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Canada opens world juniors with 16-2 rout of Germany –



Canada began shedding game rust with a 16-2 win over beleaguered Germany at the world junior men’s hockey championship on Saturday in Edmonton.

Dylan Cozens of Whitehorse had a hat trick and three assists for the host country against an opponent ravaged by the COVID-19 virus.

Dawson Mercer, Philip Tomasino, Alex Newhook and Peyton Krebs each scored twice for Canada.

Kaiden Guhle, Ryan Suzuki, Jakob Pelletier, Thomas Harley and Connor McMichael also scored for the defending champions.

WATCH | Cozens leads the way for Canada:

Dylan Cozens had three goals and three assists to lead Canada’s scoring in their 16-2 victory over a short-handed Germany squad. 0:29

John Peterka and Florian Elias countered for the Germans in Rogers Place devoid of spectators because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nine German players were isolating in hotel rooms Saturday because of positive tests for the virus upon arrival in Edmonton.

Germany played 14 skaters — nine forwards and five defencemen — for a second game in as many days after falling 5-3 to Finland on Christmas Day.

The Germans couldn’t run anything resembling a real practice until the day before their first game.

Canada exploited Germany’s defensive and goaltending mistakes borne of mental and physical fatigue.

“We weren’t too focused on the score,” Cozens said. “We were just focused on playing the right way.

“It’s our first game of the tournament. We’ve got to establish our good habits

“It’s a tough spot they’re in. They’re down a lot of numbers and just coming out of quarantine. It does suck for them for sure.”

Canada’s 16 goals in a single game was two off the record of 18 set in both 1985 and 1986.

Canada faces Slovakia (1-0) in Pool A on Sunday.

Jonas Gahr replaced German starter Arno Tiefensee after one period and allowed 12 goals on 33 shots.

Tiefensee gave up four goals on 11 shots following a 45-save outing versus Finland the previous day.

Canada’s Devon Levi stopped eight of nine shots over two periods for the win. Dylan Garand played the third turning away five of six.

WATCH | Canada’s Braden Schneider gets game misconduct for check to head:

Canadian Braden Schneider was given a game misconduct for this hit to the head of Germany forward Jan-Luca Schumacher. 0:54

Canada’s Braden Schneider was ejected before the game was nine minutes old.

The defenceman’s shoulder check caught Jan-Luca Schumacher’s head for a major penalty and game misconduct.

US hammers Austria 

Matthew Boldy scored a hat-trick, while Trevor Zegras added a pair of goals as the United States defeated Austria 11-0. Alex Turcotte also had three assists in the win.

Drew Helleson, John Farinacci, Brendan Brisson, Brett Berard and Sam Colangelo also scored in the victory. United States goalie Dustin Wolf made 10 saves in the win.

The Americans will next play Tuesday against the Czech Republic while the Austrians will play Sweden Monday.

WATCH | USA records 11-0 win over Austria:

Trevor Zegras had four points and Matthew Boldy tacked on a hat trick in USA’s 11-0 win over Austria at the world juniors. 0:26

Sweden thumps Czechs

Sweden opened Pool B with a 7-1 thumping of the  on Saturday.

The top four teams in each pool advance to the Jan. 2 quarter-finals, followed by semifinals Jan. 4 and the medal games Jan. 5.

Canada’s tournament prep was interrupted by a 14-day quarantine midway through selection camp because a pair of players tested positive for COVID-19.

WATCH | Sweden tops Czech Republic:

Elmer Soberblom showed off his hands in tight as he went between-the-legs to extend Sweden’s lead against the Czech Republic. 0:29

Before Saturday’s opener, the majority of the Canadian players hadn’t played a meaningful game in months because of the pandemic.

Up 4-1 by the end of the first period, it became clear the game would serve as a rust-shedder for Canada and an ordeal for the Germans.

Canada’s goal celebrations became more muted as the score became lopsided, but head coach Andre Tourigny said his team couldn’t afford to step off the gas.

“We’re not a team who played 15 games together or 30 games before the camp,” Tourigny said.

“Most of those guys have four intrasquad games and one pre-competition and one competition game. We need to get better every day.

“It could have been two hundred to one. It’s not about that. It was about us playing and preparing our team and our play to move forward in the tournament.”

“We have no time to waste.”

