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On milestone-filled night, Flames show support for healthy scratch Monahan



Milestone Night at the Scotiabank Saddledome put the Calgary Flames and several of its players in elite company Friday.

It also included a touching show of support for long-time Flames fixture Sean Monahan, who sat for the very first time as a healthy scratch.

Shortly after Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk both hit the 30-goal mark in a second-period flurry that led to a 4-2 win over Arizona, Gaudreau gave a nod to his former linemate and pal during an intermission interview with Sportsnet’s Ryan Leslie.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who can score,” said Gaudreau, before adding, “both in and out of the lineup.”

Classy, and worth mentioning due to the tremendous respect everyone in the Flames organization has for the sniper-turned-fourth-liner whose struggles of late have been well-documented.

Gaudreau became the sixth player from the 2011 draft to hit the 200-goal mark, finishing a 2-on-0 with one of his trademark, top-shelf jobbies to put the Flames up 3-0 in a second period that saw him reunited with Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm.

The reunion paid instant dividends as the league’s most potent trio combined for all three goals, marking the first time since 1993-94 four Flames eclipsed the 30-goal mark, including Joe Nieuwendyk, Theo Fleury, Gary Roberts and Kent Nilsson.

No other NHL team has more than two 30-goal men so far this season, reminding people just how potent and deep this Calgary club is this season.

“At the beginning of the year the comments were, ‘who is going to score?’ but a little change in mentality in having zone time and shot volume you’ve heard so many times allowed them to have success early, and when really skilled guys have success early things really snowball in their direction,” said assistant coach Ryan Huska of the Flames big four, which includes third-liner Andrew Mangiapane.

“When we’ve needed a big goal that line scored it. When it’s a big game they’ve found a way to put together a big game. They do an excellent job together, reading off one another. The chemistry those guys have is fun to watch.”

Sure was Friday, after a scoreless first period in which neither team generated many chances, prompting Darryl Sutter to end his week-long experiment with Tkachuk on the second line.

They instantly returned to the Globetrotting-type passing that saw Tkachuk convert a beautiful give and go with Gaudreau 33 seconds into the period before Lindholm completed a stellar passing play between the three on the power play three minutes later.

Then Gaudreau scored his 200th.

“I was just excited I scored, it made it a three-goal lead there,” shrugged the 28-year-old when asked about the career mark.

“Lot of excitement, but just another goal for me.”

Not just another season though, as Gaudreau’s three-point night moved him within three points of third place in the NHL scoring race, followed by Tkachuk, whose two points have him in eighth.

Yes, eighth.

Up until the final seconds of the second period it appeared Jacob Markstrom might challenge another milestone, as the veteran netminder is stuck one short of Miikka Kiprusoff’s season shutout franchise record of 10. 

Michael Carcone’s late goal ruined that thought, but Markstrom was steady, making 16 saves to rebound from one of his only questionable outings of the year three nights earlier when he let in two weak goals in a 4-3 loss to San Jose.

Rasmus Andersson channelled his inner Cale Makar early in the third period with a solo effort that saw him corral the puck at centre, split two defenders at the blue line and finish a move around Karel Vejmelka that put the hosts up 4-1.

Believe it or not, the evening marked the third time in franchise history two lads have scored their 30th in the same game.

It happened Feb. 22, 1981 when Kent Nilsson and Willi Plett pulled the trick, followed by Lanny McDonald and Kevin Lavallee on Mar. 20, 1982.

After years as Gaudreau’s top line centre, Monahan’s lengthy list of injuries appear to have caught up to him as he struggles to fill the fourth-line role he’s been given, prompting Sutter to say he needed to give the veteran some rest. 

“He’s been through a lot these last three or four years,” said Gaudreau of his pal, who attended his wedding last summer.

“Every summer I feel like he’s been through a major surgery. He’s been given a different role this year, so it’s tough. But when he gets in the lineup or he’s at practice he’s always positive, always smiling. Great teammate, Great leader. He’s a guy I want on my team every day of the week.”

Next up are the Oilers, who watched from their hotel rooms in Calgary ahead of Saturday’s fourth and final Battle of Alberta this season.

That is, unless they meet again this spring.

The Flames have made plenty of headlines the last nine weeks as the NHL’s hottest team, but a quick peek at the standings show the Oilers quietly accumulating the second-most points in that span.

And now they have all their regulars back in the lineup, along with a few trade deadline additions.

