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The 12 best teams in world juniors history – Yahoo Canada Sports

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The Canadian Press

Darnold decision a dilemma as Jets enter crucial off-season

NEW YORK — Sam Darnold will head into this off-season as a question mark instead of the unquestioned face of the franchise.That makes for quite the dilemma for the New York Jets. And one that won’t be easily — or quickly — solved.Do the Jets take a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft in April? Do they trade Darnold for draft picks? Do they exercise Darnold’s fifth-year contract option? Do they simply keep Darnold and see how next season plays out?The next several months will be crucial for general manager Joe Douglas in shaping the team’s future — whether or not Darnold is a part of it.“I mean, I’m a Jet now,” Darnold said Thursday. “I know we all like to think of hypotheticals and what ifs, but I’m a Jet right now and I love being here, all the guys in the locker room. And I love going to work every single day here.”The 23-year-old quarterback was the No. 3 overall pick in 2018, but has not lived up to those lofty expectations. He knows it, too, but also thinks he’s got plenty more to accomplish.“I absolutely believe my best days are ahead,” Darnold insisted.The question is where he’ll spend those days.Jets fans had been dreaming of the possibility of drafting Clemson star Trevor Lawrence until New York ended a 13-game losing streak and won two in a row. With Jacksonville locked into the No. 1 spot, the Jets will surely do plenty of scouting on the likes of Ohio State’s Justin Fields and BYU’s Zach Wilson. Whether New York thinks either of those players — or another quarterback whose draft stock rises during the next several months — is a better option than Darnold remains to be seen.There’s also this: The fifth-year option on Darnold, which the Jets will have to exercise by early May, would cost the team around $25 million and will be fully guaranteed, per the collective bargaining agreement.Oh, and one other thing to consider: Douglas is not directly tied to Darnold. Then-GM Mike Maccagnan drafted him.Darnold has shown flashes throughout his three seasons, but has also been beset by inconsistent play, bad luck (mononucleosis last season), injuries (he hasn’t started more than 13 games) and questionable coaching. Adam Gase was hired last year to provide a perfect coach-QB pairing, but that never worked out.Instead, Darnold has regressed.“I think there’s been stretches where I haven’t played nearly as well as I should have,” Darnold said, “and I’ll be the first one to admit it.”Darnold, who was selected the winner of the team’s media good guy award by the Jets chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America, has always taken accountability. Gase, however, has also shouldered the blame, saying he failed in developing Darnold to the point where there would be no doubt about the Jets’ quarterback spot right now.“Do I think we need to get better in certain spots with him? Yeah, absolutely,” Gase said. “Do I think he’s been to the point where it’s all on him? I don’t.”Aside from play calling, Gase attributes some of the struggles to the merry-go-round of receivers, tight ends and running backs Darnold has had to play with.“It’s just about the consistency, but it’s also consistency with the guys around you,” Gase said. “When you’re a young player, you need to have a nucleus of core guys around you that you can grow with, that can help you develop as a player. And at the quarterback spot, if you don’t have that it’s really tough to make the strides you need to make.”Gase is expected to be fired after the season finale at New England. Darnold said he hasn’t discussed his future with Douglas or anyone else in the organization. His focus remains on finishing the season on a high note, and that would mean beating the Patriots for the first time in his short career. That would at least put a positive on what has been a year to forget for Darnold and the Jets.“I’ve had a couple of rough seasons in high school,” Darnold said, “but this has definitely been a tough season.”Darnold’s numbers are ugly: He has just eight touchdown passes and nine interceptions in 11 games, and his 72.3 quarterback rating is the lowest in the NFL. His 58.8% completion rate is also among the league’s worst.The glimmer of hope is his play the past three games: three TD passes and no turnovers — a career-best streak.“He played clean football,” offensive co-ordinator Dowell Loggains said. “I think that’s where Sam’s growth has come the last couple of weeks is he knows that — put the cape away. You don’t need to be Superman. Execute the offence and if it’s there, take it. And if not, then throw the ball away, run, check the ball down, do those things.”No, the Jets don’t need a superhero in the huddle. They need a consistent playmaking leader.And Darnold still might be that guy.“I think, without a doubt,” Loggains said, “that he’s a franchise quarterback.”NOTES: CB Bless Austin didn’t practice as a precaution after RB La’Mical Perine was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday. Five others who went through contact tracing — OL Chuma Edoga, DL John Franklin-Myers, CB Bryce Hall, LB Neville Hewitt and S Marcus Maye — returned to practice. … CB Javelin Guidry (knee) and WR Jeff Smith (shoulder) were limited.___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFLDennis Waszak Jr., The Associated Press

