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Hedman likely to sit out remaining regular season games with upper body injury

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The Tampa Bay Lightning will save Victor Hedman for the playoffs.

According to reports, the team is expected to keep All-Star defenceman Victor Hedman out of the lineup for the final three games of their regular seasons due to an unspecified upper body injury. He already sat out during the team’s 5-2 win against the Ottawa Senators on Monday night.

Despite becoming the third team in history to win 6o games in a single season, and having nothing to play for until the playoffs, Lightning head coach Jon Cooper refuses to take anything for granted and realizes the impact of losing Hedman to injury regardless of the team’s on-ice success.

“He runs our power play unit, he’s a driving force in our 5-on-5 play, and he plays on the penalty kill, so it’s one of those things that you can throw every cliche in the book of ‘next guy up’ or ‘spread the minutes around,’ but it’s a big loss for us. As I said, it’s all about getting to the playoffs at this point and making sure we stay healthy, and if we can make sure [Hedman] is at that point, we’ll be OK” said Cooper.

The 28-year old defenceman, who won the Norris Trophy last season, has posted 12 goals, 42 assists and a plus-24 rating in 70 games in 2018/19.

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Ovechkin will serve as NHL Ambassador in China next month

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A big name NHL star is going to be the face of hockey in China.

The league announced Thursday that Washington Capitals great Alex Ovechkin will serve as an international ambassador for the NHL when he visits Beijing, China during the week of August 4 next month

“It is a huge honour for me to be an ambassador for the entire Washington Capitals organization and the National Hockey League for this special trip to China,” said Ovechkin.

“I think it is very important to spend time to help make people all over the world see how great a game hockey is. I can’t wait to spend time with all the hockey fans there and I hope to meet young kids who will be future NHL players. I can’t wait for this trip!”

Among the things Ovechkin will do when in the country is do a full on media tour, attend business meetings, and participate in various youth hockey clinics.

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Former Nashville Predators captain Greg Johnson’s death most likely a suicide

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Some more sobering information has been revealed about the tragic death of former Nashville Predators captain Greg Johnson.

According to the Detroit News, Rochester police documents confirm that his death was more likely than not a suicide after a gun and a single bullet were near his body when he was discovered by his wife in the morning on July 7.

No further details of the autopsy have been made public.

Johnson, who was 48 at the time of his passing, spent 12 seasons in the NHL from 1993-2006.

The second round pick in the 1989 NHL Draft amassed 145 goals, 224 assists and 345 penalty minutes over a span of 785 games split between the Predators, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks.

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Capitals ink Jakub Vrana to two-year extension

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Another restricted free agent is off the market.

The Washington Capitals announced Tuesday that they have signed forward Jakub Vrana to a two-year, $6.7 million contract extension.

“Jakub is a highly skilled player with a tremendous upside and is a big part of our future” said Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan.

“We are pleased with his development the past two seasons and are looking forward for him to continue to develop and reach his full potential with our organization.”

The 23-year old, who was selected 13th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft, posted a career-best 47 points (24 goals, 23 assists) and a plus-20 rating in 82 games last season.

He will be entering his fourth NHL season in 2019/2020.

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