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Ryan Reynolds not to be underestimated in Senators sale process



MANALAPAN, Fla. – Taking a couple days with family, but editor Rory Boylen won’t allow any rest or relaxation without some thoughts on the GM meetings. So here goes:


Marty Walsh officially begins next week as NHLPA Executive Director, and we’ve already got something to ask him. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman indicated that while the players’ COVID escrow debt is being paid off faster than expected, it probably won’t be eradicated by the time the 2023-24 cap number needs to be set.

So, we’re looking at a $1M raise, instead of, maybe, $4.5M.

“It could be a discussion,” Bettman said Wednesday. “We’re hearing around the bend from players and others that there may be interest in having that, but one thing to keep in mind if we’re going to raise the cap and the escrow hasn’t been paid off, is then we’re going to have to look at raising the escrow rates…The two are inextricably tied together.”

“Others” is undoubtedly GMs and teams. We saw how constipated the league was until right before the trade deadline. Too many clubs squeezed tight to the cap. They crave flexibility like a thirsty person craves water. Anyway, this is true insight into what the Commissioner is thinking.

Included in the CBA is the ability for the NHL and NHLPA to agree to increase the cap “in excess of $1M” once revenue surpassed $4.8B, which has occurred. There doesn’t have to be a modification in escrow rates. The two sides can find common ground in other ways.

What we now know is Bettman is not agreeing to anything unless that change occurs. (Or, something else the commissioner considers valuable.)

During negotiations for this CBA, the players had two options. They could accept higher escrow rates and pay off the debt sooner. Or, they could fight for lower rates, take longer to pay it off, and know the cap would be stagnant a longer time. Annoyed they’d lost too much over the years, the majority selected option B.

The players capped escrow at six per cent for the final three seasons of the agreement. (The first of those seasons is next year.) It was significant for them.

My crystal ball shattered last week, so I’m flying a bit blind here, but I don’t see any future where Walsh walks into the NHLPA and hears any support for raising those numbers. And, I don’t see Bettman agreeing to raise the ceiling more than $1M without something in place that protects team owners in case revenues go sideways. He’s about to get one debt paid off, he’s not going to create the possibility of another.

So, we’ll get an idea of how the Bettman/Walsh dynamic will work, but odds are against a solution. And, behind the scenes, I think everyone realizes that. I hope to be surprised.

Bettman expects salary cap to increase $1M, but could raise $4.5M if escrow paid off


Bettman had a gleam in his eye when Sportsnet reporter Sean Reynolds asked him about the Senators’ sale. “I’ve always believed that our franchises have been undervalued — particularly by some quarters in the media,” he said. “And I think this will be a real indication of what the true value of an NHL team is.”

That says he saw something in the opening round (of non-binding bids) he likes.

We’re now in the “check-bid” process where the NHL, the Senators and the sale facilitators go back to thoroughly vet those who submitted and, in some cases, to let them know they came in too low.

Information is not easy to come by, but here’s the best I can share: If there’s any concern Ryan Reynolds would not be a serious bidder — that’s over. He’s very serious and he’s very prepared. People who have heard his plan and seen what he’s put together recognize this is not someone to be underestimated. His share of Mint Mobile, sold Wednesday to T-Mobile, was valued at $340M, according to reports.

Initially, those around the NHL were excited about Reynolds because he’s Deadpool. Now, they’re excited because he’s Deadpool, he’s a smart businessman, he knows marketing and the “Wrexham Plan” would come to Ottawa with him.

He’s partnered with Remington Group. I’m not sure they had the highest bid, but they are competitive and determined. That’s what this round is for, to sort this out.

I do think there were a couple of bidders who came in a bit lower than expected. It could be a slow-play — don’t show all your cards too early. That’s very, very possible. But, if there’s any concern, it’s simply about how much revenue is available in Ottawa, which isn’t a huge market.

There’s a lot to like about the players, the fan base is re-engaged, and the organization was not exactly running at optimum levels for years. All of that is a plus. The NHL’s job is to get the Senators sold at a number that leaves us all agog. Judging from the commissioner’s confidence, that will happen.

What are the biggest takeaways from the final day of GM meetings?


Aiden McDonough is in Vancouver. Jayden Struble is in Montreal. Now, Buffalo fans ask, “Where’s our Northeastern guy?”

Make no mistake, the Sabres have made it very clear they want him in the organization right away. They weren’t thrilled by reports they were interested in adding a goalie prior to the trade deadline, because they’d made it clear to Levi and his advisors there would be a legit route to the NHL if he showed he was ready.

We’ll see where this goes on Thursday. Levi is thinking it over, and he’s shown he’s not afraid to consider non-traditional pathways. But he’s clearly ready for professional hockey, and the Sabres have Swiped Right for this Tinder Date.


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LeBron Saves Team USA in Thrilling Exhibition Against South Sudan at O2 Arena



LONDON — In what could have been one of the most monumental upsets in international basketball history, Team USA narrowly escaped with a 101-100 victory over a spirited South Sudan team at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday night. This exhibition match, serving as a tune-up for the 2024 Olympics, showcased the rapid rise of South Sudanese basketball and the indomitable spirit of the American team led by LeBron James.

The atmosphere at the O2 Arena was electric, with fans witnessing a game that turned out to be far more competitive than expected. South Sudan, a team composed largely of refugees and players from the diaspora, pushed the heavily favored Americans to their limits.

