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Sole F85 Treadmill – Overall First Impressions

Before we jump right into the technical specifications of the Sole F85, I have to tell you about something that may be even more important than the size of the deck or the power of the motor.  What is it?  It’s my overall first impressions about how the machine looks, feels, acts, functions and if all those elements make it worth the effort to get it to where you need it and to pay the hefty price tag!! 
After all, I’ve owned at least 4 treadmills in my adult life and now I review fitness equipment for a living, so why would I choose a Sole treadmill over the many other options available at any good quality fitness store or online?
Well, I did my research online and narrowed my options to about 3 good quality machines that I knew were on the upper limit of my budget.  Then did some price shopping to determine which machine would be the winner, and yes, you guessed it, the Sole F85 came out on top!  Why?  Let’s get into it!
An Impossible Journey!
I’ll touch on all the awesome features in a second, but my story is much more interesting than boring specs!  When I arrived at the fitness store in St. Catharines, Ontario on a rainy Monday morning in the middle of the COVID-19 Worldwide economic shut down, little did I know that in less than 24 hours, all stores in Ontario, Canada would have to close for business unless deemed “essential” and apparently (if you can believe it!!) fitness stores didn’t make the cut. 
As I backed my 2007 Chevy Avalanche to the bay doors to have them load my treadmill, I was discouraged to see that 2 strong and very fit 20-something fitness fanatics struggled to move the box which was WAY too long to fit in my 8-cylinder truck box without sticking out past the back end.  
Luckily, I had some straps in the truck and was able to secure the box after watching them exert what appeared to be ALL their energy (in perfect unison) to push and heave the box onto my truck.  I kept my “social distance” at about 8 feet at least (though they did not keep any distance at all from each other). 
I noticed they were out of breath after loading the box and my heart sank at the thought of what was waiting for me in about 15 minutes from then in my driveway!  I needed to move that box about 10 times farther than they did, and my muscles were nowhere near as big as either one of them …. and there was only ONE of me!!!  AHHHH!
I asked if I needed to sign an invoice to prove I picked up the unit, and they looked at each other, then at me, then back at each other and said “NOPE, YOU’RE GOOD TO GO!”  I really must have looked like I had leprosy or something.  What a crazy world the Coronavirus has made!
The F85 treadmill from SOLE Fitness is ABSOLUTELY one of the few very best deals online today. Its specifications betray a much more expensive machine than you’ll actually pay. Read on to see that I’m telling you the TRUTH! Can you handle it?
See Latest Price and Availability AMAZON’S PRICE
At this point, it was raining and I had an uncovered cardboard box in my truck and I knew something had to be done quickly once I arrived home.  I broke the news to my wife as I peeled into the driveway, and we both started trying to unload the beast before it was completely soaked.  We wrangled it into our garage where I barely had room to unbox it given the extreme dimensions of the box itself! 
However, I was thrilled to see what looked like lots of individual pieces in the box and I thought it might easy after all to move it into our weight room if it was in so many small pieces. 
My optimism was dashed when I finished taking the 3 or 4 light plastic pieces to the workout room and realized that about 99.3% of the weight was still sitting in the box AND IT WAS IN ONE PIECE!!  That began our afternoon of hurt!
I was able to get an old compressed canister moving dolly to take most of the weight of the deck and motor while my wife and oldest son did our best to keep the machine on the dolly as I navigated our stone driveway that was soft and muddy in early spring.  I finally got it to our back patio area where I was able to begin a video (which you can see HERE) that shows the rest of the story!

