NHL fines Bruins’ Brad Marchand maximum $10K for ‘dangerous trip’

Bruins All-Star winger and serial offender Brad Marchand has been fined $10,000 for a dangerous trip on Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall.

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced the fine Thursday. It’s the maximum amount allowed under the collective bargaining agreement.

The incident occurred at the 12:27 mark of the first period during Boston’s 4-3 overtime win over the Red Wings on Tuesday. Marchand wasn’t penalized, and Kronwall remained in the game, but an NHL review deemed the play a dangerous trip worthy of a max fine but not suspension after meeting with Marchand earlier Thursday.

We made a very difficult decision to relieve Willie Desjardins of his duties as head coach today, general manager Jim Benning said in a release. It’s been a challenging season and we all share responsibility for the results however, we felt this change was necessary as we continue to develop a young team and look ahead to the future. We’re grateful to Willie, Doug, Perry and each of their families for their dedication and hard work and wish them every success.

Vancouver missed the playoffs for a second consecutive season and finished last in the Pacific Division after dropping its last eight games.

Desjardins, 60, got off to a promising start in Vancouver after replacing John Tortorella, leading the team to a first-round playoff appearance in 2014-15, but has failed to keep the momentum going as the Canucks worked to rebuild the organization. Desjardins ends his tenure with a 109-110-27 record.

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The Dodgers have won 11 in a row and 31 of 35

The Dodgers are seemingly unstoppable right now, and not just because they’ve won 11 games in a row. On June 6, the Dodgers dropped their third straight game, which lost them a series to the Nationals Washington improved to an NL-best 37-20 with the victory. Fast-forward to today, though, and you’ve got the Dodgers at 66-29 thanks to a 31-4 stretch that now has them nine games ahead of the Nats in the win column instead of two games back.

31-4! Thirty-one wins against four losses in their last 35 games. As you can imagine, everything has been clicking for Los Angeles: Rookie sensation Cody Bellinger has hit 14 homers and slugged .714 during those 35 games. Cory Seager has hit .352/.431/.657. Justin Turner has arguably been better than both of them, posting a .364/.481/.692 line, while Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, and Chris Taylor have also dominated at the plate, with the lowest OPS from that trio in this stretch Taylor’s 853. The team as a whole has batted .273/.367/.527 with 149 extra-base hits, and they’ve been especially cruel to left-handed opponents (.304/.398/.617).

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NHL suspends Antoine Vermette 10 games for slashing official

Ducks forward Antoine Vermette has been suspended 10 games by the NHL for abuse of an official, the league announced.

The veteran was ejected from Tuesday’s 1-0 win over the Wild when he slashed linesman Shandor Alphonso in the back during the third period. The NHL deemed the incident a Category II offense, which carries an automatic 10-game ban.

Vermette can appeal within 72 hours and request a hearing with league commissioner Gary Bettman.,

The suspension nonetheless will begin Friday when the Ducks host the Panthers. He would be eligible to return March 12.

Vermette stands to lose $97,222.22 in salary if the ban is served in full.

The Sabres selected Phil Housley (No. 6) and Dave Andreychuk (No. 15) in the first round, and they combined to play more than 3,000 NHL games. Housley made it to the Hall of Fame first, in 2015, and Andreychuk, with 640 career goals, followed two years later.

Four players who played 1,000 games in the NHL is an epic haul in one class. Gary Roberts (No. 12), Paul Ranheim (No. 38) and Gary Suter (No. 180) make this an excellent class, but nabbing Brett Hull at No. 117 makes it one of the best for any franchise.

One year after drafting the best player in franchise history (Ron Francis) in 1981, the Whalers went back-to-back-to-back in the middle rounds of the 1982 draft on 1,000-game players. Kevin Dineen (No. 56) and Ulf Samuelsson (No. 67) were traded with Francis to the Penguins in one the best moves of all time (not for the Whalers), and Ray Ferraro (No. 88) had nearly 900 points. Francis was probably enough on his own, but the rest of the 1981 class is pretty barren.

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Oilers lock up C Leon Draisaitl with eight-year, $68M extension

A month after locking up Connor McDavid with a record extension, the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday signed center Leon Draisaitl to an eight-year extension that will pay him an average of $8.5 million annually through 2024-25, the team announced.

The Oilers chose him in the first round (third overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft.

