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Archive for March 9th, 2017

NHL Morning Skate Report for Wednesday, March 8, 2017: Lundqvist gains 404th win; Bobrovsky posts third straight shutout

TUESDAY’S RESULTS
Home Team in Caps
COLUMBUS 2, New Jersey 0
Philadelphia 6, BUFFALO 3
TORONTO 3, Detroit 2
NY Rangers 5, FLORIDA 2
St. Louis 2, MINNESOTA 1
COLORADO 3, Carolina 1
NY Islanders 4, EDMONTON 1
Montreal 2, VANCOUVER 1 (OT)
ANAHEIM 4, Nashville 3 (SO)

LUNDQVIST MOVES UP ALL-TIME WINS LIST
Henrik Lundqvist matched a season-high with 43 saves to earn his 30th win of 2016-17 and lead the Rangers to their fifth consecutive road victory and League-leading 24th win as visitors this season.

* The Rangers (43-22-2, 88 points), who hold the first Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference, drew even – in terms of points – with the idle Penguins (40-16-8, 88 points), who sit in third place in in Metropolitan Division. Pittsburgh, however, has three games in hand.

* Lundqvist (404-246-74 in 736 GP) passed Grant Fuhr (403-295-114-9 in 868 GP) for sole possession of 10th place on the NHL’s all-time wins list. He sits three victories shy of Glenn Hall (407) for ninth in League history.

* Playing in his 12th NHL season, Lundqvist reached the 30-win mark for the 11th time to join Martin Brodeur (14) and Patrick Roy (13) as the only goaltenders to accomplish the feat.

BOBROVSKY POSTS THIRD STRAIGHT SHUTOUT, COLUMBUS NEARS RECORDS
Sergei Bobrovsky made 33 saves to earn his third consecutive shutout and propel Columbus to a 7-2-1 record in its last 10 games, a stretch that has seen them outscore opponents 30-13.

* At 42-17-6 (90 points), the Blue Jackets moved within one win and three points of equaling single-season franchise records established in 2013-14 (43-32-7, 93 points). They sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division, five points back of the Capitals (44-14-7, 95 points) and two points ahead of the Penguins (40-16-8, 88 points) and Rangers (43-22-2, 88 points).

* Bobrovsky registered three straight shutouts for the first time in his career to extend his personal shutout streak to 179:29, the second-longest run by a goaltender in franchise history (Steve Mason: 199:19 from Dec. 23, 2008 – Jan. 2, 2009). He shares third in the NHL with a career-high six shutouts this season.

Cam Atkinson reached the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career. Atkinson (116), who became the seventh different Blue Jackets player to reach 30-goal milestone, sits four goals shy of tying R.J. Umberger (120) for second place in franchise history.

MOVEMENT IN THE EASTERN CONFERENCE
The tight race for Wild Card spots continued in the Eastern Conference, where positions 7-12 are separated by only five points:

Joshua Ho-Sang scored his first career NHL goal and Anders Lee (2-0—2) tied a career high with his 25th tally as the Islanders improved to 4-2-1 on their season-high nine-game road trip. With the win, New York (31-23-11, 73 points) maintained possession of the second Wild Card position, one point ahead of Toronto (29-22-14, 72 points).

Nazem Kadri scored his sixth game-winning goal of the season and Alexey Marchenko netted his first goal with Toronto (against his former club) as the Maple Leafs snapped a five-game slide to keep pace with the Islanders.

* Six different Flyers scored and Radko Gudas (1-2—3) recorded a season-high three points as Philadelphia (31-26-8, 70 points) improved to 3-0-1 in its last four games to remain three points behind New York and two back of Toronto.

OTHER TEAMS IMPROVE PLAYOFF STANDING
Several other clubs picked up wins to strengthen their holds on playoff positions:

Paul Byron scored his second career overtime goal (266 GP) and Carey Price (27 saves) reached the 30-win plateau for the fourth time in his career to help the Canadiens extend their winning streak to six games. Montreal (38-21-8, 84 points) increased their lead atop the Atlantic Division to six points. Per Elias, Price joins Ken Dryden (7), Jacques Plante (7) and Patrick Roy (5) as the only Canadiens goaltenders with four or more 30-win seasons.

