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Archive for March 13th, 2018

NHL announces ”Three Stars” of the Week: Jets’ Laine, Bruins’ Marchand and Penguins’ Malkin


Evgeni Malkin 2017 photo By Michael Miller - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https


Brad Marchand skating 2016 photo By Lisa Gansky from New York, NY, USA - IMG_4618, CC BY-SA 2.0, https


Patrik Laine (courtesy Winnipeg)

NEW YORK (March 12, 2018) – Winnipeg Jets right wing Patrik Laine, Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand and Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending March 11.



Laine led the NHL with five goals in three games to propel the Jets (41-18-9, 91 points) to a 2-1-0 week. He registered his fourth career hat trick, including the winning goal, in a 3-0 victory over the New York Rangers March 6. In doing so, Laine became the third player in League history to post four hat tricks prior to his 20th birthday, joining Jimmy Carson (5) and Dale Hawerchuk (5). Laine then added one tally in both a 3-2 triumph against the New Jersey Devils March 8 and a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers March 10 to join Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin atop the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy race and become the ninth player in NHL history to score 40 goals in one season as a teenager (40-23—63 in 68 GP). The 19-year-old Tampere, Finland, native has collected at least one point in a franchise-record 11 consecutive games (15-6—21), including goals in five straight (9-1—10).



Marchand paced the NHL with 4-4—8 in three games as the Bruins (43-16-8, 94 points) earned three wins in four contests. He notched 3-2—5, including his third career hat trick, fourth career five-point performance and franchise-record 11th career overtime goal, in a 6-5 triumph over the Detroit Red Wings March 6. Marchand then scored his third straight game-winning goal in a 3-2 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers March 8, becoming the seventh player in Bruins history to register the decisive tally in three consecutive team games (and first since Tyler Seguin from Nov. 5-10, 2011). He added two assists in a 7-4 triumph over the Chicago Blackhawks March 10 before missing a 3-1 loss to the Blackhawks March 11. The 29-year-old Halifax, N.S., native ranks fourth in the League with 1.30 points per game this season, sitting 16th overall with 29-40—69 in 53 outings.



Malkin ranked second in the NHL with 3-5—8 in four games to lift the Penguins (40-26-4, 84 points) to a 3-1-0 week and back into first place in the Metropolitan Division. He registered 1-2—3, his League-best 12th three-point effort of the season, in a 4-3 overtime win against the Calgary Flames March 5. Malkin then posted 1-1—2 in a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers March 7, one assist in a 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs March 10 and 1-1—2 in a 3-1 triumph against the Dallas Stars March 11. The 31-year-old Magnitogorsk, Russia, native places second in the NHL with 87 points and third with 39 goals in 66 appearances this season. That includes a League-high 51 points and 25 goals in 30 contests during the calendar year as well as 3-8—11 during an active six-game point streak.



Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin, The Road to 600 Goals

Alex Ovechkin becomes fourth-fastest player to score 600 career NHL goals (20th overall)




March 12, 2018



Alex Ovechkin became the 20th player in NHL history to reach the 600-goal milestone, doing so in his 990th career game (600-509—1,109). Only three players achieved the feat in fewer contests: Wayne Gretzky (718), Mario Lemieux (719) and Brett Hull (900).


* Ovechkin required only 189 games to get from 500 goals to 600 goals – tied with Mike Gartner (189) for fifth-fewest among all players to achieve the feat, behind Lemieux (114), Gretzky (143), Marcel Dionne (146) and Bobby Hull (171).


* Selected first overall by the Capitals in the 2004 NHL Draft, Ovechkin became the sixth player to score 600 goals for one franchise. The others: Gordie Howe (786 w/ DET), Steve Yzerman (692 w/ DET), Mario Lemieux (690 w/ PIT), Joe Sakic (625 w/ QUE/COL) and Bobby Hull (604 w/ CHI).


* Ovechkin (Moscow, Russia) became the fourth European-born player to reach 600 NHL goals, joining Jaromir Jagr (766; Kladno, Czech Republic), Teemu Selanne (684; Helsinki, Finland) and Jari Kurri (601; Helsinki, Finland).


* Since entering the NHL in 2005-06, Ovechkin (600) has 195 more goals than the next-closest player (Sidney Crosby: 405). Ovechkin (600-509—1,109) and Crosby (405-698—1,103) are the only players with 1,100 or more points in that span.


* Less than 1,000 games into his NHL career, Ovechkin already is the League’s all-time leader in overtime goals (22), ranks ninth in game-winning goals (100), 10th in power-play goals (225) and 10th in shots on goal (4,839).


* Overall, Ovechkin’s average of 0.61 goals per game ranks fifth in NHL history among players with a minimum of 300 games played, behind Mike Bossy (0.76), Lemieux (0.75), Cy Denneny (0.75) and Pavel Bure (0.62). In fact, only two of 19 players ahead of Ovechkin on the all-time goals list averaged at least 0.60 goals per game: Lemieux (0.75) and Gretzky (0.60).


* Only one other active NHL player is averaging at least 0.50 goals per game (min. 300 GP): Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos (0.53), who has 348 career goals in 655 games.


* Ovechkin has averaged at least 0.60 goals per game in nine of his 13 NHL seasons (including 0.61 in 2017-18: 42 G in 69 GP). At that rate, Ovechkin would need 490 more games – just under six full seasons – to equal Wayne Gretzky’s NHL record of 894 goals and approximately 334 more games – a little more than four seasons – to join Gretzky and Gordie Howe (801) as the only players in League history to score 800 goals.



