Red Wings keep Howard off free-agent market with 1-year extension

The Detroit Red Wings signed goaltender Jimmy Howard to a one-year contract extension, the team announced Wednesday.

Howard's deal comes with a $5.1-million average annual value, but $1.1 million is based on playoff bonuses, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie. If the Red Wings don't make the playoffs next season, Howard would receive no bonus and only get his $4-million salary, McKenzie adds.

The veteran goalie, who will turn 35 next week, has spent his entire career in the Motor City. He owns a .908 save percentage and a 3.05 goals-against average in 48 games this season.

Howard was set to hit the open market this summer and would've been a part of a free-agent goaltending class headlined by Sergei Bobrovsky, Robin Lehner, and Semyon Varlamov.

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Marchand voted best, worst trash-talker in NHLPA poll

Is it possible to be the best and worst at something?

According to the 2018-19 NHLPA Player Poll, the answer is yes. Boston Bruins super-pest Brad Marchand - one of the NHL's most polarizing players - was voted as both the league's best and worst trash-talker.

Here are the results for best trash-talker, based on 272 votes:

Player Team %
Brad Marchand BOS 21.3
Drew Doughty L.A. 11.8
Ryan Reaves VGK 5.5
Claude Giroux PHI 4.8
Nick Cousins ARI 3.3
Other N/A 53.3

The results for worst trash-talker - based on 256 votes - were a bit tighter:

Player Team %
Brad Marchand BOS 12.5
Antoine Roussel VAN 5.5
P.K. Subban NSH 5.1
Nick Cousins ARI 4.7
Brendan Lemieux NYR 3.5
Other N/A 68.8

Everyone knows Marchand likes to chirp on the ice, but apparently his tactics aren't for everyone. The same can be said for Arizona Coyotes forward Nick Cousins, who also surfaced on both polls.

Marchand was clearly pleased with the results.

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Report: Red Wings expected to re-sign Howard to 1-year deal

The Detroit Red Wings are expected to announce a one-year extension in the $4-million range for Jimmy Howard this week, reports Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press.

If Howard plays well next season, he'll earn another one-year extension after that, adds St. James. He's a pending unrestricted free agent in the final campaign of a six-year, $31.75-million pact inked with the Red Wings in 2013.

Howard, who turns 35 next week, has recorded a .907 save percentage in 47 appearances in 2018-19.

He's spent his entire career with Detroit after the Red Wings selected him 64th overall in the 2003 draft.

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Capitals’ Connolly standing by decision to skip White House visit

Brett Connolly won't join his Washington Capitals teammates for their 2018 Stanley Cup celebration at the White House on Monday, he told reporters following Tuesday's win over the New Jersey Devils.

During the offseason, Connolly said he wouldn't attend. Now the winger is sticking to that decision.

"Personally, I don't think I'm going to go ... it has nothing to do with politics," Connolly said at the time. "For me, I just don't think it's the right thing to do."

Captain Alex Ovechkin confirmed he'll attend, but Connolly isn't the only Capitals player sitting out.

When asked last June about the White House visit, playoff hero Devante Smith-Pelly ripped U.S. President Donald Trump for his "racist and sexist" rhetoric, saying his decision was made before any team discussion.

Connolly is in the midst of a career season, registering 20 goals and 22 assists through 73 games.

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Sharks clinch playoff berth after Wild’s loss

The idle San Jose Sharks clinched a postseason spot when the Colorado Avalanche beat the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night.

San Jose became the third team to secure a playoff berth, following the Tampa Bay Lightning and Calgary Flames.

It'll be the fourth straight season the Sharks have qualified for the playoffs, and the 19th time in their last 21 campaigns.

San Jose sits in second place in the Pacific Division with a record of 43-22-8.

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Report: OHLer Brazeau drawing interest from at least 5 NHL teams

North Bay Battalion scoring sensation Justin Brazeau is on the radar of numerous NHL clubs.

"He's undrafted, so he is drawing NHL attention (with) at least five-to-seven teams in the mix," TSN's Darren Dreger reported on Tuesday's edition of "Insider Trading."

Dreger added the Toronto Maple Leafs have expressed some interest, and the Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights, and Columbus Blue Jackets are all intrigued by Brazeau.

The 21-year-old winger amassed 61 goals and 113 points in 68 OHL regular-season games in 2018-19.

Brazeau and the Battalion will face the Niagara IceDogs in the first round of the playoffs beginning with Game 1 on Thursday night.

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Report: Capitals to visit White House on Monday

The Washington Capitals will celebrate their 2018 Stanley Cup victory at the White House on Monday, a team spokesperson told Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post.

Following the team's championship victory last spring, captain Alexander Ovechkin went on record saying he couldn't wait for the visit, while teammates such as Devante Smith-Pelly and Brett Connolly expressed opposite opinions.

Barry Trotz, the Capitals' head coach at the time, noted he would do whatever the group decided and was unsure whether it would be a full-team outing, or just certain players electing to attend.

The annual championship visit has been a controversial topic over the past couple of years. President Donald Trump canceled the Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles' visit last June. During the NBA Finals, both LeBron James and Stephen Curry insisted their teams would not attend if invited, resulting in Trump ultimately revoking the invitation.

The entire Pittsburgh Penguins team visited the White House after winning their most recent Stanley Cup in 2017.

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Pastrnak returns vs. Isles after extended absence

The Boston Bruins got their most lethal sniper back on Tuesday against the New York Islanders.

David Pastrnak returned after missing 16 games with a thumb injury. He'd been listed as a game-time decision.

The 22-year-old forward hadn't played since Feb. 10 after undergoing surgery, but he's still tied for the team lead in goals with 31. Overall, he has 66 points in 56 games this season.

Remarkably, the Bruins have gone 12-3-1 in his absence, although they had dropped three of their last four games entering Tuesday's action.

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