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Canadiens at Maple Leafs: 5 things you should know – Montreal Gazette

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Here are five things you should know about the Caadiens-Maple Leafs game in Toronto Wednesday (7 p.m., Sportsnet, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio):

New division, old rival:This game marks the debut of the seven-team Canadian division and it will feature a Montreal-Toronto rivalry which predates the establishment of the NHL. The handicapppers have established the Maple Leafs as the favourite in the division while there is a consensus that the Canadiens are the most improved team but could still be in a battle for a playoff position. The form goes out the widow when these teams meet and there couldn’t be a more fitting matchup to kick off what promises to a unique season.

Getting to know you: With six new faces in the lineup, a short training camp and three young centres, the Canadiens will be learning on the job. The only forward line intact from last season has Phil Danault between Tomas Tatar and Brendan Gallagher, and they be called on to a have quick start as the other lines come together. There has been a focus on Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkanemi, who will get a boost from the additions of Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli, respectively, but look for Jake Evans to surprise a lot of people. He joins Artturi Lehkonen and Paul Byron on a hard-working fourth line which is capable of turning defence into offence.

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Report: Blue Jays, George Springer closing in on contract – Sportsnet.ca

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The Toronto Blue Jays are closing in on signing star outfielder George Springer, MLB Network’s Joel Sherman reports.

Sherman adds that while a deal between the two sides is not done, “optimism is strong.”

Springer, 31, is widely considered the best free agent hitter on the market and one of the outfielders in baseball. He joins the Jays after spending his entire seven-year career with the Houston Astros and brings three All-Star appearances, two Silver Slugger awards and a World Series MVP award on his resume.

Last season with Houston he hit .265/.359/.540 with 14 home runs and 32 RBIs.

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Toronto Raptors waive centre Alex Len after just seven appearances – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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TAMPA, Fla. — The Toronto Raptors waived seldom-used centre Alex Len on Tuesday.

The Raptors signed the seven-foot, 250-pound Len on Nov. 25, but he appeared in just seven games for Toronto, averaging 2.3 points, 1.6 rebounds and 10.8 minutes.

Len signed with Toronto after playing 55 games last season with Atlanta and Sacramento. The Ukrainian-born player was selected No. 5 overall by Phoenix in the 2013 NBA draft.

The centre position has been a weak spot for Toronto since Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka departed during free agency.

Aron Baynes, who also joined the Raptors during free agency, has struggled at the position. Canadian Chris Boucher, however, has been excellent coming off the bench.

Boucher is averaging career highs of 16.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.5. He had 21 points and 10 rebounds in Monday’s 116-93 victory over Dallas.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021.

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Report: Blue Jays finalize agreement with reliever Kirby Yates – Sportsnet.ca

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TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays are closing in on a significant addition for a bullpen in need of reinforcements.

Kirby Yates, who was at the team’s training facility in Dunedin, Fla. Tuesday, is now in agreement with the Blue Jays, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. While the Blue Jays have not confirmed that an agreement is in place, sources tell Sportsnet that the contract is for one year with $5.5 million in guaranteed salary and $4.5 million in performance bonuses.

Considering that Yates underwent surgery in August to remove bone chips from his pitching elbow, a physical may have been a necessary step to completing a deal.

When healthy, Yates has been among the game’s best relievers. As a member of the 2019 Padres, for instance, he posted a 1.19 ERA with a league-leading 41 saves on his way to an all-star selection and Cy Young votes. In 60.2 innings that year, he walked only 13 while striking out 101.

Clearly, that kind of arm would be a welcome addition to a Blue Jays bullpen that lost Anthony Bass and Ken Giles to free agency. On Monday, the Blue Jays agreed to terms with Tyler Chatwood, who could also factor into the bullpen mix for manager Charlie Montoyo.

Also in the Blue Jays’ projected bullpen are Jordan Romano, Rafael Dolis, A.J. Cole, Ryan Borucki and Shun Yamaguchi. While Anthony Kay, Julian Merryweather and Thomas Hatch contributed in relief this past season, they’re likely to be stretched out as starting pitchers in 2021.

Beyond the pitching staff, the Blue Jays are also pushing for George Springer, believed to be their top off-season target.

The Blue Jays’ 40-man now includes one empty spot, which means one more player will have to be removed if Yates eventually joins Chatwood on the team.

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