Vladimir Tarasenko netted his sixth game-winner of the season to help the Blues (33-27-5, 71 points) – who have allowed only one goal over two consecutive victories on the heels of a five-game skid – open up a three point lead over Los Angeles (31-28-6, 68 points) as they hold the second Western Conference Wild Card spot.

Ryan Getzlaf recorded 1-2—3 and Patrick Eaves scored the lone goal in the shootout as the Ducks (34-22-10, 78 points) moved into a tie – in terms of points – with the Oilers (35-23-8, 78 points) for second place in the Pacific Division. Getzlaf (12-40—52 in 59 GP) hit the 40-assist mark for a franchise-best ninth time in his career.

LOOSE PUCKS
Mitchell Marner (15-37—52) recorded two assists to extend his lead among rookies to seven . . . Jack Eichel (2-1—3) extended his career-high point streak to 11 games (5-11—16) while eclipsing 100 career points (42-59—101 in 127 GP) . . . Henrik Zetterberg (1-11—12 in 7 GP), Alex Galchenyuk (3-5—8 in 6 GP) . . . Ryan O’Reilly (3-4—7 in 5 GP) and Jaccob Slavin (0-5—5 in 5 GP) also extended point streaks . . . Blue Jackets forward T.J. Tynan made his NHL debut . . . Forward Olli Jokinen rejoined the Panthers to announce his retirement from the NHL.

 

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

NHL Morning Skate Report for Tuesday, March 7, 2017: Thornton gains 1,000th assist; Senators win huge Atlantic Division game; Loose Pucks News

MONDAY’S RESULTS
Home Team in Caps
Dallas 4, WASHINGTON 2
OTTAWA 4, Boston 2
NY Rangers 1, TAMPA BAY 0 (OT)
San Jose 3, WINNIPEG 2

THORNTON TALLIES 1,000TH ASSIST IN SHARKS VICTORY
Joe Thornton recorded a helper on Joe Pavelski’s game-winning goal to become the 13th player in NHL history to join the 1,000-assist club.

* Thornton (382-1,000—1,382 in 1,432 GP) ranks second among active players in assists and points trailing only Jaromir Jagr (761-1,142—1,903 in 1,693 GP). Since his rookie season in 1997-98, no other player has recorded more assists or points than Thornton.

* Thornton – who holds the Sharks franchise record for assists – has recorded 213-715—928 in 900 GP with the franchise.

* The Sharks (39-19-7, 85 points) improved to 5-1-1 in their last seven contests and opened up a seven-point cushion atop the Pacific Division standings.

SENATORS TAKE ATLANTIC DIVISION DUEL
Mike Hoffman scored his 20th goal of the season and Craig Anderson picked up his fourth consecutive victory as the Senators (36-22-6, 78 points) opened up a four-point lead over the Bruins (34-26-6, 74 points) for second place in the Atlantic Division.

* Anderson (25 saves) improved to 7-2-0 since returning to the Senators lineup following a leave of absence with a 1.78 goals-against average, .944 save percentage and one shutout dating back to Feb. 11.

Erik Karlsson (0-2—2) tallied two helpers and leads all defensemen with 47 assists this season. Karlsson, who has led the Senators in scoring in each of the last three seasons, paces the club with 11-47—58 in 64 games.

* Hoffman, who registered his third consecutive 20-goal season, scored his team-leading seventh game winning goal of the campaign, two shy of League-leader Jeff Carter (9).

LOOSE PUCKS
Mika Zibanejad scored the game’s lone goal with 1:04 remaining in overtime and Antti Raanta (38 saves) earned his third shutout of the campaign as the Rangers picked up their League-leading 23rd road win of the season . . . Jamie Benn extended his point streak to a season-long seven games (5-5—10) as the Stars ended Washington’s home win and point streaks at 15 and 17 games, respectively . . . Bruins forward Brad Marchand reached the 30-goal mark for the second consecutive season, while teammate David Pastrnak earned an assist to extend his point streak to six games (1-6—7) . . . Capitals forward Daniel Winnik (700 GP) and Rangers forward Derek Stepan (500 GP) each skated in milestone games . . . Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov, Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and Canadiens goaltender Carey Price were named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending March 5 . . . The Vegas Golden Knights signed Brandon Wheat Kings forward Reid Duke to an entry-level contract, making him the first player in franchise history . . . Renowned Canadian artist Tony Harris unveiled portraits of legends Bobby Clarke and Luc Robitaille as part of the NHL Centennial Celebration . . . Roy Forbes, a 1948 Olympic gold medalist with the Royal Canadian Air Force Flyers, dropped the puck at MTS Centre as part of Canadian Forces Appreciation Night.

