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Puck already dropped on NHL off-season that could be a frenzy – Global News

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Even before the Tampa Bay Lightning returned home to celebrate their Stanley Cup championship, Julien BriseBois was on the phone with other NHL general managers about what to do next.

He is certainly not alone in making calls.

“Although we ended the hockey season officially for the ’19-20 season (Monday) night, I can tell you we’re pretty busy here in Smashville getting ready for the draft, free agency and hopefully for a full season next year,” Nashville GM David Poile said.

READ MORE: Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate Stanley Cup win with stadium event, boat parade 

There is no rest for weary runner-up Dallas, the Lightning or the 29 other teams because the NHL off-season is already under way and will proceed at a furious pace.

“There’s going to be some quick moves here and some teams trying to take care of business right away,” Philadelphia GM Chuck Fletcher said.

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“There might be other teams and players that might have to a little more patient for the right fit. Oct. 9, 10, 11, there might be quite a lot of free agent activity and then you might have a lull there for two months.”

Pittsburgh has already traded two-time Cup-winning winger Patric Hornqvist to Florida for defenceman Mike Matheson. Minnesota swapped forwards with Buffalo, sending Eric Staal there for Marcus Johansson. The New York Rangers traded Eric’s brother, Marc, and a draft pick to Detroit to shed salary.

The Rangers, who are expected to use the top pick in the draft on Alexis Lafreniere, continued their youth movement Wednesday by buying out franchise goaltender Henrik Lundqvist after the Ottawa Senators did the same last week with Masterton Trophy winner Bobby Ryan.

READ MORE: Hextall on Hockey: Is King Henrik done? 

Add the 38-year-old Lundqvist and Ryan to an already deep free agent pool, which is complicated this year by a flat salary cap. It remains at $81.5 million because of money lost in the pandemic.

Top free agents like St. Louis captain Alex Pietrangelo, fellow defenceman Torey Krug and 2018 MVP Taylor Hall might get a big payday, but there is no certainty what the market will look like given the cap and a lack of clarity about revenues next season.

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READ MORE: Oilers’ Hart Trophy winner Leon Draisaitl prepares for uncertain season 

“I wish I had the answer to that,” New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello said.

“Not only is this year the cap frozen, but I would anticipate that it will be likewise the next year.”

Lamoriello said he thinks there will be more free agents available in 2021, and he and Poile agree there might be more players left on the market in coming months after the initial frenzy ends.

Before that, though, things will be busy. Even Tampa Bay and Dallas have work to do after just wrapping up a season that began a long year ago this week.

READ MORE: Tampa Bay Lightning succeeding in NHL playoffs by adding grit, sinew, sandpaper 

To re-sign key restricted free agents Anthony Cirelli, Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak, the Lightning need to clear some $10 million in cap space, and that’s not accounting for unrestricted guys like back-to-back champion Pat Maroon and three defencemen who were key additions: Kevin Shattenkirk, Zach Bogosian and Luke Schenn.

The 2020-21 Lightning will look different than the group that celebrates this Cup victory.

“Teams change every year,” said veteran forward Alex Killorn, a potential trade candidate along with winger Tyler Johnson. “That’s part of being in pro sports.”

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Dallas has $15 million in cap space, according to CapFriendly, but the Stars need to squeeze in new contracts for restricted free agent forwards Mattias Janmark, Roope Hintz, Radek Faksa and Denis Gurianov, all of whom were influential in their deep playoff run.

READ MORE: Dallas Stars’ Rick Bowness still has ‘passion’ to coach after loss in Stanley Cup Final 

They may have to say goodbye to 34-year-old goaltender Anton Khudobin, who is a free agent after taking the Stars to the final — unless they decide to make a surprising move like trading starter Ben Bishop, who missed most of the post-season with injury. GM Jim Nill faces a real challenge to make sure Dallas remains a Cup contender.

“With the new system, I really think the No. 1 goal — and this going to sound kind of maybe funny — but is to make the playoffs,” Nill said. “And if you make the playoffs, you’ve got a chance to win the Stanley Cup. That’s how close the parity is.”

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Watch below: Some recent Global News videos about the NHL.

