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SIMMONS SUNDAY: Hyman heading for big payday as Leafs’ most consistent player – Toronto Sun



In this season of Maple Leafs turmoil, with injuries, firings, Zamboni-driver craziness and survival, Zach Hyman has been a rock.

The one piece of the puzzle you can’t argue about.

The player who used to be the subject of so much fan and media debate — “He’s pretty good,” Mike Babcock used to say defiantly — has been the most dependable player on a team with so much inconsistent effort, while scoring well beyond any expectations placed upon him.

Since Sheldon Keefe took over as head coach in November, Hyman ranks 20th in the NHL in goals. That is not a typo. That’s 20th.

Ahead of Patrick Kane. Ahead of Evgeni Malkin. Ahead of — so he’s missed a few games — Connor McDavid. Ahead of Elias Pettersson.

Hyman has scored 20 goals in each of the past two seasons and scoring isn’t anywhere near what he does best. He leads on a team that doesn’t have enough on-ice leadership. He forechecks on a team without much forechecking. He hits on a team that doesn’t hit a lot. He goes to the net on a team that prefers playing on the periphery.

He’s a $5-million producer being paid $2.5 million a year — a rare bargain on this mostly overpaid Maple Leafs squad.

His contract is up at the end of next season. He should be nicely rewarded for his rather remarkable accomplishments.


What Sidney wants, Sidney gets. And so it should be. Crosby wanted Conor Sheary back in Pittsburgh, So what did GM Jimmy Rutherford do at the trade deadline? He made a deal for Sheary, making his captain happy … There is something baffling about William Nylander, having his best NHL season. No matter what he gives you, offensively and defensively, you always want more because, frankly, there is more … What a dreadful time this has to be for a proud goalie like Jimmy Howard, now 2-23-2 in goal for the Detroit Red Wings, which is the worst non-expansion record in history. Michel Belhumeur, with the first-year Washington Capitals, went 0-24-3. Howard’s last win was in October … Since Jan. 1, Alexander Ovechkin leads the NHL with 19 goals. In that time, he has just two assists … So I’m confused: If Zach Bogosian can’t help the defensively erratic Buffalo Sabres, how can he help the Tampa Bay Lightning? Bogosian has played two games since being let go by the Sabres. Tampa has lost both of them, giving up nine goals in the process … One of the reasons the Leafs dressed seven defencemen in Florida on Thursday night is that assistant coach Dave Hakstol was unfamiliar with Calle Rosen. It took one period for Rosen to take over from Timothy Liljegren on the Leafs defence … The better Justin Holl and Travis Dermott play on defence for the Leafs under emergency circumstances, the more options there will be long-term when Jake Muzzin and Morgan Rielly return … The most overrated story in hockey: How trade-deadline acquisitions help teams win Stanley Cups. In some years, a Jeff Carter or a Marion Gaborik can make a difference, but most years it’s just depth enhancement … You can have all your offence: If I can pick just one defenceman in the NHL, I’d want Tampa’s Victor Hedman.


A radio reporter was in the Blue Jays clubhouse Saturday interviewing Vladdy Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio when he eventually approached Rowdy Tellez. “Why do you want to interview me?” asked Tellez. “My dad wasn’t a former major-leaguer. He’s an electrician.” … If you’re Drew Doughty and you’re in your prime, how long would it take for you to get tired of losing? The Stanley Cups seem a long time ago. There is no Olympics to play in. He has at least a few more years of losing to think about it. Would make me wonder a lot about asking for a trade … If Bismack Biyombo is available, assuming he’s getting bought out, the Raptors have to do everything they can to bring him back to Toronto … Had no idea Tyson Fury was as skilled and mean and relentless and powerful as he proved to be against Deontay Wilder. He has a chance to revive heavyweight boxing, at least in the short term … The west coast road trip in the NHL has certainly changed: The Leafs play the Sharks, Kings and Ducks on their upcoming swing. Those are the three worst teams in the Western Conference. Not long ago, all were contenders … Can’t remember a season, any team, any time, with a steady rotation of injuries the way this Raptors season has gone. None season-ending. Just constant … When Quinn Hughes played in the GTHL, few thought he was a future NHL star. But his growth and development from the ages of 15 to 18 in the U.S. and his advanced hockey sense and skating have brought him to a possible Calder Trophy-winning season. Right now, he’s got my vote.


