SIMMONS SUNDAY: With the Raptors a large number underneath Nick Nurse for a lot of seasons now, would Masai Ujiri think about making a change?


It took a sure perception, conviction, and chilly detachment for Masai Ujiri to fireplace Dwane Casey, then coach of the yr within the NBA.

That sort of factor not often occurs in skilled sports activities.

The query now could be: Would he do one thing related with Nick Nurse? And has the time come to be contemplating such a call?

The Raptors championship is now 4 seasons previous. The workforce is a large number. The honeymoon is all however over. Nurse can’t cease complaining about officers, night time after night time, and now his gamers, most just lately Scottie Barnes and Fred VanVleet have adopted his lead.

His first two seasons, Nurse had an unbelievable .720 successful proportion, an NBA championship, adopted by a coach of the yr honour. He made his stamp as an NBA coach. Everybody took discover. The final three seasons, amid COVID difficulties and roster instability, he has a .481 successful proportion. Laborious to not discover that now.

The Raptors wrestle with half-court offence, which is taught, and may’t play defence notably effectively, which is taught, let Pascal Siakam play means an excessive amount of isolation basketball, which is taught and don’t appear to get essentially the most of their gamers night time after night time. The loss Friday night time in Los Angeles to a Lakers workforce with out LeBron James and with a half-hearted Anthony Davis was the sort of defeat that may claw away at Ujiri and by extension basic supervisor Bobby Webster the best way the playoff losses to Cleveland had him dropping religion in Casey years in the past.

Who’s having an important season on the Raptors? Full season? The entire season? Anybody. The coach definitely isn’t. Neither is Ujiri or Webster. Rather a lot to surprise about right here with 14 video games to play and nowhere actually to go.


Maple Leaf Sports activities and Leisure, which likes to be on the precise facet of every part private and political, must take a protracted onerous take a look at eradicating TikTok from Leafs jerseys and from its sponsorship association. The Leafs don’t should be advocating TikTok at this or every other time … Coach Sheldon Keefe has 17 video games left to determine nearly all of his playoff lineup for the Maple Leafs however his most essential job: Discovering a strategy to repair the 10-year veteran Morgan Rielly. He wants Rielly again in high type, sharp and assured which oddly has gone lacking most of this season … The issue with Alex Kerfoot: He’s not a high six ahead and he’s not a backside six ahead. So what do you do with him? … The true downside with VanVleet going public and getting private with an NBA official is that this: Officers are a brotherhood and a sisterhood in each sport. You name out one in every of them, you’re calling out all of them. Don’t anticipate Raptors to get the advantage of the doubt from officers the remainder of this season … The $30,000 high-quality for VanVleet represents one-seventh of 1 % of his wage. So for a man making $100,000 or so a yr, that’s equal to a high-quality of about $140 … Connor McDavid has 15 video games to play after Saturday night time’s sport in opposition to the Leafs. Count on 60 targets from McDavid. These predicting 70 will probably be arising quick … Strive explaining Erik Karlsson’s season in San Jose. You possibly can’t. He has extra even-strength factors than McDavid and leads the NHL having been on the ice for 94 even-strength targets, 21 greater than McDavid. The subsequent 35 gamers with even power factors behind him are all forwards not defencemen. And but on the opposite facet of the ledger, Karlsson leads the NHL in being scored upon — 96 occasions in all. This isn’t like Bobby Orr’s 139-point season in Boston the place he completed at plus-124 and even like Paul Coffey’s 138-point season in Edmonton, the place he completed at plus-61 … An extended-time NHL evaluator says this concerning the New Jersey Devils: “Have a look at the Florida Panthers final yr. Have a look at the Devils this yr. These are groups taking part in quick hockey. The widespread thread, Andrew Brunette was teaching in Florida final yr and is teaching in Jersey now.” … Dougie Hamilton has 18 targets for the Devils. Mixed, Rielly, TJ Brodie, Timothy Liljegren, Mark Giordano, Justin Holl, Conor Timmins, Luke Schenn and Jake McCabe have scored 17 occasions for the Leafs.


Shout out to the Canadian athletes and former Olympians who signed a letter objecting to Russian athlete participation within the subsequent Olympic Video games. The letter was a robust worthwhile gesture however perceive this: The Worldwide Olympic Committee, which without end kowtows to Russia, will do because it has all the time accomplished, nod accordingly and listen to none of this … Please inform me that speak of additional NHL growth is simply speak. Sure, growth to Seattle and Vegas has been profitable financially and on the ice in these markets and means past any expectations. It’s been a win-win for the NHL. However now dialogue of Houston and Atlanta (once more?) appears untimely and pointless. The league must strengthen its personal markets, not water down its product by including further cities … The cities I’d prefer to see at some point within the NHL — Quebec Metropolis and a second workforce in Toronto. It’s not going to occur however I can dream … I used to be in Atlanta for Flames video games and in Atlanta for Thrashers video games. It was onerous to discover a much less engaged fan base … Canada is a superb nation. However why can’t we determine methods to costume our baseball workforce for the World Baseball Traditional? Like, who did that? … Nice as this present Boston Bruins workforce could also be, it doesn’t precisely examine to the explosive 1970 Stanley Cup champions with Corridor of Famers Orr, Phil Esposito, Gerry Cheevers and Johnny Bucyk and large assist gamers like Ken Hodge, Wayne Cashman, Fred Stanfield, Dallas Smith, Derek Sanderson, Johnny McKenzie and Eddie Johnston. One yr later the Bruins had six of the highest eight scorers within the league, together with the highest 4 Esposito, Orr, Bucyk and Hodge … The youngest of the Hughes brother, Luke, is anticipated to hitch the Devils as soon as the season is over at Michigan. He would possibly step proper in on the Jersey defence. He’s that gifted … Boy was Linus Ullmark sharp within the Boston purpose Saturday afternoon. Very spectacular … Was benching Liljegren a contact of piling on within the days following the trades of Rasmus Sandin and Pierre Engvall. There’s a human component to this — we’re benching you and buying and selling your mates. Don’t assume that was essentially dealt with proper.


