Update on the latest sports Bach warns against Olympic boycotts, seeks re-electionGENEVA (AP) — International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach is warning against Olympic boycotts. China’s human rights record is an expected target ahead of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Some lawmakers and diplomats have criticized China for its detention and treatment of its Muslim minority Uighur people and pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong. The issue is personal for Bach, who won a gold medal in team fencing at the 1976 Montreal Olympics but could not defend the title when West Germany joined the United States and others in refusing to send teams to the 1980 Moscow Games. Bach said Friday that the only political effect the boycott of 1980 had was to trigger a revenge boycott of the following Olympic Games in Los Angeles.Bach also confirmed he will seek re-election as IOC president next year. Bach seems certain to get four more years in 2021 after almost half of the 100 International Olympic Committee members from around the world praised him in an online version of their annual meeting.BRITAIN-SPECTATORS RETURN Tokyo Olympic venues lined up, schedule remains the sameTOKYO (AP) — The 42 venues for next year’s delayed Tokyo Olympics have been secured and the competition schedule will remain almost identical to the one that would have been used this year.The Athletes Village and the main press center have also been lined up for 2021.That was the message delivered Friday to IOC members by Tokyo organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori and CEO Toshiro Muto.They spoke from Japan to a full session of the IOC membership meeting online. A-Rod is among four groups of bidders for a possible purchase of the New York Mets. He is preparing for the start of his third season as an analyst on ESPN’s Sunday night telecasts. In a conference call Thursday Rodriguez said baseball players’ leverage had changed since the 1994-95 strike. He said the rise of the NFL and NBA had changed the equation along with digital media, and said the players’ association should work collaboratively with MLB to raise the sport’s market share.Following the collapse of labor talks dealing with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, relations between Major League Baseball and the players’ association are at the lowest point in a quarter-century. The sides appear headed to a spring training lockout in 2022.Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally announced a 60-game schedule this year as the union kept open the possibility of filing a grievance accusing teams of negotiating in bad faith.TOKYO-COMPETITION SCHEDULE Estimates in Japan say the delay will cost $2 billion to $6 billion, with Japanese taxpayers picking up most of the bills. Olympic officials have not given any overall cost estimates, and have not specified the cost of renegotiating contracts for venues and other facilities.The opening ceremony for the Olympics will be on July 23, 2021. However, women’s softball and soccer will open on July 21, men’s soccer on July 22, and archery and rowing on July 23.Unlike the large, public celebration of a year ago, local organizers at the last minute have put together a more modest, non-public event for Thursday inside the new $1.43 billion national stadium to mark one year to go. Organizers have teased a possible appearance of the Olympic flame.Mori said the flame, which arrived in Japan in March, was being stored and still burned in the Japanese capital. He said putting it on display at Japan’s new Olympic museum was being planned “at a future date.” He did not offer any specifics.IOC MEETING Fans allowed back into English sports events from next weekLONDON (AP) — Spectators will be allowed back into some sports events in England from next week as coronavirus prevention measures are tested ahead of a planned wider reopening of stadiums in October.Domestic cricket on July 26-27 is set to be the first sport that fans are allowed to watch in person since March. Some spectators will also be allowed into the world snooker championship in Sheffield from July 31 and the Glorious Goodwood horse racing festival on Aug. 1 is also part of a government scheme piloting the return of fans.Stadium capacities will still be restricted and staggered entry times, social distancing measures and one-way systems will be required. Barriers or screens will have to be installed where social distancing cannot be maintained when buying food and merchandise or betting. Fans will be told not to attend if they could have been exposed to COVID-19.Officials said the measures could be reversed if coronavirus infection rates begin to climb again with concerns about a new coronavirus spike this winter. July 17, 2020 Associated Press Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditMLB-METS-RODRIGUEZA-Rod, bidding for Mets, wants players to accept cap systemNEW YORK (AP) — Alex Rodriguez is calling for baseball players to accept the kind of revenue-sharing system that is tied to a salary cap, sparking quick opposition from the union.
