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Facts and Figures: Regular-season recap –



Leon Draisaitl became the first Germany-born and 10th Europe-born player to lead the NHL in points. The Edmonton Oilers forward had 110 points (43 goals, 67 assists) in 71 games.

It’s the third time in four seasons an Oilers player won the Art Ross Trophy; Edmonton is the first team to achieve that feat since the Pittsburgh Penguins won seven straight scoring titles from 1994-95 to 2000-01 (Jaromir Jagr, 1994-95 and 1997-01; Mario Lemieux, 1995-97).

Draisaitl and teammate Connor McDavid (97), the Art Ross winner in 2016-17 and 2017-18, were first and second in points. It’s the seventh time in 44 seasons that teammates finished first and second in the scoring race.

For the fifth time in NHL history, the top-four scorers were born in different countries (McDavid, Canada; David Pastrnak of Boston Bruins, 95 points, Czech Republic; Artemi Panarin of New York Rangers, 95 points, Russia). This also occurred in 2018-19, 2005-06 (top five), 1998-99 and 1997-98.

Video: EDM@LAK: Draisaitl buries McDavid’s feed for PPG

Richard race ends in tie: Pastrnak and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals each scored 48 goals to share the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, introduced in 1998-99 and given annually to the top goal-scorer in the NHL. Pastrnak is 23; Ovechkin is 34. It’s the first time in 57 seasons that one player 23 or younger and another 34 or older were the top two goal-scorers in the NHL. Bobby Hull of the Chicago Black Hawks (50 goals) was 23 and Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings (33 goals) was 34 when they finished first and second in 1961-62.

Pastrnak is the first player since Phil Esposito (61 in 1974-75) to lead the NHL in goals for the Bruins. He also joined Esposito (three times) and Bobby Orr (twice) as the third Boston player with at least four hat tricks in one season.

Ovechkin topped the NHL in goals for the third straight season and an NHL-record ninth time overall. He had an NHL career-high four hat tricks and is the fourth player in NHL history to score at least 48 goals in one season at age 34 or older, joining Jaromir Jagr of the New York Rangers (54 in 2005-06 at 34), Johnny Bucyk of the Bruins (51 in 1970-71 at 35) and Teemu Selanne of the Anaheim Ducks (48 in 2006-07 at 34).

Video: WSH@MIN: Ovechkin nets one-timer on two-man advantage

Ovechkin became the eighth player in NHL history to reach the 700-goal mark when he scored against the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 22. He finished the season with 706, passing Hockey Hall of Famers Luc Robitaille (668), Teemu Selanne (684), Lemieux (690), Steve Yzerman (692) and Mark Messier (694) along the way.

Pastrnak and Ovechkin were among 56 NHL players with at least one hat trick.

The five 40-goal scorers in the NHL this season were born in different countries, the seventh time that’s happened (Ovechkin, Russia; Pastrnak, Czech Republic; Auston Matthews of Toronto Maple Leafs, 47 goals, United States; Draisaitl, Germany; and Mika Zibanejad of the Rangers, 41, Sweden).

It was the first season in NHL history to end without a Canada-born player among the top eight in goals.

Rookie defensemen shine: Quinn Hughes of the Vancouver Canucks (53 points; eight goals, 45 assists in 68 games) and Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche (50 points; 12 goals, 38 assists in 57 games) finished first and second among rookies in points. It’s the first time in the NHL modern era (since 1943-44) that defensemen finished first and second in rookie scoring.

Hughes became the third modern-era defenseman to lead rookies in scoring, joining Orr (1966-67) and Brian Leetch of the Rangers (1988-89).

Blackhawks forward Dominik Kubalik topped NHL rookies with 30 goals. He’s the first player born in the Czech Republic or the former Czechoslovakia to lead NHL rookies in goals, and the third to reach the 30-goal mark in his first NHL season after Petr Klima of the Red Wings (32 in 1985-86) and Petr Prucha of the Rangers (30 in 2005-06).

Video: CHI@TBL: Kubalik records first career hat trick

D-man leaders: Zach Werenski led defensemen with 20 goals, the most by a Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman since they entered the NHL in 2000-01.

Werenski is the eighth active NHL defenseman to score at least 20 goals in one season.

John Carlson of the Capitals led defensemen with 60 assists and 75 points. He was on pace to finish with 89 points, which would have been the most by an NHL defenseman since Hockey Hall of Famer Sergei Zubov had 89 for the Rangers in 1993-94.

Goalie leaders and achievements: Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning won 35 games to lead the NHL in victories for the third consecutive season. He’s the second goalie to lead the League in wins in at least three seasons before his 26th birthday, joining Terry Sawchuk, who did it in five straight seasons for the Red Wings (1950-55). Vasilevskiy is the first goalie of any age to lead the NHL in wins for at least three consecutive seasons since Martin Brodeur of the Devils did it in four straight (2002-07).

Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets led the NHL with six shutouts, tying the single-season Jets/Atlanta Thrashers record he set in 2017-18. He was second to Vasilevskiy with 31 victories, the third time in his NHL career he won at least 30 games.

Boston’s Tuukka Rask was No. 1 in goals-against average (2.12) and second in save percentage (.929) to Anton Khudobin of the Dallas Stars (.930) among goalies who played at least 23 games. Rask and Jaroslav Halak combined to win the William M. Jennings Trophy, awarded to the goalie(s) whose team allows the fewest goals.

Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators made NHL history Jan. 9 when he scored the 13th goal credited to a goalie during the regular season (there have been two in the Stanley Cup Playoffs).

Rinne shot the puck into an empty net against the Blackhawks for the first goal by an NHL goalie since Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes scored against the Red Wings on Oct. 19, 2013.

