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Archive for March, 2017

MLS Season 22 underway! Commissioner Garber thanks fans for support

Dear MLS Supporters,

With Major League Soccer kicking off its 22nd season tonight, I want to thank you for supporting your club and helping make MLS a “League of Choice.”

In 2016, more fans engaged with our games than ever before — in our stadiums, via our great broadcast partners and via digital and social channels. Meanwhile, our clubs are attracting top talent from around the world. During this past offseason, MLS clubs signed more than a dozen new Designated Players at an average of 25 years old, the youngest group of new DPs in our history. We also saw U.S. national team players including Brad Guzan, Greg Garza and Jonathan Spector sign with MLS clubs, and new initiatives with Canada Soccer are resulting in players such as the Montréal Impact’s Generation adidas Canada signee Shamit Shome competing in our league. Our clubs are also developing future MLS stars as more than 22 players from MLS youth academies — including 2016 MAC Hermann Trophy winner and D.C. United Academy product Ian Harkes — signed first-team contracts during the offseason.

In 2017, we’re thrilled to have Atlanta United and Minnesota United FC join our league. Minnesota debuts tonight against the Portland Timbers in our season opener on FS1, while 55,000 fans will attend Atlanta’s first game Sunday night against the New York Red Bulls, also on FS1.

Two state-of-the-art venues open this year with Orlando City SC unveiling its new beautiful soccer-specific stadium on Sunday in front of a capacity crowd against NYCFC on ESPN. Atlanta United will play the first-ever sporting event in the city’s new downtown sports and entertainment venue on July 30. And after 20 years of hard work, D.C. United has broken ground on their new stadium, Audi Field.

In the midst of all of this investment, there are 12 cities vying to secure four expansion teams, which would see the league grow to 28 clubs in the years to come.

In addition to MLS regular season play, we have an exciting summer of soccer ahead. In July, MLS will take a brief break during the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which will feature many of our best players competing for the national teams of the U.S., Canada, Mexico and others in 14 stadiums across the United States. And on Aug. 2, the MLS All-Star Game will be played at Soldier Field in downtown Chicago.

Our regular season concludes with Decision Day, on Oct. 22, when every team will play simultaneously at 4 p.m. ET to help determine which teams will qualify for the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. For a complete guide to the 2017 MLS season, click here.

On behalf of MLS, thank you for your support and best of luck for the 2017 season!


Commissioner Don Garber

 

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF MLS COMMUNICATIONS

Blue Jackets make roster move

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS ASSIGN LEFT WING MARKUS HANNIKAINEN TO AHL’S CLEVELAND MONSTERS
COLUMBUS, OH – The Columbus Blue Jackets have assigned left wing Markus Hannikainen to the Cleveland Monsters, Columbus’ American Hockey League affiliate.

 

Hannikainen, 23, has posted 1-1-2 with six penalty minutes and an “even” plus/minus rating in 10 games with the Blue Jackets this season, including notching his first NHL goal on January 21 vs. Carolina and his first NHL assist on February 25 vs. the NY Islanders.  He has also recorded 12-8-20 with 16 penalty minutes and is +2 in 36 games with Cleveland.
The Helsinki, Finland native has registered 1-1-2 with six penalty minutes in 14 career NHL games since making his debut in 2015-16.  Originally signed to a two-year, entry level contract with Columbus on April 20, 2015, Hannikainen has also notched 19-21-40 with 36 penalty minutes in 86 career AHL games with the Monsters and tallied 3-7-10 in 16 playoff games to help the club capture the 2016 Calder Cup.
Tickets for all home games are currently available for purchase online at BlueJackets.com, Ticketmaster.com, or in person at the Big Lots Box Office at Nationwide Arena, OhioHealth Chiller Ice Rinks and all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers.  Fans may purchase tickets by phone at (800) 745‐3000.
PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & A COURTESY OF COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS COMMUNICATIONS

 

UD Flyers take down VCU to win A-10 regular season title; seniors lead the way

#TRUETEAM

DAYTON – The University of Dayton men’s basketball team won its first outright Atlantic 10 Conference regular season championship Wednesday night after defeating the VCU Rams 79-72 in front of a sold-out crowd at UD Arena. It was a night when the Flyers were honoring their historic senior class of Scoochie SmithKyle DavisCharles CookeKendall Pollard and Jeremiah Bonsu and fittingly so, it was those upperclassmen who guided the team to victory. Cooke and Smith each scored 20 points while Davis and Pollard contributed 12 and 11 respectively. This was the senior class’ record 102 win and was the team’s 15th win in conference play, also a school record. The Flyers improved to 24-5 on the year and 14-2 in A-10 play while VCU dropped to 23-7 and 13-4 in the A-10.

