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Rod Black leaves TSN and Bell Media after more than 30 years there – Awful Announcing

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The Canadian broadcasting landscape just saw a major change. Rod Black, who spent more than three decades with TSN and Bell Media, announced Thursday that he’s moving on:

Black called CFL games for TSN for much of that time. He also served as a studio host for NBA broadcast, called Toronto Blue Jays games, and was a regular part of CTV and TSN Olympic coverage for decades, especially calling figure skating. He received the Sports Media Canada Award for Outstanding Sports Broadcaster, and earned a Canadian Screen Award nomination and five Gemini Award nominations. He also received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal  in both 2002 and 2012 for his work supporting the Special Olympics, a long-time passion for him. Here’s more on him from a Bell Media release:

TSN announced today that prominent sportscaster Rod Black is signing off from the network. The voice of CFL ON TSN and host of NBA ON TSN concludes a remarkable career with Bell Media after over 30 years.

“I’ve been a broadcaster for almost 40 years, with over 30 of those spent with the Bell Media family, and have had a front row seat to some of the most magical moments in sport,” said Black. “I’ve had the chance to travel the world, but more importantly I’ve been able to cover this country from coast-to-coast-to-coast. I will miss the network, and particularly those who have sat beside me and worked with me during all of the incredible events we’ve covered. I can’t extend my thanks enough to all those who’ve been part of this journey. I’m so excited for the next chapter, which will be the most exciting chapter of all.”

…“Rod has been an unforgettable and consistent presence on TSN, with a deep sports knowledge that has allowed him to seamlessly transition between hosting duties and calling games, from football to figure skating to basketball, and more,” said Stewart Johnston, Senior VP, Sales and Sports, Bell Media. “An exceptional broadcaster with a heart of gold, Rod has tirelessly dedicated so much of his time to charitable work and various causes, including his incredible support of the Special Olympics. While we’ll miss him behind the desk and in the booth, we are grateful for his time with the network and wish him nothing but the best.”

In the short term, this is a notable change for TSN’s CFL coverage in particular. As mentioned above, Black has been calling CFL games for almost his whole time at TSN, and that included calling quite a few this year. And the CFL on TSN play-by-play cast has now changed more this season than it had in decades: fellow veteran voice Chris Cuthbert left TSN for Sportsnet after 15 years in 2020 (when there was no CFL season due to the pandemic), and now with Black gone as well, the CFL is going to sound a lot different.

TSN has been using a much deeper group of CFL play-by-play voices this year, though. That group includes Rod Smith, Dustin Nielson, Marshall Ferguson, and Farhan Lalji, and all of them have done good work to date. So there’s a strong group there that can take over the games Black had been calling.

What may be the most interesting to watch is who gets tabbed from that group to call the 108th Grey Cup, set to take place in Hamilton on December 12. That will be the first Grey Cup in a long while not called by Cuthbert. Black seemed like the logical candidate to step in (he’d been calling the CFL for decades, and frequently called the radio broadcast of the Grey Cup game), but now he’s gone too. Smith is maybe the logical next pick (he’s been covering the CFL for TSN for decades, primarily as the host of their studio show, but has switched to play-by-play in the past few years and done well there), but nothing is certain there.

It’s also maybe interesting that while Black is 59 and has been doing this for decades, this isn’t phrased as a retirement. It will be interesting to see what he does next, and to see if that’s inside or outside of the media world.

[Bell Media]

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Ex-Bears Star Wanted To Punch Aaron Rodgers' Face Over 'Still Own You' Taunt – TMZ

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NHL suspends Sharks’ Evander Kane 21 games for COVID-19 protocol violations – Sportsnet.ca

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The NHL has suspended San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane for 21 games for submitting a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.

The NHL also announced Monday that its concurrent investigation into allegations of domestic abuse made against Kane by his estranged wife, Deanna, could not be substantiated.

Kane said he is in counselling in a statement released by the NHLPA.

“I would like to apologize to my teammates, the San Jose Sharks organization, and all Sharks fans for violating the NHL COVID protocols,” Kane said in a statement released by the NHLPA. “I made a mistake, one I sincerely regret and take responsibility for. During my suspension, I will continue to participate in counseling to help me make better decisions in the future. When my suspension is over, I plan to return to the ice with great effort, determination, and love for the game of hockey.”​

The Sharks also released a statement.

Kane will forfeit about $1.68 million of his $7 million salary for this season with the money going to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Kane had previously been cleared by the NHL in an investigation into allegations made by Deanna Kane that he bet on hockey games, including some against the Sharks.

