Canada

Worst NHL goals from distance

Worst NHL goals from distance

15/12/2017, Canada, Multi Sports, SportsNet Publication, Article # 25179608
[brightcove videoID=5680540858001 playerID=2540680026001 height=360 width=640]

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/worst-nhl-goals-distance/
SuperKarts! USA Confirms $75K Total Prize Package for Inaugural SKUSA Winter Series

SuperKarts! USA Confirms $75K Total Prize Package for Inaugural SKUSA Winter Series

15/12/2017, Canada, Karting, Canadian Karting News, Article # 25179380
Superkarts! USA today confirmed an amazing prize package for the upcoming 2018 SKUSA Winter Series in Florida. The 4-race, 2-weekend format will crown 11 champions in as many race groups, and eight classes will receive an amazing series prize to kickstart their 2018 racing seasons. The top three points finishers in the Pro-Shifter (S1 and […]

http://canadiankartingnews.com/superkarts-usa-confirms-75k-total-prize-package-for-inaugural-skusa-winter-series/
MLB off-season just getting started after quiet winter meetings

MLB off-season just getting started after quiet winter meetings

15/12/2017, Canada, Multi Sports, SportsNet Publication, Article # 25179379
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Maybe this is simply how the winter meetings now work, that rather than bringing teams and agents together for an action-packed swapfest, the annual event is little more than a large-scale information dump for sides to chew over and digest.

After all, more often than not when negotiators of all sorts have time, they tend to use it, especially in the absence of a catalyst. "Teams understand, I think all 30 GMs would answer that this is not a deadline," general manager Ross Atkins said Thursday after a transaction-less stay at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin resort for the Toronto Blue Jays. "This is an opportunity to learn, and sometimes things happen here and sometimes they don’t."

Perhaps things are different next year when the winter meetings are in Las Vegas and a once-in-a-generation free agent class that could include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel triggers a frenzy in a setting that encourages letting things ride. Or, the homogenization of player valuation may continue to spread through any outlier front offices and transactions will become tougher and tougher to complete. "There are no more steals," said one executive. "Everyone values players so similarly that it’s really hard to match up unless the needs align perfectly."

In the current environment, some officials discussed among themselves this week if the winter meetings as they are structured now are even necessary. Fortune may favour the bold, which is perfect in grand gatherings, but fewer and fewer teams are willing to set the market, preferring instead to strategically play off it, away from decision-impacting pressures inside the bubble, in search of value.

"As things happen for other teams, more pressure hits the other 29 as one team moves," said Atkins. "Slowly, alternatives and options are coming off the board and that will continue to occur. There is more than one opportunity for the Blue Jays."

[brightcove videoID=5679508450001 playerID=2540680026001 height=360 width=640 autostart=false] Executives and agents to have spoken with the Blue Jays continue to say their focus still appears set on acquiring a middle infielder. But as a report on Twitter by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports again linking them to free agent Lorenzo Cain and another by Bob Nightengale of USA Today connecting them to Avisail Garcia of the White Sox suggest, they’re keeping an eye on the outfield market, too.

One team hunting for help up the middle infielder came off the board when the Los Angeles Angels acquired Ian Kinsler, and there a bounty of options remain. Among trade possibilities the Blue Jays are believed to have interest in are Milwaukee’s Jonathan Villar, Philadelphia’s Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis, and San Diego’s Yangervis Solarte and Cory Spangenberg. The Diamondbacks are also said to be looking to move one of Chris Owings or Brandon Drury, and Atkins is close with Arizona counterpart Mike Hazan.

On the outfield side, the Blue Jays are also thought to have some interest in Cincinnati’s Adam Duvall and Billy Hamilton, as well as Randal Grichuk of the St. Louis Cardinals, who still have surplus in the outfield after sending Stephen Piscotty to Oakland following the acquisition of Marcell Ozuna.

The Cardinals, Brewers and Reds are all thought to want relief help and given how the market for high-leverage, non-closer relievers surged this week – Tommy Hunter got $18 million over two years from the Phillies and the appropriate emoji for that doesn’t yet exist – the Blue Jays’ stable of controllable, inexpensive relievers are suddenly an even more desirable commodity they can possibly leverage.

