TORONTO — In their quest to make the best of this unprecedented summer training camp, the Toronto Maple Leafs inadvertently went offside.
Rival teams took notice when Toronto brought two referees and two linesmen on the ice during Tuesday’s practice session, and issued complaints to the NHL.
While it’s common to see officials used in camps before the season, the teams felt it wasn’t fair for only one to be permitted to do so at a time when everyone is being asked to operate under strict health restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among those restrictions is an edict that only 20 non-playing staff can be in a team facility at any one time.
The NHL agreed with that view even though the Leafs had confirmed negative coronavirus tests for the officials a day ahead of time, and ultimately decided it wasn’t “comfortable” with exposing the players to those not subject to its Phase 3 protocols, according to a source.
The Leafs were instructed to stop using the referees and linesmen immediately and didn’t voice any opposition to that ruling.
“Apparently some people around the NHL are paying attention to our media reports here in Toronto,” said Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe, with a chuckle. “I think there were some people around the league that perhaps liked the idea that we had referees but didn’t like the idea that maybe they didn’t have the same available to them.
“We had to make an adjustment and we’re perfectly fine doing that.”
During Wednesday’s scrimmage, Marlies head coach Greg Moore served as the on-ice official — dropping the puck for faceoffs and even awarding a penalty shot for a tripping infraction.
That kicked off a best-of-five series between Team (Frederik) Andersen and Team (Auston) Matthews which will run throughout camp in an effort to replicate game-like situations as closely as possible. No detail was spared, including having music played during stoppages and a horn sound after each goal.
Originally, that’s why Keefe decided to invite a couple American Hockey League officials to take part as well.
“Any time we’re doing any sort of scrimmaging, we’d like to have the officials involved if we can,” Keefe said Tuesday, before the NHL’s ruling. “Certainly the professionalism of the faceoffs and the way that things were called, we missed having them on the ice. Just the fact that you have four extra bodies out there, that in itself is different and I think it’s important.
“We’re trying to get up to speed to game feel and intensity and all those things as quickly as possible.”
The Leafs are preparing for a best-of-five qualifying round series with Columbus and will only have one true exhibition game beforehand.
That goes July 28 against Montreal.
49ers may need temporary home after county bans contact sports – Sportsnet.ca
The San Francisco 49ers and other teams may need to find a temporary new home after Santa Clara County on Saturday banned all contact sports from holding games and practices for the next three weeks.
County officials issued the directives in response to rising cases of the coronavirus in the area. The rules take effect Monday and will last until Dec 21.
The 49ers have home games scheduled for Dec. 7 against Buffalo and Dec. 13 against Washington at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. The team also practices at that site in the county.
“We are working with the NFL and our partners on operational plans and will share details as they are confirmed,” the team said in a statement.
A person familiar with the situation said the NFL and 49ers prepared possible back-up plans before the season in case the Niners needed to move their operations and have an NFL stadium ready for games. The person spoke on condition of anonymity and gave no details on what those plans are because the league hadn’t made any announcement.
The rules also will impact the San Jose Sharks of the NHL and college teams at Stanford and San Jose State.
“For those teams, they will not be able to play games or have practices where they have direct contact, within the county,” Santa Clara County counsel James Williams said.
Williams said he has been in touch with the teams. None immediately responded to requests for comment.
Along with banning contact sports, the new rules also require anyone who has travelled more than 150 miles from the county to quarantine for 14 days. The 49ers are playing Sunday at the Los Angeles Rams but will return from that trip before the rules go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday.
“This pandemic is like a high-speed train, and our projections tell us that we are on target to derail by around the third week of December,” said Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody. “If we don’t apply brakes, right now with all our collective might.”
Cody said Santa Clara County has the highest case rate in the Bay Area, leading to the stricter rules. If the other counties don’t follow, the 49ers could look to play at the Oakland Coliseum _ the Raiders’ old home _ or possibly the Giants’ baseball stadium in San Francisco.
The NHL hasn’t announced a date for the start of training camp but the Sharks have said they would look into alternate sites if needed. Several Sharks players have been holding informal workouts at the team facility in small groups.