* Ovechkin has scored against 128 different goaltenders on his way to 600 goals (plus 28 goals into an empty net), including 22 goals against Henrik Lundqvist (37 GP) – his highest total against one netminder. Monday marked the first time Ovechkin scored against Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck (2 G in 4 GP).


* Among goaltenders Ovechkin has faced at least 10 times, his best goals per game has come against Ben Bishop (0.91 G/GP; 10 G in 11 GP). Also of note is that Ovechkin has scored 12 goals – his eighth-highest total against one goaltender – in seven contests against Devan Dubnyk (1.71 G/GP).


* Ovechkin, who has at least five goals against every team except the first-year Golden Knights (0 G in 2 GP), has scored more goals versus the Jets/Thrashers franchise than against any other club, tallying 47 times in 63 games (vs. ATL: 30 G in 42 GP; vs. WPG: 17 G in 21 GP). His best goals per game against one club is 1.07 G/GP against the Wild.


Nicklas Backstrom has assisted on 228 of Ovechkin’s first 600 career goals (38%) – by far the highest total among the 87 different players (including five goaltenders) to assist on an Ovechkin goal.

* The road to 600 goals has seen Ovechkin score in 46.2% of his appearances (457 of 990 GP). That includes 99 contests with exactly two goals, 16 with exactly three goals and four with four goals – a total of 119 multi-goal performances (20 hat tricks).


* Ovechkin’s 119 career multi-goal games are tied for 16th on the League’s all-time list (w/ Luc Robitaille); Jari Kurri and Bobby Hull share 14th place with 121 apiece, while Wayne Gretzky holds the record with 189. Since 2005-06, Ovechkin has 39 more multi-goal games than the next-closest player (Sidney Crosby: 80).


* Ovechkin has scored the opening goal of a game 109 times, tied a game 112 times and put his team ahead 208 times (including 22 overtime goals). Additionally, Ovechkin has pulled his team within one goal 53 times and given the Capitals a two-goal lead on 112 occasions.


* Ovechkin has scored 44 of his goals in the opening five minutes of a game – including 10 in the first 60 seconds – and 76 in the last five minutes of regulation – with 35 of those coming in the final minute.







NFL Free Agency Questions & Answers for 2018



Q.  When does the 2018 free agency signing period begin?

A.  At 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 14.

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 14 to April 20.  For unrestricted free agents who have received the May 8 tender from their prior club, from March 14 to July 23 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later).  For franchise players, from March 14 until the Tuesday following Week 10 of the regular season, November 13.  For transition players, from March 14 until July 23.  After July 23 and until 4 p.m. ET on the Tuesday following Week 10 of the regular season, November 13, the prior club has exclusive negotiating rights to unrestricted free agents and transition players.  If the above-listed players do not sign by November 13, they must sit out the season.


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

A. In the 2018 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 2017 league year on March 14.  Unrestricted free agents have completed four or more accrued seasons.  Upon expiration of his 2017 contract, 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. How do the free agency rules apply to restricted free agents?

A.  If a player with three accrued seasons 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 20.  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 20, the player’s negotiating rights revert exclusively to his old club.  In addition, prior to the start of free agency 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 are the right of first refusal/qualifying offer amounts for players who have completed three accrued seasons?

A.  For right of first refusal only, a one-year salary of at least $1,907,000.

For right of first refusal and compensation at the player’s original draft round, a one-year salary of at least $1,907,000 or 110 percent of the 2017 Paragraph 5 salary, whichever is greater.

For right of first refusal and compensation of one second-round draft selection, a one-year salary of at least $2,914,000 or 110 percent of the 2017 Paragraph 5 salary, whichever is greater.

For right of first refusal and compensation of one first-round draft selection, a one-year salary of at least $4,149,000 or 110 percent of the 2017 Paragraph 5 salary, whichever is greater.

For right of first refusal and compensation of only one first-round draft selection, but any provision in the new club’s offer sheet waiving or limiting the new club’s ability to designate the player as a franchise or transition player is not a principal term and need not be matched by the prior club, a one-year salary of at least $4,649,000 or 110 percent of the 2017 Paragraph 5 salary, whichever is greater.


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 23 (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 8 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 Week 10 of the regular season (November 13) to sign him.  If he does not sign by that date, he must sit out the season.  If no tender is offered by May 8, 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 20; 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 2018 league year, or when his 2017 contract expires if the tender is withdrawn before the start of the 2018 league year.

Q. What is the salary cap for 2018?

A.  The salary cap is $177,200,000 per club.


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

A.  At the start of the 2018 league year, which begins at 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 14.


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.  A club can carry over 100 percent of its remaining 2017 room to its adjusted salary cap for 2018.




Tuesday, March 13, 2018: Day 72 of the Year





























MLB suspends Royals’ Bonifacio for drug violations


Jorge Bonifacio hitting for Omaha Storm Chasers 2017 photo by By Minda Haas Kuhlmann from Omaha, CC BY 2.0, https


The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that Kansas City Royals outfielder Jorge Bonifacio has received an 80-game suspension without pay after testing positive for Boldenone, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Bonifacio’s 80-game suspension will commence at the start of the 2018 regular season.

Read more: MLB


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