Coronavirus: Ex-Arsenal duo Djourou,Song sacked by FC Sion over contract dispute

first_img Promoted Content7 Black Hole Facts That Will Change Your View Of The UniverseWhich Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?Birds Enjoy Living In A Gallery Space Created For ThemBest Car Manufacturers In The WorldYou’ve Only Seen Such Colorful Hairdos In A Handful Of Anime12 Celebrities Who Almost Ruined Their Careers With One Movie6 Extreme Facts About Hurricanes10 Phones That Can Easily Fit In The Smallest Pocket7 Ways To Understand Your Girlfriend BetterWho’s The Best Car Manufacturer Of All Time?What Happens To Your Brain When You Play Too Much Video Games?Everything You Need To Know About Asteroid Armageddon Former Arsenal duo Johan Djourou and Alexandre Song are among nine players sacked by Swiss club FC Sion for refusing to take an unemployment settlement in light of the coronavirus. The entire squad was contacted on social messaging service WhatsApp by president Christian Constantin on Tuesday. Constantin’s message asked the players to take a “technical unemployment” deal which would see them receive a payment of around 9600 Swiss francs – an amount that is equivalent to 80% of the legal monthly salary in Switzerland. The players were given until noon on Wednesday to respond and, although many of them refused or failed to reply, nine were subsequently let go – many of them on contracts that were due to expire at the end of June. As well as Song and Djourou – who played for Arsenal under Arsene Wenger – Christian Zock, Pajtim Kasami, Ermir Lenjani, Xavier Kouassi, Birama Ndoye, Mikael Facchinetti and Seydou Doumbia now find themselves dismissed without notice and without a club as world football has ground to a halt in the face of the pandemic. The Swiss Players Union, the SAFP, has protested the dismissals, calling them unfair, while the players are reported to be seeking legal advice. Loading… center_img FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 The SAFP wrote: “You have terminated the employment contracts of the players without notice by letter dated 18 March 2020. We hereby expressly protest against this termination without notice.” The letter, issued to the Swiss club, adds: “We therefore expect you to withdraw these abusive terminations immediately and to enter into discussions on possible alternatives.” In neighbouring Germany, Borussia Monchengladbach players agreed to take a reduction in wages in order to ensure the club could continue paying non-playing staff. French Ligue 1 club Amiens have asked their players to consider similar measures. Read Also:Sion cancel Song, Djourou contracts due to coronavirus In England, meanwhile, Manchester United made a pledge to their casual staff that their wages would be paid, even if the Premier League season were to be cancelled or played out behind closed doors.last_img read more

Batesville, Dillsboro score ‘Impact Grants’

