London Underground Platform Busy on First Day of England Lockdown
London Underground Platform Busy on First Day of England Lockdown
We're tracking every notable free agent signing in the 2020-21 MLB offseason and giving you the details on the deal. Plus: What it means for your fantasy team.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes remains in the NFL's concussion protocol, but practiced in a limited capacity on Wednesday, raising hopes that the reigning Super Bowl MVP can play in Sunday's AFC title game against Buffalo. The Chiefs typically breeze through practice on Wednesday with little contact before ramping things up on Thursday, and coach Andy Reid said that fit perfectly with what Mahomes was able to do. Reid didn't say what phase of the five-step process Mahomes is in to be cleared to play, but the work he described his quarterback doing coincides with the fourth step. That involves a player resuming non-contact football activities, such as throwing and running, and is the final step before a player is deemed ready to go. Mahomes was hurt in the third quarter of last Sunday's 22-17 victory over the Cleveland Browns. Chad Henne finished the game and would be the starter if Mahomes was unable to play against the Bills. ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL Dave Skretta, The Associated Press
Signing George Springer will not just help the Blue Jays win more ballgames, it represents an entire paradigm shift for the franchise.
Tributes to Philip Rivers began pouring in on social media after he announced his retirement.
Nurmagomedov spoke after Dana White implied the fighter was considering a return depending on what happens at UFC 257.
The video featuring the dreams of a young Black girl from Oakland ends with chants of MVP. Madame Vice President.
Islanders team broadcaster Brendan Burke says the key to the team's surprise success over the past few seasons starts with Barry Trotz, the human.
After losing an edge, Brendan Lemieux dove in front of a couple hard-nosed shots coming off the stick of Devils blueliner P.K. Subban.
The NFL playoffs are down to the final four with the Bills and Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game and the Buccaneers and Packers clashing for the NFC crown. The guys weigh in on the crucial status of Patrick Mahomes, why sitting the Chiefs star QB wouldn’t be the worst thing for the sport and how the Bills can upset the defending champs. Over at Lambeau, an aerial game in Green Bay clearly favors Aaron Rodgers and the Packers but the Bucs have options and the ability to surprise. Plus, tackling the Deshaun Watson saga, the Saints after Brees and what’s next for the emergent Cleveland Browns.
Let's take a look at the fantasy hockey landscape heading into Week 2 of the 2021 NHL season.
The NFC Championship Game features two Hall of Fame quarterbacks at different stages of their career in Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.
Kyrie Irving has arrived at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland.
The Baltimore Ravens have got the running game down pat, as evidenced by their back-to-back seasons with more than 3,000 yards rushing. Nothing wrong there. The defence is sound, too. Baltimore allowed fewer than 19 points per game and limited the prolific Buffalo offence to a touchdown and a field goal in a second-round playoff loss last weekend. So what's the priority this off-season? Quite simply, the Ravens need a robust passing game to supplement an offence that for the past three years has relied more heavily on quarterback Lamar Jackson's running ability than his downfield throws. “We're a dominant running football team and we're a middle-of-the-pack pass efficiency team," Harbaugh said Wednesday. “We need to improve what we're doing." The Ravens finished ranked dead last in yards passing, but Harbaugh pointed out that Baltimore threw far fewer passes than any other team. Moving forward, the plan is to bring a more balanced offence into the 2021 season. But it will remain a run-first unit built around Jackson, the only quarterback in NFL history with multiple 1,000-yard rushing seasons. “It goes back to the same criticism that we've heard the last three years, about not being the type of offence or the type of quarterback that some people want to see," Harbaugh said. “They're just going to have to live with it, because Lamar Jackson's won a lot of football games here." Baltimore is 30-7 in the regular season with Jackson as a starter, and the fleet-footed quarterback is the main reason why the Ravens set an NFL record with 3,296 yards rushing last year before rambling for 3,071 this season. Problem is, opposing defences are packing the line in an effort to force Jackson to throw, and he hasn't made them regret that strategy on a consistent basis. So, although Baltimore has gone 10-6, 14-2 and 11-5 in the regular season over the past three years, it's the 1-3 record in the playoffs that's garnered most of the attention. “Until you win the whole thing, you're really a failure in the playoffs," Harbaugh said. There's no question that Jackson has the legs to carry the Ravens into the post-season. He's got a strong arm, too, but the 24-year-old still has much to do before approaching his peak at the position. “He's a young player still and is going to continue to grow," Harbaugh said. “His skillset and talent is remarkable and unique. He's got a great arm and is a naturally gifted thrower." What remains is for Jackson to enhance his footwork in the pocket, become more consistent with his mid-range throws and maintain his poise when no one's open downfield. Example: With the Ravens in position for the tying touchdown in the