© 2020 The Associated Press

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ATS Picks: Atlanta Falcons vs Detroit Lions 10/25/20 NFL Picks, Odds, Predictions – Sports Chat Place

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Detroit Lions (2-3) at Atlanta Falcons (1-5)

NFL Football: Sunday, October 25, 2020 at 1:00 pm (Mercedes-Benz Stadium)

The Line: Atlanta Falcons -3 — Over/Under: 56.5
Click Here for the Latest Odds

TV: FOX Stream live sports and exclusive originals on ESPN+. Sign up now!

The Detroit Lions and the Atlanta Falcons meet in week 7 NFL action from Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday afternoon in a matchup of two teams needing a win.

The Detroit Lions will look to pick up another big road win after improving to 2-3 on the year with a 34-16 win over Jacksonville last time out. Matthew Stafford has thrown for 1,240 yards, 9 touchdowns and 4 interceptions on 60.7% passing while Adrian Peterson has rushed for a team-high 285 rushing yards with a pair of TDs and D’Andre Swift has 158 rushing yards and 3 scores. Kenny Golladay has a team-high 224 receiving yards on 14 catches with a pair of touchdowns while Danny Amendola has 208 receiving yards. T.J. Hockenson has a team-high 17 receptions for 197 yards and 3 receiving TDs while Marvin Jones and Swift each have 100+ receiving yards. Defensively, Tracy Walker leads Detroit with 35 total tackles including 28 solo tackles while Duron Harmon has a pair of INTs for Detroit’s defense. Trey Flowers and Romeo Okwara each have a pair of sacks for the Lions as well this season.

The Atlanta Falcons will look to build off of their first win of the season coming in the form of a 40-23 win over Minnesota last time out. Matt Ryan has thrown for 1,843 yards, 11 touchdowns and 3 interceptions on 65.2% passing while Todd Gurley II has a team-high 422 rushing yards and 5 rushing TDs. Brian Hill also has 161 rushing yards while Calvin Ridley leads Atlanta’s receiving group with 546 receiving yards and 5 TDs through the air. Julio Jones has 23 grabs for 350 yards while Russell Gage and Hayden Hurst each have 200+ receiving yards with Hurst logging 3 receiving TDs. Defensively, Deion Jones and Foyesade Oluokun each have a team-high 40 total tackles and an interception with Oluokun recording 29 solo tackles as well. Grady Jarrett also has a team-high 2.5 sacks this season.

Wonder who the Top Experts Picked? Click Here To Find Out

Detroit is 4-12 ATS in their last 16 games overall and 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games against a team with a losing record while the over is 4-0 in their last 4 games following a win. Atlanta is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games against a team with a losing record and 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games while the over is 20-7-1 in their last 28 games against a team with a losing record. Detroit is 0-5 ATS in the last 5 meetings between these two teams.

This isn’t a game I’m rushing to the window to bet if we’re being honest, but maybe Atlanta’s first win carries some mojo here or maybe it’s a flash in the pan as Detroit’s been the better team for much of the year. Instead of trying to figure out a side, I’m going to side with the over. I think this could easily be a 33-30 or 30-27 game whichever way it ends up going and I just don’t trust the defenses between a pair of offensive clubs. Give me the over.

See Who The Experts Picked To Win This One

Chris’s Pick
Over 56.5

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a Sports Chat Place site consensus.

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Liverpool scrape a win, but rivals drop points: Premier League – The Globe and Mail

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October 24, 2020 Sheffield United’s Enda Stevens in action with Liverpool’s Takumi Minamino and Georginio Wijnaldum Pool

MICHAEL STEELE/Reuters

Champions Liverpool got back to winning ways in the Premier League with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Sheffield United but their likely title rivals all dropped points on Saturday.

Diogo Jota’s second-half header earned Liverpool a first win in three league games to lift them joint top with Merseyside rivals Everton who play on Sunday.

Manchester City’s stuttering start continued as they drew 1-1 at West Ham United while Manchester United and Chelsea played out a drab 0-0 draw at Old Trafford.

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Crystal Palace moved up into the top five as they beat bottom club Fulham 2-1 with goals by Jairo Riedewald and Wilfried Zaha.

Liverpool had not conceded a penalty at their Anfield fortress for 67 Premier League games. However, that run came to an end early on against Sheffield United as Fabinho was adjudged by VAR to have fouled Oli McBurnie inside the area, even though referee Mike Dean had awarded a free kick outside the box.

Sander Berge sent Alisson, back in goal after injury, the wrong way to put the visitors ahead and Liverpool lived dangerously before Roberto Firmino levelled in the 41st minute.

