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NHL free agency live blog –



Welcome to NHL free agency. With the market opening at noon ET on Friday, a flurry of signings is expected, along with some trades. What players will change teams, which ones will stay with their current teams? Follow our live blog all day long for the latest news and reports.

[RELATED: 2020-21 NHL Trade Tracker]

11:17 a.m. ET

Paul Stastny has officially been traded to the Winnipeg Jets from the Vegas Golden Knights.

Vegas gets defenseman Carl Dahlstrom and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft in return for Stastny.

Stastny fills a hole for the Jets as their No. 2 center behind Mark Scheifele and his acquisition should cool, at least for now, the trade rumors swirling around forward Patrik Laine.

Stastny, Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers formed a productive line for the Jets at the end of the 2017-18 season and in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs after the Jets acquired Stastny from the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 26, 2018.

Stastny scored 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 19 regular-season games and then scored 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games, helping the Jets reach the Western Conference Final before losing to Vegas.

Stastny signed a three-year, $19.5 million contract with the Golden Knights on July 1, 2018. In two seasons with Vegas, he scored 80 points (30 goals, 50 assists) in 121 regular season games; he scored another 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 25 postseason games.

11:10 a.m. ET

The Montreal Canadiens have signed defenseman Victor Mete to a one-year contract worth $735,000, meaning one of the pending restricted free agents is off the board before 12 p.m. ET.

Mete scored 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 51 games last season. He also scored two points, both assists, in 10 postseason games.

The 22-year-old Mete, a fourth-round pick by the Canadiens (No. 100), scored 31 points (four goals, 27 assists) in 171 games in his first three NHL seasons.

In other news, forward Mike Hoffman is expected to become an unrestricted free agent in 50 minutes, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported. Hoffman scored 29 goals last season, the most among all pending UFAs.

There was some thought Hoffman could sign with the Florida Panthers before the market opened, but it doesn’t look to be the case now. The 30-year-old will be an interesting player to watch, especially for any team that loses out on the Taylor Hall sweepstakes.

10:45 a.m. ET

The trade has not been officially announced, but TSN’s Darren Dreger is reporting the Winnipeg Jets will acquire center Paul Stastny from the Vegas Golden Knights for defenseman Carl Dahlstrom and a fourth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

Tweet from @DarrenDreger: Pending a trade call, the VGK have traded Paul Statsny to Wpg for a 4th in 2022 and Carl Dahlstrom

The Golden Knights will clear Stastny’s $6.5 million salary cap charge, but trading him means they have a hole at center behind William Karlsson.

It’s possible they believe it can be filled by Cody Glass. The 21-year-old scored 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in 39 games this season. He didn’t play in the postseason.

The Golden Knights could also consider Chandler Stephenson to be their No. 2 center with Glass as their No. 3. Stephenson signed a four-year contract with an annual average value of $2.75 million salary Wednesday.

Stephenson fit in well with the Golden Knights after they acquired him from the Washington Capitals on Dec. 2. He scored 22 points (eight goals, 14 assists) in 41 regular-season games and five points (three goals, two assists) in 20 postseason games.

Dahlstrom had one assist in 15 games with the Jets last season. The 25-year-old is 6-foot-4, 231 pounds. The Jets could be in the market to replace him.

10:30 a.m. ET

As we wait for news on a possible trade of Paul Stastny from the Vegas Golden Knights to the Winnipeg Jets, we have our first signing of the day.

Zemgus Girgensons signed a three-year, $6.6 million contract with the Buffalo Sabres. It has an average annual value of $2.2 million.

The 26-year-old forward could have become an unrestricted free agent at noon ET. Here are all the details.

10 a.m. ET

We’re two hours away from the start of the free-agent frenzy in the NHL and there is already rumblings of a trade that could have a big impact on the market.

Reports say the Winnipeg Jets are acquiring center Paul Stastny from the Vegas Golden Knights.

For the Golden Knights, moving Stastny opens $6.5 million on their salary cap, which could be used in a multitude of ways.

The most obvious is they could be going after a big-ticket free agent. Perhaps defenseman Alex Pietrangelo or defenseman Torey Krug.

There have been rumors that the Golden Knights are also shopping defenseman Nate Schmidt. If they move him and his $5.95 million salary cap charge for the next five seasons that opens a spot and more money to sign Pietrangelo or Krug, who are the top two UFA defensemen.

