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Carson Wentz needs time to think about Eagles future



PHILADELPHIA — Carson Wentz needs time away to think about his future with the Philadelphia Eagles and there’s hope his relationship with the team won’t end in a divorce, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Wentz was benched for the final four games of the worst season of his five-year career and was inactive Sunday in a loss to Washington. He hasn’t spoken to reporters since Dec. 6.

Wentz also hasn’t discussed his future with team officials yet, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because it’s a private matter. The person said those conversations will take place when the time is right.

Wentz’s relationship with the organization is strained, according to another person close to the situation. It’ll take both sides coming together to make it work.

General manager Howie Roseman said Monday the team is not thinking about trading Wentz “right now.”

“We are talking about a guy that’s immensely talented, has a great work ethic and doing whatever we can to put him in the best possible situation to be successful,” Roseman said.

After Jalen Hurts replaced him as the starter, Wentz said: “Obviously, that’s frustrating as a competitor and just the personality that I have, I want to be the guy out there.”

Though he hasn’t said anything publicly since those postgame comments, it’s obvious Wentz wants to play.

“No one wants to be a backup anything in this league. I do not wanna be a backup tight end. Carson Wentz doesn’t want to be a backup quarterback,” said Zach Ertz, one of Wentz’s closest friends on the team. “I haven’t spoken with him (about) what his plan is for the future.”

If Wentz decides to ask for a trade, the Eagles should have several interested suitors. A reunion with Frank Reich in Indianapolis would be an ideal scenario. Wentz thrived under Reich, who was Philadelphia’s offensive co-ordinator in 2016-17. The Colts went 11-5 with Philip Rivers and are in the playoffs. But the 39-year-old Rivers isn’t under contract for next season.

The Eagles would absorb a significant cap hit of $33.8 million in dead money on the 2021 cap if they trade Wentz before March 19. That number increases to $43.8 million if Wentz is traded after that date because he’s due a $10 million roster bonus by the third day of the new league year. The higher figure in dead money could be split over two years — $19.3 million in 2021 and $24.5 million in 2022 — if Wentz is dealt after June 1.

It’s possible Wentz’s agents could work with Philadelphia and a potential new team to alleviate some of the cap hit.

Of course, the Eagles don’t have to accommodate a trade request. Hurts showed potential in four starts but not enough to prove he’s a franchise quarterback yet.

The Eagles traded up twice in the 2016 NFL draft to select Wentz with the No. 2 overall pick. He started all 16 games as a rookie and finished third in NFL MVP voting in 2017. But Wentz tore two knee ligaments in Week 14 that season and watched Nick Foles lead the Eagles to the franchise’s first Super Bowl title.

A back injury ended Wentz’s season early in 2018 and Foles led the Eagles to a playoff victory.

Wentz started every game in 2019 and helped the Eagles win the NFC East with an excellent four-game stretch in December. He became the first QB in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards without a wide receiver having 500 yards receiving and became the first QB to throw 20 or more touchdowns and seven or fewer interceptions in three straight seasons.

But he was knocked out of his first career playoff start after nine snaps because of a concussion. Wentz hasn’t been the same since that hit from Jadeveon Clowney. He posted a 72.8 passer rating, 16 interceptions and lost four fumbles in 12 starts in 2020. The Eagles finished 4-11-1.

A fresh start with a new team could help Wentz rejuvenate his career but a breakup won’t occur until attempts at a reconciliation are exhausted.


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Canadiens @ Oilers Top Six Minutes: Habs win festival of penalties – Habs Eyes on the Prize



For our new readers and members, the Top Six Minutes is a continuation of the discussion in the game thread. We try to keep it light and entertaining. Full recaps are up the morning after every game.

Do you remember when the Montreal Canadiens traded a bag of pucks and several sticks of gum for Jeff Petry? I sure do. Do you remember the last time Jeff Petry scored two goals in a single game? I sure hope you do, because it was against the same Oilers that acquired pucks and gum for him a few nights ago. The pucks and gum, in case you were concerned, have accounted for zero career goals. Oilers are bad at trading.

After all, the Edmonton Oilers once traded Wayne Gretzky, in case you didn’t know. That should tell you all you need to know about that team.

