Gabriel Landeskog #92 (R) of the Colorado Avalanche celebrates his powerplay goal at 5:35 of the second period along with Ryan O'Reilly #37 (L) in their game against the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center on March 14, 2012 in Buffalo, New York.
(March 13, 2012 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Now signed, O’Reilly apologizes for situation

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Ryan O’Reilly signed an offer sheet with the Calgary Flames yesterday that comes with an average annual value of $5 million and will pay him $6.5 million in 2013-14.

Mere hours later, the Colorado Avalanche matched it, which means the organization and player are stuck together for at least a year.

That might be awkward considering the Avalanche previously balked at O’Reilly’s contract demands and his father wrote a scathing email to the Denver Post, blasting the organization and how it handled contract negotiations.

Then again, both sides might be able to put this all behind them.

O’Reilly took a step in that direction when he said via Twitter, “Sorry to everyone about the situation. I’m very glad to say that it is over and I now can focus on what I love to do.”

The 22-year-old two-way center also expressed his excitement at the prospect of joining “back up with the boys” and playing in front of the Avalanche fans.

Before this, he reportedly was offered and rejected the same two-year, $7 million contract that Matt Duchene got. Now O’Reilly will make nearly double Duchene in 2013-14.

When asked if he thought O’Reilly’s deal was a “little outrageous,” Duchene sidestepped the question.

“It’s not my job to worry about that,” Duchene told the Denver Post. “My job is to go play hockey. So, that’s management’s job.”

At the same time, Duchene also said that it will be good to get O’Reilly back in the room.

“We’re all friends with him and it’s going to be good to have him back,” Duchene said.

Related:

O’Reilly offersheet: ‘Now we can move forward as a hockey club’ says Avs GM

That was fast: Avs match Calgary’s offer sheet for O’Reilly

Colorado responds after Flames offer sheet O’Reilly

Flames sign O’Reilly to offer sheet

Ryan O’Reilly’s dad thinks the Avs don’t value character

O’Reilly’s dad blasts Avs management via Twitter

‘It’s gotten ugly,’ says Avs player on O’Reilly contract dispute

Report: Avs want roster player, top prospect for O’Reilly

By winning fifth straight, Caps extend Wild’s slump to seven losses

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ST. PAUL, Minn. — Alex Ovechkin scored three times in the second period for his 14th career hat trick, and the Washington Capitals beat the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on Thursday night.

Ovechkin, who leads the league with 34 goals, has 13 in his past 13 games. Nicklas Backstrom had three assists and Jason Chimera added an empty-netter for Washington, which improved to a league-best 20-5-2 on the road.

Braden Holtby made 33 saves for the Capitals, who won their fifth consecutive game and became the first team to reach 40 victories this season.

Charlie Coyle, Ryan Suter and Mikael Granlund scored for the Wild, but Minnesota lost for the 12th time in its past 13 games (1-10-2). Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves for the Wild, who have lost seven in a row at home (0-4-3).

Ovechkin’s third goal, which deflected off both the post and the back of Dubnyk into the net, was upheld following a coach’s challenge. Wild coach Mike Yeo challenged that the puck had left the zone for offsides, but the call stood after a review showed that Backstrom stopped the puck before it crossed the blue line.

The goal gave Ovechkin his first hat trick since he scored four goals against Tampa Bay on Dec. 10, 2013.

It wasn’t the only fortunate bounce for Ovechkin on the night, and the five-time 50-goal scorer capitalized on each opportunity.

A shot from T.J. Oshie deflected off of Minnesota forward Zach Parise across the ice right to Ovechkin in the left faceoff circle and Ovechkin quickly snapped off a shot to beat Dubnyk, who couldn’t get across the crease to get into position. Three minutes later, Ovechkin scored on the power play when a point shot bounced off the end boards right to Ovechkin in front of the net.

The tally provided some relief for the Capitals’ surprisingly ineffective power play. Washington had one power play in its previous six games, an empty-netter for the only goal in its previous 20 power-play chances. The Capitals were 1 of 5 on the power play on Thursday.

Coyle scored for the fifth time in eight games in the second, but second periods have doomed the Wild during their slump. Minnesota has been outscored 13-3 in the period in five straight losses.

Suter scored his sixth goal of the season on the power play in the third as Minnesota went 1 of 5 with the man advantage.

NOTES: Washington C Evgeny Kuznetsov left in the third period after he was hit in the face by the stick of Mikael Granlund off a faceoff. … Backstrom has 20 points in his last 17 games. … Minnesota D Jared Spurgeon missed his second straight game with an unspecified deep bruise. Spurgeon has returned to practice, but was held out again. … Holtby is 27-1-3 in his last 31 games with two shutouts, a 2.10 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.

Watch the Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp tribute video

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Over the years, the Chicago Blackhawks have been forced to let some important players leave to keep their core together, which ultimately meant parting ways with Patrick Sharp.

The talented winger now wears a Dallas Stars jersey, so Blackhawks fans must face the reality of watching Sharp ply his trade for a formidable Central Division opponent.

Even if that might feel awkward, Blackhawks fans gave Sharp (and Johnny Oduya) a warm reception in Chicago on Thursday.

CSNChicago.com provides video of that ovation, which you can see in the clip above.

The Stars currently lead the Blackhawks 4-2, thanks in large part to Patrick … Eaves.

Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick helps him make more history

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Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

(He also passed Jean Beliveau for 39th all-time in goals with his 509th, as NHL.com notes.)

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Update: Minnesota managed three goals, but it wasn’t enough, as Washington got the edge 4-3.

Bylsma believes league will look at Gudas’ hit on Catenacci

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Rugged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas may get in trouble with the league once again.

At least, it will be that way if Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has his way regarding Gudas’ five-minute charging major hit on Daniel Catenacci.

“I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl. ” … I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

As far as the injury portion of possible suspension considerations go:

Marcus Foligno‘s analysis of Gudas was … well just check it out.

The Flyers ended up winning 5-1. Gudas was a busy man overall, racking up 17 penalty minutes.