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, 3 to 4 teams have interest in Sheahan, including the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Sheahan has done nothing this season to increase his value. He has no goals and nine assists in 58 games, which is the most games a Red Wings forward has played without a goal since Forbes Kennedy was goalless in his first 61 games in 1958-59, according to Mlive.com’s Ansar Khan.

While Sheahan hasn’t provided much of anything offensively this season, he’s still considered a valuable center that’s strong on the penalty kill and in the faceoff circle.

Draisaitl was attached to McDavid’s hip at even-strength last season: the German-born winger played a little over 57 percent of his five-on-five minutes with the Oilers captain, according to NaturalStattrick.com. But really where one can delineate a change is in Draisaitl’s numbers is with or without McDavid. Playing next to the face of the Oilers franchise last season, Draisaitl had a goals-for percentage of 59.42; without McDavid that number dipped to 44.19. Draisiatl’s Corsi-for percentage with McDavid was 53.85, versus 47.74 without him.

And there needs to be some context added to those numbers. McDavid is going to make whoever he plays with better, and to go from McDavid to say, Milan Lucic and Benoit Pouliot is a steep drop-off in quality of teammate. But it also begs the question as to if Draisaitl is worth the $8.5 million per he will now be paid if he’s not capable of driving play at a certain level when he’s not playing with the best player in the NHL.

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These 58 MLB players won’t have a nickname on their jerseys because they hate fun

Not every player in Major League Baseball has decided to wear a nickname on the back of their jersey the weekend of Aug. 25. Don’t worry, though, as we’re here to point out the nickname-less players, team by team, so we can collectively wonder why they are like this.

To save you from having to count: 58 players skipped nicknames for Players Weekend. Well, maybe 59. That one is a judgment call.

Red Sox: Everyone has a nickname, you’re off the hook, Boston

Yankees: Brett Gardner went with Gardner which, you know. The Yankees don’t wear their names on their jerseys, but that’s no excuse.

Rays: Corey Dickerson, I get it, your nickname using Dick probably was rejected by MLB. I don’t know what Austin Pruitt and Taylor Featherston’s excuses are.

Orioles: Seth Smith, what are you doing, your last name is literally Smith. Ruben Tejada will look like a real rube with his real name on his jersey. Wade Miley, Dylan Bundy, Richard Bleier, Donnie Hart, Miguel Castro, and Mark Trumbo: who hurt you?

Hisashi Iwakuma has issues with his shoulder, too. One of the pitchers they got at the deadline, David Phelps, has an elbow impingement, which always sounds like the most painful injury in baseball.

Plus, if anyone is looking to blame someone for the rise in homers, that blame once again will be focused on someone besides the league employing these players and tallying these dingers.

The Dodgers are 29-4 over their last 33 games, which is the best such stretch in franchise history. Of all the teams in franchise history, from Duke Snider and Sandy Koufax to Steve Garvey and Fernando Valenzuela, no Dodgers team has had success like this.

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Former Senators forward Dany Heatley wins major lawsuit over former agent

After alleging his former agent and business advisor intentionally led him astray on real estate investments, losing him millions of dollars, Dany Heatley won a major court decision on Wednesday.

Heatley, who spent four seasons with the Ottawa Senators from 2005 through 2009, sued Stacey McAlpine, and McAlpine’s parents Gerland and Eugena, for leading him into real estate invesements totalling close to $11 million in condo developments run by companies created by the people he sued, absolving them of liability in the financial losses. The lawsuit, filed in 2012, was detailed in full by The Globe and Mail.

I haven’t won that one game, Vigneault said Tuesday, but I’m working my butt off to do it.

According to ESPN, which cited an unidentified source, Vigneault’s new deal is worth a little more than $4 million per season, which would place him behind only the Maple Leafs’ Mike Babcock and Blackhawks’ Joel Quenneville among the highest-paid coaches.

ESPN’s source said Vigneault will make $4 million the next two seasons and $4.25 million in 2019-20.

Under Vigneault, the Rangers have reached the playoffs in his three full seasons since replacing John Tortorella.

He also has coached the Canucks, who he took within a game of a Stanley Cup title in 2011, and the Canadiens. In his 15th season, he is 597-385-35 with 84 OT losses in the regular season but is only 62-65 in the playoffs.

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