Dayton shot 54.2 percent from the field connecting on 26 of 48 shots, including hitting six of their 15 three-point attempts. VCU was led by Redshirt-Senior Mo Allie-Cox who had 23 points and 4 rebounds—17 of his points came in the second half. Junior Justin Tillman recorded a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds while senior JeQuan Lewis scored 15. The Rams shot 42.9 percent (27-63) from the field but only 13.3 percent (2-15) from behind the arc. Dayton never trailed in the game.

VCU center Mo Allie-Cox led the Rams with 23 points, including 17 in the second half.

First Half – Dayton 45, VCU 38
  • Scoochie Smith got Dayton out to an early lead after his “and-one” layup put the Flyers up 8-4 heading into the first media timeout.
  • The VCU bench was called for a technical foul with 6:59 left in the half after Doug Brooks was called for a foul on Charles Cooke. Cooke missed the first technical free-throw attempt but made the second and then his next two bonus foul shots. UD led 26-15 after the sequence.
  • Sophomore Ryan Mikesell hit Dayton’s first three-point attempt with 4:35 left in the period to push the Flyers out to an 11 point lead, 35-24. UD only had four attempts from three-point land in the first half, making two of them.
  • Dayton hit seven of its last 10 field goal attempts to end the half. Cooke had 15 points in the period and the team shot 60 percent (15-25).
  • VCU shot 48.3 percent in the half (14-29) and were led Tillman’s 12 points.


Second Half – Dayton 79 VCU 72

  • VCU came out of halftime in a 1-3-1 zone and immediately forced a turnover. It didn’t take long for Scoochie Smith to right the ship on as on the next possession he penetrated the lane and hit a midrange jump shot. Dayton went on to hit six of their next eight attempts 6:30 minute stretch, a run that was capped by junior Darrell Davis‘ corner three that put the Flyers in front by their largest lead of the game, 65-51.
  • Over the next four minutes, VCU responded with an 8-0 run of its own and with 8:39 left, Dayton’s lead was down to six.
  • The lead was down to three with 3:53 to play but coming out of the media timeout, Josh Cunningham hit a jumper with the shot clock expiring to put the Flyers up 73-68.
  • VCU had the ball down by two with 19 seconds left but JeQuan Lewis came up short on a three-point attempt. Kyle Davis came down with the rebound and a couple free-throws later, the game was history.


By the Numbers:
1 – This was the University of Dayton’s men’s basketball programs first ever outright A-10 Conference Championship.
2 – This was the second consecutive conference championship for the Flyers. Last season, Dayton shared the crown with VCU and St. Bonaventure
18 – Second chance points the Rams scored off of 16 offensive rebounds.
46 – Number of fouls called throughout the contest. Jordan Burgess of VCU fouled out while Kendall PollardXeyrius Williams, and Josh Cunningham each had four.
63 – Points the four seniors Scoochie SmithCharles CookeKyle Davis, and Kendall Pollard combined to score.
13,455 – Fans in attendance, setting the programs all-time season average attendance record for a single season of 13,018.

Next Up:
Dayton will travel to Washington D.C. on Saturday to take on George Washington in the final regular season game of 2016-17. Tip is slated for 8:00 p.m. ET.

 

GAME RECAP WRITTEN BY DOUG HAUSCHILD; COURTESY DAYTON MEDIA RELATIONS

 

NHL News: Trade deadline recap, Loose Pucks, scores, game recaps from Wednesday, March 1, 2017

2017 NHL TRADE DEADLINE RECAP
Teams made 18 trades involving 33 players prior to Wednesday’s 2017 NHL Trade Deadline. A few highlights:

* Veteran defenseman Mark Streit was involved in two trades, eventually moving cross-state to join the Penguins. Streit, who began the day with the Flyers, was first traded to the Lightning in a deal that sent forward Valtteri Filppula to Philadelphia. Streit then was dealt to Pittsburgh from Tampa Bay in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

* The Panthers acquired forward Thomas Vanek from the Red Wings in exchange for defenseman Dylan McIlrath and a conditional third-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.

