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World Juniors 50/50 jackpots to start at $1.9M after unclaimed prize – CTV Edmonton



Someone in Alberta won more than $3 million on New Year’s Eve, but they didn’t claim the prize in time and the money is being rolled into upcoming draws.

The unclaimed $3.8 million is being added to the final two World Juniors 50/50 jackpots.

Monday’s pot starts at $1.9 million.

The online 50/50s are being held every game day and tickets are only available to people in Alberta.

Eight frontline health-care workers from Lloydminster Hospital’s maternity unit won over $240,000 in the World Juniors 50/50 on Dec. 27.

The money raised through the draws will be invested into hockey initiatives in Alberta. 

The final two 50/50 draws are on Jan. 4 and Jan. 5.

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Edmonton Oilers coming apart at seams through first four games of season – Edmonton Sun



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There’s no word on whether one of them is Maple Leafs Zamboni driver David Ayres.

The Montreal Canadiens’ Joel Armia (40) celebrates teammate Alexander Romanov’s goal scored on Edmonton Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen (19) at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Jan. 18, 2021. Photo by Ed Kaiser /Postmedia

With Stuart Skinner as the current backup, having a total of zero games of NHL experience, the Oilers are going to be relying heavily on Koskinen, who looked better in the second game against Montreal, but still gave up two soft goals in the loss — one on a wrist shot from the blue line and the other from behind the goal line.

“Yeah of course this is not what we wanted and we can’t get frustrated,” said Koskinen, who has faced 145 shots and conceded 15 goals. “It’s only four games done and we have to keep the work ethic and find a way to win games. It’s going to be a long push and we need to be ready when we play against the Leafs in a few days.”

The Oilers are going to need better than a 3.80 goals-against average and .897 save percentage to get back into the hunt. They’re also going to need the power play to be much better.

A unit that scored once on every three opportunities last season, has two goals on 18 man-advantage situations this year and has already given up two shorthanded goals.

Not having James Neal on the top unit hurts, but Barrie has not made the impact expected yet and his biggest contribution to date was not inadvertently breaking up a drop pass from Draisaitl to McDavid, which led to a highlight-reel goal against the Vancouver Canucks.

Edmonton Oilers Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) deflects the puck toward Montreal Canadiens Jake Allen (34) during NHL action at Rogers Place in Edmonton, January 18, 2021. Ed Kaiser/Postmedia
Edmonton Oilers Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) deflects the puck toward Montreal Canadiens Jake Allen (34) during NHL action at Rogers Place in Edmonton, January 18, 2021. Photo by Ed Kaiser /Postmedia

“I think we have to shoot the puck more,” Tippett said. “We had some chances but you’ve got to bury some of those chances. Montreal’s doing a good job around the front of your net and you’ve got to pay the price to score. And we didn’t bury the chances and we didn’t shoot the puck enough.

“You look at the two games, I think we had 10 power plays and we came out minus-2 on power plays. That’s an area that should be one of our strengths but it wasn’t the last two games.”

The Oilers can’t rely on McDavid and Draisaitl scoring four points per game to win. The supporting cast put together by Holland on a shoestring budget, after paying the top three forwards $27-million combined, has to start punching above its weight.

If they can’t, then those four playoff spots in the North Division could pull away in a hurry.


On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest

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Rivers retiring after 17 seasons in NFL – TSN



Veteran quarterback Philip Rivers told Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune he is retiring after 17 seasons in the NFL, 16 with the Chargers organization.

Rivers spent the 2020 season with the Indianapolis Colts, leading the team to the playoffs before losing to the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card Round.

The 39-year-old threw for 4,169 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.

Prior to his lone season in Indianapolis, Rivers played 16 seasons with the Chargers split between San Diego and Los Angeles.

Rivers was drafted fourth overall by the New York Giants in 2004 before getting traded to the Chargers as part of a deal for Eli Manning.

An eight-time Pro Bowler, Rivers finished his career with 63,440 yards, 421 touchdowns, and 209 interceptions. He ranks fifth all-time in the NFL in both passing yards and touchdown passes.

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Blue Jays’ big swing on Springer marks turning point for franchise –



TORONTO – After years spent trying to raise the roster’s floor, the Toronto Blue Jays are now raising the franchise’s ceiling.

A $150-million, six-year deal with free-agent outfielder George Springer that is pending a physical, according to an industry source, is certainly one way to do just that, marking a significant inflection point for the franchise.

The agreement is the richest in Blue Jays history, moving past the $126-million, seven-year extension Vernon Wells signed in December 2006, and is easily the club’s deepest free-agency plunge, nearly doubling the $82-million, five-year deal for Russell Martin in November 2014.