Jota’s header earned the three points but it was a struggle in the rain for Juergen Klopp’s side who looked uneasy at the back without the injured Virgil van Dijk.

For the second week running they also had legitimate gripes about VAR.

“It’s nice to win 2-0 or 3-0 every game but that only happens if, in games like this, we are ready to fight hard,” Klopp said. “On nights like this you earn the right to win the others like that.

“The penalty was not even a foul. During a season there are so many different periods, we have had an injustice and we have had to go again.”

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Manchester City trailed to Michail Antonio’s acrobatic opener at the London Stadium and only improved after the break when youngster Phil Foden came on for the injured Sergio Aguero.

Foden grabbed the equaliser and Raheem Sterling wasted a glorious late chance as City were frustrated.

They are in 12th place with eight points from five games, their worst start to a Premier League season for six years.

“I’m not a guy who can predict the future. We’ve already dropped seven points, which is a lot. But we’ve struggled a lot for many reasons,” said City manager Pep Guardiola, adding that the recently-returned Aguero could have a hamstring injury.

While City languish in mid-table, neighbours Manchester United are down in 15th with seven points from five games after their stalemate against Chelsea.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said both teams were showing the effects of their midweek Champions League exertions — not helped by an empty stadium. Although United were able to call on Edinson Cavani for his debut.

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“It was two teams who played in Europe this week and it showed,” he said. “If that Stretford End was full we might get that ball over the line. It is a different sport with the fans here. We miss them. It’s the same for all teams but everyone agrees there’s a little less in it — the edge has gone.”

United avoided a third consecutive home league defeat at the start of a season for the first time since 1930, although they were fortunate when Harry Maguire got away with what looked like a foul inside the area on Cesar Azpilicueta in the first half.

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Jon Jones scoffs at Khabib Nurmagomedov taking over as pound-for-pound best, much less becoming the GOAT – MMA Fighting

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Jon Jones is happy to praise Khabib Nurmagomedov on an incredible career, but he’s not ready to just hand over his spot as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, much less declare anybody else as the greatest of all-time.

At UFC 254, Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from MMA just moments after submitting Justin Gaethje to retain his lightweight title and move his record to 29-0 overall. The undefeated Dagestani superstar then asked for a the No. 1 spot in the pound-for-pound rankings as one final gesture in a career where he dominated his competition while losing only two rounds in the octagon.

While Jones conceded his No. 1 pound-for-pound ranking momentarily to help celebrate Nurmagomedov’s career, the former UFC light heavyweight champion quickly pointed out all the ways he’s superior.

“15 world titles, numbers don’t lie,” Jones wrote on Twitter. “Definitely a powerful moment, but my logic is definitely not clouded. I’ve won 15 world titles, he just won his 4th. The fact that this is even a conversation is mine blowing to me.”

For all the ways Jones congratulated Nurmagomedov for his record and resume, adding he surely “made his father along with millions of fans around the world incredibly proud,” he’s not ready to hand over his life’s work.

Jones is more than happy to remind everybody of the heady list of accomplishments he’s put together, essentially remaining undefeated – outside of a lone disqualification loss in a fight he was dominating – in the UFC over the past decade.

“When I signed with UFC I was one of the youngest fighters on the roster, youngest champion in the history of the sport and have only had three competitive fights,” Jones said. “I understand most people have never been number one in their community, state, let alone the world. My competitive nature won’t allow me to just stand by and see someone ask to be considered the best. I’ve sacrificed too much blood.

“I mean if I get out ranked by a man with only three title defenses, I don’t really know what to think anymore. Over 50% of my career have been title fights. LeBron James is allowed to win a game by one point but not Jon Jones. Man I have really spoiled you guys.”

Perhaps recency bias plays a part, but Jones just can’t fathom how his overall career suddenly pales in comparison to Nurmagomedov, no matter what he did on Saturday night at UFC 254.

“If we’re having a popularity contest, I’d gladly take my L,” Jones wrote. “This sh*t has nothing to do with fame or being a good person. I’ve giving my whole adult life to this game, I owe it to myself to speak up. People want me to stay quiet and let him have his moment while I just sit back and watch my hard work get moved down the rankings. It’s not fair to my family, or the team of people who have sacrificed to get me this far

“Not salty at all, I really do respect Khabib, I honor the type of man he is. But being the best is earned not given. Unfortunately four title fights ain’t it, no matter how much we all like [him].”

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