For the Maple Leafs, playing the Buffalo Sabres is still a challenge

But the last four of those games come against tough opponents – the Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning, Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets. While it may not be the black hole it was for Leaf teams in previous years, KeyBank Center, which the Leafs visit for the final time this season Monday night, is not a friendly place despite the thousands of Leaf fans who pack the place for every game against the Sabres.The Sabres, who are well out of the playoff race in seventh place in the Atlantic Division with a 32-34-12 record, should not present much of a challenge to the Leafs. No one personifies that more than rookie centre Auston Matthews, who raised his game markedly in the past several weeks. Thanks to Boston’s 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday, the Bruins took over second place from the Maple Leafs by one point with 92, although the Leafs have two games in hand.This places much importance on Monday’s game in Buffalo against the Sabres, as the Leafs close out the regular season with five games in seven nights. Starting with the Leafs’ first game in their recent 13-game run, Matthews went five games without a point and then ran up seven goals and four assists in the next eight to easily make himself the front-runner in the race for the Calder Trophy, which goes to the NHL’s rookie of the year, with 38 goals and 28 assists.“He’s got unbelievable determination,” Babcock said Sunday. He missed only one game and returned to top form quickly, beating the Nashville Predators and the Detroit Red Wings in his past two outings.However, despite a 10-2-1 record in their past 13 games, the Leafs were only able to move briefly into second place in the Atlantic after Saturday’s 5-4 win over the Red Wings. After the Leafs held a brief optional practice Sunday in Buffalo, Babcock said Andersen will start against the Sabres while backup Curtis McElhinney gets the call for the second game of the back-to-back set against the Capitals, who are first in the Eastern Conference.Given the way the Leafs played since early March, there is reason for them to be optimistic they can shake the hex in Buffalo that has long plagued the team. However, their past visit, a 5-2 loss on March 25, was nearly a catastrophe. The pace of his game has gone way up, he is way more aware defensively, way more aware in his own zone, plays way faster.” You wonder, ‘Gee, am I ever going to score? The precocious Toronto Maple Leafs learned a lot of things about winning in the regular season, but one lesson remains – Buffalo.No matter what edition of the Maple Leafs ventured down the Queen Elizabeth Way to the Peace Bridge border crossing and whatever arena they played in – the old Memorial Auditorium or today’s KeyBank Center – the results have not been good for Toronto. “But he’s had some moments this year where it doesn’t go for him and when it doesn’t go in the net for him he’s like a lot of scorers, he gets a little [pushy], he wants to get through it.“Everybody in life, and I don’t care what you do, there is momentary doubt. You push through it and you believe in yourself.”Like his teammates, according to Babcock, Matthews is a far cry from the player he was at the start of the season.“He’s got unbelievable determination, work ethic, understanding. Since the Sabres joined the NHL in 1970, they have a 69-26-8 record at home against the Maple Leafs. The Leafs turned in one of their worst efforts in the past six weeks and were lucky to escape the joint without a serious injury. While this season’s Leafs have come a long way in learning how to win in the NHL, especially how to close out a third-period lead, Buffalo remains a challenge. Goaltender Frederik Andersen was knocked out of the game after the first period when he banged heads with Sabres forward William Carrier.Fortunately for the Leafs, Andersen was not seriously injured. Toronto and Buffalo have split four games this season and the Leafs are 1-1 at KeyBank Center. “I think he’s improved drastically from the start of the year. Or am I prepared for this speech? He wants to be good,” Babcock said. Am I prepared for this presentation or this interview?’ That’s life. There are also two sets of back-to-back games, Buffalo and Washington on Monday and Tuesday, and Pittsburgh and Columbus on Saturday and Sunday to close out the regular season.The importance of the Buffalo game was shown in head coach Mike Babcock’s goaltender selections.

