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Chiefs defeat Titans to advance to Super Bowl for first time in 50 years – Sportsnet.ca

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With his best imitation of a tightrope walker, Patrick Mahomes high-wired the Kansas City Chiefs into their first Super Bowl since 1970.

Oh sure, Mahomes did his usual superb job passing, but it was his 27-yard tap dance down the left sideline late in the first half that gave the Chiefs their first lead. From there, they outran the run-oriented Tennessee Titans and star back Derrick Henry for a 35-24 victory Sunday in the AFC championship.

At last, for the third time overall, the Chiefs (14-4) are Super Bowl bound.

In two weeks in Miami, they will play the winner of the NFC title game between Green Bay and San Francisco.

“I mean, it’s amazing. It really is,” said Mahomes, had 294 yards passing and three touchdown passes. “To be here, to be a part of Chiefs Kingdom and to be able to do it here at Arrowhead, these people deserve it. And we’re not done yet.”

Adding to the joy of the achievement, coach Andy Reid and owner Clark Hunt accepted the Lamar Hunt Trophy — named after his father — emblematic of the AFC title. It was handed over to them by Chiefs Hall of Famer Bobby Bell, with Mahomes and safety Tyrann Mathieu jumping for joy on the makeshift stage.

Next up: chasing the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

“Very excited and very emotional to win the trophy that has my dad’s name on it,” Hunt said. “Yeah, 50 years were too long, but we’re going to another Super Bowl.

“Chiefs Kingdom, we are going to the Super Bowl.”

The Chiefs lost in 1967 in the first AFL-NFL Championship Game — nope, it wasn’t called the Super Bowl yet — to the Lombardi Packers 35-10. Three years later, one year after the New York Jets shocked Baltimore to lay claim to the AFL being equal to the long-established NFL, Kansas City was back. This time, it was known as the Super Bowl — indeed, Lamar Hunt is credited with coming up with the name — and his Chiefs hammered Minnesota 23-7 with the typical Wild West offensive flair and a staunch defence. Those are characteristics that helped carry KC this season.

Reid isn’t as animated as Hall of Famer Hank Stram, who famously urged the Chiefs team to “keep matriculating the ball down the field, boys.” Caught up in the moment Sunday, Reid said, “It’s awesome,” before asking the crowd to chant “How about those Chiefs?”

Moments later, standout tight end Travis Kelce proclaimed, “You gotta fight for your right to party.”

There will be plenty of partying on South Beach for Chiefs Kingdom heading into the championship matchup.

“Fired up to go to Miami, got to get on a diet so I can fit into my clothes,” Reid said. “Very proud.”

As they had done in their past three “elimination” games, the sixth-seeded Titans (11-8) got started quickly. The difference at Arrowhead as opposed to Houston, New England and Baltimore was that the Chiefs had Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Damien Williams on offence, and a vastly upgraded defence from when they lost in last year’s AFC title game. Henry was held to 7 yards rushing in the second half.

“They were doubling all these guys,” Mahomes said of his spectacular TD run on which he barely stayed in bounds. “I just ran it and got some good blocking at the end and found a way to get in the end zone.”

A week after they overcame a 24-0 deficit against Houston, the Chiefs had to rally again.

Down 10-0 and 17-7, Kansas City didn’t flinch, building a 35-17 lead while controlling the clock with a strong ground game. Naturally, Mahomes complemented that with sharp passing, spreading the ball on short and deep throws. The dagger came with a 60-yard completion to Watkins for the Chiefs’ 28th straight point midway in the final period.

Mahomes thrust both arms in the air as the crowd sang Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”

That somebody will be either the 49ers or Packers in two weeks. They were deciding the NFC crown later Sunday in California.

After taking a 3-0 lead on Greg Joseph’s first field goal — with Tennessee’s penchant for scoring in the red zone, he hadn’t been called upon in his previous four games with the team — the Titans got a huge break. Bashaud Breeland appeared to make a diving interception, but replay review showed the ball hitting the ground.

