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Report: Lions trade Matthew Stafford to Rams for Jared Goff, two first-round draft picks – Yahoo Canada Sports

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The Canadian Press

AP sources: Lions trade Stafford to LA for Goff, draft picks

LOS ANGELES — The Detroit Lions are trading quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for quarterback Jared Goff, two future first-round draft picks and a third-round pick, a person with knowledge of the deal tells The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Saturday night because the deal has not been completed and will not become official until the start of the new league year March 17. ESPN first reported the swap, which will include the Rams’ first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 along with their third-round pick this year. The blockbuster trade of two former No. 1 overall draft picks will provide a fresh start for two durable starting quarterbacks who probably need a change of scenery. Stafford asked to be traded shortly after the current season ended with the Lions’ third straight campaign with at least 10 losses. He has been one of the NFL’s most prolific passers during his 12-year career spent entirely in Detroit, but has never won a playoff game. Meanwhile, the Rams’ coaching staff and front office have publicly expressed a clear loss of confidence in Goff in recent weeks, even after Los Angeles earned its third playoff berth and posted its fourth straight winning record during Goff’s four years under coach Sean McVay. Goff also led the Rams to the Super Bowl after the 2018 season. Stafford, who turns 33 in February, has two years left on a $135 million, five-year contract. After a career spent attempting to escape from the weight of the Lions’ lamentable history, Detroit’s franchise leader in almost every statistical passing category is headed to California to join McVay’s consistent winner. Goff is about to start a four-year, $134 million contract with $110 million guaranteed. Just like longtime teammate Todd Gurley, he is leaving the Rams before his huge contract extension even begins. Los Angeles likely had to pay a premium in draft picks to persuade the Lions to take on Goff’s deal. The Lions had several offers for Stafford, and they all included first-round picks, according to another person with direct knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because those details were not announced. Stafford was made aware of the teams that wanted to acquire him, and the Rams were one of the franchises he was excited about potentially joining, according to the person. Stafford already has friends and a place to stay on the West Coast: Stafford owns an estate in Newport Coast, southeast of Los Angeles in Orange County, and he is a childhood friend and former high school teammate of longtime Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. Although the Rams didn’t confirm the trade, their official Twitter account tweeted at Kershaw, asking him: “Have you heard from an old friend today?” The familiarity of these two franchises’ front offices likely helped the difficult deal: New Detroit general manager Brad Holmes just left his job as the Rams’ director of college scouting under general manager Les Snead earlier this month. Goff was the most recent first-round pick made by the Rams back in 2016. Snead has now traded away his top pick or moved back in seven consecutive drafts to acquire top talent including Goff, receiver Brandin Cooks, All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey — and now Stafford. The Rams went 10-6 this season and beat NFC West champion Seattle in the playoffs before losing at Green Bay despite a second straight mediocre season from Goff, who hasn’t emerged as an elite quarterback after five seasons in the league. Goff passed for 3,952 yards and 20 touchdowns — his lowest total since his rookie year — with 13 interceptions and six lost fumbles over 15 games. Stafford appears to be a clear upgrade at the most important position for McVay, whose reputation as an offensive mastermind has taken several hits over the past two years while Goff and a stagnant skill-position talent pool struggled to execute his schemes effectively. Goff, the fourth-leading passer in Rams history with 18,171 career yards, frequently appeared to be a budding star in his first two seasons under McVay when the Rams ranked first (2017) and second (2018) in the NFL in points scored. He hasn’t built on that success: Goff’s 38 turnovers over the past two seasons are the second-most in the NFL, and the Rams’ inconsistent offence was largely carried this season by its defence. During the 2020 finale, Stafford surpassed the 45,000-yard mark in the 165th game of his career — the fewest games an NFL player needed to reach that total. He threw three touchdown passes in that game against Minnesota, raising his career total to 282. Like many of Stafford’s accomplishments in Detroit, they were marred by a loss as the Lions fell to 5-11 for their third straight double-digit loss season and his career record dropped to 74-90-1 in the regular season. Shortly after last season, Stafford asked to be traded and spared from another rebuilding project. The Lions asked him to wait until they hired a new general manager and coach, but luring Holmes from the Rams to run Detroit’s front office and giving New Orleans Saints tight ends coach Brad Campbell a shot to be a head coach again didn’t change his mind. Detroit drafted the strong-armed Stafford out of Georgia with the hopes he could end the Lions’ drought of just one playoff victory since winning the 1957 NFL title. Stafford became one of the NFL’s most productive quarterbacks, but went 0-3 in the 2011, 2014 and 2016 postseasons. Indianapolis, Washington, New England and San Francisco were among several teams believed to have expressed serious interest in acquiring Stafford, who earned his only Pro Bowl selection in 2014. Goff is a two-time Pro Bowl selection. Stafford was AP’s Comeback Player of the Year in 2011 after bouncing back from an injury-stunted start to his career. He is No. 16 on the league’s career list with 45,109 yards passing and 282 passing touchdowns while playing on just four winning teams and no division champions. Playing for a team that was often trailing, he led 31 fourth-quarter comebacks in his career and earned 38 victories with game-winning drives. Detroit drafted Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah last year No. 3 overall, passing on quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert. The Lions have the No. 7 overall pick this year, and now that they have a veteran quarterback, they may draft a player to improve an awful defence. Detroit’s defence set franchise records by allowing 519 points and 6,716 yards last season, breaking marks set by its winless team in 2008 and ranking among the worst ever in the league. The Lions will face the Rams next season at SoFi Stadium. ___ AP Sports Writer Larry Lage in Detroit contributed to this report. ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Greg Beacham, The Associated Press

