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Raptors game vs. Bulls tonight postponed with Toronto’s roster ravaged by COVID – Toronto Star

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Oh, what might have been.

The NBA postponed the Raptors game in Chicago because Toronto couldn’t meet minimum roster requirements, a prudent and by-the-book decision that could only have been made Wednesday morning.

But it took away, for now at least, the possibility of another strange night for a franchise that has lurched its way through a variety of weird, mismatched and thrown-together groups in the last quarter-century.

Some examples:

  • In 2003, an eight-man Raptors team with a group of 10-day signees — Rafer Alston, Damone Brown and Art Long represented the entire backup unit — beat a Washington Wizards team that include Michael Jordan, Bryon Russell, Brendan Haywood and Charles Oakley. The win gave the roster-ravaged Raptors a 10-28 record in a season that would ultimately end 24-58 and mark the departure of coach Lenny Wilkens.
  • In the ridiculously bad 1997-98 season that began with the departure of president Isiah Thomas, saw the departure of franchise face Damon Stoudamire mid-season and ended with then-GM Glen Grunwald apologizing to booing fans at Maple Leaf Gardens, the Raptors used an astonishing 23 different players and put teams on the court that might not have won G League games, had the G League existed.
  • Last season, when the team suffered through a stretch when 37 players, coaches and staffers eventually tested positive for COVID-19, the Raptors once played a game using only six players. Not surprisingly, starters Malachi Flynn, Stanley Johnson, DeAndre’ Bembry, Khem Birch and Freddie Gillespie with the lone backup being Aron Baynes were humbled 125-113 by the Indiana Pacers in what could have been the low point of a 27-45 season.

If the Raptors had been forced to play Wednesday and ran out an all-emergency group, including Nik Stauskas, Brandon Goodwin, Juwan Morgan and Tremont Waters it would have been quite something but, in the grand scheme of things, not unprecedented.

Hang on, though.

Chaos may have been averted when the league postponed Wednesday’s game but the crisis has not passed and a “no-guard, all-emergency” team pretending to be Raptors remains a possibility.

The Raptors currently have eight players — Pascal Siakam, Dalano Banton, Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., Malachi Flynn, Precious Achiuwa, Scottie Barnes and OG Anunoby — in the league’s health and safety protocols and the only way for any of them to be cleared is to sit for a minimum of 10 days or return two negative tests taken at least 24 hours apart.

The testing process will be constant between now and the team’s next scheduled game, Sunday in Cleveland, and there is a chance some players will come trickling back next week.

It may mitigate the need to sign emergency call-ups but the Raptors have protected themselves in that regard. They have not signed anyone officially and the 10-day clock on their emergency stint won’t begin until they do.

That wouldn’t be before Boxing Day, since the Raptors are not scheduled to gather as group until Christmas night in Cleveland. They will face mandatory testing when they arrive in Ohio and likely won’t be on the court together until Sunday morning.

The layers to this situation — the postponement, the ongoing COVID crisis in the NBA, the fate of the much-ballyhooed and promoted Christmas Day games — are many and always changing.

The Raptors could have played Wednesday if they had five members of the regular roster available but, with Khem Birch ruled out with knee swelling and Anunoby placed in the protocols, they fell below that number. They can get to five — and whichever 10-day players they can add — if Birch can play or if either Justin Champagnie (non-COVID illness) or David Johnson (strained calf) are ruled in.

And there remains the possibility that some of the protocol players will return two negative tests a day apart and be cleared.

It is all unclear, though, and sends the Raptors into the Christmas break shrouded in uncertainty.

The team was being extra cautious this week, sending only half the coaching staff to Chicago to keep numbers down and mitigate risk. Nick Nurse, Adrian Griffin, Nate Bjorkgren, Trevor Gleeson and Earl Watson made the trip; the others remained in Toronto.

One holiday season celebration for the Raptors is off, however, regardless of how the next few days play out.

Danny Green, the last member of Toronto’s 2019 NBA championship team without his ring, was to receive it in a ceremony Tuesday when he and the Philadelphia 76ers are scheduled to play in Toronto. But with the COVID uncertainties and local rules that limit crowds at the Scotiabank Arena to half capacity, Green said on his podcast he would wait until an April game for the honour.

“If we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it right,” Green said on his social media feed. “My family and the fans deserve another moment to celebrate and I have no issue waiting.”