Canada overwhelmed the tiring Germans scoring seven times on Gahr in the second period.

“This happens when you are not mentally and physically ready and able to play on this kind of level with this intensity and speed,” German head coach Tobias Abstreiter said.

“We had no tools, no battle-level, nothing to compete against Canada’s strong game. We gave up in a way and this is what I cannot accept.”

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Quick Reaction: Bucks 115, Raptors 108 – Raptors Republic



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A. Baynes22 MIN, 11 PTS, 6 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 5-12 FG, 1-7 3FG, 0-0 FT, 3 BLK, 0 TO, -12 +/-

I think someone needs to mock up one of those Spiderman pointing memes with Aaron Baynes and Brook Lopez, because the big Aussie was letting them fly tonight. Baynes looked the most comfortable he has in a Raptor uniform all season, but perhaps that was a bit too comfortable? He provided his team with some nice offense in the first half, but one could argue he was open as much as he was for a reason. However, his screen setting, ability to clog driving lanes and rebounding supplemented his night nicely.

N. Powell40 MIN, 26 PTS, 5 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 8-13 FG, 5-7 3FG, 5-6 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -10 +/-

He’s on a roll. Powell played with the aggression that Raps fans have come to adore him for, taking every inch of space the Bucks defence gave him in this game. The Raptors have picked up their pace of play over the past few contests, which seems to be fuelling Norm’s impact on the offensive end of the court. More transition opportunities and quicker ball movement are what Norm thrives on, and he was in his happy place tonight.

F. VanVleet38 MIN, 10 PTS, 5 REB, 10 AST, 4 STL, 3-17 FG, 2-11 3FG, 2-2 FT, 3 BLK, 2 TO, 1 +/-

Fred had an awful night shooting the ball, going 3/17 from the field. However, he did do a solid job of facilitating on offense, setting up his teammates for some great looks. But as a top 3 usage guy on the team, we need to see more out of a player who shoots the ball as much as he did. Shot selection was bleak for VanVleet, and that’s just not going to cut it for a guy who’s relied on so heavily by his team to score each night.

K. Lowry37 MIN, 21 PTS, 6 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 7-12 FG, 6-8 3FG, 1-1 FT, 0 BLK, 4 TO, -17 +/-

Looking to bounce back from the lackluster showing in Indiana, Kyle seemed to be almost back to himself on Wednesday evening. He ummed and ahhed his way through the first 3 quarters, but really dialed up the intensity in the 4th. Despite his average playmaking, he shot the ball incredibly well from deep, nailing 6 triples on the night. A couple charges drawn, a couple shoulder down drives, and a couple… oh no, make that 10,000 points for Lowry in a Raptor uniform.

P. Siakam35 MIN, 11 PTS, 9 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 5-12 FG, 1-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -17 +/-

Siakam was impactful in this one for little bursts, attacking the paint with a spin move, or getting himself a good shot off an iso move, but then you forgot he was out there. He was great some of the time tonight, but in order for this team to be competitive against stiff competition like Milwaukee, he needs to be consistent. It just wasn’t there during all four quarters for Spicy P tonight, and his team struggled to put points on the board because of it.

T. Davis19 MIN, 8 PTS, 2 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 3-9 FG, 2-6 3FG, 0-1 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 4 +/-

TD was pretty serviceable while he was out there tonight. Nailed a couple threes, played tough D, but wasn’t the most efficient, doing it at a 33% clip.

Y. Watanabe13 MIN, 5 PTS, 7 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 2-5 FG, 1-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 8 +/-

Man it’s fun to watch this guy play. He played some really strong minutes off the bench this evening, showing off his smooth looking jumpers on a few occasions. Yuta usually brings multiple things with him to the table, and tonight was no different. Great hustle, great D, great shooting. Nothing crazy, but still very valuable stuff.

C. Boucher13 MIN, 10 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 3-9 FG, 2-5 3FG, 2-2 FT, 2 BLK, 0 TO, 8 +/-

After a red-hot offensive start to the season, Slim Duck seems to be cooling off a bit. Boucher’s shot looked pretty bad tonight, especially when he hoisted them up from three. He usually counteracts subpar shooting nights with great D, but his rim protection wasn’t as noticeable tonight as it’s been in games past.