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Warriors top Mavs in Game 5, advance to NBA Finals – TSN

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — As the clock ticked down the final seconds, Klay Thompson began dancing on the sideline before nearly being moved to tears during a celebration with his teammates.

After two major surgeries and two years of grueling rehabilitation, Thompson is rounding back into form and shot the Golden State Warriors back into the NBA Finals.

Thompson shimmied his way to 32 points and the Warriors advanced to their sixth finals in the past eight seasons by beating the Dallas Mavericks 120-110 in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals on Thursday night.

“It’s hard to put into words really,” Thompson said. “This time last year, I was just starting to jog again and get up and down the court. Now to be feeling like myself, feeling explosive, feeling sure in my movements, I’m just grateful.”

Thompson tore his left ACL during a season-ending Game 6 loss in the 2019 NBA Finals against Toronto and then tore his right Achilles’ tendon just before the start of the 2020-21 season. After Golden State missed the postseason in both seasons he was sidelined, Thompson finally returned to action in January.

The performance against the Mavericks showed he is getting close to returning to his old level of stardom.

Thompson scored 19 points in the first half, including a 3-pointer that he punctuated with teammate Stephen Curry‘s signature shake as the Warriors raced out to a 17-point halftime lead and coasted the rest of the way.

“You could see how much was missing the last couple of years,” Draymond Green said. ”We’re lucky to have the Klay Thompson we know back because we know how good he is.”

Andrew Wiggins added 18 points and 10 rebounds, Green scored 17 points and Curry had 15 points and nine assists. He was named the MVP of the series.

Luka Doncic overcame a slow start to score 28 points for the Mavericks. Spencer Dinwiddie added 26.

After missing the playoffs in 2020 and ’21 in back-to back injury-plagued seasons, the Warriors are returning to a familiar stage. They join the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls of the 1990s, Magic Johnson’s Lakers in the 1980s and Bill Russell’s Celtics in the 1950s and ’60s as the only franchises to make it to the NBA Finals at least six times in an eight-year span.

“For our team, our guys, especially the core group, to be part of that six times in eight years, I don’t even know what to say,” coach Steve Kerr said. “It just takes an enormous amount of skill and determination and work.”

Golden State will host the winner of the Eastern Conference finals between Boston and Miami on June 2 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The Celtics hold a 3-2 lead heading into Game 6 at home on Friday night.

The Warriors followed their pattern from the first two rounds by bouncing back after squandering a chance to end a series on the road by winning at home. Golden State is now 9-0 at the Chase Center this postseason, tying the 2017 team for the the most consecutive home wins in a single postseason in NBA history.

After making just seven 3-pointers in the first four games of the series, Thompson had eight this game for the record-setting fifth time in the playoffs.

The last two have come in clinchers the last two rounds against Memphis and Dallas, prompting the question on whether his nickname should switch from “Game 6 Klay” for his history in that game to “Clinching Klay.”

“I’m satisfied with ‘Game 6 Klay.’ I don’t need another nickname,” Thompson said with a smile. “It’s nice not having to bring him out yet.”

Thompson gave the Warriors a 13-point lead in the first half when he hit one from the corner before dancing and added two early in the third quarter for a 23-point lead.

Dallas cut a 25-point deficit down to eight in the final minute of the third quarter but couldn’t get over the hump in the fourth.

“I don’t like losing, especially not like this,” Doncic said. “I played terrible. But if we’re talking about our season, I’m really proud of this team. … Nobody had us here. But I promise we fought until the end.”

SLOW START

Doncic had a rough start, shooting 2 for 10 in the first quarter. His eight misses were tied for the most in the opening quarter of a playoff game since LeBron James missed all nine of his attempts in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against Atlanta in 2015.

