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Archive for March 18th, 2018

NHL Morning Skate for Sunday, March 18, 2018: Blue Jackets move up in Metro Division with 7th straight win; Maple Leafs push home streak to 12 contests; Bruins get closer to 1st place in Atlantic Division


Home Team in Caps
BUFFALO 5, Chicago 3
Edmonton 4, FLORIDA 2
New Jersey 3, LOS ANGELES 0
Boston 3, TAMPA BAY 0
TORONTO 4, Montreal 0
Philadelphia 4, CAROLINA 2
COLUMBUS 2, Ottawa 1
ST. LOUIS 4, NY Rangers 3 (OT)
Minnesota 3, ARIZONA 1
San Jose 5, VANCOUVER 3

The Bruins (45-17-8, 98 points) and Maple Leafs (43-22-7, 93 points) – the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in the Atlantic Division, respectively – each earned shutout wins to inch closer to the Lightning (48-19-4, 100 points) for the top spot in both the division and Eastern Conference:

Tuukka Rask made 23 saves to help the Bruins shut out the Lightning and improve to 8-2-0 in their last 10 games. Boston improved to 2-0-0 against Tampa Bay this season and moved within two points of them for first place. The two clubs meet twice in the remaining three weeks of the regular-season: March 29 at TD Garden and April 3 at AMALIE Arena.

* Rask improved to 6-0-0 in his last six appearances and 30-11-4 overall (2.29 GAA, .919 SV%, 3 SO). He became the eighth goaltender to reach the 30-win mark in 2017-18, hitting the milestone for a fifth consecutive season – the only Bruins goaltender ever to achieve that feat.

Curtis McElhinney turned aside all 33 shots he faced as the Maple Leafs recorded their fourth straight win overall and extended their franchise-record home win streak to 12 games, the longest in the NHL this season. McElhinney improved to 7-0-1 in his last eight decisions dating to Jan. 25 (1.46 GAA, .954 SV%, 2 SO).

* The Maple Leafs share second in the NHL with 25 home wins in 2017-18 (behind PIT: 26), one shy of matching the single-season franchise record established in 2005-06 (26-12-3, 2005-06), with six contests remaining at Air Canada Centre. Overall, Toronto sits two victories shy of matching the highest single-season total in franchise history (45: 1998-99, 1999-00 and 2003-04).

The Flyers (36-25-11, 83 points), Blue Jackets (39-28-5, 83 points) and Devils (37-26-8, 82 points) all earned wins to keep pace in the air-tight Metropolitan Division standings, where only seven points separate the top five clubs:

* The Flyers scored all four of their goals in the third period – including the winning tally by Valtteri Filppula with 5:49 remaining – to defeat the Hurricanes (30-30-11, 71 points). Philadelphia trails only Washington (41-23-7, 89 points) and Pittsburgh (41-26-5, 87 points) in the Metropolitan Division, with one game remaining against each club (today vs. WSH and March 25 at PIT).

Sergei Bobrovsky made 23 saves and Markus Nutivaara netted his first career game-winning goal to lead Columbus to a season-high seventh straight victory. The Blue Jackets, who sit in the first Wild Card position, improved to 8-2-0 since the Trade Deadline – tied for the second-best record in the NHL in that span.

Keith Kinkaid turned aside all 38 shots he faced as the Devils improved to 3-0-0 on their season-high six-game road trip. Nico Hischier, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, scored his 16th goal of the season (16-30—46 in 71 GP) to move within four goals of becoming the fourth rookie to score 20+ goals in a Devils uniform.

The Wild (41-24-7, 89 points), Sharks (40-23-9, 89 points) and Blues (38-28-5, 81 points) each made positive strides in their push for a playoff spot in the Western Conference, where a group of eight teams are separated by nine points:

Devan Dubnyk made 30 saves to record his 200th NHL win and Eric Staal (38-32—70) scored to reach the 70-point mark as the Wild earned their second victory in as many days. Staal, who posted at least 70 points for the first time since 2011-12 (24-46—70), became just the fourth player in Wild franchise history to accomplish the feat.

* Four different players collected multiple points as the Sharks equaled a season high with their fourth consecutive win overall and swept their three-game road trip through Western Canada. San Jose moved within six points of Vegas (45-21-5, 95 points) for top spot in the Pacific Division, with two head-to-head meetings remaining (March 22 vs. VGK and March 31 at VGK).

* Captain Alex Pietrangelo (2-1—3) collected three points and Brayden Schenn scored his career-high eighth game-winning goal (in overtime) to guide the Blues to their third win in four contests. St. Louis moved within three points of the idle Avalanche (38-25-8, 84 points) and Stars (38-26-8, 84 points) for a Western Conference playoff spot, with one game remaining against Colorado this season (April 7 at COL).


