AndreBurakovsky

Report: Caps sign ’13 first-rounder Burakovsky

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Sounds like the Washington Capitals got what they wanted from Andre Burakovsky.

Burakovsky, the club’s first-round selection (23rd overall) at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, has reportedly signed his entry-level contract with the Caps, meaning he’ll leave Sweden to play in North America next season.

News of the signing comes from MrMadhawk.se — a Swedish site dedicated to SEL club Malmo, where Burakovsky has played since 2009-10 — in which the 18-year-old confirms he signed a three-year tender with Washington.

Here’s the translation of the interview, from Caps site Russian Machine Never Breaks:

What happens now?

Burakovsky: I’ll come to camp in September and try to break through as quickly as possible. I can play in the AHL and I can go to Erie. It’s up to Washington now, they’ll decide what’s best for me.

When did this come up?

Burakovsky: It was a while ago. My agent Patrik Aronsson has worked hard to solve it and they were eager to bring me over. It shows they believe in me and it will be great to move over there.

Do you expect to play in the NHL as soon as this year?

Burakovsky: I don’t know. We’ll see. Maybe I can do something like what [former Caps draftee] Filip Forsberg did at the end of last season [with Nashville, playing in five games].

I’m going over in September, then we’ll take it from there.

Burakovsky is eligible to play at the OHL, AHL or NHL level next season because he spent last year in the Allsvenskan, the second tier of the Swedish hockey ladder.

The Caps are high on Burakovsky — his father, Robert, played 23 games for the Ottawa Senators in 1993-94 — and were keen to get him to North America this season, with either Erie (who hold his OHL draft rights) or Hershey, the club’s American League affiliate.

Update: Burakovsky has committed to playing with OHL Erie next season, the team has announced.

Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut

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A day after getting traded out of Toronto, Dion Phaneuf made his Ottawa Senators debut.

It ended with a 3-1 road loss for the Senators, and Phaneuf getting burned by Henrik Zetterberg on the eventual game winner early in the third period.

Zetterberg picked up the puck near the Ottawa blue line, beat Phaneuf to the outside, slipped the puck under the stick of the Sens’ newest blue liner and quickly roofed his shot on Craig Anderson.

“He made a real good play and you’ve got to give credit when credit is due,” Phaneuf told the Ottawa Sun.

“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”

Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.

Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.

DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.

Video: Rangers shut out red-hot Sidney Crosby and the Penguins

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The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.

But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.

In the process, they held a red-hot Sidney Crosby off the score sheet, which has been a difficult, sometimes impossible task for opposing teams since about the middle of December. He entered this game with a seven-game scoring streak.

(In fact, New York held No. 87 to without a shot on goal in the entire game.)

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 34 shots he faced for the shutout.

Kevin Hayes gave the Rangers the lead in the first period, before Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast put the game away in the third.

Pittsburgh remains in the second Wild Card spot in the East. The Rangers now move three points clear of the rival Islanders for second in the Metropolitan.

Video: Wideman hearing ‘a tricky case’ as NHLPA hopes to get 20-game suspension reduced

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There is no certain timeline for when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman might rule on Dennis Wideman‘s appeal, according to a report from hockey insider Darren Dreger on NBCSN, as the Calgary Flames defenseman hopes to get his 20-game ban for hitting linesman Don Henderson reduced.

“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.

“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”

Report: Coyotes shut down Vitale (concussion) for the season

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Joe Vitale will not play again this season.

The Arizona Coyotes have shut Vitale down for the remainder of the 2015-16 campaign due to “concussion-related issues,” according to a report from Sarah McLellan of azcentral sports on Wednesday.

Vitale, a 30-year-old veteran center, appeared in only one game for the Coyotes this season. That was back on Oct. 17, when he suffered a concussion and broken orbital bone in a fight with Kevan Miller of the Boston Bruins.