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Maple Leafs make two small trades amid crisis – Toronto Sun

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You won’t mistake Malgin for Malkin.

Even though both should be added to their respective team’s lineup for the second half of the home-and-home between the Leafs and Penguins on Thursday, Denis is a 5-foot-9 Swiss-born forward acquired by Toronto on Wednesday from Florida for Mason Marchment, while Evgeni is an all-star with 64 points in 38 games against the Leafs exclusively.

The Malgin deal was curious on two fronts, the swap of a scarce size commodity for the Leafs for more skill, and the fact that they bartered with a Panthers team nipping at their heels for a playoff spot.

“It gives us another NHL player,” said coach Sheldon Keefe of the 23-year-old Malgin’s 184 games. “Paul McFarland (who coached Malgin in Florida) talks about him as not just a small, skilled guy, but a competitor.

“When he’s played with good players (once with a teenaged Auston Matthews on the Zurich Lions) he’s succeeded. It’s not gone as well for him this year (12 points in 36 games), but we need a little extra depth. Two teams saw a need and we found a way to get a younger player, ready to contribute.”

Keefe hoped that Malgin would have no jet lag issues on Thursday after leaving the Panthers’ U.S. West Coast trip. Malkin, a late scratch Tuesday against the Leafs, was hardly missed in the easy 5-2 win in which Sidney Crosby inflicted the most damage to reach 63 points in 44 games against the Buds.

AND ONE MORE DEAL …

Late Wednesday, the Leafs acquired right winger Max Verroneau from Ottawa, a former Hobey Baker finalist from Princeton, sending forward Aaron Luchuk back to Bytown. The undrafted Verroneau, who is 6-foot-1, appeared in four games for Ottawa this season when not on the farm in Belleville, after 12 appearances in 2018-19 following his graduation last spring.

Luchuk goes back to the team that put him in the big summer trade centred around Cody Ceci and Ben Harpur joining the Leafs for Connor Brown and Nikita Zaitsev.

WILLY GETS PEP TALK

One of Keefe’s personal chats at Wednesday’s workout was with William Nylander, ending with a chuckle between them and a stick tap from the coach. Nylander has six points in eight games this month, but like many Leafs, has veered from the script of late.

“Just checking to see where he’s at, how he’s feeling since coming back from his illness (a nasty flu bug), get his perspective on things,” Keefe said. “Also reminding him he’s an important player for us. The offence isn’t always going to be there, but we need him to remain engaged on every shift and in on every single puck. He has more to offer in that regard, but there has been a larger sample of him being very good.”

JOHNSSON DONE

Winger Andreas Johnsson is done for the season after knee surgery on Wednesday morning.

“It was a miniscus situation,” Keefe said. “One scenario, (doctors) were going to remove it and in that case it would’ve been six to eight weeks or whatever, but they were able to repair it, which is better for him, but a longer recovery.

“If that’s what’s best for him, that’s what’s best for us.”

Marlies forward Egor Korshkov remains with the Leafs for now, but was used as an eighth defenceman on Wednesday, pending Malgin’s arrival.

LOOSE LEAFS

The Leafs giving up three power-play goals to Pittsburgh, after having not surrendered more than one since Keefe replaced Mike Babcock, stung everyone and was given priority at practice. “Unacceptable for our PK as a whole,” said defenceman Justin Holl. “In a 5-2 game, that’s the whole difference. And the way it happened so quickly, it takes us out of the game early” … Keefe was sad to part ways with Marchment, one of his long-term Marlies projects, who came from nowhere, earned an entry-level contract and battled injuries to get a brief look with the Leafs. “A great kid, he’s put in a ton of work, but we’re unable to find consistent (ice time) for him. I hope for his sake it works out. He was an undrafted player, whom we were able to trade for an NHL asset” … The Marlies played a school day game Wednesday afternoon at Coca-Cola Coliseum, losing 5-3 to Binghamton. Veteran Matt Read had two goals. “The whole line (Read, Tyler Gaudet and Garrett Wilson) has been carrying the team the last couple games,” said coach Greg Moore … With the trading of Marchment, the absence of Jeremy Bracco and Korshkov’s recall, the Marlies have brought up forwards Colt Conrad, Giorgio Estephan and Riley Woods from the ECHL Newfoundland Growlers … The Leafs were all in green and white on Wednesday, breaking in Toronto St. Patricks-themed equipment for their March 17 home game against New Jersey.

