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Archive for April 8th, 2017

MLS upholding 3-game suspension of LA’s Jaime Villarreal

NEW YORK (April 7, 2017) – LA Galaxy midfielder Jaime Villarreal will be unavailable for selection in the next three LA Galaxy regular season matches as MLS will uphold a three-game suspension imposed by the United Soccer League (USL).

Jaime Villarreal (courtesy LA Galaxy)

The USL suspended Villarreal for three games and issued an undisclosed fine for abusive and offensive language in the LA Galaxy II match against San Antonio on April 1.

Villarreal will be next available for selection by the LA Galaxy for MLS competition on April 29th when they host the Philadelphia Union.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF MLS COMMUNICATIONS

NHL Morning Skate for Saturday, April 8, 2017: Toronto, Tampa Bay fighting for final Playoff spot

SNEAK PEEK AT SATURDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
NY Rangers @ Ottawa, 12:30 p.m., SN, NHLN-US, RDS, MSG
Columbus @ Philadelphia, 12:30 p.m., CSN-PH, FS-O
Washington @ Boston, 3 p.m., NBC
Chicago @ Los Angeles, 6 p.m., FS-W, CSN-CH
NY Islanders @ New Jersey, 6 p.m., MSG, MSG+
Nashville @ Winnipeg, 7 p.m., CITY, FS-TN
Pittsburgh @ Toronto, 7 p.m., CBC, NHLN-US, ROOT
Montreal @ Detroit, 7 p.m., SN, TVAS, FS-D
Buffalo @ Florida, 7 p.m., FS-F, MSG-B
St. Louis @ Carolina, 7 p.m., FS-CR, FS-MW
Colorado @ Dallas, 8 p.m., FS-SW+, ALT
Minnesota @ Arizona, 9 p.m., FS-A PLUS, FS-N
Edmonton @ Vancouver, 10 p.m., CBC
Calgary @ San Jose, 10 p.m., SN, NHLN-US, NBCS CA+
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LAST SPOT IN EAST, PLAYOFF SEEDING TO BE DECIDED ON FINAL WEEKEND
The last available postseason spot in the Eastern Conference and seeding for the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs will be decided during the final weekend of the regular season, which closes with a 14-game slate on Saturday and 10-game schedule on Sunday.

* The Maple Leafs (39-26-15, 93 points), who currently hold the second Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference, look to clinch the final berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they face the Penguins at Air Canada Centre. Chasing Toronto are the Lightning (41-30-10, 92 points) and Islanders (39-29-12, 90 points).

Remaining Games for Teams in Playoff Contention:
Toronto (two games): Saturday vs. PIT, Sunday vs. CBJ
Tampa Bay (one game): Sunday vs. BUF
NY Islanders (two games): Saturday at NJD, Sunday vs. OTT

* Just two of the postseason’s eight First Round matchups are set entering the closing weekend of the regular season, both in the Eastern Conference (MTL vs. NYR, PIT vs. CBJ).

*  In the Western Conference, six playoff positions have yet to be determined, with only the No. 1 and 2 seeds in the Central Division claimed by the Blackhawks (50-23-8, 108 points) and Wild (48-25-8, 104 points), respectively.

* The Ducks (45-23-13, 103 points) look to fend off the Oilers (45-26-9, 99 points) for the Pacific Division title. Anaheim has one game remaining (Sunday vs. LAK), while Edmonton has two (Saturday at VAN, Sunday vs. VAN).

* In the Eastern Conference, three playoff positions have yet to be determined: the No. 2 and 3 seeds in the Atlantic Division as well as the second Wild Card spot.

JOE LOUIS ARENA TO HOST FINAL NHL GAMES
The Red Wings will hold the final two NHL games at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena when they host the Canadiens on Saturday and Devils on Sunday. The second-oldest arena in the League (behind New York’s Madison Square Garden), Joe Louis Arena has been the home of the Red Wings since 1979 and witnessed a 25-season playoff streak that came to a close this season and four Stanley Cup-winning campaigns. The Red Wings will move to the newly-built Little Caesars Arena for the 2017-18 season.

KINGS TO HOST BOB MILLER APPRECIATION DAY
The LA Kings will hold “Bob Miller Appreciation Day” on Saturday as the Hall of Fame broadcaster calls the final two games of his career this weekend when the Kings host the Blackhawks on Saturday and visit the Ducks on Sunday. The voice of the Kings for the last 44 years, Miller’s legacy will be honored with a pregame Fan Fest, on-ice logos and special warmup jerseys.