* The Kings received Jarome Iginla from the Avalanche in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018.

* The Blue Jackets received defenseman Kyle Quincey from the Devils in exchange for defenseman Dalton Prout.

Click here for the official 2016-17 trade tracker.

GOLDEN KNIGHTS TEAM BECOMES OFFICIAL
The Vegas Golden Knights today completed the acquisition of their team and officially joined the NHL. The League also released the regulations under which the Golden Knights expansion franchise can conduct its hockey business leading up to the Expansion Draft on June 21, 2017.

WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS
Home Team in Caps
TAMPA BAY 4, Carolina 3 (OT)
CHICAGO 4, Pittsburgh 1

KANE NETS ANOTHER HAT TRICK TO POWER BLACKHAWKS
Patrick Kane earned his second hat trick in his last three games and Richard Panik scored a highlight-reel game-winner as the Blackhawks (40-18-5, 85 points) earned their fifth straight victory and improved to 10-1-0 in their last 11 contests, moving back within three points of the Wild (41-14-6, 88 points) for the top spot in the Western Conference.

* Kane (27-41—68), who also recorded a hat trick on Feb. 23 vs. ARI, moved into sole possession of second place in League scoring, four points back of Connor McDavid (21-51—72). Per Elias, Kane became the first Blackhawks player to record two hat tricks in a three-game span since the 1991-92 season when Brian Noonan did so in consecutive contests on Dec. 27 (3-0—3) and Dec. 29 (4-0—4).

* Additionally, the Blackhawks recorded a hat trick for the third time in their last four games, as Jonathan Toews posted 3-2—5 on Feb. 21 at MIN. Elias notes that they are the first team to have a player record a hat trick in three out of four games since Alex OvechkinBrooks Laich and Alexander Semin combined for the feat in three straight games for Washington from Feb. 7 – 11, 2010.

* Panik (5-5—10) and Nick Schmaltz (2-7—9) extended their career-high point streaks to seven and five games, respectively.

KUCHEROV CONTINUES HOT STREAK FOR LIGHTNING
Nikita Kucherov (1-2—3) recorded at least three points for the third time in his last four outings and Victor Hedman (2-0—2) scored his second career overtime goal as the Lightning improved to 7-1-2 in their last 10 games.

* At 29-25-8 (66 points), Tampa Bay moved three points back of Toronto (28-21-13, 69 points) for the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.

* Kucherov leads the Lightning with 27-34—61 this season (55 GP) – five points shy of his career high – including 6-6—12 in his last four games. Per Elias, he is the first Lightning player to record 12 points in a four-game span since Vincent Lecavalier accomplished the feat from Nov. 10-19, 2007.

* Hedman (12-41—53), who sits one goal and one assist shy of his career highs, has tallied points in six of his last seven games, recording 5-6—11 over that span. He sits in third place in League scoring among defenseman, trailing only Brent Burns (27-39—66) and Erik Karlsson (10-45—55).

LOOSE PUCKS
The Flyers signed forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and goaltender Michal Neuvirth to contract extensions . . . Jets forward Patrik Laine was named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for February, while Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews, Predators forward Filip Forsberg and Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby were named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the month . . . The NHL unveiled two TV spots – “Imperfectly Perfect” and “If This Cup Could Talk” – to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup.

SNEAK PEEK AT THURSDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
New Jersey @ Washington, 7 p.m., CSN-DC, MSG+
NY Rangers @ Boston, 7 p.m., TVAS, NBCSN, NESN, MSG
Florida @ Philadelphia, 7 p.m., CSN-PH, FS-F
Minnesota @ Columbus, 7 p.m., FS-O, FS-N, FS-WI
Arizona @ Buffalo, 7 p.m., MSG-B, FS-A PLUS
Nashville @ Montreal, 7:30 p.m., SN, RDS, FS-TN
Colorado @ Ottawa, 7:30 p.m., RDS2, TSN5, ALT
NY Islanders @ Dallas, 8:30 p.m., FS-SW, MSG+ 2
Toronto @ Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m., FS-W, SNO
Vancouver @ San Jose, 10:30 p.m., CSN-CA, SNP
NBC Sports Channel Finder
Sportsnet Channel Finder
NHLN Channel Finder

