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Bedard destination likely to be determined by NHL Draft Lottery



Connor Bedard, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft, should know his NHL destination when the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery is held at NHL Network studios in Secaucus, New Jersey, on Monday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN, SN, TVAS).

“I’ve said 100 times, no one knows who’s going No. 1,” the 17-year-old center with Regina of the Western Hockey League said in April. “I think, for the lottery, I’ll watch it as a fan. If I am fortunate enough to go No. 1, that’s awesome. But there are so many great players in the draft and I’m sure the team that gets that spot or the top pick will be looking at a bunch of guys and have a tough decision with this talent in the draft.”

The lottery will set the order for the first 16 picks for the clubs that failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The 2023 draft is scheduled to be held at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The first round will be held June 28, with rounds 2-7 on June 29.

There will be two lottery drawings, one for the No. 1 pick and one for the No. 2 pick.


Teams only can move up 10 selections if it wins one of the lottery draws. Only the top 11 teams in the lottery are eligible to receive the No. 1 selection in the 2023 draft.

Once the two top picks have been established, the remaining teams will be assigned picks Nos. 3-16 based on inverse order of the final regular-season standings.

The Anaheim Ducks, who finished last in the NHL standings (23-47-12), will have the best odds of winning the No. 1 pick at 18.5 percent.

The Columbus Blue Jackets, who were 31st in the standings (25-48-9), will have the second-best odds at 13.5 percent, followed by the Chicago Blackhawks (26-49-7) at 11.5 percent.

The Arizona Coyotes will have two picks, their own as well as the Ottawa Senators’ selection, which was acquired as part of the trade for defenseman Jakob Chychrun on March 1. However, if the Senators pick is in the top five, it would stay with Ottawa and Arizona instead would receive the Senators’ unprotected first-round selection in the 2024 NHL Draft.

Bedard (5-foot-10, 185 pounds) led the WHL with 143 points (71 goals, 72 assists) in 57 games with Regina. He also had 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists), including six multipoint games, in Regina’s seven-game loss to Saskatoon in the first round of the WHL playoffs. He was the first WHL player since 2012 to score at least 10 goals in a playoff series.

“It’d be awesome if I went No. 1, but I think whether you get drafted first or whatever round, it’s a dream come true, and if I if I get that honor it’d be unreal,” Bedard said. “I’d be super grateful to the people who have helped me with that. But for me, it’s just kind of focusing on what I can do now to improve myself as a player. It’d be unbelievable to go No. 1, but we’ll see what happens obviously.”

Bedard also helped Canada win the gold medal at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship in January with a tournament-best 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) in seven games. It’s the most points ever for a Canada player and the fourth-most by any player in WJC history.

“On the ice, you don’t often get a player that puts you on the edge of your seat once, twice or more each game,” NHL Central Scouting vice president Dan Marr told the “NHL Draft Class” podcast on April 18. “The other aspect is that when he does make the odd mistake or things don’t go right, he’s got the wits about him to correct that. You don’t often see the same mistake happen twice and don’t often see the same play not completed twice because he’s got that ability just to make that correction.

“Off the ice, it’s the way he carries himself. He’s right at the top as being one of the more humble and most decent players I’ve come across. We’ve got a very special player coming into the National Hockey League.”

The teams who don’t get the first pick still will have plenty of talent to choose from, including University of Michigan center Adam Fantilli, who won the Hobey Baker Award as the best NCAA men’s hockey player this season. The 18-year-old led NCAA players with 65 points (30 goals, 35 assists) in 36 games and helped Michigan reach the Frozen Four.

“I can’t recall a player that’s entered the NCAA, performed to the degree that he has, and come away with winning the league championship, making it to the Frozen Four and winning the Hobey Baker,” Marr said. “It’s like he was on a mission this season and it was just so impressive. He deserves to be where he’s ranked for us, and he deserves to go as high as he can in the draft.”

Bedard and Fantilli are Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, on NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters presented by BioSteel.

The two top players on Central Scouting’s final ranking of International skaters also are expected to be top-five picks: forward Leo Carlsson of Orebro in the Swedish Hockey League and forward Matvei Michkov of SKA St. Petersburg in the Kontinental Hockey League.

The Montreal Canadiens won the 2022 draft lottery and selected forward Juraj Slafkovsky with the No. 1 pick of the 2022 NHL Draft.