"We’re really excited about Roberto Osuna, Ryan Tepera, Dominic Leone, Danny Barnes," Atkins said of the value of his relievers. "That’s a difference-making aspect of our year and continues to provide us depth. Also, that market, there’s some depth to it, so we’ll be able to be opportunistic there later in the off-season."

[brightcove videoID=5680185323001 playerID=2540680026001 height=360 width=640 autostart=false] The Blue Jays have already been in touch with the representatives of several rebound-type relievers, and they made a well-publicized pitch aimed at reuniting with lefty CC Sabathia. Concurrently, Atkins spent a lot of time talking up Joe Biagini as a candidate for fifth starter, while at the same time there was behind the scenes chatter of a desire for a swingman type. Just a guess here, but bringing back Tom Koehler would make some sense should they take that path.

And so the Blue Jays flew home from the suspiciously mosquito-free swamplands of Disney World empty-handed, while the New York Yankees reeled in Giancarlo Stanton, dumped Chase Headley and positioned themselves for more gains, and the Boston Red Sox put in work to land not only J.D. Martinez, but Eric Hosmer, too, according to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.

The Tampa Bay Rays continued to do their due diligence in preparation for what seems like a looming teardown, while the Baltimore Orioles started listening to offers for Machado.

"We learned a ton about this year’s landscape, about some of our opportunities and how other teams and agents are seeing our fit. Remain optimistic," said Atkins. "I feel that there are things that became a little more concrete for us and I would imagine that is the case across the industry. Whether or not people end up signing contracts and moving towards physicals, it feels like that’s going to happen a little bit more this week and before we break for the holidays for a bit."

In years past the off-season would already be more or less over by now, but as baseball evolves with bigger front offices driving increasingly valuation-drive decisions, this one is just getting started.

[relatedlinks]

http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/mlb/mlb-off-season-just-getting-started-quiet-winter-meetings/
Blue Jays notebook: Could pitching depth facilitate trades?

Blue Jays notebook: Could pitching depth facilitate trades?

15/12/2017, Canada, Multi Sports, SportsNet Publication, Article # 25179280
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – On a few occasions at the recently completed winter meetings, general manager Ross Atkins identified the Toronto Blue Jays' young middle relievers as a highlight of a difficult 2017 season. Along those lines, Atkins and manager John Gibbons both pointed to Joe Biagini as a pitcher with considerable upside for 2018. At first glance those statements are unremarkable, but combined they're more intriguing – especially when you consider the Blue Jays' needs. Adding a middle infielder's a priority for the front office and while free agent Eduardo Nunez is a consideration, he's recovering from an injury and questions about his defence persist. Far more depth exists on the trade market. Speaking in general terms, Atkins said the Blue Jays were pleased with the volume of trade talks at Disney's Swan and Dolphin Hotel. “There was a lot of discussion in and around our opportunities with other teams," he said. That's where the Blue Jays' pitching depth could intersect with the club's off-season decision making. Not only are the Blue Jays' middle relievers effective, they're affordable to all 30 teams. Ryan Tepera and Danny Barnes aren't yet arbitration eligible while Dominic Leone shouldn't cost more than $2 million in his first trip through the arb process. By way of contrast, the going rate for capable bullpen arms has been $14-18 million over two years. In that context, it's no wonder the Blue Jays have been asked about their relievers. Those talks could create momentum this off-season, even though the Blue Jays haven't heard an offer to their liking just yet. It'd be a surprise if Biagini's name hasn't come up as well given his successful 2016 season, flashes of promise in 2017, MLB minimum salary and remaining options. That said, he's appealing to the Blue Jays for those same reasons. Biagini's now their fifth starter, so they couldn't deal him unless they were confident that a deal for a suitable replacement existed. [brightcove videoID=5680208312001 playerID=2540680026001 height=360 width=640 autostart=false] One way or another, the Blue Jays' willingness to deal pitching off of their MLB roster could help them in a developing middle-infield market. Now that Ian Kinsler's in Anaheim, there's one less team in the mix for infielders, which could help the Blue Jays and Mets, two of the more active teams involved. (By the way, the Blue Jays aren't believed to have pursued Kinsler seriously, although he was on their radar.) The Brewers' Jonathan Villar remains available in trade talks, as does Freddy Galvis of the Phillies. If the Blue Jays were to aim higher they could pursue Philadelphia's Cesar Hernandez, but he'll be much tougher to acquire given that he's an impact player with three years of control remaining. Jurickson Profar, while interesting on paper, doesn't appear to be a likely fit in Toronto. There's still plenty of depth, though, with Josh Harrison, Starlin Castro, Jason Kipnis, Yangervis Solarte and Chris Owings among the other trade candidates in play across MLB. Of course that's just one of many needs for a Blue Jays front office also seeking outfield and pitching help, and moving pitching depth would be just one way to entice rival teams. For example, Atkins has also pointed to Toronto's controllable outfield depth on multiple occasions. Regardless, a slow-developing off-season finally has some momentum. Within a week or 10 days, the Blue Jays roster could start to take shape. "That might turn into two weeks or three weeks, but it just feels like there’s momentum," Atkins said. [relatedlinks]