South Carolina beats Mississippi State to win first NCAA championship

Dawn Staley finally could raise an NCAA championship trophy.A’ja Wilson scored 23 points to help coach Staley and South Carolina win their first national championship with a 67-55 victory over Mississippi State on Sunday night.Staley made the Final Four three times as a player at Virginia but never won. ‘La, we got you a ring. They spent a year getting to know our team, getting to know our system. Tennessee won both of those matchups, the last coming in 1996 when the Lady Vols beat Georgia. The Bulldogs couldn’t muster the same effort against the Gamecocks. “Allisha Gray, Kaela Davis they all believed in it. The junior centre sees a repeat in the future for the Gamecocks.“Man, just be with us next year, we’re trying to be in this same spot next year, we’re going to see how it goes,” Wilson said after winning the most outstanding player award for the Final Four.The Gamecocks won the title without star centre Alaina Coates, who hurt her ankle in the SEC Tournament. Tennessee did it in 1987 and Louisiana Tech accomplished the same feat a year later. If you stick with us and if you’re disciplined, if you believe – all these players believed in that. “Go back to my Temple days, they believed in our vision. It’s incredible belief and discipline and can’t thank them enough for choosing South Carolina.”The Bulldogs lost twice to the Gamecocks this year, dropping a game in South Carolina in the regular season and then in the SEC Tournament title game. Morgan William, who had become the face of the tournament with the game-winner against the Huskies after a 41-point performance against Baylor, was held to just eight points.South Carolina (33-4) turned a 10-point halftime lead into a 45-31 advantage midway through the third quarter before the Bulldogs rallied. Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer fell to 0-9 all-time against South Carolina.No team had a tougher road to the championship then the second-seeded Bulldogs. She didn’t even travel with the team to Dallas.“Our players never fretted. 1 seeds en route to the title. The Bulldogs had already knocked off top-seed Baylor and UConn to get to the championship game.This was the sixth time in NCAA Tournament history that teams from the same conference played for the national championship, including three by the SEC. Happy our words came true to them.”Mississippi State had all the momentum on its side after a shocking win over UConn on Friday night that ended the Huskies’ record 111-game winning streak. That brought a huge cheer from the thousands of Mississippi State fans who made the eight-hour trip from Starkville, Miss.But that’s as close as the Bulldogs could get.The victory in front of a sellout crowd came one day after the Gamecocks men’s basketball team lost in the Final Four in Phoenix.Wilson, who grew up in South Carolina, blocked a shot on one end of the court and then hit a short jumper in the lane that started a 12-2 run to put the game away. We got you a ring,’” Staley said of Coates. She also led the Gamecocks to the national semi-final two years ago before losing to Notre Dame. Once the final buzzer sounded, Staley grabbed the trophy and paraded it around the court high over her head.“You have to give tribute to the former players,” Staley said. Got the opportunity to play and we become national champions. They were trying to become the third team in NCAA history to beat three number No. Staley emptied her bench with less than a minute left and Wilson left with tears of joy. Mississippi State (34-5) slowly cut into its deficit, getting with 54-50 on Jazzmun Holmes’s jumper. We took that vision to South Carolina and that vision was we’ll be national champions.

Serge Ibaka leads Raptors as Toronto bests Philadelphia 76ers

He’s been in our meetings. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference and having already secured home-court advantage for the first round of the playoffs.The 76ers, 28-49, are already eliminated from the postseason. The developing squad was without many of its exciting young talents – including both Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor – but the Raptors hadn’t forgotten about that night in Philly back in January when the young Sixers beat them 94-89.Still the visitors stormed out to an early 29-28 lead to end the first quarter, largely thanks to the hot shooting of French rookie Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot.The Raptors finally pulled ahead halfway through the second quarter, as Ibaka rumbled for 10 second-quarter points and DeRozan went into the locker room with eight assists on the sheet. All five of those opponents have sub-.500 records. He knows what new sets we’ve put in and whatever we’ve done. Even as Philly inched to within six in the final minute, Toronto kept its youth on the floor. Austrian rookie big man Jakob Poeltl added a career-high 12 points and five rebounds, while second-year guard Norman Powell had 10 points and four assists.Luwawu-Cabarrot led Philadelphia with 23 points, Dario Saric had 16, and Toronto native Nik Stauskas had 14.Toronto was missing forward P.J. The team has precious little practice time remaining in the regular season with its final five games packed into an eight-day span.“No problem at all,” Casey said. But it was the Raps’ youngsters who took the load to hold the lead late. The Raptors were closing out a four-game home stand Sunday, holding the No. As long as DeMar is kicking it out and finding people, I feel like it’s contagious.”Jonas Valanciunas contributed 14 points and eight rebounds. “He knows exactly what we’re doing. Behind a 24-point performance from sharp-shooting Serge Ibaka – his highest since he was traded to Toronto – the Raptors downed the Philadelphia 76ers 113-105 Sunday night.The Raptors were able to ease the minute load for Ibaka, and for DeMar DeRozan, too, who had 17 points and matched a season high with nine assists. “DeMar was getting trapped and he was kicking the ball out and doing an excellent job of finding people. Everybody moved the basketball to create shots and that’s the way we have to play. It would just be up to the medical group and the team to feel comfortable putting him out there.”The Raptors play four of their last five on the road with the lone home game coming Friday against the Miami Heat. Casey maintained Sunday that the plan is for Lowry to return before the regular season is over, and that he’s comfortable putting the all-star point guard into a game even if he can’t get in a full practice first. DeRozan, played just 31 minutes Sunday (compared to his average 35.5), while Ibaka played 28 (compared to 31).“Serge Ibaka got in there and got us going a little bit, and we fought through that mental block you get this time of year sometimes,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. Toronto led 59-49 at halftime.The Raptors built on that lead in the second half, up by as much as 14 for much of the way. Tucker, sidelined for the night because of a sore left knee.For the 20th successive game, during which the Raptors went 14-6, Toronto was without star point guard Kyle Lowry, as he continues to recover from wrist surgery. The Raptors, 47-30, grabbed their eighth win in their past nine outings, as they get set for the final five-game stretch of the regular season.

