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06.11.2018 11:34
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BOSTON -- Tuukka Rask turned an outstanding first season as the Boston Bruins No. 1 goalie into a long-term commitment on Wednesday by signing an eight-year contract to stay with the Eastern Conference champions. There was little doubt that the restricted free agent would be back, especially after the Bruins cleared about $4.75 million in space under the salary cap when they sent Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars in a seven-player deal last Thursday. The Bruins said the annual salary cap charge on Rasks contract is $7 million. Boston lost the Stanley Cup finals in six games to Chicago, dropping the finale 3-2 on June 24 when the Blackhawks came from behind and scored two goals in the last 1:16. Two days later, general manager Peter Chiarelli said, "I feel confident that we will get a deal done on Rask in short order." That same day, Rask said he would like to play with the Bruins "forever," and the one-year contract he played under last season motivated him. "You always try to be good but then you are trying to get your average game level as high as you can," he said, "that the gap between a good game and a bad game wouldnt be so big. I think I managed to do that this year, and it motivates me for the next year to keep that level and keep getting better." Rask was the backup goalie in the 2011 post-season when Tim Thomas won the Conn Smythe Trophy that goes to the playoff MVP as Boston won its first Stanley Cup title since 1972. The following season, Thomas played 59 games with a 2.36 goals-against average. Rask made 23 appearances and had a 2.05 average. Thomas then decided to sit out the last season of his four-year, $20 million contract. The Bruins suspended him on Jan. 13 for failing to report and traded him on Feb. 7 to the New York Islanders. Thomas, now 39, didnt play last season. Rask, 26, was a worthy successor. He was 19-10-5 with a 2.00 GAA in the regular season and then went 14-8 in the post-season with three shutouts and a 1.88 GAA. The goalie from Finland was drafted in the first round in 2005 by the Toronto Maple Leafs and was traded in June 2006 for goalie Andrew Raycroft. The most games Rask has played in a season is 45 in the 2009-10 campaign when Thomas, who played 43 games that season, missed time because of a hip injury that required off-season surgery. Now Rask has developed into one of the NHLs top netminders. Asked after the season how much he had proven, Rask said, "I dont think I have to answer those questions anymore. I played good, proved (to) everyone again that I was capable of doing it. I mean, you look at the numbers. Theyre good. If I just analyze my game and by how I felt throughout the year, I thought it was a great year." Rasks best playoff series came in Bostons four-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference finals. He allowed just two goals and made 123 saves against the NHLs highest-scoring, regular-season team. In the finals, he made 50 saves in the opener, but Chicago won 4-3 in three overtimes. Rask allowed one goal in the next two games as Boston won 2-1 and 2-0. But the Blackhawks won the remaining three games. The next big signing for the Bruins should be centre Patrice Bergeron. His three-year contract runs through next season. Bergeron tied for the team lead with nine playoff goals and had 15 points. He led the NHL in winning faceoffs, and he won the Selke Trophy as the leagues top defensive forward the previous season. He also played Game 6 against Chicago with a broken rib and separated shoulder, then was hospitalized afterward with a punctured lung. He has said he is "very confident" he will get an extension. Rasks signing came after the Bruins lost three unrestricted free agents. Right wing Nathan Horton signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets, 13-year veteran defenceman Andrew Ference went to the Edmonton Oilers, and backup goalie Anton Khudobin joined the Carolina Hurricanes. The Bruins werent interested in retaining Ference, and they let right wing Jaromir Jagr become a free agent. They did add right wings for their top two lines -- Jarome Iginla from Pittsburgh and Loui Eriksson from Dallas. Boston wasnt interested in signing free agent defencemen after rookies Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski emerged last season. Cheap Arizona State Gear . The team also announced Tuesday that the Braves will wear a commemorative patch on the right sleeve during the season. The patch, shaped like home plate, carries the number 715, Aarons autograph and a "40th Anniversary" banner. Stitched