CAPITALS AIM FOR FRANCHISE-RECORD 14TH STRAIGHT HOME WIN
After becoming the first team to reach the 90-point mark on Tuesday, the Capitals (42-13-7, 91 points) set their sights on a new franchise record when they host the Devils (25-25-12, 62 points) at Verizon Center. Washington owns active home win and point streaks of 13 and 15 games (14-0-1), respectively, that have each matched the longest such runs in franchise history (set in 2009-10). Elias notes that the Red Wings were the last NHL team to post a home win streak of more than 13 games, winning 23 consecutive home starts from Nov. 5, 2011 to Feb. 19, 2012.

SUBBAN RETURNS TO MONTREAL
Former Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban returns to Montreal for the first time since being traded to the Predators (32-22-9, 73 points) in exchange for Shea Weber last June. Subban, who was on injured reserve when the teams first met on Jan. 3, has tallied 8-22—30 in his first 47 games with Nashville. Weber, meanwhile, scored the tying goal in an eventual overtime win for the Canadiens (35-21-8, 78 points) when the teams played in January and ranks third on the club with 14-23—37 this season (64 GP).

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PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHL MORNING SKATE PUBLICATION

NHL News: Trades, Loose Pucks, scores, game recaps from Tuesday, February 28, 2017

TRADE MARKET STAYS HOT AHEAD OF 2017 NHL TRADE DEADLINE
Teams continued to swap players in advance of the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline, which is set for today at 3 p.m. ET.

* The Rangers acquired defenseman Brendan Smith from the Red Wings in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft and a second-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. New York also received forward Daniel Catenacci from the Sabres for defenseman Mat Bodie.

* The Blackhawks acquired defenseman Johnny Oduya, who the Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2013 and 2015, from the Stars in exchange for forward Mark McNeill and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

* The Sharks acquired forward Jannik Hansen from the Canucks in exchange for forward Nikolay Goldobin and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2017.

* The Senators acquired forward Viktor Stalberg from the Hurricanes in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.

* The Oilers received forward David Desharnais from the Canadiens in exchange for defenseman Brandon Davidson. Montreal then acquired forward Steve Ott from Detroit in exchange for a sixth-round pick in 2018.

* The official 2016-17 trade tracker lists every deal since May 25, 2016, while the following documents are available via the League’s Media site: By the Numbers, Deadline Day Trades (since 1980) and Deadline Day Acquisitions by Stanley Cup Champions (since 2006).

* NHL Network will televise 12 hours of live programming, beginning with a simulcast of Sportsnet’s Hockey Central Trade Deadline coverage beginning at 8 a.m. ET that will incorporate live reports and analysis remotely from NHL Network’s E.J. HradekBrian Lawton, Tony LuftmanSteve Mears and Kevin Weekes. Following the deadline, “NHL Tonight” will continue its live coverage at 4 p.m. ET with analysis and recaps on every trade.

TUESDAY’S RESULTS
Home Team in Caps
Washington 4, NY RANGERS 1
Nashville 5, BUFFALO 4 (OT)
PHILADELPHIA 4, Colorado 0
BOSTON 4, Arizona 1
FLORIDA 3, Carolina 2 (SO)
MONTREAL 1, Columbus 0 (OT)
Edmonton 2, ST. LOUIS 1
Minnesota 6, WINNIPEG 5
DALLAS 3, Pittsburgh 2
CALGARY 2, Los Angeles 1 (OT)
Detroit 3, VANCOUVER 2 (OT)
SAN JOSE 3, Toronto 1

FORSBERG SPARKS PREDATORS RALLY WITH ANOTHER THREE-POINT NIGHT
With the Sabres ahead 4-2 in the third period, Filip Forsberg (2-1—3) factored on three straight goals for the Predators – highlighted by his tying marker with 2:23 remaining in regulation and his overtime winner – to help Nashville extend their point streak to six games (5-0-1).

* Forsberg, who registered three points for the fourth time in his past five outings, extended his goal and point streaks to five and six games, respectively (10-4—14). Elias notes that Forsberg became the first player in franchise history to record three points four times in a span of five team games.

* After tallying only three goals in his first 30 games of the season (3-14—17), Forsberg has scored 23 times in his past 33 contests to match the second-highest goal total of his career; he had 26 goals in 2014-15 (82 GP) and 33 goals in 2015-16 (82 GP).