How to Get this Beast into my HOUSE!
In case you didn’t want to watch the video or if you like reading instead, I’ll be brief!  My wife and I used Forearm Forklifts to gain some leverage in our battle against this gravity-loving entity!  In spite of our use of towels and “forklifts,” we nearly damaged our steps, wall and the machine itself during our move which included going up only 2 stone steps at the back of our house and into the room immediately on the other side of the door.  It could have been far worse if we needed to move it around through the house and up the stairs to a bedroom or downstairs to the basement!
After a few more minutes we struggled to get it into position, and after we did, the machine had one more nasty surprise for me.  You see, I didn’t read the warning (carefully enough) which said not to cut a retaining strap until the machine was in place.  Well, it WAS in place, but what I didn’t read was that “in place” meant the machine had to be sitting upright in its final position – as it would be if one was running on the deck. 
Our deck was sitting on its side when I made that fateful cut to the retaining strap only to have a steel support fly out at my shins faster than either my wife or I could see!  When I looked down it had already connected nicely with my shins and the pain was just beginning!  READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!!!
First Impressions
Aside from my “wonderful” experience so far, I had a whole lot of thoughts about the treadmill once I got it assembled.  It took me about an hour and I will warn you, please do each step VERY carefully.  The photos in the assembly instructions are decent, but not as easy to follow as you might think.  I had to unscrew and undo a couple of steps to get it right.
Once assembled I was itching to make ANOTHER VIDEO about my initial thoughts.  Here’s the gist of it if you skip the video;
Stability
Compared to every other treadmill I’ve owned, this one was by far the heaviest and that told me it would be sturdy and virtually immovable.  Even without officially “leveling” the deck with the adjustable feet, it was sturdy as an ox!
I like the look of the console which is big enough (and has enough features) to make it look like a pro health club machine!
Aesthetics
I love the look of the machine as it features a big control panel area with three distinct sections.  The bottom section features the main Start and Stop buttons as well as the safety key and quick speed settings just below the quick incline settings.  This area also has an input for MP3 music players and an output for headphones.  For what it’s worth, it’s just as easy to connect your headphones directly to your smartphone rather than going through the machine itself, but it sure does work!
The next section of the panel includes incremental adjustments for the incline and speed as well as 11 different custom controls for individual users and customized workout routines.  It also includes the main LCD screen that displays all the information you’ll need to make all your changes/inputs, etc.  And that’s not all.  This section also includes an integrated fan and speakers. 
Now, I have to toss in my two-cents regarding the speakers.  If you’re serious about listening to music that inspires and motivates your workouts, I’d give these speakers a failing grade.  Like every other treadmill I’ve owned that featured speakers, it sounds like my computer speakers from 1994 before bass woofers were invented!  They lack all bass and sound “tinny”.  
Invest in a great set of wireless headphones and you’ll be WAY happier.  I just bought THESE about 2 weeks before I bought the Sole treadmill!  They’re super cheap but work REALLY well and they look expensive!
Finally, the top section of the control panel includes a tablet/smartphone holder that doesn’t just rely on gravity to hold it in a trench, but it has an adjustable clasp on the top to hold your device tightly, which allows it to sit on a steeper angle facing you better.  Of course, there’s also a USB charging port right beside it so you’re good to go for as long as you can handle it!
A Word About the Controls
I have mostly good things to say about this treadmill, but it’s not all roses for the F85.  While it functions very adequately, I believe that (given its not-so-budget-friendly pricepoint) the buttons and controls are lacking a bit.  Like the utterly “non-useful” speakers which lack any motivating bass and power, the buttons and controls look much like something manufactured in 1992.
The key is not as slick as a magnetic option and button technology is decades old.
I was REALLY hoping that the screen was touch-sensitive, and given that most screens today on any machine or device is touch responsive, my finger immediately went to the screen to start inputting my information.  To my dismay, I realized I had to click “UP↑” and “DOWN↓” keys to enter information and I felt like I was on a computer from the era of “Back to the Future”.  The non-magnetic safety key is awkward to insert, and it’s obviously not meant to be inserted or removed at every use, nor does it insert cleanly and easily.  It goes in with some resistance and feels like it is never quite “set” when it’s fully inserted.
We did, however, like the side rail mounted speed controls which admittedly, are way easier to use than reaching up into forest of keys to try to find another speed-adjusting option.  But then, isn’t the whole point of exercising to get “uncomfortable” so that we actually use and stress our muscles in order to build and tone them?  Hmmm…. I still like the easy access these buttons offer!
Side rail-mounted speed controls are quick and easy to use – a welcome luxury
The Deck and Motor
I was quick pleased with the deck’s built-in hydraulic system that made lifting this heavy monster very easy, while also automatically opening it in a gentle and controlled manner.  In fact, it’s so easy to lower and raise, that the default position of this treadmill (when not in use) is always up.  That’s never been the case with any other treadmill I’ve owned.  The deck has a “cushion-flex” system to reduce strain on joints.  In fact, the cushion-flex whisper deck reduces joint impact as much as 40% compared to running on asphalt.  That’s a big claim, but it makes me feel good!

I honestly didn’t even look at the motor, but when I read that it was a 4.0 hp beast, I was immediately sold.  I have researched over 2 dozen treadmills recently and even the ones costing significantly more than this one didn’t have any higher powered motors than a 4.0 hp.  I was only mildly anxious about how “noisy” it might be, but after a quick test, I was pleasantly surprised by its quietness.  With headphones on (not even noise-canceling ones) you won’t hear it even a bit!
Sole is so proud of their features that they’ve placed stickers with them in prominent areas so you won’t miss noticing them!
Features
The engineering team at SOLE strives to exceed their customers’ expectations. That’s the official word from Sole and I believe them … to an extent.  Through emphasizing quality design, they consistently create quiet, stable, and durably made treadmills. Loaded with comfort features from the cushioned deck to the cooling fan, and with a lifetime warranty on treadmill frames and motors, SOLE treadmills are (in this reviewer’s opinion) one of the better deals on the market with a number of specs that are only available in higher-priced brands and models.
Bluetooth
You can listen to music through the Bluetooth 3.0 Audio Speakers from any enabled smart device. SOLE offers users the option to record workout feedback via Bluetooth from SOLE equipment to an Android or Apple smart device. Users’ workout feedback is automatically saved to the integrated personal calendar, and the data can also be downloaded to the free SOLE FITNESS APP, or transferred to compatible fitness apps (Fitbit, iHealth, Record, Map My Fitness, MyFitnessPal, and other open-source training apps).
Message Board
SOLE offers integrated message boards on most of their treadmill models. It’s an alphanumeric text center that sends scrolling messages to the user as guidance through the details of each workout. This feature can help you to understand the full capabilities of Sole treadmills at times when accessing the user manual may not be so easy (though we keep the manual nearby). The message board is also able to recap an entire workout and allow you to see the progress you’ve made.
High Torque Motors and Flywheels
All Sole treadmills feature the heaviest duty motors and chassis in their class. Industrial quality motors are used in conjunction with large diameter, all-steel, zinc coated, and balanced flywheels for a vibration-free and secure running surface. The flywheel extends the life of the motor by allowing it to run cooler and with a lower power consumption while their heavier weight lends to the same fluid motion found on commercial grade treadmills.
Belts
The belts are not plastic but are made of rubber for durability, PVC to prevent over-stretching, and nylon providing a smooth, static-free surface to glide over the deck and rollers.  
Rollers
The Sole F85 treadmill features large rollers which means a larger contact surface with the belt contributing to even movement and longer roller and belt life. Big rollers with sealed bearing design and copper ground wires reduce static as you exercise making for a smooth, quiet motion that will (with any luck) stand the test of time.