first_imgIndianapolis, In. — Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs awarded more than $52,000 to 11 communities and organizations for quality of place initiatives through the Quick Impact Placebased Grant.“Making small, but meaningful changes to the quality of place in our state not only brings communities together, but lets visitors know that Indiana is a welcoming place,” Crouch said. “I am excited to see these grants being used in such innovative ways, and I look forward to visiting the final projects.”This is the third year for the competitive matching grant program designed to fund placemaking and quality of life projects that spark community-wide conversations and creativity.  This year, an educational component was added to the program, encouraging applicants to include youth involvement in the proposed project.“Creating a place where people want to live is a critical element to creating a sustainable, interconnected community and strong economic development strategy,” said Jodi Golden, Executive Director of OCRA. “These applicants understood how to take an underutilized asset, enhance it and further activate that space beyond just the initial project.”Awarded projects receive grant funds ranging from $2,500 to $5,000. For more information, visit Main StreetCity of Batesville, $5,000This grant will commission a collaborative mural project to activate an infrequently used alley in the town square. After a review of submitted design plans by local high school students, a selected artist will lead students in the artistic process to develop and implement the idea, with the theme of music, which is a nod to the music and arts culture in Batesville.Brown County Enrichment for Teens/ Kids on WheelsTown of Nashville, $5,000Funding will assist the community in creating skateable art in the Deer Run Park’s new skate park.  Stained leaves will be incorporated into the concrete design, highlighting the town’s heritage of fall leaf colors. Local adults and youth will be volunteering time and labor to build elements of the park.Center City Development CorporationCity of Richmond, $5,000The grant will allow the community to install and activate community games in downtown Elstro Plaza. A combination of commercial concrete game tables and wooden games constructed in community workshops, this project creates opportunities for the community to come together to Play in the Plaza.Coatesville Downtown Revitalization, Inc.Town of Coatesville, $5,000Funding will renovate the exterior of one of the town’s blighted centerpiece buildings, a 1930s gas station. Although it will be a non-functional station, the storefront will be revitalized into public space with a throwback theme. This project will transform an unusable space into a fun, community gathering spot, and be the location for the town’s annual car show.Columbus Parks and Recreation DepartmentCity of Columbus, $5,000The grant will fund enhancements to Blackwell Park with upgrades to the trails and new park signage. In addition, new educational signage, bird houses and bee hotels will be added to provide visitors more opportunities to connect with the natural park setting.Discover PlymouthCity of Plymouth, $3,500This grant will be used to install a pollinator garden in the downtown district.  The garden will be easily accessible by all and will be used by the public library and Boys and Girls Club for educational purposes.Tell City Regional Arts AssociationCity of Tell City, $5,000Funding will create murals on the flood wall entrance to Sunset Park. The mural will be a stenciled, paint-by-number project to allow for community engagement and will accompany an additional mural being planned for the other floodwall entrance.Tippecanoe Arts Federation, Inc. City of Lafayette, $5,000The grant will be used to create the Wabash Walls, a street art festival occurring in the Wabash Avenue neighborhood of Lafayette. The paint out involves several artists from around the nation and abroad painting in designated areas throughout the neighborhood.Town of Dillsboro $4,370 Funding will transform an asphalt space in the downtown to be used as a cultural, educational and community gathering place.  Murals and a dance floor will be painted by local artists, with a few pieces of outdoor furniture crafted by community artisans.Wabash MarketplaceCity of Wabash, $4,418This grant will be used to beautify traffic control boxes by wrapping them in famous works of art in both Wabash and North Manchester. In addition, two of the designs will feature local artists depicting county landmarks.Warren County Community FoundationTown of Williamsport, $5,000Funding will reinvigorate a former skate park into a family-friendly recreational area. This area will include a variety of games such as chess, checkers, tether ball and shuffleboard. The project was designed and lead by local youth who recognized a need and found a creative way to transform the space in a useful and innovative way.last_img read more

Fulham set to sign Boateng

first_imgFulham are set to complete the signing of Ghana international Derek Boateng, Press Association Sport understands. The 30-year-old is a long-standing target of Martin Jol, who has attempted to bring in the Dnipro midfielder on several occasions before. Boateng’s transfer had to be put on ice previously due to contract disputes with his Ukrainian club, but Press Association Sport understands a deal is now close to being pushed through. The former Getafe, Cologne and Beitar Jerusalem man will reportedly pen a two-year deal at Craven Cottage. Boateng is one of the unnamed players manager Jol revealed he had agreed a deal with at last week’s pre-Swansea press conference. The Dutchman confirmed he had also agreed a deal with one of Wolves’ Bakary Sako, Athletic Bilbao defender Fernando Amorebieta or Roma goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg. Fulham have already completed a deal for right-back Sascha Riether, who will join the west Londoners permanently after a successful loan spell. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Farfan & Mendes Men’s first division hockey league Old Fort suffers back-to-back defeats

first_imgIT was tough going for the Old Fort men last weekend as they were made to endure two losses in as many matches against Bounty GCC and the Pepsi Hikers in the Farfan & Mendes Men’s First Division League.On Friday afternoon at Bourda, Old Fort took the field against an energized Bounty GCC,playing in front of a vociferous home crowd.The match seemed as though it would be an easy one for GCC as Old Fort,without a few of its senior members, succumbed to a Mark Sargeant field goal just 3 minutes into play and Kevin Spencer added a second for the Bourda side ten minutes later.Just as the match seemed to be getting out of Old Fort’s reach however, Old Fort’s Aderemi Simon, pushed into the forward line,produced two moments of pure brilliance.In the 22nd minute of play, Simon received a long pass from defence, turned past his marker and outpaced the GCC defence to blast a bullet of a shot into the GCC net. Simon would repeat this feat five minutes later for his own and his team’s second goal of the match to take the score into half time at 2-2.GCC’s pressure in the second half proved too much for Old Fort and their defensive fortitude eventually collapsed, conceding six more unanswered goals to end the match with an 8-2 GCC victory. Spencer managed a helmet-trick for GCC while Shaquille Leung scored a double and Kareem McKenzie a single.The very next afternoon saw Old Fort return to the field against tournament leader,Pepsi Hikers. This matched proved even more one-sided as the Hikers drowned their opposition by 9-0. While Old Fort managed to keep the game scoreless for sixteen minutes, the Hikers seemed threatening from the start. Midfielder Shane Samuels was the highest scorer of the match with a hat-trick, Andrew Stewart scored a double while Robert France, Randy Hope, Kevin Fogenay and Tivesard Garnett each added one.Matches continued yesterday with Bounty GCC vs Saints HC at Saints ground from 16.30hrs.last_img read more

