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Mirtle: Does Morgan Rielly's $60 million contract mean salary-cap pain ahead for the Maple Leafs? – The Athletic



Eight years and $60 million. A $7.5 million cap hit with a no-movement clause for much of the deal.

That’s definitely on the high side of where I believed the Maple Leafs would go to keep Morgan Rielly. But it was very clear, in digging around in the offseason, that there was mutual admiration here between Kyle Dubas and Rielly’s camp. They both wanted to get a deal done.

The Leafs were not interested in having another high-profile player walk for nothing. Rielly was not interested in going elsewhere.

Now he’ll have a shot at George Armstrong’s all-time record for games played as a Leaf. (He’s 607 back, with nine years under contract if we include the rest of this season.)

It’s safe to say this wasn’t exactly the deal Toronto wanted. But all those behemoth contracts given out this past summer to defencemen who are, in some cases, lesser than Rielly were a problem.

Before those contracts to Darnell Nurse, Zach Werenski and Seth Jones (among others), I’d forecasted Rielly’s value on the open market at roughly a $7.22 million cap hit based on historical comparables.


An $8 million-plus AAV suddenly looked very much within reach as a free agent in 2022. Especially given how awful the UFA defencemen class is next summer.

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Red Wings vs Sabres: GDU, Lineups, Keys to the Game – Winging It In Motown



Game Day Updates



Tyler Bertuzzi – Dylan Larkin – Lucas Raymond
Robby Fabbri – Pius Suter – Givani Smith
Vladislav Namestnikov – Michael Rasmussen – Adam Erne
Sam Gagner – Carter Rowney – Filip Zadina

Jordan Oesterle – Moritz Seider
Nick Leddy – Filip Hronek
Marc Staal/Daniel Renouf – Gustav Lindstrom

Thomas Greiss
Alex Nedeljkovic


Jeff Skinner – Tage Thompson – Victor Olofsson
Anders Bjork – Zemgus Girgensons – Rasmus Asplund
Brett Murray – Dylan Cozens – Kyle Okposo
Vinnie Hinostroza – Cody Eakin – John Hayden

Rasmus Dahlin – Mark Pysyk
Jacob Bryson – Henri Jokiharju
Robert Hagg – Colin Miller
Aaron Dell
Dustin Tokarski

1. Keep the Pace High

Buffalo just played last night and they’ve had a very difficult November. Detroit is well rested this week and looking to put a recent four game losing skid in the distance. They have the ability to push a high octane game against a Buffalo team that likely isn’t up to the task. It’ll be important for Detroit not to fall into a sleepy dump and chase game with a lot of whistles that Buffalo will likely be looking for to keep this close.

2. Givani Smith Being Given a Chance

With Smith apparently being slotted onto the second line to bring a new net front element to that line, he has a chance to prove he can do more than bang bodies and eat up some minutes on the fourth line. If he can help create some greasy goals in the crease area, it’ll provide an element the Wings don’t quite have.

3. Beat the Teams You Are Supposed To

Detroit has had a lot of trouble this season grabbing wins against opponents who are seemingly inferior. Plenty of losses against the likes of Montreal, Arizona, and others is head scratching for a team trying to separate themselves from the bottom of the barrel this year. Buffalo is also one of those teams after a smoke and mirrors start to their season. Detroit needs to prove they can take care of business against the Sabres.

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Composed and confident, Jacobs cruises past Koe and into Olympic trials final –



SASKATOON — Brad Jacobs wrapped up his post-game interviews, said “thanks” and was walking over to join his teammates when he added one last thought.

“Pretty cool,” the 36-year-old from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., said, grinning. “Who gets to do once-in-a-lifetime things over and over again, eh?”

Team Jacobs sure does, sports fans. They’re one win away from earning the chance to represent Canada on the Olympic stage, yet again.

On Saturday at SaskTel Centre, the 2014 Olympic gold medallist led his team to an absolute thrashing of Kevin Koe’s crew in the semifinal of Canada’s Olympic curling trials, an 8-3 win they led from start to finish, a game that ended after just six ends.