BACKUP CATCHER UPDATE

The Blue Jays seem patient in their pursuit of backup catchers, according to some agents involved in that market. While the Blue Jays have interest in adding an experienced backup to compete with Luke Maile, they have many other needs to address and their searches for infielders, outfielders and pitchers will take priority. Plus, there’s some depth at triple-A thanks to Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire.
 “We'll be fine,” Gibbons said. “We got a couple good young kids coming along.” 
 The Blue Jays liked what Maile offered after returning from the disabled list late in the season, although his overall offensive numbers were below average, even compared to other backup catchers. 
As for Russell Martin, the Blue Jays will strategically mix in off-days as a way to preserve his health over the course of the six-month season. 
“We're going to have to be smart and give him a day when he needs it. You hope that he stays injury-free," Gibbons said. "The catcher is the centre of the whole team.” 


READY TO WAIT FOR RELIEF

Unless the Blue Jays address their position player and rotation needs more affordably than expected, they seem poised to slow-play the relief market in the hopes that bargains emerge. “There’s some depth to it, so we could be able to be opportunistic there later in the off-season,” Atkins said. 


JAYS KEEP RULE 5-ELIGIBLE PROSPECTS

The Blue Jays didn't add any talent to their organization in the major-league phase of the Rule 5 draft, but Atkins was relieved that former first rounder Max Pentecost and right-handed starter Jordan Romano weren't selected by anyone else. “We’re really excited about keeping our prospects at the upper levels," he said. 
 The Blue Jays debated selecting a player but ultimately preferred to keep their two empty 40-man roster spots open and preserve flexibility. Players selected in the major-league phase of the Rule 5 draft cost $50,000 and must stay on the acquiring team's active roster all season or be offered back to the original club for $25,000. On the minor-league side, the Blue Jays lost third baseman Mitch Nay to the Reds, but added right-hander Andrew Muren from the Giants, catcher Alberto Mineo from the Cubs and shortstop Ivan Castillo from Cleveland.

NEW HOMES FOR FORMER JAYS

Former Blue Jays starter Jesse Litsch is now helping minor-league pitchers rehabilitate injuries for the Atlanta Braves. Meanwhile, former Blue Jays right-hander Chris Smith won't be back in Toronto as he's nearing a deal with an NL team, according to an industry source.

http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/mlb/blue-jays-notebook-pitching-depth-facilitate-trades/
Donnarumma in tears after Milan fans jeer him

Donnarumma in tears after Milan fans jeer him

15/12/2017, Canada, Multi Sports, SportsNet Publication, Article # 25178966
MILAN -- A visibly shaken Gianluigi Donnarumma was comforted by AC Milan teammate Leonardo Bonucci as insults poured down on the teenage goalkeeper from the fans. And that was only the warmup.

Donnarumma has swiftly gone from being one of Milan's most adored players to its most hated.

After a protracted saga appeared to be settled in the off-season by Donnarumma signing a contract until 2021, speculation over his future has started again and supporters have had enough.

