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February 2018
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Archive for February, 2018

NHL Final Quarter News 2017-18

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

NHL ENTERS FINAL QUARTER OF 2017-18

The 2017-18 NHL season entered its final quarter on Saturday, with 956 of 1,271 games in the books (75.2%). A look at key storylines entering the remaining 315 contests of the regular season.

 

QUICK HITS

* First place in three of the League’s four divisions is well within reach for many teams, with the top two seeds separated by four or fewer points in the Metropolitan, Atlantic and Central Divisions.

 

* The Golden Knights own a 12-point lead atop the Pacific Division. Vegas aims to become the first expansion club from either the NHL (since 1967-68), NBA (since 1961-62), MLB (since 1961) or NFL/AFL (since 1960) to finish the season atop the League standings, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

 

* Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin paces the NHL with 38 goals as he pursues his seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, aiming to become just the second player in NHL history to finish a season with the most goals at least seven times (Bobby Hull: 7x).

 

* Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov leads the NHL with 82 points (33-49—82) as he pursues his first Art Ross Trophy. He leads a group of 43 players age 25 or younger who have collected at least 40 points this season – a cohort that also features rookie scoring leader Mathew Barzal of the Islanders (17-49—66).

 

PLAYOFF PICTURE: DRIVE FOR DIVISION TITLES
First place in three of the League’s four divisions is well within reach for many teams, with only one point separating Nos. 1-3 in the Metropolitan Division, five points between Nos. 1-3 in the Atlantic Division and two teams tied in terms of points for first place in the Central Division. The expansion Golden Knights are the only club with a lead of at least five points, holding a 12-point advantage over the Sharks in the Pacific Division.

 

Metropolitan Division

* The Capitals (35-20-7, 77 points), who have posted the League’s top record in each of the past two seasons, sit atop their division – where the top four clubs are separated by only five points. This is contrary to the trend since 2013-14, as the gap between the top two clubs has been largest in the Metropolitan Division in every season during that span compared to the other three divisions (2013-14: 13 points; 2014-15: 12 points; 2015-16: 16 points; 2016-17: 7 points).

 

Atlantic Division

* The Lightning (42-17-3, 87 points) pace the Atlantic Division and NHL after missing the playoffs last season. Tampa Bay has relinquished first place in the NHL for only six days since Nov. 28, never falling more than one point from the top spot. Only one team in the past 81 years has finished with the League’s best record after missing the playoffs the previous season – the Rangers did so in 1993-94 en route to winning the Stanley Cup.

 

Central Division

* The Predators (37-14-9, 83 points) lead their division race – with the Jets (37-16-9, 83 points) hot on their heels – after advancing to the Stanley Cup Final as the final Western Conference playoff entrant in 2017. The Central has been the most tightly contested division since the League’s current alignment was introduced in 2013-14, with the top two seeds separated by five or fewer points in each of the past four seasons (2013-14: 1 point; 2014-15: 5 points; 2015-16: 2 points; 2016-17: 3 points).

 

Pacific Division

* The Golden Knights (41-16-4, 86 points), who have held first place in their division since Dec. 23, have already established records for wins and points by an NHL team in its inaugural season. Vegas now aims to become the first expansion club from either the NHL (since 1967-68), NBA (since 1961-62), MLB (since 1961) or NFL/AFL (since 1960) to finish the season atop the League standings, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Golden Knights would become the second expansion team from any of the four North American professional sports leagues to finish first in its division, joining the NBA’s Denver Nuggets who did so in 1976-77 (aside from 1967-68 Flyers, when all teams in the NHL’s West Division were expansion clubs).

 

PLAYOFF PICTURE: WILD CARD PUSH

Overall, 22 teams either occupy a playoff spot or sit within five points of one, including 11 teams who were not part of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs (East: TBL, PHI, NJD, NYI, CAR, FLA; West: VGK, WPG, DAL, LAK, COL).

 

* The Eastern Conference features three teams – the Islanders (63 GP), Hurricanes (62 GP) and Panthers (59 GP) – who currently sit outside the playoff picture but within five points of the second Wild Card position.

 

 

* The Western Conference includes three teams outside the top eight – the Blues (62 GP), Kings (62 GP) and Avalanche (61 GP) – who are within four points of a playoff spot.

 

* Last season, seven teams made the playoffs after not qualifying in 2015-16 – matching the largest year-to-year change in NHL history. There has been a playoff turnover of at least five clubs in 10 of the past 12 seasons.

 

OVECHKIN LEADS GOALS RACE IN PURSUIT OF 7TH MAURICE RICHARD TROPHY

Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin paces the NHL with 38 goals as he pursues his seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy. Ovechkin, who sits fourgoals shy of 600 in his career, aims to become just the second player in NHL history to finish a season with the most goals at least seven times (Bobby Hull: 7x).

