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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Hockey

New CDC guidelines suggest sports on hold for at least eight weeks

Thunder Jazz game

Sports leagues have generally been following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control, and as long as that continues, there won’t be sports in the U.S. for quite some time.

The CDC released new guidance Sunday night recommending that all in-person events consisting of more than 50 people be canceled or postponed for the next eight weeks. The earliest that guidance would end would be the week of May 9.

That suggests that sports will be on hold until at least the start of May. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the NBA’s most optimistic scenarios don’t have the league resuming play until June.

The NFL would be impacted by this as well. Aside from the NFL Draft, OTAs and rookie minicamps would almost certainly be impacted.

Boxing matches would also be postponed.

The NHL would be unable to resume under this order with or without fans, and MLB’s season would not start either. That is along the lines of what MLB is expecting.

Authorities have warned that the worst is yet to come. With that in mind, sports will likely be an afterthought for weeks and perhaps months to come.

Video: Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks make teenage fan Selena Urban’s dream come true

Selena Urban Sharks

These videos are the absolute best.

On Friday, the San Jose Sharks held their team photo day and used it as an opportunity to help make a young fan’s dream come true.

The team’s “Sharks Care” charity worked with Bay Area Make-A-Wish to have 16-year-old kidney transplant patient Selena Urban spend part of the day with the team. This video shows Sharks veteran Joe Thornton inviting the emotional Urban to come be a part of the team photo. Her reaction was wonderful.

Urban and her parents got to watch the team practice and she even spent time chatting with some of the players. She capped off the day with a ride on the Zamboni, and a shopping spree in the team store, according to the Mercury News.

Thorton is also picking up Urban before the Sharks’ game on Saturday, at which she will be dropping the ceremonial puck. What a weekend for Urban to remember!

Johnny Boychuk needed 90 stitches after skate to the face, avoided eye damage

New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk left the ice in a panic on Tuesday night after taking a skate to the face, but fortunately he is expected to make a full recovery.

Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters on Wednesday that Boychuk suffered no damage to his eyeball, as the blade of the skate only cut his eyelid. It took 90 stitches to close the wound. Lamoriello noted that plastic surgeons use small stitches and said he doesn’t want to exaggerate, but 90 stitches is 90 stitches.

There’s no exact timetable for Boychuck’s return, but it’s clear the incident could have been a lot worse.

Boychuck appeared to shove Artturi Lehkonen in the back to keep the Montreal Canadiens forward away from Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov, causing Lehkonen to fall forward. Lehkonen’s leg went into the air and his skate hit Boychuck directly in the face. The video may be difficult for some to watch.

We have seen the type of horrifying damage a skate to the face can cause, and it’s great news that Boychuk avoided eye damage and is going to be fine. That could have been disastrous.

Ilya Kovalchuk traded to Capitals by Canadiens for 3rd-round pick

Ilya Kovalchuk

The Washington Capitals are looking to load up for a Stanley Cup playoff run.

The Caps on Sunday acquired Ilya Kovalchuk in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens. The Caps are trading a 3rd-round pick in this year’s draft for the winger.

Kovalchuk, 36, was the No. 1 pick in the 2001 NHL Draft. He has 22 points this season, including an assist on Saturday.

Montreal trading him is no surprise. He is set to be a free agent after the season, so the Canadiens wanted to get a return for him prior to the trade deadline.

The Caps will be Kovalchuk’s third team of the season. He began the season with the Kings but was dropped by them before Montreal picked him up.

Washington is third in the NHL in points this season, behind Boston and Tampa Bay.

Hurricanes have big plans for viral star David Ayres

David Ayres

The Carolina Hurricanes are riding a wave of popularity right now thanks to viral sensation David Ayres.

Ayres came into Saturday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs as the emergency goalie, but was pressed into action after both of Carolina’s regular goalies got hurt. Ayers managed to get the win, and quickly became a sensation beyond the sports world.

The Hurricanes have wisely been taking full advantage. They’re already selling Ayres shirts, but in a cool twist, some of the proceeds will go toward an appropriate kidney foundation as a nod to Ayres’ status as a kidney transplant survivor.

That’s not all. Ayres will be at the Hurricanes’ next home game Tuesday to sound the traditional pregame siren.

Ayres has gone from an AHL zamboni driver to something of a celebrity after his eventful Saturday night. Hurricanes fans will certainly never forget it, and Ayres is going to get some viral fame out of this. Both sides might as well make the most of it, and it sure seems like they’re intent to do just that.

Emergency goalie David Ayres makes history in Hurricanes’ win

David Ayres

Emergency goalie David Ayres made history on Saturday in the Carolina Hurricanes’ 6-3 win against the Maple Leafs in Toronto.

Goalies James Reimer and Petr Mrazek got injured during Saturday’s game, leaving the Hurricanes to turn to David Ayres, a 42-year-old emergency backup goalie and kidney transplant survivor, who was making his NHL debut.

Ayres is a Zamboni driver for the AHL Toronto Marlies and stepped into the NHL game. Just to show how out of place he seemed, Ayres was wearing Leafs pants and a Marlies helmet.

Ayres gave up two goals on the first three shots he faced in the second, but settled in to stop all six shots he faced in the third period. In total, Ayres stopped eight of 10 shots and became the first ever emergency backup goalie to win an NHL game.

According to the Toronto Sun, Ayres has filled in at Maple Leafs practices for the past eight years and has been the emergency backup on call at Scotiabank Arena for the past three years.

For those wondering, a standard pay agreement would call for Ayres to make $500 and keep his game-worn jersey.

We’re guessing some might step in to give him a win bonus for his great effort.

Ayres said in his postgame interview he was “shocked” to go in but loving it.

He was honored with the first star of the game.

Alex Ovechkin reaches 700 career goals and may have shot at Wayne Gretzky’s record

Alex Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin hit a major milestone on Saturday, and he has a realistic shot at Wayne Gretzky’s record.

Ovechkin scored in the third period of his Washington Capitals’ 3-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils to tie the game at two. The goal was his 42nd of the season and 700th of his career.

Ovechkin is now in rare company and has become just the eighth player in NHL history to score 700 career goals. Gretzky holds the record by far with 894 career goals.

Here’s the list:

1. Wayne Gretzky 894
2. Gordie Howe 801
3. Jaromir Jagr 766
4. Brett Hull 741
5. Marcel Dionne 731
6. Phil Esposito 717
7. Mike Gartner 708
8. Alex Ovechkin 700

Ovi should be able to pass Gartner this season, and he should be able to get up to fourth after next season. He’s actually the second-fastest to 700 goals after Gretzky.

While Gretzky got to 700 at age 29, The Great One didn’t score as much later in his career with Los Angeles Kings, and instead racked up assists. Comparatively, Ovechkin has averaged 48 goals per game the last six seasons and has been going strong as he ages.

Expecting Ovechkin to reach Gretzky’s mark is optimistic, but with how strong he looks at age 34, his chances should not be discounted.