We like to simplify addiction. We like to think, send a guy away for a few weeks and he comes back cured. The Bobby Ryan story is wonderful and personal and human. But understand this: He has an addiction. He will battle it for a lot of his life. Goals will come and go. The battle will be constant … What a crazy place America has become: The country legend, Garth Brooks, recently did a concert in Detroit while dressed in a Barry Sanders Detroit Lions jersey with the number 20 on the back. The political idiots of today, not knowing who Barry Sanders is, thought Brooks was supporting Democrat Bernie Sanders, the election being in 2020. And, of course, Brooks was attacked on social media for his apparent love of the second-greatest running back to ever play … What a crazy place America has become, Part II. R.J. Harris is a receiver with the Ottawa Redblacks. Another R.J. Harris is a radio talk show host in Philadelphia, a big supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump. Trump, who thought Kansas City was in Kansas not long ago, tweeted a comment from the radio host. But he tagged the wrong Harris in his tweet. So the football player was besieged with comments — at least he took the opportunity to promote an upcoming football camp he is running … They wouldn’t be paying Tony Romo $17 million a year to broadcast football on CBS if ESPN or somebody else wasn’t willing to pay something similar. Makes me wonder: If the NHL was as a big as the NFL, how much would Ray Ferraro be worth? … Butch Goring had his number retired by the New York Islanders, but you may not have known that the Isles never would have traded for Goring had Harold Ballard allowed Dave Keon’s rights to be dealt to New York. Ballard refused. And Isles GM Bill Torrey turned to Goring as a second choice to enhance the Islanders. Four Stanley Cups later, the rest is history.


Tom Brady should be forced to watch video of Johnny Unitas with the San Diego Chargers or Joe Namath with the Los Angeles Rams or, most recently, Donovan McNabb with the Washington Redskins before deciding to leave Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots … U.S. congress is attempting to do what baseball should have somehow accomplished already: Try to get Curt Flood in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He’s the father of free agency … Is there a single best goalie in the NHL right now? I don’t think so … If Guy Carbonneau is in the Hockey Hall of Fame, does that mean there will eventually be room for Jeremy Roenick, Alex Mogilny, Steve Larmer, Curtis Joseph, Dale Hunter and Theo Fleury one day? … Blocking shots is a wonderful skill in basketball. Blocking shots in the NHL these days is dangerous business in a world of composite sticks. Just ask the Leafs’ Rielly or Muzzin or the Rangers’ Chris Kreider … Didn’t you expect more from the Florida Panthers with Joel Quenneville coaching and Sergei Bobrovsky in goal? … When Dick Thornton retired after the 1972 CFL season, he held the pro football record for most defensive touchdowns scored and most interception for touchdowns scored. Forty-eight years later, he is still not in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. And I wish someone would explain to me how this is possible … Happy birthday to Henri Richard (84), Ron Francis (57), Tyreek Hill (26), Pat Boutette (68), Susan Auch (54), Dan Daoust (60), Booker T (55), Vincenzo Esposito (51), Thomas (Hollywood) Henderson (67), Debbie Van Kiekebelt (66), Chris Webber (47) and Justin Bieber (26) … And hey, whatever became of Bob McCammon?


Where were you in ’72?

That used to be the line, depending on your age, your interest, your memory, your passions from the famous Paul Henderson goal in the Canada-Russia series of 1972.

That used to be the moment you couldn’t forget for Canadians of a certain age. But like everything, times change and sensibilities are altered and we all view sports through our own individual prisms and circumstances.

And so, we saw recently in America, the revival of Miracle on Ice, 40 years after the great Olympic victory over the Soviet Union at the Lake Placid Olympics and just the other day the 10-year anniversary of Sidney Crosby’s overtime winning gold-medal goal — from that day on, the Golden Goal, from Vancouver 2010.

People were dancing in the streets of Vancouver early that Sunday night just as we were once dancing as kids on an afternoon watching television from the Soviet Union.

It’s personal, how all this affects each of us. Where were you when it happened? Who were you with? How much did it matter? How long did you carry it around?

It’s not just hockey moments with me. It’s the Ben Johnson win in Seoul on a Friday night and the silence of the disqualification that came afterward. Before that, for me, it was Muhammad Ali in the ring with George Foreman, an impossible fight for an astonishing athlete. What was Ali doing, we were screaming all fight long? And then came the knockout and the discovery of rope-a-dope.

