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Panthers officially hire Joel Quenneville to be their new head coach

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The Florida Panthers have found their man.

Just a day after firing Bob Boughner, the team has hired three-time Stanley Cup champion Joel Quenneville to be their new head coach.

According to sources, his new deal with the Panthers will pay him over $6 million annually with bonuses.

“Joel is a three-time Stanley Cup champion head coach who will be a transformative leader for the Florida Panthers franchise,” said Panthers President of Hockey Operations & General Manager Dale Tallon.

“We’ve seized the opportunity to add one of the most successful head coaches in hockey history and we’re thrilled that Joel has agreed to take on the challenge of leading our promising young team. I’ve worked with Joel previously and have seen firsthand how his passion for the game, head coaching experience and leadership can impact an organization. Joel will accelerate our growth into a club that qualifies for the playoffs consistently and competes every year toward our goal of winning the Stanley Cup.”

Quenneville is fresh off a successful tenure with the Chicago Blackhawks. The 60-year old, who was fired as their head coach earlier in the season on November 6, posted a combined 452-249-96 regular season record in 797 games and 10-plus seasons with the franchise.

During his time in Chi-town, the Blackhawks qualified for the postseason nine out of a possible 10 times, and won three Stanley Cups over a six-year span in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

He sits at second in all-time wins as an NHL head coach with 890.

A news conference to announce the hiring will take place at BB&T Center this afternoon.

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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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