Specifications
Machine Dimensions:

Footprint (in.):
82″ L x 37″ W x 66.5″ H

Folded Dimensions (in.):
44″ L x 37″ W x 71″ H

Item Weight (lbs.):
280 lbs.

User Weight Capacity (lbs.):
400 lbs.

Running Surface:
22″ x 60″

Rollers:
2.75″

Carton Dimensions:
85.5″ L x 37″ W x 17.5″ H

Shipping Weight (lbs.):
308 lbs.

 
Controls & Features:

Motor Info:
4.0 HP

Speed:
.5 – 12 mph

Incline:
0 – 15 levels

Heart Rate Monitoring:
Hand pulse grips, chest strap compatible

Chest Strap Included:
Yes

Cooling Fan:
Yes

Standard Programs:
6

Custom Programs:
2

Heart Rate Programs:
2

USB Device Charging:
Yes

Bluetooth Compatability:
Yes

Bluetooth Speakers:
Yes

Audio System:
Built-in speakers (MP3 Compatible)

Console Display:
10.1″ high-resolution LCD

Display Feedback:
Time, speed, distance, calories, pulse, incline, program

 
See Latest Price and Availability on the SOLE F85 –  AMAZON’S PRICE
Warranty:

Frame and Motor:
Lifetime

Deck:
Lifetime

Parts:
5 Years

Labour:
2 Years

 

 
First Impressions of the F85
 

Overview
The Sole F85 is the top model in Sole’s folding treadmill series and it’s also Sole’s #1 seller!  It features a 4.0 hp motor (while more expensive machines from competing brands feature 3.2 hp or 3.5 hp motors).  Speeds up to 12 mph can be reached with 15 different incline settings if you start feeling like Batman!  For me, I keep the incline low since I’m staring down the barrel of 60 years of age!!!!  AHHHHGH!
The F85 also has Sole’s biggest deck area and a 22-inch wide running surface and their longest commercial-sized belt. 
It features heart rate controls and a full chest heart rate monitor as well!  If you weigh 400 lbs (I hope you don’t, but if so, start moving more but do it carefully and with supervision) or less, this machine will work nicely for you.
We found the F85 treadmill console is fairly user friendly with a nice-sized display showing feedback about Speed, Incline, Time, Distance Traveled, Calories, Pulse, and Pace at all times, and includes a 1/4 mile track feature and a peak and valley graph for specific programs. Built-in speakers allow you to hook up any MP3 player for easy listening while you exercise, and cooling fan and speed/incline controls are easily accessible on the armrests. 
You can also change the measurements from Metric to Imperial so you can have Kilometers or Miles.

 

The post Sole F85 Treadmill – Overall First Impressions appeared first on Sport Consumer.


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NHL Point Leaders Halted With Season Stoppage

The stoppage of the 2019–20 NHL season could rob most of the league’s point leaders of hitting the century mark. Seven players were on pace to reach 100 points. Six more were scoring at a pace of just under 100 total points, needing a burst in their final dozen or so games. Use this guide to see how players were getting on before the stoppage as well as for a promotional offer.
Oilers Topping NHL Point Leaders
Prior to the NHL’s league-wide suspension on March 12 due to COVID-19, Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl was the only player currently over 100 points. The German forward is well over the mark too, posting 110 points made up from his 43 goals and 67 assists.

Draisaitl’s league-best 1.54 points per game is .03 higher than teammate Connor McDavid’s average, who is second in the NHL with 97 points in 64 games — 1.51 per game.

Behind the two Oilers are Boston’s David Pastrnak and New York’s Artemi Panarin with 95 points each; Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon with 93; and rounding out the top 10 are Boston’s Brad Marchand, Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov, Chicago’s Patrick Kane, Toronto’s Auston Matthews, and Buffalo’s Jack Eichel, all having over 80 points.
13 NHL Scorers in Sight of 100 Points
Over half of the top 10 were on pace to crack 100 points. All were in reach of triple-digits.