Helped by consecutive offside penalties and a a fourth-down pass to Adam Humphries for his first career playoff reception, the Titans converted on, what else, Henry’s 4-yard run.

Then the Chiefs got rolling, scoring on three successive series. Hill took it in on a shovel pass, later beat top Titans cornerback Logan Ryan for a 20-yard reception, and Mahomes finished the half with his brilliant jaunt down the left sideline with half the Tennessee defence seemingly expecting him to step out of bounds.

That gave the Chiefs a 21-17 lead. It went to 28-17 on Williams’ 3-yard run to cap a seven-minute drive. Then Watkins toasted Logan for the clinching long pass.

Henry was held to 69 yards on 19 carries after rushing for 588 yards in the past three games as an unstoppable force.

“I feel like our backs were against the wall the whole season,” Henry said. “But we kept on fighting and kept on believing in each other. I think it speaks volumes about the team we have. We just came up short.”

The Chiefs easily outrushed the Titans on Sunday. Mahomes led the way with 53 of those yards and also was 23 for 35 for 294 yards passing.

REID’S RETURN

Reid goes back to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2004 season, when his Eagles lost to New England. That gap is second longest to Dick Vermeil’s hiatus.

“So much effort that went into this,” said Reid, who joined the Chiefs in 2013 after 14 years in Philadelphia. “It takes an army, it is not one guy at all. I appreciate the effort by everybody.”

TRICKERY

Last week, Henry threw a jump pass for a touchdown against Baltimore. On Sunday, Dennis Kelly emulated his coach, Mike Vrabel. He sneaked free for Ryan Tannehill’s lob, falling back awkwardly but holding on for Tennessee’s second TD. The backup tackle is the only offensive lineman since 2000 with two TDs receiving in a season. He also had one against Jacksonville.

Vrabel caught 12 touchdown passes as a linebacker, including one in the Super Bowl when his Patriots beat Reid’s Eagles.

FOURTH DOWNS

Displaying the gambling nature of both coaches, fourth-down conversions were key on early scoring drives. Humphries, who missed the last six games with an ankle problem, caught a 3-yarder on fourth-and-2 at the KC 29. Two plays later, Henry scored.

On the Chiefs’ ensuing possession, they went for it on fourth-and-2 from the Titans 28. Travis Kelce’s 4-yard reception continued a march to Hill’s first TD.

UP NEXT

Titans: Figuring out if they ran out of gas or were beaten by a more talented team as they head into the off-season.

Chiefs: The Tomahawk Chop will be heard at Hard Rock Stadium in the Super Bowl.

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Japan's women defy odds to become first Asian team to win an Olympic ice hockey gold – Olympic News – Olympics

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Japan completed a fairytale run to win the women’s ice hockey title at the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games on Tuesday, coming from behind to beat defending champions Sweden 4-1 in the final.

Both sides had been unbeaten on the road to the final, but up against a team who won the last two Youth Olympic titles, the Japanese went in as underdogs.

In defying the odds they also made history by becoming the first Asian team to win gold in an Olympic ice hockey competition.

“I’m so proud and so pleased that this is the outcome of our teamwork,” said Noro Rio, who was assisted by twin sister Riri in scoring her team’s second goal. “My team really wanted to win gold today.”

Japan turned the game around in the second period as they posted eight shots on goal while Sweden had none. The line combination of Kamada Minami, Shimomukai Hina, and Ito Makoto formed a particularly potent attacking trio.

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“Sweden did better in the first period, but after that we tried to fight back,” said Shimomukai, who scored two goals and assisted one. “At the beginning our team was very nervous, but we communicated more with each other.”

By the time Shimomukai added an empty net goal with less than two minutes to go, her teammates – and a packed arena backing the Japanese – celebrated the imminent triumph.

