Capitals sign Nicklas Backstrom for 5-year, $46 million deal
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Capitals have signed Nicklas Backstrom to a $46 million, five-year contract extension.
Backstrom is now signed through the 2024-25 season. He’ll count $9.2 million against the salary cap during that time.
The Swedish center helped the Capitals win their first Stanley Cup title in 2018.
Washington drafted Backstrom with the fourth overall pick in 2006. He has been a franchise cornerstone along with Alex Ovechkin since making his NHL debut in 2007. The 32-year-old has 35 points in 39 games this season. He’s been nearly a point a game player throughout his Capitals career.
Penguins back home after successful trip
PITTSBURGH (AP) — After sweeping a three-game western road trip, the Pittsburgh Penguins return home to host the Minnesota Wild. Minnesota has cooled off after an impressive December, losing four of the last five games.
That’s among 11 games on the NHL schedule tonight.
The Columbus Blue Jackets — with a record of 11-2-and-4 over the past five weeks — are at home against the Atlantic Division-leading Boston Bruins.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, who’ve given up 17 goals in their past three outings, open a three-game homestand against the New Jersey Devils. Toronto has lost another top defenseman to injury; Morgan Rielly is out for at least eight weeks with a fractured foot.
Elsewhere, the Islanders host the Red Wings, the Vegas Golden Knights skate at Buffalo, Los Angeles is at Tampa Bay, Ottawa hosts the Chicago Black Hawks, the Vancouver Canucks skate at Winnipeg, the San Jose Sharks are at Arizona, Colorado hosts Dallas, and the Edmonton Oilers host Nashville.
Jazz seeking tenth straight win
NEW YORK (AP) — The Utah Jazz hope to continue the team’s longest winning streak in two years as they visit the Brooklyn Nets tonight in New York. A victory would be the tenth in a row for the Jazz. They’ve won 14 of their last 15 to climb up to second place in the Western Conference. The winning streak lines up with Jordan Clarkson’s arrival in a trade from Cleveland the day before Christmas.
In other NBA action, the Phoenix Suns are at Atlanta, Memphis hosts the Houston Rockets, the Knicks visit the Bucks, the Los Angeles Clippers host Cleveland, and the Mavericks play at Golden State.
Clemson hosts Duke
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Coming off of an overtime win over North Carolina — their first win in 60 tries in Chapel Hill — the Clemson Tigers host third-ranked Duke tonight.
Other ranked teams in action include number-six Kansas at Oklahoma, and seventh-ranked San Diego State at Fresno State. San Diego State, at 17-and-0, is one of the two unbeaten teams left in major college basketball. Kansas is coming off a loss to Baylor, which moved the Bears into the second spot in the latest Associated Press poll.
WNBA and union announce tentative eight-year deal
NEW YORK (AP) — The WNBA and its players have reached a tentative deal on a collective bargaining agreement. The eight-year contract begins this season and runs through 2027.
The league says it will increase salaries, marketing opportunities and revenue sharing. There are also enhanced travel standards, maternity and family planning benefits and health and wellness improvements.
It will pay players an average of $130,000 annually.