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In an empty Madison Square Garden, the New York Rangers host the New York Islanders in their season opener on Jan. 14, 2021, in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)Vegas Golden Knights

But, being that Francouz hasn’t been able to play in 2020-21, it’s fair to at least wonder about the position. Especially since Grubauer, Francouz, and others haven’t really built up long resumes of NHL success.Pittsburgh Penguins

Brayden Point found the back of the net and recorded an assist. The Lightning forward also scored a goal in the shootout.

There are other questions about the team, from the money they haven't invested in scouting to the lack of NHL experience in several corners of their hockey operations department. But this remains the primary one: Not who will coach Jack Eichel next season with the Sabres, but whether Jack Eichel will still be around when the new coach takes over.

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But the league has a decision looming on what to do when a Canadian team faces a U.S. opponent in the third round of the playoffs. Talks are ongoing with Canadian government officials, though nothing needs to be settled yet since cross-border play won’t happen until mid-June.

The beloved hockey movie trilogy from the 1990s, often placed on the Mount Rushmore of hockey films by fans, features an underdog ragtag Minnesota team that overcame the odds and won championships, led by their coach, Gordon Bombay (played by Emilio Estevez). The most iconic part of the trilogy is definitely the Flying V, a hockey play seen throughout the series (both to failure and success), where the entire team starts behind their own goal line, makes a V formation and storms the offensive zone.Toronto Maple Leafs

Alex Ovechkin tallied his 10th goal of the season on the powerplay in the second period from his trademark spot to give the Capitals a 4-2 lead. And perhaps more importantly, he scored his 716th career goal to move one behind Phil Esposito for sixth all-time. Columbus Blue Jackets

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The NHL reached the official midway point of the season Tuesday night. The Stanley Cup Playoffs begin in two months but there is still lots of hockey left to play and many things to monitor in the second half.Buffalo Sabres

Chiarot was hurt last Wednesday when he fought Canucks forward J.T. Miller in the first period of Montreal's 5-1 win. Both players drew five-minute penalties and Chiarot did not return to the game.

The NHL is looking at potential changes to NHL Draft Lottery rules and owners could announce them next week, Daly said, not detailing the nature of "a couple of tweaks" to the system.

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As Boughner noted after the win, the Sharks don't have much time to celebrate since they play the Ducks again on Saturday night.

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• “The San Jose Sharks will wear special warmup jerseys before their game against the St. Louis Blues at SAP Center on Saturday. The jerseys will represent a call for unity, celebrating diversity and inclusion and paying homage to Terry Smith, the Northern California artist who designed the jerseys and created the iconic Sharks logo 30 years ago.” [NHL.com]Columbus Blue Jackets

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“We’ve been to Coyotes games,” he said. “They’re doing a phenomenal job. We’ve been able to share best practices. I have common conversations with my counterparts at the Coyotes and all the other teams. In baseball, the 30 of us always get together to discuss how we’re going to go about this so it’s all very safe. It’s all different everywhere. It’s not universal.”Toronto Maple Leafs

There’s no denying it — McDavid is the most electric player in the NHL, and this goal proved it.Pittsburgh Penguins
After adding Zack Wheeler to their starting rotation in free agency before last season, the Phillies focused on improving a terrible bullpen this offseason (Archie Bradley, Jose Alvarado). Trade rumors surrounding Wheeler were refuted, so he’ll remain in place after a good first season in Philadelphia.

Game 7 of the 2016 World Series was one of the most memorable games in MLB history. The Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians were both seeking to end painfully long title droughts and the game ended up going into a brief rain delay before extra innings began.Colorado Rockies

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Gallo homered in his first three spring training games and five of the first six. While there were no homers in the last three games before the Rangers had an off day Monday, he had walk in each of those games.