Despite the new deal being worth 6 million euros ($7 million) a year and including the signing of his older brother as Milan's third-choice goalkeeper, Donnarumma and his agent, Mino Raiola, are reportedly looking to annul the contract because he felt pressure to agree to it.

Before Wednesday's Italian Cup victory over Hellas Verona, fans unveiled a giant banner saying: "Moral abuse, 6 million a year and the signing of a parasite brother? Now go, our patience is finished."

There were jeers ahead of the kick-off when the 18-year-old Donnarumma's name was read out, and shouts for him to leave. He was in tears as he was comforted by Bonucci.

Donnarumma had to play the first half below the giant banner and his every touch was greeted with boos.

"It was an awful night that I didn't expect!" Donnarumma wrote on Instagram on Thursday. "I never said nor wrote that I had suffered psychological pressure when I signed the contract. Despite everything I am looking forward and have my mind on the next game ... Forza Milan!"

Milan, which is seventh in the standings, plays Verona again in Serie A on Sunday.

"Of course he's upset, he's only 18," Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso said after Wednesday's match. "For the age that he is, there's no doubt that he will become the best goalkeeper in the world, but he's not calm and it can't be easy to go out on the pitch and be criticized by your own fans. I can only say that while he is with me he will always have my total protection.

"They're turning a lad of 18 into a monster. And he doesn't deserve it, he has incredible values. Luckily this was a match where there weren't many people (about 9,000). Imagine how difficult it would have been with 50-60,000."

It's not the first time Donnarumma has faced insults from the stands. He had fake money thrown at him during Italy's Under-21 European Championship opener against Denmark in June after it was announced he would not be renewing his contract, while a banner emblazoned with "Dollarumma" was also displayed.

"We understand the fans but I ask them to boo our opponents and not our players," Milan sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli said. "Gigio is a young lad and he's not entirely at fault, he loves Milan and one day he will understand what's good and what's bad.

"He needs to be supported and the club will do so because he is an asset. We know where the evil comes from and we hope to resolve this problem in the next few months."

Mirabelli said Milan "has no intention of selling Donnarumma" and criticized Raiola.

"I don't have any plans to meet with Raiola. I don't have anything to say to him," Mirabelli said. "There's a man who is trying to damage our image but he is becoming more a showman than anything else. We laugh about it, but he won't get away with it.

"Gigio has never said he wants to leave, otherwise he would never have signed through to 2021. There's someone who is trying to organize something deliberately, but we will look out for Milan's interests in every arena."

Donnarumma has been playing for Milan since October 2015, when he became the youngest goalkeeper to start a Serie A match, at the age of 16 years, 8 months, 6 days.

He has made four senior Italy appearances and is likely to take over as the No. 1 after Gianluigi Buffon retired from international duty following the Azzurri's failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

[relatedlinks]

http://www.sportsnet.ca/soccer/donnarumma-tears-milan-fans-jeer/
AFC Playoff Picture: Patriots, Steelers go head-to-head

AFC Playoff Picture: Patriots, Steelers go head-to-head

15/12/2017, Canada, Multi Sports, SportsNet Publication, Article # 25178603
The Pittsburgh Steelers were the only team to clinch a playoff berth in Week 14, and we'll be watching closely this weekend to see who joins them. Week 15 features a huge conference matchup — not to mention, a possible January preview — as well as few divisional head-to-heads that will have a big impact on the post-season picture moving forward. Here's what you need to know on this huge football weekend.

AFC Standings

If the season ended today…

Wild Card Round No. 6 Buffalo Bills (7-6) at No. 3 Jacksonville Jaguars (9-4) No. 5 Tennessee Titans (8-5) at No. 4 Kansas City Chiefs (7-6) Divisional Round Lowest-seeded wild-card winner at No. 1 Pittsburgh Steelers [y] (11-2) Highest-seeded wild-card winner at No. 2 New England Patriots (10-3) [x] Clinched playoff berth [y] Clinched division title [z] Clinched conference AFC teams still in the hunt Baltimore Ravens: 7-6, second in AFC North Los Angeles Chargers: 7-6, second in AFC West Oakland Raiders: 6-7, third in AFC West Miami Dolphins: 6-7, third in AFC East