If the NHL does play all 82 games, Draisaitl’s on pace for a league-leading 127 points. McDavid would finish second with 113, Pastrnak and Panarin tied for third with 111, MacKinnon in fifth with 109, Marchand at sixth with 101, and Kucherov in seventh with exactly 100.

There were a handful of players needing to go on a streak to hit 100, such as: Patrick Kane, on pace for 98 points; Auston Matthews, on pace for 93; Jack Eichel, on pace for 92; Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau, also on pace for 92, Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, on pace for 91; and New York’s Mika Zibanejad, on pace for 90.

In this era, these are the 13 players surely to be on every fantasy hockey player’s radar.
High Number of NHL Point Leaders to Hit 100
Seven players were on pace to hit 100 points in 2019–20. If all seven did, this season would have the most triple-digits scorers compared to the past 10 full NHL seasons.

Over the past 10 full NHL seasons, a player reached 100 points 18 times. That’s 1.8 players per season, a much lower number than the seven on pace to do so this year.

Considering league-wide scoring is at its highest total since 2005–06, the numbers add up. By the way, 2005­­­ had seven 100-point scorers too, and was the second-last NHL season where seven scorers hit that mark (2006–07 the other).

The 2019–20 NHL season was also on pace for something that hasn’t happened in the 21st century: four scorers hitting 110 or more points.

2005–06 had two scorers of over 120 points (Joe Thornton, 125 and Jaromir Jagr, 123), but 2019­­–20 was set to feature the best group of top point-scorers since 1995­–96.
NHL Suspension Postponing History
1995–96 was a remarkable season; six players hit 110 points led by Pittsburgh’s otherworldly duo of Mario Lemieux (161) and Jagr (149).

2019­–20 was projecting to compare to the 1995–96 season. Draisaitl and McDavid were supposed to be the first two teammates to finish one and two in scoring since Lemieux and Jagr did 24 seasons ago. While the two Oilers would still finish one and two if the season’s cancelled, their accomplishment will have an asterisk from the shortened year.

Draisaitl was supposed to join Jagr, Kucherov, Thornton, and Sidney Crosby as the only 120-point scorers this century. Draisaitl’s projected 127 points would sit second for the highest single-season point total this decade, Kucherov’s 128 last year at the top.
2019–20 NHL Season Left with Unknowns
Given Draisaitl’s ability to score in sprees, and players like Matthews and Zibanejad catching fire, who knows how high this year’s crop of elite talent could’ve taken their numbers.

Then there’s the potential goal-scoring history. Three players were projected to reach 50 goals in 2019–20: Alex Ovechkin, 57; Pastrnak, 56; and Matthews, 55. Draisaitl and Zibanejad were on pace for 49 each too.

Three players haven’t scored 50 goals in an NHL season since 2009-10. Crosby and Steven Stamkos led the NHL with 51 goals that season, and Ovechkin had exactly 50.

Five players hadn’t scored 50 goals in a season since 2005­–06, one of the many feats that were possible in 2019-20, but now may never get to play its course.

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Canadian Football 101: The Basics

In Canada, winter sports are the most prominent. So much so that the country’s flagship sport is ice hockey (and lacrosse, coincidentally). However, other sports are also played. This is the case with Canadian football, which is considered the second most popular sport in the country.
Canadian football, because of its contact and strategy, could be considered a fusion between American football and rugby, though Canadian CFL is older than its American NFL  counterpart. Many specialists say it is rugby with protection. In each match, two 12-player teams play, each of which fights to obtain an oval-shaped ball and take it to the end zones that are delimited by an end line where two H-shaped posts are located. The winner is the team that scores the most points.
How is it similar to rugby? After the start of the match, the player can catch the ball and run or pass it to his teammates fighting against the players of the opposite team. As in rugby, you can only make passes sideways or backwards. Its relationship with American football is about scoring. That is, if the player runs into the end zone with the ball, he gets 6 points and if he kicks the ball into the end zone, he gets 3 points.
This sport was first introduced in the country in 1861 as a variation of rugby. The first documented match of this sport, called at that time Rugby Football, was at the University College of Toronto. Little by little, it expanded and although there was no official regulation it was taking off. In 1873, the first matches were held to lay the foundations of an organization to govern this sport discipline. From then on, the path was opened to the creation of the Canadian Football League (CFL) in 1958.
The CFL is made up of 9 teams: 4 in the Eastern Division and 5 in the Western Division. Each season they play approximately 18 games each. Among the most prominent teams are: Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Montreal Alouettes, Ottawa Redblacks, Toronto Argonauts, BC Lions, Calgary Stampeders, Edmonton Eskimos, Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The popularity of this league has been so great that the games between these teams are the programs with the highest audience. The same is true for sports betting in Canada, where soccer is one of the most popular options.
One of the most recognized bookmakers in the country is Bodog, which offers the best possible online experience, providing each user with personalized attention on a 100% secure platform. You can place your bets on the main soccer championships in the world, but also on the CFL, since one of its missions is to promote the national sport.
If you are passionate about Canadian football and you like to bet, you have at your disposal several platforms that are easy to use and also have the appropriate certification to offer you security in your bets. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy yourself and, if possible, earn some extra money.The post Canadian Football 101: The Basics appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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Saskatchewan Roughriders Free Agency Preview

It’s amazing how fast things change in one year. In 2019, the Saskatchewan Roughriders free agency period was blanketed with a cloud of uncertainty. Chris Jones, the VP of Football Operations, Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator headed south to Cleveland for an opportunity in the NFL. Both of the Riders quarterbacks were free agents leaving many to wonder what this team would look like come kick-off.