third quarter against the Bills on Saturday night, Jackson threw an interception that was returned 101 yards for a touchdown — the key play in Baltimore's 17-3 defeat. “He's going to work hard at that stuff and improve and get better and it will show up in how he plays next year," Harbaugh said. Jackson is still playing on his rookie contract, but Harbaugh expects an extension will occur soon, perhaps this off-season. “Of course, absolutely, we want Lamar to sign a long-term deal and be with us. I’m totally certain that that’s going to happen," the coach said. “When it happens, that’s the details and that’s what we’ve got to figure out.” The Ravens could do Jackson a big favour by getting him another receiver to go with Marquise Brown, who was essentially the lone deep threat to go with possession receiver Willie Snead and reliable tight end Mark Andrews. “It kind of comes down to who you can bring in here and what it will cost," Harbaugh said. “A big, physical receiver would be awesome for us. It could be another tight end or a speed guy that could open coverage up. We could use anybody that's talented and good." Jackson was sacked three times against the Bills and missed the fourth quarter with a concussion. Harbaugh said the quarterback is on the mend, and the coach expects to have left tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle) and tight end Nick Boyle (knee) back for training camp. ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL David Ginsburg, The Associated Press
CALGARY — Just three games into a condensed season, the Calgary Flames are already on a break. A 2-0-1 start for five points out of a possible six is momentum the Flames will try to carry through their five days off before hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday. Days off will become precious in Calgary's 56 games over 115 days, although the Flames weren't desperate for a breather this early in the schedule. The time is nevertheless welcome, says head coach Geoff Ward, with a half-dozen new players in the lineup. "If we had a team that had been together for a long, long time, I'd probably be looking at it maybe not as much of a positive thing as it's going to be for us," Ward said Wednesday. "These days are good for us just with how many new players we're trying to assimilate into our lineup. "It allows us to really reinforce a lot of things, allows us to evaluate more things and allows our players to become more comfortable playing with each other, so this week for us has been real timely." Calgary posted two straight home wins over the Vancouver Canucks after opening the season with an overtime loss to the Jets in Winnipeg. The Flames enjoyed a gentler start to their regular season than Vancouver's four road games in six days, but Calgary's heavy lifting starts immediately following the break with nine games in 14 days, including back-to-back games in Winnipeg. "We're going into an awful lot of hockey once this break's over," Ward said. Three games is a small sample size, but the Flames can feel encouraged by an abundance of goalscorers and the performance of new goaltender Jacob Markstrom, who was signed in the off-season for US$36 million over six years. Eight different Flames have put the puck in the net with Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk leading the way at two goals apiece. "When you get some balanced scoring like we have early, it just makes everybody believe a little bit easier," Ward said. Gaudreau, Lindholm and Sean Monahan each have four points. The emergence of Lindholm, Tkachuk and Dillon Dube as a potent line takes production pressure off of and defensive attention away from Gaudreau and Monahan, who worked well with newcomer Dominik Simon in Monday's 5-2 win over the Canucks. Simon, who has spent time on Sidney Crosby's wing in Pittsburgh, provided the screen for Gaudreau's first goal of the season and Calgary's first goal of that game. "He's a smart hockey player," Ward said of Simon. "He can think ahead like Johnny and Monny do. There's a lot of things there that we like about the potential fit of them." Markstrom is so far living up to his price tag with a 32-save shutout against his former Canuck teammates in his first outing against them Saturday. The six-foot-six Swede was a difference-maker Monday when the Flames were outshot 16-4 in the first period. Calgary's power play produced six goals on 16 chances for a 37.5 conversion rate, and gave up one short-handed goal. The Flames have killed all but one of their opposing teams' man advantages for a 91.7 success rate. "Outside of a couple of periods, we liked our work and we liked our compete an awful lot," Ward said. "There's some areas we can be better in terms of staying with things, producing a little bit more. "All in all, we liked how we played on both sides of the puck. Our special teams we're real happy with." The break gives Dube time to heal from whatever lower-body injury took the 22-year-old out of Monday's game against the Canucks. Ward isn't ruling him out to play Sunday against the Maple Leafs, who face the Flames again two days later at Scotiabank Saddledome. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press