Week 15 clinching scenarios

Game of the Week

This weekend's slate of games is so good, we can't help but pick two. Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday (!) 8:30 p.m. ET The Chiefs halted their losing skid with a huge divisional win over Oakland on Sunday and seem to have found their mojo again just in time to attempt a season sweep of the Chargers, who have climbed the standings since their last meeting thanks to four straight wins and MVP-calibre play from Philip Rivers. A Chiefs win gives Kansas City some separation from the tightly-packed AFC West, while a Chargers win will earn Rivers' club the top spot—for now, anyway. New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET This is the game we've all been waiting for, as the conference's top two teams go head-to-head in what could be a preview of what's to come in the playoffs. Pittsburgh put up big numbers against the Ravens on Sunday night but struggled defensively without Ryan Shazier, while the Gronk-less Patriots stumbled and were ultimately upset by the Miami Dolphins in a game that could've clinched them the division. https://twitter.com/AndrewSiciliano/status/940619800526561280 There's a ton at stake here. Pittsburgh already clinched the AFC North and are now playing for home-field advantage — which they can get with a win on Sunday plus a Jacksonville loss or tie against Houston — and can clinch a first-round bye with a victory (or a tie, accompanied by a Jacksonville loss). New England, meanwhile, gets another crack at clinching the AFC East with a win or a tie in Pittsburgh, or with a Bills loss or tie against Miami. They could even clinch a playoff spot before kickoff, as a Baltimore loss or tie in Cleveland means a post-season berth for Tom Brady & Co. https://twitter.com/AndrewSiciliano/status/940674609828917248

Spoiler Alert

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills, Sunday 1 p.m. ET The Dolphins surprised pretty much everyone when they spoiled New England's playoff-clinching attempt Monday night, and they've got a chance to dampen the Bills' hopes this weekend. Buffalo jumped back into the playoff picture with their snowy victory over the Colts in Week 14, but their stay could be short-lived if they lose at home to the Dolphins.

Other games to watch

Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday 1 p.m. ET https://twitter.com/AndrewSiciliano/status/940633622620471296 Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns, Sunday 1 p.m. ET Baltimore can't clinch anything this week, but they should be able to rebound nicely from a late loss to Pittsburgh to jump back into the picture. Tennessee Titans at San Francisco 49ers, Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET https://twitter.com/MikeClayNFL/status/940734361925836800 Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Raiders, Sunday 8:30 p.m. ET It's desperation time for the Raiders as they face the Cowboys on the Sunday night stage. They'll need to rebound from a poor Week 14 if they want to keep up with the Chargers and Chiefs. [relatedlinks]

http://www.sportsnet.ca/football/nfl/afc-playoff-picture-patriots-steelers-go-head-head/
Pulisic makes history in dominant victory of U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year award

Pulisic makes history in dominant victory of U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year award

15/12/2017, Canada, Soccer, Goal.com Canada, Article # 25178314

The Borussia Dortmund midfielder secured a landslide victory in the vote, becoming the youngest player to take the prize in the process



http://www.goal.com/en-ca/news/4177/us-national-team/2017/12/14/41036332/pulisic-makes-history-in-dominant-victory-of-us-soccer-male
Marc-Andre Fleury’s top 5 moments as a Pittsburgh Penguin