Sharks beat Canucks, lose Joe Thornton to apparent left leg injury

18, a span of 11 games (0-8-3).The Canucks’ last win in regulation at home came Jan. Patrick Marleau added an empty netter. Tomas Hertl scored twice in the first period and Martin Jones made 29 saves Sunday as the San Jose Sharks defeated the Vancouver Canucks 3-1 after losing Joe Thornton to an apparent injury to his left leg.San Jose forward Jannik Hansen picked up an assist in his return to Vancouver for the Sharks (44-28-7), who have won 11 straight regular-season games at Rogers Arena dating back to Jan. Sven Baertschi replied for the Canucks (30-39-9), who got 22 saves from Ryan Miller.Already minus centre Logan Couture because of a facial injury, Thornton crumpled to the ice with about three minutes left in the first when he ran into Vancouver forward Michael Chaput from behind.The 37-year-old centre managed to get to the San Jose bench under his own power, but couldn’t put any weight on his left leg and had to be helped to the locker-room.The Sharks entered play one point up on the Flames for third in Pacific Division after falling 5-2 in Calgary on Friday. San Jose clinched a playoff spot last week, but is just 2-8-0 over its last 10 after a 7-2-0 run and started Sunday four points back of the Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Ducks for first in the division.Calgary hosted Anaheim later Sunday.Vancouver, an anaemic 2-9-2 over its last 13, is set to miss the post-season for the third time in four years and has not won at home since Feb. Vancouver forward Drew Shore was stripped in his own zone, with the puck eventually finding its way to Mikkel Boedker. 21, 2012. 20 against the Florida Panthers.Hertl opened the scoring with his first goal in 17 games nine minutes into the opening period on a weird sequence. His initial backhand was stopped by Miller before Hertl popped home the rebound for his ninth of the season.The Sharks forward then made it 2-0 just under two minutes later when Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s point shot hit Canucks defenceman Alexander Edler in front and bounced right to Hertl, who buried his second past a helpless Miller.Jones, who came in just 1-5-0 over his last six decisions with a pedestrian .856 save percentage, wasn’t overly busy, but had the shutout bid broken with 3:53 when Baertschi’s weak shot leaked under his arm for his 18th.The Canucks pressed late, but Marleau sealed it into an empty net – his 27th goal of the year – with 2.6 seconds left.

Mark McMorris posts dramatic photo series after life-threatening crash

Star snowboarder Mark McMorris provided a dramatic illustration Sunday of how far he has come just one week after a life-threatening crash in the B.C. Aside from a bandage on his left side, the photo shows little visible evidence of the battering his body experienced.“Apparently a lot can change in a week,” Mark McMorris said in his caption. “So so thankful to have my life! It was touch and go there for a second and I don’t know how I can thank everyone enough for praying and sending healing vibes.“I hit a tree in the whistler backcountry a week ago and to be honest I was pretty sure I was going to die.”McMorris then thanked his brother Craig and friends for “staying calm, building me a nest, and calling search and rescue.”He added: “I will never take another day on this earth for granted.”A bronze medallist in slopestyle at the 2014 Olympics, the 23-year-old McMorris suffered breaks to his jaw and left arm, a ruptured spleen, a stable pelvic fracture, rib fractures and a collapsed left lung.He had to be airlifted off the mountain and underwent two separate surgeries to control bleeding and repair his jaw and arm.He has said he hopes to be recovered in time for next year’s Olympics in South Korea. In the first photo, McMorris appears unconscious in a hospital bed, covered in medical apparatus, including a breathing tube.The second photo, taken on Saturday, shows him shirtless giving a thumbs up alongside his older brother Craig, also an elite snowboarder who was with McMorris when he suffered numerous injuries after crashing off a jump into some trees. backcountry.The Olympic bronze medallist from Regina posted a pair of photos to Instagram, one showing him hours after the March 25 crash and the second of him sitting on a couch with his brother a week later.