Green was simply making a pre-emptive move, though. He was placed under the league protocols and is likely to miss Tuesday’s game.

These are odd and rapidly changing times and to even speculate what might happen between now and the next Raptors game would be futile. But not everything is unprecedented, not where rosters are concerned.

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Soccer-USMNT embrace the cold as World Cup qualifying heats up

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Bone chilling conditions are forecast for the next three U.S. men’s national team World Cup qualifying matches and the players on Wednesday said they were excited to battle the elements and their opponents.

Snow, frigid wind and sub-zero temperatures will likely greet the USMNT when they host El Salvador in Columbus, Ohio on Jan. 27, take on Canada in Ontario three days later, and close out the window against Honduras in Saint Paul, Minnesota on Feb. 2.

Defender Walker Zimmerman said the prospect of cold weather brought back memories of the USMNT’s 1-0 win over Costa Rica in March 2013’s Snow Clasico in Colorado.

“I’m really excited,” Zimmerman told reporters on a call.

“I was talking to my wife over the break and I was saying, I want it to be freezing, I want it to be cold, I want it to snow. I want to be part of something so iconic, something like that game that I really remember seeing when I was growing up.

“And I think the guys are ready to embrace it.”

Forward Paul Arriola said he and his team mates have played in cold weather before and trust in their support staff to help them get ready.

“The staff on the national team do a tremendous job, and we have full confidence in them to prepare us,” he said.

“And we have our own duties as professional players and players on the national team to be ready for every possible condition.

“We’ll embrace the cold, and it will be a really good environment for the fans as well.”

The U.S. are second in the standings for the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers with 15 points, a point behind Canada and one ahead of rivals Mexico.

The top three in the eight-team group qualify automatically for Qatar 2022 with the fourth-placed finisher going into an intercontinental playoff for another spot.

The team are eager to put behind them the humiliating loss they suffered at the hands of Trinidad and Tobago in 2017, which prevented them reaching the World Cup in Russia and led to a complete rebuild.

 

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Toby Davis)

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Sportsnet announces revised schedule for postponed NHL games – Sportsnet.ca

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Sportsnet and the NHL have announced changes to the broadcast schedule for the 2021-22 NHL season. The changes account for a large number of games that were postponed in recent weeks due to a surge of COVID-19 cases across the league.

As a result, the following updates have been made to Sportsnet’s national and regional broadcast schedules. Please note that all times are Eastern.

For the most up-to-date broadcast schedule, please visit our TV Listings page.

For a complete list of every game rescheduled by the NHL on Wednesday, click here.

National

January

Monday, Jan. 31
New Jersey at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., Sportsnet

February

Monday, Feb. 7
Carolina at Toronto, 7 p.m., Sportsnet (Rogers Hometown Hockey)
New Jersey at Ottawa, 7 p.m., Sportsnet ONE (Rogers Hometown Hockey)

Wednesday, Feb. 9
Chicago at Edmonton, 8 p.m., Sportsnet (Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey)
Vegas at Calgary, 9:30 p.m., Sportsnet ONE

Saturday, Feb. 12
Columbus at Montreal, 12:30 p.m., Sportsnet (Hometown Hockey)
Boston at Ottawa, 12:30 p.m., Sportsnet ONE (Hometown Hockey)
Toronto at Vancouver, 7 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada and Hockey Night in Canada: Punjabi)
Winnipeg at Nashville, 7 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada)
NY Islanders at Calgary, 10 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada)

Sunday, Feb. 13
Buffalo at Montreal, 12:30 p.m., Sportsnet (Hometown Hockey)
Ottawa at Washington, 12:30 p.m., Sportsnet ONE (Hometown Hockey)

Monday, Feb. 14
Toronto at Seattle, 9 p.m., Sportsnet
Chicago at Winnipeg, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West
Edmonton at San Jose, 10:30 p.m., Sportsnet ONE

Tuesday, Feb. 15
Edmonton at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 16
Minnesota at Winnipeg, 7 p.m., Sportsnet (Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey)
Anaheim at Calgary, 9:30 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 17
Anaheim at Edmonton, 9 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 19
St. Louis at Toronto, 7 p.m., Sportsnet and CityTV (Hockey Night in Canada and Hockey Night in Canada: Punjabi)
Boston at Ottawa, 7 p.m., Sportsnet ONE (Hockey Night in Canada)
Seattle at Calgary, 10 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada)
Anaheim at Vancouver, 10 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada)