As a result, he was able to pound the strike zone (he had a career-best strikeout-to-walk ratio) while also avoiding hard contact (he was among the top-third of pitchers in baseball in lowest average exit velocity and hard hit percentage, according to MLB’s Statcast system).Minnesota Twins

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"Congrats to Nick Markakis on his retirement from baseball after an incredible 15-year career," said the Orioles, who were Markakis' team for his first nine seasons. "Thank you for the memories, the hustle, and your countless contributions to this organization. Best of luck in your next chapter, Nick!"

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Fantasy managers already seemed to be hedging with Strasburg, as his value as a 10th-round selection and solid No. 3 fantasy starter seems fair. Then again, we know he can be a strikeout ace and, unfortunately, we know he can miss substantial playing time. This latest injury is likely to spark fears in easily concerned drafters but the truth is that it might end up being nothing. Strasburg called it "nothing major" and we hope he is right. He missed most of last season with a wrist injury that necessitated surgery.New York Yankees

“I haven’t had something exactly like this. This is definitely that oblique area that we know needs a lot of attention and something you definitely don’t want lingering. Anytime I’m not playing, I want to be able to go. But I think I was smart yesterday, we did the right thing. I’m trying not to get too far ahead of myself.”Kansas City Royals
Under the new agreement, the Stanley Cup Final will air on ABC in four of the seven years, beginning next season. It also includes the All-Star game and 25 regular-season games, with the likely breakdown being 15 on ESPN and 10 on ABC. The ABC games likely would air on Saturdays beginning around the All-Star game, with the ESPN top game being on Thursday.Buffalo Sabres

The @Avalanche are the first NHL team to allow 4+ goals in the first period and yet win the game by 4+ goals since March 12, 1988, when the Flames allowed 4 goals in the first against Buffalo but won 10-4.Vegas Golden Knights

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“I think guys expect something just to get out of this in any way possible," Montour said.

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Malik Hall and Julius Marble II of the Michigan State Spartans celebrate from the bench in the second half of the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Breslin Center on March 2, 2021, in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

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A person with direct knowledge of what happened told The Associated Press on Saturday that Eichel sustained a rib injury during a workout with Matt Ellis, the team's director of player development.Pittsburgh Penguins

Aileen Whelan of Brighton & Hove Albion celebrates with teammates after scoring their side’s first goal during the Barclays FA Women’s Super League match between Chelsea Women and Brighton & Hove Albion Women at Kingsmeadow on Feb. 7, 2021, in Kingston upon Thames, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Megan Rapinoe of the United States scores a goal and celebrates with teammate Carli Lloyd during a game between Argentina and USWNT at Exploria Stadium on Feb. 24, 2021, in Orlando City, Florida. (Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)Toronto Maple Leafs
With a runner on first and one out in the fourth inning, Brewers outfielder Derek Fisher hit a hot shot up the middle. Báez, moving to his left, knocked the ball down, stopping it from going into center field.Cleveland Indians

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"It is offensive, and it is not surprising that fans and others around the game are offended as well. Players remain committed to confronting these issues at the bargaining table and elsewhere."

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Braun visited the Brewers' spring training site Monday and said he hasn't picked up a bat since the end of the 2020 season. The 2011 NL MVP became a free agent when the Brewers declined to exercise a $15 million mutual option in his contract last October.St. Louis Cardinals

Belt is without question a big injury risk (at not much ADP cost) but also capable of adding 10-15 steals with a healthy heel now too. He’s one of the best late-round fantasy fliers.Kansas City Royals

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Across eight career seasons, Cespedes slashed a .273/.327/.497 line with an .824 OPS and 165 home runs and 870 hits.

Within the first month of the regular-season, Cabrera is set to turn 38 years old. But how exactly is he feeling in spring training? Well, Cabrera himself says he feels as great as he did during the 2014 season.Pittsburgh Pirates

“All in one motion,” Braden said, “he just turned around and lowered his mask and goes, ‘All right, throw the changeup.’”
Hill has bounced around and suited up with multiple teams, making plays for the Spurs, Pacers, Jazz, Kings, Cavaliers, Bucks and now the Thunder. Per Amick, Hill has a contract that pays him $9.5 million this year and there’s also a team option for the 2021-22 campaign that would pay him $10 million.