CAPITALS, WILD INCREASE CONFERENCE LEADS
The Capitals (42-13-7, 91 points) and Wild (41-14-6, 88 points) each earned wins to increase their leads atop the Eastern and Western Conferences, respectively:

Braden Holtby made 29 saves to improve to 17-0-2 in his past 19 decisions, extending the third-longest run of consecutive decisions with a point by a goaltender in franchise history. Holtby, who owns a record of 181-68-30 since making his debut in 2010-11, has backstopped the Capitals to at least a point in more than three-quarters of his career decisions (211 of 279, 75.6%).

* The Jets scored three straight goals to tie the game at 5-5, but Jason Zucker scored the winning tally with 2:10 remaining in regulation to lift the Wild to a 15-1-2 mark in their past 18 road games. Zucker reached the 20-goal mark for the second time (also 2014-15: 21 G), while Mikael Granlund tallied 1-2—3 to extend his point streak to five games (5-4—9). Granlund leads the Wild in goals (21), assists (38) and points (59) this season – all career highs.

KEEPING PACE IN THE PACIFIC
The Sharks (37-18-7, 81 points), Oilers (34-22-8, 76 points) and Flames (34-26-4, 72 points) all earned wins to keep pace in the Pacific Division:

Tomas Hertl scored the tiebreaking goal at 18:36 of the third period as San Jose extended its point streak to seven games (4-0-3). Martin Jones (20 saves) reached the 30-win mark for the second time in his career, following a 37-win campaign in 2015-16.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins assisted on both Edmonton goals as the club ended its six-game road trip with a victory in St. Louis (3-3-0). The Oilers, who already have three more wins than they totaled last season, will play 13 of their 18 remaining games on home ice, starting with an eight-game homestand that begins Saturday vs. DET.

TJ Brodie scored in overtime to spoil Ben Bishop’s debut with the Kings and help Calgary improve to 10-2-1 in its past 13 games, including five straight wins and a seven-game point streak (6-0-1). The Flames opened a five-point lead over the Blues (31-26-5, 67 points) for the first Wild Card spot in the Western Conference and moved within two points of the idle Ducks (32-21-10, 74 points) for third place in the division.

BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC
The Canadiens (35-21-8, 78 points), Bruins (33-24-6, 72 points) and Panthers (29-23-10, 68 points) earned wins to keep pace in the Atlantic Division, where the top five teams are separated by only 10 points:

Alex Galchenyuk scored in overtime for the second straight night and Carey Price (26 saves) recorded his 39th career shutout to help Montreal open a six-point lead atop the division. Elias notes that Galchenyuk, who scored his fourth overtime goal of the season, surpassed Saku Koivu (3 in 2005-06) for the most such goals in a season by a Canadiens player since the five-minute overtime format was introduced in 1983-84.

Brad Marchand tallied 1-1—2 to help the Bruins improve to 7-1-0 under interim head coach Bruce Cassidy and move into a tie – in terms of points – with the idle Senators (33-22-6, 72 points) for second place in the division. Marchand registered his third consecutive multi-point game (3-4—7) to move into a share of third place in League scoring (28-38—66 in 63 GP).

Jaromir Jagr scored the opening goal to reach the 35-point mark for the 23rd time in as many NHL seasons (12-23—35) as the Panthers withstood a Hurricanes rally to win in a shootout. The goal stood as the 215th power-play marker of Jagr’s career, placing him in a tie with Joe Nieuwendyk for 11th place in NHL history.

LOOSE PUCKS
Patrik Laine (1-1—2) and Auston Matthews (1-0—1) each scored their 31st goal of the season to maintain their share of the rookie goals lead; Laine (31-25—56) holds a one-point edge over Matthews (31-24—55) in the rookie scoring race . . . Wayne Simmonds scored twice to lift the Flyers to within four points of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference . . . Capitals forward Marcus Johansson (2-1—3) established a career high with his 21st goal of the season . . . Barry Trotz (WSH) recorded his 700th career win as an NHL head coach . . . Flyers forward Jordan Weal tallied his first NHL goal/point (19 GP) . . . The CanadiensCanucksFlames and Sabres each hosted events as part of Hockey Is For Everyone month.

 

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PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY MORNING SKATE PUBLICATION

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