Cech ready to quit champions

first_imgPetr Cech is prepared to leave Chelsea after 11 years for a Premier League rival this summer, according to his agent. After a decade as number one, Cech, who is 33 on Wednesday, has found himself second choice behind Thibaut Courtois this season. Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United are among the clubs – along with Paris St Germain and Real Madrid – reportedly monitoring his situation after Cech hinted at his wish to move on this summer, despite still having a year to run on his contract. Press Associationcenter_img The Czech Republic goalkeeper’s agent Viktor Kolar told the London Evening Standard: “Arsenal, United or PSG are all top clubs and Petr would like to join one of them – definitely. “Petr expects that (owner) Roman Abramovich, not Mourinho, will decide about his future, based on their mutual agreement from last year.” Cech signed from Rennes in 2004 before playing a major role in winning every major club trophy. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho expressed a reluctance for Cech to move to rivals and also said it would take “big” money to prise Cech away from Stamford Bridge. But Chelsea are understood to be prepared to take the player’s wishes into consideration on deciding whether or not he can leave and his next destination. last_img read more

Big Ten Media Days: Wisconsin hockey picked as preseason favorite

first_imgST. PAUL, Minn. — There could not have been a more perfect backdrop for the first Big Ten hockey Media Day.As the Minnesota Wild practiced rows below, the coaches and players from the six member schools — Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State — got acquainted with one another and spoke to the media about the upcoming inaugural season.Between mingling and interviews, players and coaches alike stepped out from the small array of tables set up in the Xcel Energy Center (site of the Big Ten Tournament come March) concourse to look over a Wild practice that boasted a few alums from several veteran schools including Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.The coaches started the day with a round of press conferences and before long a common theme arose: the new division is an exciting change and the exposure it will provide via the Big Ten brand is only going to help the sport.“This is spreading our brand, the Big Ten brand for all of our schools across the country,” Minnesota head coach Don Lucia said, referring to the Big Ten Network. “You get into so many new markets, and I think that’s going to be a real win down the line too, even for recruiting.”And while many current or longstanding college hockey fans are finding it difficult to embrace the change, the coaches are confident that those begrudging feelings will disappear as Big Ten Hockey becomes the new norm over the next season.Wisconsin picked as preseason favoriteWhile each team certainly wants to make a splash in the inaugural season, Wisconsin will have to do so with a large target pinned squarely on its back.The Badgers return the most veteran roster of any team in the conference with nine seniors and seven juniors returning. The only early NHL departure the Badgers lost was center Brenden Woods who would have been a junior, one head coach Mike Eaves admits was a little bit of a shock.“Every young person that comes to your program has a different agenda, background, goals,” Eaves said. “For different reasons, each boy decided they wanted to stay for one year, to build their role, physically, mentally, emotionally. It’s something that we really don’t control.”This season will be the first time in several years Eaves’ has coached a veteran team. Senior and 2013-14 captain Frankie Simonelli said he and his teammates never talked about staying together the way they have — especially as winger Michael Mersch was one of the few expected to leave after last season — it was just something that happened individually.“It’s all personal decisions,” Simonelli said. “For each guy it’s different. … For our senior class, the guys thought it was the right decision to stay and hopefully we all get rewarded for it.As a result, Wisconsin will return 91 of its 112 goals from last season which amounts to 81.3 percent of its offense.After what can only be described as a chaotic season in 2012-13, going from a 1-7-2 start to Broadmoor Trophy Champions and a short-lived trip to the NCAA Tournament, the Badgers hope to learn from last year’s lessons and simply keep rolling through this year.“Looking at what we did last year, taking what we learned throughout the year and bringing it with us this year will be exciting,” Simonelli said.Not only will the Badgers carry over life lessons from last season, but also some impressive stats that only add to the threat they pose the rest of the Big Ten.Most notably, sophomore forward Nic Kerdiles — who is expected to move to center this season — ended last season on a four-game goal streak and a 12-game point streak, both of which are still active. After missing the first ten games of the season due to a suspension, Kerdiles finished the season with 33 points in 32 games played.Mersch returns as the Badgers leading goal-scorer with 23 goals, a mark that also ranks him as the second-leading returning goal-scorer in the nation. Mersch was also UW’s points leader last season with 36.Winger Tyler Barnes returns as the Badgers second-leading goal-scorer with 15 tallies on the season. Barnes ended the year on a streak of his own with 17 points in the last 14 games.Wisconsin also returns its starting center, Mark Zengerle. The senior needs just six more points to become the highest-scoring player under Eaves. He currently has 118 career points.While all this offense certainly sits well with Eaves & Co., Wisconsin returns a pair of netminders who will continue to battle each other for the starting spot, just as they’ve done the previous two years. Junior Joel Rumpel boasted a .929 save percentage last season and a 1.96 goals-against average which ranked second in Wisconsin history. Fellow junior Landon Peterson was right on his tail with a .926 save percentage and a 1.00 goals against average, ranking third in UW history.“They come in every day and they push each other,” Eaves said. “It’s a competitive situation every day in practices, and I think that’s what makes them better.”One new wrinkle: the shootoutNot only will fans get to enjoy watching the Big Ten opponents clash on the rink, but the conference is also introducing shootouts to help create a greater divide in points in the standings.“From the aspect of a fan, I think it’s tremendous,” Eaves said. “In the game of ice hockey now people get excited about, well in the old days fights, goals and shootouts. I mean, at the end of the game they’re all standing, watching it. I think it really appeals to the public.”last_img read more