His time now: Konz finding voice as leader

first_imgCenter Peter Konz has started 20 of his 21 career games. Entering his redshirt junior season, Konz will be counted on more as a leader.[/media-credit]On the field, Gabe Carimi and John Moffitt were two of the best offensive linemen in the country.They also happened to be just as good off of it.Carimi protected Scott Tolzien’s blind side at left tackle for the Badgers and received the Outland Trophy – given annually to the best lineman – for his masterful 2010 season.Moffitt was equally effective at left guard and he joined Carimi on the Associated Press All-American team.Those two senior captains anchored the University of Wisconsin offensive line and were two of the best leaders to come through the program.They were vocal when they had to be. They constantly studied their craft with extra hours in the film room. They knew how to lighten the mood when appropriate and they knew when it was necessary to call someone out.They led by example and they commanded their teammates’ respect.But now, they’re off to the NFL, and they need to be replaced.Ricky Wagner will slide over to take Carimi’s spot at left tackle and Travis Frederick will step in for Moffitt at left guard, but where will the leadership come from?Who will step up and fill that massive void?Look no further than center Peter Konz.“I feel like that responsibility is now placed on me, as it should be,” Konz said. “I’ve seen a lot of games. I’m supposed to be the quarterback of the O-line and I need to be better at that.”Konz has all the tools necessary to become the next elite Badger lineman.He’s played in 21 games and started 20 of them. He has tremendous mobility for a 6-foot-6, 315-pound center, making him a force in the run game, pulling from side to side to pave the way.His quick feet make him a reliable pass protector and his quick mind (two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection) helps to diagnose blitzes.Konz was a consensus honorable mention All-Big Ten selection and he’ll be widely considered one of the top centers in the nation heading into the 2011 season.He’s confident in his abilities to play at the high level expected of him, but Konz knows he needs to grow as a leader.With Moffitt and Carimi gone, his role on this team has undeniably changed.“Oh yeah, it’s changed. I try to call out more of the defensive stuff. I have to be more of a vocal guy,” Konz said. “Before, I would just sit back and if something was going wrong, Moffitt or Gabe or both of them would step in and say, ‘Hey, we need to fix this.’ If there was a blitz that I didn’t see, then it was Gabe or Moff saying what we’ve got.”As the center, Konz has the responsibility of calling out assignments at the line of scrimmage, but last year Moffitt and Carimi were the vocal ones and they often had the final say before the ball was snapped.“If I made a call, sometimes they would feel that they could override it – sometimes it wouldn’t work and sometimes it did,” Konz said. “It was a little uncomfortable making calls because it was like, ‘Do I have all this say?’. But those guys did a good job respecting what I had to do.”Konz is running the show now, and will be the definitive voice of the O-line from his center position. Knowing blocking assignments and calling out oncoming blitzes is something he’s comfortable with, but that’s just one part of the job.The hard part for the redshirt junior now comes when things go wrong, when his teammates make mistakes and need to be told what to do.At times, Konz, who is known for his engaging demeanor and humorous nature, needs to be a disciplinarian. That hasn’t been easy.“A lot of times I’ll be quiet just because I don’t like telling guys what to do. Sometimes you need to be an asshole – I’m terrible at that,” Konz said. “But I can promise you if I don’t do that, then its not going to be a good season.”Konz won’t allow foolish mistakes to reoccur time and time again in practice. Earlier in the spring, the centers were taking part in a snapping drill in which numerous balls hit the ground.Centers simply cannot afford fumbled snaps and Konz felt he needed to step in.So he made everyone start over.“We snapped and I made everybody go back and do it again and I hate doing that. I know no one is trying to purposely fumble the ball. … We have a bunch of new centers but it’s getting to the point where it’s every day and I had to say something,” Konz explained. “I know I’ve been there. I’ve been the one fumbling and making mistakes, so for me to call guys out is just tough.“But if we want to win, that is what has to happen.”Konz recently suffered a high ankle sprain in practice, so he’ll be in street clothes for the remainder of spring camp. But he’s out there on the field, watching every drill closely, delivering pointers to his teammates.He’s slowly transforming himself into the vocal leader in the trenches his offense needs ?- even if it means leaving his comfort zone to do it.“I know I can do it, and if I didn’t, I would be hurting the team,” Konz said. “Good teams always have those leaders stepping up and now it’s on me to do that.”last_img read more