 

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

World Baseball Classic Games being broadcasted to 182 countries and territories

Tournament games available in more than 415 million households across six continents

Press Release | March 6th, 2017

Fifty-one media outlets have signed on to broadcast the 2017 World Baseball Classic, which began earlier today in Seoul, South Korea. The fourth installment of the premier international baseball tournament, which features the world’s top 16 National Teams competing over a 17-day span, will be distributed via media platforms in 182 countries and territories worldwide with a global reach of more than 415 million households. In addition to local language coverage and play-by-play, World Baseball Classic Inc. (WBCI) will offer a fully-produced English-language feed of each game for global distribution. WBCI worked with MP & Silva, a leading international media rights agency, on the global media distribution for the tournament.

Broadcasts from the previous edition of the World Baseball Classic in 2013 set numerous records around the world. The 2013 Final was one of the most watched sporting events in Dominican Republic history and was the year’s most watched sporting event in Puerto Rico. Japan vs. the Kingdom of the Netherlands (March 10, 2013) was the most viewed sporting event over the previous 12 months in Japan, out-rating all 2012 Olympic coverage. In Chinese Taipei, an extra-inning thriller between Japan and Chinese Taipei was the highest-rated cable program in the country’s history.

In the United States, the 2013 World Baseball Classic delivered six of MLB Network’s top seven most-watched games outside of the Postseason. The 2013 tournament also delivered the Network’s most-watched March and the most-watched first quarter in its history. The 2013 Final was the most-viewed baseball game ever on ESPN Deportes at the time.

In 2009, the Korea vs. Japan Final (March 23, 2009) averaged more than 14 million viewers across Korea, where all nine Team Korea tournament games achieved an average audience of 9.4 million. In the inaugural 2006 tournament, the Cuba vs Japan Final received the third best rating at the time for any professional baseball broadcast in Japan since 1977.

The full list can be found here: https://www.worldbaseballclassic.com/info/broadcast-partners.

“As international baseball’s premier event, the World Baseball Classic deserves the finest global stage,” said Dominick Balsamo, Vice President, International Media Sales and Marketing Partnerships, MLB. “Together, our media partners for the 2017 event provide a far-reaching worldwide platform that will serve the demand of baseball fans everywhere.”

Rosters for the 2017 World Baseball Classic feature tournament record totals of 63 MLB All-Stars and 259 players under contract with MLB organizations.

“With so many outstanding players participating, the anticipation for an exciting and action packed tournament is high,” said Major League Baseball Players Association Chief of Business Affairs, Timothy Slavin. “We expect record-breaking television audiences will witness some incredible performances.”

“The World Baseball Classic is a truly premium global sports property that excites baseball fans around the world,” said Jochen Lösch, Chief Executive Officer at MP & Silva. “I’m pleased that MP & Silva has been able to use its international network to secure broadcasting deals covering more than 180 territories for the tournament. MP & Silva is proud of its relationship with the World Baseball Classic and we are delighted to have contributed towards the tournament’s global visibility, fan engagement, and commercial success.”

About the World Baseball Classic

The World Baseball Classic is the premier international baseball tournament, sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), as the sport’s official National Team World Championship, and features the best players in the world competing for their home countries and territories. More than 2.4 million fans from all over the world have attended the tournament games, held in March 2006, March 2009 and March 2013. Team Dominican Republic is the reigning World Baseball Classic Champion after going undefeated during its 2013 championship run. The 2017 World Baseball Classic, which begins on Monday, March 6 continuing until the championship game on Wednesday, March 22, will again feature the greatest baseball-playing nations in the world. The tournament will be held every four years thereafter. For more information on the tournament, visit www.worldbaseballclassic.com.