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Report: NBA eyeing rapid COVID-19 testing – TSN

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According to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, the NBA and NBAPA are looking into the viability of devices that could test and provide accurate results for the COVID-19 virus within minutes as the league and players attempt to get back to action as soon as possible.

The multiple blood-testing devices are reportedly similar to what diabetics use on a daily basis. After a prick of a finger, accurate results could be delivered within 15 minutes.

The tests have been approved by the FDA and Illinois-based Abbott Laboratories began shipping its tests across the United States last week, according to the Washington Post.

League sources have said the rapid-testing devices are still only in an “exploratory phase,” reports Holmes.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Monday night that he doesn’t expect a decision to be made regarding the possible resumption of the 2019-20 season until at least May.

“Essentially, what I’ve told my folks over the last week is that we just should just accept that, at least for the month of April, we won’t be in a position to make any decisions,” Silver said. “And I don’t think that necessarily means on May 1 we will be.”

One anonymous NBA general manager told Holmes that the devices would be “key” to a return to sports and everything else.

“Rapid testing results are key to return to work, return to sports, everything,” the GM said. “Whatever job you have and environment you work in, if you’re interacting with people, we’re all going to have to feel safe doing that. Sports isn’t any different.”

Even if the devices are approved and become readily available, questions remain where the NBA lies on the priority list.

“We are going to be clearly second in line to healthcare workers, transportation workers, public workers, things along those lines,” said a NBA head athletic trainer.

The NBA suspended its season on March 11 after two members of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

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Blue Jays: What happens now with Mark Shapiro’s contract? – Jays Journal

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Mark Shapiro, the President and CEO of the Blue Jays, is only under contract until the end of the 2020 season. What happens now for him in Toronto?

There will be a lot of complicated variables for MLB executives to navigate over the coming weeks and even months, and I imagine things will be very much in limbo until we have some answers about the future of baseball in 2020.

That’s the unfortunate reality for the players, the fans, and for the front offices across the game, but there could be another interesting factor to deal with at some point this year. The Blue Jays were set to enter the season with Mark Shapiro working under the final year of his current contract as President and CEO, and the two sides had yet to work out an extension.

According to the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, there were talks around the idea back in October, but it didn’t sound like anything was particularly close at the time. We do know that Ross Atkins, the Blue Jays GM, is under contract until after the 2021 season, and he has been closely tied to Shapiro throughout his career in baseball, including being hired by Shapiro to come to Toronto. All along I personally expected that Shapiro would be extended until the end of 2021, and all parties could re-evaluate at the end of the 2020 campaign to see where things were at with the front office.

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Fast forward to today, and we’re now facing the very real threat that there may not be any baseball in 2020. That’s a terribly depressing thought for a number of reasons, but it could also be relevant when it comes to the Blue Jays’ situation with Shapiro. For the purposes of this thought train, let’s assume there will be no baseball this season.

Without having any inside information whatsoever, I would still be surprised to see Shapiro leave with Atkins under contract for another year. The Blue Jays could decide to move on to a different front office group and fire Atkins with a year left on his contract this fall, but it’s hard to see them making that decision now, especially without a 2020 campaign to evaluate their work. After focusing on building a homegrown core and rebuilding the roster for the last few years, Atkins and company went out and acquired some real help this winter including Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, Chase Anderson, and more. On paper it was an exciting winter for the Blue Jays, and it would be hard to justify moving on from the front office team without getting to see the fruits of their work.

All that said, Shapiro has been linked to other positions in the past, even in other sports. It’s hard to know what could be on the table for the 53-year-old until a decision has been made either way,  he has downplayed any rumours of that sort, and has repeatedly stated he is interested in seeing the job through.

“I’ve been clear and consistent about enjoying where I am and wanting to be here. From a competitive perspective, I want to finish the job. That’s incredibly important to me.”

Once again, my assumption is that if there’s no baseball this year, the Blue Jays and Shapiro will be interested in at least a one year extension to his current deal. Without getting a chance to see what this current group can do, it’s pretty hard for anyone to make a decision about the future at the moment.

Next: Even for half of a season, Price was worth it

As I said at the beginning, I don’t expect it will be a priority for the immediate future for the Blue Jays or for Shapiro, but we’ll see if and how that changes as the suspension of play continues. Hopefully there will still be baseball this season, but one way or another the decision on Shapiro’s future is coming later this year.

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How the field will likely look for a November Masters – Golf Channel

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While many questions remain about what a Masters might look like in November, one area where we have some clarity is what the field will look like.