Wisconsin survives North Dakota, keeps perfect record

first_imgForward Brianna Decker finished scored a goal and assisted on the game-winner in Wisconsin’s Saturday victory.[/media-credit]After trailing 2-0 Sunday, the Wisconsin women’s hockey team battled back to defeat North Dakota, 3-2, in an overtime victory that gave UW a weekend sweep at the Kohl Center.The decisive moment for the Badgers (4-0-0) came with just one minute of play left in the game when senior forward Brooke Ammerman scored off a rebound shot to tie the game at 2-2 and send the Badgers and the Sioux (1-3-0) into overtime.“Once that shot came through and it was kind of close, I just kept jabbing at [it] and thought maybe it will skip through,” Ammerman said. “Thank God it did.”Wisconsin carried the momentum from the last-minute goal into the overtime period, as senior forward Hillary Knight scored the game-winning goal.“We created an opportunity in overtime and walked away with a win,” head coach Mark Johnson said. “Any points including the victory today are very meaningful and certainly help us with the conference, and more importantly, it gives us two points that you can’t take away.”While the overtime goal gave Wisconsin the victory, North Dakota dominated play for most of the game, attempting 22 shots in the second period to Wisconsin’s nine. The Sioux were able to capitalize on power play opportunities that aided in building a 2-0 lead.Freshman forward Andrea Dalen knocked the first goal in for the Sioux in the first period, sending UW to the locker room scoreless despite having four power play opportunities in the period. “North Dakota did a great job in the first period with the opportunities on the power plays that we had,” Johnson said. “[They] try to play a real high tempo game, so if you are not ready to play, they are going to be in your face.”Junior forward Jocelyne Lamoreux added to the Sioux’s lead midway through the second period off a slap shot that sailed right past Wisconsin goalie Alex Rigsby during a power play. This added to the Sioux domination throughout the first half of the game as they continued to shut down the Badgers in the second period.“They tried to take away our speed, and I think a lot of the strengths in our game is speed,” Ammerman said. “Not getting the flow really slowed us down. Sometimes you have to battle and fight through adversity, and that’s what we did.”Lamoreux’s goal finally awoke the Badgers as they answered with a score of their own. Just 53 seconds later, senior forward Brianna Decker put the Badgers on the board, though they still trailed by one goal.“Once we got the puck on net, it gave us a little bit more momentum,” Knight said. “As we showed [Sunday night], we can come in the second and third period and capitalize on the opportunities, which gives us confidence as we go forward.”In terms of confidence, Saturday’s 5-2 win over the Sioux was no different. The Badgers kept the game close going into the third period, leading 2-1, and dominated play with three more goals.Senior forward Carolyne Prevost had a stellar first game with a hat trick that led the Badgers to their first WCHA victory of the season. Prevost, along with four other teammates, completed her run with the Canadian national team during Wisconsin’s season-opening series against Lindenwood two weeks ago.“They came out extremely hard the first period, and as soon as Carolyne put the puck in the net, it gave us so much more momentum,” Decker said. “A couple of early goals really help us out.”Ammerman assisted all three of Prevost’s goals in Saturday’s game. Their chemistry on the ice was apparent throughout the game.“It’s funny, because we have never played together as linemates and we’re both seniors,” Prevost said. “We had great chemistry tonight, and she seemed to find me at the right place and they were incredible passes all over the ice.”“I think over the four years we have been together here, we have such a great friendship off the ice, so it was just easy to play with her,” Ammerman said.A key to the Badgers improving will be extending their dominance throughout the game, instead of just the last period, which was evident in both games this past weekend.Next week, Wisconsin faces the Minnesota Gophers at home in what should be another close contest for UW.“The pace and tempo next weekend will be the same as it was [Sunday],” Johnson said. “We have a couple of things we need to work on and get ready for next weekend.”last_img read more