Marc-Andre Fleury’s top 5 moments as a Pittsburgh Penguin

15/12/2017, Canada, Multi Sports, SportsNet Publication, Article # 25177859
For all the moments of tumult that have temporarily taken hold during Marc-Andre Fleury's career, much of the veteran netminder's NHL tenure has been a storybook tale. The lanky, ever-smiling Sorel, Que. native arrived in Pittsburgh in 2003, went on to win three Stanley Cups with the Penguins, and eventually handed off the reins to his protégé before becoming the first ever starting netminder for the Golden Knights. On Thursday evening, Fleury will face off against the Penguins as an opponent for the very first time, meeting his former teammates for a tilt at Vegas' T-Mobile Arena. Unsurprisingly, the 33-year-old said he has mixed feelings leading up to what should be an odd affair. "It's going to be weird for sure to see the jersey on the other side of it, my friends and guys I've played with for many years now," Fleury told Gary Lawless of VegasGoldenKnights.com on Wednesday. "I think it will be a little different. I think on the ice, to play against so many guys I've played with and practiced with a lot. I know a bit of their tendencies. But they know, I know. So, I feel like it can be a little tricky." With the longtime Penguins starter and his former club set to meet, let's take a look back at a few of Fleury's finest moments as a member of the black and gold. 1. Fleury kicks off the Penguins' historic rebuild When you think of the current iteration of the Penguins and all they've accomplished over the past decade, all roads lead back to the NHL Draft. It was there that the team built their dominant core, benefitting from a string of top picks that filled their starting lineup with stars aplenty. But it all started on June 21, 2003, two years before Sidney Crosby donned a Penguins sweater. The 2003 draft saw Pittsburgh officially kick off their rebuild by drafting Fleury first overall — passing on talent like eventual No. 2 pick Eric Staal to make Fleury only the third goaltender ever selected in the top spot. "I think the draft was something I won't forget, such a memorable day," Fleury told Lawless. "The day that they told me I was making the team. I think my first game is probably my best memory. It's always been a dream of mine to play in the NHL and to finally do it was pretty amazing." One year later, the Penguins nabbed Evgeni Malkin with the second overall pick. Then Crosby at No. 1 in 2005, and Jordan Staal at No. 2 in 2006. Hockey in the league's Eastern Conference hasn't been the same since. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFcx-H_l0Wo 2. The Flower shuts down Alex Ovechkin in Game 7 The first championship of the Crosby era in Pittsburgh saw Fleury emerge as a bona fide superstar in the black and gold's cage. There were plenty of standout performances during that exceptional run, but for the Penguins faithful, one stands out among the rest. It was Game 7 of those 2009 playoffs, the final instalment of an electric series between Pittsburgh and the rival Washington Capitals. It was the true peak of the Crosby–Ovechkin rivalry, perhaps the lone stretch where the two truly showed both their respect and dislike for each other. After trading victories through the first six games, most of which were nail-biting affairs, it all came down to one 60-minute stretch. Win and move on. Lose and it's golfing season. Just minutes in, Ovechkin broke free and closed in on the Penguins' cage, nothing but open air ahead of him. In what was an absurdly emotional series, there's no question an early breakaway tally from the Capitals sniper — in front of the home crowd, no less — would've changed the complexion of the entire contest. Fleury wouldn't have it. The veteran sprawled out and flashed the glove to keep things level, grinning with glee after making the clutch stop. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofUAbxMJfVw&t=0m17s The Pens, of course, went on to win 6-2, eliminating Washington and eventually claiming the 2009 championship. 3. A star during games, a superstar during practice For all he accomplished during NHL gameplay, Fleury's ever-positive attitude off the ice and during practice might have been the most defining aspect of his identity as a Penguin. That positivity came through during the goaltender's practice antics more than anywhere else, as he was no stranger to some cheeky trash talk and some even cheekier shootout moves. http://1.cdn.nhle.com/penguins/images/upload/2014/11/300shootoutspin.gif He wasn't above throwing off teammates with some bold equipment choices as well. http://3.cdn.nhle.com/penguins/images/upload/2014/11/300kermithat.gif Given the immense pressure and expectations the Penguins faced since winning their first championship, the netminder's tendency to keep it light was key. "Even in practice, he's always that fun-loving guy that’s always making it energetic," former teammate Chris Kunitz said of Fleury back in 2014. "It’s exciting times even when we’re doing shootouts at the end of the day. He’s doing pushups and spinning around and teasing us all to score on him and we still can’t." Fleury's former captain, who surely shouldering the majority of that franchise pressure, agreed. "I think anyone will tell you he’s just always got a smile on his face," Crosby said at the time. "He’s always upbeat. Even in the toughest of times, I think he always finds something to laugh about, keeps things light. I think his energy is pretty contagious. He’s brought that since Day 1." 4. Fleury hands the Cup to Matt Murray, signalling a changing of the guard The end of The Flower's time in Pittsburgh was undoubtedly bittersweet, as the club managed to dominate to the tune of back-to-back championships but did so with Murray as their primary starter. That shifted Fleury to the bench, an odd sight after over a decade as the unequivocal top option in the Steel City. Of course, Fleury still played a key role in each of Pittsburgh's two recent Cups. It was he who carried the club for the first half of 2015-16 before Mike Sullivan took over and turned the ship around. And it was Fleury who carried Pittsburgh through their first two series during last year's Cup run, taking down two of the league's best in Columbus and Washington before Murray healed up and took over. Given that bittersweet ending, it was all the more meaningful when the veteran chose to hand the Cup to his young goaltender partner Murray, handing off the weight of the franchise's cage in the process. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mu9Rbxzygyc&t=3m19s The significance of that moment wasn't lost on Murray, who later told Hockey Night in Canada that Fleury passing him the Cup was one of the most special moments of his life. 5. The Save. With 13 years' worth of games, practices, successes and failures, there are a number of marquee moments that stand out for the longtime Penguins starter. But there's one that stands head and shoulders above the rest: The Save. Just a few rounds after he stoned Ovechkin's Game 7 breakaway attempt, Fleury upped the ante with yet another game-changing Game 7 block. But this one was a whole different story -- the stakes much higher and the circumstance far more trying. The Penguins had managed to claw their way back to the Stanley Cup Final one year after their heartbreaking loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Improbably, they met Detroit yet again, and survived a white-knuckle Game 6 to stay alive and force a chance at redemption. Through 59 minutes, Pittsburgh had earned the upper hand, pushing themselves out to a 2-1 lead after getting a pair of clutch tallies from Max Talbot. They were nearly there, nearly through the fire and onto the podium as Stanley Cup champions. But with 6.5 seconds left, Detroit got one more chance. A potentially game-changing offensive zone face-off tilted in favour of Detroit as Jordan Staal lost a draw to Henrik Zetterberg, allowing the Red Wings to cycle the puck back to the point and launch a shot on net. Fleury made the save, only to see the puck float out to Detroit's Hall of Fame captain Nick Lidstrom. Two seconds, a seemingly open cage, the chance to send Game 7 to overtime, and the puck on the stick of one of the finest offensive defencemen to ever play the game. And then Fleury did this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhMKmTFj-Ss Cue the confetti. [relatedlinks]