FRIDAY’S RESULT
Home Team in Caps
Tampa Bay 4, MONTREAL 2

LIGHTNING KEEP PLAYOFF HOPES ALIVE
Nikita Kucherov (1-1—2) scored his 40th goal of the season as the Lightning (41-30-10, 92 points) improved to 7-1-1 in their last nine games. Tampa Bay moved within a point of the Maple Leafs (39-26-15, 93 points) for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference and will conclude its regular-season schedule on Sunday against the Sabres at Amalie Arena.

* Kucherov became just the fifth Lightning player to record a 40-goal season, joining Brian BradleyVincent Lecavalier (2), Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos (4). He has set career-highs in goals, assists (44) and points (84) this season and trails only Sidney Crosby (43) in the Rocket Richard Trophy race.

Yanni Gourde (2-0—2) recorded his first career multi-goal game and has scored five times over his last seven contests after finding the net just once in his first 14 NHL games.

LOOSE PUCKS
Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen (1-1—2) has recorded five points in his last three games (3-2—5) . . . Defenseman Will Butcher of the University of Denver, a fifth round selection by the Avalanche in the 2013 NHL Draft (123rd overall), was named winner of the Hobey Baker Award . . .  Registration opened for the Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge . . . Ducks forward Nick Ritchie was suspended for two games for roughing Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival.

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

NHL Morning Skate for Friday, April 7, 2017: Ottawa Senators clinch Playoff berth

THURSDAY’S RESULTS
Home Team in Caps
Ottawa 2, BOSTON 1 (SO)
Pittsburgh 7, NEW JERSEY 4
NY Islanders 3, CAROLINA 0
Winnipeg 5, COLUMBUS 4
Tampa Bay 4, TORONTO 1
St. Louis 6, FLORIDA 3
Nashville 7, DALLAS 3
Minnesota 4, COLORADO 3
ARIZONA 4, Vancouver 3
ANAHEIM 4, Chicago 0
Calgary 4, LOS ANGELES 1
Edmonton 4, SAN JOSE 2

SENATORS CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH IN POTENTIAL FIRST ROUND PREVIEW
Alexandre Burrows, acquired via trade on Feb. 27, scored the tying goal and CraigAnderson made 28 saves through overtime to help the Senators clinch a playoff berth for the 16th time in franchise history.

* At 43-27-10 (96 points), the Senators moved one point ahead of the Bruins (44-30-7, 95 points) for second place in the Atlantic Division. Ottawa holds a game in hand on Boston – a potential First Round opponent – and swept the season series for the first time in franchise history (OTT: 4-0-0, BOS: 0-3-1).

* All of Ottawa’s 16 playoff appearances have come in the past 20 seasons. Elias says the Red Wings (19) and Sharks (17) are the only teams that have qualified for the postseason more times in that span.

ISLANDERS, LIGHTNING STAY ALIVE IN RACE FOR FINAL PLAYOFF SPOT
The Islanders (39-29-12, 90 points) and Lightning (40-30-10, 90 points) earned victories in must-win games to stay in the race for the 16th and final berth in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tampa Bay’s triumph came against Toronto (39-26-15, 93 points), who holds a three-point lead over both clubs for the second Eastern Conference Wild Card spot:

Brock Nelson (GWG) scored just 87 seconds into the contest and Jaroslav Halak denied all 29 shots he faced as the Islanders extended their win streak to four games. Halak registered his second shutout of the season to extend his personal win streak to five games and improve to 5-1-0 since rejoining the Islanders on March 24 (1.51 GAA, .949 SV%, 1 SO).

Nikita Kucherov (GWG) scored his 39th goal of the season (tied for second in the NHL) to help the Lightning improved to 6-1-1 in their past eight games overall and finish their season series against Toronto with a 2-1-1 record (TOR: 2-2-0). Victor Hedman tallied 0-3—3 to take the League lead for assists among defensemen and become the first blueliner in Lightning history to reach the 70-point mark in a season (15-55—70).

Remaining Games for Teams in Playoff Contention
Toronto
: Saturday vs. PIT and Sunday vs. CBJ
NY Islanders: Saturday at NJD and Sunday vs. OTT
Tampa Bay: Friday at MTL and Sunday vs. BUF

DUCKS, OILERS EARN WINS IN PURSUIT OF PACIFIC DIVISION TITLE
The Pacific Division title will be decided within the final two days of the regular season following wins by the Ducks (45-23-13, 103 points) and Oilers (45-26-9, 99 points):

John Gibson (37 saves) posted his sixth shutout of the season and Corey Perry netted the game-winning goal to help the Ducks extend their point streak to 13 games (10-0-3) dating to March 12. Anaheim, who has clinched home ice in the opening round, also moved to 8-0-1 in their past nine contests at Honda Center.