Nowlan Park confirmed for Tipp/Deise Semi Final

first_imgTipperary will play Waterford at 4 while before that at 2 it’s Cork against Dublin.The Senior Hurlers will probably have to plan without the services of Seamus Callanan after his straight red card during their league victory over Offaly.Cathal Barrett was then sent off on a second yellow and the Premier had to play with 13 men until the full time whistle.last_img

MLS 2019: How Wayne Rooney’s renaissance can bring success back to DC United

first_imgThe quest for the MLS Cup final ended in a penalty shootout defeat to the Crew, in which Rooney missed from the spot, but he still placed fourth in the voting for MLS MVP and second to Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the running for Newcomer of the Year.As Opta data highlights, there is even reason for United fans to predict bigger and better things from the 33-year-old this year… Related News United’s ability to ward off reported European interest in Luciano Acosta could pay dividends, especially given his blossoming partnership with Rooney last year.Acosta assisted three of Rooney’s goals in 2018, while the ex-England captain returned the favor on four occasions, most notably in the 3-2 win over Orlando City in August, when Rooney won back possession in his own half and sent a stunning long pass for his team-mate to head in a 96th-minute winner.ARE YOU KIDDING US, @WayneRooney????? AMAZING!!!!! #DCvORL— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 13, 2018Even if they cannot repeat something quite so spectacular, there is every sign that Rooney — with “Lucho” in tow — could make United a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference in 2019. NEWS | @WayneRooney speaks with members of the media after United’s training session at The Saint James Sports Complex. #DCU | #TheStJames | #DCU&TSJ— D.C. United (@dcunited) 23 January 2019INSTANT IMPACTRooney arrived in the United States on a three-and-a-half-year deal last June, having been deemed surplus to requirements by boyhood club Everton.His new team’s first part of the season had not gone according to plan. A record of two wins, seven defeats and five draws from the first 14 matches had pushed thoughts of the playoffs far from their minds.Things changed with Rooney involved — and quickly. With him in the team, DC’s record jumped to 12 wins, four defeats and four draws from 20 matches, with United’s average points per game rising to 2 from 0.8.It is not hard to see why results improved. Rooney’s arrival triggered an increase to 1.9 goals per game from 1.6, while United’s defense also seemed to benefit, its goals-against average dropping to 1.1 per match from 2.1. #DCU— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) 26 February 2019A PERSONAL TOUCHRooney’s presence undoubtedly gave a lift to the side as a whole, but his personal contribution to United’s campaign cannot be understated.Despite only really playing half a season, Rooney scored 12 goals and registered seven assists, the best numbers of any MLS player to appear in 20 or fewer matches in 2018. Indeed, only five other such players even managed to contribute directly to 10 goals.On the whole, Rooney has become a fulcrum of United’s attacking endeavor. Last season, despite missing 14 matches, Rooney led the team in terms of sequences that ended in shots (113), in goals (18), and Expected Goals (14.7). No other teammate managed higher than 10.6 for xG for sequences in which they were involved.18 – From Aug. 1st through the end of the MLS Cup Playoffs, Luciano Acosta led all #MLS players with 18 goals+assists (nine goals, eight primary assists, one secondary assist). Only one other player had more than 15 – teammate Wayne Rooney (17). Vital.— OptaJack (@OptaJack) 31 January 2019A TANDEM WITH ACOSTA Few can argue that Wayne Rooney has been a success on the pitch since joining DC United from Everton last year.Manchester United and England’s record goalscorer revitalized his club’s fortunes in 2018, inspiring DC to a 14th postseason appearance in its history. MLS 2019: Defending champion Atlanta faces competition in new-look leaguelast_img read more

