One of the major questions facing the Vancouver Canucks has been answered.
With J.T. Miller heading into the final year of his contract, what would the Canucks do? Turns out, they’ll get a contract extension done with the star forward, re-signing him to a seven-year contract.
Miller and the Canucks were, by the admission of both sides, a long way apart in contract talks earlier in the offseason. Patrik Allvin said he was “not super-optimistic” about getting a deal done but they evidently found common ground, landing on a $56 million deal with a cap hit of $8 million per season. That ties him for the 16th-highest cap hit among NHL centres. With 99 points last season, Miller was 9th in NHL scoring.
The cap hit comes in lower than some projections and should provide good value early in the contract if Miller can continue his torrid scoring past of his last few years in Vancouver.
“He was the best player for us last year and he’s a really, really good hockey player,” said Allvin earlier in the offseason. He and Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford had always been clear that the goal was to get Miller re-signed, even if they weren’t always sure they could get it done.
The contract provides a lot of peace of mind for both Miller and the Canucks next season, as it avoids Miller’s situation becoming a distraction. Miller’s agent, Brian Bartlett, had suggested he would cut off contract talks by the start of the regular season, giving the Canucks a deadline to get a deal done. Getting Miller re-signed now, before training camp, avoids even more distractions.
The deal also removes Miller as a potential trade chip for the Canucks. Miller’s name frequently came up in trade rumours, though more connected to his age and expiring contract than any suggestions from the Canucks that they were shopping him.
By the time his new contract kicks in, Miller will be 30 years old and the contract will take him until he’s 37. The pressure will be on the Canucks now to push hard to be competitive in the earlier years of the contract before his play declines and his significant cap hit becomes a burden.
Bo Horvat, the Canucks’ captain, is also heading into the final year of his contract. It remains to be seen if Miller’s contract extension makes it more difficult to re-sign Horvat.
Auger-Aliassime stuns Djokovic to help Team World win Laver Cup for 1st time – CBC Sports
Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime added a singles victory over Novak Djokovic to an earlier doubles win Sunday to help Team World to victory over Team Europe in the Laver Cup.
Auger-Aliassime, a 22-year-old from Montreal, beat the 21-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic 6-3, 7-6 (3) with the help of 13 aces and a 39-11 advantage in total winners.
That followed the three-day event’s last doubles contest in London, in which Auger-Aliassime and American Jack Sock came back to beat Andy Murray and Matteo Berrettini 2-6, 6-3, 10-8.
“It was a bit weird in the first game [against Djokovic], but then after, I felt very good, very loose,” said Auger-Aliassime, whose best run at a major tournament came at the U.S. Open last year, when he reached the semifinals.
“Getting that [doubles] win got me really confident going into the singles.”
WATCH l Auger-Aliassime takes down Djokovic:
Victories were worth three points apiece Sunday with the first team to 13 winning.
Frances Tiafoe later staving off four match points to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 1-6, 7-6 (11), 10-8 clinched the victory for World over Roger Federer’s Europe for the first time.
WATCH l Tiafoe defeats Tsitsipas, secures Laver Cup for Team World:
Team Europe came into the week at the O2 Arena having won all four previous editions of the Laver Cup, which was founded by Federer’s management company.
This one served as a celebration of the 41-year-old Swiss star’s career.
His final match before retirement came Friday night, when he and Rafael Nadal lost in doubles to Tiafoe and Sock.
Djokovic won matches in both singles and doubles Saturday in his first action since claiming the title at Wimbledon in July.
He helped Team Europe head into Sunday with an 8-4 lead.
Tiafoe, a 24-year-old American, performed with the same crunch-time success and wide-smiling showmanship he displayed en route to his first Grand Slam semifinal at the U.S. Open this month, defeating Tsitsipas 1-6, 7-6 (11), 10-8.
Springer hits two homer as Blue Jays beat Rays to split series – TSN
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — George Springer homered twice, Alejandro Kirk and Teoscar Hernández also went deep and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-1 on Sunday to gain a four-game split.
Toronto (86-67) opered a two-game lead over Tampa Bay (84-69) for the top wild card with nine games left.
Seattle (83-68) was also two games back with a game to play later Sunday against Kansas City.
Toronto allowed 20 runs in losing the first two games, but limited Tampa Bay to a total of two runs to win the final two.
Ross Stripling (9-4) allowed one run and six hits in five innings.
Zach Pop, Adam Cimber, Trevor Richards and Yusei Kikuchi combined to give up one hit over four innings.
Rays all-star Shane McClanahan (12-7), who was pulled in the fifth inning of his previous start due to neck tightness, gave up four runs and six hits, including a career-high three homers, over five innings.
Springer belted a two-run shot in the third inning, and added a fifth-inning solo drive for his 23rd homer this season as the Blue Jays took a 4-1 lead.
Springer finished with three hits in his 20th career multi-homer game.
Kirk hit a solo homer during the second, and Hernández made it 6-1 with a two-run homer in the eighth off Garrett Cleavinger.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a ninth-inning RBI single.
Randy Arozarena pulled the Rays to 3-1 on a sacrifice fly in the third.
Sunday’s announced crowd was 16,394, giving the Rays a final home attendance for the season of 1,128,127. The total will be the third lowest in the majors. Tampa Bay drew 1,178,735 in 2019, which was the last year before two seasons with COVID attendance restrictions. The Rays have drawn under 1.3 million at home every year since 2015.