Tyus Battle ends slump with 23 points in Syracuse’s win over Morehead State

first_img Published on November 10, 2018 at 10:54 pm Contact Billy: wmheyen@syr.edu | @Wheyen3 Tyus Battle pulled up from about 15 feet on the left wing with 5:20 to go Saturday. He’d made 3-of-4 shots already in the second half. He’d already surpassed his scoring total from Syracuse’s first game when he shot 30 percent. And on this particular shot, he swished it.After his feet hit the ground, Battle bobbed his head and put a small scowl on his face. The Carrier Dome roared as SU’s leading scorer from a year ago showed he was back.“Droughts happen,” Battle said. “I wasn’t worried about it. Once I got to see one go in, I knew I was fine.”Battle scored an SU-high 23 points on Saturday night in the Carrier Dome, as the No. 16 Orange (2-0) held off Morehead State (1-2), 84-70. He finished 7-for-15 from the field and 9-for-10 from the foul line as he again spent much of the game as Syracuse’s de facto point guard. After a 3-for-10 opening night, and a poor first half, Battle dropped 18 in the second half to help the Orange pull away from a persistent Eagles team.“He can score anywhere,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “Doesn’t matter where he is.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBattle wasn’t available to speak to the media after Tuesday’s season-opener. He was out on the Carrier Dome floor, getting shots up. Saturday, he said he “always wants to get shots up,” and he just wanted to solve whatever felt “a little off” in his shot.At first, it looked like those extra shots may not have done Battle any good. He got swatted on his first shot attempt Saturday as he attacked the basket. He missed a left-block fadeaway, short. He missed at the rim, again. He missed a jumper, again. Altogether, he missed his first six shots.But then, Battle pulled up from the right elbow and swished. About a minute later, he spun toward the right baseline, pulled up, and hit again. Although he missed a floater with time winding down, Battle had seen the ball go through the basket.“Just to see those go in at the end of the half, I think really gave me momentum for the second half,” Battle said.With Frank Howard still absent due to injury, Battle’s been forced to play point guard. He felt that may have contributed to his lack of aggression in SU’s exhibitions and its season opener. But he started to change that in Saturday’s first half, even when shots weren’t falling.In the second half, the aggression began to pay off. Battle attacked the rim for two layups while being fouled, along with another bucket that came off a post up on the left block.“I was trying to be aggressive in the first half and I was trying to be aggressive in the second half,” Battle said. “Only thing that changed was I guess I made a couple more shots.”Battle continued to drive to the hoop to get to the foul line, where he was 8-for-8 in the second half. In addition to the two and-1s, three separate slashes into the lane sent Battle to the line, where each time he made his pair.“Even foul shots when you see the ball go in, it makes things a lot easier,” Battle said. “Especially when you’re looking to score the ball.”Morehead State didn’t want to go away, as the Eagles brought their deficit back to 10 points on a number of occasions late in the second half. But in the closing moments, the game was finally in hand for Syracuse.The moment against Eastern Washington when the game felt in control came much earlier. Then, on his final shot of the night, Battle broke away with 4:12 to go, and he tomahawked a dunk. When he landed, he frowned.This time, it wasn’t until the game’s final minute that the Orange’s lead wasn’t in doubt. Battle beat his man going left and sliced down the center of the lane. No defenders came to help. Battle rose up and flushed it home with two hands. He didn’t show emotion right in that moment. But afterward, Oshae Brissett said, the Orange saw their junior leader smile.“We’re all excited for him,” Brissett said. “We like seeing our guys come out of their slumps. We’re all in this together, really. We don’t want to see any of our guys down. Seeing him like that, seeing him happy, even after the game, seeing him smile after the game, really lifts us all up.” Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more