Braves sweep into NLCS, await winner of Dodgers vs. Padres — Press Telegram

HOUSTON — Rookie Kyle Wright dazzled for six innings in his postseason debut, and the Atlanta Braves rode their superb pitching to beat the Miami Marlins 7-0 Thursday for a three-game sweep and their first trip to the National League Championship Series since 2001. Atlanta had lost eight straight Division Series, including in each of…

Braves sweep into NLCS, await winner of Dodgers vs. Padres — Press Telegram

Ducks ship Erik Gudbranson and his $4M salary to Ottawa — Daily News

On the eve of the coronavirus-delayed free-agent signing period, the Ducks on Thursday traded defenseman Erik Gudbranson and his $4-million salary cap hit for the 2020-21 season to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL draft. Free agency opens at 9 a.m. (PDT) Friday, and the Ducks aren’t expected…

Ducks ship Erik Gudbranson and his $4M salary to Ottawa — Daily News

Clippers’ Lawrence Frank honored as NBA Executive of the Year — Press Telegram

Lawrence Frank, the Clippers’ president of basketball operations, was named the 2019-20 NBA Basketball Executive of the Year, the league announced Thursday. It’s not the achievement he or his colleagues were aiming for, but Frank’s fellow NBA team basketball executives voted for him to win the award — which this season was determined based on…

Clippers’ Lawrence Frank honored as NBA Executive of the Year — Press Telegram

Lawrence Frank, the Clippers’ president of basketball operations, was named the 2019-20 NBA Basketball Executive of the Year, the league announced Thursday.

It’s not the achievement he or his colleagues were aiming for, but Frank’s fellow NBA team basketball executives voted for him to win the award — which this season was determined based on regular-season games played through March 11, when the team Frank assembled had a 44-20 record, second-best in the Western Conference, despite using 29 starting lineups in 64 games during that span.

He garnered 10 of 29 first-place votes and earned 61 total points from a panel of team executives who rewarded him for shaping a roster headlined by two-time Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and six-time All-Star Paul George. The Clippers also traded for Marcus Morris Sr. at the trade deadline and re-signed JaMychal Green, Ivica Zubac and Patrick Beverley before the season, all players who proved impactful this season.

On paper, it appeared the Clippers had assembled a squad capable of making good on the goal of winning the franchise’s first title. But they fell short, relinquishing a 3-1 series lead to the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.

Last week, the organization and veteran head coach Doc Rivers agreed to part ways. Rivers has since been hired to coach the Philadelphia 76ers while the Clippers are searching for a new coach to lead their team for the first time in seven seasons.

It’s the first executive of the year award for Frank, who was in his third year as the team’s president of basketball operations after joining the Clippers’ front office in 2016. Previously, he spent 20 years in the NBA coaching ranks.

“L is a passionate, dedicated, and selfless leader,” team owner Steve Ballmer said in a news release. “I am proud of the work he and his group are doing, and thrilled his peers feel the same way. This award is a great tribute to the hard work done by the entire front office, including our General Manager Michael Winger, assistant GMs Mark Hughes and Trent Redden, and consultant Jerry West.

“Together, they have worked to develop every facet of our basketball operations department.”

Rob Pelinka, the Lakers’ general manager, finished seventh in the voting, with one first-place vote. Oklahoma City’s executive vice President and General Manager Sam Presti finished in second in executive of the year voting, with 41 points (four first-place votes), followed by Miami Heat President Pat Riley in third place with 39 points (four first-place votes).

Seeding games played in the bubble at Lake Buena Vista, Florida, didn’t count toward voting for this award or the league’s other traditional end-of-season awards.

𝐄𝐱𝐞𝐜𝐮𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐘𝐞𝐚𝐫

Congratulations to Lawrence Frank on a well-earned honor. pic.twitter.com/QJ8JNbVbsl

— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) October 8, 2020


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Tuukka Rask wants to remain a Bruin — Boston Herald

MIDDLETON — On the eve of what could be a very big day for the Bruins, the club is at the center of much speculation on both the trade and free agent markets. A name constantly bandied about the last couple of years has been that of goaltender Tuukka Rask. But in his first public…

Tuukka Rask wants to remain a Bruin — Boston Herald
(Wilmington, MA – 1/10/13) Goalie Tukka Rask reacts after a puck slips past him during Boston Bruins practice, Thursday, January 10, 2013. Staff photo by Angela Rowlings.

By STEVE CONROY | sconroy@bostonherald.com | Boston HeraldPUBLISHED: October 8, 2020 at 2:32 p.m. | UPDATED: October 8, 2020 at 3:24 p.m.