That and the Donovan Bailey wins in Atlanta on consecutive Saturday nights in 1996.

The wonder of sports, really: How little it matters, how personal it becomes, how much we really care and how much we hold on to our memories.


It is nothing new, big picture, that Giannis Antetokounmpo will be the NBA’s MVP for a second straight season.

Many, from Steph Curry to Steve Nash to LeBron James to Tim Duncan, have won consecutive MVP awards in recent times. And, before that, the back-to-back winners included Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Moses Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell.

Pretty heady company for the Greek Freak.

That’s the individual amazement of the Milwaukee Bucks. This season, though, they’ve taken their play to another level, not just Giannis but the entire team, on their way to one of the greatest single NBA seasons in history.

The Bucks are playing .864 basketball with 23 games to play. They are headed for the third-best record of all-time. The 2016 Golden State Warriors won 73 games and later regretted their push when they lost the NBA Finals. Jordan’s Chicago Bulls won 72 games in 1996 and took the title easily, going 15-3 in the post-season.

Milwaukee will likely win around 70 games this season and Giannis should be the MVP. What’s been masterful about their season is how they’ve taken on anything close to equals. They are undefeated against the Lakers and Clippers and Raptors, the three best teams aside from the Bucks. They need to be applauded more for this kind of regular season magnificence.


The best player in the NHL is Connor McDavid.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean he will win the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player.

In the past, McDavid has been penalized because the Edmonton Oilers weren’t a playoff team. But it looks like the Oilers are heading for the post-season and still McDavid is no sure thing to win the award.

This is a confusing season for the Hart. McDavid is the best player and Leon Draisaitl, his teammate and occasional linemate, is having the best season. Both are deserving of attention — but they may end up splitting votes.

It’s the same way in Boston, where the Bruins are the best regular-season team in the league. David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron — the Perfection Line — are all deserving Hart candidates with less than a quarter of the season to go. But who will get the Boston Hart votes? Which player? And will one Bruin cancel out the others?

The one independent candidate might be Artemi Panarin of the Rangers, but he’s caught in the old McDavid dilemma. If the Rangers make the playoffs, he’s got a serious shot at winning the Hart. If the Rangers don’t make it, he has no chance.

There seems to be no right answers on how this will work out — but there will be plenty of discussion and conversation between now and

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Novak Djokovic sponsor Lacoste to review Australian events 'as soon as possible' – National Post



Lacoste, owned by Swiss group MF Brands, signed a multiyear deal with Djokovic as sponsor in 2017

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Leading Novak Djokovic sponsor Lacoste has said it plans to “review” the events that led to the tennis star’s deportation from Australia, highlighting the potential fallout for athletes who remain unvaccinated against COVID-19.


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“As soon as possible, we will be in touch with Novak Djokovic to review the events that have accompanied his presence in Australia,” Lacoste said on Monday.

Lacoste, owned by Swiss group MF Brands, signed a multiyear deal with Djokovic as sponsor in 2017. According to Forbes, the men’s world number one earns $30 million a year from sponsorship tie-ups.

The review comes after Djokovic, who has declined to be vaccinated against COVID-19, said he was “extremely disappointed” that the Australian courts had decided to uphold a government decision to cancel his visa. The ruling means he is unable to compete in this month’s Australian Open tournament.

Djokovic had entered Australia with a medical exemption from a vaccine requirement but had his initial visa cancelled. He had sought to stay in the country to compete for a record 21st grand slam title but his legal challenge was unsuccessful. He has now been deported and returned to Serbia.


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Djokovic’s opposition to mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations highlights the dilemma facing sports sponsors, which must weigh up their approach when athletes raise objections to widely recommended public health measures such as vaccination.

His participation in the French Open, the next grand slam on the tennis calendar, is also in doubt after Roxana Maracineanu, sports minister for France, said that spectators, staff and players would need to show proof of vaccination to enter sports stadiums and other public places. The tournament in Paris is due to start in May.

Other sponsors of Djokovic include carmaker Peugeot, luxury watch brand Hublot and Austrian lender Raiffeisen Bank International.


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Raiffeisen, which agreed a tie-up with Djokovic in April last year, said his “high reputation in central and eastern Europe” was its motivation for the multiyear deal and pointed to “his social commitment”.

But it added that the partnership had been agreed “long before the current reporting on Novak Djokovic and his COVID-19 vaccination status, or his participation in the Australian Open”.