“Big win,” Jacobs said, and it was in every sense.

The stage is now set for the Battle of the Brads, with the winner representing Canada in Beijing in February. On Sunday night, Jacobs, his Harnden cousins — E.J. (the second) and Ryan (the lead) — and third Marc Kennedy will play Brad Gushue and his Newfoundland rink, the 2006 Olympic champions, for that coveted 2022 Olympic berth.

“It should be a heck of a game,” Jacobs said. “Really looking forward to it.”

A heck of a game is also in line on the women’s side after the legend that is Jennifer Jones punched her ticket to the final with an 8-3 win over Krista McCarville’s crew from Thunder Bay, Ont., in Saturday night’s semifinal.

When it was over, Jones raised her broom in the air and gave her teammates some solid high-fives while Tina Turner’s “The Best” played over the arena’s speakers. The 2014 Olympic gold medallist was beaming when it was all over.

“These are the moments that you play for, the adrenaline rush, the rollercoaster ride — it’s what makes sport so much fun to train for and to play, that you never know what’s going to happen on any given day and you just try to find your limits and how far you can push it,” Jones said. “And for our team, I’m so proud of the girls and to be in the final tomorrow is our first goal, and now we just want to go out and play well tomorrow.”

The 46-year-old skip, along with third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jocelyn Peterman, lead Dawn McEwan and fifth Lisa Weagle, will be up against fellow Manitoba club Team Tracy Fleury that went undefeated through round-robin play.

The key is simple if you ask Jones: “Just make all our shots, no problem,” she said, smiling.

The women’s final is set for 11 a.m. local time, while the men play at 7 p.m.

The way Jacobs earned his way to Sunday’s trials final was absolutely emphatic, highlighted by “two beauties” from the skip, as Kennedy assessed it.

Beauty No. 1 came in the third end, when Jacobs made the biggest shot of these Olympic trials on his last rock, taking out two of Koe’s to stick an emphatic four. The skipper yelled “Yeah!” and pumped his broom in the air.

In the fifth, again with the hammer, Jacobs scored another four, navigating past a guard for a takeout to bring him to 8-1 at the break. After that one, Jacobs barely smiled and got a couple fist-pumps. It was clinical stuff.

“That pretty much put it away,” Kennedy said.

Koe stared at the ice during the break, down 8-1.

“I mean, it sucks, right,” the skip said when it was all over. Koe represented Canada at the last Olympics.

“What can you say?” he said. “I thought we were ready to play.”

The team’s lead, Ben Hebert, said they brought their “C Game.” Hebert added that whiskey would be consumed tonight.

“That’s the best I’ve seen Brad Jacobs’ team in a couple years,” said Team Koe second, John Morris.

Jacobs agrees on that point.

“They’re playing so well in front of me that it really is making my job seem quite easy and simple,” he said. “Really, this is the best team performance that I can remember that we’ve put together to this point.”

“We haven’t been too uptight, we’ve been relaxed and havin’ fun and really we’ve been following Brad’s lead,” Kennedy added. “Brad’s been fantastic. And I think when you feel like your skip’s gonna make everything, it allows everybody to be a little bit more relaxed and that’s kinda been the story of the week.”

E.J. Harnden echoed that thought.

“Brad’s pretty much been perfect and then it becomes about wanting to be somewhere close to him,” he said, laughing. “He’s made some phenomenal shots all week long. I think what’s been really impressive is just his composure and confidence and support for all of us. He’s out there making everything and he’s giving all of us what we need to be at our very best, too.”

Jacobs and the Harndens won Olympic gold in 2014, while Kennedy won it in 2010 alongside Kevin Martin. The 2022 Olympics would be Kennedy’s third trip – he competed in 2018 alongside Team Koe. For all of them to earn another shot at another Olympic gold, they have to get past Team Gushue.