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Patrick Mahomes' greatness on display again as Chiefs beat Bills to get to Super Bowl LV – Yahoo Canada Sports

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The Canadian Press

No sentimentality as Abramovich fires Chelsea great Lampard

Sentimentality couldn’t save Frank Lampard. Being Chelsea’s record scorer counted for little when the team’s decline, on Lampard’s watch as manager, alarmed owner Roman Abramovich after $300 million invested in new talent for this season. After just 18 months in charge, and five losses in the last eight English Premier League games, the novice coach was fired on Monday. It was the 14th change of managers in 18 years at Chelsea under Abramovich, and former Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel is set to arrive in London this week as Lampard’s replacement. The German could attend Wednesday’s match against Wolverhampton using a slight English pandemic allowance for workers flying into an elite sports environment to avoid full quarantine — if he tests negative for the coronavirus. What Lampard’s status at the club did afford him was a public statement of explanation from the Russian billionaire, for whom he helped to win so many trophies as a player. “This was a very difficult decision for the club, not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him,” Abramovich said. “He is a man of great integrity and has the highest of work ethics. However, under current circumstances we believe it is best to change managers.” Those circumstances see Chelsea down in ninth place in the Premier League with the worst points-per-game record of any of Abramovich’s managers. The performances had “not met expectations” and left the team “without any clear path to sustained improvement,” Chelsea concluded. “On behalf of everyone at the club, the board and personally, I would like to thank Frank for his work as head coach and wish him every success in the future,” Abramovich said. “He is an important icon of this great club and his status here remains undiminished. He will always be warmly welcomed back at Stamford Bridge.” The lack of fans being allowed into the stadium due to the pandemic might have hastened Lampard’s departure. There was no opportunity for supporters to demonstrate their public support for “Super Frank Lampard,” as they chant, or for any backlash against his removal at upcoming games. As the pressure has grown, the cracks were showing ahead of the FA Cup win over Luton on Sunday, when Lampard hit out at perceived negative coverage of the team. But his own shortcomings of a fledging coaching career were being exposed, and sentimentality was cast aside despite him being instrumental to the trophy-laden revival of the club as a player since the takeover by Abramovich. Chelsea brought back its midfield great as coach in 2019 even though Lampard had only a single season’s experience in management in the second division with Derby. He achieved Champions League qualification in his first season by securing a fourth-place finish in the Premier League despite the club making no signings, in part due to a FIFA transfer ban. The rush to dismiss Lampard is indicative of the impatience shown by Abramovich, particularly when the team is slipping away from the Champions League spots despite having already achieved a spot in the last 16 this season — unlike Premier League leader Manchester United, which was eliminated in the group stage. Getting the best out of expensive squad reinforcements proved beyond Lampard — particularly Germany forward Timo Werner, the headline signing of the summer transfer window spending spree. Since Nov. 14, the only goal he has in all competitions for Chelsea was a tap-in against fourth-division club Morecambe in the FA Cup and he missed a penalty against another lower-league side — Luton. After securing one of the biggest jobs in English management so early in his coaching career, Lampard leaves Stamford Bridge without any success, having lost the 2020 FA Cup final to Arsenal. “Frank has had a short amount of time with a new set of players,” said former England teammate turned Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville, whose own spell as a manager lasted less than four months at Valencia. “He was given a period under a transfer embargo — it shielded him. He did a great job in that period, but the minute they spent the money they did, it was always going to bring more expectation and we know what happens at Chelsea when expectation comes. “When you have one of the biggest budgets in the league and biggest spend, expectation comes with it and at Chelsea their approach to managers has been consistent and Frank knew that when he got the job.” Lampard is a Chelsea great after scoring 211 goals from central midfield from 2001-14, during which he won every major honour at the club including three Premier League titles and the Champions League. Next in the dugout at Stamford Bridge is set to be Tuchel. It would be a swift return to coaching for the German less than a month after being fired by PSG following a power struggle with the Qatari ownership. Like every other arrival into England, he would have to test negative before flying but he could leave quarantine in London to attend training and games if he is negative again when undergoing another test with Chelsea. Anyone coming into England can then stop isolating after a negative test on the fifth day in the country. Tuchel is only five years older than Lampard but vastly more experienced in coaching having been forced to retire from playing at 24 due to injury. Tuchel made his name in Germany by showing faith in young players during a five-year stint with unheralded Mainz. In 2009, he was promoted to take charge of the Mainz first team after just one year in charge of the youth side, and quickly promoted young talent. He lasted only two years at Borussia Dortmund before being fired despite winning the German Cup after falling out with officials — just as he would do at PSG. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Rob Harris, The Associated Press

