NHL Targets Dec. 1 for ’20-’21

Bleacher Report

The NHL has reportedly released its return-to-play schedule, according to TSN reporter Frank Seravalli, with games beginning this month:

The adjusted season has also pushed back the 2020 offseason and start of 2020-21 season:

The 2019-20 campaign was paused in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the league announced a resumption with 24 teams competing in two hub cities. 

This schedule features a qualifying round that will begin on July 30, two days earlier than the initially agreed upon start date of Aug. 1.

#hockey, #nhl

Devils Hire Lindy Ruff as Head Coach

The Hockey Writers

The New Jersey Devils have hired Lindy Ruff as their new head coach, as per NHL.com’s Kevin Weekes.

Ruff, 60, has served as an assistant coach with the New York Rangers since the 2017-18 season. He will cross the Hudson River to take on his first head coaching gig since 2017.

Ruff will bring 1493 games of NHL head coaching experience — amassed over 15 seasons with the Buffalo Sabres between 1997 and 2013 and four seasons the Dallas Stars between 2013 and 2017 — to the Devils’ bench. 

#hockey, #nhl

Will the rest of college athletics follow the Ivy League’s lead?

The Score

Four months ago, the Ivy League was ahead of the curve.

On March 10, it canceled its men's and women's basketball conference tournaments because of growing concern about the coronavirus. Two days later, after the Utah Jazz's Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 and the NBA paused its season, the rest of college basketball – and the sports world – followed suit.

In the immediate aftermath of the Ivy League's decision, the conference caught flack for what some thought was a hasty decision.

It turned out to be prescient. And now, it begs the question: Is the Ivy League once again foreshadowing what's to come?

The eight-school league took another pioneering step amid the pandemic Wednesday, canceling its fall sports seasons and putting a moratorium on all sports until at least the end of the fall semester. It means no football season, at least in the traditional sense. It also means that if a college basketball season begins on schedule, Ivy League schools would likely miss at least the nonconference portion.

The Ivy League Council of Presidents made its stance clear in a statement: Safety matters most.

"With the information available to us today regarding the continued spread of the virus, we simply do not believe we can create and maintain an environment for intercollegiate athletic competition that meets our requirements for safety and acceptable levels of risk, consistent with the policies that each of our schools is adopting as part of its reopening plans this fall," the eight Ivy League presidents said in a joint statement.

"We are entrusted to create and maintain an educational environment that is guided by health and safety considerations. There can be no greater responsibility – and that is the basis for this difficult decision."

The Ivy League being the first to take this step makes sense. As an FCS conference that doesn't even participate in the football postseason, the Ivy League doesn't rely on football revenue the way many power-conference universities do. In the near future, it'll be interesting to see if the Ivy League's decision affects how other FCS conferences handle their fall sports. Already, the Patriot League announced it would return athletes to campus at the same time as other students and would not fly to games. Fordham, a Patriot League member in football, canceled its first three games Tuesday.

But while conferences like the SEC, the Big Ten, and the Big 12 have more to think about in terms of revenue, the Ivy League's decision is a reminder of what matters. While the Ivy League might not have a direct influence on college football's top-tier programs, its line of thinking should rub off.

Whether or not the Ivy League pursues a spring football season remains to be seen. In a news release, the conference said it would make a decision on the remaining calendar for winter and spring sports, as well as whether any fall sport would be feasible in the spring, at a later date.

#basketball, #collegebasketball

Cade Cunningham: Mike Boynton reason he stayed at OK State

The Oklahoman

Cade Cunningham first felt the wave of emotions and realized he needed to take a step back — at the very least for a day.

Those 24 hours were all the No. 1-ranked player in the country needed last month to reaffirm his college choice of Oklahoma State.

He just didn’t really tell anybody.

“I announced that I was gonna come back later, just because I let the media do their thing,” Cunningham said. “It didn’t really matter too much to me. So, I was just kinda chilling away from my phone.

“But I knew where I was going.”

OSU was dealt a tough blow June 5 with a one-year postseason ban and loss of three scholarships over three seasons from the NCAA after former associate coach Lamont Evans accepted bribes to influence student-athletes in 2016-17

#basketball, #collegebasketball

How two former Dayton players plan to make up for a lost NCAA tournament


Moments after entering a room at a New York City hotel this past March, Anthony Grant turned around, walked out and tried to collect himself.

When the Dayton men's basketball head coach returned, his players knew Grant, who had guided them through an undefeated Atlantic 10 season to secure a projected No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, had bad news.