Flames lose 4-3 to Ducks, who reclaim top spot in Pacific

After sitting out Saturday’s game against the Oilers, defenceman Brandon Montour also made his return to Anaheim’s lineup against Calgary. Anaheim called up defenceman Shea Theodore from the AHL’s San Diego Gulls on Sunday and made it to Calgary on time to suit up for his 31st game of the season for the Ducks. I knew he was going to throw the puck at the net or behind the net so I was just going to the right place.”Patrick Eaves, Jakob Silfverberg and Korbinian Holzer also scored for the Ducks (43-23-13), while Kesler finished with three assists.“I was just trying to create a rebound off the net,” said Kesler in regards to Shaw’s clutch goal. After wiring a shot to the top corner past Bernier, Versteeg then scored on a two-man advantage when he skated out from the corner and shovelled a shot past the Anaheim goalie.Anaheim pressed hard to retake the lead and were rewarded with 2:07 left in the second when Holzer pinched in off the point to take a pass from Getzlaf before snapping a shot past Elliott.Frolik tipped Giordano’s point shot past Bernier at 5:42 of the third period to pull the Flames even again.Notes: Defencemen Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm both suffered upper-body injuries during Anaheim’s 3-2 overtime loss in Edmonton on Saturday. “I knew both their D went to me. 4.Kris Versteeg had a pair of goals for the Flames (44-31-4), who play the Ducks again on Tuesday at Anaheim’s Honda Center where Calgary has lost 24 straight regular-season games dating back to Jan. Logan Shaw picked the right time to score his first career game-winning goal.Shaw scored with 3:06 left in the third period to lift the Anaheim Ducks over the Calgary Flames 4-3 on Sunday.“That one felt nice,” said Shaw who drove hard to the net to swat a Ryan Kesler rebound past Calgary goalie Brian Elliott for just his third goal of the season (and second against the Flames). “We know how good they are at home and we expect to be ready.”Michael Frolik also scored for Calgary, while TJ Brodie and Mark Giordano had two assists apiece.Elliott made 30 saves, including a highlight-reel stop in the second period when he kicked out his left leg to get a skate on a point-blank shot by Ryan Getzlaf.“That’s just desperation and that’s why he’s been so good for us lately and put us in the position that we’re in right now,” said Flames forward Troy Brouwer.Eaves opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 11:32 of the first period. “When I saw Kes going, I figured I may as well jump up there with him. I was just trying to get rid of it.”The Ducks moved back into first place in the NHL’s Pacific Division ahead of the idle Edmonton Oilers (44-25-9), who beat Anaheim 3-2 in overtime at home one night earlier.Anaheim goalie Jonathan Bernier made 18 saves to improve his record to 10-0-2 in his past 12 games. Bernier stopped 17-of-25 shots during an 8-3 loss to the Flames in his last start in Calgary on Dec. Elliott stopped the initial point shot by Cam Fowler before Eaves snapped the rebound past the Calgary netminder for his seventh goal in his past eight games.Silfverberg gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead with 56.2 seconds remaining in the opening period when he took a drop pass from Kesler and snapped a perfect shot to the top corner, blocker side.The Flames bounced back with a pair of power-play goals by Versteeg at 3:48 and 10:01 of the second period. 19, 2004.“It’s going to be ramped up,” said Versteeg.

IAAF says it has been hacked, athletes’ medical info accessed

The IAAF banned Russia’s team from competing internationally in 2015 after investigations by WADA found evidence of state-sponsored doping.Fancy Bears began posting medical records of Olympians online last year, with U.S. Other organizations have been the subject of this and we do of course deplore that, but it was very important that we discussed that with the athletes.”WADA has previously said Fancy Bears originate from Russia, citing information from law enforcement agencies.Russian officials have denied any links with Fancy Bears, but have praised the group’s previous publications, which they say undermined Western countries’ criticism of widespread use of banned substances by Russians. Only selected records were released, and no Russians with TUEs were named, even though records show dozens of TUEs had been granted there in recent years.As of Monday, Fancy Bears’ website contained no mention of IAAF information. TUEs are permissions for athletes to take substances that would normally be banned, and are used by athletes around the world.“Our first priority is to the athletes who have provided the IAAF with information that they believed would be secure and confidential,” IAAF President Sebastian Coe said in a statement. “The athletes had the right to expect that information given to us to be securely housed. and British athletes making up a large proportion of those targeted. Unfortunately, it’s not the first time. 21. “Throughout the investigation, the IAAF have understood the importance and impact of the attack and have provided us comprehensive assistance.”Coe, speaking in Aarhus, Denmark, ahead of a conference of global Olympic sports officials, said the IAAF is using the “world’s best people” to make the organization’s computers safe.“We have now done everything we possibly could to put new systems in place,” Coe said. “They have our sincerest apologies and our total commitment to continue to do everything in our power to remedy the situation.”The IAAF said it had been in contact with athletes who have applied for TUEs since 2012.Context Information Security, a British security company, said in a statement released by the IAAF that it discovered the attack.“In January 2017, the IAAF contacted Context Information Security to conduct a proactive and thorough technical investigation across its systems, which led to the discovery of a sophisticated intrusion,” the company said. The governing body of track and field has been hacked by Fancy Bears, the group that previously attacked the World Anti-Doping Agency.The IAAF said Monday it believes the hack “has compromised athletes’ Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) applications stored on IAAF servers” during an unauthorized remote access to its network on Feb.