About World Baseball Classic, Inc.

World Baseball Classic, Inc. (WBCI) is a company created at the direction of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to operate the World Baseball Classic tournament. The tournament, which is sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), is supported by MLB, the MLBPA, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), their respective players associations and other leagues and players from around the world.

About MP & Silva

MP & Silva is a leading international media company that owns, manages and distributes television and media rights to some of the most prestigious sports events around the world. With an annual turnover in excess of USD 720 million, MP & Silva’s portfolio includes the FIFA World Cup 2018 & 2022, UEFA EURO 2016, Italian Serie A TIM, English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, French Ligue 1, the Emirates FA Cup, Copa America 2015, Copa Libertadores, Copa Sudamericana & Copa do Brazil, Brazilian national league (Brasileirão), Arsenal Football Club, the AC Milan Channel, French Open at Roland Garros, eight ATP World Tour tennis tournaments, EHF Handball Champions League, the Formula One, World Baseball Classic, the Premier 12 World Baseball Championships, National Football League, National Basketball Association, Spanish Basketball League (Liga Endesa). Headquartered in London and Singapore, MP & Silva operates worldwide through regional offices in Beijing, Budapest, Dubai, Dublin, Hanoi, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Luxembourg, Madrid, Miami, Monaco, Munich, Nairobi, New York, Paris, Taipei, Tokyo and Warsaw. www.mpsilva.com.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY MLB MEDIA RELATIONS; COURTESY MLBpressbox.com

 

New rules modifications put into play for 2017 by MLB & MLBPA

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association today jointly announced a series of modifications that have been approved and will be in place in the 2017 regular season.

The changes include the following:

  • The start of a no-pitch intentional walk, allowing the defensive team’s manager to signal a decision to the home plate umpire to intentionally walk the batter. Following the signal of the manager’s intention, the umpire will immediately award first base to the batter.
  • A 30-second limit for a manager to decide whether to challenge a play and invoke replay review.
  • When a manager has exhausted his challenges for the game, Crew Chiefs may now invoke replay review for non-home run calls beginning in the eighth inning instead of the seventh inning.
  • A conditional two-minute guideline for Replay Officials to render a decision on a replay review, allowing various exceptions.
  • A prohibition on the use of any markers on the field that could create a tangible reference system for fielders.
  • An addition to Rule 5.07 formalizes an umpire interpretation by stipulating that a pitcher may not take a second step toward home plate with either foot or otherwise reset his pivot foot in his delivery of the pitch. If there is at least one runner on base, then such an action will be called as a balk under Rule 6.02(a). If the bases are unoccupied, then it will be considered an illegal pitch under Rule 6.02(b).
  • An amendment to Rule 5.03 requires base coaches to position themselves behind the line of the coach’s box closest to home plate and the front line that runs parallel to the foul line prior to each pitch. Once a ball is put in play, a base coach is allowed to leave the coach’s box to signal a player so long as the coach does not interfere with play.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY MLB MEDIA RELATIONS; COURTESY MLBpressbox.com

 

All you need to know, Questions & Answers about 2017 NFL Free Agency

 

SALARY CAP SET AT $167 MILLION

Q.  When does the 2017 free agency signing period begin?

A.  At 4:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 9. 

Q.  What are the categories of free agency?

A.  Players are either “restricted free agents” or “unrestricted free agents.”  A restricted free agent may be subject to a “qualifying offer.”  A restricted or unrestricted free agent may be designated by his prior club as its franchise player or transition player.

Q.  What is the time period for free agency signings this year?

A.  For restricted free agents, from March 9 to April 21.  For unrestricted free agents who have received the May 9 tender from their prior club, from March 9 to July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later).  For franchise players, from March 9 until the Tuesday following the 10th week of the regular season, November 14.  No players were designated as transition players this year.  If the above-listed players do not sign by November 14, they must sit out the season.

