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Archive for March 18th, 2017

Blue Jackets signs free agent center Sam Vigneault to entry level contract

Clarkson University standout also signs AHL tryout contract with the Cleveland Monsters
COLUMBUS, OH – The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed center Sam Vigneault to a two-year entry level contract beginning with the 2017-18 season, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today.  Vigneault has also signed an American Hockey League tryout contract with the Cleveland Monsters, Columbus’ AHL affiliate.

Vigneault, 21, recently completed his junior season at Clarkson University in the Eastern College Athletic Conference, posting 12 goals and 24 assists for 36 points with 41 penalty minutes and a +9 plus/minus rating in 39 games.  He set career highs in assists, points, penalty minutes, plus/minus and games played, leading the team in assists and points and finishing second in goals and fourth-T in both penalty minutes and plus/minus.

SAM VIGNEAULT (courtesy Clarkson Athletics)

The Baie-Comeau, Quebec native finished his collegiate career with 30-45-75 with 79 penalty minutes, a +5 plus/minus rating and 10 game-winning goals in 106 contests.  He tallied 12-14-26 and 20 penalty minutes in 36 games during his sophomore campaign in 2015-16, leading Clarkson in goals and points and finishing eighth-T in the NCAA in game-winning goals with six.  The 6-5, 202-pounder led Clarkson freshmen in points with 6-7-13 and 18 penalty minutes in 31 contests in 2014-15.  He attended the Blue Jackets Development Camp last summer.
Tickets for all home games are currently available for purchase online at,, 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.




CBJ activate center Lukas Sedlak from injured reserve list

COLUMBUS, OH – The Columbus Blue Jackets have activated center Lukas Sedlak off Injured Reserve, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced Thursday. 

Sedlak, 23, has missed the past 11 games with an oblique strain suffered on February 17 vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins.  He has posted six goals and six assists for 12 points with 23 penalty minutes and a +8 plus/minus rating in 55 games with the Blue Jackets this season.  He made his NHL debut on October 21 vs. Chicago, picked up his first NHL point (assist) on October 27 at San Jose and notched his first NHL goal on December 9 at Detroit. 

Lukáš Sedlák

Last season, the Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic native posted 14-4-18 in 54 regular season games with the American Hockey League’s Lake Erie Monsters before adding 9-7-16 in 17 postseason games to help the club capture the Calder Cup.  Columbus’ sixth round pick, 158th overall, in the 2011 NHL Draft, he has tallied 28-20-48 with 83 penalty minutes in 159 career AHL games.
Tickets for all home games are currently available for purchase online at,, 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.


NHL Morning Skate Report for Friday, March 17, 2017

Home Team in Caps
NEW JERSEY 6, Philadelphia 2
Winnipeg 4, NY ISLANDERS 2
Nashville 2, WASHINGTON 1 (OT)
CAROLINA 3, Minnesota 1
COLUMBUS 2, Florida 1
Chicago 2, OTTAWA 1
Toronto 5, TAMPA BAY 0
EDMONTON 7, Boston 4
Dallas 4, VANCOUVER 2
Detroit 5, ARIZONA 4 (SO)
LOS ANGELES 2, Buffalo 0
St. Louis 4, SAN JOSE 1

The Oilers scored seven goals for the second straight game (7-1 W on March 14 vs. DAL) to improve to 37-24-9 (83 points) and leapfrog the Flames (39-27-4, 82 points) for sole possession of third place in the Pacific Division.

Connor McDavid (24-55—79) collected three assists to keep pace with Bruins forward Brad Marchand (37-42—79) – who recorded 1-2—3 in the loss – in the race for the Art Ross Trophy. Leon Draisaitl (1-2—3) also registered three points to eclipse the 60-point mark for the first time in his NHL career (24-37—61).

* Elias notes that the Oilers scored seven or more goals in consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 4-7, 1988 (10-6 W vs. NYR and 8-3 W vs. QUE).

Sergei Bobrovsky made 33 saves to help the Blue Jackets establish a single-season franchise record with 26 home wins (26-9-1, 53 points), eclipsing their previous mark from 2008-09 (25-13-3, 53 points).

* At 45-18-6 (96 points), the Blue Jackets climbed within two points of the League-leading Capitals (45-17-8, 98 points). Columbus owns a 2-1-0 edge in their five-game season series (WSH: 1-1-1) and will face Washington on March 23 and April 2.

* Bobrovsky extended his personal win streak to six games (1.17 GAA, .962 SV%, 3 SO) and registered his League-leading 38th victory of the season.

Zach Werenski scored his 11th goal of 2016-17 to move within one of the franchise record for most in a season by a defenseman, set by Bryan Berard (12 in 2005-06).

Toronto scored five unanswered goals – including two in a span of 10 seconds – and Frederik Andersen (33 saves) registered his career-high fourth shutout of the season as the Maple Leafs improved to 32-23-14 (78 points) and reclaimed sole possession of the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.

William Nylander collected an assist to extend his point streak to six games (1-5—6) and become the third Maple Leafs rookie to reach the 50-point mark this season (18-32—50), joining Auston Matthews (31-24—55) and Mitchell Marner (17-28—55).