"I don't think it's a struggle," Morris said of the team's recent up-and-down play. "Everything that's happened has been that we're beating ourselves. These teams that are beating us aren't better than us, I can tell you that straightforward.Phoenix Suns

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Tucker, 35, has been an essential role player during his 3½-year tenure with the Rockets, contributing significantly more than his averages of 6.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game indicate. He often defended the opponent's top scorer -- playing center despite standing only 6-foot-5 during Houston's short-lived small-ball experiment last season -- and primarily served as a corner 3-point threat who spaced the floor offensively.Washington Wizards

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He's outpacing the production of his brother, the former No. 2 pick of the 2017 draft by the Lakers, but it's not as if Lonzo Ball's time in L.A. was without highlights. Before his 2018-19 season was cut short by a severe ankle sprain, the Lakers went 20-14 in games both he and James played together (they were 17-31 in all other games that year). And James and Lonzo Ball became the second pair of teammates in Lakers history with a triple-double in the same game, joining Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who achieved the feat in 1982.

Sources told ESPN that while the majority of players on the Pelicans who were eligible received the shot, not every player did. Pelicans reserve guard Sindarius Thornwell became the first player to publicly acknowledge his intent to get the vaccine with a tweet late Friday night.Portland Trail Blazers

Murphy also knows the administrative side of basketball. College coaches are often tasked with fundraising and working with donors and sponsors, particularly at mid-major schools. During his 10 seasons at EMU, and previously as an assistant at Syracuse and Kent State, Murphy became well-versed on handling the business aspects.

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Tucker, 35, has been an essential role player during his 3 ½-year tenure with the Rockets, contributing significantly more than his averages of 6.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game indicate. He often defended the opponent's top scorer -- playing center despite standing only 6-foot-5 during Houston's short-lived small-ball experiment last season -- and primarily served as a corner 3-point threat who spaced the floor offensively. Tucker is in the final season of a four-year, $32 million deal. The Rockets didn't guarantee the final year of the deal until February 2020.Utah Jazz
Boston ranks 27th in 5-on-5 goals scored, and of those 39 goals at 5-on-5, 22 of them were scored by Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak.

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Regan Smith competes in the Women’s 200 Meter Backstroke Heats at San Antonio on Day Three of the TYR Pro Swim Series at San Antonio on March 5, 2021, in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)Toronto Maple Leafs

Though Dubnyk took the loss in a 2-1 defeat against the Vegas Golden Knights, he put together another prime performance while dueling Marc-Andre Fleury.Buffalo Sabres

Washington Capitals power play (45.2 percent conversion at home, 8.8 percent on the road): First in the league at home and 30th in the league at home is a pretty sizable disparity. This split is made manifest in John Carlson, who has 14 points and six power-play points at home, but eight points and one power-play point on the road. You probably wouldn't bench Carlson just because the Caps have a road trip, but the team split is enough to check the schedule for home games when making decisions about starting Jakub Vrana or T.J. Oshie for the week.

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For those new to the forecaster chart, here are some explanations: "O" (offense), which is on the left for each game, and "D" (defense), on the right, matchup ratings are based upon a scale from 1 (poor matchup) to 10 (excellent matchup) and are calculated using a formula that evaluates the team's season-to-date statistics, their performance in home/road games depending on where the game is to be played, as well as their opponents' numbers in those categories. The "Ratings" column lists the cumulative rating from 1 to 10 of that week's offensive ("O") and defensive ("D") matchups.Vegas Golden Knights

Heading into this season, many expected the Flyers to make the jump from good to great. It’s not always a steady climb in sports, though, and the Flyers have reasons to believe that they can eventually rise up.