Bizarre ruling costs Lexi Thompson at first LPGA major of season

The ruling cost her more than a strong chance at her second major title: Ryu won $405,000 with the victory, and Thompson went home with just over $250,000 in second place.“Every day is a learning process,” said Thompson, who still stopped to sign dozens of autographs after her heartbreak. “I wasn’t expecting what happened today, but … Career defining moment.”As awkward as the situation was, it could have been worse: If golf officials hadn’t made a rule change before last year, Thompson would have been disqualified entirely.Ryu birdied the 18th hole in regulation and again in the playoff, but she didn’t find out she was in serious contention to win until officials informed her of Thompson’s penalty on the 16th tee.“I just cannot believe the situation,” Ryu said. “Is this a joke?” Thompson asked Witters.After being assured it wasn’t, she responded: “This is ridiculous.”Thompson survived the shock and tears, and she forced a playoff with three gutsy birdies that had the Dinah Shore Course crowd on its feet.But So Yeon Ryu managed to take advantage of the break created by Thompson’s extraordinary penalty.Ryu birdied the playoff hole to win the LPGA Tour’s first major of the year Sunday after Thompson was blindsided for an infraction she had accidentally committed 24 hours earlier.Thompson, the 22-year-old U.S. Then I was able to handle the tough situation well.”Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., shot a 68 to finish the tournament tied for 14th at 5-under 283.Norway’s Suzann Pettersen barely missed a birdie putt on the 18th to force a three-way playoff. 1 Lydia Ko finished in a tie for 11th at 7-under 281. “It was kind of a weird atmosphere, even after I won the tournament.“But I think the most important thing is no matter what happened during the round, we ended up going to a playoff. I thought I’m well behind, so all I wanted to do was play my game.”They both finished regulation at 14-under 274, but Thompson still nearly won it in regulation after crushing her approach shot on the 18th.With emotions visible on her face amid loud chants of her name, Thompson gathered herself — and left a 15-foot winning eagle putt inches short.Ryu, who also won the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open. I didn’t expect it. She finished tied for third with Inbee Park and Minjee Lee.DIVOTS: Michelle Wie shot a final-round 69 and finished three shots off the lead in sixth place, her best finish in a major since she won the 2014 U.S. “Let’s go Lexi, win this thing anyway.”Most golfers weighing in on Twitter didn’t disagree with the ruling, but condemned the practice of allowing TV viewers to have their say — particularly an entire day afterward.Even Justin Timberlake saw it : “Lexi is SO CLASSY. I thought Lexi played really, really well. I felt strong through the finish, and it was great to see the fans behind me.”Golf fans on the course and the internet reacted with bewilderment and outrage when the LPGA’s decision became understood. Women’s Open in a playoff, buried a 5-foot birdie putt to claim her second major title with an excellent playoff hole after her bogey-free, final-round 68 .Although she cried with joy on the green for what she said was the first time in a U.S. Olympian who won here in 2014, was left stunned by the decision that stopped her from cruising to what looked like an easy victory. Handled that with grace and fight. “I did not mean that at all. “I didn’t even check the leaderboard. … 2 in the world. Tiger Woods immediately came to Thompson’s defence on Twitter.“Viewers at home should not be officials wearing stripes,” Woods wrote. World No. Witters regretfully explained the penalty to Thompson.“I can’t go to bed tonight knowing I let a rule slide,” Witters said. I didn’t expect what happened to Lexi.“It’s a very unfortunate situation. … Her three-shot lead had just been wiped out by a four-shot penalty. Thompson marked a 1-foot putt with a coin on the 17th green during her third round, but she replaced the ball perhaps 1 inch out of position.After an extensive video review , Thompson was penalized two strokes for an incorrect ball placement and two strokes for an incorrect scorecard. Lexi Thompson had no idea why LPGA Tour rules official Sue Witters was approaching her on the way to the 13th tee at the ANA Inspiration.When she found out, Thompson still couldn’t believe it.A television viewer’s email had alerted officials to a day-old rules violation by Thompson for a 1-inch ball placement error. “It’s a hard thing to do, and it made me sick, to be honest with you.”Thompson fought back tears after getting the news, but she incredibly birdied the 13th hole. She battled back into a five-way tie for the lead, making three birdies and a bogey on the final six holes of regulation at Mission Hills Country Club.“It’s unfortunate what happened,” Thompson said. it happens, and I’ll learn from it and hopefully do better.”The fateful email arrived during Sunday’s final round, alerting officials to the violation committed Saturday. tournament, her celebration was a bit muted because of the bizarre circumstances — at least until she made the traditional leap into Poppie’s Pond with her caddie and friends.“It definitely feels a bit weird,” said Ryu, who is expected to move to No. Cristie Kerr finished seventh for her best performance in a major since the 2014 event here, when the tournament was known as the Kraft Nabisco Championship. I didn’t realize I did that.