Paul Pogba is producing some of the best football of his turbulent Manchester United career — and it is keeping the team at the top of the Premier League. Just minutes after he was seen racing back 40 metres to win the ball back and thwart a dangerous-looking counterattack, Pogba collected the ball just outside the corner of the penalty area with three Fulham players near him. Pogba twisted and turned, manoeuvring himself into a pocket of space before unleashing a powerful left-foot shot that curled into the far corner and sealed United’s comeback in a 2-1 win at Craven Cottage on Wednesday. A week ago, a long-range volley by Pogba earned United a 1-0 win at Burnley that moved the team into first place at the midway point of the season for the first time in eight years. His 65th-minute winner at Fulham also put United on the summit, reclaiming top spot a day after Leicester went there by beating Chelsea 2-0 and hours after Manchester City beat Aston Villa 2-0 to underline its title credentials. With Pogba playing so well — and showing an appetite for the battle that many United fans have longed to see since his return to the club for a second spell in 2016 — Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team is a serious title contender itself. Solskjaer is managing to coax a string of impressive displays out of the club's record signing, just a month after the France midfielder's future looked uncertain after his agent, Mino Raiola, told an Italian newspaper that it was “over” for Pogba at United. United is two points clear of second-place City, which is ahead of Leicester only on goal difference. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Steve Douglas, The Associated Press
MILAN — Cristiano Ronaldo scored to help Juventus win a record-extending ninth Italian Super Cup by beating Napoli 2-0 on Wednesday. Napoli missed the chance to take the match to extra time when captain Lorenzo Insigne missed a late penalty and Álvaro Morata sealed the result with the last kick of the game. It was Juve’s ninth Super Cup title, taking it two above AC Milan, which is the team with the second most victories in the competition. The match showcasing the Serie A and Italian Cup champions is normally regarded as little more than a friendly. It used to be the traditional season curtain-raiser in August but has been played in December or January several times over the past few seasons. Juventus came into the match with coach Andrea Pirlo under increasing pressure, especially after a 2-0 loss to title rival Inter Milan on Sunday. It was a cagey match, with few genuine scoring opportunities, but Juventus eventually broke the deadlock in the 64th minute. A Juventus corner took a couple of ricochets before landing in the path of Ronaldo, who didn’t miss from close range. Napoli had the chance to level 10 minutes from time but Insigne fired his penalty wide of the left post after Dries Mertens had been tripped by Weston McKennie. Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny did well to parry an effort from Piotr Zielinski seconds before Morata finished off a counterattack to secure Pirlo’s first trophy in charge. ATALANTA HELD Atalanta missed the chance to go third in Serie A after being held to a 1-1 draw at relegation-threatened Udinese in a rearranged match. Udinese stunned Atalanta by scoring in the opening minute but Luis Muriel cancelled out Roberto Pereyra’s goal on the stroke of halftime. Atalanta remained sixth, a point below the top four and 10 adrift of league leader AC Milan. Udinese is now four points above the relegation zone. The match in Udine was originally set for Dec. 6 but the ground was waterlogged. Udinese, which had lost four of its past five matches, got off to a great start when Pereyra cut in from the right and placed an angled drive between keeper Pierluigi Gollini’s legs to give his side the lead after 23 seconds. Atalanta dominated possession but it was Udinese which looked the more threatening. However, the visitors levelled moments before the interval when Muriel gathered the ball just outside the area and beat two players before slotting past keeper Juan Musso. Udinese had the ball in the net four minutes from time but defender Marvin Zeegelaar’s strike was ruled out for his foul on Gollini. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Daniella Matar, The Associated Press
Yahoo Sports' Dalton Del Don suggests three players to grab this week, including a PF who's averaging 9.0 points, 5.0 rebounds this season.
TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays' brass appeared confident through a quiet off-season that the team was in position to be a player in 2021 and beyond. It took a deep dive into the wallet, but the Blue Jays finally hit their main free-agent target — in a big way. Outfielder George Springer and the Blue Jays agreed to a six-year contract late Tuesday worth a reported US$150 million. The deal came after reported one-year agreements with Kirby Yates, the 2019 MLB saves leader, and fellow right-hander Tyler Chatwood. All deals, which would be pending physicals, have yet to be formally announced by the team. Considered a good club with potential entering this season, the Blue Jays now look like they're ready to try for an exponential climb. "I think it is surprising for Blue Jays fans because we've just been conditioned in this market to not expect those big splashes," said Mike Naraine, an assistant professor with Brock University’s department of sport management. "We expect the Red Sox, we expect the Yankees, Cubs and Dodgers. We have always felt like the middle child." Toronto did make a significant signing just over a year ago when ace Hyun-Jin Ryu inked an $80-million, four-year contract. He helped the team rebound last season, setting the table for a 2021 push to contention. After a three-year roster teardown and rebuild, Toronto posted a 32-28 record in 2020 and made a wild-card series appearance. There is still work to be done and a few needs to be addressed. The starting rotation could use more depth and some infield question marks remain. But the batting order looks to be a doozy and Springer's arrival gives the Blue Jays' young