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New England Patriots Julian Edelman expected to play vs. Buffalo Bills – TSN

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New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman is expected to suit up when they take on the Buffalo Bills on Saturday, according to The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.  

Edelman has battled shoulder issues much of the year – his knee injury is a more recent development – though his availability for Week 16 was never in doubt.

Rapoport also noted that Edelman should be “less banged up” this week than he was a week ago in Cincinnati.

The 33-year-old is coming off of a two catch, five yard outing in a 34-13 Patriots win over the Bengals. 

On the season, the wide out has 92 catches 1,019 yards and six touchdowns. 

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Maple Leafs hire Paul MacLean as assistant coach – Pension Plan Puppets

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Today the Toronto Maple Leafs announced they’ve hired another new assistant coach, adding Paul MacLean:

“Over nearly two decades as an NHL coach, Paul has filled every role on a coaching staff, winning a Stanley Cup and Jack Adams trophy along the way,” said Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe. “Adding someone of Paul’s expertise and character to advise and assist our staff is something that we felt was very important as we seek to make tangible steps next season.”

MacLean spent the 2019-20 season as an assistant coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets after being hired on November 21, 2019. He previously served as the head coach of the Ottawa Senators from 2011-15, leading the Senators to a 114-90-35 record and a pair of playoff appearances. He won the Jack Adams Award while coaching Ottawa in 2012-13 after being a finalist for the honour in 2011-12. MacLean served two stints as an assistant coach for the Anaheim Ducks spanning 2002-04 and 2015-17 and was an assistant coach for the Detroit Red Wings from 2005-11. He has been an assistant coach in the postseason on 11 occasions and has made three appearances in the Stanley Cup finals (2003, 2008, 2009), winning the Stanley Cup in 2008.

MacLean, 62, joined John Tortorella’s staff in Columbus in November of last year after not having a coaching job for two years. He worked for Randy Carlyle in Anaheim after being fired as head coach in Ottawa in 2015.

The power play of the Columbus Blue Jackets is not something the Maple Leafs should be looking to emulate. In my pre-playoffs coverage of the Blue Jackets I said their power play was so bad that the only PK squad better than Columbus’s own powerhouse unit was whoever they tried their power play against on any given night. That wasn’t exaggeration, their power play really was that bad, although it improved whenever Seth Jones was available.

Last offseason, the Maple Leafs hired Paul MacFarland, and most of us here at PPP weren’t very thrilled at the prospect of his power play concept coming to the Leafs. We can only hope this goes better.

With the news that Bruce Boudreau would not be hired by the Leafs, MacLean seems to be next man up on the veteran leadership coaching list. He joins Dave Hakstol, Manny Malhotra, and the goaltending and video coaching staff. And the new guy is getting the up in the rafters job.

And in case you were wondering how a guy who’d never been to the Soo got this job:

Update:

Also today, the Arizona Coyotes hired Maple Leafs goaltending scout/consultant Brian Daccord to be their Special Assistant to the GM and Director of Goalie Operations. I don’t think they mean hip surgeries, but who knows?

He has been with the Leafs for five seasons prior to this change.

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Canadiens sign defenseman Jeff Petry to a four-year contract extension – NHL.com

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MONTREAL – Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced today that the team has agreed to terms on a four-year contract extension with defenseman Jeff Petry (until the end of the 2024-25 season). The deal has an average annual value of $6.25 million.

Petry, 32, registered 40 points in 71 games with the Canadiens last season (11 goals, 29 assists). He posted a third straight 40-point season, ranking first among the team’s defensemen in points every season during that span. Petry was Montreal’s hits leader with 177 this season, and he also led all Canadiens defensemen with 30 takeaways. He also tallied two goals (both game-winning goals) and an assist in 10 playoff contests in 2020.  

In 11 seasons in the NHL, Petry appeared in 680 regular season games with the Canadiens and the Edmonton Oilers, recording 253 points (69 goals and 184 assists). He also added seven points (five goals, two assists) in 25 postseason contests. Petry has lit the lamp 52 times since joining the Canadiens, which puts him in a tie with Shea Weber for 16th among defensemen in franchise history.

Before making his first strides in the professional ranks, the 6’3 ”, 201 lbs right-handed rearguard played with the Michigan State University program for three seasons (2007-08 through 2009-10). He concluded his collegiate stint with nine goals and 67 points in 118 games. Petry also played two seasons in the USHL, sporting the Des Moines Buccaneers colors (2005-06 and 2006-07). In the junior ranks, he recorded 19 goals and 41 assists in 103 regular season games. He added two goals and 13 points in 19 postseason appearances with Des Moines.

A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Petry was selected in the second round, 45th overall, by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2006 NHL Draft. The Canadiens acquired Petry from the Oilers at the 2015 trade-deadline in return for a 2nd round and a conditional 5th round pick.