The Penguins know that their deficiency on special teams is starting to become problematic. Pittsburgh is No. 24 in the league in both the penalty kill and power play. "It's just not good enough," coach Mike Sullivan said of the PK recently. "We've got to be better."Columbus Blue Jackets
The plan right now is for the Coyotes to shift from the NHL West to the Central Division next year, when they’ll be displaced by the expansion Seattle Kraken, commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed during a conference call with the media last week. The shift stirred rumors of relocation by the Coyotes, but that’s not going to happen, say sources with knowledge of the situation.

Covering the All-Star game is always exciting because you get to see the best of the best in the NBA. Lebron James is definitely looked at as the best and most respected player in the league so to find a moment like this where he is isolated on an iconic background is rare. Players like Lebron are not usually given space and when it happens like this, it all slows down and makes for a great frame.Vegas Golden Knights

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"I thought [Hertl] played extremely well for being off that long," Boughner told reporters after the game on a video conference call. "I wasn't expecting his legs to hold up like they did. I wasn't expecting him to play as well as he did, so that was nice. Timo got better as the game went along too. It's a big difference, especially offensively, when we've got those big bodies playing. And it sort of slots everybody where they belong. We looked like a good hockey team tonight."Buffalo Sabres

"That's where we're at. We fully understand that this was a year that a lot of the teams in the league are going through, and it is a unique year with the pandemic going on, that that was the decision that we made."Toronto Maple Leafs

The Flyers head to New York after being swept in a two-game series by Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals. After losing a 5-3 decision on Thursday, Philadelphia was bested again on Saturday, 5-4, despite a third-period rally with goals by defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and team captain Claude Giroux to the cut the Washington lead to one goal. The Flyers have now lost five of their last seven games (2-5-0). Three of those losses have come against the Capitals.

Making 33 saves against the Maple Leafs isn’t too shabby, either. Wrap it all up in this emotional interview, and it’s pretty great #content from Joey Daccord.

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I was told, by a source close to Panarin, to not discount injury as one of the reasons he stepped away. Panarin has been dealing with a nagging back injury over the past few seasons, which flared up again this season. He missed two games (both Rangers losses) before returning to the lineup in late February. Perhaps he felt some pressure to return too soon, considering the pressure and microscope the Rangers are under this season. His coach, David Quinn, isn't on the strongest ground. Panarin is unquestionably the team's best player, but it seems he's managing a lot on his plate off the ice this season, too.Pittsburgh Penguins

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David Price’s .080 batting average (four for 50) is the lowest of the group. Tony Gonsolin, a position player in college, is the best hitter of the group. The right-hander is four for 13 (.308) in the majors after going five for 14 (.357) in the minors. As of now, however, he isn’t projected to be in the starting rotation out of spring training.

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New York Yankees fans will be fired up knowing that star pitcher Luis Severino has just taken a big step in his return from his serious elbow injury. 

"Besides his stuff?" La Russa said, asked what exactly has been so impressive about Cease. "His willingness. He hasn’t taken a bullpen (session) off. Sometimes you will see a guy not quite into it because it’s not a game. He competes in the bullpens, during batting practice. He’s really determined to pitch to his potential, and he’s trying to hurry that process (along) by relying on good coaching."St. Louis Cardinals

José Rondón hits a sacrifice fly to bring home a run and put the Cardinals back in the lead over the Mets, 3-2San Francisco Giants

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Right-hander Michael Fulmer started for the Tigers and went two-plus innings, but he gave up three home runs — George Springer, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Alejandro Kirk — to the 13 batters he faced. Opponents had a 98.7 mph exit velocity against Fulmer in his second start of spring training. The highlight for the Tigers was left-hander Tarik Skubal's three innings. He struck out four batters and allowed just one hit, without any walks or runs. His fastball reached 96.4 mph and averaged 94.8 mph.Kansas City Royals

Advanced data expands understanding of the game, and reveals things beyond the randomness of traditional surface stats. But by any measures, even with Nola, Wheeler and Eflin as a solid top three, no one would say the Phillies have have a top-end starting rotation heading into the 2021 season. Well, no one besides FanGraphs anyway.