The Golden Knights may also be trying to move goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who has a $7 million cap charge.

For the Jets, this is a no-brainer. They get Stastny in the last year of his contract and for now at least this should kill the rumors of the Jets looking to trade forward Patrik Laine.

Stastny played 19 games with the Jets at the end of the 2017-18 season after they acquired him from the St. Louis Blues. He scored 13 points (four goals, nine assists) playing on a line with Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers. He then scored 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games, helping the Jets reach the Western Conference Final before losing to Vegas.

Stastny signed a three-year, $19.5 million contract with the Golden Knights on July 1, 2018.

Stay tuned. The news will be flowing in shortly and we’ll have it all here on this blog.

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Buehler’s remarkable start in Dodgers’ Game 3 win puts pressure on Rays –



Walker Buehler shoved, Charlie Morton suffered a rare post-season misstep and the Los Angeles Dodgers had their bats going as they motored to a 6-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.

With the win, the Dodgers take a 2-1 lead in the World Series and shift the pressure squarely on the Rays’ shoulders heading into Game 4. But before we get there, let’s look back at some takeaways from a commanding Dodgers victory.


Buehler’s had a bit of a spotty post-season, battling his command at times and blisters at others. His results have been perfectly fine, with only four runs allowed over four outings. But anyone who’s been watching closely knows he hasn’t pitched as efficiently as he could’ve, walking 11 over those four starts and completing just four innings in two of them.

But you know Buehler’s on when he’s beating guys with high-90s fastballs:

Locating his curveball back door for strikes:

And getting awkward, off-balance swings like this:

And this:

We could really just display nothing but Buehler GIFs here, because the Dodgers right-hander was featuring truly devastating stuff Friday. He was flawless through his first two innings, going six up, six down on only 22 pitches while striking out four. He walked Kevin Kiermaier in the third, but quickly erased him with a double play, ensuring he’d face the minimum entering the fourth.

It was right back to automatic outs from there, as Buehler retired his next four consecutively to carry him through one out in the fifth. That’s when he faced trouble for the first time, as Manuel Margot shot a well-located, full-count fastball into left for a double, the first hit Buehler allowed on the night.

Buehler rallied to strike out Joey Wendle with a nasty curveball at the end of a long battle, but then he made one of his few mistakes on the night, leaving an 0-2 slider a little too far up to Willy Adames, who put the Rays on the board:

But that was all they’d get off him as Buehler completed six innings, allowing only that run on three hits and walk, striking out 10. He threw 67 of his 93 pitches for strikes, a ridiculous 18 of them swinging. His pitch chart demonstrates how effective Buehler’s stuff can allow him to be with a relatively simple game plan featuring fastballs up, curveballs to either side of the plate and sliders either down-and-away from righties or at the back feet of lefties:

That’s about as good as it gets and when you have a bullpen like the Dodgers do, six innings on 93 pitches is all you need. Buehler’s now lined up to start a potential Game 7 of this series on Wednesday, and the Dodgers have to feel pretty good about that should the situation materialize.

An unlikely outcome

Friday, the Rays turned to Charlie Morton, a veteran stater who’s defied the traditional athlete’s trajectory and gotten better with age. Since 2017 — his age-33 season — Morton has a 3.94 ERA over 97 starts with strong peripherals of 10.6 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and 0.8 HR/9.

But the 37-year-old has done his best work in the post-season, pitching to a 2.81 ERA over 11 playoff outings in that span. He’s shoved in must-win games, he’s closed out a World Series clincher and he’s excelled in Game 7s, like last week in the ALCS against the Houston Astros.

Which is just one of the things that made his struggles Friday so curious. The other is how the trouble came out of nowhere. After two swift outs in the first, Morton quickly got ahead of Justin Turner, 1-2. But then he left a fastball up, right over the heart of the plate. And bad things tend to happen when you do that:

In the third, Morton again got two quick outs, both via strikeout on only nine pitches. But then he clipped Corey Seager’s foot with a splitter and got burned by Turner with two strikes again, as the Dodgers third baseman lifted a Morton curveball on the plate into left for a double, putting two runners in scoring position.