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Rodgers uncertain of future with Packers – theScore

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Aaron Rodgers refused to make any guarantees regarding his future with the Green Bay Packers following Sunday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“There’s a lot of guys’ futures that are uncertain, myself included,” Rodgers said postgame, according to Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “That’s what’s sad about it most, getting this far.”

“I’m going to have to take some time away for sure and clear my head, kind of see what’s going on with everything,” he added. “But it’s pretty tough right now.”

Rodgers enjoyed one of the most productive campaigns of his career and is the favorite to win MVP. However, his standing with the club was called into question when Green Bay selected Jordan Love in the 2020 draft.

Earlier in the week, the 37-year-old called his future “a beautiful mystery,” acknowledging he may not get many more opportunities to play in a Super Bowl. Following the defeat, the star signal-caller admitted it was difficult to watch Tampa Bay celebrate a victory Sunday.

“This one stings, and is going to for a long time,” Rodgers said, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky.

Despite the looming uncertainty over his quarterback, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur backed Rodgers as the team’s leader going forward.

“I sure as hell hope so,” LaFleur told reporters, per Wood. “I mean, the guy is the MVP of this league. He’s the heart and soul of our football team. So, hell yeah. He better be back here. He’s our leader.”

Rodgers is under contract through the 2023 season, but a potential out exists in his deal after the 2021 campaign.

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Daily news: Maple Leafs start western road trip with a win – Pension Plan Puppets

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The Leafs opened their Alberta road trip with a win on Sunday. It was a rare afternoon game but that didn’t faze the team as they picked up two point in the 3-2 win over the Flames with Jack Campbell in net for the Leafs, and Auston Matthews returning from an undisclosed illness which caused him to miss Friday’s game. Our recap is in the related item box below.

There were some questions out of the game, most notably what happened to Jack Campbell in the last few moments of the game. Was he injured, and was it serious? There’s little information as of now, though he certainly looked very uncomfortable after Matthew Tkachuk lunged down on him.

After the game, Campbell said “I feel great” but, that’s Jack Campbell. He would say that if he had just stared at the Elephant’s Foot in Chernobyl.

Meanwhile we learned more about Auston Matthew’s injury.

Now they only have to figure out which one of the Oilers hurt him in Friday’s game and how to get revenge later this week.

Before that happens the Leafs will play the Flames again tomorrow, but you’ll have to stay up late for this one. Game time will be 9:00 p.m. ET.

Other News

Speaking of the Oilers topped the Jets 4-3 yesterday with a literal last second goal in the third period.

Brent Burns completely undresses the whole Minnesota Wild team here, and the Wild eventually lost. I wonder why?

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The Six weekend in review: first games and first goals, but still no wins – The Ice Garden
It was a flurry of firsts for the Toronto Six this weekend — and some lessons to build upon in search of their first win.

Former Leafs captain George Armstrong dead at 90 – CBC
Armstrong played a franchise-record 1,188 games for the Leafs, with 296 goals and 417 assists over 21 seasons — including 13 as team captain.

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