Stanley Johnson has become a mainstay of the Raptors rotation this season, while Matt Thomas has disappointed Toronto's head coach with his defense.
Stanley Johnson has become a mainstay of the Raptors rotation this season, while Matt Thomas has disappointed Toronto's head coach with his defense.
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.
TAMPA, Fla. — When Tom Brady drops back in the pocket he has a bunch of options to attack opposing defences, including a talented collection of receivers that's possibly the best he's played with in more than a decade — maybe even his entire career. For starters, Mike Evans is the only player in NFL history to begin a career with seven consecutive seasons with at least 1,000 yards receiving, Chris Godwin is a prime target with exceptional hands, and Rob Gronkowski is one of the most prolific tight ends of all time. Don't forget Antonio Brown, who joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at midseason and has contributed to the team’s run to Sunday’s NFC championship game at Green Bay. Tight end Cameron Brate has been a trusted and dependable playmaker for Brady, too. Then there’s Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson, a couple of late-round draft picks roughly half the age of the 43-year-old quarterback. Johnson’s acrobatic 15-yard catch on third-and-11 and Miller’s 29-yard reception on third-and-5 helped Brady position the Bucs for a fourth-quarter field goal that put Tampa Bay ahead for good in last week’s 30-20 divisional-round win over the New Orleans Saints. “He sees those guys work so hard on the practice field and he’s got a great rapport with all of them, especially Scotty,” coach Bruce Arians said. “Tyler, very few guys can twist and turn and make that catch. Tom put it out there and he knew Tyler could make that catch. He’s got a great, great future.” Throw in running back Ronald Jones — as well as Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy, a pair of veterans brought in to bolster depth at the position — and the Bucs have assembled the best group of playmakers Brady has had to work with since 2007, when he was teamed with Hall of Fame receiver Randy Moss in New England. Without the benefit of normal off-season workouts or preseason games because of the coronavirus pandemic, Brady and his receivers gradually developed a close relationship and Tampa Bay’s offence has really taken off during the six-game winning streak the Bucs (13-5) will take to Lambeau Field this weekend. “I think we’ve certainly come a long way. I think we’re just going to keep improving. The more we’re together, the more we’re talking about football, the more we’re trying to be on the same page, the better it is,” said Brady, who threw for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns this season. “It’s a complex game. There’s a lot of moving parts, there’s a lot of co-ordination involved between a lot of different positions. .... The more that I’ve been around Mike, Chris, Antonio, Scooter (Miller), Tyler, Mick (Jaydon Mickens) — the better it gets,” Brady said. “The tight end position, I’ve been around Gronk for a long time. I know exactly what he’s thinking, how he looks. Cam is a pretty easy guy to get up to speed with, too. We’re just going to keep trying to make improvements.” Brady threw for just 199 yards a week ago, yet showed how much trust he's developed in his playmakers across the board. He spread 18 completions against the Saints among nine different receivers, none of whom were targeted more than seven times. Evans’ only reception went for a 3-yard touchdown. Brown’s lone catch produced a first down, as did the key plays Miller and Johnson delivered in the fourth quarter. One of Fournette’s team-leading five receptions out of the backfield produced a 6-yard TD that erased a 20-13 deficit in the third quarter. The speedy Miller, 23, was a sixth-round draft pick out of Bowling Green in 2019. Johnson, a 22-year-old rookie from Minnesota, was a fifth-rounder who only had 12 receptions during the regular season. The young receivers very well may be called on again against the Packers, with Brown listed day to day with a knee injury. “That’s what it’s all about. You get your opportunities, you’ve got to make the best of them,” Arians said. “You don’t know when they’re coming, and (last week) Scotty jumped out there. It was really a play designed for Antonio, but Scotty ran a great route. Tyler makes a great catch,” Arians added. “It’s everybody just doing their job. ... All we’ve got to do is do our job. We’re good enough to beat anybody.” ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL Fred Goodall, The Associated Press
Everyone will again be watching the vote totals for Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, but the math says no candidate is likely to be voted in.
Hill insisted on Wednesday that he wasn't being a "hothead" or a "diva."
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.