S. Johnson13 MIN, 6 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 2-4 FG, 2-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -3 +/-

As what should come as a surprise to no one who’s been watching this team all season, Stanimal played excellent defense tonight, severely limiting Giannis’s impact. Of course, stopping the Greek Freak was a team effort, but I would wager that his stat line would’ve looked dramatically different without Johnson draped all over him. Stan also hit a couple key shots which makes him that much easier to keep on the floor for Nick Nurse.

Nick Nurse

Nurse had a good game plan to stop Giannis, and that was effective, until the fourth quarter began. He got his club to fight tooth and nail to compete in this one, but Milwaukee just had more warm bodies out there tonight, with Middleton and Holiday showing up as real co-stars to their 7 foot Greek counterpart.

Things We Saw

  1. As bleak as it is to celebrate a loss, the compete level we saw from Toronto tonight was easily that of a Playoff team. You have to think that if this team stays committed on the defensive end and is able to stay healthy, that they’ll be in a good position to secure a playoff spot come the end of the season.
  2. How about Norman Powell? What a roller coaster of a career for a dude who didn’t play a year and a half ago, who’s stayed the turbulent course of the NBA to find himself thriving in this new starting role. Powell has been the Raptors most consistent option on offense during the past few games, and he might have won himself the starting role for good because of it.
  3. A moment of silence, followed by a loud round of applause for Kyle Lowry, who moved into 3rd all-time in franchise scoring for the Toronto Raptors, passing Vince Carter and scoring his 10,000th franchise point for the Dinos tonight. KLOE now trails only Chris Bosh and his best bud Demar DeRozan on the Raps scoring totem pole.

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Vendée Globe Skipper Who Had Close Call with Bulk Carrier Collides With Fishing Boat – gCaptain –



A Vendée Globe skipper who just days ago had a close call with a bulk carrier off the Azores has now been involved in a collision with a fishing boat, his team has informed.

“At 19:50h UTC this evening, while racing in third place, some 90 miles from the Vendée Globe finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne, German skipper Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) was in collision.
He reports damage to his starboard foil and some other damage, but he is unharmed, has secured the boat and is proceeding towards the finish line at reduced speed,” according to an emailed statement from his team.

An update on the Vendée Globe website said the collision was with a fishing boat.

Herrmann addressed the collision in a video during which he said he was asleep before the collision. He also questioned why his alarms did not alert him to the other vessel, raising the question that perhaps the fishing vessel was not broadcasting AIS.

 “I have never experienced anything like this at sea before,” Herrmann said, “but the most important thing is that no one was hurt.”

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The incident comes just a few days after Herrmann reported that he had to convince the captain of a bulk carrier to give-way as the two were seemingly on a collision course. The bulker did eventually turn to starboard, giving way to Herrmann’s sailboat.

In the previous incident, Herrmann said he was in communication with the ship but that the captain needed some convincing to give-way. “As if we didn’t have enough stress, this adds to the stress. Half an hour of checking, convincing him. ‘Get out of my way, I’m a sailboat. I have right of way!’ Ha!,” he said, recalling the event.

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George Springer perfect fit for Toronto Blue Jays' long-term plan starting to take shape – TSN



TORONTO — Picture this: An organization that has a reputation as a developmental machine and can regularly churn out big league players, but one that also has the money and resources to keep those homegrown stars around with lucrative, long-term contracts, as well as supplement the roster each and every off-season.

A drafting-and-developing track record and deep pockets is the most powerful combination in sports, and it’s one that the Toronto Blue Jays are suddenly flexing to the surprise of some.

This was always the plan.

Take a handful of years to put the developmental processes in place, build a base of young talent, tear down and discard high-priced veterans, then build it back up, being careful to also time it all up perfectly.

The building started last year with an $80-million investment in Hyun-Jin Ryu.

It was fully expected to continue this winter, and the Jays were fortunate that their top target all along, George Springer, had mutual interest.

‘This guy just fits with exactly what they need’: Mitchell feels Springer, Jays a great match

TSN Blue Jays reporter Scott Mitchell discusses what stood out to him from George Springer at his introductory news conference, and what’s next for the Jays who still have holes to fill on their roster.

With the payroll now approaching $140 million for 2021, it won’t end with Springer, either, but the latest big step in Jays president/CEO Mark Shapiro’s plan was finally wearing Blue Jays colours Wednesday during his introductory presser.