Sunday, Feb. 20
Minnesota at Edmonton, 8 p.m., Sportsnet ONE

Monday, Feb. 21
Toronto at Montreal, 7 p.m., Sportsnet
Seattle at Vancouver, 10 p.m., Sportsnet

Wednesday, Feb. 23
Buffalo at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

March

Monday, March 7
Toronto at Columbus, 7 p.m., Sportsnet
Edmonton at Calgary, 9:30 p.m., Sportsnet

April

Monday, April 4
Toronto at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m., Sportsnet

Monday, April 18
Calgary at Chicago, 8 p.m., Sportsnet (Hometown Hockey)
Dallas at Vancouver, 10:30 p.m., Sportsnet (Hometown Hockey)

Wednesday, April 27
Montreal at NY Rangers, 7:30 p.m. (Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey)

Regional

February

Tuesday, Feb. 8
Vegas at Edmonton, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West (Oilers region)
Arizona at Vancouver, 10 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific (Canucks region)

Wednesday, Feb. 9
NY Islanders at Vancouver, 10:30 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific (Canucks region)

Thursday, Feb. 10
Toronto at Calgary, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West (Flames region)

Friday, Feb. 11
NY Islanders at Edmonton, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West (Oilers region)

Tuesday, Feb. 15
Columbus at Calgary, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West (Flames region)

Thursday, Feb. 17
Pittsburgh at Toronto, 7 p.m., Sportsnet Ontario (Maple Leafs region)
Vancouver at San Jose, 10:30 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific (Canucks region)

Saturday, Feb. 19
Edmonton at Winnipeg, 4 p.m., Sportsnet West (Oilers region)

Monday, Feb. 21
Winnipeg at Calgary, 4 p.m., Sportsnet West (Flames region)

Tuesday, Feb. 22
Toronto at Columbus, 7 p.m., Sportsnet Ontario (Maple Leafs region)

April

Tuesday, April 19
Calgary at Nashville, 8 p.m., Sportsnet West (Flames region)
Ottawa at Vancouver, 10 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific (Canucks region)

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'Strongest team in all of snowboarding': Canadian squad named for Beijing Olympics – CBC Sports

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Canadian snowboarders brought home four medals at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

The team looking to build on that number was announced by Canada Snowboard on Wednesday, including all four previous medallists — Sébastien Toutant (the lone gold medallist), Max Parrot, Mark McMorris and Laurie Blouin.

Joining them in slopestyle and big air are Darcy Sharpe, Brooke Voigt and Jasmine Baird. Meanwhile, the halfpipe team features Derek Livingston, Brooke D’Hondt and Elizabeth Hosking.

Missing from that list is Liam Brearley, the emerging 18-year-old who won a medal in all three disciplines at the 2020 Youth Olympics. Brearley, of Gravenhurst, Ont., was victim of a roster crunch, as Canada earned the maximum four quota spots in slopestyle and big air.

Megan Farrell and Arnaud Gaudet will compete in parallel giant slalom, while the snowboard cross squad includes Zoe Bergermann, Tess Critchlow, Meryeta O’Dine, Audrey McManiman, Eliot Grondin, Kevin Hill and Liam Moffatt.

CBC snowboard analyst Craig McMorris, the older brother of Mark McMorris, said the Canadians should be a force.

“I think it is the strongest team in all of snowboarding, especially in male slopestyle and big air with Max Parrot, Sebastien Toutant and Mark McMorris all returning for their third Games. The skill is there. And the veteran wisdom and experience is there as well,” he said.

Notable omission

The omission of Brearley reveals the overwhelming strength of the men’s slopestyle and big air squad. Toutant and McMorris both sit in the top five of World Snowboard’s slopestyle ranking, while Parrot is ranked first and McMorris fifth in big air.

Parrot pre-qualified for the Olympic team before the season began in October, with the stipulation that he remain in the top-30 of rankings. He has since not competed in World Cup races, freezing his ranking in place.

The final decision may have come down to Sharpe vs. Brearley, with each similarly ranked in the two disciplines. 

