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LeBrun: The latest on J.T. Miller and Matthew Tkachuk trade talk, goalie carousel and more – The Athletic



MONTREAL — I was chatting with a GM on Wednesday morning when he made this general observation as the first round of the NHL Draft approached.

“There are so many big names being floated out there right now,’’ the GM said.

Well, we certainly love hearing that.

And it’s not to say all those players he was referring to will move his week or at all, but the fact so many of them are being discussed by teams certainly provides some possibilities.

Teams continue to call Vancouver on J.T. Miller, for example. The Rangers are once again among those suitors, according to sources. No surprise there, especially if the Rangers aren’t able to re-sign Andrew Copp. But there’s lots of interest in Miller. The Canucks could wait until next year’s trade deadline to move him but I suspect it could get done this week if a team steps up with the package the Canucks are asking for.

Teams are delicately approaching the Flames on Matthew Tkachuk, whose camp led by Newport Sports, I think, is sitting back and waiting to see how the Johnny Gaudreau UFA situation plays out before formalizing a game plan for their RFA client. Makes sense. You would want to see how the dust clears, and how much of a contender the Flames remain before making any commitments.

In the meantime, other clubs are calling to feel the Flames out on Tkachuk. It goes without saying the Flames’ lone intention right now is to sign Tkachuk long-term and keep him in the fold. But if he prefers to do a one-year deal and bring himself to UFA in a year, it puts Calgary in a brutal spot.

Sources also shared Wednesday that teams were starting to put their best trade offers forward to the Blackhawks on Alex DeBrincat, a potential trade that would most likely require a Thursday first-round pick included in it. So there’s a pressure point developing there on that front.

Then there’s the whole goalie carousel mostly influenced by four pending UFA goalies in Marc-Andre Fleury, Darcy Kuemper, Ville Husso and Jack Campbell.

Kuemper’s agent, Ben Hankinson, was slated to meet with Avalanche GM Joe Sakic here in Montreal on Wednesday. The Stanley Cup champs have expressed a desire to bring Kuemper back. And the feeling is mutual. But does that translate into an extension both sides can live with?

If not, and Kuemper hits the market, the domino effect is going to be real. So many people around the league view Colorado as the perfect landing spot for Fleury if Kuemper is gone.

The Wild, by the way, remained interested in bringing back Fleury as of Wednesday, so that remains on the table. And as discussed before, the Maple Leafs could be another option for Fleury.

Meanwhile, the sense is Edmonton and New Jersey are the leading suitors for Campbell once/if he hits the market next week. It wouldn’t surprise me if Washington also inquired on Campbell.

Finally, Husso’s agent, Todd Diamond, was expected to meet with Blues GM Doug Armstrong sometime this week. Hard to think that the Blues could afford to bring back Husso with Jordan Binnington signed long-term; that would be a lot of dough in net. The Leafs and Oilers could be among the options for Husso depending on how some of the other dominoes fall.

So, the whole goalie thing is fun as always at this time of year.


• The expectation is that Flames GM Brad Treliving will meet with Johnny Gaudreau’s agent, Lewis Gross, over the next few days. Calgary needs clarity, one way or the other. That doesn’t mean the Flames will get said clarity. The team’s eight-year offer has been sitting in front of Gaudreau for a month now. But if they find out this week, for example, that he’s not going to sign it, the Flames can at least try to make other moves on the trade front here around the draft to bolster the offense. Although I’m not sure there’s any move out there that replaces Gaudreau’s impact.

• Add Carolina to the potential suitors for Claude Giroux, along with Edmonton and Ottawa. The Hurricanes have prioritized adding some offense if possible this offseason and are likely losing Vincent Trochek and Nino Niederreiter to free agency. So I hear they’ve discussed the possibility of going after Giroux. Meanwhile, Florida continues to try and find a way to bring Giroux back. But the Panthers’ cap situation is not helping things on that front.

• There were four other finalists for the GM job in San Jose apart from Mike Grier, who got the nod Tuesday. Sources say Scott Nichol, Scott Mellanby, Ray Whitney and another mystery candidate were part of the final group. That mystery candidate expressed to the Sharks that his name not get out so that’s why we haven’t heard it. I think Mellanby will soon find a gig with another NHL front office, from what I hear. The Sharks’ GM search process was fascinating and exhaustive, beginning with 50 or so names, then 13 candidates interviewed before it got down to those final five. It’s telling of Grier’s reputation how many people I heard from, from around the NHL, who were thrilled with his appointment. He’s really well-liked. Yes, the obvious knock is his lack of experience but I was reminded that years and years ago the Sharks handed the GM job to Doug Wilson who didn’t have much front office experience either at the time. That turned out pretty well.

(Photo: Perry Nelson / USA Today)

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Jays (Finally) Win One – Bluebird Banter



Jays 6 Orioles 1

It is about time.

This is just a space holder for the recap, my tennis went long.

Ross Stripling was amazing. Just 1 hit allowed in 6.1. He threw 72 pitches and was in control.

And the offence finally broke through for 6 runs in the 8th (imagine the Hallaluah chorus playing here). And George Springer got his 1000th hit.

Life is good again.

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Here are the Raptors games you don’t want to miss in the 2022-23 season –



The Toronto Raptors will open their 2022-23 NBA season on Oct. 19 at Scotiabank Arena. Their regular season will conclude on April 9 at home against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Here are some things to highlight in the Raptors’ schedule this season.

Facing off against familiar foes

As has become customary, former beloved Raptors — especially those from the 2019 championship team — are likely to receive heroes’ welcomes upon their return to Toronto. If you’re looking to join in on the festivities, here’s a list of notable players and their arrivals back at Scotiabank Arena:

Demar DeRozan: In his second season with the Chicago Bulls, DeRozan is scheduled to pay two visits to Toronto: First on Nov. 6, and then on Feb. 28.