First Period

  • Jake Allen making his first start. I’m already wincing when the puck goes anywhere near his zone.
  • That’s not fair to Allen whatsoever but the recent history of Habs backups has shot my confidence. If you know, you know.
  • I like Ben Chiarot, but I don’t at all like him sliding a brutally inaccurate pass for an icing. That pass was almost as dumb as trying to fight Wayne Simmonds.
  • Alexander Romanov looks like he wants nothing more than to light people up tonight. Welcome to the gulag, Oilers forwards.
  • Josh Anderson just went to the dressing room and I want to cry, sort of. Please be okay.
  • Jake Allen just made a couple of really good saves in a short period of time. A reliable backup? In Montreal? It cannot be.
  • Phillip Danault to the box. Ruh Roh.
  • Joel Armia to the box. RUUUUUH ROH.
  • Ben Chiarot just turned in the most ridiculous, physical shift I have ever seen in a five on three. I hereby pardon him for the icing earlier in the period.
  • I do not, however, pardon him for taking a delay of game penalty to send them right back to that situation.
  • The Habs took THREE straight overlapping penalties and didn’t get scored on. Buy lottery tickets, folks.

Second Period

  • I did enjoy the whole killing of penalties and all, but I would much, much prefer to not see them try to do that in this period.
  • Well, apparently staying out of the box is not a priority. Romanov sends them back to the numerical inferiority.
  • KILLED. It would be nice if the Oilers would take a penalty though.
  • Oh, they actually did

  • Much like the Oilers, the Habs did not score. 0-1 is better than 0-4 though.
  • Oilers take another penalty. The turntables have really turned and tabled and stuff.
  • The Habs, this time, are doing everything but score. Since when is Mikko Koskinen good?
  • Brendan Gallagher to the box now…
  • This game might set a modern record for penalty minutes without any fights or misconducts.
  • (That was definitely not a penalty and I’d be really mad if I was an Oiler fan) YEAH GOOD, YOU OVERPAID SCRUB.
  • Well Shea Weber just scored a goal and the refs waved it off for zero reason. Julien challenges, but I don’t see the refs overturning their own stupid decision.
  • He banked it off Koskinen’s head man, come on, let him have one.

Third Period

  • Real quick on that Weber goal, I feel like the ref was worried about getting challenged FOR goalie interference and ended up being challenged for lack thereof instead. Catch 23 situation, AMIRITE.
  • Just try to stay out of the box, please.
  • Shea Weber does not care what I say and gets himself sent to the place of shame.
  • The Habs’ penalty kill is good. Very good. I do not recognize this team despite having most of the same players it did last year.
  • Jake Allen is legit. He might not be as good as Carey Price, but I’d venture to guess that Price himself would name Allen the best goalie to wear a Habs jersey not named Carey Price in the last 10 years.
  • Oilers back to the box. A disciplined game, this one is not.
  • For as many penalties as there has been, how in the name of Maurice Richard does this game not have more goals?
  • Nick Suzuki to the box. The parade is never-ending.
  • Artturi Lehkonen??? ARTTURI LEHKONEN!
  • 3-0 Habs and go figure; 600 minor penalties and the first goal to be scored on any of them is a shorty.
  • Oilers back to the box for delay of game… Will we see a power play goal?
  • No. At least not yet. We will however have another shorthanded goal. Devin Shore. 3-1, just a tad nervous here.

EOTP 3 Stars of the night

3) That’s the first

2) Might have to retire this meme

1) Best off-season adjustment

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Maple Leafs' Andersen quells outside concern with stellar game vs. Jets –



TORONTO — Call off the hounds.

Crazy as it might sound not even a full week into the NHL season, they had already started to gather outside Scotiabank Arena.

All it took was for Frederik Andersen and Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe to acknowledge that the goaltender was not at his best during Friday’s loss in Ottawa for the whiff of controversy to waft through the air.

Presumably, now, that talk should disappear as quickly as it arrived. Andersen was rock solid during a 3-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets that calmed the waters on a number of fronts.

“It was a much simpler game for Fred and he looked extremely confident and in control here tonight,” said Keefe. “So that gives us confidence as a team and it should give him confidence, too, that whatever he has done to prepare from last game to this one, it benefitted him.”