Video: NSH@CHI: Rinne launches home first NHL goal

Comebacks galore: Leads were rarely safe this season.

There were 457 games won by a team that trailed at some point, tied for the second-most comeback wins through 1,082 games in NHL history (474 in 2005-06 and 457 in 2018-19). The Capitals and St. Louis Blues shared the League lead with 21 comeback victories.

Of those 457 comeback wins, 125 came after a team trailed by multiple goals, the most in NHL history through 1,082 games. There were 43 games won by a team that trailed by multiple goals in the third period, the second most in NHL history through 1,082 games (45 in 2009-10). In 21.5 percent of all games (233 of 1,082), a team at least tied the score after trailing by more than one goal.

There were five games when a team won after trailing by at least four goals. That’s tied for the most in a single season, matching the mark set in 1983-84 and equaled in 1985-86.

Close games were also the rule, with 70.4 percent (762 of 1,082) decided by one goal or by multiple goals with at least one into an empty net.

Youth will be served: Younger players continue to excel.

Ten of the 17 players to score at least 30 goals were age 24 or younger, and the top three in the points race (Draisaitl, 24; McDavid and Pastrnak, each 23) all were under 25. It’s the fifth time in NHL history that’s happened, but the first since 2009-10 (also 1983-84, 1984-85, 1994-95).

None of the League’s top five in points has reached his 30th birthday (also Panarin, 28, and Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon, 24, who had 93 points).

Rookie goalies accounted for 10 shutouts, with five by Elvis Merzlikins of the Blue Jackets.

A total of 16 players born in the 2000s played at least one game this season. That includes five members of the 2019 NHL Draft class (Jack Hughes of the Devils, Kaapo Kakko of the Rangers, Kirby Dach of the Blackhawks, Ville Heinola of the Jets and Tobias Bjornfot of the Los Angeles Kings).

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Tiger Woods announces return to PGA Tour after 5 months –



Tiger Woods announced on Thursday that he will compete at next week’s Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio, the 15-time major champion’s first PGA Tour event in five months.

“I’m looking forward to playing in the @MemorialGolf next week,” Woods said on his Twitter account. “I’ve missed going out and competing with the guys and can’t wait to get back out there.”

Woods last competed on the PGA Tour in mid-February when he labored through a final-round 77 at the Genesis Invitational where he finished last among players who made the cut.

The 44-year-old reigning Masters champion then skipped a number of events with back issues prior to the PGA Tour’s three-month COVID-19 hiatus that began in mid-March and opted to sit out the circuit’s first five events since the break.

Woods, who is one win shy of a record-breaking 83 PGA Tour victories, did play a May 24 charity match with Phil Mickelson and Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

The Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village is one of the most high-profile, non-major events on the PGA Tour and Woods has triumphed there a record five times, most recently in 2012.

Woods will be part of a loaded field that also includes world number one Rory McIlroy, five-times major champion Phil Mickelson, 2018 Memorial champion Bryson DeChambeau and major winners Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia.

The July 16-19 tournament was originally supposed to have a limited number of spectators but earlier this week the PGA Tour scrapped plans to let fans attend due to COVID-19.

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Agent Scott Boras: Blue Jays are in ‘excellent’ position with young core –



When the Toronto Blue Jays drafted Austin Martin fifth overall last month, they got a rare skillset that his agent Scott Boras calls “dirt power.”

“Austin is a player that, in past drafts, could’ve likely been the No. 1 pick in the draft. He’s a unique player because he, like Kris Bryant, is so versatile because he can play infield and outfield positions and do it with great comfort,” Boras said during an appearance on Writers Bloc on Thursday. “Plus, his bat has that kind of power that you would expect more from a larger player — more of a corner outfielder — and yet he’s got infield size. We call it ‘dirt power,’ and it’s pretty rare for a player to have dirt power. I think the Blue Jays got themselves something pretty special here.”

Writers Bloc

Scott Boras on client Austin Martin signing with the Blue Jays

July 09 2020

Boras just successfully negotiated Martin’s first pro baseball contract — a deal worth just over $7 million — and will now see his client jump right into the Blue Jays’ 60-man player pool to join the club in Toronto as they train for a shortened 2020 season.

Looking at the Blue Jays’ young core right now, Boras likes what he sees.

“Mark [Shapiro] and Ross [Atkins] have done a really good job of building a foundational core where they literally have a middle of the lineup that includes players who can play the infield. When you see that in a club, where you’re going to get middle-lineup potential with players who can really fulfill infield spots, that is something that most clubs in baseball don’t have. It also opens the door for you to get slugging players, corner-outfielders, that are often more available in free agency than infielders.”

Boras, who has been critical of the Blue Jays’ dealings in recent years, said their current situation with a young roster now opens the door for management to hunt for free agent pitching and spend money on some bigger, win-now free agents because of the steady, affordable foundation built through drafting and development.

“I would say right now the Blue Jays are really in an excellent position going forward here for the next five, six years,” he said.

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Blue Jays announce 2021 regular-season schedule, open vs. Yankees –



The Toronto Blue Jays will officially turn over the calendar on their pandemic-shortened campaign when they kick off their 2021 season against the New York Yankees.

MLB released next season’s schedule and the Jays will open their 45th season with an Opening Day divisional matchup with the Yankees on April 1, 2021.

The club will host its home opener on April 8 with a four-game weekend series against superstar Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels.

The Blue Jays will also take part in 20 interleague games (10 at home and 10 away), including a two-game series at the Rogers Centre against the 2019 World Series champion Washington Nationals.

Toronto will welcome American League East rivals Tampa Bay Rays during a long weekend series over Victoria Day (May 21 to 24).

The abbreviated 60-game 2020 season is slated to start on July 23, with the Blue Jays set to open their campaign the next day in St. Petersburg against the Rays.

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