Fast forward one year, Craig Dickenson earned himself a Coach of the Year nomination and Cody Fajardo was a finalist for Most Outstanding Player. There’s less stress in 2020 for the Riders but that doesn’t mean there isn’t business to take care of.
Saskatchewan Roughriders Current Free Agents
Quarterback
None

Running Back
None

Wide Receiver
Emmanuel Arceneaux, Denzel Radford, Naaman Roosevelt, Cory Watson

Offensive Line
Dariusz Bladek, Philip Blake, Thaddeus Coleman, Jeremy Zver

Defensive Line
Lavar Edwards, Micah Johnson, Jordan Reaves

Linebacker
Brandyn Bartlett, DyShawn Davis, Solomon Elimimian, Alexandre Gagne, Sam Hurl

Defensive Back
None

Special Teams
None
Who’s Back?
The Saskatchewan Roughriders free agency period got off to a hot start with a flurry of re-signings before the doors swing open Tuesday. There were plenty of big names that many Rider fans feared would be testing the open market. Ed Gainey, Nick Marshall, Shaq Evans, AC Leonard and Cameron Judge will all be back in green & white for 2020.

The @sskroughriders seal the deal with the first major of the game courtesy of Cody Fajardo finding Shaq Evans with a 61-yard strike! #CFLGameDay pic.twitter.com/1PdrQkI1vD
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) October 6, 2019

Saskatchewan has also done a good job of retaining the likes of Dan Clark, Jon Ryan, Kienan LaFrance, Takoby Coefield, Chad Geter & Elie Bouka. While there has been plenty of chaos surrounding the likes of Matt Nichols, Nick Arbuckle, Willie Jefferson and Zach Collaros (rightfully so), the Riders have quietly gone about retaining a majority of their roster that propelled them to 13 wins and a West Final appearance.
Who’s Left?
Reports have been surfacing that two big names will not be returning to Saskatchewan in 2020. Naaman Roosevelt and Solomon Elimimian. After extending Shaq Evans to a deal reportedly worth $175,000, it seems likely that Saskatchewan will run with the younger receivers they have in the pipeline that includes Paul McRoberts, Justin McInnis, Kyran Moore, Jordan Williams-Lambert & Kenny Stafford.

Upfront, Dariusz Bladek, Thaddeus Coleman and Philip Blake remain unsigned, it remains to be seen if deals will be reached before free agency opens. All three started at various points throughout the 2019 season.

On the defensive side of the ball, prized free agent from 2019, Micah Johnson remains a pending free agent. Jordan Reaves, Sam Hurl and DyShawn Davis round out key contributors who are set to hit the market.
What do the Riders need?
With Jeremy O’Day taking care of business by re-signing a range of star players and key role players, the Riders don’t exactly have to make a giant splash this free agency. While it may not put them at the top of any “Who had the best Free Agency?” lists, it was vital that they got this done before February 11th.
Additional Pass Rushers
That being said, it wouldn’t hurt Saskatchewan to add additional pass-rushers to rotate with Charleston Hughes and Leonard. If Johnson does leave in free agency, it appears Zack Evans and Makana Henry would fill in at the tackle spots.

#ChalkTalk | Micah Johnson Appreciation Week:@yours_truly4
remains unimpeded, even with double or triple teams from the opposition! 👀
🎥 » https://t.co/E93ZnOhF7F#UniteInGreen pic.twitter.com/chIUYerKIj

— Saskatchewan Roughriders (@sskroughriders) July 5, 2019

Linebackers
Re-signing Judge was massive for the Riders, however, with the departure of Derrick Moncrief and likely Elimimian, they’ll need to add to this group once free agency opens. Finding someone of Moncrief’s diversity of talents at linebacker in coverage will be difficult but this free-agent class boasts a solid crop of talent that the Riders can target that includes but is not limited to Maleki Harris, Micah Awe, Kevin Brown II and Marcus Ball.
Offensive Line Depth
As mentioned earlier, there are a number of their own free agents the Riders can re-sign that would alleviate the urgency of this need. However, at the moment, Terran Vaughn, Brendon LaBatte, Dan Clark, Dakoda Shepley and Takoby Coefield are who make up the Riders crop of proven offensive linemen under contract.

