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Seattle Officially Announced as the NHL’s 32nd Team

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It’s official! The NHL’s Board of Governors voted unanimously to accept Seattle’s expansion bid as the 32nd team in the league, according to an official announcement from the league on Tuesday.

The investment group that applied for the expansion included Oak View Group (OVG), which includes Tod Leiweke, former COO of the NFL, Tim Leiweke, former CEO of both Anschutz Entertainment Group (which owns the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings franchise) along with Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment (owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs), and David Bonderman, a Seattle billionaire.

The group also received the benefit of full and public support from Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan throughout the process, and the announcement was considered a foregone conclusion once the group was armed with approval for a new arena.

This could also bode well for the potential return of an NBA franchise in Seattle, as a new arena will certainly re-ignite those efforts.

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Calgary Flames

Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau Enjoying Strong Season

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The Calgary Flames have seen some strong play from forward Johnny Gaudreau, who has played well enough to earn his 5th All-Star selection.

“Obviously he deserves it,” Flames forward Michael Frolik said, according to NHL.com. “He’s an unbelievable player. He’s so fast, and in those small spaces, those tight turns, he can handle the puck with speed. It’s fun to watch him and he’s been great this year.”

Flames defenseman Mark Giordana spoke highly of Gaudreau’s play.

“He can get you the puck in situations where you don’t think he can,” Giordano said. “But I think what people don’t see is just how competitive he is. The guys who are the best players in the League are [competitive] because they want the puck in key situations, and that’s how he is.

“Just look at his overtime play and stuff like that. I’m happy for the way his career is going but this year he’s taken that next step, for sure.”

“I think last year we played with Micheal Ferland, who was a little bit more of a shooter,” Gaudreau said of his strong play this season.

“Lindholm, obviously, is a shooter as well, but he can see the ice really well. He can make some pretty high-end plays, so I think I just got an opportunity to shoot a little more with a player like that on my line.”

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Eastern Conference

Lightning Shopping Slater Koekkoek

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The Tampa Bay Lightning are shopping defenseman, and former first round pick, Slater Koekkoek, according to SportsNet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Tampa Bay is now motivated to trade away their once prized prospect, who is currently playing with the Syracuse Crunch on a conditioning stint.

Koekkoek is waiver eligible and will become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights in the summer of 2019.

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Columbus Blue Jackets

Blue Jackets’ Sergei Bobrovsky Will Not Dress Due To Team Incident

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The Columbus Blue Jackets have announced that veteran goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will not dress for tonight’s game against the Nashville Predators due to what is being described as an “incident”.

Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen stated the following:

“There are certain expectations and values that we have established for our players that define our culture. An incident occurred in which Sergei failed to meet those expectations and values, so we made the decision that he would not be with the team for tonight’s game. This is an internal matter and we will have no further comment at this time.”

In corresponding moves, the Blue Jackets has recalled Jean-Francois Berube, and placed both Brandon Dubinsky and Markus Hannikainen on injured reserve.

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