Blue Jays GM says Roberto Osuna’s injury isn’t serious

Joe Biagini’s done it for us last year. Joe Smith has been back there before as a closer, Grilli’s done it. As I mentioned, keeping a more versatile player, or more versatility in our lineup, was the reason that we made that decision.”The decision to cut Upton allowed Toronto to keep left-handed-hitting utility infielder Ryan Goins, who is out of options, on the 25-man roster.“You can figure it out,” Atkins said. I think if I were guessing, it would probably be Jason Grilli.“I think we’re fortunate to have a couple guys as alternatives. “So potentially subtract a left-handed one. “We don’t see it as something serious,” Atkins said over the phone Monday morning, shortly after flying into Baltimore to join the team for the season opener. “We were going for more versatility, years of control, and not right-handed.” So we’re fortunate to have some alternatives.”On Sunday, when the Blue Jays submitted their final 25-man roster, the club also made the decision to cut ties with Melvin Upton Jr., who finished last season as the everyday left fielder.Instead, the club has decided to go with Ezequiel Carrera as the fourth outfielder, with Steve Pearce expected to start the year as the regular starter in left.Atkins was evasive in explaining the reasoning behind the move, but he said it had nothing to do with Carrera being a left-handed bat in a heavily-right-handed lineup. Upton hits from the right side.“Really we were just thinking of going with more versatility, not adding an additional right-handed power bat to an already very right-handed, very heavy lineup,” Atkins said. Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins says the muscle problem that prompted the decision to place closer Roberto Osuna on the 10-day disabled list is not considered serious.The move in advance of Toronto’s opening game of the 2017 season Monday afternoon against the Baltimore Orioles is viewed as the best move when taking into account the long-term health of the 22-year-old. “Only time will tell.”Atkins said the likely candidate to replace Osuna as the closer in the interim will be veteran Jason Grilli, who is 40. “At the same time, any time you have to put someone on the DL it’s less than ideal. We felt like a little bit more time and rest to get that tightness and stiffness out of there would benefit him.”The Blue Jays, in a news release issued on Sunday, described the injury as a cervical spasm.Atkins said the pain that Osuna is feeling is concentrated mostly between his shoulders.Osuna has been experiencing the problem for some time, Atkins said, and it was something he carried into the World Baseball Classic last month, where he pitched in a couple of games for the Mexican team.Osuna has experienced a bit of a dip in his velocity during the spring, and the muscle soreness is believed to be the culprit.“We’ll see if extra rest will allow us to get [the pain] completely out of there,” Atkins said. The words he’s using and the doctors are using is ‘tightness.’“We really just felt as though we wanted to give him the best chance to get off to his best start possible. “Yesterday he said he was going to get together with the guys. But that decision will ultimately fall to manager John Gibbons.“I haven’t talked to Gibby about it this morning,” Atkins said. It’s really muscular in nature.