On the heels of the $80-million, four-year deal for Hyun-Jin Ryu last winter – the biggest outlay to a pitcher by the Blue Jays – this is a stride by president and CEO Mark Shapiro and GM Ross Atkins back toward the upper third of the big-leagues, with room to grow.

Assuming that Springer’s salary is spread evenly at $25 million a year, the Blue Jays now have just under $100 million committed to 12 players for the upcoming season, with more moves to come. Factor in roughly $10 million for pre-arbitration eligible players, they can still make adds without blowing too far past their pre-pandemic projected 2020 spend of $108 million.

The financial efficiency of the current roster will diminish somewhat in the coming years when salaries for the club’s young core escalate as they become arbitration-eligible.

But assuming life regains more normalcy in 2022 and beyond and the Blue Jays deliver on their potential, revenue growth should keep pace with the escalating payroll, allowing them to not only make attempts to retain the likes of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio before they become eligible for free agency after 2025, but to keep augmenting the roster, too.

In that way, going big now for Springer – an athletic centre-fielder with a strong, positive presence, seasons of 3.9, 4.5, 5.0 and 6.5 WAR as calculated by FanGraphs and a track record of post-season performance – makes sense.

There are some similarities between where the Blue Jays are right now and where they were in the late 1990s, with young, deeply talented rosters positioned to rejuvenate the business after a fall from grace.

Back then, former GM Gord Ash was forced to work around the indifferent ownership of Interbrew S.A., the major coup of signing Roger Clemens undermined when he asked out after the 1998 season, and the roster was never sufficiently reinforced with external adds.

Failing to leverage a talented young group featuring Carlos Delgado, Shawn Green, Shannon Stewart, Alex Gonzalez, Chris Carpenter, Kelvim Escobar and Roy Halladay is a haunting missed opportunity, and failing to bolster the group now would have been similarly damaging.

In Springer, the Blue Jays are adding a proven elite performer to support Guerrero, Bichette, Biggio, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Teoscar Hernandez, Danny Jansen and Nate Pearson, putting the 31-year-old in place to do a good chunk of the heavy lifting.

Beyond that, he makes the Blue Jays a much deeper club, and one thing they have aspired to is creating surplus on the roster, allowing them to better survive injuries and to mitigate against underperformance.

That’s why the report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic saying the Blue Jays would continue to explore adding Michael Brantley, Springer’s close friend and Houston Astros teammate, makes sense, even if as a left fielder/DH, he’s a positional redundancy.

For one, surplus creates the opportunity for trades and Gurriel, for one, has wide appeal given his abilities and a very efficient $14.7 million total price tag for the next three seasons. But the Blue Jays would also be fine carrying more talent than available at-bats, knowing the inevitable attrition of a major-league season will largely sort that out.

Such an approach has allowed the Los Angeles Dodgers to be a sustainable winner, which is what the Blue Jays hope to become. It was a telling moment at the trade deadline last summer when Atkins pointed to the now defending World Series champions as the model to follow.

“It’s never all-in at one time – it’s a steady growth,” he said Aug. 31, when asked to contrast the Blue Jays’ approach to that of the San Diego Padres. “They continue to build up their system. They’ve continued to make their 40-man roster more efficient and obviously very effective. It’s important to be measured, and there isn’t one juncture where, in our view, that you put all the cards on the table. For us it will be, hopefully, continuing to be able to build and have a system that continues to provide talent for us, and not just trade pieces. That’s our goal.

“We’ll hope to continue to be measured. At the same time, it’s not without making really significant deals that mean very, very high prices. But it’s too hard to say on when exactly that time will be where those bigger deals occur.”

That time arrived late Tuesday night and it’s a turning point for the franchise, a significant step after near-misses this off-season for Francisco Lindor and D.J. LeMahieu, among others.

The Blue Jays needed an add like Springer, not only to placate fans who eye-rolled their way through months of reporting that linked the team to every free agent of consequence, but also to be credible to their own players, to show them that they can get the help they need.

Many needs, however, remain.

The rotation requires a boost and the pending-physical deals with Tyler Chatwood on Monday and Kirby Yates on Tuesday, the latter for one year at $5.5 million with the potential for $4.5 million more in bonuses for appearances, per a source, demonstrate how they’re trying to protect themselves with a deep bullpen.

The Blue Jays also intend to add an infielder, while Brantley, a left-handed hitter, would help balance a lineup that’s nearly totally right-handed if signed.

No matter, after adding Springer, they are better, much better, in so many different ways.

The cost was steep and the back-end of such deals aren’t usually pretty, but that’s OK. Adding an extra year and the extra dollars is simply the price of doing business.

More important is that the Blue Jays didn’t play it safe, didn’t shy away from the risk, and rather than finding the reasons to say no when the moment of truth arrived, they turned the franchise in a new direction by saying “yes” instead.

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