* Elias notes that the Maple Leafs became the first team to have three rookies reach the 50-point mark in a season since the Winnipeg Jets in 1992-93, when Teemu Selanne (76-56—132), Alexei Zhamnov (25-47—72) and Keith Tkachuk (28-23—51) each did so.

Three of the Central Division’s top four teams posted victories on Thursday:

Scott Darling (33 saves) extended his personal win streak to five games (1.21 GAA, .963 SV%) to help the Blackhawks (45-20-5, 95 points) open a three-point lead atop the Central Division and Western Conference standings.

Viktor Arvidsson scored the first overtime goal of his NHL career to power the Predators (35-24-11, 81 points) to their third consecutive win, maintaining their hold on third place in the Central Division.

Vladimir Tarasenko (2-0—2) scored his 33rd and 34th goals of 2016-17 to move into third in the NHL this season and help the Blues (37-28-5, 79 points) pick up their sixth win in their last seven outings, reinforcing their grip on the final Wild Card position in the Western Conference.

Kings forward Jarome Iginla scored the 99th game-winning goal of his NHL career to pass Bobby Hull, Guy Lafleur and Patrick Marleau (98) for seventh on the all-time list . . . Bruins forward Brad Marchand (1-2—3) scored his League-leading 37th goal of 2016-17 to match his single-season career high from 2015-16 . . . Kings forward Dustin Brown collected two assists to eclipse the 500-point milestone (229-272—501) . . . David Pastrnak (6-9—15 in 11 GP), James Neal (3-2—5 in 5 GP) and Elias Lindholm (1-4—5 in 5 GP) extended point streaks . . . Marian Hossa (1,300), Ryan Suter (900), Tyler Bozak (500) and Pekka Rinne (500) appeared in milestone games . . . The Devils donned their vintage red and green jerseys . . . The Lightning honored former forward Brian Boyle in his return to Tampa Bay . . . Outfielder A.J. Pollock of the MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks dropped the ceremonial puck at Gila River Arena . . .The Blue Jackets honored play-by-play announcer Jeff Rimer for recently broadcasting his 2,000th career NHL game . . . The Royal Canadian Mint is celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup by producing a limited-edition commemorative quarter.


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Kalitta Motorsports in Gainesville for NHRA Gatornationals this weekend, March 17-19

Pre-Race Report

Event 03: Gatornationals
Gainesville Raceway
Gainesville, Fla.
March 17-19, 2017
Kalitta desires fourth Gator triumph

Gainesville Highlights: Three wins (2014, 2005, 2000); Two no.1 qualifiers (2013, 2003)

Last Event Recap (Phoenix): Qualified fifth; First round defeat (Lost to Shawn Reed in the first round)

2016 Gatornationals Recap: Qualified eighth; First round defeat (Lost to Dave Connolly in the first round)

Quotable: “We stumbled a bit in Phoenix, but the Mac Tools team is ready for a rebound in Gainesville. I have been fortunate to win this race a couple times and I would love to pick up my first win of the new season this weekend.”

Career Stats: 436 starts, 592 round wins (10th all-time), 42 wins (Fifth all-time in Top Fuel), 88 finals, 47 no.1 qualifiers (13th all-time)

2017 Season Stats: One final (Pomona-I); 3 round wins; fifth in the standings

2016 Season Stats: Four wins (Houston, Atlanta, Topeka, Pomona-II); Four no.1 qualifiers (Phoenix, Atlanta, Norwalk, Charlotte-II); Two finals (Pomona-I, Charlotte-II); 44 round wins; second in the final standings

Noteworthy: Could become the ninth driver to hit 600 round wins this season; also will reach 1,000 career rounds competed early this year (currently at 986); owns Phoenix Track ET Record (also owns track records in Atlanta and Norwalk)

Coughlin Jr. makes pro Gatornationals debut

Noteworthy: Third career pro event; a leading candidate for Auto Club Road to Future trophy (best rookie driver); father is former Pro Mod champion (Troy Coughlin Sr.); uncle is former Pro Stock champion (Jeg Coughlin Jr.)

Last Event Recap (Phoenix): Qualified sixth; First round defeat (Lost to Scott Palmer in the first round)

Quotable: “My comfort level is definitely growing in the SealMaster Toyota Dragster. We have our leader, Connie, back with us at the track, along with my grandfather, Jeg Sr., so this will only enhance my learning.”

2017 Season Stats: Two starts; One round win; eighth in the point standings

Career Info: Five national event wins (Three in Super Gas, Two in Super Comp); 2013 Division III Super Gas Champion; 2015 NHRA Pro Mod Rookie of the Year


Todd makes plan to continue strong Funny Car start
Highlights: One of four Funny Car drivers to have round wins in each of the first two races of the season (Matt Hagan, Ron Capps, Tommy Johnson Jr.) 