MIDDLETON — On the eve of what could be a very big day for the Bruins, the club is at the center of much speculation on both the trade and free agent markets. A name constantly bandied about the last couple of years has been that of goaltender Tuukka Rask.

But in his first public comments since departing the Toronto bubble in the first round of the playoff Aug. 15, Rask made it clear that he doesn’t want to go anywhere. And in light of Don Sweeney’s recent public comments, in which he said that he has “zero reservations” about his goaltending tandem of Rask and Jaroslav Halak, he’s not concerned about getting traded.

“I think Sweeney came out and said that’s not going to happen,” said Rask in a brief interview with the Herald before golfing in the Shawn Thornton’s Putts and Punches tournament at Ferncroft Country Club. “I don’t want to play for anybody else but the Bruins.”

But things can change, especially in this volatile financial climate in which hockey finds itself along with the rest of the business world. There’s no telling if a deal comes across Sweeney’s desk that he must consider.

While the 33-year-old Rask didn’t come out and say he’d simply retire if traded – a declaration that would effectively squash any deal — it certainly sounds like any team that might acquire him would not be getting the happiest of campers.

“I don’t see any reason for that,” said Rask, who does not have full trade protection. “I’ve been here for a long time and the organization’s been so great for me. We’ve built our home in Boston and we call this home. So, yeah, I don’t want to play for anybody else. I think where my head’s at is focusing on next year and then hopefully a couple of more years after that and then pass the torch for the next guy after that. I want to help the organization as much as I can.”

As far as a possible extension with the Bruins goes, Rask said that discussion hasn’t happened yet.

“They have so much on their plate right now with the draft and everything, we’re just trying to get the next season going and get back to somewhat normal and then we can talk extension later. I still have one more year left. There’s no rush. But like I said, I don’t want to go anywhere else. I want to finish my career here,” said Rask.

Chances are that none of this trade speculation would be happening had he not left the bubble. But without detailing the emergency that brought him back home to Boston, Rask, the father of three girls, said he has no second thoughts about his decision.

“I got a phone call from my wife and my daughter was in a state that she needed medical attention and she wasn’t doing well. At that point, I had no choice but to go home. It’s as simple as that,” said Rask. “If you get a phone call wherever you are, like I did, it’s a pretty easy decision. What bothered me a little bit was people thinking that I just left because I didn’t like it there. I’m not going to lie to to you, (the bubble) was awful. But if I didn’t have a reason to leave, I wouldn’t have left, obviously. There’s that. But my daughter’s fine now, the family”s good, and it made me feel good. When I got home, they were happy to have me home and things got back to normal pretty quickly, so I knew that I made the right decision. It had nothing to do with hockey or the bubble. It was just the fact that I had to make that decision and I stand by it.”

Rask said there wasn’t much thought about returning to the bubble at that point. He would have had to quarantine for two weeks, but he said there was more to it than that.

“The whole thing was about the unknown,” said Rask. “It’s different when you’re going away for two weeks and you can tell your daughter that Daddy’s going to be home in two weeks. But if you’re like ‘listen, I don’t know when I’m going to be home,’ if that starts affecting her mental health or physical health, then I don’t think it’s good for anybody. That was that.”

Despite being recognized as one of the best goalies in the league – he finished second in Vezina Trophy voting in 2019-20 – Rask has long been a lightning rod for criticism, whether it be for not delivering a championship, for asking for a two-game leave of absence two years ago, for being ill for the final game of the regular season in 2016, for whatever.

But Rask has always been able to at least seem unaffected by it, and he was not overly concerned about fan reaction when hockey does returns.

“Everybody who has talked to me has been very supportive,” said Rask. “We’re professional athletes, but we also have families and we’re normal guys. It’s such a special time in the world for anybody right now that I don’t think you need to be judged as you normally would be. It doesn’t matter, because I know that I made the right decision and I know my family is well right now, and that’s all that matters. And any dad or any mother gets the same phone call I did, if they wouldn’t make the same decision I made, then they’d probably have to live with that consequence. I wouldn’t want to do that. I’d rather get the chirps or whatnot, but my family knows I made the right decision and that’s all the matters to me.”

Meanwhile, the Arizona Coyotes, if they want to trade defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, must do so by Friday, a deadline imposed by the no-movement clause-toting player. The B’s are one of two teams to whom Ekman-Larsson has agreed to be traded (Vancouver is the other). So far, the ask has been such that no deal has been consummated. Ekman-Larsson has seven years left on a deal that would pay him an average of $8.2 million annually, another major sticking point.

