Top sports advisory for 5 p.m., Oct. 13, 2021

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Here are our top stories:


Depleted Leafs, Habs, meet in opener


TORONTO -- The Montreal Canadiens play their first meaningful game since last season's Stanley Cup final when they visit the rival Toronto Maple Leafs in the season-opener for both teams. Leafs centre Auston Matthews and Habs goalie Carey Price are among those who will miss the opening contest. 700 words. By Joshua Clipperton. PHOTO. Developing from 7 p.m. start.


Reigning MVP McDavid leads Oilers against Canucks


EDMONTON -- Reigning MVP Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers play thier season opener against the visiting Vancouver Canucks. Vancouver overcame a potential contract crisis when they signed young stars Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes during training camp. 700 words. By Shane Jones. PHOTO. Developing from 10 p.m. start.


Flames start afresh with head coach Darryl Sutter


Calgary, Alberta, Canada -- A significant change in leadership under new-ish head coach Darryl Sutter make the Calgary Flames a team in transition heading into the 2021-22 season. "Honest, hardworking" is the identity Sutter wants for a club that either missed the playoffs or exited in the first round all but one season since Sutter coached the Flames to the Stanley Cup final 17 years ago. By Donna Spencer. Words: 807, Photos: 1. MOVED.


Tkachuk's absence looms over Senators


Ottawa, Ontario, Canada -- Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion has officially declared the rebuild over in the nation’s capital. Whether or not the pieces he put in place are ready to take the next step, and when holdout Brady Tkachuk will join the team, remain to be seen. By Lisa Wallace. Words: 954, Photos: 1. MOVED.


Canadians look to pick up three points at home to Panama


TORONTO — Canada looks to stay unbeaten and pick up maximum points when 68th-ranked Panama visits BMO Field on Wednesday in World Cup qualifying play. Panama is third in the eight-team round-robin, one point ahead of the Canadian men. 800 words. By Neil Davidson. PHOTO. Game kicks off at 7:30 p.m.


Canadian football fans ready to reconnect with favourite NFL teams


For years Jason Billingsley and his wife have attended the Bills home opener at Highmark Stadium, flying from Vancouver to Hamilton and then driving on to Buffalo, N.Y. That September tradition was derailed for two NFL seasons by COVID-19 restrictions limiting non-essential travel across the Canadian-American border.
Billingsley's hopes were raised on Wednesday when the United States announced its intentions to lift travel restrictions on its borders with Mexico and Canada by November. 600 words. By John  Chidley-Hill. Expected by 6 p.m.



When Shad Khan set out more than a decade ago to take control of the Rams and become the first member of an ethnic minority to own an NFL team, the Pakistani-American heard the scuttlebutt. “The conjecture was, ‘You will never get approved, because you’re not white,’” Khan, now owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, told the AP this week. Various people in and around the NFL have offered differing opinions on how pervasive the sorts of racist, homophobic and misogynistic thoughts expressed by Jon Gruden — in emails that he wrote over several years and cost him his coaching job with the Raiders this week — are in the sport to this day. By National Writer Howard Fendrich. UPCOMING: 1,200 words, photos by 6 p.m. With spot story on Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia holding his first practice (upcoming by 7 p.m.)


The NFL had four more games this that were decided with a winning score in either the final minute of regulation or overtime. That raised the total this season to 19 games decided that late, the most through five weeks in NFL history. By Pro Football Writer Josh Dubow. SENT: 750 words, photos. With separate on Ravens QB Lamar Jackson's arm (upcoming by 7 p.m.).


Tom Brady has a boo-boo. Well, a bit more than that: Brady's right hand — the one he throws with — was wrapped earlier this week after he injured it while demolishing Miami's defense on Sunday. Will it impact his play on Thursday night at Philadelphia? Not likely. By Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner. SENT: 600 words, photos, graphic by 4 p.m. With Buccaneers-Eagles preview (upcoming by 5 p.m.).


Sometimes a big game really isn't. No. 1 Georgia faces No. 11 Kentucky on Saturday, the third straight game for the Bulldogs against a ranked Southeastern Conference opponent. The first two, Georgia won 71-10 and the odds makers don't expect this one to be all that much closer. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 820 words, photos.


SAN FRANCISCO — Baseball's two winningest teams are going to a deciding Game 5 in the NL Division Series between the 107-win San Francisco Giants and the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers, who were right behind them with 106 victories. By Janie McCauley. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 9 p.m. With wrapups on Brewers (sent) and White Sox (upcoming by 6 p.m.).


PHOENIX — The Chicago Sky try to take a 2-0 lead against the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA Finals. By John Marshall. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 9 p.m.


The New York Islanders know what it means to be away from home for a long time. They spent nearly two months in Canada for the 2020 playoff bubble. Now, as the Islanders prepare for the opening of their new home next month, they will begin with 13 straight road games — the longest such stretch in NHL history to start a season — while construction on UBS Arena is completed. By Vin A. Cherwoo. SENT: 650 words, photos.



Kyrie Irving isn’t the first person swept up in a workplace drama over the COVID-19 vaccine, and he certainly won’t be the last. But he might turn out to be one of the most consequential. By Sports Columnist Jim Litke. SENT: 750 words, photos.



COLUMBUS, Ohio — Trying to rebound from a dismal defeat in Panama in which it rested many regulars, the second-place United States is likely to use more of a first-choice lineup in a World Cup qualifier against fifth-place Costa Rica. By Ronald Blum. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos. Game starts 7 p.m.


With one Small kick and a rather sizable upset, Texas A&M created a logjam in the Southeastern Conference Western Division. The Aggies' upset of then-No. 1 Alabama on Seth Small's field goal gave a glimmer of hope for the Crimson Tide's division rivals. By John Zenor. SENT: 670 words, photos.


No. 19 BYU is giving up its football independence and will be a member of the Big 12 in two seasons. The Cougars get a sneak peek at their new conference when they play at Baylor in a game that was scheduled more than five years ago. UPCOMING. By Stephen Hawkins. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 6 p.m.


Unbeaten and No. 16 Wake Forest is in unfamiliar territory atop the Atlantic Coast Conference thanks in part to its high-scoring offense. The Demon Deacons were picked to finish fifth in the ACC’s Atlantic Division, well behind six-time defending champion and perennial favorite Clemson. By Gary B. Graves. SENT: 900 words, photos.


The Brooklyn Nets look like such a title favorite that James Harden felt the need for a reminder they aren’t a title team. The Milwaukee Bucks have the crown and none of the drama of some of the other top contenders in the Eastern Conference, where turbulence with Ben Simmons in Philadelphia and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn were the biggest stories heading into the season. By Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney. SENT: 880 words, photos.


Utah had the best record in the NBA last season. Phoenix went to the NBA Finals and brings that team back largely intact. And the Los Angeles Lakers are old but loaded with talent. As usual, the Western Conference will be a dogfight. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 6 p.m.


LAS VEGAS — The CJ Cup is back in Las Vegas at a different course, and while a pandemic-delayed Masters is not looming at the year, some players in the elite field have plenty at stake. That starts with Dustin Johnson, who still hasn’t won this year. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 5 p.m.


Kenyan Olympic runner and two-time world championship bronze medalist Agnes Tirop was found dead at her home Wednesday in what police called a “heinous crime.” The Kenyan track federation earlier said the 25-year-old distance runner, one of her country’s rising stars, had allegedly been stabbed by her husband. Athletics Kenya said it was still working to uncover details. By Gerald Imray. SENT: 310 words, photos.

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