Stanford and San Jose State also have several sports in season. The Cardinal have one scheduled home football game left on Dec. 12 against Oregon State.
The Spartans have home football games on Dec. 5 against Hawaii and Dec. 11 against Nevada. San Jose State practiced before the season a few hundred miles away at Humboldt State because of restrictions in Santa Clara County.
Stanford’s second-ranked women’s basketball team has a home game scheduled for Monday against San Diego. The athletic department is discussing options with university and county officials.
Twitter Reaction: Football world offers Broncos advice during QB crisis – Sportsnet.ca
The Denver Broncos find themselves in an unprecedented situation, with all of their quarterbacks ineligible to play Sunday due to COVID-19 concerns.
The team is expected to turn to Kendall Hinton as their emergency quarterback against the New Orleans Saints Sunday with Drew Lock, Brett Rypien, and Blake Bortles sidelined after the trio reportedly didn’t wear masks while coming in contact with fellow quarterback Jeff Driskel, who later tested positive for COVID-19.
Hinton has experience playing quarterback during his five years at Wake Forest but has never played a snap behind centre in the NFL — and was signed to the practice squad as a receiver.
The situation understandably drew plenty of reaction from around the football world:
I’m laughing to keep from crying
— Kareem Jackson (@ReemBoi25) November 29, 2020
Vanderbilt's Sarah Fuller makes football history as 1st woman to kick for Power 5 school – CBC.ca
Sarah Fuller made history, but her barrier-breaking kickoff was the only highlight for Vanderbilt as Missouri dominated the Commodores 41-0 on Saturday.
Fuller became the first woman to participate in a Power 5 conference football game when she kicked off to start the second half. Fuller delivered a low kick that bounced to the 35-yard line, where Missouri pounced on it.
WATCH | Sarah Fuller makes historic 1st kick in NCAA Division 1 game:
The 21-year-old never got the chance to attempt a PAT or field goal, as the Tigers (4-3) rarely allowed the Commodores (0-8) to cross midfield in the Southeastern Conference game.
Fuller, a senior goalkeeper on the Vanderbilt soccer team, joined the football team this week after helping the Commodores win the Southeastern Conference Tournament last weekend. COVID-19 protocols and restrictions left Vandy football coach Derek Mason with a limited number of specialists available against Missouri. Mason reached out to soccer coach Darren Ambrose for some help.
Fuller agreed to give football a try and practised with the winless Commodores before making the trip to Missouri. She wore “Play Like A Girl” on the back of her helmet.
No woman had appeared in an SEC football game or for any Power Five team. Liz Heaston became the first woman to score with two extra points for Willamette in NAIA on Oct. 18, 1997.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, you have witnessed history.” <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/PlayLikeAGirl?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#PlayLikeAGirl</a> | <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/AnchorDown?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#AnchorDown</a> <a href=”https://t.co/Qtcp83lVFI”>pic.twitter.com/Qtcp83lVFI</a>
Katie Hnida was the first woman to score at the Football Bowl Subdivision level with two extra points for New Mexico on Aug. 30, 2003.
April Goss was the second with an extra point for Kent State in 2015. Tonya Butler was the first woman to kick a field goal in an NCAA game for Division II West Alabama on Sept. 13, 2003.
“Let’s make history,” she wrote Friday on Twitter with a photo of herself wearing a football jersey with a soccer ball between her feet while holding a football in her hands.
Let’s make history. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/PlayLikeAGirl?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#PlayLikeAGirl</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/AnchorDown?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#AnchorDown</a> <a href=”https://t.co/3SgBP1qZru”>pic.twitter.com/3SgBP1qZru</a>
After the game, Fuller had the following to say: “I haven’t taken a second to soak it all in, really. I think it’s incredible that I am able to do this.
“All I want to is be a good influence to the young girls. There were times that I struggled in sports but I am thankful I stuck with it.
“I just want to say, literally, you can do anything you set your mind to…that’s the No. 1 thing.”
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