NHL playoffs bracket 2019: Eastern Conference series picks, breakdowns, Stanley Cup predictions

first_imgIt’s now time for the greatest postseason tournament in all of professional sports — the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs. While we all start off thinking one team is a sure-fire pick to win it all, one bounce or post or bad bounce can alter a team’s destiny. Is this the year the Tampa Bay Lightning finally get over the hump after making deep playoff runs — including a Stanley Cup Final in 2015 — three of the last four years? Or is the Carolina Hurricanes, and their “bunch of jerks” the Cinderella story of this year’s postseason? (Getty Images) Washington Capitals (M1) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (WC1)The backstoryThe Capitals finally broke through last year and clinched the franchise’s first-ever Stanley Cup and Alex Ovechkin and company are hungry to go back-to-back. They face long-time division foe Carolina for the first time in playoffs history.X-factorQuick reminder: Braden Holtby was not the Capitals’ starting netminder when they began the postseason in 2018. Holtby stepped in for a struggling Philipp Grubauer and carried the team all the way to the end. This time it’s his show and if he can pull off what he did last year, the Caps may very well win again.The big number24.  That’s how many ‘Storm Surges’ the Canes put together during the regular season. Will we see No. 25 in the postseason? There are no guarantees the Canes will even win a game in this matchup, but we can all hope to see a playoff version real soon.ExpertWashington Capitals Carolina HurricanesJackie SpiegelWinner in 6 Winner in 7Sammi Silber MORE: Capitals vs. Hurricanes series schedule, TV info, breakdown Sammi SilberWinner in 7 Stanley Cup Final picksExpertEastern ConferenceWestern ConferenceStanley CupConn Smythe winnerJackie SpiegelTB over WSH in 5SJS over STL in 6SJS over TB in 6 Joe PavelskiBrandon SchlagerTB over PIT in 6NSH over SJS in 7TB over NSH in 6 Steven StamkosSteve KournianosTB over NYI in 5NSH over VGK in 6TB over NSH in 5Andrei VasilevskiyDave McCarthyTB over WSH in 7VGK over WPG in 7TB over VGK in 6Steven StamkosMike MurphyTB over WSH in 7CGY over STL in 5TB over CGY in 6Brayden PointMurray PamTB over WSH in 6CGY over STL in 6TB over CGY in 6Brayden PointLyle RichardsonTB over WSH in 6CGY over STL in 6TB over CGY in 6Nikita KucherovSammi SilberTB over WSH in 7WPG over CGY in 5WPG over TB in 6Blake Wheeler Winner in 7Dave McCarthyWinner in 5 Winner in 6Steve KournianosWinner in 7 NHL playoffs 2019: Eastern Conference predictionsTampa Bay Lightning (A1) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (WC2)The backstoryThe Lightning are poised to make a run at the Stanley Cup, and they definitely have the firepower and defensive core to do that. Standing in their way in the first round is the Columbus Blue Jackets who are led by the last man to lead the Bolts to a Cup way back in 2004 — John Tortorella.X-factorColumbus’ entire postseason rides on its netminder, Sergei Bobrovsky . If the two-time Vezina Trophy winner can finally put his postseason demons behind him (5-14, 3.49 GAA and .891 save percentage in 24 appearances) then this series may be a little tighter than everyone is expecting. The big number62. That’s how many wins the Lightning got in the regular season. Jon Cooper’s squad tied the 1996 Detroit Red Wings for the NHL record; however, Detroit didn’t win the Cup and all eyes will be on Tampa Bay to see if they can get over the hump.ExpertTampa Bay LightningColumbus Blue JacketsJackie SpiegelWinner in 4 Brandon SchlagerWinner in 6 Murray PamWinner in 6 (Getty Images) Murray PamWinner in 7 How it will all end is still to be determined but Sporting News’ NHL experts predict the Eastern Conference playoffs and who will take a lap with Lord Stanley’s Cup in June.MORE SN STAFF PICKS:Western Conference | Stanley CupNHL playoffs bracket 2019 Brandon Schlager Lyle RichardsonWinner in 4 New York Islanders (M2) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (M3)The backstoryNo one expected the Islanders in the playoffs this year, especially as the second seed in the Metropolitan Division, but here we are. Reminder to everyone, never doubt a team with Barry Trotz at the helm.X-factorNassau Coliseum. The ‘Old Barn’ hasn’t seen an Islanders team with home-ice advantage since 1988 and it’ll definitely be loud in the Coliseum due to its low roof and strong acoustics. This could very well help push this surprising Isles team past the Sidney Crosby-led Penguins.The big number Winner in 7Steve Kournianos Winner in 7Murray Pam Boston Bruins (A2) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (A3)The backstoryWell, here we are again. A little deja vu, would you say? Last season these two Original Six teams met up in the Eastern Conference’ s first round with Boston winning in seven games. However, this is not last season’s Maple Leafs. This team now has pure firepower netting 29 more goals this season than Boston, while averaging 3.49 goals-per-game (fourth-best in the NHL). The likes of John Tavares, Auston Matthews and Mitchell Marner will have a tough task facing Tuukka Rask, who already has one Stanley Cup under his belt. Also, obviously, never count out Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. X-factorDavid Pastrnak picked up right where he left off when he returned following hand surgery in mid-March. After missing 16 games the winger netted 15 points (seven goals, six assists) in 10 games. If he can replicate his numbers (20 points in 12 games) from last season’s playoff run, with 13 points coming in that seven-game series with Toronto, it’ll be hard for the Maple Leafs to counter.The big numberThis series could come down to special teams and the biggest number is 79.9, which is how effective, or not, the Maple Leafs penalty kill was during the regular season. Not a great stat when you’re heading into a match-up with the NHL’s third-best power play (25.9).  Toronto will need to clamp down on penalties if they want to keep the Bruins game-changing power-play off the ice.ExpertBoston BruinsToronto Maple Leafs Jackie Spiegel Sammi SilberWinner in 6 Winner in 6Dave McCarthyWinner in 7 MORE: Lightning vs. Blue Jackets series schedule, TV info, breakdown Winner in 6Mike Murphy Mike MurphyWinner in 5 Mike MurphyWinner in 6 Mike MurphyWinner in 6 Murray PamWinner in 5 Dave McCarthy (Getty Images) Brandon SchlagerWinner in 5 Lyle RichardsonWinner in 6 16 — which stands for how ineffective the Islanders were on the power play during the regular season. Not a good number when you’re facing the firepower of Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and company.ExpertNew York Islanders Pittsburgh Penguins Jackie SpiegelWinner in 7 Steve Kournianos MORE: Bruins vs. Maple Leafs series schedule, TV info, breakdown Lyle RichardsonWinner in 5 Sammi SilberWinner in 5 Winner in 7Brandon Schlager Winner in 7Lyle Richardson (Getty Images) Steve KournianosWinner in 6 Winner in 7MORE: Islanders vs. Penguins series schedule, TV info, breakdown Dave McCarthyWinner in 5last_img read more