 

* Ovechkin is being chased by 11 players who are within 10 goals of him, including seven other 30-goal scorers. The last season to feature at least eight 30-goal scorers at the three-quarter mark was 2009-10 (also eight players through 923 GP).

 

KUCHEROV AHEAD OF PACK CHASING ART ROSS TROPHY

Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov leads the NHL with 82 points (33-49—82) as he chases his first Art Ross Trophy as the League’s top point-getter – a position he has held since Dec. 12. He is the only player to reach 80 points this season, but eight others have hit the 70-point benchmark.

 

* Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin (36-40—76) has collected three points in three of his past four games to move into second in the League in both goals and points. He is one of two active NHL players with multiple Art Ross Trophies (also Sidney Crosby).

 

* Six of the top 10 in points have never won a scoring title, including Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux (22-52—74), Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau (20-53—73) and Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler (18-54—72), who ranks third through fifth, respectively. No player from the Flyers or Jets/Thrashers franchise has ever won the scoring title.

 

* Edmonton’s Connor McDavid (27-44—71) ranks sixth as he aims to defend his scoring title, a feat not accomplished since Jaromir Jagr won four straight from 1997-98 through 2000-01.

 

YOUNG STARS SHINE AT BOTH ENDS OF ICE

There are 43 players age 25 or younger who have reached the 40-point mark this season – including three of the League’s top six point-getters (Nikita Kucherov, Johnny Gaudreau and Connor McDavid). That cohort is highlighted by 20-year-old Islanders forward Mathew Barzal (17-49—66), who has used a trio of five-point showings to catapult to the top of the rookie points race and into 12th overall in the NHL (tied).

 

* Meanwhile, Vancouver’s Brock Boeser (27-24—51) ranks second in rookie points and paces that group with 27 goals. Three other rookies have hit the 20-goal mark this season – Winnipeg’s Kyle Connor (22), Tampa Bay’s Yanni Gourde (22) and Chicago’s Alex DeBrincat (22) – with four others within five of that benchmark.

 

* Only five rookies in the past 21 seasons have finished among the NHL’s top 20 point-producers, including only three who cracked the top 10.

* In addition, four goaltenders from the 25-and-under contingent have posted at least 20 wins this season. Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy, 23, and Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck, 24, rank first and second (tied) in the League with 36 and 32 wins, respectively. Vasilevskiy would become the 12th different goaltender in NHL history to finish a season with at least a share of the League lead in wins before celebrating his 24th birthday – Carey Price (2010-11) is the only goaltender to do so since 1996-97.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHLmedia.com

 

Indians invite 1B/DH Mike Napoli to Spring Training camp

Mike Napoli in 2016 with Indians By Arturo Pardavila III from Hoboken, NJ, USA, CC BY 2.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

The Cleveland Indians today announced the club has signed free agent 1B MIKE NAPOLI to a Minor League contract with a non-roster invitation to Major League Spring Training camp, bringing the total number of non-roster invitees to 24.

Napoli, 36, owns a Major League career average of .246 (1125-4572) with 224 doubles, 267 home runs, 744 RBI and 650 walks across 12 seasons with the LA Angels, Rangers, Red Sox and Indians (.346/.475/.821 OPS). The Pembroke Pines, FL native has hit at least 17 home runs over each of the last ten seasons since 2008, one of just five Major League players to make that claim.

He spent the 2017 season with the Texas Rangers, clubbing 29 home runs with 66 RBI in 124 games in his third stint in Arlington. Napoli was an integral part of Cleveland’s 2016 American League Championship club, collecting career-highs in home runs (34), RBI (101), games (150), runs (92) and hits (133) while leading the club in homers and RBI after signing a one-year deal in January 2016.

Read more: Cleveland Indians
PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY INDIANS MEDIA RELATIONS; COURTESY MLBpressbox.com

 

Cincinnati Reds announce Luke Bryan concert tickets to go on sale March 9

 

Luke Bryan 2010 photo By Keith Hinkle, CC BY 2.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

Concert at GABP on June 16

 

Tickets for the Luke Bryan concert on Saturday, June 16 at Great American Ball Park will go on sale to the public Friday, March 9 at 10 a.m. at Livenation.com and reds.com/LukeBryan.

Cincinnati Reds Season Ticket Members can purchase pre-sale tickets for the concert at GABP beginning Wednesday, March 7 at 10 a.m.

The “WHAT MAKES YOU COUNTRY TOUR XL STADIUM SIZED” stop in Cincinnati will include special guest Sam Hunt along with Jon Pardi and openers Morgan Wallen and DJ Rock.