· Couple gets married before Hurricanes game

· Blues fan battling cancer gets engaged during live interview

· Joe Thornton look-alike surfaces at Sharks game in Vancouver

· Turtleneck tribute for Tomas Plekanec from former Canadiens teammates

· Predators rode Rinne, depth, balance to clinch playoff berth







NHL updated Coach’s Challenge Tracker


A list of all challenges through games played March 17



239 Coach’s Challenges | 149 upheld | 90 overturned

· 151 for goalie interference | 104 upheld | 47 overturned (41 to “no goal” / 6 to “goal”)

· 20 initiated by Situation Room for goalie interference | 15 upheld | 5 overturned

· 54 for offside | 18 upheld | 36 overturned (all to “no goal”)

· 14 initiated by Situation Room for offside | 12 upheld | 2 overturned (all to “no goal”)


Team Requested Opposing Team Requested Opposing
Boston 8 7 Carolina 6 3
Buffalo 2 8 Columbus 6 5
Detroit 13 8 New Jersey 3 9
Florida 10 7 NY Islanders 8 2
Montreal 4 9 NY Rangers 8 8
Ottawa 7 8 Philadelphia 8 5
Toronto 5 13 Pittsburgh 5 12
Tampa Bay 5 8 Washington 3 8


Team Requested Opposing Team Requested Opposing
Chicago 5 7 Anaheim 4 6
Colorado 7 13 Arizona 9 4
Dallas 5 7 Calgary 5 6
Minnesota 11 12 Edmonton 2 7
Nashville 5 13 Los Angeles 9 13
St. Louis 7 3 San Jose 9 6
Winnipeg 9 4 Vancouver 7 8
      Vegas 10 10

*Requested column does not include challenges initiated by Situation Room



In the final minute of play in the third period and at any point in overtime (regular season and playoffs), Hockey Operations initiates the review of any scenario that would otherwise be subject to a Coach’s Challenge. This process has been initiated for the following teams:


Atlantic: Boston (2), Buffalo (2), Detroit (3), Florida, Montreal, Tampa Bay

Metropolitan: Carolina (2), Columbus, New Jersey, NY Islanders (3), NY Rangers, Philadelphia, Washington

Central: Dallas, Nashville (2), Winnipeg

Pacific: Anaheim, Arizona (4), Calgary (2), Edmonton, San Jose, Vancouver



Teams to either have their goal taken down or counted based on a challenge of any sort.


Call changed from “goal” to “no goal” – 84
Atlantic: Boston (2), Buffalo (2), Detroit (3), Florida, Montreal (5), Ottawa (4), Tampa Bay (2), Toronto (4)

Metropolitan: Carolina (2), Columbus (2), New Jersey (2), NY Rangers (2), Philadelphia (2), Pittsburgh (4), Washington

Central: Chicago (2), Colorado (6), Dallas (3), Minnesota (6), Nashville (2), Winnipeg (4)

Pacific: Anaheim (3), Arizona, Calgary (3), Edmonton (5), Los Angeles (6), San Jose (3), Vancouver, Vegas


Call changed from “no goal” to “goal” – 6

Atlantic: Boston, Detroit, Florida, Ottawa
Metropolitan: Philadelphia






NFL Commissioner Godell issues statement on passing of Saints owner Tom Benson


Tom Benson in 2009 By Cpl Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo, Public Domain, https


Tom Benson’s contributions to New Orleans and the National Football League were legendary. He purchased a team that had never had a winning season; by the third year of his ownership, the Saints were in the playoffs. Tom kept the Saints together through the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, and his decision to bring the team back to New Orleans gave the entire region hope and confidence that they would recover. The Saints rewarded their fans with tremendous football and a Super Bowl championship.

Tom loved New Orleans, where he was a generous and caring philanthropist.  Within the NFL, he was a true leader among NFL owners. He served as the chairman of the League’s Finance Committee for many years, was a key advisor to my predecessors, and was someone whom I frequently turned to since becoming Commissioner. I know that the entire NFL family joins me in extending our most heartfelt condolences to Gayle Benson and the entire Saints organization.





Saints, Pelicans owner Tom Benson dies at age 90; people of New Orleans loved him dearly

Thomas Milton Benson (July 12, 1927 – March 15, 2018) was an American businessman, philanthropist and sports franchise owner. He was the owner of the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL) from 1985 to 2018 and New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 2012 to 2018.

As a sports team owner, Benson had a Super Bowl victory to his credit, via the Saints winning Super Bowl XLIV.

Early career

Benson was born in New OrleansLouisiana, to Thomas Benson, Sr. and Carmen Benson. He served in the U.S. Navy and then graduated with an accounting degree at Loyola University New Orleans in 1948. After school he worked as a car salesman at Cathey Chevrolet in New Orleans.