The free agent market is greatly expanded with teams buying out and not qualifying legitimate NHLers. Forwards Andreas Athanasiou and Anthony Duclair have been added to a crop that already included forwards Taylor Hall, Mike Hoffman and Tyler Toffoli and defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and the B’s very own Torey Krug. It should make for a very interesting weekend.

Kurtenbach: The NBA is about to change forever. That’s a good thing — Times-Standard

The Deets is a weekday morning dose of commentary — delivered at 7 a.m. — from sports columnist Dieter Kurtenbach that wraps up everything important in the world of sports and looks forward to another crazy day ahead. The Warriors haven’t played since March, and it’s been more than a year since the team’s Big…

Kurtenbach: The NBA is about to change forever. That’s a good thing — Times-Standard

TFC 1, NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION 0 — Summary and quotes.

TORONTO FC (1) – NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (0) POST MATCH SUMMARY

SCORING SUMMARY

TFC – Ayo Akinola 29’

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

NE – Tommy McNamara 40’ (caution)

NE – Henry Kessler 48’ (caution)

NE – Brandon Bye 63’ (caution)

TFC – Auro 71’ (caution)

TFC – Richie Laryea 84’ (caution)

NE – Teal Bunbury 90’+3 (caution)

MEDIA NOTES

  • Alex Bono made his 100th start, earned his club leading 50th win and set a new club record for clean sheets with 29 (all totals in all competitions)
  • Toronto FC recorded its first win in New England since August 4, 2013

RECORDS

TORONTO FC:                         10-2-4   34 PTS.

NEW ENGLAND:                       5-4-7   22 PTS.

LINE-UPS

TORONTO FC – Alex Bono; Richie Laryea, Laurent Ciman, Chris Mavinga, Tony Gallacher (Auro 56’); Jonathan Osorio (C), Marky Delgado, Nick DeLeon (Liam Fraser 70’), Pablo Piatti (Omar Gonzalez 85’), Alejandro Pozuelo; Ayo Akinola (Patrick Mullins 86’)

Substitutes Not Used: Quentin Westberg, Eriq Zavaleta, Erickson Gallardo, Tsubasa Endoh, Jayden Nelson

NEW ENGLAND – Matt Turner; Brandon Bye (Kelyn Rowe 68’), Andrew Farrell, Henry Kessler, DeJuan Jones (Alexander Buttner 80’); Scott Caldwell (C), Tommy McNamara, Tajon Buchanan, Lee Nguyen (Cristian Penilla 68’), Diego Fagundez (Teal Bunbury 80’); Adam Buksa

Substitutes Not Used: Brad Knighton, Michael Mancienne, Antonio Mlinar Delamea, Seth Sinovic, Kekuta Manneh

GREG VANNEY – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC

Three wins in a row and unbeaten in six, you must be feeling good about your squad?

“Yeah, tonight is a different kind of proud. This is a tough place to play. It hasn’t been friendly to us over the years. And this was a tough game. This was a scrap it out battle for every inch kind of game. You’ve got to protect your goal, protect your box. You’re fighting for space just to move the ball and you’re trying to break on the counter sometimes. A little different look, but I’m proud of the guys. They stood strong and resilient and we created some good chances in the transition. I know Ayo when he came off said, “I should have had three.” But that’s him being humble and being the kind of worker that we need at the top right now. The release that he was able to give us throughout the game when everybody else was working. You’ve got to win like this, especially in places like this and I thought it was an incredible effort.”

Can you talk about the job Richie Laryea did on the defensive side?

“This is a tough game for both fullbacks. They’re a team that really gets their fullbacks pushing high. If you don’t get a lot of pressure on the ball early, they get those fullbacks high and there are a lot of decisions to be made. You get put in a lot of one on one situations with the overloads they put on one side and Richie did a phenomenal job of making good decisions, which is showing more of his progression in the position. His ability to close down, get tight to guys and defend one on one, to stand guys up at the right times, I thought he had a very mature performance, and a different kind of performance. Usually, in games he impacts a lot more on the attacking side. Tonight, he showed that he continues to grow on the defensive side. I thought he was excellent.”

Was there a particular reason for Omar Gonzalez not starting?

