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Report: Four more Baltimore Ravens test positive for COVID-19 – TSN

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Four more Baltimore Ravens’ players and one more staff member have tested positive for COVID-19, according to ESPN ‘s Adam Schefter.

The Ravens were set to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers Thursday night, but the game was switched to Sunday afternoon because of the coronavirus issues with Baltimore.

According to Schefter, Ravens players were told today by their head coach John Harbaugh that, for everyone’s safety, they will not be allowed back in the training facility until Monday at the earliest.

The Ravens placed defensive end Jihad Ward on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday.

Ward, who has been inactive for the past four games, becomes the eighth player, and third defensive lineman, to go on the reserve list this week. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Ravens had seven players who tested positive for COVID-19 or were identified as close contacts.

Members of the Ravens’ coaching staff and support staff also have tested positive.

A source told ESPN that a strength and conditioning coach for the Ravens didn’t report symptoms and didn’t always wear a mask inside the facility. That coach was suspended by the team on Wednesday.

– With files from ESPN

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'No special treatment': Australia rebuffs tennis stars' quarantine complaints – CTV News

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MELBOURNE —
Dozens of tennis stars stuck in hotel quarantine ahead of the Australian Open were told Monday they would get no “special treatment” to leave their rooms to train, despite complaints from some players.

Australian health authorities rejected demands for tough isolation rules to be eased, as players resorted to hitting balls off windows, walls and upturned beds in the hope of being ready for the year’s first Grand Slam.

The Australian Open is due to make a delayed start in Melbourne on February 8, but its troubled build-up hit further problems after positive coronavirus cases were detected on three of the 17 charter flights that carried players and staff.

The 72 players on the three planes have been deemed close contacts of the four COVID-19 cases and barred from leaving their hotel rooms for 14 days, as largely virus-free Australia tries to prevent community transmission.

Health authorities said they discovered two more cases linked to the tournament on Monday, bringing the total for the Australian Open cluster to six.

Several players have taken to social media to complain about conditions.

World number one Novak Djokovic — who arrived on a virus-free flight and is being allowed to train in a bio-secure bubble — reportedly sent a list of demands to tournament organizers that included allowing players to move to private homes with tennis courts.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews smashed back that request, saying authorities would not bend strict health rules any further for the players.

“There’s no special treatment here. Because the virus doesn’t treat you specially, so neither do we,” he said.

The arrangements have sparked a backlash in Australia, with some social media users questioning why more than 1,000 players and staff were flown in for the sporting event, when tens of thousands of Australians remain stranded overseas.

The country closed its international border in March and has since limited the number of its own citizens who can return each week.

Meanwhile the majority of players are allowed out to train for five hours a day, unlike other returned travellers who are confined to their hotel rooms for the full 14 days.

Andrews said all players knew about Australia’s strict quarantine rules ahead of their flights.

“The notion that there’s been any change, the notion that people weren’t briefed, I think that argument really has no integrity whatsoever,” he said.

Some pointed out that the host city of Melbourne had endured a gruelling four-month lockdown last year after a virus outbreak.

“Our health safety is more important to us than your feelings of privilege and entitlement,” one Twitter user wrote.

“Most of us here in Melbourne do not want tennis players here potentially reintroducing the virus and causing us to go back to harsh restrictions,” another added.

French player Alize Cornet issued an apology to Australians on Twitter after earlier deleting a tweet that called the quarantine “insane”.

“Your reaction to this tactless comment made me realize what you’ve been through last year & how much you suffered,” she wrote.

“I guess I feel a bit anxious about all this & I better have shut my mouth.”

Staff are dressed in protective gear at a Melbourne hotel housing tennis players

Tennis Australia has begun delivering exercise equipment to the isolated players who are concerned about the risk of injury when they finally hit the courts for a week of lead-in tournaments to start in Melbourne from January 31.

New Zealand player Artem Sitak said he could hear tennis balls hitting the walls “everywhere” in his hotel as players embraced “creative” forms of exercise.