Johnson to return for Manly clash

first_imgThe 27-year-old has been stalled on 149 games since an ankle injury picked up in the 70th minute of the club’s 26-4 win over Wests Tigers last month.After scoring his 61st career try in the victory, Johnson was then forced to miss the last three outings against the Sydney Roosters, Parramatta and South Sydney.With his seventh appearance this year, the club’s record points-scorer (825 points) will become the 12th member of the Vodafone Warriors’ 150-game club having made his debut against the Roosters in 2011 and his 100th against the same opposition in 2015.Johnson’s return results in Peta Hiku being switched back to the centres while there are two changes among the forwards.After starting in the 10-30 loss to South Sydney, Simon Mannering goes back to the bench while 19-year-old Isaiah Papali’i has been named to start in the second row.Ruled out for the next three weeks is utility Jazz Tevaga (shoulder) which sees Karl Lawton remain on the interchange. The four players included on the extended bench are Gerard Beale, Mason Lino, Sam Lisone and Ligi Sao.The Vodafone Warriors go into the match lying fourth on the ladder on 18 points, two behind Penrith and St George Illawarra. With an 8-4 win-loss record, it’s the first time since 2011 that the Vodafone Warriors have begun the second half of a season with more wins than losses (and only the second time since 2002).While the Vodafone Warriors are coming off a bye, the Sea Eagles were in action last week, going down 12-26 to North Queensland a week after losing 20-21 in extra time to Canberra the previous round.last_img read more