Kelly: In Trump era, golf’s class divide is widening fast again

Alone amongst pro athletes, they’ve picked the other side.Through one half of the country’s political lens, this year’s Masters will no longer seem like good fun. They don’t gouge (a beer still costs what it did 30 years ago). presidents have been careful to include golf in their image cultivation. I’ll have you know I’ve golfed with them.”I rather think not.What McIlroy ended up highlighting is golf’s increasing remoteness from the rest of us. If you follow the voting map, you can now see the hard lines where certain ideas die once they cross over.Another part of this will become clear in Augusta this week, revealed through the medium of sport. “I just want to stay in the White House and work my ass off, make great deals. And yet.Now the first real go at golf during the Trump years is upon us.The PGA Tour never really stops, but it only truly starts each year in April in Augusta. But briefly entering Donald Trump’s cone of stupidity seemed to unmoor him. More than anyone in history.By Trump’s own estimation, golfing is shorthand for shiftless laziness. During the election campaign, he used the sport as a cudgel with which to beat Barack Obama.“I love golf, but if I were in the White House, I don’t think I’d ever see (Trump-owned course) Turnberry again. That was a problem five years ago when Woods began his slow fade into nothingness. Woods embodied both types. A few weeks ago, Rory McIlroy played a round of golf with the president of the United States. Like everyone else I knew, I was terrible at it. Right? It alone seems above the fray.Piggybacking on Woods’ allure, the Masters had its best years. They called McIlroy a fascist and a bigot, which does seem a bit much.Then McIlroy made it worse. He gave golf the gift of seeming meritocratic.The effect allowed the sport’s socioeconomic chasm to shrink to the point where just about anyone could step across it.It’s widening again. He cannot be seen taking a knee in the crotch during three-on-three basketball.Trump’s problem is that until recently, he was down on presidents as golfers. In fact, golf is starting to look seriously uncool. When you stand amongst the Masters throng, you feel the tribal comfort of people who know they are surrounded by their own kind. They don’t parade out their membership list (which includes another work-shy member of the Trump administration, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson) like some needy debutante in search of social affirmation.With occasional missteps, that elegant hauteur has insulated the Masters from the sport’s general decline. It’s the establishment wing of the Republican party on parade.Of course, that’s not new. Fast.This isn’t a function of participation or the price of equipment. They contrived to make the sport cool, and almost gritty.In my teens, I would sooner have played polo than golf. He’s managed it with remarkable craft, going so far as to skip the Olympics rather than pick a side. In 10 weeks on the job, he’s golfed 14 times. They’re busily undoing many years’ worth of marketing outreach.Over a generation, beginning in the 1990s, golf morphed from the sport of plutocrats and salarymen into something close to a working-class pastime.The remarkable synergy between Tiger Woods and Nike did that. What you were expected to do was show up on a Saturday morning, drink heavily, play miserably and quit whenever you started to get tired or pulled a muscle. In fact, in my circle, it was frowned upon. Until Woods showed up, there were two types of people in the world – those who worked for a living and those who golfed. Based on the chummy photos, it looked like a fun day at the Trump International in Florida. It’s a profound separator.Trump’s greatest accomplishment thus far has been mapping precisely all the hidden cracks in American society. There are guys on the senior tour who practise less.All modern U.S. Had one of my friends said, “I golfed yesterday,” it would have shaken me more than if he’d said, “I killed a hitchhiker on vacation.”But by my twenties, I was hacking around on public courses with a half-set of clubs I’d picked up for a hundred bucks at Canadian Tire. All those panoramic overhead shots of mittel-American one-per-centers in their weekend uniform – ball-caps, branded polos and Brooks Brothers shorts – will make the crowd look less like an audience and more like a rally. His generational and philosophic bookend, Arnold Palmer, is gone. They don’t pander (everyone has to turn their ball-cap the right way round). My only tactical breakthrough involved an advanced geometric system whereby I could wedge nearly a dozen beers into the ball pocket of my bag.But when golf had its moment in the Bill Clinton era, nobody expected you to be any good. You can’t get tickets to the Masters unless you are moneyed, well connected and able to come a long way during the workweek. Predictably, some people got quite exercised about any sort of famous person seeming to endorse America’s golfer-in-chief. It’s more proof that while people will tell you they vote their conscience, they actually vote their tax bracket.In the Trump era, most high-profile athletes have been careful to distance themselves from the demagogue on top. It seemed that foreign to me. That sort of person tends to vote one way. There will be players who have their talent, but they have, as yet, no true heirs.The PGA Tour is populated by a bunch of guys willing to stake their claim in the American culture wars by teeing up with Trump. Now it gets difficult.Woods won’t be in the field, and may never compete there again as a genuine force. This impression was not helped by a vaguely scientific New York Times poll in which 89.3 per cent of PGA Tour pros said they would golf with Trump. They understand instinctively that while they are not normal people, it is in their financial self-interest to appear as if they are.Not today’s golfers. It didn’t go over well.McIlroy has spent his career balancing the tricky sectarian politics of his native Northern Ireland. For a sport of kings, it was a brief, heady interlude amongst the peasants.This was much more than explaining the small joys of a new hobby. It’s a matter of perception.Golf no longer seems cool and accessible. I own Doral in Miami,” he gibbered at a rally. What Wimbledon is to the first long days of summer, the Masters is to the beginning of spring.While golf can seem money-grubbing and elitist, Augusta National has been able to maintain a sense of aristocratic remove from that rule. It was escorting people across a profound class divide.The Woods/Nike sales machine made golf a thing not only for people who’d never played, but also for those who thought of it as antithetical to their place in the great order. For the first time, golf was wedged into advertising montages between pickup basketball and sandlot baseball. It’s unlike any other event in that way. Yet you’d have to book those slots weeks ahead. That there are two types of Americans – those who golf and those who don’t. It has the benefit of seeming virile and active, while reducing the chances of sporting embarrassment, since just about everyone is awful at it. I don’t think I’d ever see Doral again. It’s going to feel slightly insidious: These are the people we’re fighting against. Either/or.A lot of people out there looked just like you – clueless. A president can be seen hooking one into the rough. Thanks to Trump, it’s becoming a crisis.There is a long list of things the new President doesn’t like – trade deals, health-care, foreigners, birth control, handshakes, protest, facts, the media, anywhere south of 42nd Street, legislative legwork, conciliation and the natural balding process.There appears to be just one thing he does enjoy – golf.While he runs the most powerful nation on Earth, Trump has managed to find an enormous amount of time for his real vocation. Rather than shrug off the criticism, the Irishman waded in with a tin-eared rejoinder that managed to make a multimillionaire professional athlete seem even more disconnected from reality than usual.Read more: Soggy Augusta boosts McIlroy’s bid for elusive Masters title“I’ve travelled all over the world and have been fortunate enough to befriend people from many different countries, beliefs and cultures,” McIlroy said, in part, in a statement.Somehow, golf does not seem the best avenue through which to explore the variety of human experience, in that it tends to happen exclusively in gated parks denuded of regular humans.“Rory, are you familiar with the native peoples of Papua New Guinea?”“Familiar with them? All of a sudden, that seems to matter again. Who’s going to leave?”Well, him. Along with a great deal of fan interest, they’ve taken the impression that golf is a people’s game along with them. Who’s going to leave?

