Broncos for a personal reason, as well.
“The cool thing about the Broncos is the people that work at the Broncos encourage you to be yourself,” said King, a rare big-time personality confined to the punter position. “That is real cool. Players play a lot better when they can let their hair down and be themselves. It’s cool.”
Grubauer, 26, started 10 of the final 16 games of the regular season, going 7-3-0 with a 2.32 goals-against average and .925 save percentage. Grubauer’s 2.06 GAA and .933 save percentage are the best among NHL goalies since Oct. 27. But Washington has lost the first two games of the series, both in overtime. Grubauer has a .837 save percentage in the series.
Trotz appreciates having two options between the pipes.
“Blessed is the word I always use,” he said. “Blessed to have two goaltenders. Braden has been a rock since I came to Washington. And this year wasn’t the year he probably expected. … We feel we have two pretty good options.”
Holtby, 28, had started 59 of the previous 60 Capitals playoff games before this series. But his struggles down the stretch — a 3.75 GAA and .886 save percentage in his final 17 appearances — cost him the ability to go into another postseason as the guy, even after showing improvements following his four-game “reset.”