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MLB playoff push: Blue Jays can still catch Yankees after securing berth – Sportsnet.ca

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With their 4-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Thursday night, the Toronto Blue Jays officially booked their ticket to the playoffs.

It’s been four years since the Blue Jays last played post-season baseball, and the club that will embark on this post-season is completely different from the one that captured all of Canada’s attention en route to the 2016 American League Championship Series.

Currently sitting in the eight seed with that second wild-card spot in-hand, the young team can actually still rise in the post-season ranks before the seeding is fully locked in, thanks to their 3-1 series win over the Yankees this week. Toronto can catch New York in the standings and jump into that fifth seed with a strong showing against the Baltimore Orioles to close out the season, but only if the Yankees stumble and suffer a few losses, too.

So while a Rays-Jays first-round showdown is the most likely matchup, it’s not yet set in stone.

Here’s a closer look at where they stand in the MLB playoff picture…

If the playoffs began today

The top two teams in each division make the playoffs along with the top remaining two teams from each league for a total of 16 playoff teams. Those 16 teams will then face off in eight best-of-three series that precede the League Division Series.

If the post-season began today, these eight American League teams would qualify:

No. 1 Tampa Bay Rays vs. No. 8 Toronto Blue Jays
No. 2 Minnesota Twins vs. No. 7 Cleveland Indians
No. 3 Oakland Athletics vs. No. 6 Houston Astros
No. 4 Chicago White Sox vs. No. 5 New York Yankees

And these eight National League teams would qualify:

No. 1 Los Angeles Dodgers vs. No. 8 San Francisco Giants
No. 2 Atlanta Braves vs. No. 7 Cincinnati Reds
No. 3 Chicago Cubs vs. No. 6 Miami Marlins
No. 4 San Diego Padres vs. No. 5 St. Louis Cardinals

How seeding works in 2020: According to MLB, the top three seeds in each league go to the three division winners in order of record. The next three seeds go to the three teams that finish second in their division, in order of record. The final two seeds will go to the two teams with the next best records, regardless of division.

In striking distance

After being more or less locked up for the past few weeks, the American League’s playoff picture just has one last berth up for grabs — though, calling it “up for grabs” is being generous. The Houston Astros, currently sitting in the sixth seed, can lock up their place with just a single win in their final three games, dashing the hopes of the Los Angeles Angels — who, at 26-31, are the only remaining AL club that hasn’t officially been eliminated from contention yet.

Otherwise, the only change to come in the AL is in the form of playoff-bound teams jockeying for position within those top eight seeds. The Blue Jays will most likely be meeting the Tampa Bay Rays in the first round, but that could still change. As outlined above, the Jays can still catch the Yankees and jump into second in the AL East with wins over Baltimore and New York losing to the Marlins. The Rays clinched the division earlier this week, but aren’t locked into that No. 1 seed just yet as the 35-22 Twins can still catch them. If the Twins can jump into the top spot and the Jays stay put at No. 8, that sets us up for a Minnesota-Toronto first-round clash.

Meanwhile, in the National League, the field is still wide open. While the Dodgers and Braves have clinched their respective divisions and the Cubs and Padres are guaranteed post-season berths, there are still four spots for the taking.

The Philadelphia Phillies (28-29) and Milwaukee Brewers (27-29) are playing for their post-season lives this weekend, while none of the Cardinals, Marlins, Reds and Giants can afford to lose down the stretch.

Get ready for drama, particularly in the NL Central: the Cardinals and Brewers finish the season head-to-head, a series that feels like we’re already in the playoffs.

Playoff odds report

With the Blue Jays finally hitting 100 per cent with their post-season berth secured, we’ll shift this portion of the MLB playoff push to where the drama is by looking at the National League’s odds for all teams still on the hunt.

Objectively speaking, here’s where the Cardinals, Marlins, Reds, Giants, Phillies and Brewers stand in relation to their closest adversaries, according to FanGraphs and FiveThirtyEight:

Cardinals’ FanGraphs odds: 87.4% | Cardinals’ FiveThirtyEight odds: 90%

Marlins’ FanGraphs odds: 90.7% | Marlins’ FiveThirtyEight odds: 93%

Reds’ FanGraphs odds: 88.1% | Reds’ FiveThirtyEight odds: 91%

Giants’ FanGraphs odds: 47.1% | Giants’ FiveThirtyEight odds: 44%

Phillies’ FanGraphs odds: 50.5% | Phillies’ FiveThirtyEight odds: 54%

Brewers’ FanGraphs odds: 33.9% | Brewers’ FiveThirtyEight odds: 26%

Next up

The Blue Jays will send Taijuan Walker to the mound Friday while the Orioles will counter with Jorge Lopez in their bid to play spoiler in Toronto’s mission to move up in the seeding.

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