The doubles player told public broadcaster ABC the situation was “not ideal” but he was “staying positive and hoping for the best”.

“I’m trying to do as much as I can — all the stretching, all the exercising and anything I can possibly do — and hoping for the physios when they come out to do some magic here,” he said.

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Australian Open: Nick Kyrgios calls Novak Djokovic 'a tool' for requests to break quarantine rules – Yahoo Canada Sports

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Alberta selects Laura Walker, Brendan Bottcher for Scotties, Brier

The waiting is over in the wild rose province. Curling Alberta has made its decision on what teams will represent the province at this year’s Scotties and Brier in the Calgary bubble. Laura Walker, last year’s provincial champion, has accepted the invitation to play at this year’s Scotties. “We were excited to get the call. We wanted to wear the blue and gold and we take so much pride in representing our province,” Walker told CBC Sports. “We know there are many deserving teams in Alberta and we don’t take this honour lightly.” Walker made her Scotties debut in Moose Jaw, Sask., last year and finished with a 3-4 record. On the men’s side, Brendan Bottcher will once again be going to the Brier. Bottcher is last year’s provincial champion. He has played in the last three Brier championship games, losing twice to Brad Gushue, and two years ago to fellow Albertan Kevin Koe. It’s Bottcher’s fifth appearance at the Brier. The decision was made Sunday afternoon by the Curling Alberta board members. Massive repercussions This was a much anticipated decision as it will have massive repercussions on what other teams will attend the national championships. Curling Canada has announced a one-time expanded field for the Scotties and Brier, citing these extraordinary times in the midst of a pandemic as the reason for increasing the field to 18 teams. Normally, there are 16 teams competing at the event. However, Curling Canada has said there will be no wild-card game as it’s unfair to have teams travel all that way and make plans to only play one game. The governing body for the sport wants the best teams in the country at the event. So the first two spots will be determined by the CRTS rankings — the two teams that would normally compete in the wild-card game. The third and final team will be determined through a number of criteria. Kevin Koe, who brought in John Morris to join the team in place of Colton Flasch during the off-season, is ranked sixth. He’ll be at the event. “While we don’t agree with the decision made we are excited to have the opportunity to compete in the Calgary bubble,” Koe told CBC Sports. “Regardless of the uniform we are wearing we are a very motivated team and excited to compete for another Canadian championship and represent all our sponsors and fans.” Mike McEwen’s Manitoba rink is ranked fifth and is also a lock for the event. The last spot would then most likely go to Glenn Howard out of Ontario, as his team is currently ranked ninth. WATCH | Heroux, Jones break down Calgary culring bubble: Women’s side more complicated The women’s side is a tad more complicated. With Walker being named as Alberta representative, that means Tracy Fleury’s Manitoba rink is locked in for one of the spots with her No. 2 ranking. The next team without a Scotties spot is Chelea Carey. Her team disbanded during the off-season — Carey is a free agent. Then it’s Kelsey Rocque’s Alberta rink at No. 5. The issue for Rocque is that she changed two of four players during the off-season — and Curling Canada rules explicitly state three of four members need to return to be eligible. That eliminates the Rocque rink from the two CRTS spots — however, the team might be considered for the third spot. There is a potential situation brewing that could include last year’s world junior champion Mackenzie Zacharias. Her Manitoba rink is ranked 11th. This all comes in the wake of a number of jurisdictions cancelling their playdowns. To date, eight jurisdictions across Canada have now cancelled their playdowns — they include: B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Northern Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. The final spots are expected to be filled over the next couple of weeks. Women Canada — Kerri Einarson. B.C. — Corryn Brown. Alberta — Laura Walker Saskatchewan — Sherry Anderson. Manitoba — Jennifer Jones. Ontario — Rachel Homan. Northern Ontario — Krysta Burns. Quebec — Laurie St-Georges. Nova Scotia — Jill Brothers. Nunavut — Lori Eddy. Men Canada — Brad Gushue. B.C. — Steve Laycock. Alberta — Brendan Bottcher Saskatchewan — Matt Dunstone. Manitoba — Jason Gunnlaugson. Ontario — John Epping. Northern Ontario — Brad Jacobs. Quebec — Michael Fournier. Yukon — Dustin Mikkelsen. Nunavut — Peter Mackey. There are six major curling events planned for the Calgary curling bubble starting with the Scotties on Feb. 19. That will then lead into the men’s national championship beginning of March. 5. Following these two events, the mixed doubles championship will take place all leading to the men’s world curling championship, set to begin in early April. The final two events held inside the bubble include two Grand Slam of Curling bonspiels.