“I think we all feel very confident heading into tomorrow’s final,” Jacobs said. “What’s it gonna take to beat those guys? It’s gonna take a near-perfect performance.”

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Kyle Connor scores twice, Jets snap five game winless skid with win over Flames –



CALGARY — Winnipeg forward Kyle Connor knew precisely where he wanted to go with his shot, and that’s exactly where he put it.

Connor’s second goal of the night at 15:09 of the third period on Saturday was the game-winner as the Jets snapped a five-game winless skid with a 4-2 comeback victory over the Calgary Flames.

On the decisive goal Mark Scheifele gained the zone then dropped the puck for Blake Wheeler, who threaded a cross-ice pass over to Connor, who leaned into a slap shot, putting the puck into the top corner before Jacob Markstrom could get across.

“As a shooter, you know where the net is, you know where you’re going, that spatial awareness of where you’re going to shoot,” said Connor. “Something like that, you just try to get off quick. High glove was open.”

Connor’s 14 goals leads the team and ties him for fifth in the NHL with Connor McDavid.

Wheeler also assisted on Connor’s late first-period goal that got the comeback started, after the Flames had surged to an early 2-0 advantage.

“It’s easy to sulk and feel pretty crappy about the one last night,” Scheifele said about the club’s 7-1 loss in Minnesota. “We all put our big boy pants on and came to play tonight and it was a lot of gutsy efforts and a lot of blocked shots and a lot of taken hits, made hits, and that’s what it takes in the league.”

For Saturday’s game, Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice juggled his forward lines, reuniting the Wheeler-Connor-Scheifele trio. It worked.

“It was fun being back with the boys,” said Scheifele. “I’ve played a lot of games with those guys and we’ve had a lot of big games. We’ve had some fun together. It was nice to get on the scoresheet and get some big goals.”

Paul Stastny and Andrew Copp, into an empty net, also scored for Winnipeg (10-7-4). The Jets return home to host the Arizona Coyotes on Monday.

Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm scored for Calgary (12-4-5), which lost in regulation for the first time in eight games (5-1-2). Johnny Gaudreau had two assists to extend his point streak to six games (five goals, five assists). The Flames wrap up a three-game homestand on Monday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“We played a really good game, but we made a couple of mistakes and they ended up in our net. We didn’t finish enough opportunities,” said Calgary coach Darryl Sutter.

Pulled after surrendering four goals on 14 shots against the Wild, Connor Hellebuyck bounced back with a 34-save performance to improve to 7-5-4.

“So (Hellebuyck) says this morning, just remember last year we were struggling and came in here and put up a shutout. He’s got the list. He’s reminding me of that,” said Maurice. “He was outstanding in this game. I’m not saying we outplayed Calgary. They had a bunch of real good chances. We had some good chances. But our goalie was pretty damn good tonight.”

Markstrom had 24 stops to fall to 8-4-4.

The Jets had a great chance to take the lead with the score tied 2-2 and under five minutes remaining in the second period. Milan Lucic was assessed a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct for a heavy hit along the end boards that temporarily shook up Jets defenceman Dylan DeMelo.

But Calgary killed it off to keep the game tied into the third.

“In the third, we were pushing hard for the third one, but it just didn’t go our way tonight,” said Lindholm, who extended his point streak to seven games (two goals, seven assists). “Then they get one with four minutes left. I think all of us on the ice could have made a better read but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.”

It was just the second time Calgary lost in regulation when scoring first, which they’ve done an NHL-leading 17 times (12-2-3).

“The outcome sucks right now but at the end of the day, we just gotta find a way to get that one to overtime or try to get two before that, but we can’t lose that one in regulation. Those ones hurt so we’ll learn from it,” said Tkachuk.

NOTES: Calgary was a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and is now 26-for-27 over the last eight games. The Flames entered the night ranked third in the NHL on the PK… Winnipeg had been 0-3-0 on the back end of back-to-back games… The Flames led the Western Conference standings after 20 games for the first time since 1993-94.

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