Free agents such as Ryker Matthews and Derek Dennis may come at too steep of a price-tag for the Riders. However, there is a number of pending free agent offensive linemen that Saskatchewan can target. Such as Justin Renfrow, Spencer Wilson, Jean-Simon Roy or Tyler Holmes.
Sit Back and Wait
The cliche saying goes “the Grey Cup isn’t won in February!” but that doesn’t mean a team can’t help their chances. Saskatchewan has done the most important thing before free agency has opened and that’s securing their franchise quarterback and retaining their star-calibre players. Anything they do after that is the icing on the cake. Don’t mistake that statement with complacency.

If the Riders want to hoist the Grey Cup on home soil in nine-months, they’ll need to add difference makers at linebacker and depth at other key spots. But for the time being, Saskatchewan Roughriders’ free agency in 2020 is much need departure from the chaos that surrounded this franchise last year at this time.

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Why Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs Will Win Super Bowl LIV

Super Bowl LIV is just under a week away, and this matchup should be one of the best in recent memory. Patrick Mahomes and the high-flying Kansas City Chiefs face off against Nick Bosa and the San Francisco 49ers elite defense. This game is the ultimate example of what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. Nobody’s been able to stop Kansas City’s offense at full strength, but the Chiefs have never faced a defense as good as this one.

The Super Bowl odds are basically even. Some of the best betting sites have Kansas City a -120 to -125 favorite and San Francisco a narrow +100 to +105 underdog. Some years, there’s considerable movement as kickoff approaches (see: Seahawks vs Patriots in 2014), but that’s not the case this year, at least so far. The line has barely budged since the matchup was set. Oddsmakers believe the game is basically a toss-up and, evidently, so do the sharps putting their money down early.
Why Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs Will Beat the San Francisco 49ers
Unstoppable Offense
They say defense wins championships, and that was true at one point. However, today’s pass-happy rules naturally favor high-powered passing offenses, and nobody’s seen anything quite like Kansas City’s offense. The Chiefs have everything you need to create an unstoppable offense. Andy Reid is perhaps the best playcaller in the league, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are matchup nightmares, and Patrick Mahomes is playing at a ridiculous level.

The reigning MVP battled injuries throughout the regular season but is finally healthy. He’s back to his 2018 form, throwing for a combined 615 yards, eight touchdowns, and no interceptions during his first two postseason games. He’s erased 24- and 10-point deficits in consecutive weeks and is in the midst of the best postseason run since at least 2006, according to Pro Football Focus. The San Francisco 49ers have talent all across their defense, but there really is no answer for Mahomes when he’s at the peak of his game.

Additionally, the Chiefs match up surprisingly well with San Francisco’s defense. Mitchell Schwartz is one of the better right tackles in the league and should help mitigate the San Francisco pass rush. Richard Sherman is playing some of the best football of his storied career, but he struggles to cover speed. The Chiefs have the fastest group of playmakers in the league as Hill, Demarcus Robinson, and Sammy Watkins all have the ability to take the top off the defense, and Mahomes has the ability to reach any part of the field.
Interrupting the 49ers Game Plan
The San Francisco 49ers made it this far by playing good defense and leaning on their running game. Kyle Shanahan is a fantastic playcaller and gives his running back the best chance to succeed every time they touch the ball. This style of play can be effective when you have the lead, but it’s not good for playing catch-up. Rushing just isn’t as efficient as passing, and you can’t possibly win a shootout by running the ball.

The best way for the Chiefs to stop Raheem Mostert and company is to gain an early lead. San Francisco’s defense may have what it takes to slow down Kirk Cousins and Aaron Rodgers, but Mahomes is far more dangerous than those two. Once the Chiefs get a lead, the 49ers are going to need Jimmy Garoppolo to match Patrick Mahomes in a shootout. Obviously, there is no reason to believe Garoppolo to be up for that monumental task.

This game should be a close and exciting contest between the two best teams in football. That said, the Chiefs should find themselves hoisting the Lombardi Trophy come Sunday night. Kansas City’s passing attack is just too good to stop, and Garoppolo doesn’t have what it takes to match Mahomes in a shootout.

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Super Bowl LIV Prediction and Odds

With Championship Sunday in the rearview mirror, Super Bowl LIV is set to take place in Miami on Sunday February 2, 2020 when the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers play the final game of the season. But which team will emerge victorious? Will the Chiefs hoist the Lombardi Trophy and finally get Andy Reid a Super Bowl ring? Or will the 49ers win it all and maybe, just maybe, lessen the sting of Super Bow LI for Kyle Shanahan, who was part of the 28-3 debacle while he was with the Atlanta Falcons? Below is a Super Bowl LIV prediction and odds.
Super Bowl LIV Prediction and Odds
Odds
The Las Vegas Line is Kansas City -1.5 with the over/under set at 52.5. That means the Chiefs are favored by only half a field goal. The money line doesn’t tell a different story, either, with Kansas City at -121 and San Francisco at +102. Both Vegas and the money line show the Chiefs being favored, but not by much in either instance.