Arizona State Jerseys . -- Hunter Smith scored the winner with just 12 seconds remaining in the third period as the Oshawa Generals edged the host Sarnia Sting 5-4 on Friday in Ontario Hockey League action. http://www.cheaparizonastatejerseys.com/ .Y. -- Sabres defenceman Tyler Myers had no intention of changing his hard-hitting style before taking part in a disciplinary hearing for his illegal check to New Jersey forward Dainius Zubrus head. James Harden College Jersey . "I wrote 36 on my sheet at the beginning of the game," the Cincinnati coach said, referring the yard line the ball would need to be snapped from. Will Sutton College Jersey . Tests earlier this week revealed a Grade 2 left hamstring strain for Sabathia, who was hurt in last Fridays start against San Francisco. Its an injury that will require about eight weeks to heal. He finished a disappointing campaign just 14-13 with a career-worst 4. RIO DE JANEIRO -- It didnt take long for Justin Gatlins name to get dragged into the doping drama swirling at the Olympics.No big deal to Gatlin.The sprinter considered the best threat to stop Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt in the 100-meter final Sunday told The Associated Press hes not paying attention to what people are saying about him, and is not concerned with those who think he doesnt belong here.At the end of the day, the time has been served. Ive served that time, the 34-year-old Gatlin told the AP on Wednesday. Ive dealt with that punishment. Ive moved forward.Not everyone else has.Gatlin, who won gold at 100 meters at the 2004 Olympics, has been caught using banned substances twice. The first was for amphetamines, though arbitrators determined he didnt use them for doping but to treat attention deficit disorder. The second came for excessive testosterone in 2006 and resulted in a four-year ban.His name almost always comes up in the debate over how past dopers should be treated. In Rio, it surfaced in the wake of American swimmer Lilly Kings finger-wagging display toward Yulia Efimova, the Russian who was allowed to compete after a last-minute appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.Like Gatlin, Efimova has served a doping ban but was reinstated.But in refusing to bar the entire Russian team from the Olympics after investigations detailed state-sponsored doping in the country, the IOC put in a special caveat: Any Russian who had been previously banned for doping was not welcome.That rule was overturned by CAS, which had made similar decisions in previous cases, saying athletes cant be punished twice for the same offense.Kings criticism of Efimova -- and her icy stares toward the Russian before the two squared off in the pool -- instantly made King a voice in support of clean athletes everywhere.The dispute led to King, and many others, being asked whether it was fair thaat Gatlin was competing.ddddddddddddDo I think people who have been caught doping should be on the team? They shouldnt. It is unfortunate we have to see that, King said.But, King said, she had to respect the rules.Same with sprinter Michael Johnson, the four-time Olympic gold medalist, who was asked whether Gatlin should be here.The issue people need to understand is that youre not going to solve the problem by pointing the finger at an athlete and making that athlete the villain, Johnson said, talking in general about athletes with violations.The athlete has been a villain and certainly has done damage to the sport. ... I dont appreciate that. But the athletes not the one thats making the rules that allows him to get back on the track or back in the pool, or back on the field.Gatlin does not see himself as a villain -- and does not buy into the now-hackneyed portrayal of him vs. Bolt as tracks version of Good vs. Evil.People want to label people and thats all they want to do, Gatlin said. They dont want to get to know them; they dont want to understand the story, in-depth.Though many of the headlines deride him, Gatlin insists hes popular in the athletes village.So many people have come up to me in the village and the cafeteria, showing me love, wanting me to go out there and do the best, be the best, he said. Taking pictures and everything. I get love, man.How will the fans -- and media -- react when he hits the track Saturday for the start of the mens 100?Hes not concerned.Ive worked hard, all the way from the bottom when I had nothing, Gatlin said. I worked hard to work back to where Im at now. I dont understand. The system has worked. I think people need to stop looking at trying to be the judge, the jury and executioner and let the system do its job. 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