Category: NHL

Kovalchuk scored 417 goals with 399 assists in 816 NHL regular-season games

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Ilya Kovalchuk signed a one-year contract to remain with SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League on Sunday and said representing Russia in the Olympic Games was a key factor in his decision.

If Kovalchuk had returned to the NHL for the 2017-18 season, he wouldn’t have been able to play in the 2018 PyeongChang Games. The NHL announced its decision in April not to participate in next year’s Olympics; the majority of its clubs were opposed to taking a break during the regular season to allow players to compete in the Games.

“One of the main factors was the upcoming Olympic Games. In 2018, only players who play in European championships and the KHL can compete there,” Kovalchuk told the team’s website.

Kovalchuk has represented Russia at four Winter Olympics, nine world championships, one world junior championship and the 2004 World Cup. 

Kovalchuk, 34, said he is also looking forward to helping SKA St. Petersburg defend its KHL championship, a feat that will be made more difficult when players also are focused on representing their countries in the Olympics.

“The team has the task of defending the championship, and that’s always difficult to achieve. It’s an Olympic year, so everyone who wants to represent their country has to play at their best. I am not an exception, and it’s a challenge which I accept,” he said.

Kovalchuk retired from the cheap NHL jerseys in July 2013 — just three years into his 15-year, $100 million contract with the New Jersey Devils — to play in his native Russia. He is on the NHL’s voluntary retirement list, meaning he could only sign with the Devils.

Kovalchuk’s agent, Jay Grossman, announced last week that his client wouldn’t be returning to the NHL for the 2017-18 season after earlier telling Devils general manager Ray Shero that Kovalchuk was open to rejoining the NHL. The Devils had been shopping him in trade talks, which ultimately were unsuccessful.

In 245 career KHL games, Kovalchuk has 107 goals — including 32 for SKA St. Petersburg last season — and 157 assists. He scored 417 goals with 399 assists in 816 NHL regular-season games.

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The Dallas Stars have re-signed young center Radek Faksa to a three-year, $6.6 million contract.

Faksa, 23, is coming off his first full NHL season, when he had 12 goals and 21 assists in 80 games. He was drafted 13th overall by the Stars in 2012. He has played in 125 regular-season games and 13 playoff games over the past two seasons.

When announcing the deal Monday, general manager Jim Nill said Faksa has proven his value at both ends of the ice and the Stars fully expect him to only get better.

Faksa has competed internationally for the Czech Republic at the 2016 World Championships and the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

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Forward Tyler Johnson has re-signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning on a seven-year contract worth $35 million, general manager Steve Yzerman said Monday in a news release.

Johnson, 26, is coming off a season in which he had 19 goals and 45 points in 66 games, which tied for third in goals on the team and fifth in points during his fifth season with Tampa Bay.

Johnson, an All-Star in 2014-15, also ranked first during the 2015 playoffs with 13 goals and was tied for first with the Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane for points with 23 as the Lightning reached the Stanley Cup Final.

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Tom Brady has won 198 contests, including the postseason, during his 17-plus seasons with New England.

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That’s an awful lot of great memories for Patriots fans and nightmares for the opposition. It’s also too great a catalogue to choose from.

Not all of Brady’s showings featured the gaudy passing statistics for which he is known. Further, there are backstories surrounding some of these wins that make them larger in significance than others from both a personal and team standpoint.

The Tampa Bay Rays have activated left fielder Colby Rasmus from the DL following his recovery from hip surgery, and outfielder Shane Peterson was designated for assignment.

Rasmus wasn’t in the lineup for Tuesday’s game at Miami but was available off the bench to make his Rays debut, and he will start against right-handers, manager Kevin Cash said.

A left-handed hitter, Rasmus has at least 15 homers each of the past five seasons. He underwent surgery in October, and the Rays signed him to a $5 million, one-year contract in January.

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The Chicago Cubs have a one-game lead over the Brewers and Cardinals in the NL Central.
Does it feel like teams are better this year? They are. There are just three teams with a winning percentage below .400 entering May 1 this season, tied for the fewest such teams in any season since 1996 (also in 2009).

Since 1996, 14 of the 21 World Series winners led their divisions entering May 1. The 2014 Giants, 2011 Cardinals and 2004 Red Sox each had a share of their respective division’s lead at that point, did not win the division, but did win the World Series.

How rare is it for the reigning World Series champions to cheap jerseys be leading their division entering May? The last team to do it was the 2012 Cardinals. Before that, no team had done it since the 2008 Red Sox. Overall, seven teams have won the World Series and then held at least a share of the lead in their division entering May since 1996.

There are 11 teams within a game of first place or currently holding a share. The most such teams entering May 1 in a season since 1996 is 12, which has happened 4 times in the span — most recently in 2016.

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Those two big wins came immediately after a 7-0 drubbing in Game 4 that was easily the most lopsided loss of Edmonton’s season. “We lose 7-0, everyone has us down and out and we come back and win two in a row. I don’t think anyone had us doing that after that kind of game,” McDavid said before Game 1 in Anaheim. “I feel like in a playoff series, momentum isn’t game to game.”

After the Oilers’ humbling 6-3 loss to the Ducks in Game 3 on Sunday — Edmonton’s first in the series, which it now leads two games to one — McDavid has an opportunity to prove his playoff momentum theory in Game 4 on Wednesday at home at Rogers Place.  

McDavid’s confidence in his team’s resilience isn’t unfounded. The Oilers haven’t lost consecutive games since March 12, when the Montreal Canadiens handed Edmonton its third straight loss. The Oilers’ 21 wins in one-goal games tied the Ottawa Senators for the sixth-highest total in the league this season. They also went 29-2-1 during the regular season when leading after two periods. That .906 win percentage in such situations ranked fifth in the NHL. Edmonton also won seven games during the regular season when trailing after 40 minutes; only three teams bested that number.

By taking care of matters in their end of the ice, the Nashville Predators’ defensive corps is earning the right to contribute to matters on the offensive end.

That was evident again Sunday when the Predators bounced the St. Louis Blues 3-1 in Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinal at Bridgestone Arena to grab a 2-1 series lead. Ryan Ellis scored the first goal while fellow defenseman Roman Josi tallied the final marker.

P.K. Subban and Mattias Ekholm each registered assists, giving the blue-liners a combined seven goals and 14 assists in seven playoff games. Ellis has scored in six straight games and leads Nashville scorers in the postseason with eight points off three goals and five assists

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