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JONES: Taylor Hall was never returning to Edmonton Oilers – Edmonton Sun

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A ridiculous percentage of Edmonton hockey fans, with no good reason, got their hopes up for a Taylor Hall return to the Oilers.

It never made much sense.

First, while mid-December is awful early for such a thing, Hall is headed for free agency and is leaving New Jersey as a rental.

What would general manager Ken Holland want with a rental?

I don’t know how many times I’m going to end up reprinting this Holland quote this year, but …

“You’re hearing this over and over again from me. On the short term we’re trying to make decisions on 2019-2020, but ultimately, I’m trying to build this team to be a really good elite team in the Western Conference.”

Why would Holland give up a bunch of assets to get a player for 45 games?

Yes, Taylor Hall back in Oilers gear would play well with the fan base that loved the guy when he was here and won the Hart Trophy after he left.

But the Oilers have no money to pay $3.6-million for the rest of this season.

And with what Hall is likely looking for going forward, the one mega-money contract of his career, they wouldn’t likely have the $8-million or so he’d likely want going forward, which is a lot for a second line left winger on this team.

Edmonton needs to do exactly what Holland is doing. Draft. And develop, develop, develop.

Look at what the Arizona Coyotes gave up to get Hall.

One locked-in first round draft pick plus a conditional first round draft pick if the Coyotes re-sign Hall and win a playoff round.

Also there’s former first-round pick Nick Merkley (30th in 2015) and forward Nate Schnarr (third round, 75th overall in 2017) both currently being developed in the AHL.

There’s also defenceman Kevin Bahl, a second rounder in 2018, still playing junior for Ottawa 67’s.

That’s a lot of birds in the bush. And the first rounder and conditional first rounder aren’t likely to be lottery picks.

Compared to the stay-at-home defenceman the Devils got for Hall in the first place, you’d have to say New Jersey did a helluva deal if you look at the trade this way:

Adam Larsson for a first round draft choice, a conditional first round draft choice three prospects that were first, second and third-round draft choices.

But, again, Hall is a rental.

And he’s a left-winger.

Holland was never going to be trading away first-round draft picks, conditional or otherwise, to get a rental in December. Or at the trade deadline.

Yes, it would have been interesting with the trade bait that is Jesse Puljujarvi. But to give up Philip Broberg, Evan Bouchard? There was never a chance.

Without question Taylor Hall would have helped the biggest current concern, all that ice time that is wearing Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl down and causing defensive lapses on their part and the inability of this team to compete five-on-five.

Hall is excellent five-on-five.

And I don’t buy the opinion out there that Arizona made a mistake because quote-unquote “Taylor Hall is not a winner.”

Yes, he hasn’t done any winning in his NHL career. But he won two Memorial Cups and was MVP in the junior classic as well as an MVP in a NHL regular season. And he’s likely learned a whale of a lesson on the value of teammates.

Make no mistake. The dud of a deal by then general manager Peter Chiarelli has just come back and become a double whammy on Edmonton.

Obviously Hall makes Arizona better.

Going into games Monday night, the Coyotes and Oilers had both played 35 games and Arizona had just replaced Edmonton in first place in the Pacific Division, two points up on the Oilers.

With his hands handcuffed by the salary cap situation of the team he took over, Holland is returning from a scouting trip to Russia with his team in a slump and trying to make it to Christmas in possession of a playoff position.

Holland built several bridges to get the team to being in contention at this point of the season while players developed on the farm.

It’s getting close to the point where he’s going to have to decide whether they need a full season in Bakersfield or are getting close.

I suspect he’s leaning to the full season in most of their cases.

But the Hall deal likely means he’s going to have to try get creative with some of the spare parts he has to solve the Dynamic Duo ice time issue and the five-on-five situation that has been a result.

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Golf-Olympic gold medallist Schauffele pumped for Zozo Championship in Japan

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AmericanXander Schauffele returns this week for the Zozo Championship in Japan nearly two and half months after winning the gold medal at the Tokyo Games and the 27-year-old said he is looking to grab a “special” victory at the PGA Tour event.

The tournament returns to Japan at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club on Thursday after last year’s edition was moved to California due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The $9.95 million event will feature Asia’s first Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, two-time major winner Collin Morikawa and Schauffele, who won gold for the United States at the Tokyo Olympics in August with a one-stroke victory.

Schauffele, whose grandparents reside in Japan, said winning at the Zozo Championship would be a huge honour for his family.

“I’m very excited,” Schauffele, who also won the Ryder Cup with the United States last month, said on Wednesday.

“Winning here would be really cool. It would be really special to sort of win twice in Japan, especially since I don’t live here.

“I think it would be a huge honour for my family if I was able to do that and I’m going to do my best this week.”

American Morikawa, whose father is of Japanese descent, said he is looking forward to playing in front of an energetic crowd with 5,000 spectators allowed each day.

“These are some of the best fans,” Morikawa said. “I remember my first tee shot out here two years ago when there were fans on stools and lined up five, six people deep.

“They would cheer for you walking to tee boxes, hitting every tee shot whether it’s good or bad.

“They bring so much energy. I’ve said it since we returned from COVID, it’s just really good to see people out here again.”

 

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; editing by Kim Coghill)

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NHL suspends Evander Kane for 21 games over COVID-19 vaccination status – Global News

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The NHL has suspended San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane for 21 games for submitting a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.