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Mayweather vs Asakura: Start time UK, undercard, ring walks, prediction and latest odds tonight



This will be boxing’s 15-time world champion’s fourth such outing since retiring again in the aftermath of his lucrative victory over UFC superstar Conor McGregor in 2017.

Mayweather dominated former sparring partner Don Moore in a rescheduled contest in Abu Dhabi in May, one year after being taken the distance by internet personality Logan Paul in another no-contest.

YouTuber and Rizin featherweight Asakura, a former two-division champion in the Fighting Network Rings promotion, is 16-3-1 as a mixed martial artist, but has his work cut out this weekend.

He will be only too aware of the outcome of Mayweather’s last trip to Japan in December 2018, when kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa hit the canvas three times before being stopped inside the first round.

And ‘Money’ could well be on similar form here as he looks to tee up a rematch with McGregor in Las Vegas for 2023, while he is also due to face KSI’s brother Deji in November.

Floyd Mayweather boxes Japanese MMA star Mikuru Asakura in a three-round exhibition

/ Getty Images

Mayweather vs Asakura date, start time, venue and ring walks

Mayweather vs Asakura takes place on Saturday, September 24, 2022 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

The main card is due to begin at around 12pm local time, which is 4am BST in the UK.

Mayweather vs Asakura fight card/undercard in full

Rizin 38

Kyoji Horiguchi vs Yuto Hokamura

Seika Izawa vs Anastaysia Svetkivska

Ayaka Hamasaki vs Si Woo Park

Soo Chul Kim vs Hiromasa Ougikubo

Shoma Shibisai vs Callyu Gibrainn

Kyohei Hagiwara vs Chihiro Suzuki

Juri Ohara vs Luiz Gustavo

Super Rizin

Floyd Mayweather vs Mikuru Asakura

Kouzi vs Jizzy

Yoshinari Nadaka vs Bandasak So Trakunpet

Kota Miura vs Bunchuai Phonsungnoen

How to watch Mayweather vs Asakura

TV channel and live stream: Saturday’s event is being broadcast live on American digital video streaming service Fite TV, including in the United Kingdom.

The event will cost $19.99 (£17.73) to purchase.

Mayweather is set to earn north of $20million for a three-round outing in Saitama

/ AFP via Getty Images

Mayweather vs Asakura rules

Saturday’s main event is an exhibition scheduled to last just three rounds. Stoppages are allowed but the bout will be ruled a no-contest if it lasts the distance.

Mayweather vs Asakura purse

Mayweather claims he will earn upwards of $15-20million for his latest outing – not bad for potentially nine minute’s work or less!

Mayweather vs Asakura fight prediction

Mayweather has seemed content to coast through many of these exhibitions, going the distance with Logan Paul and Don Moore to produce no-contests.

The veteran is seemingly happy to continue picking up those vast paycheques without taxing himself too much or risking getting particularly hurt, and at 45 who can blame him.

However, his last visit to Japan saw him decimate Tenshin Nasukawa, who was left in tears after being knocked down three times en route to an emphatic first-round stoppage.

If Floyd decides to turn on the style again, then a similar fate could await his compatriot. Otherwise expect another dominant outing that ends in a disappointing no-contest.

Mayweather vs Asakura betting odds

Per Oddschecker, Mayweather is -700 to win tonight, giving him a huge win probability of 87.5 per cent.

Asakura, meanwhile, is at +500, giving him just a 16.67 per cent chance of pulling off a major upset on home soil.

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Laver Cup: Novak Djokovic hails ‘beautiful’ farewell for Roger Federer as he retires from tennis | Tennis News



Novak Djokovic expressed his gratitude at being part of Roger Federer’s “beautiful” farewell to professional tennis but admitted to being left with mixed emotions over the retirement of his rival.

The Serbian was present at The O2 on Friday night to watch his Team Europe colleague bow out from competitive sport following a doubles defeat in the Laver Cup to Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe.

Federer partnered up with Rafael Nadal – the other member of the ‘big three’ – for his last match but in keeping with the unique situation of the London event, Djokovic was one of the most vocal to provide support for two players who have usually been his biggest competitors.

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Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray were reunited on court in a practice session ahead of the Laver Cup. 

An emotional goodbye to the pro game was afforded to Federer, who received a succession of ovations and had a retirement video package played on the big screen before singer Ellie Goulding produced a performance that left the Swiss star and Nadal in tears.

Djokovic, speaking after his singles’ victory over Tiafoe on Saturday, said: “Well, I think we would all agree this was one of the most beautiful moments anyone has experienced live or on a tennis court worldwide. We all knew it would be an emotional farewell for Roger but I think we were all taken away by the moment.