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/marc-andre-fleurys-top-5-moments-pittsburgh-penguin/
Raptors NBA 2K League franchise to be called Raptors Uprising GC

Raptors NBA 2K League franchise to be called Raptors Uprising GC

15/12/2017, Canada, Multi Sports, SportsNet Publication, Article # 25177546
The Toronto Raptors have announced the name of their forthcoming NBA 2K League team. Called “Raptors Uprising GC,” it would appear the digital club is borrowing from the Raptors’ “We The North” moniker a tad, while the “GC” part is an acronym for “Gaming Club.” https://twitter.com/RaptorsGC/status/941375993180073984 Raptors Uprising GC is one of 17 inaugural franchises in the NBA 2K League – the NBA’s official professional esports collaboration with publisher 2K Games. This announcement from the Raptors capped off a week that saw the NBA 2K League officially unveil its own official logo in addition to the names and logos of all the franchises that will begin play on May 1. https://twitter.com/NBA2KLeague/status/940370364315684865 https://twitter.com/BucksGG/status/941213990885232640 https://twitter.com/76ersGC/status/941284833510162432 https://twitter.com/KnicksGaming/status/941366757637459968 At the moment, the 2K League is in its tryout phase in the search for prospective players. While there hasn't been a formal announcement yet on how the league will look to broadcast its games, one of the NBA’s subsidiaries may have given us all a big hint. On Wednesday, the NBA G-League announced it would broadcast up to six games a week on streaming platform Twitch beginning this Friday with the Rio Grand Valley Vipers taking on the Austin Spurs at 8:30 p.m. ET. Twitch is among the world’s most popular live streaming services and is particularly prevalent among the video game community. The G League says it will include interactive stats and even fan commentary when people tune into the games, something that could be translated over to the 2K League should those games be broadcast on Twitch as well. [relatedlinks]

http://www.sportsnet.ca/basketball/nba/raptors-nba-2k-league-franchise-called-raptors-uprising-gc/
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