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Defeat for the Swedish stung. Many left the ice sobbing, the shimmer of a silver medal around their necks providing little consolation.

“We had a great start, but lost it in the second and third period,” said Linnea Adelbertsson (SWE). “We didn’t fight enough. I don’t have any feelings left.”

Sweden captain Nicole Hall, who scored her side’s only goal in the last minute of the first period, said: “The Japanese are very fast and strong, and better than us today. It doesn’t feel good.”

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In the women’s bronze medal match, Slovakia fought back from 1-0 down to beat Switzerland 2-1.


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The hosts had taken the lead through Nina Harju (SUI) in the second period, before Slovakia responded with two goals scored within two minutes through Nina Hudakova (SVK) and Nikola Janekova (SVK).

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Alessia Baechler (SUI), who was in the penalty box when Janekova scored the winning goal in the second period, was crestfallen.

“We had a lot of chances to score but we didn’t take our chances,” she said. “It was very close. I’m very proud of everybody and it’s so sad that we didn’t win bronze.”

Janekova said she was proud of her team after a tough game. “It was very hard for us to play this,” she said. “It was definitely worrying [that Switzerland scored first]. I have goosebumps.”

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In the men’s tournament, the USA booked a place in the final after beating rivals Canada 2-1 in the semifinals.

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Frank Nazar (USA) and Isaac Howard (USA) scored in the second period.

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Canada surged back following Nate Danielson’s (CAN) goal early in the third period, but the USA kept them at bay.

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The defending champions will meet Russia in the final on Wednesday, after they beat Finland 10-1 in their semi-final.

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Larry Walker becomes second Canadian elected to Baseball Hall of Fame – Yahoo Canada Sports

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After 10 years on the ballot, needing to get 75 percent of the vote or have his name eliminated from consideration, Maple Ridge, BC’s Larry Walker is heading to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

A recipient of a late wave of support similar to that of his former Montreal Expos teammate Tim Raines, Walker saw his vote totals rise very slowly, finishing with 76.6% of the vote. It has been an unbelievable rise for Walker; in 2014 this moment seemed like a long shot, as he received just 10.2% support.

Walker’s ascent up the voting leaderboard is one of the more polarizing discussions in recent Hall of Fame voting history, with his sustained excellence clouded by the environment he produced in and a lack of true top-end moments to build his case.

The Case For

Five All-Star game appearances, three batting titles, an MVP award, and a collection of counting stats that put him shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the game’s icons at his position.

Whether you believe he deserves to be in the Hall or not, there is nobody casting doubt that Walker possessed all the skills needed to build an ideal great baseball player.

Here is a sampling of his standing in the all-time counting stats:

  • 2,160 hits (200th all time)

  • 1,311 RBI (105th)

  • 471 doubles (89th)

  • 383 home runs (68th)

  • .313 career batting average (79th)

  • .400 on base percentage (55th)

  • .565 slugging percentage (12th)

  • .965 on base plus slugging (15th)

  • 72.7 WAR (56th among position players)

He was the 40th player to record 2,000 hits, 400 doubles, 300 home runs, 1,000 runs scored, and 1,000 RBI.

He’s the only player to have exceeded a .310 batting average, 380 home runs, 1,300 RBI, .965 OPS and 471 doubles, and 230 stolen bases in career, with Stan Musial, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and Lou Gehrig being the only players to hit the same batting milestones without adding the stolen bases.

He is one of only 20 players to win three batting titles including the truly incredible 1999 season where he finished with a .379 average, a mark no player has achieved in the 20 years since. He posted an OPS above 1.000 seven times, and never finished with an adjusted OPS+ below league average in any year since his 20 game stint as a 20-year-old rookie. Among all players with at least 8,000 at bats, Walker’s 140 wRC+ is 34th all time.

Walker’s career crown jewel season was his 1997 MVP campaign, when he hit 49 home runs while slashing .366/.425/.720.