It had been an unusual 48 hours between starts: Andersen didn’t dress at all for the second half of the back-to-back against the Senators, getting in extra work with goalie coach Steve Briere on Saturday morning before watching Jack Campbell play while Aaron Dell backed up.

That wiped his schedule clean of the typical game-day meetings plus the extra stretching and mental preparation the second goaltender goes through even when not likely to see any action.

“A little new thing we’re trying,” said Andersen. “I think it was good. … I got to stay at the hotel a little bit longer and just come for the game.”

There’s a decent chance it’s a one-off after Dell got claimed by New Jersey from the waiver wire on Monday, leaving Michael Hutchinson to move up to Toronto’s taxi squad as the No. 3 goaltending option.

That won’t bother Keefe since he didn’t think there was any magic in the plan.

All it did was buy his No. 1 guy more time to sharpen his game following training camp that included no exhibition games and a frantic charge towards the season. Still, it was reassuring to see Andersen confidently turn aside 27 Winnipeg shots, arguably the best of them against Mark Scheifele late in a first period where the Leafs controlled zone time but hadn’t yet grabbed a lead.

“It was his best game, for sure, just the way that he tracked the puck,” said Keefe. “He looked super calm in there. I think it’s also not a coincidence that it was probably the easiest night he had in front of him tonight. You know we didn’t give up very much at all and when we did there wasn’t much by way of second chances in around the net.

“We did a much better job in that area.”

There are a couple obvious reasons why Andersen’s play is under such scrutiny. He’s in a contract year and coming off the worst statistical season of his career, for starters. Plus the Leafs explored the goalie market for a replacement before bringing him back this fall.

But, to let you behind the media curtain, it’s also because this has been a non-story for so long and the possibility of intrigue now exists.

Andersen has played 247 games for the Leafs since arriving here in 2016, with Curtis McElhinney next on the franchise’s list during that period with 32 appearances. Campbell has seven games under his belt for the blue and white.

However, with huge expectations and an uncertain future beyond the summer, the tectonic plates are shifting beneath the surface. Any existing loyalties aren’t likely to outlast a run of substandard performance.

And for an offensively-inclined team that has historically struggled to lock games down, you can’t have a goalie fumbling away strong efforts like the one we saw against Winnipeg. That’s where Andersen made some big strides. The Leafs controlled puck possession and the entirety of the second period and still found themselves in a tight 2-1 contest with 20 minutes to play.

“If anything, it made it harder for us in the third period,” said Keefe. “I think hard is good for our team with where we need to grow.”

Andersen is a stay-in-the-moment performer, the kind who would never let you know if he felt outside pressure. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t there.

He turned aside 12 third-period shots and took a second star turn when the buzzer sounded.

There will be more nights off for him than usual with a compressed schedule that includes four games in six days this week, but performances like this will quell the outside concern.

“Freddie’s one of the best in the league,” said Leafs captain John Tavares. “We’ve got so much faith in him. … Just being well sorted defensively without the puck and working to get it back will make life easy on him because we know he’s going to make the saves when it’s predictable and he’s able to challenge and be aggressive and be the netminder that he is.”

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Report Cards: Dominant 2nd period powers Toronto Maple Leafs past Jets – Maple Leafs Hot Stove



That was a lot fun!

The Toronto Maple Leafs were able to secure their third win of the season with a 3-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. This came largely on the back of their second period, where at one point Toronto was outshooting Winnipeg 19-1. That’s obviously not something that’s going to be sustainable over a larger sample, but it was nice to see the Leafs’ top tier talent take over the game for stretches.

To break things down in some more detail, let’s dive into the individual player grades.


5/5 Stars

Game Puck: Auston Matthews (C, #34) — There were a few great candidates in this game. I decided to go with Matthews, but there aren’t any wrong answers among Toronto’s $11 million forwards – they were all dominant at even strength.

Matthews did an excellent job of getting to the dangerous areas on the ice, generating eight scoring chances from the slot. One of them was a knuckler off the cross-bar on the power play. When he wasn’t able to get to the middle, Matthews used his speed and length to hold onto the puck and wait for an opening.