First Half Highlights:

  • South Sudan came out firing on all cylinders, building a surprising 16-point lead in the second quarter.
  • Team USA struggled with their three-point shooting, missing 12 of their first 13 attempts from beyond the arc.

Despite the odds, South Sudan’s players, many of whom have overcome significant personal and professional challenges, played with remarkable cohesion and determination. Their performance was a testament to the rapid progress the team has made under the guidance of former NBA star Luol Deng.

With the game hanging in the balance, LeBron James demonstrated why he remains one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Benched at the start of the third quarter, James returned to the floor with a determination that was palpable.

Key Moments:

  • Third Quarter: Anthony Davis’ defensive prowess helped shrink the deficit. LeBron’s return brought stability and focus back to Team USA.
  • Final Minute: With just 20 seconds left, JT Thor of South Sudan scored over LeBron, giving his team a one-point lead.
  • Game-Winning Shot: LeBron drove to the basket, scoring the decisive layup with eight seconds remaining.

South Sudan’s journey to this point has been nothing short of inspirational. The country gained independence from Sudan in 2011, and the basketball program, still in its infancy, has quickly become a source of national pride.

Notable Contributions:

  • Carlik Jones: Delivered a triple-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.
  • Wenyen Gabriel: LeBron’s former teammate with the Lakers, contributed 11 points.
  • Marial Shayok: Led South Sudan with 24 points.

The team’s formation and rise have been spearheaded by Luol Deng, who played a pivotal role in recruiting and funding the program. His efforts have culminated in South Sudan qualifying for the Olympics, marking a historic achievement for the young nation.

Stephen Curry: “Wild game. They played really intense. It was nice to see how we responded. LeBron with a great finish down the stretch.”

Steve Kerr: “The whole team was embarrassed at halftime. We were challenged today, and it was good for us to feel that now. This was a reminder that we need to bring our best every game.”

Luol Deng: Expressed immense pride in his team’s performance, emphasizing the significance of their journey and the obstacles they have overcome.

This exhibition game was more than just a pre-Olympic warm-up. It highlighted the potential for underdog stories in sports and underscored the global reach and impact of basketball. Team USA, despite the narrow escape, was reminded of the importance of every game and the challenges that lie ahead.

South Sudan, on the other hand, has cemented its place on the international stage, showcasing that with determination and the right support, even the newest teams can compete with the best in the world.

As both teams prepare for the Olympics, this game at the O2 Arena will be remembered not only for its thrilling finish but also for the remarkable stories of resilience and ambition that played out on the court.

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UFC Vegas 94: Amanda Lemos vs. Virna Jandiroba – Main Event Recap



In a thrilling main event at UFC Vegas 94, strawweights Amanda Lemos and Virna Jandiroba faced off on Saturday night. After an evenly matched first round, Jandiroba secured a dramatic submission victory in the second round, just moments before the bell.

Fight Summary:

  • First Round: The opening round was highly competitive, with both fighters showcasing their skills and maintaining a close contest.
  • Second Round: In the final seconds of the second round, Jandiroba managed to secure a submission, forcing Lemos to tap out. The win marks an impressive fourth consecutive victory for Jandiroba.

Post-Fight Remarks:

  • In her post-fight interview inside the Octagon, Jandiroba confidently called out UFC President Dana White, declaring, “Dana, I’m the next one. Dana, I’m your next champion.”

Future Implications:

  • With this victory, Jandiroba has positioned herself as a strong contender for the strawweight title. Tatiana Suarez, who was the rightful next contender for Weili Zhang, has been sidelined due to an injury. Jandiroba’s current four-fight win streak and her dominant performance at UFC Vegas 94 make a compelling case for her title shot.

Stay tuned for more updates as the UFC strawweight division continues to evolve, and see if Virna Jandiroba will indeed become the next challenger for the championship belt.

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Jake Paul vs. Mike Perry: Fight Night Updates



Jake Paul is back in the ring, and he’s promising fireworks as he takes on former UFC star Mike Perry at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. The fight will be broadcast live on DAZN. Originally, Paul was set to fight Mike Tyson, but Perry stepped in after Tyson suffered an injury.

Fight Details:

Jake Paul (9-1, 6 KOs)

  • Paul is coming off a first-round TKO of Ryan Bourland in March.
  • He has promised that Perry won’t survive the second round.
  • Paul is more experienced in boxing but still relatively new to the sport.

Mike Perry (0-1)

  • Perry, known as “Platinum,” brings over a decade of fighting experience, mainly in MMA and bare-knuckle fighting.
  • He believes Paul is still green in the fight business and intends to use his experience to pull off an upset.

Main Event:
Jake Paul vs. Mike Perry

Live Updates: Follow DAZN for all the live updates, results, and highlights from the Paul vs. Perry pay-per-view main card.

Main Card Results:

Amanda Serrano def. Stevie Morgan via TKO

  • Round 2, 0:38
    • Watch the finish

Lucas Bahdi def. H20 Sylve via knockout

  • Round 6, 2:27
    • Watch the finish

Corey Marksman def. Tony Aguilar via majority decision

  • Scores: 76-76, 77-75, 78-74

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. def. Uriah Hall via unanimous decision

  • Scores: 59-55, 59-55, 58-56
    • Recap

Stay tuned for the main event updates and see if Jake Paul can deliver on his promise of another highlight reel knockout or if Mike Perry will teach him a lesson and pull off a major upset.

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