Serge Ibaka: Now with the Milwaukee Bucks, Ibaka is slated to return to Scotiabank Arena on Jan. 4 and the season finale on April 9.

Kawhi Leonard: The 2019 Finals MVP missed all of last season recovering from a partial tear in his right knee. He will, hopefully, be available when his Los Angeles Clippers come to town on Dec. 27.

Kyle Lowry: The return to Toronto for perhaps the most beloved Raptor of all time, and his Miami Heat, will be on Nov. 16 and March 28.

Norman Powell: Now a member of the Clippers, Powell will be accompanying Leonard when Los Angeles visits Toronto on Dec. 27.

Jonas Valanciunas: The well-liked New Orleans Pelicans centre and his team will be visiting on Feb. 23.

January could prove to be a pivotal month

Looking at each individual month of the schedule, January stands out since it features both the longest homestand the team will enjoy as well as the start of its longest road trip.

For six games and 11 days between Jan. 4 and Jan. 14, the Raptors will play in the friendly confines of Scotiabank Arena as they look to kick off the new year with some wind in their sails. The Raptors will face Milwaukee, New York, Portland, Charlotte twice (but not on a back-to-back) and then Atlanta during that period.

Beginning on Jan. 25 and then lasting seven games and 12 days until Feb. 5, the Raptors will be on their longest road swing of the season with stops in Sacramento, Golden State, Portland, Phoenix, Utah, Houston and Memphis.

The contests against Golden State and Portland will be back-to-backs and are one of 12 back-to-back sets the team will play this season (two fewer than last season).

Given the scheduling quirks in January, it could be important month as a means for the Raptors to rack up wins during the homestand and test themselves out on the road still with plenty of runway until the post-season.

Other games of note

Here’s a quick list of other notable games to keep an eye on:

Nov. 23/Dec. 16 — versus Brooklyn: It’s unclear if Kevin Durant will still be a member of the Brooklyn Nets when they make their trips up north, but if he is, that will surely be a scene at Scotiabank Arena.

Nov. 26 — versus Dallas: The NBA’s brightest young star, Luka Doncic, and his Dallas Mavericks are coming to town early in the season. As a bonus, Canadian national team stud Dwight Powell also plays for Dallas.

Dec. 5 — versus Boston: The eighth annual Giants of Africa Game celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela.

Dec. 7 — versus Los Angeles Lakers: LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers make their annual visit to Toronto.

Dec. 18 — versus Golden State: Canadian Andrew Wiggins and the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors make their only trip to the Six.

Dec. 29 — versus Memphis: Raptors fans will be in for a treat as high-flying point guard Ja Morant will make his only trip to Toronto, but more importantly, Canadians Dillon Brooks and Brandon Clarke will be playing on home soil once again.

Jan. 6/Jan. 22 — versus New York: R.J. Barrett and the New York Knicks will be in Toronto in January.

Jan. 8 — versus Portland: Dame time is well and good, but the real attraction with this match is the opportunity to see London, Ont., native Shaedon Sharpe live. The most mysterious pick in the 2022 draft, no one really knows what kind of player he may be.

Feb. 10 — versus Utah: Canada’s Nickeil Alexander-Walker and the Utah Jazz will take on the Raptors in Toronto.

March 14 — versus Denver: Two-time defending MVP Nikola Jokic and Canadian star guard Jamal Murray will be in town with the Denver Nuggets to take on the Raptors.

March 16 — versus Oklahoma City: A game after hosting Murray, the Raptors will invite in another of Canada’s best in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luguentz Dort when they face off against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

March 22 — versus Indiana: With three Canadians on the Indiana Pacers roster (Oshae Brissett and rookies Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard), this Wednesday night in March should be a special one at Scotiabank Arena.

March 24 — versus Detroit: Canadian veterans Kelly Olynyk and Cory Joseph feature on this young, exciting Detroit Pistons team, but the storyline that will likely be on Raptors fans’ minds when the Pistons visit will be if Dwane Casey will, once again, get the best of his former team.

U.S. national television games

Lastly, for those who care about this kind of thing, the Raptors announced they will be on U.S. national television four times (twice on ESPN and twice on TNT). Additionally, Toronto will play on NBATV five times this season.

The Raptors will appear on two more U.S. national television games than last season.

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Czechia pulls off major upset over U.S., advances to WJC semifinal vs. Canada –



Czechia completed a 4-2 upset win over the previously unbeaten United States on Wednesday to punch its ticket to the semifinal of the 2022 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Edmonton.

After the United States’ Logan Cooley opened the scoring just over 12 minutes into the game, Czechia responded with three straight tallies to take control of the contest against the defending champs.

Jan Mysak, Petr Hauser, Matyas Sapovaliv and Jiri Kulich all scored for Czechia. Kulich also recorded two assists.

Matthew Berard of the U.S. was assessed a five-minute major and a match penalty for slew-footing early in the third period. Czechia was unable to capitalize on the man advantage.

Later in the third, Czechia’s Stanislav Svozil received a five-minute major and a match penalty of his own after initiating a knee-on-knee hit with Cooley. The third-overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft would remain in the game after the collision.

The U.S. capitalized on the man advantage courtesy of Carter Mazur to cut the deficit to 3-2. Kulich would later add an empty netter

Luke Hughes of the U.S. sustained an apparent lower-body injury early in the first period, he would exit the game and return for the start of the second frame.

Czechia is set to play Canada in Thursday’s semifinals. Sweden plays Finland in the other semi.

Czechia, which hasn’t won a medal at the event since 2005 when it captured bronze, went 1-0-1-2 in the round-robin stage.

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