Springer has three homers in 13 at-bats against McClanahan. … Rays SS Wander Franco extended his career-high hitting streak to 12 games with a third-inning single. … Tampa Bay 1B Harold Ramirez had three hits.
Retiring Rays bullpen coach Stan Boroski and major league medical coordinator Paul Harker threw ceremonial first pitches. Boroski is in his 13th season with the team, while Harker joined the Rays for their inaugural season in 1998.
Rays: 3B Yandy Díaz (left shoulder) was out of the lineup for the sixth straight game but could start Tuesday. … RHP Tyler Glasnow (Tommy John surgery) is scheduled to rejoin the rotation Wednesday night at Cleveland.
Blue Jays: Open a home series Monday night against the New York Yankees.
Rays: RHP Corey Kluber (10-9) will pitch in Cleveland for first since leaving the team after the 2019 season. Kluber, who won the AL Cy Young Award with Cleveland in 2014 and 2017, will face RHP Shane Bieber (12-8).
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Auger-Aliassime, Sock cut Team World's deficit at Laver Cup – TSN
LONDON (AP) — The last to arrive, befitting his reputation in the locker room, Frances Tiafoe strutted into the post-match news conference after clinching Team World’s Laver Cup victory over Roger Federer’s star-studded Team Europe and shouted, “Champs are here!”
Then the 24-year-old from Maryland joined his teammates at the table where the silver trophy was resting Sunday night, put down a bottle of water, pulled a Budweiser out of his red jacket and smiled that wide smile of his.
Performing with the same infectious showmanship and crunch-time success he displayed en route to his first Grand Slam semifinal at the U.S. Open earlier this month, Tiafoe staved off four match points and came back to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 1-6, 7-6 (11), 10-8, giving Team World its first triumph in five editions of an event founded by Federer’s management company.
“I don’t like losing,” said Federer, a 20-time major champion whose final match before retirement was a loss alongside Rafael Nadal in doubles against Tiafoe and Jack Sock on Friday night. “It’s not fun. It just leaves not the best taste.”
When Tsitsipas put a forehand into the net to end Sunday’s contest — and the three-day competition — Tiafoe dropped his racket and fell to his back on the court, where teammates piled atop him. After getting on his feet, Tiafoe cupped a hand to his ear, asking spectators for more noise, then pointed to his chest and yelled, “I’m him! I’m him!”
“When it becomes a circus out here, and I’m just using the crowd and acting like a little kid and having a bunch of reactions … I end up playing really well and I start building momentum off it,” Tiafoe said. “I’m able to play and function in that better than my opponents, it seems.”
Using the nickname other players gave Tiafoe to reflect the way he embraces big moments, Team World captain John McEnroe said: “Frances is ‘Prime Time.’ He loves this stuff.”
McEnroe had been 0-4 while leading his squad against his former playing rival, Team Europe captain Bjorn Borg; both indicated they would be back for the 2023 Laver Cup in Vancouver, but that might be their last go-round.
This one served as a celebration of Federer and the 41-year-old Swiss star’s career.
Tiafoe responded with a quip when asked whether he might owe Federer some form of “I’m sorry” for beating him in his finale or for defeating his team, which also included Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray for a total of 66 major singles titles. That, incidentally, is 66 more than Team World, a collection of 20-somethings (Sock turned 30 on Saturday).
“I’m not going to apologize to him. He’s got a lot to apologize for after the last 24 years — after beating everybody on the tour,” said Tiafoe, who went 0-3 against Federer in singles head-to-head. “I will say thank you for having me in this amazing event, what he’s done for the game. He’s a class act. Happy to know him, happy to call him a friend, happy to call him a colleague, and best wishes in his second act. But I will not apologize.”
Team Europe entered Sunday at O2 Arena with an 8-4 lead; the first team to 13 points would win.
Each match on Day 3 was worth three points, and Team World went ahead thanks to a pair of victories by Felix Auger-Aliassime, a 22-year-old from Canada. He beat Djokovic 6-3, 7-6 (3), after partnering with Sock to edge Murray and Matteo Berrettini 2-6, 6-3, 10-8 in doubles.
Tiafoe then made it 13-8, but it wasn’t easy.
He went a tournament-record 8-0 in tiebreakers at Flushing Meadows this month and was just as resilient Sunday.
“It’s been a long time that Frances has been playing the big guys close and losing a lot of close battles. It’s great to see lately he’s been winning,” said Taylor Fritz, an American who is the same age as Tiafoe and has known him for years. “It’s about time that he steps up and the matches go the other way. Today was a joke.”
That’s because Tiafoe was a single point from losing to Tsitsipas four times in their second-set tiebreaker, but somehow got through that. Then, at 4-all in the concluding match tiebreaker — first to 10, win by two — Tiafoe sprinted from behind the baseline to near the net and barely got to a drop shot by Tsitsipas, somehow lunging to flick an angled winner.
While most of the 16,365 fans went wild, Tiafoe went around the net and stood still, hands on his hips, relishing the atmosphere.
“We put him in the slot that he was in today for a reason,” said Team World’s Tommy Paul, a 25-year-old American, “and he stepped up for us, big time.”
More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
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