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Sixteen-year-old Connor Ingram was sitting in Mrs. Thurber’s chemistry class in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan when his phone rang. It was Flin Flon coach/GM Mike Reagan. “Both their goalies were late to the morning skate so the coach asks me, ‘You want to play in Nipawin tonight?'” Ingram said. “I said, ‘Of course I do!'” There are only three outposts in…

Cameron Johnson will provide a morale boost for the Phoenix Suns despite tempered expectations for his first game back.

After missing 37 games with a torn right meniscus, Cam Johnson will finally return to action against the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday. It’ll be Johnson’s first appearance since Nov. 4, and it’s the Phoenix Suns’ first bit of positive injury news in weeks. “It puts a lot of things in perspective,” he said. “It’s a blessing to have this as my job, to have the group around me that I do to help me get back to where I need to be. I can’t tell you how excited I am to get back on the court.” At practice on Wednesday, coach Monty Williams confirmed Johnson has checked “every box possible” leading up to his return, but he’ll play limited minutes…

By all accounts, Monti Ossenfort has built up a solid resume’ during his 22 years climbing the personnel ladder in the NFL. One New England source told me Ossenfort is “just a great all-around guy. Highest character. Not a self-promoter. You like to see good things happen for people like him.” One long-time NFL scout said, “A nice guy and pretty sharp.” A Hall of Fame general manager added, “Good guy. Well prepared. Solid.” Now, it will be up to him to build a personnel staff, just like every aspiring general manager has to do. Ossenfort and owner/president Michael Bidwill said everything you’d expect them to say during Tuesday’s press conference. Yet, judging by the reaction of many, you’d think…

Does Fred VanVleet make sense as a trade target or free agency target for the Phoenix Suns?

Welcome to the wonderful time of year where actual basketball conversation takes a backseat to rampant speculation! The Phoenix Suns weren’t immune to it last year as the NBA’s top team, and now sporting a disappointing 21-24 record in an injury-riddled season, they certainly aren’t this year either. The latest spicy name to surface, of course, is Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet. As The Athletic’s Shams Charania wrote on Tuesday, “The Suns and Magic have emerged as potential free-agent suitors for All-Star guard VanVleet, league sources say.” After turning down a four-year, $114 million contract extension from the Raptors before the season began, VanVleet will almost certainly opt out of his $22.8 million player option this summer to test the…

Alex Ovechkin calls the goal he scored in Glendale during his rookie season his favorite.

Alex Ovechkin has scored a lot of big goals. That will happen when you play 18 NHL seasons and put 882 pucks in the net between the regular season and the postseason.  There was this ridiculous goal that he scored against the New Jersey Devils on Dec. 20, 2014. There was the OT winner that he scored on May 1, 2018 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. That goal eventually helped the Capitals eliminate the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, shed the label of a team that could not escape the second round of the playoffs, and ignite a run to the franchise’s only Stanley Cup.  There have been electrifying individual efforts, 294 power-play goals — many of them scored from Ovi’s…

Winnipeg Jets coach Rick Bowness

When Rick Bowness stepped down as coach of the Dallas Stars in May, almost everyone, including Bowness, assumed that this was the end of the line for the 67-year-old coach. He had coached in the NHL for four decades. He had served 13 of those as a head coach with Winnipeg, Boston, Ottawa, the New York Islanders, Phoenix and Dallas, advancing to the Stanley Cup Final with the Stars in 2020. It was time to retire to Scottsdale where his son, Ryan — then the director of pro scouting for the Pittsburgh Penguins — kept a house.  Eight months later, Rick is back in the place where he got his first NHL head coaching gig and the Jets are one…

The Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate clinching the NL West division at Chase Field, home of the Diamondbacks.

In many respects, the Los Angeles Dodgers are Major League Baseball’s powerhouse franchise. They have won nine of the last 10 NL West division titles, many of them by a mile. The only year they did not win it in that span was 2021. That season, the Dodgers finished second in the NL West behind the 107-win San Francisco Giants....

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I hope . . . That everyone realizes how overblown the headlines were when numerous outlets ran with the story that Cardinals owner and president Michael Bidwill would consult with quarterback Kyler Murray about the team’s next head coach. In his press conference to announce the departures of Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury from the organization, Bidwill said at one...

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The Coyotes' Jack McBain.

Up until the past seven games, the Coyotes had exceeded most external expectations. They were as close to a playoff spot as they were to the NHL basement. Their middle core was showing further signs of progress. Goaltender Karel Vejmelka was among the league leaders in goals saved above expected. They were beating elite teams and they were winning with shocking regularity at Mullett Arena.  The chances of landing Connor Bedard at the 2023 NHL Draft — or even Adam Fantilli or Leo Carlsson — seemed remote. When the Coyotes hit the midpoint of the 2022-23 season in their 41st game, a 5-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators in Tempe on Thursday, the view was more of an expected one.…

Since Monday when Kliff Kingsbury was fired by the Cardinals, the names that have dominated the public discourse has been Sean Payton and DeAndre Hopkins. Of course, that has been the case for quite a while, but now the speculation has ramped up with the team beginning the interview process for a coach and general manager. What we know about Payton The Cardinals, along with the Broncos and Texans, have requested permission to interview him and the Broncos have reportedly scheduled an interview with him Tuesday (Jan. 17), the first day it is allowed. Even though he didn’t coach in 2022 after resigning following the 2021 season, there are two years remaining on his contract. To allow him out of…

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