Augusta National Golf Club announced Monday that this year’s tournament has new “intended dates” of Nov. 9-15. But part of that announcement included language from club chairman Fred Ridley about who will be invited down Magnolia Lane this fall.

The Grand Slam landscape has been dramatically uprooted by the coronavirus pandemic with golf’s major championship bodies announcing a schedule makeover.

“We want to emphasize that our future plans are incumbent upon favorable counsel and direction from health officials,” Ridley wrote. “Provided that occurs and we can conduct the 2020 Masters, we intend to invite those professionals and amateurs who would have qualified for our original April date.”

Masters qualification was already winding down when global competition ground to a halt last month, with only two remaining pathways to an invite: win one of four remaining full-point PGA Tour events, all of which have since been canceled, or sit inside the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings on March 30.

But 92 players had already qualified for this year’s Masters, a larger number than some fields in recent years even with those 11th-hour avenues removed. Eighty-seven players participated each of the last two years, while the field grew to 93 in 2017. The Masters has not had a field size over 100 since 1966, when 103 players participated.

Here is a look at what the PGA Tour currently has proposed on its schedule for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.

If the tournament committee opted to make the final top-50 cutoff based on what the world rankings looked like when they were frozen on March 20, four more players who were not otherwise exempt would be invited: No. 44 Collin Morikawa, No. 45 Scottie Scheffler, No. 47 Christiaan Bezuidenhout and No. 49 Graeme McDowell. That could potentially swell the field to 96, though winners of tournaments should competition resume this summer will earn invites to the 2021 event.

“We would not be adding players to the field between now and the November event,” an Augusta National spokesperson told GolfChannel.com. “Those would be picked up by the 2021 tournament, per our usual qualifications.”

There are 19 Masters qualifying criteria, although lucky No. 19 is the final OWGR cutoff that had not yet come to pass. Here’s a look at how all 92 players for this year’s field qualified, with players who gained entry via multiple criteria listed only by the first way by which they qualified:

1. Masters champions (lifetime exemption): Angel Cabrera, Fred Couples, Sergio Garcia, Trevor Immelman, Zach Johnson, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Phil Mickelson, Larry Mize, Jose Maria Olazabal, Patrick Reed, Charl Schwartzel, Adam Scott, Vijay Singh, Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, Mike Weir, Danny Willett, Tiger Woods

2. U.S. Open champions (last five years): Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Gary Woodland

3. Open champions (last five years): Shane Lowry, Francesco Molinari, Henrik Stenson

4. PGA champions (last five years): Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker

5. Players champions (last three years): Si Woo Kim, Rory McIlroy, Webb Simpson

6. Current Olympic gold medalist (one year): N/A

7. Current U.S. Amateur winner and runner-up: James Augenstein (a), Andy Ogletree (a)

8. Current British Amateur champion: James Sugrue (a)

9. Current Asia-Pacific Amateur champion: Yuxin Lin (a)

10. Current Latin America Amateur champion: Abel Gallegos (a)

11. Current U.S. Mid-Amateur champion: Lukas Michel (a)

12. Top 12 and ties from 2019 Masters: Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Justin Harding, Matt Kuchar, Ian Poulter, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele

13. Top 4 and ties from 2019 U.S. Open: Justin Rose, Chez Reavie

14. Top 4 and ties from 2019 Open: Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood

15. Top 4 and ties from 2019 PGA Championship: Matt Wallace

16. Individual winners of PGA Tour events that offer full FedExCup points: Cameron Champ, Tyler Duncan, Dylan Frittelli, Lanto Griffin, Tyrrell Hatton, Max Homa, Sungjae Im, Sung Kang, Andrew Landry, Nate Lashley, Marc Leishman, Sebastian Munoz, Kevin Na, Joaquin Niemann, C.T. Pan, J.T. Poston, Cameron Smith, Nick Taylor, Brendon Todd, Matthew Wolff

17. Qualifiers for 2019 Tour Championship: Abraham Ancer, Paul Casey, Corey Conners, Bryson DeChambeau, Lucas Glover, Charles Howell III, Kevin Kisner, Jason Kokrak, Hideki Matsuyama, Louis Oosthuizen, Brandt Snedeker

18. Top 50 from final Official World Golf Ranking of 2019: Byeong-Hun An, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Adam Hadwin, Billy Horschel, Shugo Imahira, Jazz Janewattananond, Victor Perez, Andrew Putnam, Erik van Rooyen, Bernd Wiesberger

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