Odds to win the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery:

Anaheim Ducks 18.5 percent

Columbus Blue Jackets 13.5 percent

Chicago Blackhawks 11.5 percent

San Jose Sharks 9.5 percent

Montreal Canadiens 8.5 percent

Arizona Coyotes 7.5 percent

Philadelphia Flyers 6.5 percent

Washington Capitals 6.0 percent

Detroit Red Wings 5.0 percent

St. Louis Blues 3.5 percent

Vancouver Canucks 3.0 percent

Arizona Coyotes (from Ottawa Senators) 2.5 percent

Buffalo Sabres 2.0 percent

Pittsburgh Penguins 1.5 percent

Nashville Predators 0.5 percent

Calgary Flames 0.5 percent



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Blue Jays’ Chris Bassitt announces birth of child to cap ‘perfect weekend’



The Toronto Blue Jays had a memorable few days in New York, thanks to a three-game sweep of the Mets, but that’s not the biggest reason starting pitcher Chris Bassitt is all smiles these days.

Bassitt and his wife, Jessica, welcomed their second child over the weekend, with the veteran right-hander reporting that both mother and baby are doing well.

“Perfect weekend complete,” Bassitt wrote on Twitter. “Momma and Colson are doing great.”

Jessica went into labour Friday, while her husband took his normal turn in the Blue Jays’ rotation. Bassitt channelled all of his “dad strength” in that outing against the Mets, firing 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball with eight strikeouts in a 3-0 Toronto win. In a cruel twist from the universe, the start of the game was delayed more than 90 minutes due to inclement weather.


Once his outing was over, Bassitt rushed back to Toronto via private plane to be with Jessica for Colson’s birth. He made it in plenty of time, tweeting Saturday morning that the baby hadn’t arrived yet.

The 34-year-old will now be able to enjoy a few days with his family, as the Blue Jays placed him on the paternity list Saturday. Reliever Jay Jackson took his place on the 26-man roster.

Blue Jays pitcher Chris Bassitt dominated the Mets in his outing Friday. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Blue Jays pitcher Chris Bassitt dominated the Mets in his outing Friday. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Bassitt’s Blue Jays teammates gave him even more reason to cheer by eking out a 2-1 victory Saturday before getting the brooms out with a 6-4 win in the series finale.

Brandon Belt was the hero Sunday, connecting for a go-ahead, two-run home run in the seventh inning after Toronto squandered an early 4-0 advantage. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. also went deep for the Blue Jays, while Whit Merrifield delivered a two-run double in the second inning.

Next up, Toronto welcomes the Houston Astros to Rogers Centre for a four-game series that begins Monday. Bassitt is listed as the probable starter for Wednesday’s contest.



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Rory McIlroy (T-1) falls back on short game, stays positive with chance at Memorial



DUBLIN, Ohio – Rory McIlroy will set out Sunday afternoon at Jack’s Place looking to secure the second leg of the “Legends Slam” with a swing that’s well short of perfect and no shortage of would-be spoilers lurking.

He couldn’t be happier.

For the third consecutive day at the Memorial, McIlroy leaned on luck and grit to keep pace with the co-leaders – Si Woo Kim and David Lipsky – at 6 under par with 10 other players within two shots of the lead. Betting lines will undoubtedly favor the world No. 3 against the other contenders, but the truth is he has no idea what to expect when he sets out in the week’s final group.

Full-field scores from the Memorial Tournament


“I don’t think I hit a green from the eighth hole through the 14th hole, and I played those holes in even par,” McIlroy shrugged following his third-round 70. “Chip in on 12 [for birdie] and got it up-and-down from some tricky spots. I was really happy with how I scored out there and how I just sort of hung in there for most of the day.”

If McIlroy’s happy-to-be-here take doesn’t match with his world-beater persona, it’s the honest byproduct of a swing that he’s repeatedly said is a work in progress. Saturday’s round on a hard-and-fast course was the most-recent example of his very real struggle.

There was the chip-in for birdie at No. 12 from 25 feet and scrambling pars at Nos. 8, 11, 13 and 14. The major champion, whose career has been written with an overwhelming driver and sublime iron play, has now fully embraced the scrappy life.