But the league did determine that Kane violated the COVID-19 protocols. A person familiar with the investigation said earlier this month that the league was looking into allegations that Kane submitted a fake vaccination card. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details weren’t made public.

Using a fake vaccination card is illegal in both the United States and Canada, as well as against NHL rules.

Commissioner Gary Bettman said last week that only four players on active rosters hadn’t been vaccinated.

Kane had not been around the team since the start of training camp while these investigations were ongoing in an agreement between him and the team.

Kane, 30, is three seasons into a $49 million, seven-year contract. He’s with his third organization after being drafted by and debuting with Atlanta/Winnipeg and a stint in Buffalo.

The 30-year-old led the Sharks in scoring last season with 22 goals and 49 points in 56 games.

The Vancouver native has 506 career points (262 goals, 242 assists) in 769 NHL games with the Atlanta Thrashers, Winnipeg Jets, Buffalo Sabres and Sharks.

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Red Sox’s two grand slams lead ALCS rout of Astros – Sportsnet.ca

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HOUSTON — J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers helped the Red Sox have a grand old time in Houston.

Boston became the first team to slug two grand slams in a postseason game, with Martinez and Devers connecting in the first two innings of a 9-5 win over the Astros on Saturday that tied their AL Championship Series at one game apiece.

Martinez made it 4-0 with his opposite-field shot off rookie Luis Garcia with two outs in the first. It was the first career playoff slam for the four-time All-Star, who began his career with the Astros.

Garcia exited with right knee discomfort after walking the first batter of the second inning. Jake Odorizzi took over, and shortly after a 13-minute delay while the right-hander warmed up on the field, Devers connected with one out for slam No. 2.

“J.D.’s swing was huge to get us on the board early, and then Raffy, same thing, another granny,” red-hot teammate Kike Hernandez said. “Has that ever happened before?”

It has now.

Game 3 is Monday night in Boston. It’s the first of three consecutive home games for the Red Sox, back in the playoffs for the first time since winning the 2018 World Series after downing Houston in the ALCS.

Hernandez, who Boston manager Alex Cora referred to Friday night as “en fuego” after a two-homer performance in Game 1, remained on fire Saturday. He had two hits, highlighted by a solo homer in the fourth inning.

Hernandez has been this postseason’s hottest hitter, leading all players with 16 hits, five homers and four doubles. His nine extra-base hits are also the most in these playoffs and tied a Red Sox postseason record with Mike Lowell (2007), Kevin Youkilis (2007) and David Ortiz (2004 & 2007).

“The importance of the game is allowing me to stay focused and stay locked in,” Hernandez said.

Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi permitted five hits and three runs in 5 1/3 innings.

The Astros captured a 5-4 win in the series opener as they rallied behind homers from Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa before falling into the huge hole early in this one.

“That’s a tough team,” Cora said. “It’s never comfortable with them because they’re a swing away from getting back in the game.”

The Red Sox were up 9-0 when Houston got on the board with an RBI double by Kyle Tucker with two outs in the fourth. The Astros cut the lead to 9-3 when Yuli Gurriel followed with single to right field that scored two more.

Gurriel and Jason Castro added solo homers in the ninth off Darwinzon Hernandez before Ryan Brasier got the final out.

“At the end, it was a little too close for comfort, but we got it done,” Hernandez said.

The injury to Garcia is another blow to a Houston team trying to reach the World Series for the second time in three years. The Astros are already reeling after an injury to staff ace Lance McCullers Jr. that kept him off the roster for this series.

They won the championship in 2017, a crown tainted by the team’s sign-stealing scandal.

When McCullers went out, manager Dusty Baker said the team would just have to “hit more” to absorb the loss. But now that the rotation is further depleted, it’ll be an even taller task for this powerful lineup outgunning a Boston team whose offense has outpaced everyone this postseason.

Odorizzi was left off the Division Series roster after a disappointing first season in Houston before getting a spot in this round after the injury to McCullers. He allowed seven hits and four runs in four innings Saturday in a performance that certainly isn’t good news for a team that is running short on starters.

TOUGH UP TOP

Altuve and Michael Brantley, the top two hitters in Houston’s lineup, are a combined 2 for 17 in the series with a hit each, including Altuve’s homer in Game 1.

UP NEXT

There’s a day off Sunday before Houston’s Jose Urquidy makes his first start this postseason in Game 3 Monday. The Red Sox have yet to name their starter.

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