Teams favored to win the Super Bowl are 35-18 straight up and 26-25-2 against the spread. While that should make the Chiefs and their fans feel a little warmer this winter, those statistics are far from a guarantee of a Kansas City Super Bowl victory.
Prediction
Kansas City’s last Super Bowl appearance was Super Bowl IV, while San Francisco last made an appearance in the big game in Super Bowl XLVII.

The Chiefs are on a seven-game win streak, while the 49ers have won four straight contests. These two teams have never met in the Super Bowl. The last time they faced off against each other at all was in Week 3 of the 2018 season, when Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL.

The Chiefs have the reigning MVP of the league, Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and speedster Tyreek Hill on offense and a much improved defense from last season. The 49ers have Nick Bosa and a stifling defense, along with an impressive committee of running backs, including Tevin Coleman (who hopes to return from a dislocated shoulder in time for the Super Bowl), Raheem Mostert (who couldn’t be stopped in the NFC Championship game) and Matt Breida.

The Chiefs fell behind in both of their playoff games this season (to the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans), but behind the magic of Mahomes they rallied and won both games. Will Mahomes and the Chiefs offense be able to go after the field opposite Richard Sherman and find success as other teams have at times this season? Mahomes is a mobile quarterback and mobile signal callers have, at times this season, caused issues for the impressive 49ers defense. If Kansas City wins it will be because of their quarterback. Mahomes is a special difference maker.

If the 49ers can dominate the line of scrimmage they will hoist the Lombardi Trophy. If their offensive line is impressive that will allow their running backs to gain chunks of yards and keep Mahomes on the sideline (which is really the only way to slow him down). But Mahomes will be on the field at some point and when he is San Francisco’s pass rushers, including Bosa, DeForest Buckner and Dee Ford, need to wreak havoc as they have all season and get after and contain Mahomes.
Last Word
The 49ers are probably the more complete team of the two and with their ground game and defense they are probably built to hold onto a lead more than the Texans or Titans. San Francisco will win a close game by keeping Mahomes on the sideline as much as possible.

But, at the end of the day, this game will probably be a very close contest and betting on it is probably a fool’s errand. Just buy some squares and hope to get lucky, or apostar carreras de Ceballos instead.

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Olivia Smith & Jayden Nelson named Canada Soccer’s Youth Players of the Year

Soccer is becoming one of the top sports in Canada. Almost three million players, young and old, graced the pitch in the North American country in 2006, according to the Big Count. Most Canadian footballers play in the Canadian Premier League, the United Soccer League, and the Major League Soccer. Betway offers different betting options for Canadian soccer. Recently, Canada Soccer named Jayden Nelson and Olivia Smith as the Youth Players of the Year. In this post, we discuss the two Canadian players and the football award.
Canada Soccer Players Awards
Canada Soccer organized the voting for this year’s Canada Soccer Player Awards from November 27 to December 8, 2019. It awards amateur and experienced footballers. The awards include the male and female Canadian Players of the Year and the Youth Players of the Year. Coaches and media personalities vote for nominated players.

Canadian Soccer allows coaches alone to vote of the Canadian Youth International Players of the Year. It celebrates Canadian youth who have made many achievements at the National Youth Teams. The soccer organization assesses how young footballers have performed in international championships.

Canada Soccer named Olivia Smith and Jayden Nelson as the 2019 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year. It recognized them for their stellar performance in international youth tournaments. Punters can use a soccer betting app to predict which players will receive certain awards.
Jayden Nelson
Nelson was part of Canada’s U-17 squad that competed in the FIFA U-17 World Cup. The nation hadn’t competed in the tournament since 2011. The young player scored five goals in the CONCACAF tournament. He received two Man of the Match awards. Also, Jayden scored a hat trick when his team thrashed Guatemala 4-2. He won the Player of the Match award in Canada’s last group game against New Zealand.

Jayden has had a successful year representing the country in various competitions, according to Andrew Olivieri, the Program Director of Canada’s Soccer Men. The player has great dribbling and scoring skills. He is still developing his football career in local and international games. Jayden mentors other young footballers since he makes an impact in each game. He has the right mindset to improve his gameplay.
Olivia Smith
Kenneth Heiner-Moller spotted Olivia Smith in 2018 while on a tour with Canadian youth teams. He called Olivia for an invitational competition in January in Yongchuan. The 15-year-old midfielder has caught the attention of other coaches since she started her football career. She might be the youngest Canadian international footballer to play in an international match. Jordyn Huitema, Jessie Fleming and Kara Lang also played their first international senior games at the age of 15.

Heiner-Moller said in a conference that she is planning to improve Canada women’s squad after losing 4-0 to Japan. The coaches and players had lengthy discussions after the game. The country was eliminated from the World Cup tournament after it lost 1-0 to Sweden.

Many Canadian footballers play in local and international tournaments. The nation has several professional soccer leagues. Canada’s national women’s team was ranked 7th in the latest FIFA World Rankings. Jayden Nelson and Olivia Smith won the 2019 Youth Players of the Year award. You can wager on any Canadian footballer at Betway.