His 72.7 WAR (per Baseball Reference) is 10th all-time among right fielders and all nine ahead of him are hall of famers, as are three of the four on the list after him.

While none of the counting stats on their own may jump out as singularly responsible for making him a sure-fire inductee, combining his elite hitting with regular gold glove consideration and 230 steals sets the template for the prototypical five-tool corner outfielder.

All of these accolades land him on lists where the only company he keeps is with legends already enshrined in baseball’s hall.

The Case Against

Ten of Walker’s 17 seasons took place in the hitter-friendly confines of Colorado’s Coors Field, a notoriously number-juicing environment that was especially generous to batters in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

Walker had 814 of his hits in Coors Field, and posted a .381/.462/.710 slash line in the building along with 154 of his home runs. His road OPS is .865, which is still quite good — better than the all around career rates of several Hall of Fame hitters — but there are voters that cannot quite get around the 300 point drop in numbers when taken out of Colorado.

Additionally, Walker was not a paragon of health throughout his career. He only played more than 140 games in a season four times, and injuries cost him 375 games between 1996 to 2004. Eight of the nine right fielders ahead of him in WAR played at least 2,400 games, while Walker appeared in just 1,988.

He also only led his team to the postseason three times in 17 years, with two of those coming in his final two seasons as a part of the St. Louis Cardinals. There are no October moments of greatness to draw upon for rosy memories, just a consistent level of being very, very good.

His Legacy

Walker’s worthiness for baseball’s highest honour may be up for debate, but his place in Canadian baseball, certainly isn’t.

He was the first Canadian to win an MVP award, and a nine-time winner of the Tip O’Neill award for Canada’s best baseball player. After his career he continued to pay it forward for his country, serving as the hitting coach for the national team for three World Baseball Classics, and the Pan Am Games twice.

He opened the door for Canadian baseball talent and ushered in a wave of stars from Canada that followed him into the league. Justin Morneau and Joey Votto followed in his footsteps as MVP award winners, and in the decade and a half following Walker’s retirement players from Canada made their way to the league in unprecedented numbers.

Ferguson Jenkins was the first Canadian to make the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Walker’s outsized presence in the game has ensured that he won’t be the last.

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Racial slur leads to five-game suspension for Bakersfield Condors' Brandon Manning – Edmonton Sun

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Brandon Manning, a defenceman with the Edmonton Oilers’ affiliate club in Bakersfield, Calif., received a five-game suspension from the American Hockey League after using a racial slur toward an opponent Monday.

Ontario Reigns forward Bokondji Imama, a former Tampa Bay Lightnine prospect, was the target of the slur – on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, no less – which led to Manning being assessed a game misconduct and, later, issuing an apology through the Condors club Tuesday.

“Last night, I made comments to an opposing player that were stupid and offensive,” said Manning, a 29-year-old product of Prince George, B.C. “After the game, I spoke with the opposing player in person, which I’m very grateful for. He allowed me to apologize and I took full responsibility for what I said. To say I’ve learned from this situation is an understatement and I promise to be better.”

A statement was also issued by Bakersfield Condors general manager Keith Gretzky.

“We are aware of an unacceptable comment directed toward an Ontario Reign player by Bakersfield Condors defencemen Brandon Manning during last night’s game,” said Gretzky, who is also the Oilers assistant GM. “This is a very serious matter, we are disappointed by Brandon’s comment and we fully support the American Hockey League’s decision.

“The Oilers and Condors organizations wholeheartedly believe in a respectful workplace and will work to better educate our players on appropriate conduct on and off the ice.”

Manning, who sidelined Oilers forward Connor McDavid for 37 games with a broken collarbone in 2015 as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers, was traded by the Chicago Blackhawks to the Oilers along with Robin Norell in exchange for Drake Caggiula and Jason Garrison on Dec. 30, 2018.

He was placed on waivers Feb. 18, 2019, before being reassigned to Bakersfield.

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