The Atlantic 10 tournament at Brooklyn's Barclays Center had been canceled, and the Flyers would soon lose their shot at the school's first national championship after the NCAA tournament also was canceled amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

"He walked in first and then he walked back out," said Trey Landers, a senior who averaged 10.5 points per game during the 2019-2020 season and will represent the Dayton community as a member of Red Scare in The Basketball Tournament (TBT). "You could tell he was kind of emotional. He stood me up in front of everybody and hugged me and he just started crying. It was an emotional time."

As Ryan Mikesell, who also will play for Red Scare, listened to Grant four months ago, he tried to process the sudden ending of a magical season.

"All these assistants were hugging me and stuff and I still didn't want to believe it," said Mikesell, another senior, who averaged 8.5 PPG last season. "[Assistant coach Ricardo Greer] was holding me. I just walked out of the room. I was just so emotional. I couldn't believe it."

Red Scare, a team led by former Dayton standouts, will face Big X, a squad anchored by former Big Ten standouts Nick Ward and Trevon Hughes, on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN.

#basketball, #collegebasketball

MLB’s Intake Testing for Coronavirus Produced 66 Positive Results

Bleacher Report

The MLBPA reportedly informed players Tuesday that the intake round of COVID-19 testing returned 66 positive results, split between 58 players and eight staff members, according to Marly Rivera of ESPN.  

A total of 3,740 tests were conducted. The second phase of testing—the "monitoring phase"—has begun, with the opening round of saliva tests coming back with 10 positive results (eight among players) from 2,111 tests. 

However, the testing protocols haven't gone completely smoothly since being implemented. The Washington Nationals, Houston Astros, St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants were all forced to cancel workouts after they didn't receive test results back in time to safely proceed. 

Rivera reported that three other teams also altered their workout schedules for similar reasons. 

#baseball, #professional

Bids for Mets to be submitted by Thursday, sale price could be $2 billion


New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon is doing his best to sell the MLB team before the end of the calendar year. We’ve read about some big-name individuals looking to put groups together to buy the National League franchise. 

That has obviously included the power couple of Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez. We now have some more information on this, courtesy of Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

Bids for the Mets are expected to be submitted by Thursday, sale price could be $2 billion

That’s at least five groups looking to bid on the Mets. What’s most interesting here is that Forbes’ latest team valuation projections have the organization worth $2.4 billion. It seems that the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic downturn has played a role in this.

#baseball, #professional

Angels will avoid crowds and bars, wear masks in public during season

The Score

With COVID-19 numbers rising across baseball, the Los Angeles Angels are doing their part to try to flatten the curve.

Angels players agreed to not visit bars or restaurants during the shortened 2020 season, and they'll also do their best to avoid large gatherings, pitcher Andrew Heaney revealed Wednesday, according to Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic.

Heaney added that all Angels players will wear masks when they're not at home, in their car, or at the ballpark.

The Angels' home city of Anaheim is in Orange County, an area of California that's experiencing a rapid spike in COVID-19 cases. 

#baseball, #professional

Kai Havertz informs Chelsea of transfer choice ahead of Bayer Leverkusen exit

Daily Star

Kai Havertz has told Chelsea he wants to join them this summer and is ready to hand in a transfer request to make it happen.

Real Madrid and Bayern Munich do not have the money to buy Havertz in this window and asked him to wait a year before leaving Bayer Leverkusen.

But the 21-year-old wants out now and has been offered a five-year deal by the Blues, who have been in talks with his agent for weeks.

Havertz is impressed by Chelsea’s ambition with the club having already signed his Germany team-mate Timo Werner as well as Hakim Ziyech from Ajax.

And his stance gives them greater negotiating power with Leverkusen, who want at least £90m for a player Chelsea rate closer to £70m.


#professional, #soccer

Greenwood form sees Man Utd pull plug on move for £60m attacker


Manchester United have shelved plans to sign Moussa Dembele this summer after the emergence of Mason Greenwood, claims a report.

The Daily Star claim that former Celtic striker Dembele was on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s transfer shortlist and the Norwegian had sent scouts to watch the forward before the Ligue 1 campaign was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Back in February Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol, said a United deal in the summer for £60m-rated Dembele was likely to happen.

However, now the paper report that the 23-year-old “is no longer on United’s radar due to a combination of the forward’s wage demands and emergence of Mason Greenwood”.

French oulet Foot Mercatoreport that Manchester United are still “keeping an eye” on the Lyon striker, but they could well be pushing the French club’s agenda with suitors disappearing quickly for their prize assett.

Chelsea were understood to have first refusal on Dembele this summer. They, however, have since signed Timo Werner and it looks like Lyon will be left with the forward with his 2023 contract running down.

#professional, #soccer

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