core a playoff-tested anchor. Win-now mode appears to have arrived and could last several years. The financial outlay by owner Rogers Communications comes at an interesting time. Border restrictions forced the Blue Jays to play home games in the U.S. last season and it remains unclear when they'll return to Rogers Centre. Allowing spectators back is another issue altogether. Rumblings of potential plans for a new stadium as part of a downtown redevelopment surfaced last fall. And while the team may continue its nomadic ways in the short-term, it's clearly not impacting present spending. Springer, a three-time all-star, brings a big bat to the lineup and a steadying presence in centre field. "It signals that the Jays mean business and that Rogers is willing to invest in the product after all," Naraine said. "But it's tied to the fact that they see their (team), that they've had since 2000, being more valuable than it's ever been. "It's because of its ability to unlock real estate and continue to galvanize fans to the Rogers platform in a highly competitive environment." Outbidding other teams to land top free agents had become a rarity for the Blue Jays. The move harkened back to the team's early-90s World Series glory days when Toronto was a big spender. Save for a couple seasons in the mid-2010s, the Blue Jays have essentially been mired in mediocrity ever since. "From a business perspective, it's just a huge signal that the Blue Jays' leadership team is willing to spend going forward," Naraine said from Thorold, Ont. "But it's tied to a much more interesting future for the Jays and Rogers over the next 10 years." "They can loosen up the purse strings because they see the jackpot at the end of the rainbow," he added. "That being a new stadium, a new facility and a new trajectory for the next decade." Springer, 31, was the 2017 World Series MVP when Houston beat the L.A. Dodgers, a title now tainted by the Astros' sign-stealing scandal. The native of New Britain, Conn., won the AL Silver Slugger Award in 2018 and '19. Springer made his big-league debut with the Astros in 2014 and has 174 home runs and 458 RBIs over his career along with a .270/.361/.491 slash line. His deal is the largest in Blue Jays history, ahead of the $126-million, seven-year contract that Vernon Wells signed in 2006. University of Connecticut baseball coach James Penders, who coached Springer from 2009-11, said his energy and dynamism is "just undeniable." "He just has a special way about him," Penders said from Mansfield, Conn. "People are drawn to him. He's got a great magnetism. People talk about what is that 'it' quality? Whatever it is, George has it. "It's very special to be in his presence and I think the people of Toronto are going to learn that very quickly." Springer had career bests of a .292 average with 39 homers and 96 RBIs in 2019. He hit .265 with 14 homers and 32 RBIs in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Penders described Springer as "uber-athletic" who is as close to a full package — as a player and a person — that a team is likely to find. "He plays as hard as he possibly can to win," he said. "So you'd want to make sure that the padding is right in those walls in Toronto because he's going to be crashing into them to try to make a play. "He doesn't think of holding back or conserving. He only knows one speed and that's 100 miles per hour with his hair on fire. That's just how he plays." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter. Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press
Why fumbling out of the end zone should result in a turnover.
BERLIN — Robert Lewandowski’s penalty was enough for Bayern Munich to consolidate its Bundesliga lead at the halfway stage of the season with a 1-0 win at Bavarian rival Augsburg on Wednesday. Lewandowski’s spot kick in the 13th minute was Bayern’s only reward for dominating the first half, while the visitors had to hold on in the second with Augsburg missing a host of chances —including a penalty of its own. Lewandowski scored his 22nd league goal of the season from the spot after a foul from Augsburg midfielder Rani Khedira on Lucas Hernández. Serge Gnabry and Thomas Müller both missed chances before the break, when Khedira made way for Tobias Strobl. The home side improved significantly in the second half but missed a great chance to equalize when Alfred Finnbogason – who had only come on as a substitute a couple of minutes before – smashed his penalty off the left post in the 76th. Benjamin Pavard conceded the spot kick for handball. Another Augsburg substitute, Fredrik Jensen, shot over from another good position shortly afterward. UNION BEATEN Bayern stayed four points clear of Leipzig, which earned a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Union Berlin thanks to Emil Forsberg’s 70th-minute strike. Forsberg had come on as a substitute 10 minutes before and capitalized on a rare lapse from Union’s defence to turn and score past Andreas Luthe. Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi denied Marius Bülter an injury-time equalizer as Union failed to score for the first time in the league this season. Union dropped to sixth place after its first defeat in seven games since losing the Berlin derby 3-1 at Hertha on Dec. 4. BIELEFELD RELIEF Arminia Bielefeld defeated Stuttgart 3-0 at home to stay out of the relegation zone after Cologne’s late 2-1 win at last-place Schalke earlier Wednesday. Cologne remained 16th in the 18-team division with Bielefeld two points clear in 15th. Also, Eintracht Frankfurt came back to draw 2-2 at Freiburg. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP CiaráN Fahey, The Associated Press