Doncic was held to six points in the first half, his lowest opening half of his postseason career, on 2-for-12 shooting before finding his stroke in the third quarter.

“We need Luka to go big a lot of nights just to give us a chance, and unfortunately the ball just didn’t go for him tonight,” coach Jason Kidd said. “I think he carries the load as well as anyone, and I think for us as an organization, we’ll help lighten that load as we go forward.”

MOODY MANIA

With Otto Porter (left foot) sidelined for a second straight game, the Warriors got a big boost in the first half from 19-year-old rookie Moses Moody.

Moody scored all of his seven points in the second quarter with his 3-pointer giving Golden State a 56-38 lead. Moody scored just six points the first three games of this series for the Warriors before scoring 17 the past two games with Porter sidelined.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Avalanche fan makes signs to support Kadri – NHL.com

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DENVER — Adrienne Ruth wanted to let Nazem Kadri know she and all Colorado Avalanche fans had his back and decided to do something about it.

Ruth, an Avalanche season ticket holder, painted a sign with a personal message for the forward, and printed up 300 flyers at her local Office Depot saying “Stand With Naz” for Game 5 against the St. Louis Blues at Ball Arena on Wednesday.

The signs were placed on seats before the game, and fans held them during the 5-4 overtime loss. They were Ruth’s response to taunts and threats directed at Kadri after Game 3 of the series in St. Louis on Saturday.

In that game, Blues goalie Jordan Binnington sustained a lower-body injury at 6:45 of the first period after being knocked over by teammate Calle Rosen and Kadri, who was skating hard for a rebound.

“After everything that happened before Game 4, I was upset,” Ruth told NHL.com on Thursday. “I usually have a sign for Naz for most games, so I knew I was going to have something [for Game 5], and I had a few people in the Avs community reach out and ask, ‘Do you have any ideas?'”

Ruth’s personal sign read: “The ultimate measure of a person is not where one stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where one stands in times of challenge and controversy. #StandWithNaz” It’s a slight reworking of a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.

Kadri had his first career Stanley Cup Playoff hat trick in Game 4, a 6-3 Avalanche win on Monday.

“We take threats made to any of our players or other club personnel seriously,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told Darren Dreger of TSN on Monday. “We are in touch with the St. Louis Police Department and they are employing enhanced security procedures both at the arena and in the hotel.”

The Avalanche lead the best-of-7 series 3-2 heading into Game 6 in St. Louis on Friday (8 p.m. ET; TNT, CBC, SN, TVAS). With a win, they would reach the conference final for the first time since 2002. 

Ruth, who also makes and sells Avalanche-related goods through Etsy, said Kadri’s wife, Ashley, reached out to her thanking her for her support.

“I’ve gotten to know her. I told her, ‘I’m planning on doing this, just so you know,'” Ruth said. “She said it was awesome to see.”

Ruth said the overall response has been “phenomenally positive.”

“To quote Naz, for those who hate, there are still going to be haters. There are still going to be those who disagree with it, don’t understand it or try to make it about something else but that’s pretty small voiced,” she said. “I’ll say even with the devastating loss (in Game 5) I woke up with a pretty full heart. Our news cycle is full of the bad. It’s nice to see the goodness making the news cycle.” 

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‘Play La Bamba, baby’: Edmonton erupts as Oilers return to final four – Sportsnet.ca

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The last time the Edmonton Oilers played in the Western Conference Final, Connor McDavid was all of nine years old, head coach Jay Woodcroft was a first-year video coach with the Detroit Red Wings and goalie Mike Smith was cutting his pro teeth in that noted hockey hotbed of Iowa.

Sixteen years after the Oilers’ most recent trip to the NHL’s final four — which ended with a Game 7 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup Final — Edmonton is going back to the Western Conference Final after a dramatic 5-4 overtime win in Calgary against the Flames on Thursday.

After years of playoff heartbreak and frustration for fans with the star-studded team unable to do much in the post-season, the win in Game 5 in the Battle of Alberta set off huge celebrations three hours north of the Saddledome.

The hockey community was abuzz on social media after McDavid’s OT winner.

Canadian soccer star Alphonso Davies, who grew up in Edmonton, was celebrating the victory after a rough day for the national program — which saw Canada cancel a friendly against Iran in the aftermath of major political pressure. He engaged in a little trash talk with Calgary’s Sam Adekugbe, a Canadian teammate.

It also was a special day-before-birthday present for young Ben Stelter, the Oilers’ superfan who is battling brain cancer.

The win also was a boost for a city that had negative news headlines earlier in the day when Alberta’s government invoked the province’s Police Act to force Edmonton City Council to come up with a plan in the next two weeks to tackle a spike in crime.

Now, the Oilers become Canada’s last hope to win the country’s first Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens hoisted the trophy in 1993.

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