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Former Devils prospect Ben Johnson found guilty of sexual assault

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Former New Jersey Devils prospect Ben Johnson has been found guilty of sexual assault more than three years after he was first charged, according to the Windsor Star on Thursday.

From the Windsor Star:

Superior Court Justice Kirk Munroe has found former Windsor Spitfire Ben Johnson guilty of sexual assault.

Johnson, 22, is accused of raping a girl in the women’s washroom of Mynt, a now-defunct downtown nightclub, during a St. Patrick’s Day celebration in March 2013.

Johnson initially faced two counts of sexual assault from separate incidents dating back to March of 2013, while he was playing for the Windsor Spitfires in the Ontario Hockey League.

Shortly after the verdict was reported, the Devils released a statement saying the club has started the process of terminating Johnson’s contract with the team.

Johnson, now 22 years old, was selected in the third round, 90th overall, of the 2012 NHL Draft.

He hasn’t played a game for the NHL Devils, splitting the last two seasons between the Albany Devils in the American Hockey League and the Orlando Solar Bears and Adirondack Thunder in the East Coast Hockey League.

Sabres sign Girgensons to one-year deal, worth reported $1.15M

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Zemgus Girgensons is under contract heading into the upcoming NHL season.

The Buffalo Sabres announced on Thursday that they have re-signed the 22-year-old center to a one-year deal. As per Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, the deal is worth $1.15 million. Girgensons was selected 14th overall by the Sabres in the 2012 NHL Draft.

“Zemgus has grown into a solid two-way player since beginning his career,” said Sabres general manager Tim Murray in a statement.

“We hope to see him continue this positive trend and find a consistent role within the club this season as another young player to grow with our group.”

Last season, Girgensons, a restricted free agent this summer, saw his overall production drop. He scored seven goals and 18 points in 71 regular season games. The previous season, he scored 15 goals and 30 points in 61 games.

Related:

Sabres have a strong group of forwards — even without Jimmy Vesey

Mrazek’s new mask pays tribute to ‘The Joe’

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The Detroit Red Wings are approaching what will be their final season at Joe Louis Arena, and goalie Petr Mrazek is paying tribute.

The Red Wings tweeted out photos of Mrazek’s new mask, which salutes the farewell season at ‘The Joe’ and features illustrations of images of the iconic figures in Detroit’s hockey history, including former captain Steve Yzerman and the legendary Gordie Howe, who passed away in June at the age of 88.

Thoughts?

The Red Wings will move into their new digs — the Little Caesars Arena — in the fall of 2017.

As for Joe Louis Arena, one of the oldest buildings in the NHL, it will be demolished once the Red Wings leave at the end of next season.

Sidney Crosby: ‘I don’t want to struggle like that again’

TAMPA, FL - MAY 24:  Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins looks to face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on May 24, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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Consider this an unofficial extension of Pittsburgh Penguins day at PHT.

Sidney Crosby, who had a difficult start to last season before both he and the Penguins took off toward a Stanley Cup victory and No. 87 won the Conn Smythe Trophy, has opened up about the personal doubt he experienced during the 2015-16 campaign, particularly during the team’s struggles in the first half of the season, in a piece for Sports Illustrated.

— He addressed the pressure he felt from fans as he struggled to produce offensively and the team found itself in a fight just to make the playoffs.

— He detailed how, on a personal level, this Stanley Cup victory was different from his first, and suggested that the Penguins, at a point last season, were considered a joke.

From Sports Illustrated:

I won’t rest on my laurels. I just can’t. Winning is special. If last season taught me anything, it was how thin the line is between being “washed up” and lifting the Stanley Cup. I don’t want to struggle like that again. That October to December stretch was awful; the lowest point of my career outside of injury. I’ll put in any amount of work I have to so I don’t have to go through that again.

As if outrunning the downside of my career wasn’t motivation enough, the new guys coming into the league will surely have my attention, too. These are the young and hungry guys. The guys that want to be where you are. They’re fast. They’re strong. And with all the young talent throughout the league, it just makes you want to get better yourself. That’s such a fun (and underrated) part of the game to me. I love having to adjust and adapt my game year-to-year to find ways to be my best.

Despite that much-discussed slow start, he still finished third in the league with 85 points in 80 games in the regular season. Only Jamie Benn (89) and Patrick Kane (106) had more points than Crosby, who is now 29 years old.

As Adam Gretz pointed out on PHT yesterday, it’s all about creating realistic expectations for Crosby moving forward.

He is still an elite player. And he seems intent on proving it again.

Related:

Sidney Crosby named captain of Canada’s World Cup team

It’s Pittsburgh Penguins day at PHT

SAN JOSE, CA - JUNE 12:  Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates with the Stanley Cup after their 3-1 victory to win the Stanley Cup against the San Jose Sharks in Game Six of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final at SAP Center on June 12, 2016 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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It’s been a summer of celebration for the Pittsburgh Penguins. They enter the upcoming season as the defending Stanley Cup champs.

The Stanley Cup made its way to the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children in a heart-warming visit from Phil Kessel. Bryan Rust was photographed cuddling with hockey’s silver chalice, because, why not? Jim Rutherford was named the GM of the year when the end-of-season awards were handed out.

All of it a reward for a Penguins team that was struggling in the Eastern Conference before a mid-season coaching change. And shortly after Mike Sullivan took over behind the bench, the Penguins took over the conference, rolling to a championship.

This summer, the Penguins made their pitch to land coveted college free agent Jimmy Vesey, with Sidney Crosby reportedly reaching out to the 2016 Hobey Baker Award winner. Pittsburgh, like many other teams, was ultimately unsuccessful in its quest, as Vesey signed with the Rangers.

The Penguins did sign another college free agent, forward Thomas DiPauli, on a two-year entry-level contract.

They also re-signed forward Matt Cullen to a one-year, $1 million deal. Defenseman Tim Erixon re-signed to a one-year, two-way contract worth $575,000 in the NHL. Justin Schultz, who initially didn’t receive a qualifying offer from the Penguins, making him an unrestricted free agent, eventually re-signed in Pittsburgh and that could give Derrick Pouliot, another young blue liner, some stiff competition when the season opens up.

A Stanley Cup victory did not come easy. The Penguins came out of the playoffs with injuries to several players, including Kessel, who underwent hand surgery.

But Rutherford is confident all the injured players — The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review listed Trevor Daley (ankle), Kris Letang (foot), Nick Bonino (elbow infection), Rust (hand), Patric Hornqvist (hand) and Evgeni Malkin (elbow) as those on the road to recovery this offseason — should be ready for the opening of training camp.

The Penguins could also have a competition in the crease.

Matt Murray, who turned 22 years old in May, backstopped the Penguins to their championship. But Marc-Andre Fleury, 31, would like the opportunity to regain his old No. 1 spot.