Team Europe's Novak Djokovic, speaks after winning a match against Team World's Frances Tiafoe on second day of the Laver Cup tennis tournament at the O2 in London, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Team Europe’s Novak Djokovic, speaks after winning a match against Team World’s Frances Tiafoe on second day of the Laver Cup tennis tournament at the O2 in London, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

“At the same time it is a mix of emotions. Sadness because one of the greatest athletes of all time is leaving the sport but on the other hand seeing him happy with the way it all played out, I was just very grateful and privileged to be alongside other Team World and Europe players to witness that.

“It was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever experienced in my life, for sure.”

Federer had hinted in the hours after his ‘last dance’ that a potential farewell tour could be on the cards.

He had announced last week the doubles contest on night one of the Laver Cup, the Ryder Cup-style team competition he set up, would be his last on the ATP Tour but the door has been left open for more chances to see him on tennis courts around the world, just not in a professional capacity.

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Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal reveal their mixed emotions ahead of pairing up for Federer’s final professional tennis match.

“I have no plans whatsoever like where, how, when,” Federer said during a press conference that did not finish until after 2am on Saturday. “All I know is I would love to go and play places I have never played before or go say thank yous for years to come to all the people that have been so supportive of me.

“Because the hard part about the Laver Cup was that tickets were already sold out. You know, the people who maybe would have also loved to be here couldn’t make it. Maybe there is another way down the stretch we can party all together.”

Defeat on a comeback was finally admitted publicly by Federer last week after a succession of operations during the last two and a half years on his right knee proved unsuccessful.

It meant the final singles contest of his career occurred at Wimbledon last year, where he lost in the quarter-finals to Hubert Hurkacz, but he insisted retirement – which he settled on last month – was no longer a scary concept.

“I was able to remind myself always on the court again how wonderful this is,” Federer said. “This is not the end, end, you know, life goes on. I’m healthy, I’m happy, everything’s great and this is just a moment in time.”

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Copper Fit stands by Brett Favre despite allegations



Former Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre

This guy… *facepalm*
Image: Getty Images

As the misdeeds of Brett Favre continue to worsen, the image of the clean-cut Packers’ quarterback has deteriorated from all sane walks of life. Tag in Copper Fit, a brand of copper-infused athletic apparel designed to help reduce soreness and increase productivity, who you might’ve seen from infomercials or put on a pedestal by Favre, one of the company’s “brand champions.”

The LinkTree for Copper Fit still blasts out “Brett Favre’s Favorite Products” and has a 20% Off coupon when landing on his personalized apparel page. The company has made the decision to stick by him. The allegations that Favre accepted millions diverted from welfare benefits intended for families in order to fund a volleyball arena in Mississippi are widespread. Add in Wednesday’s revelation that the former head of Mississippi’s welfare agency, John Davis, entered into a plea agreement with federal and state prosecutors regarding Favre’s case. It turned heads, to say the least. Now it’s worth pondering if anyone was tone-deaf enough to stick by Favre.

“Copper Fit has worked with Brett Favre for nearly 9 years. He has always acted honorably, and we know him to be a very decent man,” the company’s statement read on Front Office Sports. “To our knowledge, he was cleared of any wrong-doing two years ago. We are confident that will be the case in the civil suit.”

Well, fuck. Turns out some people can only fall from grace so far. Wonder how long this will eventually take to backtrack. If Favre was one of Copper Fit’s other two “brand champions” of Jerry Rice or Gwyneth Paltrow, would the company have chosen to stick by the greatest receiver of all time? Or the Oscar winner for Shakespeare in Love? The plea agreement may be the tip of the iceberg and we’ll see how solid that stance is from Copper Fit.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why Favre’s story isn’t transcending sports as Colin Kaepernick or Ime Udoka’s did. If you’re guessing because, at the time of their most prominent incident, they were a current figure in sports, you’re wrong. The All-American, willing to do the mundane, boots-in-the-ground aura of Favre played out throughout the NFL, the pedestal-raised sports league of Americana, plays true here as well. What other prototype of athlete would have a company stick by him if everything reported on Favre’s actions becomes true?

Copper Fit is far from the only company to have Favre on its payroll, though he has yet to be charged in the matter. It appears Copper Fit is the only one to definitively stick by him during this period. Others who’ve propped up Favre in the past weeks include SiriusXM, where Favre last appeared on-air on Sept. 13, and Hallow, a Catholic prayer and meditation app, which hasn’t replied to FOS for comment as of Friday.

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