“Embracing it,” he smiled. “There was a couple of shots out there when I missed the greens that I was sort of looking forward to hit. I think it’s embracing that challenge and embracing the fact that you’re probably not going to hit more than 12 or 13 greens out there. I think with how my short game’s been this week it’s something I’ve been able to fall back on, which has been great.”

To be fair, Rory is still Rory off the tee. He’s eighth this week in strokes gained: off the tee and second in driving distance, which at Muirfield Village is an accomplishment considering host Jack Nicklaus’ mission is to take driver out of the hands of the game’s top players.

Where the challenge has come is from the fairway and, despite his lofty status among the leaders, Saturday’s effort was his statistically worst of the week with just 7 of 18 greens in regulation and a loss to the field (1.71 shots) in strokes gained: approach the green.

Still, he’s the easy favorite with 18 holes remaining and for good reason. Other than Kim, who has four PGA Tour victories including the 2017 Players Championship, the next six players on the board have a combined four Tour victories.

“It’s a big tournament and I’ve got quite a bit of experience in that and you would like to think that gives you a little bit of an advantage,” McIlroy said. “Everyone’s going to go out there tomorrow and, regardless of where you are in the tournament, this golf course makes you a little uncomfortable anyway. So, everyone’s going to be feeling like that. With the way the leaderboard is and how bunched it is, it’s just going to come down to who can sort of hold their head the most coming down the stretch.”




Scottie Scheffler isn’t happy with what he’s been putting out on the course as of late, despite some solid results.


Considering his own assessment of his swing, keeping a positive outlook doesn’t seem to be a problem for McIlroy this week. It might have something to do with what has admittedly been a rough couple of weeks, which stretch back to his missed cut at the Masters. Or it might just be the opportunity.

When he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2018, it was two years after that tournament’s host and legend had died. For a player who grew up idolizing The King, it was a bittersweet accomplishment and a part of why Sunday at Muirfield Village is likely to mean more than the sum of its parts.

“To be able to walk up that hill from 18 and get that handshake from Jack would be pretty nice,” he said. “I won Arnold’s tournament a few years ago, but he had already passed by that time. So it would be so nice to be able to do it and have Jack be there.”

It’s been an interesting year for McIlroy both on and off the course, which at least partially explains a lightness in his step that had been missing. There was also a message from his sports psychologist, Bob Rotella, last week that appeared to resonate with the 23-time Tour winner: “You are going to win your fare share of golf tournaments. You tee it up to see what your fare share is.”



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Vladimir Guerrero Drives Home Winning Run, Jays Beat Mets



Jays 2 Mets 1

Off the top, I’m pretty sure that’s the worst job we’ve seen from a plate umpire this year. He had no clue where the strike zone was. John Schneider got thrown out of the game after a particularly bad strike call on Vladimir Guerrero in the ninth.

Fortunately, Vlad still doubled down the third base line to bring in the winning run. Pretty amazing job after being down 1-2. George Springer had a one-out single and steal.

Our only other run came in the sixth. Brandon Belt led off with a double. Matt Chapman walked. Two outs later, Alejandro Kirk, singled home Belt.


We had the bases loaded in the first but couldn’t get a run in. There were other chances but no luck.

In all we had 10 hits. Springer, Bichette, Belt and Kirk had two each. Chapman, Merrifield and Kiermaier had the 0 fors.

Jose Berrios was terrific. 5 innings, 4 hits, 3 walks and 6 strikeouts. 1 earned, scoring in the second inning, when he gave up a single to Starling Marte and a double to Daniel Vogelbach. But then he got three quick outs, and the Mets didn’t do much against him the rest of the way.

Trevor Richards, Nate Pearson (getting the win) and Erik Swanson (save #1 of the season), each pitched a scoreless inning. I didn’t understand pulling Richards after the one inning, but it all worked out. I think Pearson would have stayed out for another inning if the Jays didn’t take the lead.

Jays of the Day: Vlad (.310 WPA), Belt (.222), Swanson (.177), Berrios (.164), Pearson (.098) and Richards (.082).

The Other Award: Merrifield (-.376 for his 0 for) and Kiermaier (-.175 for his 0 for).

Tomorrow the Jays go for the sweep with Yusei Kikuchi (6-2, 4.47) vs. Kodai Senga (5-3, 3.44). It is to be a 1:30 Eastern start, but then today’s was to be a 4:00 Eastern start but the Mets had Al Leiter talking for 30 minutes about how great he was.



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