A full tour schedule is available on LukeBryan.com.

Live Nation is the national tour promoter of the 2018 “What Makes You Country Tour.” Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter of hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is a sponsor. Citi® is the official presale credit card of Luke Bryan’s “What Makes You Country Tour.” As such, Citi® cardmembers will have access to purchase presale tickets through Citi’s Private Pass® program. For complete presale details visit www.citiprivatepass.com.

About Luke Bryan
Country music superstar Luke Bryan is a two-time Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year, a five-time host of the ACM Awards and the Super Bowl LI National anthem performer. He has more certified digital singles than any other country artist with 40 million tracks and 12 million albums with three Billion music streams and he was the most-streamed country artist from 2012 to 2016. Luke has placed 19 singles at #1, 11 of which he co-wrote, and has headlined arena tours and sold-out stadiums across the U.S. performing for 1.5 Million fans in 2017 alone. Visit LukeBryan.com or follow Luke on Twitter @LukeBryanOnline, Instagram and Facebook.

About Sam Hunt
Sam Hunt’s GRAMMY-nominated, Double-Platinum-selling debut album, Montevallo (MCA Nashville), topped the Billboard Country Albums Chart in its first week and remains the best-selling debut album for a country artist since 2011. The critically-acclaimed album produced four No. 1 singles and five Multi-Platinum-selling hits including “Leave the Night On,” “House Party,” “Take Your Time,” “Break Up In A Small Town” and “Make You Miss Me.” Hunt’s first single following the success of Montevallo is the three-week No. 1, Triple-Platinum-selling, GRAMMY-nominated smash, “Body Like A Back Road.” The song shot to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart where it remained for an unprecedented 27 consecutive weeks, shattering the record for most weeks atop the nearly 59-year-old chart. For information on Sam Hunt, visit www.SamHunt.com.

 

Read more: Cincinnati Reds

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY REDS MEDIA RELATIONS; Jessie Schmidt / Schmidt Relations;  Lori Christian/ Universal Music Group; COURTESY MLBpressbox.com

 

Daily Almanac for Wednesday, February 28, 2018: 59th Day of the Year and final day of the month

(courtesy ClipartBarn)

THIS IS THE 59TH DAY OF THE YEAR WITH 20 DAYS TILL SPRING; THERE ARE 210 LEFT IN 2018

 

HIGHLIGHTS ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY INCLUDE:

 

1820s

1860s

1910s

1930s

1940s

1950s

1960s

1970s

1980s

1990s

2000s

2010s

 

 

DAILY ALMANAC WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF www.almanac.com


Blue Jackets bring back popular, productive Mark Letestu in trade with Nashville

 

Mark Letestu with CBJ in 2012 By Michael Miller - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

IN EXCHANGE FOR 2018 FOURTH ROUND PICK


Letestu collected 43-55-98 and 36 penalty minutes in 233 games with Columbus from 2011-15

 

COLUMBUS, OHIO — The Columbus Blue Jackets have acquired center Mark Letestu from the Nashville Predators in exchange for a 2018 fourth round selection, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today.  The former Blue Jacket was acquired by the Predators earlier in the day in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers.

 

Letestu, 33, has recorded 92 goals and 114 assists for 206 points with 90 penalty minutes in 538 career NHL games with the Oilers, Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins.  He has registered six seasons with 10 or more goals and 24 or more points and added 6-9-15 and two penalty minutes in 30 career Stanley Cup Playoff contests.

 

The Elk Point, Alberta native has notched 8-11-19 with 10 penalty minutes and three power play goals in 60 games with Edmonton this season.  In 2016-17, he posted NHL career highs in goals, points and power play goals with the Oilers, collecting 16-19-35, 17 penalty minutes and 11 power play tallies in 78 games.

 

“Mark is a very good player who will bring versatility and experience to our lineup.  He can play on the power play, kill penalties and is very good in the faceoff circle,” said Kekalainen. “He is also a person of very high character who made an impact on and off the ice during his previous time here and we are very happy to bring him back to Columbus.”

 

Letestu spent four seasons with the Blue Jackets from 2011-15, recording 43-55-98 and 36 penalty minutes in 233 games.  He tallied three-straight campaigns of 10 or more goals and 24 or more points, including 12-22-34 in 82 games in 2013-14 to help the Blue Jackets reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  He was originally acquired by Columbus in a trade from Pittsburgh on Nov. 8, 2011.  Signed by the Penguins as a free agent in March 2007, he spent the 2006-07 season at Western Michigan University and was named the CCHA Rookie of the Year after posting 24-22-46 and 14 penalty minutes in 37 contests.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS COMMUNICATIONS


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