With Bob Younger in Hamilton, MLSE in Toronto, Pierre Karl Peladeau now in Montreal, William Shenkman in Ottawa, Murray Edwards and pals in Calgary, Amar Doman in Vancouver has there ever been more cash in possession within the CFL and that’s with the strongest franchises in Saskatchewan and Winnipeg … Don’t waste your time analyzing schedules over the past weeks of the NHL season. The Ottawa Senators, apparently preventing for a playoff spot, received shut out in Chicago and gained in Seattle in current days. How do you make sense of that? … After poor performances in Philadelphia and Minnesota, I ponder if that is it for Chuck Fletcher as an NHL GM. How would you promote him now as your subsequent saviour? … Relaxation in peace, Bud Grant and Otis Taylor. You each made soccer higher. Grant remarkably performed 4 years in Winnipeg, coached the Bombers for 10 years earlier than main the Minnesota Vikings to 4 Tremendous Bowls in 18 years. He additionally, you in all probability don’t bear in mind, performed two years within the NBA for the Minneapolis Lakers. Taylor was an explosive vast receiver, who performed in opposition to Grant in Tremendous Bowl 1V.


And so I hold considering: Think about Nomar Garciaparra with a pitch-count clock. He’d be referred to as out earlier than he adjusted his batting gloves … You all the time bear in mind your first. My first favorite Blue Jay: Otto Velez … The three largest folks I’ve ever seen in individual: 1. Andre the Big; 2. Haystacks Calhoun; 3. Shaquille O’Neal sporting an infinite fur coat … Joel Embiid’s month so far: 39 factors, 39, 42, 31 and 35. He could also be giving Nikola Jokic a run for MVP of the NBA though, Denver’s report this season when Jokic will get a triple-double is 25-1 … Why I’ll by no means be a movie critic: I paid to look at The whole lot All over the place All At As soon as. I would like my cash and my two hours again. And I’ll cringe quietly when it wins a pile of Academy Awards on Sunday night time … I hold trying and watching award exhibits however I can’t appear to search out the awards that BetRivers has gained for its playing app … Stick faucet to gear folks, primarily Bobby Hastings from the Maple Leafs and to Devils workers who helped a younger girl with a damaged skate play purpose — the sport being on the rink reverse the place the Leafs have been practising. With out their assist, there was no win and no state championship … For these conserving monitor, that is the tenth straight seasons wherein good man Michael Hutchinson has performed a sport in purpose within the NHL. Suiting up for six totally different groups … Curtis Joseph has 454 wins in his profession, which ranks him seventh general. He additionally has 96 ties. If half these video games turned to wins with time beyond regulation and shootouts, that may take him to greater than 500 wins, which might place him fourth general in NHL historical past … Gatorade have to be paying huge cash to Sidney Crosby, Andre De Grasse and Leylah Fernandez to have all three in one in every of its tv commercials … Pleased birthday to Ken Baumgartner (57), Paul Bissonnette (38), Daryl Strawberry (61), Dale Murphy (67), Becky Hammon (46), Bobby Abreu (49), Cesar Geronimo (75), J.P. Losman (42) and James Taylor (75) … And hey, no matter turned of Landon Wilson?


The bat flip was a second in time, and what an unforgettable second that was eight years in the past.

However Jose Bautista isn’t getting the decision to be honoured by the Blue Jays for his or her stage of excellence due to anybody dwelling run or singular accomplisment however due to all he managed in his unbelievable and unlikely 10 years in Toronto.

His identify was on the waiver wire in 2008. He had already been with 4 huge league groups. Then assistant basic supervisor Alex Anthopoulos alerted GM J.P. Ricciardi that Bautista was somebody value claiming. Ultimately, Ricciardi agreed and Anthopoulos labored out a commerce for a catcher named Robinzon Diaz.

Diaz went on to hit one huge league dwelling run. Bautista hit 288 in Toronto, the second most in Blue Jays historical past, simply behind franchise chief Carlos Delgado.

It wasn’t simply the house runs for Bautista, though he did lead the American League twice in that class. All-time with the Jays, he ranks second in franchise runs scored, second in OPS, third in slugging, third in RBI, second in walks, fourth in on-base percenage.

These sort of numbers get you a spot on the wall alongside George Bell, Joe Carter, Delgado, Tony Fernandez and the pitchers Roy Halladay and Dave Stieb. Halladay is the one homegrown Jays participant to make the Corridor of Fame. Bautista doesn’t have Cooperstown numbers however statistics that place him among the many best Jays ever.

Carter’s dwelling run gained a World Sequence. Edwin Encarnacion’s dwelling run gained a wild-card sport. Bautista’s dwelling run and singular emotional second in opposition to Texas rocked a stadium and its sport. That didn’t get him on the wall of excellence – 10 seasons of baseball in Toronto did that.

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