That’s just silly.

Mitch Marner (RW, #16) — He also had a fantastic game, picking up that rebound goal seen above and an empty netter at the end of the game. What’s funny is I thought his impact on the game defensively stood out more than anything.

We’ve come to expect Marner to make game-breaking plays off the rush, but I don’t think we give him enough credit for how far along he’s come defensively. He has a knack for picking off passes in all three zones, which is part of the reason he’s become such a great penalty killer.

My favourite play of his was this “pick and pass” in the offensive zone.

His ability to think the game faster than his opponents is what’s separated him offensively at every level. Watching him develop this aspect defensively has been quite the treat to watch.

John Tavares (C, #91) — I can’t get over his ability to stick-handle through traffic and generate offense from high-danger areas. NHL defenses are designed to not let you get there and Tavares somehow manages to find a way multiple times every game. He fired 9 shots from the slot in this game, a few of them by singlehandedly cutting through the defense and creating his own shot.

Coaching Staff — Playing 11 forwards and 7 defensemen is something I’ve advocated for in the past. Bottom-half-of-the-lineup players hate it, but it gives you a chance to get an extra shift for one of your star players and have some more flexibility on your blue line. Kudos to Sheldon Keefe & company for following in Jon Cooper’s footsteps; I think it’s a good strategy more NHL teams should be implementing. Let’s also give Toronto’s coaching staff some credit for getting another strong 200-foot performance from a team that we know isn’t always the most defensively responsible.


4/5 Stars

TJ Brodie (RD, #78) — Transition defense isn’t sexy, but it’s how you prevent goals in the modern game. Brodie wasn’t giving Winnipeg’s forwards any room when they approached Toronto’s blue line, forcing a lot of dump-ins, which led to quick retrievals and breakouts the other way.

He also might’ve saved the game with this slide at 6-on-5.

He’s not the dynamic one on his pairing, but I loved what I saw from him in this game. Tight gap defensively, smart passes under pressure in the defensive zone, and boom — you’re up the ice and back on offense.

Zach Hyman (RW, #11) — I still think it’s a bit much to ask Hyman to be the primary driver of offense on Toronto’s third line (at least he’s had to be so far this season). Then again, maybe I need to give the man some more credit.

He was able to generate eight shots from the slot in this game, putting him in the Matthews & Tavares neighbourhood. Some of those are jam plays on the power play, but most of the offense Hyman creates is by getting to the dirty areas in the offensive zone, winning the puck back, and driving it through the defense.



3/5 Stars

Justin Holl (RD, #3) — If you don’t mind scrolling back up to Matthews’ section, check out how far down Holl skated in for that one-timer. Most defensemen play it safe and fire a low-percentage shot from the boards or blue line in that situation, but Holl had the presence of mind to jump into the slot and significantly boost his team’s chances of scoring.

Now, he didn’t look great on the goal Toronto gave up, but we’ll break that down in more detail when we get to Kerfoot’s section.

Joe Thornton (LW, #97) — There was one point where Thornton found himself on the left wall of the power play. He made a gorgeous little feather pass to Matthews in the middle of the ice for a quality chance. The rest of his game was pretty quiet, although we did get to see his usual solid board play and heady passing in the offensive zone.

William Nylander (LW, #88) — After an underwhelming first period, Nylander opened up the game with this pass to Tavares.

That’s a fortuitous bounce to land on his stick, but man did he get Connor Hellebuyck to bite on that fake shot. Nylander did a good job of stripping pucks in the offensive zone with some well-timed stick checks, although I’d like to see him move his feet a bit more often towards the end of his shifts.

Ilya Mikheyev (LW, #65) — The box score numbers don’t reflect how strong Mikheyev was on the backcheck in this game. He’s such a powerful skater when he gets going, which is what allows him to seemingly skate through defenses when he wants to. His limited offensive skillset is going to prevent him from converting on those chances as often as you’d like, but he’s a guy I’d trust out there in almost any situation because of how responsible he is defensively.

Jason Spezza (C, #19) — Are we really obsessing about faceoffs again? I’m glad Spezza is winning draws at an elite level – it gives the Leafs a specialist option on special teams – but let’s remember that even-strength faceoffs don’t really matter that much. What happens after the faceoff is much more important, and frankly, I’d like to see more from Spezza in that department offensively.