“No, not really. Just a little bit of a rotation. We have to play these games back to back on turf. So, with that being said, I don’t really want to put any of these guys, if I don’t have to, two games in a row on turf, especially with the way these games are coming so fast. So, it’s more of a management choice. I thought Laurent stood strong tonight. He did a great job. He and Chris are a nice pair. They do well on the field. They have such a good relationship on and off the field that they did a nice job. We saw it in the playoffs. I have full confidence in those guys. That gave us a chance for Omar, who has played a ton of minutes through all of these stretches, to catch his breath tonight and it was nice for us to not have to put him on the turf two games in a row.” 

Can you talk about Alex Bono and what kind of teammate he has been?

“Yeah, Alex came in the offseason. He went off and trained somewhere and he just gained some experience in that trial. He also gained some perspective. He came back talking about how happy he is to be here, and he saw things from a little different perspective. He just came back ready to work every single day. What I’ve seen is him get back that full level of confidence that he had, that certainty. He has belief, but I think now he’s confident and really believes that he is again back to where he was. I don’t need to document it, but he had a tough stretch, where everybody had a tough stretch in 2018. And I think over the course of this time and a bit at the end of last year, he’s really just found some peace and some confidence again, and assuredness. He looks solid back there. I know there were a couple of crosses he’d like to have back. That’s one of his bread and butter strengths and one of the reasons why we thought he would do great in this game, to help us snatch some of those crosses that were hanging up there. But he just looks really assured out there and he has three shutouts, and all three of them were great performances. He continues to compete. We’ve got two good goalkeepers right now. Two goalkeepers I believe are in form and we’re going to try to keep it that way and see where we go.”

ALEX BONO – GOALKEEPER, TORONTO FC

Every time you’ve been called on you’ve done the job, you haven’t let a goal in, how difficult has it been this season?

“Yeah, it’s obviously difficult but I just want to start off by thanking this organization. Thanking Toronto FC, thanking the front office and my coaches for allowing me to have the opportunity to play as many games for such an awesome club. This is all I know from a professional standpoint and I’ve learned so much here along the way. I’ve been here for six years now, if you told me that six years down the road I would have started 100 games when I first walked into the training facility, I probably would of thought you were crazy and I’m so honoured and I’m so blessed to be part of this organization and so grateful for the opportunity they’ve given me. 100 games is 100 games, whether you get it in three years, four years, six years, it’s 100 games and I’m obviously very proud and very honoured. It has been a different role for me and all I’ve been focusing on is going in day in and day out training as hard as I can, try to put myself in the best position that when I do get these opportunities that I take them with my full ability because I’ve lived it as much as anyone, you don’t know when the next one is going to come, so for me to be able to take them one at a time. I thought I was a little sloppy today but at the end of the day, it’s another shutout, that’s a full team shutout, full team effort and I’m really proud of the game today.”

What are your thoughts on passing Stefan Frei for most clean sheets in club history?

“I’ve played against him a few times and in the limited conversation, he seems like an awesome guy. He was obviously before my time here and he’s a fantastic goalkeeper, so I’m not going to speak to his tenure at Toronto FC. For me again, I’m just so incredibly honoured and grateful for the opportunities that have been put in front of me from the team and the organization and the coaching staff. I can’t say enough that it is the guys around me that make my job easy. You’ve seen these last few games that I’ve been playing have really been scrappy games, fights, dog fights from minute one to minute 90 and you can’t keep zeros on the board if all 11 guys aren’t on the same page, so I can say that for every single shutout that we’ve accumulated that I’ve been in net for. From that perspective, I’m not too focused on the individual records, I just want to play games and I want to have fun and I want to win, that’s all that matters to me. So as long as I get opportunities to do that, I’m a happy man.”

Greg said your training stint with a club in England left an impression with you, what impact did it have on you?

“Yeah definitely. The first day I went back in the training ground that I got back, I walked in the doors and said we’re so blessed to be part of this Toronto FC organization. The way that this club treats the players, the facilities that we have, all the people that surround us day in and day out all the resources we have as a club and as an organization are simply unmatched and that’s not just in North America. Granted, it was a Championship club that I was training at and they were fighting to stay in the Championship but it’s still a high level of soccer. For me to come back and walk back into our facilities and see the guys and girls that help us day in and day out from top to bottom it’s just a first-class organization and to be part of it I’m so incredibly honoured. I enjoyed it, I enjoyed it when I went to train, I learned a lot in the couple weeks I was there but at the end of the day I walked back in the training facility and said this is really really special. I hope that guys that have been other places that come here, obviously notice it. It’s the one thing I tell the young guys and the one thing that was told to me when I came in was listen it doesn’t get much better than this across the league and that really is the truth, you can’t say enough good things about this organization and the opportunities they provide for us.”

-TORONTO FOOTBALL CLUB-