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ESI Digital – No Drama Please… Esports growth should be treated as business as usual August 20, 2020 Premier League looks to broadcast every behind-closed-door fixture August 28, 2020 Despite lifting league titles just two months ago, the odds suggest Rafael Benitez and Antonio Conte are both in danger of being the next manager to leave their post.The Newcastle manager and the Chelsea manager both followed up unsatisfactory summer transfer windows, with a defeat on the opening day of the season. Benitez is currently the 7/2 favourite to depart, lacklustre defeats for Mark Hughes and Slaven Billic leave them both precariously lingering at 4/1, with Premier League champion Conte closely following them as a 9/2 fourth favourite.Betway’s Alan Alger told SBC: “Conte is one of the favourites to leave because we know that he is working for a very demanding man in Roman Abramovich. Chelsea got off to the worst possible start, and it could also be said that he might not be happy with the squad he currently has available to him. With all those things in the mix he has to be a short price to depart Stamford Bridge.“Rafa Benitez is another boss who won’t accept second best, be it investment from owners or having the opportunity to manage elsewhere. His tenure at Newcastle has always hung by the shortest of threads – even when doing well – so he’s another manager we have to keep short in the betting.”Dutch manager Frank de Boer lasted just 85 days in his last job at Inter Milan, an opening day drubbing at the hands of Huddersfield has left bookmakers pondering whether his spell in South London could be just a short as his spell in Serie A. Nonetheless, Alger thinks talk of de Boers departure is premature: “Frank de Boer is surprisingly short at 7/1 for a quick departure from Selhurst Park. He got off to a terrible start, but surely he’ll be given plenty of time.” Submit Related Articles StumbleUpon Spotlight ups matchday commentary reach and capacity for new EPL Season August 21, 2020 Share Share
How fast is Andreas Johnsson? Garret Sparks did not think that was the right question. The goaltender, who has played with Johnsson the past two seasons with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League and now this season with the Maple Leafs in the National Hockey League, said it’s more about how quick is he. Sparks was proud of Johnsson following that three-goal performance, a game in which the netminder turned aside 34 shots for his second career NHL shutout. He said that night that he did not want to put a ceiling on how good a player Johnsson could be; however, with his skill set, he sees a player destined for a long NHL career.Now with five points in his past three games, Johnsson looks as though his talent is starting to show through with an improved sense of confidence. But with the roster to be shuffled soon due to the return of Nylander, he has not let himself feel too comfortable.“For me, it’s been the whole season to get a spot, I was a healthy scratch in the beginning,” said Johnsson. “For a guy like me, I need to battle every day to prove I’m going to be in the lineup still. It’s early to go but I feel like so far I feel like I can do the stuff I want on the ice, I just have to keep working hard so hopefully, I can do the whole season.” “He’s just got, I guess you could call it nitrous oxide, he’s got the button,” Sparks told the Sporting News. “He’s got a legitimate speed boost. He might save it for when he just needs it but obviously, he’s a really effective player when he’s hitting that button a lot…You don’t see him until you notice him because of how fast he’s moving.”Just ask Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim. Johnsson victimized him a week ago to cap off an astounding hat trick accomplished in the span of 7:35 in the first period of what turned out to be a 6-0 Maple Leafs win and somewhat of a coming out party for Toronto’s 24-year old rookie forward. On that third goal, the defenseman was reaching for a loose puck at the right faceoff dot but did not notice Johnsson behind him. Then Johnsson hit “the button” and within four seconds, he had caught Sanheim from behind, stole the puck and cut back to the net to slide it five-hole on the goaltender, and former teammate, Calvin Pickard.In fact, it triggered Sparks’ memory of another famous goal in Maple Leafs history: Auston Matthews second career goal in his NHL debut against the Ottawa Senators, when he found a burst of speed to catch Erik Karlsson from behind along the half-boards, stole the puck and cut to the net to slide it five-hole on goaltender Craig Anderson.If you watch closely Sparks said, you will notice nuances in their games that Matthews and Johnsson share. “Very similar, similar play,” Sparks said. “There are similarities between Matthews and Johnsson offensively. They’re subtle but I’d say it’s the quickness and the pace they’re able to do things at, just that explosive lift and go.”After impressing with two goals and one assist in nine regular season games during a late-season call-up last season, and two points in six playoff games, the Swede managed just one assist through his first ten games this season. At times he was a healthy scratch. MORE: Maple Leafs prospect Ian Scott among players invited to Canada’s WJC campThe offensive drought also tested Johnsson who had grown accustomed to filling the net with 54 points (26 goals, 28 assists) in 54 AHL regular season games last season. In the postseason he added 24 points (10 goals, 14 assists) in 16 games en route to a Calder Cup Championship and the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the playoff MVP.”It’s a little frustrating always,” he said. “Before that hat trick, I felt like I created a lot of chances and I skated hard. I felt like I gave the team something during the game. It’s just trying to stay positive knowing eventually it’s going to go in.”Johnsson noted in an interview with the Sporting News a few days after his first-career NHL hat trick that, “it gave me a confidence boost. It feels good to score on chances you get. It’s been a little bit post and out for me but now it seems post and in.”That’s hockey but now my confidence is going up.”It took an injury to Matthews on October 27 to get Johnsson, who had sat two games in a row, back in the lineup. Since then, he took advantage of his opportunity playing on a third line alongside center Par Lindholm and right wing Connor Brown. Back in training camp when faced with questions about an absent William Nylander, coach Mike Babcock responded by saying it gives someone else an opportunity and that “maybe we’ll find a player.” Nylander’s absence allowed the Maple Leafs to “find” Kasperi Kapanen. Matthews’ injury let them “find” Johnsson, who responded with five points in 14 games and two more points as Matthews’ linemate in his return on Wednesday against the San Jose Sharks.MORE: William Nylander, Maple Leafs agree to contract at 11th hourWhen Babcock was asked on Nov. 27, after Johnsson went scoreless in 12:06 against the Boston Bruins, how much different a player he looks like since his banishment to the press box earlier in the season, the head coach stressed he still has work to do.”Every single night in the league, you have to be whatever you are,” said Babcock. “You have to figure out over time what your level watermark is and he’s getting better, he’s feeling more confident and he has to continue to do that to have success.”Now 30 games into his NHL career, Johnsson said he is starting to become more comfortable with the differences between the AHL and NHL and how best to utilize his skill set.“Of course, you get scoring chances in different areas,” Johnsson said. “Sometimes you have to shoot quicker and other opportunities you have to be more patient. It’s a fast game out there so sometimes you just have to do simple stuff and wait for the opportunities.”I feel like I can do [everything I did in the AHL] in the NHL too but I just have to choose my times when to do it. In the AHL I felt like I could almost force a play to make a move. In the NHL, just not as often.” “After it kind of felt unreal. It’s hard to explain. I had the first goal, then the second goal and, all of a sudden, the third one, I’m like, ‘what’s going on?'”Andreas Johnsson on the emotions after his third goal tonight. #LeafsForeverWatch >> https://t.co/7YNhJ8GG5w pic.twitter.com/Dq9ni8zAui— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) November 25, 2018
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