Hublot previously told the Financial Times: “Novak Djokovic is his own person. We cannot comment on any of his personal decisions.”

Lacoste, founded by two tennis players in 1933, thanked the organizers of the Australian Open for “all their efforts to ensure that the tournament is held in good conditions for players, staff and spectators”.

Djokovic first voiced opposition to mandatory COVID-19 vaccination in 2020.

© 2022 The Financial Times Ltd



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Athletics Canada CEO David Bedford facing complaints over Twitter posts – CBC Sports



The CEO of Athletics Canada is apologizing for a series of sexually suggestive Twitter exchanges made over a number of months and posted to his personal account.

Dave Bedford posted the tweets as replies to nearly a dozen different Twitter accounts. The tweets have since been deleted.

“It’s my personal account. It’s not like I was sending out photos or tweets myself,” Bedford told CBC Sports. “In this day and age with all we have been going through, I found some of these things funny so I commented. It’s apparent others didn’t feel the same way so I removed them.”

In his personal Twitter bio, Bedford identifies himself as the CEO of Athletics Canada and provides a link to the publicly funded organization’s website, which — as the national governing body of athletics — represents thousands of elite and amateur athletes across the country.

After receiving a number of internal complaints over the weekend, Athletics Canada’s board chair Helen Manning spoke to Bedford who then deleted the offensive tweets and locked his account.

Emergency board meeting

Athletics Canada will hold an emergency board meeting Monday night to decide next steps. Board chair Helen Manning said confidence in Bedford’s ongoing ability to lead will be a central point of discussion and didn’t rule out asking for Bedford’s resignation.

“There are certainly concerns that have been expressed by some of our membership,” Manning said. “Those types of comments are not something that is in keeping with the policy of how we see our people in the public domain.”

Manning said the organization has done a lot of work with Safe Sport, which aims to eliminate sexual harassment as well as physical and mental harassment among athletic organizations.

“We have spent a great deal of time and effort focused on trying to ensure the safest and most welcoming environment for our athletes and all of our members,” Manning said.

Audrey Giles, a professor at the University of Ottawa and a member of Athletics Canada’s Safe Sport Committee, said Bedford’s behaviour brings his judgment into question.

‘Raises questions’

“If he felt that that sort of public behaviour was acceptable, it raises questions about if he is the right person to be leading an organization through this era of safe sport,” Giles said. “I think it’s just like the hypocrisy of talking about having to hold coaches to a higher account, having to make spaces that are safe for athletes. Yet being somebody who engages in this, frankly, creepy online behaviour with women?

“I recognize that people can have a very diverse and exciting sexual lives. But when you are a leader of an organization, I think that the standards are higher.”

Bedford was hired by Athletics Canada in 2019 and has worked in a variety of leadership roles across Canadian sport, including the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.

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Soccer-Lewandowski and Putellas win FIFA Best awards



Bayern Munich’s Polish striker Robert Lewandowski won the FIFA Best Men’s Player award for 2021 with Barcelona’s Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas winning the FIFA Best Women’s Player prize at Monday’s ceremony.

The prolific Lewandowski won the award for the second straight year after a season in which he beat Gerd Mueller’s 49-year old record of 40 goals in a single Bundesliga campaign.

“Robert is someone special. He is the greatest footballer in the history of our country. The best Polish ambassador and a role model for young people, not only those playing football,” said Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Facebook.

The 27-year-old Putellas was at the heart of the Barcelona women’s team which won the Spanish league and the UEFA Champions League.

Chelsea won both the awards for best coach, with Thomas Tuchel winning the men’s award and Emma Hayes named the best women’s coach.

Tuchel had guided Chelsea to the Champions League title after taking over the club in January while Hayes won the Women’s Super League, FA Cup and League Cup treble in England.

The West London club enjoyed further recognition with their Senegal international Edouard Mendy winning the Best Men’s Goalkeeper award.

Chile and Olympique Lyonnais’ Christiane Endler was named The Best Women’s Goalkeeper.

The Puskas Award for best goal of the year was won by Argentine Erik Lamela, now with Spanish club Sevilla, for his goal for Tottenham Hotspur against Arsenal.

The Denmark national team and their medical staff won the Fair Play award for their swift response after Christian Eriksen collapsed on the field during the Euro 2020 game with Finland.

(Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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