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PHOENIX -- Ryan Braun said he's strongly leaning toward retirement, but the Milwaukee Brewers' home run leader isn't ready to make any decision regarding his future.Baltimore Orioles
Christian Wood has been forced to miss half the season to this point due to injury, and yet, even in just 17 games, he has proven to be a bargain for the Rockets with his outstanding level of play. In just that many contests, Wood poured in 22.0 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game while shooting 42.1 percent on on 4.5 nightly attempts from beyond the arc, filling in the modern archetype of the floor-spacing, rim-protecting big man beautifully. Wood, who is signed for two more seasons after 2020-21, is making just $13.0 million in 2020-21, making him the 92nd highest-paid player in the league. While some wondered last offseason if the Rockets were too desperate in giving the 25-year-old a three-year, $41.0 million, fully guaranteed contract, if anything, the opposite has been true: Wood has looked like a bargain for Houston.Utah Jazz

"We had a play designed, obviously, and I thought Ky was going to come up and foul right away, so I tried to go a little bit quicker," Randle said. "But the play happened -- whatever happened is what it is, and it's in the past."

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Williamson also joins Jordan in another category. Following his 23-point, 6-rebound performance in New Orleans’ 116-82 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, Williamson now has 49 games in which he has scored more than 20 points through his first 60 contests. Jordan is the only player to rank ahead of him with 52, per ESPN Stats and Info.

If he were able to land a deal that pays him $20 million a year, that might be more money than the Warriors are willing to spend (considering the tax bill that comes with it), knowing they owe over $120 million next season just to Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins.Toronto Raptors

Edelman and Jackson ended up talking after that, with Edelman later telling reporters: "We've stayed in touch. I think it was a healthy conversation. ... I just wanted to not only show that I support my community but also show that I'm here to help people in my league, because we're all one."

Hill has bounced around and suited up with multiple teams, making plays for the Spurs, Pacers, Jazz, Kings, Cavaliers, Bucks and now the Thunder. Per Amick, Hill has a contract that pays him $9.5 million this year and there’s also a team option for the 2021-22 campaign that would pay him $10 million.Washington Wizards

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ESPN’s Bobby Marks pointed out the rarity of a trade where both players earn the exact same salary of $1,663,861.San Antonio Spurs

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Dougie Hamilton with his third of the season, scored his second goal in two games and has an eight-game scoring streak as he has two goals and 10 points in the 10 games. The goal Sunday afternoon was shorthanded, the first of his NHL career.

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The conversation between Kasperi Kapanen and Mike Sullivan was simple. The coach wanted the player to focus not just on his offensive output. A well-rounded game leads to better results, and the Penguins forward was receptive to the constructive criticism.Vegas Golden Knights

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The New York Rangers were a part of a return-to-play bubble for the Stanley Cup Playoffs this past summer, but were the first team to leave Toronto after getting swept in the play-in round by the Carolina Hurricanes. Their early exit was rewarded after they won the first-overall pick in the NHL Draft Lottery, which gave them the rights to select superstar prospect Alexis Lafreniere.Toronto Maple Leafs

Expensive players like Claude Giroux and Kevin Hayes boast no-movement clauses, possibly limiting their markets. And how likely would you be to “win” those trades?

The Rangers were heavy underdogs against the Bruins, and Jaroslav Halak had two shutouts in his two previous appearances against the Blueshirts this season. But Keith Kinkaid decided that the tables needed to be turned.Buffalo Sabres

But then Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus last March. In an email, Ticketmaster told ESPN it had to process changes for 30,000 events within a four-week period, "which is more than Ticketmaster has had to process in the last 15 years."Columbus Blue Jackets