Q.  What is the difference between a restricted free agent and an unrestricted free agent?

A. In the 2017 league year, players with three accrued seasons who have received a qualifying offer become restricted free agents when their contracts expire at the conclusion of the 2016 league year.  Unrestricted free agents have completed four or more accrued seasons.  An unrestricted free agent is free to sign with any club with no draft choice compensation owed to his old club.

Q.  What constitutes an “accrued season”?

A.  Six or more regular-season games on a club’s active/inactive, reserved/injured or reserve/physically unable to perform lists.

Q.  What could restrict the ability of a restricted free agent to sign with a new club?

A.  If he has received a “qualifying offer” (a salary tender predetermined by the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and its players) from his old club.  He can negotiate with any club through April 21.  If the restricted free agent signs an offer sheet with a new club, his old club can match the offer and retain him because the qualifying offer entitles it to a “right of first refusal” on any offer sheet the player signs.  If the old club does not match the offer, it may receive draft choice compensation depending on the amount of its qualifying offer.  If an offer sheet is not executed on or before April 21, the player’s negotiating rights revert exclusively to his old club.  In addition, a player who would otherwise be a restricted free agent may be designated by his old club as its franchise player or transition player.

Q.  What determines an unrestricted free agent?

A.  A player with four or more accrued seasons whose contract has expired.  He is free to sign with any club, with no draft choice compensation owed to his old club, through July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later).  At that point, his negotiating rights revert exclusively to his old club if by May 9 the old club tendered the player a one-year contract for 110 percent of his prior year’s salary.  His old club then has until the Tuesday following the 10th week of the regular season (November 14) to sign him.  If he does not sign by that date, he must sit out the season.  If no tender is offered by May 9, the player can be signed by any club at any time throughout the season.

Q.  What determines a franchise player?

A.  The salary offer by a player’s club determines what type of franchise player he is: exclusive or non-exclusive.

An “exclusive” franchise player – not free to sign with another club – is offered the greater of (i) the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position for the current year as of the end of the restricted free agent signing period on April 21; or (ii) the amount of the required tender for a non-exclusive franchise player, as explained below.

Article 10, Section 2(a)(i) of the CBA sets forth the methodology, known as the “Cap Percentage Average,” for calculating the required tender for a non-exclusive franchise player:

The Nonexclusive Franchise Tender shall be a one year NFL Player Contract for (A) the average of the five largest Prior Year Salaries for players at the position . . . at which the Franchise Player participated in the most plays during the prior League Year, which average shall be calculated by: (1) summing the amounts of the Franchise Tags for players at that position for the five preceding League Years; (2) dividing the resulting amount by the sum of the Salary Caps for the five preceding League Years . . . ; and (3) multiplying the resulting percentage by the Salary Cap for the upcoming League Year . . . (the “Cap Percentage Average”) . . . ; or (B) 120% of his Prior Year Salary, whichever is greater . . . .

If a club extends a required tender to a “non-exclusive” franchise player pursuant to this section, the player shall be permitted to negotiate a player contract with any club, except that draft choice compensation of two first-round draft selections shall be made in the event he signs with a new club.

Q.  How many franchise players and transition players can a team designate each season?

A.  A club can designate one franchise player or one transition player among its potential restricted or unrestricted

free agents.

Q.  Can a club decide to withdraw its franchise or transition designation on a player?

A.  Yes.  A club can withdraw its franchise or transition designation, and the player then automatically becomes an unrestricted free agent, either immediately if the tender is withdrawn after the start of the 2017 league year, or when his 2016 contract expires if the tender is withdrawn before the start of the 2017 league year.

Q.  What is the salary cap for 2017?

A.  The salary cap is $167 million per club.

Q.  When must teams be in compliance with the salary cap?

A.  At the start of the 2017 league year, which begins at 4:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 9.

Q.  If a team is under the salary cap at the end of a given season, can the team “carry over” room to the next season?

A.  Yes.  A team may carry over room from one league year to the following league year by submitting notice to the NFL prior to 4:00 p.m. ET on the day following the team’s final regular-season game, indicating the amount of room that the club wishes to carry over.

Q.  What is the maximum amount of room that a club can carry over?

A.  One hundred percent of its remaining room.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NFL COMMUNICATIONS; COURTESY NFLmedia.com

 

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