In 1956, he moved to San Antonio to try and revive a poorly performing dealership; he was granted a 25 percent interest in the dealership for his efforts. In 1962, he became full owner of Tom Benson Chevrolet. He was the owner of several automobile dealerships in the Greater New Orleans and San Antonio areas. Benson became wealthy by investing profits from his automobile dealerships in local banks. He eventually purchased several small Southern banks and formed Benson Financial, which he sold to Norwest Corporation in 1996.

Tom Benson in 2009 by Cpl Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo, Public Domain via wikipedia commons

New Orleans Saints

Benson purchased the Saints from John Mecom in 1985 after he learned from Governor Edwin W. Edwards that the team was on the verge of being sold to parties interested in moving the team to Jacksonville, Florida. Ownership of the team was officially transferred to him on May 31, 1985.

Shortly after acquiring the Saints, Benson gained a reputation as one of the more popular and colorful owners in the league. He hired general manager Jim Finks and head coach Jim Mora, who led the Saints to their first winning season and playoff appearance.


In November 2014, Fawcett Stadium at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio was renamed “Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium” in recognition of a $11 million donation by Tom Benson.


Benson was hospitalized on February 16, 2018, with the flu. He died on March 15, 2018, at Ochsner Medical Center in Jefferson, Louisiana, at age 90.

Awards and honors









NFL and Nike announces new Captains for Youth Program


(Courtesy NIKE)



NFL Players from all 32 Clubs Celebrate and Recognize

Youth and High School Football

NEW YORK, NY –  The NFL and Nike are excited to announce the launch of the “Youth Football Captains” Program. Thirty-two current NFL players, including DREW BREES, DESHAUN WATSON and JASON WITTEN, will serve as “Youth Football Captains.” Each Captain will attend local youth football activities and host a youth football summer camp.

The Youth Football Captains program demonstrates the commitment to growing the game of football at the youth and high school levels, strengthening relationships in NFL markets and providing opportunities for NFL athletes to connect with their local youth football communities.  Both the NFL and Nike are dedicated to ensuring that our young athletes have continued access to the numerous benefits and experiences the game imparts.

Each Captain will participate in a variety of events throughout the year, including appearances at youth and high school football practices and NFL FLAG Regionals during the season, hosting a Nike summer camp in the offseason and attending local youth football community events year round. Nike will in turn provide support and equipment for each Captain’s summer camp, including an online tutorial – “Camp-in-a-Box” platform – that equips each Captain with essential information and guidelines on how to run a successful camp.

This program provides unique opportunities for NFL athletes to positively impact communities and strengthen their relationships with local youth athletes through football. Captains will engage with the young athletes and share experiences they’ve learned both on and off of the field.

“We are thrilled to join together with Nike to celebrate kids and communities all across the country who love and play the game of football. The NFL and Nike are dedicated to providing experiences for NFL players and youth football athletes to interact and work within the community,” said NATARA HOLLOWAY, NFL’s Vice President of Youth & High School Football.

“Nike believes in the power of sport to drive positive change in people’s lives.  Collaborating with both the NFL and our athletes provides a fantastic opportunity to directly impact young men and women across the country” said MARC REEVES, Nike’s Senior Brand Director, NFL & NCAA.

Below is a list of the NFL players who will serve as Youth Football Captains:

Vic Beasley
Patrick Chung
Charles Clay
Carlos Dunlap
Mike Evans
Chris Harris
David Johnson
Desmond King
Cooper Kupp
Andrew Luck
Jason McCourty
Deshaun Watson
Vinny Curry
Davante Adams
Navorro Bowman
Arik Armstead
Drew Brees
Latavius Murray
Chris Conley
Eric Weddle
Allen Hurns
Mitchell Trubisky
Derrick Henry
Devin Funchess
Sterling Shepard
Alex Smith
Darius Slay
Bobby Wagner
Marcus Maye
Jason Witten 


About Nike, Inc.: NIKE, Inc., based near Beaverton, Oregon, is the world’s leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly-owned NIKE, Inc. subsidiary brands include Converse, which designs, markets and distributes athletic lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories; and Hurley, which designs, markets and distributes surf and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories. For more information, NIKE, Inc.’s earnings releases and other financial information are available at Individuals can also visit and follow @Nike.

About NFL Play Football: Play Football is a year-round initiative celebrating youth and high school football. Play Football works to shape the football experience, advocate for safety, promote football values and connect football communities. For more information, featured football stories, best practices and resources aimed to create a positive playing experience, please visit or follow @NFLPlayFootball. Join the conversation on social media using #LetsPlayFootball.


PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Catherine Boyle, NFL; Marisa Rodriguez, SKDKnickerbocker; COURTESY NIKE, NFL,



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