Last Event Recap (Phoenix): Qualified seventh; Quarter-final finish (Defeated Alexis DeJoria in the first round, lost to Jim Campbell in the quarter-finals)

2016 Gatornationals Recap (Top Fuel): Qualified 10th; Quarter-final finish (Defeated Steve Torrence in the first round, lost to Clay Millican in the quarter-finals)

Quotable: “I am really looking forward to the Gatornationals since it is one of the biggest races of the year with all of its history. I feel like our DHL Toyota Camry is headed in the right direction and can contend for the win.”

Career Stats: 150 starts, 151 round wins, 9 wins, 19 finals, 9 no.1 qualifiers (Funny Car stats: 1 start, 1 round win)

2016 Season Stats: One win (Sonoma); Three finals (Atlanta, Norwalk, Chicago); One no.1 qualifier (Pomona-II); 37 round wins; fourth in the finals standings

2017 Season Stats: 2 starts; 2 round wins; Sixth in the point standings

Noteworthy: Attempting to become the 16th driver in NHRA history with a Top Fuel and Funny Car win; DHL celebrating 10th season of NHRA sponsorship

All photos are courtesy of Gary Nastase Photography and Blackbeard.
DeJoria Gainesville pre-race notes
Last Event Recap (Phoenix): Qualified 10th; First round defeat (Lost to J.R. Todd in the first round) 

2016 Gatornationals Recap: Qualified 11th; First round defeat (Lost to Matt Hagan in the first round)

Career Stats: 118 starts, 82 round wins, 4 wins, 7 finals, 4 no.1 qualifiers

2016 Season Stats: One win (Las Vegas-I); One semi-final (Bristol); One No. 1 qualifier (Charlotte-I); 13 round wins; 10th in the final standings

2017 Season Stats: Two starts; 12th in the point standings


National Football Foundation promoting “Mean” Joe Greene’s new book, ‘Built by Football’

New autobiography takes an eye-opening and powerful look at one of the greatest legends in gridiron history.

IRVING, Texas (March 17, 2017) - The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today the first book, “Mean” Joe Greene: Built By Football, in its Football Matters’ “Built By Football” series. The book, which will be available April 3, can be preordered by clicking here.
“We are extremely excited about this new series, which will take an inside look at the marquee members of the College Football Hall of Fame,” said Steve Hatchell, NFF president & CEO. “The road to becoming a Hall of Famer produces so many amazing stories of those who overcame adversity and persevered. We knew that we needed to do more to capture these stories. We are extremely grateful to Hall of Famer Joe Greene and author Jon Finkel for their efforts on launching this series.”
“Mean” Joe Greene’s memoir is a master class in determination, domination and perseverance. For the first time ever, the College and Pro football hall of famer gives readers an unflinching look at his rise from high school bully-victim and bench warmer to University of North Texas legend and Pittsburgh Steelers icon. Many years before he would anchor the most-feared, most-successful defense the NFL had ever seen, Joe Greene was just a big, timid kid from Temple, Texas, struggling to find his confidence as a teenager being raised by a single mother.
“When I got to North Texas I was rough around the edges as a man and as a player,” said Joe Greene. “College helped polish me up a bit and then when I got to Pittsburgh my teammates helped me to continue to smooth things out. I’m a better person because of the men who coached me and the men I played with. I learned from them. I’d like to take this opportunity to pass along that knowledge.”
In his compelling, eye-opening autobiography, Greene takes readers on an unprecedented tour of his life, exploring the people who influenced him and the events that shaped him: from humiliating high school embarrassments to the grit and guts that led to four Super Bowl titles as a player.
Better known by his nickname “Mean Joe” Greene, Charles Edward Joseph Greene acquired his moniker as a reference to his school’s nickname, the University of North Texas Mean Green (then known as North Texas State). During his three seasons in Denton, the 6-4, 270-pound defensive tackle led the Mean Green to a 23-5-1 record. In his 29 games, the team held the opposition to 2,507 yards gained on 1,276 rushes. A per carry average of less than two yards per attempt. His collegiate coach, Rod Rust, said of the 1968 consensus All-America, “There are two factors behind Joe’s success. First, he has the ability to make the big defensive play and turn the tempo of a game around. Second, he has the speed to be an excellent pursuit player.”
A top prospect in the 1969 NFL Draft, Greene was selected fourth overall by the Steelers, and he would go on to become part of the “Steel Curtain” defense that won four Super Bowls in six years. He made 10 Pro Bowl appearances, and he twice earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors. He played 13 seasons in the NFL from 1969-81, appearing in 181 games. In 1979, he was named NFL Man of the Year.
After his playing career, Greene spent 16 years as an assistant coach before becoming a special assistant for player personnel with the franchise. During his time in player personnel, the franchise would claim two more Super Bowls, giving Greene a total of six rings. Both North Texas and the Steelers have retired his No. 75. He earned induction into the University of North Texas Hall of Fame in 1981, the College Football Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.
Jon Finkel, the co-author with Greene on the book, has written numerous books, which have been endorsed by everyone from Oscar-winner Spike Lee and NFL Hall of Famer Kurt Warner, to Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones and founder Brett McKay. He has published with legends who have won a combined 14 Super Bowl titles, 25 NBA Championships, 4 NBA Slam Dunk contests and a Heisman Trophy. Visit for the latest news, book and social media information. He can be reached at:


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