Zach Bogosian (RD, #22) — Was that Erik Karlsson wearing #22 for Toronto? In all seriousness, Bogosian had his best shift of the season when he was circling around the offensive zone, getting himself into open ice and making the next pass. I’d love to see him show off some of that edgework more often in the offensive zone. The rest of his game wasn’t anything special, but it wasn’t an abject disaster, which should keep Leafs Twitter off of his back for another…48 hours?

Travis Dermott (LD, #23) — There weren’t too many stand-out moments for Dermott aside from what I thought was a soft holding penalty*. He did have a few nice slip passes on the breakout and smart keep-ins at the offensive blue line.

*At some point, I’ll need to acknowledge my Dermott bias

Mikko Lehtonen (LD, #46) — It’s tough to evaluate a #7 defenseman who plays less than 7 minutes, but I really liked this play Lehtonen made on the breakout to get Hyman into open ice.

We’ll see if Toronto’s coaches ever trust Lehtonen enough defensively to get him some more minutes. When the puck is on his stick, he clearly has some talent.

Frederik Andersen (G, #31) — Aside from Kyle Connor’s snipe off a cross-seam pass, Andersen wasn’t really tested in this game. This was probably his most difficult save.

That’s two games in a row the Leafs have been able to limit their opponents to very few Grade-A scoring chances. Based on history I doubt that’s going to last, but it’s certainly been nice to see for once.

Morgan Rielly (LD, #44) — I love it when Rielly jumps up in the play as a fourth forward to help give his team numbers off the rush. I hate it when Rielly takes unnecessary shots from the blue line, especially when he’s on the ice with the world’s best 5-on-5 scorer.

I’m also not a fan of how often he gets burned off the rush.

This happens far too often for a player with his skating ability. He made some incredible plays off the rush offensively, but there are still quite a few flaws in Rielly’s game I’d like to see him correct.


2/5 Stars

Alexander Kerfoot (C, #15) — Justin Bourne had a great breakdown on Twitter explaining how Kerfoot blew his coverage on the Kyle Connor goal.

We’ll show you the clip below, but keep an eye on #15 and remember he’s centering what’s supposed to be the Leafs’ checking line.

I’ve watched this play more times than I’d like to admit. Personally, I’d like to see Holl react a bit quicker there on the pass through the middle of the slot, but Bourne’s right. Kerfoot needs to take his defensive role more seriously. It’s part of the reason I was shouting at my TV when he nearly got caught for an odd-man rush with a 1-goal lead and 10 minutes remaining.

Jimmy Vesey (RW, #26) — He made a clever pass on the penalty kill to turn a 2-on-1 into an Ilya Mikheyev breakaway. When it comes to his impact at 5-on-5, though, I have to be honest – I’m just not seeing it with Jimmy Vesey. He’s failing to make skilled plays off the rush; pucks seem to die on his stick in the offensive zone; aside from a few nice backchecks, I don’t really see what he does to drive results.

Wayne Simmonds (RW, #24) — As much as I love the idea of Wayne Simmonds, watching him get caved in at 5-on-5 every night is a worrying trend.

You don’t need to be a stats nerd to know that’s bad.

Jake Muzzin (LD, #8) — He did have a few big hits on Nik Ehlers and Blake Wheeler, although the only play fans will remember is Muzzin’s turnover in the defensive zone that led to a goal against shortly afterwards. I’m never a fan of overreacting to one “big mistake” an NHL defenseman makes in any given game, but even if we excluded that turnover, this wasn’t Muzzin’s best night.

He looked hesitant on the breakout, circling back and forcing those dreaded stretch-pass dump-ins instead of making the pass north up the ice when he had the chance.

Heat Map

Here’s a quick look at where each team’s shots were coming from at even strength, courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Winnipeg Jets

The Leafs controlled 61 percent of the shots and 70 percent of the scoring chances at even strength. Pretty, pretty, pretty good.

Game Score

Game score is a metric developed by The Athletic’s Dom Luszczyszyn to measure single game performance. You can read more about it here.Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Winnipeg Jets

Final Grade: A

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