Max Muncy was next. Morton got to two strikes again. And another pitch was left over the plate:

This is extremely unusual. In two-strike counts this season, Morton held hitters to a .170/.207/.284 line. He gave up only six extra-base hits in 92 plate appearances that went to two strikes. Of the 53 batters he faced with two out in an inning, only three came away with extra-base hits. Friday night he was tagged for two through three innings.

But credit Dodgers hitters for a typically elite approach. Morton’s as good as he is because he doesn’t leave many pitches in hittable locations — especially when he’s ahead in the count. When he makes his rare mistakes, it’s imperative that you capitalize on them. And the Dodgers did just that.

Adding on

While the early damage was done with two-strikes, the Dodgers weren’t waiting around against Morton in the fourth. Cody Bellinger led off with a line-drive single to right that beat the four-man outfield the Rays deployed against him. And after Chris Taylor struck out on three pitches, Joc Pederson sent a first-pitch curveball up the line, pushing Bellinger to third and putting the Dodgers back in business.

No. 9 hitter Austin Barnes was next, in the lineup not because his OPS is off the charts but due to his rapport with Buehler. You won’t see the Dodgers sacrifice bunt often. But with Barnes at the plate, it made plenty of sense:

After all, the Dodgers had baseball’s second-best player coming up next in Mookie Betts. And he became the latest hitter to get to Morton with two strikes, rifling a full-count sinker back up the middle to cash another.

Morton’s five runs allowed were one more than he’d given up in his last five playoff starts combined. The seven hits he surrendered were tied for his most in a game since August 10, 2019 — a span of 22 outings. This isn’t how it’s usually gone. And if this series goes seven, the Rays will have to hope Friday was merely a glitch in Morton’s matrix.

Managing for tomorrow

Despite Morton’s struggles, Rays manager Kevin Cash needed as much length from his starter as possible with a bullpen day on tap Saturday. So he sent him back out for the fifth with five runs already in. But after Morton issued Muncy a one-out walk, Cash had seen enough.

From there, it was crucial that Cash got efficient, effective relief. You never know how many arms you’ll need on a bullpen day and it’s possible Sunday’s Game 5 could be an elimination game. The Rays needed to preserve as many bullets as possible.

John Curtiss was first out of the bullpen and did a serous solid for his manager, getting the Rays out of the fifth with only eight pitches. And he started the sixth similarly, retiring the first two batters on seven. But then he hung an 0-2 slider to Barnes, who doesn’t hit many homers but wasn’t missing that cookie:

As an aside: it really is unfair that a lineup as deep as the Dodgers gets a bomb like that from Barnes out of the nine-hole. He has three home runs in 348 MLB games. He entered the night a .194/.262/.247 career playoff hitter with exactly one home run in 103 post-season plate appearances. He’s in the game for his defence. But the Dodgers continue to be a cheat code.

Anyway, Curtiss then turned things over to Ryan Sherriff, who had yet to pitch in the post-season. And Sherriff gave way to Ryan Thompson, who hadn’t pitched since Game 3 of the ALCS. Thompson then passed the baton to Shane McClanahan, who made his MLB debut two-and-a-half weeks ago and has pitched only three times in these playoffs.

That usage tells you all you need to know about how Cash was managing the end of this one. It had more to do with tomorrow than today. The gambit he ran was that it’d be better to have a full stable of high leverage arms in Games 4 and 5 rather than marginally increasing his team’s dwindling odds of a comeback in Game 3.

Cash got what he was after. And now the pressure’s on him and his pitching staff in Saturday’s Game 4, as the Rays try to navigate their way through 27 outs in a series of short stints, while producing enough offence to avoid a 3-1 deficit.

Odds and ends

Randy Arozarena made history in the ninth with a solo shot off Kenley Jansen, tying an MLB record for the most homers — eight — in a single post-season:

Justin Turner made a ridiculous snag on a Mike Zunino grounder in the third, starting an inning-ending double play. It was impressive enough at full speed, but the super slow-motion replay demonstrates just how tricky the ball was to track:

Ji-Man Choi’s six-foot-one, 260-pounds and can do the splits. What’s your excuse?

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Khabib vs. Georges St-Pierre Was Late Father's Dream, Trainer Says – TMZ



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Video: UFC 254 preview show – MMA Fighting



With UFC 254 just hours away, MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck, Jose Youngs, Alexander K. Lee and E. Casey Leydon break down the top storylines from Saturday’s event on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, including the main event for the undisputed UFC lightweight title between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje.

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