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Matt Cullen retires from the NHL after 21 seasons

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One of the oldest active NHL players has decided to retire.

Veteran forward Matt Cullen announced Wednesday that he is riding off into the sunset and calling it quits after 21 seasons in the NHL.

“I’ve been in a constant state of almost-retirement for the last few years. But coming into this last season, I knew that no matter what it would be the end. Even if we had won the Cup I would have been done. Playing those last few years really gave me the clarity to know this was it.” wrote Cullen in a statement released by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“It was an emotional time, but I knew it was coming. It just felt right and I was really at peace with everything when it was over.”

The 42-year old, who was selected 35th overall in the 1996 NHL Draft, compiled 285 goals, 504 assists, 624 penalty minutes and a minus-31 rating over a span of 1,566 regular season games and 53 playoff games split between eight different franchises: most notably the Anaheim Ducks, Carolina Hurricanes, Minnesota Wild and Penguins.

He never made an All-Star appearance, but managed to win three Stanley Cups with two different teams throughout his career (2006 with Hurricanes, 2016 and 2017 with Penguins).

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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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