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Why need for roster flexibility forced Maple Leafs’ hand in latest moves – Sportsnet.ca

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TORONTO — The price of much-needed roster flexibility was a piece of the goaltending depth Kyle Dubas amassed this off-season.

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost goaltender Aaron Dell on waivers Monday before he even had a chance to play for the team. The closest Dell got was serving as Jack Campbell’s backup in Ottawa on Saturday night and now he’s off to New Jersey, where the Devils have been searching for more help since Corey Crawford’s retirement in training camp.

Toronto knew it had little chance of sneaking a 31-year-old with more than 100 games of NHL experience through the waiver wire, especially in this marketplace. There have been five goaltender claims since the NHL season began and it’s believed Edmonton was going to grab Dell if New Jersey didn’t take him first.

The move was necessitated by the fact the Leafs were only able to carry 18 skaters under the salary cap ceiling and lost Nick Robertson to a left knee injury that will sideline him for at least the next four weeks.

“[Robertson] had an MRI yesterday. The results we got back … I guess we would classify it as good news considering how it was looking,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said before Monday’s game against Winnipeg. “But he is going to miss some time.”

Stream 38 Toronto Maple Leafs games this season with Sportsnet NOW. Plus, SN NOW+ subscriptions now include access to NHL LIVE!

The fact Robertson will miss at least 24 days and 10 games allows him to be placed on long-term injured reserve while he’s out. In waiving Dell and veteran centre Jason Spezza, who cleared and was assigned to the taxi squad in a paper move, Toronto was able to get just under the $81.5-million cap ceiling before placing Robertson’s salary on LTIR.

That should make it easier to move players back and forth from the taxi squad, giving Keefe more options to work with in the coming month. He put that directly to use by bringing up Mikko Lehtonen for his NHL debut against Winnipeg as part of an 11F/7D rotation.

“We want to get him going here today and really try to get a feel for how he can compete in the league, and give him a chance to do that,” Keefe said of Lehtonen. “The greatest challenge for players like him is the nature of training camp and no exhibition season is you can’t really get the kinks out, you can’t make the adjustments, you can’t make the mistakes in those games that don’t matter and then have it cleaned up by the time you’re playing for real.”

It shouldn’t be long before Rasmus Sandin, Travis Boyd and Adam Brooks jump up from the taxi squad and get some playing time as well.

Depth is necessary to get through every season, but the challenges are even greater with the compressed schedule and the lingering threat of positive COVID-19 cases.

That’s part of the reason why the Leafs brought in both Dell and Michael Hutchinson on one-way contracts in October despite already having Campbell and Frederik Andersen in-house.

“We did that before we knew what the schedule was exactly going to look like and we just wanted to make sure that we had as much depth as possible,” Dubas said earlier this month. “Not knowing the way that things were going to be, we just felt that having as many capable NHL goaltenders was going to be important.”

Hutchinson moves up to the No. 3 role with Dell on his way to New Jersey.

That could wind up being a big opportunity for him career-wise but it had to be tinged with a whiff of disappointment. Dell only got to pull on the Leafs sweater in an intra-squad scrimmage during training camp and to serve as the backup over the weekend, and never put his Felix Potvin-inspired pads in any real action as a result.

“He’s a quiet guy that just goes about his business and stays ready,” said Keefe. “That’s really what you’re looking for in terms of personality and how he’s handled himself. … He’s an established goaltender in the league and we knew when signing him that it would be difficult to get him through waivers if it came to that.

“Here we are.”

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