There’s no secret what lured Springer from Houston to Toronto, even with the Connecticut native’s hometown New York Mets making a pitch: Money and the opportunity to win.

“When you have a young, talented group that’s already in place, it’s obviously very, very attractive because you know what they could potentially do,” Springer said.

Expectations are now sky-high for the Jays and it’ll be that way for the foreseeable future.

The Toronto Blue Jays are no longer a little brother in the American League East and they’re no longer a rebuilding team just happy to have an intriguing core of kids, either.

Year in, year out from this point forward, the expectation and goal for this ballclub every spring is World Series or bust.

There are no “good stepping stones” or silver medals coming off an above .500 season, albeit a shortened one, and then proceeding to hand out the largest contract in franchise history to push that forward.

While far from the last piece to the puzzle, Springer could be the final core lineup building block if things go smoothly, and the fit has been obvious for a long, long time.

“Our attraction to George Springer was several years ago where it began,” GM Ross Atkins explained. “I think any executive in baseball that has watched George play for some time would love to talk about how he’d fit onto your team. And when you start to think about the middle of the diamond and centre field, that being the best player on your team, that’s really exciting to think about. It is a very good fit. George’s impact on both sides of the ball, the defender he’s been, the offensive player he’s been, the base-running capability.”

A perfect fit on the field and in the clubhouse, it was clear from the start of free agency who the target was.

The big question was whether they could convince Springer they were the right partner and get a deal done.

Despite the obvious need in centre field and the exciting power/speed combo, there are intangibles Springer brings that this Blue Jays clubhouse simply did not have before.

“Dependability, reliability, consistency, and then fit,” Shapiro said. “Ross has talked a lot about we had certain attributes and characteristics and skillsets that we were looking for and George was the guy that was clearly a good fit for this team, for this city, for this country, and for [where] we are right now. His experience will add a certain level of wisdom to our players. He’s been places where our guys haven’t been yet and he knows how to handle those environments.”

Objectively, Springer has been named to three all-star games, garnered MVP votes in three separate seasons and has been a well above average hitter statistically in each of his seven big-league seasons.

The track record of health and consistency is one you’re willing to commit to.

Digging even deeper, the 31-year-old has a career .883 OPS on the road compared to .819 at home — goodbye trash-can narrative — and the right-handed hitter handles righties (.834 OPS) just as well as lefties (.899 OPS).

He’s also crushed to the tune of a .358/.453/.604 slash line in 15 career games inside hitter-friendly Rogers Centre.

There really isn’t a red flag in the profile at this point.

So where does the plan go from here?

In the short term, over the next handful of weeks leading into spring training, the goal is to add to the starting rotation, the clear roster need at this point.

Trevor Bauer has finally been crossed off the board as the budget gets tighter, but there’s still room to improve, according to Shapiro.

“We’ve got some flexibility, but the bulk of our heavy lifting is done,” Shapiro said. “There’s still opportunities for Ross and our baseball operations group to be creative in what they do.”

A trade is the most likely route to finding a top-of-the-rotation starter, but there still seems to be ways to add a James Paxton, Jake Odorizzi or Taijuan Walker, especially if they’re open to one-year deals once the calendar flips to February.

The more intriguing question, perhaps, is what’s the next step of this long-term plan?

There are more planned budget increases coming and the expectation is a franchise record payroll is on the horizon, which will exceed the $165 million or so spent a few years ago.

“That plan is that we’ll continue to win and as we win the revenues will increase and where those dollars go, I think, there’s no limit to what this market can be — it’s a behemoth,” Shapiro said.

With a cornerstone player added to the outfield and a deep group of homegrown kids either already patrolling the infield or on their way, the next building block is likely to be that elusive ace that each and every eventual World Series winner has to go out and find.

The significant amount of money coming off the books after the season combined with another payroll bump will have Atkins fishing in the big boy pond once again.

One name to consider next winter is Noah Syndergaard, an arm we already highlighted here as a target.

Another scenario to consider is giving an already much-improved Jays team the first half of the 2021 schedule to show they’re ready and then go out in July and use that prospect pipeline to acquire whatever ace happens to hit the trade market.

Since it’s already been a winning off-season for the Jays’ front office, there’s no reason to deviate from the plan now.

It’s one that seems to be coming together at the right pace.

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