The league on Monday announced the suspension without pay and said Kane will not be eligible to play until Nov. 30 at New Jersey. Kane will forfeit about US$1.68 million of his US$7 million salary for this season with the money going to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

The league also announced that a concurrent investigation into allegations of sexual and physical abuse made against Kane by his estranged wife, Anna, could not be substantiated.

“I would like to apologize to my teammates, the San Jose Sharks organization, and all Sharks fans for violating the NHL COVID protocols,” Kane said in a statement. “I made a mistake, one I sincerely regret and take responsibility for. During my suspension, I will continue to participate in counseling to help me make better decisions in the future. When my suspension is over, I plan to return to the ice with great effort, determination, and love for the game of hockey.”

Read more:
Sharks’ Kane denies game fixing allegations from wife

The Sharks have not said what Kane’s status will be after the investigations. Kane had not been around the team since the start of training camp while these investigations were ongoing in an agreement between him and the team.

“While we are encouraged by Evander’s commitment to moving forward, we are extremely disappointed by his disregard for the health and safety protocols put in place by the NHL and the NHLPA,” the team said in a statement. “We will not be commenting further on Evander’s status prior to the conclusion of the NHL’s mandated suspension.”

Kane had previously been cleared by the NHL in an investigation into allegations made by Anna Kane that he bet on hockey games, including some against the Sharks.


Click to play video: 'Edmonton Oilers fans enter Rogers Place for 1st time amid new COVID-19 protocols'



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Edmonton Oilers fans enter Rogers Place for 1st time amid new COVID-19 protocols


Edmonton Oilers fans enter Rogers Place for 1st time amid new COVID-19 protocols – Sep 28, 2021

But the league did determine that Kane violated the COVID-19 protocols. A person familiar with the investigation said earlier this month that the league was looking into allegations that Kane submitted a fake vaccination card. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details weren’t made public.

Using a fake vaccination card is illegal in both the United States and Canada, as well as against NHL rules.

Read more:
Winnipeg Jets Captain Blake Wheeler goes into NHL’s COVID-19 Protocols

Commissioner Gary Bettman said last week that only four players on active rosters hadn’t been vaccinated.

Kane, 30, is three seasons into a $49 million, seven-year contract. He’s with his third organization after being drafted by and debuting with Atlanta/Winnipeg and a stint in Buffalo.

Last season, he had 22 goals and 27 assists in 56 games.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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2021–22 NBA Season Predictions: MVP, championship picks and more – Sportsnet.ca

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The 2021-22 NBA season gets going Tuesday night.

Returning to a regular 82-game schedule after last season’s 72-game affair, and many teams who appear poised and ready to chase after a ring, this could be one of the most wide-open seasons in recent memory.

There are, of course, the true powerhouses and bottom-feeders in the league. But heading into this new season, it looks like there could be more teams than usual who make the leap up into true contender status.

In an attempt to make sense of what could come, Sportsnet polled some of its basketball experts to try to predict some of the major award winners and who will win it all.

Sixth Man of the Year

Donnovan Bennett, staff writer and digital host: Jordan Poole, Golden State Warriors
Michael Grange, senior basketball insider: Patty Mills, Brooklyn Nets
William Lou, Raptors Show host on Sportsnet 590 The FAN: Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls
Steven Loung, NBA section editor: Patty Mills, Brooklyn Nets
Blake Murphy, co-host of the FAN Morning Show on Sportsnet 590 The FAN: Joe Ingles, Utah Jazz
Eric Smith, Raptors play-by-play announcer on Sportsnet 590 The FAN: Joe Ingles, Utah Jazz

Coach of the Year

Bennett: Ime Udoka, Boston Celtics
Grange: Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat
Lou: Nick Nurse, Toronto Raptors
Loung: Steve Nash, Brooklyn Nets
Murphy: Steve Nash, Brooklyn Nets
Smith: Steve Nash, Brooklyn Nets

Most Improved Player

Bennett: Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors
Grange: OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors
Lou: Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets
Loung: Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets
Murphy: Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies
Smith: Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets

Defensive Player of the Year

Bennett: Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
Grange: Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
Lou: Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
Loung: Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
Murphy: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Smith: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

Rookie of the Year

Bennett: Jalen Suggs, Orlando Magic
Grange: Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons
Lou: Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons
Loung: Jalen Green, Houston Rockets
Murphy: Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons
Smith: Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons

MVP

Bennett: Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors
Grange: Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors
Lou: Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets
Loung: Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors
Murphy: Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors
Smith: Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets

Biggest sleeper team

Bennett: Chicago Bulls
Grange: Golden State Warriors
Lou: Toronto Raptors
Loung: Golden State Warriors
Murphy: Cleveland Cavaliers
Smith: Golden State Warriors

Finals matchup

Bennett: Brooklyn Nets vs. Golden State Warriors
Grange: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Golden State Warriors
Lou: Brooklyn Nets vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Loung: Brooklyn Nets vs. Golden State Warriors
Murphy: Brooklyn Nets vs. Denver Nuggets

NBA champion

Bennett: Golden State Warriors
Grange: Milwaukee Bucks
Lou: Brooklyn Nets
Loung: Brooklyn Nets
Murphy: Brooklyn Nets

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