“[Sharpe] was out for a long time and his points freeze, then he comes back and his points unfreeze but then he gets COVID so he can’t compete, and that was crucial in deciding the team. So I feel like it was an extremely, extremely tough job,” McMorris said.

WATCH | Mark McMorris discusses difficulties of qualifying in pandemic:

Mark McMorris on realities of trying to qualify for an Olympics in a pandemic

14 days ago

Duration 6:34

The Canadian snowboarder is back for this third Olympics and talks to CBC Sports about taking fans behind the scenes in a documentary, competing in a pandemic and what he expects from Beijing 2022. 6:34

Parrot, the Bromont, Que., native who won slopestyle silver in 2018, is a recent cancer survivor. 

The 27-year-old was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma about 10 months after the Olympics but returned to competition less than a year later, winning X Games big air gold in the process.

Mark McMorris, the 28-year-old from Regina, enters his third Games looking to upgrade on the bronze he won each of the past two times — this time free of a near-fatal crash directly in his rearview mirror.

Toutant, 29, of L’Assomption, Que., experienced an eventful Pyeongchang Olympics as he recovered from a last-place finish in slopestyle to become the big air champion.

WATCH | CBC Sports’ Returning Champions series features Sébastien Toutant:

Returning Champions: Sébastien Toutant

15 days ago

Duration 3:33

Canadian snowboarder Sébastien Toutant reflects on winning Olympic gold in Big Air at PyeongChang 2018, his disappointing performances in Slopestyle, and his hopes for Beijing 2022. 3:33

Blouin back for more

On the women’s side, Blouin, 25, overcame some adversity in Pyeongchang herself after a crash in training left her participation in the Games at all in question.

But the Quebec City native bounced back in a big way en route to earning slopestyle silver.

“I’m really happy, it seems like 2018 was yesterday and now it’s crazy that we’re already looking ahead to the next Olympics,” Blouin said.

Along with McMorris and Sharpe, Blouin is set to compete at the winter X Games beginning Friday in Aspen, Colo., as part of her Olympic tuneup. 

WATCH | Blouin takes slopestyle bronze at Calgary World Cup:

Laurie Blouin earns bronze in World Cup snowboard slopestyle

18 days ago

Duration 3:18

Stoneham, Que.’s Laurie Blouin finished 3rd in the women’s snowboard slopestyle competition during the FIS Snowboard World Cup in Calgary. 3:18

D’Hondt, 16, is projected to be the youngest Canadian athlete in Beijing.

“It doesn’t feel real yet. I’m so grateful for this opportunity, and couldn’t be more excited to represent my country in Beijing,” D’Hondt said.

Meanwhile, Craig McMorris suggested that Baird, the 22-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., could be an emerging star for Canada.

“I don’t think she has the tricks to be on the podium yet, but she’s still super young. So I think after these Games, if she still keeps going and training at the rate she is and learning, I think she’ll definitely be a threat in 2026,” he said.

Full team

Women

  • Brooke D’Hondt — Calgary (halfpipe)
  • Elizabeth Hosking — Longueuil, Que. (halfpipe)
  • Megan Farrell — Richmond Hill, Ont. (parallel giant slalom) 
  • Jasmine Baird — Georgetown, Ont. (slopestyle/big air)
  • Laurie Blouin— Québec City (slopestyle/big air)
  • Brooke Voigt — Fort McMurray, Alta. (slopestyle/big air)
  • Zoe Bergermann — Erin, Ont. (snowboard cross)
  • Tess Critchlow — Big White, B.C. (snowboard cross)
  • Meryeta O’Dine — Prince George, B.C. (snowboard cross)
  • Audrey McManiman — St-Ambroise-de-Kildare, Que. (snowboard cross)

Men

  • Derek Livingston — Aurora, Ont. (halfpipe)
  • Arnaud Gaudet — Montcalm, Que. (parallel giant slalom)
  • Mark McMorris — Regina (slopestyle/big air)
  • Max Parrot — Bromont, Que. (slopestyle/big air)
  • Darcy Sharpe — Comox, B.C. (slopestyle/big air)
  • Sébastien Toutant — L’Assomption, Que. (slopestyle/big air)
  • Eliot Grondin — Sainte-Marie, Que. (snowboard cross)
  • Kevin Hill — Vernon, B.C. (snowboard cross)
  • Liam Moffatt — Truro, N.S. (snowboard cross)

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