Milan Lucic (3-0—3) registered a natural hat trick in the third period to help the Oilers rally past the Sharks (45-29-7, 97 points) and stay in the race for the No. 1 seed in the division. Connor McDavid (1-1—2) reached the 30-goal mark for the first time to extend his point streak to 12 games (7-15—22) and open a nine-point lead in the race for the Art Ross Trophy (30-67—97).

* Edmonton will contest a home-and-home set against the Canucks on the weekend, while Anaheim hosts the Kings in their regular-season finale on Sunday. The Ducks hold a 42-41 advantage in ROW, but the Oilers lead the season series tiebreaker.

WESTERN CONFERENCE SEEDING TO BE DECIDED ON FINAL WEEKEND
The Blues (44-29-7, 95 points), Flames (45-32-4, 94 points) and Predators (41-28-12, 94 points) earned wins to maintain their positions in the Western Conference playoff picture. St. Louis owns the ROW tiebreaker against both clubs (STL: 43, CGY: 41, NSH: 39).

Jaden Schwartz collected 1-2—3 to help the Blues improve to 13-2-2 in their past 17 games and strengthen their grip on third place in the Central Division. St. Louis plays Saturday at CAR and Sunday vs. COL, needing only one point to clinch the No. 3 seed.

Jon Gillies, a third round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft (75th overall), made 27 saves in his NHL debut to help the Flames maintain the first Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. Calgary plays its final game of the regular season on Saturday at SJS.

Viktor Arvidsson (2-2—4) established a career high for points in a game as the Predators raced to a 5-0 lead en route to victory. Nashville closes the 2016-17 regular season on Saturday at WPG.

PENGUINS LOCK UP HOME ICE AGAINST BLUE JACKETS
Pittsburgh won its fourth straight game to clinch the No. 2 seed in the Metropolitan Division and home ice in their First Round series against Columbus.

* The Penguins (50-19-11, 111 points) reached the 50-win mark for the fourth time in franchise history (also 1992-93, 2011-12 and 2013-14). They will finish with the No. 2 seed in the NHL and the second-most points in franchise history behind the 1992-93 campaign, in which they established franchise records for wins (56) and points (119) in a season.

Sidney Crosby (0-2—2) collected 5-5—10 in the five-game season series against the Devils and now shares second in the NHL with 43-45—88 this season (74 GP).

LOOSE PUCKS
Bryan Little (1-3—4) matched a career high for points in a game and Eric Comrie made 35 saves while making his NHL debut as the Jets extended their win streak to six games, their longest such run since relocating to Winnipeg in 2011-12 . . . San Jose’s Brent Burns, who leads NHL blueliners with 29-46—75 (81 GP), matched his own single-season franchise record for points by a defenseman (27-48—75 in 2015-16). He is the first defenseman to record back-to-back 75-point seasons since Brian Leetch achieved the feat with the Rangers in 1995-96 and 1996-97 . . . Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot recorded his 41st win to establish a single-season franchise record, surpassing the mark set by Grant Fuhr (40 in 1987-88) . . . Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk became the first goaltender in franchise history to reach 40 wins in a season . . . Oscar Klefbom (0-4—4) became the first Oilers defenseman to record four assists in a game since Chris Pronger (0-4—4) on Dec. 31, 2005 . . . Blake Wheeler (0-1—1) extended his point streak to seven games (3-7—10) . . . Penguins rookie Jake Guentzel (1-1—2) scored for a fourth straight game . . . Bruins forward Brad Marchand has been suspended for two games for spearing Lightning defenseman Jake Dotchin . . . Denver will face Minnesota-Duluth in the championship game at the NCAA Frozen Four on Saturday . . . The Blues announced that forward Vladimir Sobotka will return to the team and has signed a three-year contract extension.

 

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

Defenseman Gabriel Carlsson recalled from Monsters by Columbus Blue Jackets

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  APRIL 7, 2017
COLUMBUS, OH – The Columbus Blue Jackets have recalled defenseman Gabriel Carlsson from the American Hockey League’s Cleveland Monsters, General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today.