NHL announces it won’t participate in 2018 Olympics

The group also wasn’t convinced that there was any tangible benefit to the NHL being in South Korea. There were concerns, he said, about shutting down the season, what with the impact of a compressed schedule on players. They know that we believe very strongly that players ought to have an opportunity to play. For the first time since 1994, NHL players will not attend the Winter Olympics.The league released a statement Monday saying it “considers the matter officially closed” and that it won’t participate in the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.Negotiations between the league, the NHL Players’ Association and the International Olympic Committee have stalled in recent months. The Edmonton Oilers captain, who wasn’t even born the last time NHL players didn’t attend in 1994, said he couldn’t envision the Olympics without the world’s top players.“I just feel like we’re misrepresenting our sport on a pretty huge scale and a pretty huge level,” Jonathan Toews, a long-time ace for Team Canada, added. And it’s something that we ought to try and do.” “And the NHLPA has now publicly confirmed that it has no interest or intention of engaging in any discussion that might make Olympic participation more attractive to the clubs.”The league said it will now proceed with finalizing the schedule for next season.The NHL Players’ Association didn’t immediately respond to the league’s announcement.The NHL had been at every Winter Olympics since 1998 and players have expressed their desire to continue participating.It was just over a year ago at the Stanley Cup final in Pittsburgh that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman began pouring cold water on the idea of NHLers participating in 2018. “A lot of the talk has been it’s the players pushing for it, and it’s the players that are interested and want to go. I think the NHL should be in the Olympics.”The NHL, NHLPA, IOC and International Ice Hockey Federation all gathered for a hopeful meeting in early February, but by early March, Bettman said there was again nothing new to report. He said the PA thought it was “very probably an individual club decision”, an avenue that might conceivably allow those like Alex Ovechkin to come to agreements on attending with their respective teams.“The NHL knows what our position is,” Fehr said late last month. “We still think it’s important and we’ll go from there.”But by early December, at the board of governors meetings in Florida, Bettman hinted at “fatigue” from the owners at going to the Games again. The league couldn’t air highlights or promote their presence at the Games.“It doesn’t give you the warm and fuzzies,” Bettman said at the PrimeTime Sports Management Conference.A decision, he added, would likely be required by early January at the latest.The NHL league then proposed an idea to the NHLPA that would extend the current collective bargaining agreement as a part of package for players to attend in 2018.The union turned down the deal.“So hopefully we’ll still be able to conclude an agreement to go to the Olympics,” executive director Donald Fehr said at the time. Daly explained that the NHL was still waiting for some sort of game-changer to sway the owners, but didn’t know what that game-changer would be.“All I can tell you is if we’re going to hear the same thing I don’t think it’s going to move the ball,” Daly said.Players expressed hope that wouldn’t be the case.Connor McDavid said “100 per cent” that NHL players should go. “They know we think it’s important. Bettman continued to fume about money as well as the IOC’s unwillingness to let the NHL be associated with the Olympics in any fashion. In the statement, the NHL said it was open to hearing from the parties involved but that “no meaningful dialogue has materialized.”“Instead, the IOC has now expressed the position that the NHL’s participation in Beijing in 2022 is conditioned on our participation in South Korea in 2018,” the league said. The owners were still unconvinced by the merits of players getting their wish to go to the Games.Shortly thereafter Fehr hinted that players might be able to attend the Games whether the NHL gave the OK or not. I think the players do want to go, but I think it should be of interest to the players and the league. In particular, Bettman was miffed that the International Olympic Committee was resisting payment on out-of-pocket costs for NHL players to attend — a subsidy that had been covered over the previous five Games.Bettman said the cost was “many, many, many millions of dollars” and doubted that owners would pay for the “privilege of disrupting our season”.Little had changed by early winter. They know we think it’s in the long-run good for the game. Nothing had changed from December when the views were strongly negative. The Games had shown some impact when played in North America, but little beyond its shores.“I think our constituents have become increasingly negative toward the Olympic experience,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.A few weeks later, Daly said the league had begun crafting two potential schedules for the 2017-18 season — one that included the NHL going to the Olympics and one that didn’t.A month after that, at all-star weekend in Los Angeles, Bettman said a conversation among the board of governors as it pertained to the Olympics lasted all of 10 seconds.