Carlsson, 20, has posted one assist, two penalty minutes and a +2 plus/minus rating in three games with the Monsters this season, including an assist in his North American pro debut on Apr. 1 at Chicago.  He recently completed his second full season with Linköping HC in the Swedish Hockey League where he tallied 2-2-4 with six penalty minutes and was +8 in 40 games.  In 2015-16, he tallied 1-8-9, eight penalty minutes and was +4 in 45 games as the club’s youngest full-time player.  The 6-4, 191-pound blueliner, who was selected by Columbus in the first round, 29th overall, at the 2015 NHL Draft held at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, has registered 3-12-15, 10 penalty minutes and a +15 plus/minus rating in 92 career SHL games.

GABRIEL CARLSSON

The Orebro, Sweden native made his SHL debut with Linköping HC in 2014-15, recording 0-2-2 and a +3 plus/minus rating in seven regular season games and adding 0-1-1 with two penalty minutes in 10 playoff contests.  That year, he also recorded 0-7-7, 14 penalty minutes and was +21 in 39 games with Linköping HC J20 of the SuperElit and 2-3-5, 2 penalty minutes and +2 in seven contests with Linköping U18 of the J18 Elit.  He has represented Sweden in numerous international competitions, including the past two IIHF World Junior Championships.  He picked up 0-2-2 and was +5 in six games at the 2017 tournament and notched 0-3-3, eight penalty minutes and was +1 in seven contests in 2016.

The Blue Jackets return to action Saturday when they visit the Philadelphia Flyers.  Game time from Wells Fargo Center is 12:30 p.m. ET.  Live coverage on FOX Sports Ohio begins with the Blue Jackets Live pre-game show at 12 p.m.  The game will also be broadcast live on the Eldorado Scioto Downs Blue Jackets Radio Network, 97.1 The Fan FM, and online at BlueJackets.com.

Tickets for Blue Jackets home games during the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, go on sale Tuesday, April 4, at 10 a.m.  at the Big Lots Box Office at Nationwide Arena, all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, FOX Sports Ohio Blue Line at The Mall at Tuttle Crossing, online at BlueJackets.com and Ticketmaster.com, or by phone at (800) 745-3000. Information on all ticketing packages for 2016-17 can be obtained by calling (800) NHL‐COLS or by visiting BlueJackets.com.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & A COURTESY OF COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS COMMUNICATIONS

 

Forward Vitaly Abramov assigned to Cleveland Monsters by Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, OHIO — The Columbus Blue Jackets have assigned forward Vitaly Abramov to the American Hockey League’s Cleveland Monsters.

Abramov, 18, has recorded 84 goals and 113 assists for 197 points with 112 penalty minutes and a cumulative +49 plus/minus rating in 129 career games with the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. This past season he captured the Michel-Brière Trophy as the QMJHL’s Most Valuable Player and the Jean Beliveau Trophy as the QMJHL’s leading scorer and was named to the QMJHL first all-star team after posting career highs in goals, assists, points, penalty minutes and games played with 46-58-104, 76 penalty minutes and was +13 in 66 games. He finished third in the QMJHL in goals and assists during the regular season. The 5-10, 181-pound forward added 1-6-7 in seven postseason contests.

Vitaly Abramov

The Chelyabinsk, Russia native made his QMJHL debut with the Olympiques in 2015-16, notching 38-55-93 with 36 penalty minutes and a +36 plus/minus rating in 63 contests.  He was named the QMJHL Rookie of the Year and won the Michel Bergeron Trophy for the QMJHL Offensive Rookie of the Year after leading league rookies in goals, assists, points and plus/minus and finished fifth-T among all skaters in scoring.  He was selected 13th overall by Gatineau in the 2015 CHL Import Draft.

The Blue Jackets return to action Saturdday when they visit the Philadelphia Flyers.  Game time from Wells Fargo Center is 12:30 p.m. ET.  Live coverage on FOX Sports Ohio begins with the Blue Jackets Live pre-game show at 12 p.m.  The game will also be broadcast live on the Eldorado Scioto Downs Blue Jackets Radio Network, 97.1 The Fan FM, and online at BlueJackets.com.

Tickets for Blue Jackets home games during the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs are on sale now at the Big Lots Box Office at Nationwide Arena, all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, FOX Sports Ohio Blue Line at The Mall at Tuttle Crossing, online at BlueJackets.com and Ticketmaster.com, or by phone at (800) 745-3000. Information on ticketing packages for the 2017-18 season can be obtained by calling (800) NHL‐COLS or by visiting BlueJackets.com.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS COMMUNICATIONS

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