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Dylan Holloway Looking to Excel with Wisconsin after World Junior Camp

OAKVILLE, Ont.– When Tony Granato first saw Dylan Holloway at the Chicago Steel camp two years ago, he was unequivocally astonished. 

“Holy cow,” said Granato, describing the first time he laid eyes on Holloway. “You watch him one shift and he’s special.” 

Granato is currently the head coach of the University of Wisconsin Badgers hockey team. Holloway, two years later after his astounding Steel camp, is now a rising star forward on the Badgers squad. With three goals and four assists in 17 games this season, Holloway earned a spot on Team Canada’s World Junior Selection Camp. The 18-year-old was one of nine draft-eligible prospects to attend the camp, demonstrating the profound depth of the 2020 class. 

“It’s such an honour to be selected for the Selection Camp,” said Holloway. “Growing up, the World Juniors was so important to me. Being around guys who have been drafted or will be selected this year, has allowed me to bounce questions off of them. It’s been a great experience.”
***
Seeing him at the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex in Oakville, Ontario, Holloway possesses the power forward brand to his game. Playing alongside Anaheim Ducks prospect Benoit-Olivier Groulx and Edmonton Oilers draft pick Raphael Lavoie, Holloway showcased his nifty puck-handling skills and his ability to get to the front of the net with ease. But it is his speed that has impressed scouts and coaches alike, particularly his tendency to use cross-overs to fly past opposing defenders. 

“He’s impressed with his speed,” said Team Canada World Junior Head Coach Dale Hunter. “He’s skating well through the neutral zone and getting on the forecheck with his size. A combination of a good power forward.” 

In the overtime session during the first selection camp game against U Sports, Holloway used his hard wrist shot, which bounced through traffic into the back of the net. But when the time came to reduce the roster, Holloway would not be included in the final team. 

The young forward would be one of nine players cut from Canada’s World Junior team. It is unfortunate news that no player wants to hear, being stripped of a chance to wear the red and white jersey in representing Team Canada. For Holloway, he has fond memories growing up learning the game from his Dad and watching the World Juniors with his family. 

“There was an outdoor rink in the small town where I grew up,” said Holloway. “I would go out there all the time with my Dad, who taught me how to skate. He has been a big help for my hockey career thus far.” 
***
Holloway is a native of Bragg Creek, Alberta, just outside of Calgary. Son of former Vancouver Canucks player Bruce Holloway, Dylan credits his Dad for being an integral influence in him getting into hockey. 

The young prospect would get his first hockey experience playing for the Calgary Jr. Flames organization. It was there where Holloway played alongside future Ottawa Senators prospect Jonny Tychonick, providing a glimpse of the hard work needed to progress in his hockey career. 

After his time with the Jr. Flames, Holloway signed with the Okotoks Oilers in the AJHL. This is where the Calgary native’s ceiling as a hockey player enhanced, highlighting his dual power forward and scoring abilities. In his final season with the Oilers, Holloway recorded 40 goals and 48 assists. Catching the attention of the Everett Silvertips in the WHL, who picked the forward in the 2016 WHL Draft.

While Holloway could have elected to stay in Canada and play junior hockey, he elected to go the NCAA route, committing to the University of Wisconsin. As a member of the Badgers, Holloway has been afforded the opportunity to play with highly touted NHL prospects such as Cole Caufield (Montreal Canadiens) and Alex Turcotte (Los Angeles Kings).

According to Coach Granato, it reflects highly on the character of Dylan and his family to “combine education with hockey.”

“Fortunately, we were able to talk with him early and show him our campus and program,” said Granato. “Dylan was one of those guys that when we saw him, we knew he could be a program changer, inspiring other kids from Alberta who has similar ideas to commit to the NCAA.” 
***
Granato describes a game earlier in the season where Holloway encompassed all of his intrinsic hockey qualities. Despite the Badgers losing 4-0 to the Clarkson Golden Knights on October 25th, Holloway had seven breakaway chances in the first period alone. Granato says that it was a game for Holloway to “gain the confidence that he can not just play at this level but also the NHL.” 

“He’s a competitor,” said Bruce Holloway, who accompanied Dylan to all of his World Junior Selection Camp practices. “If you ask him to be put in as a goalie, he would put on the pads and do it.” 

It is not the first time that Holloway has been left off of a major international team. In 2017, the youngster was left off of Canada’s national U-17 camp roster. While disappointment can quash a player’s confidence, Holloway used it as motivation to secure a spot on future Canadian teams. 

A year later, Holloway represented Team Canada at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, where he recorded one goal and two assists in three games. He was also selected to play for Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge, where he posted two goals in the tournament, including one against Team USA that secured Canada’s gold medal victory. 


***
It is these challenges that Holloway relishes and as he heads back to the University of Wisconsin, the Badgers coaching staff is eager to watch him be a more motivated, complete player after the selection camp. 

“It will motivate him big time,” said Badgers Associate Head Coach Mark Strobel on Holloway not making the World Junior team. “He will look at it as an honour and people see him in a strong light. He’s going to come back even hungrier and more willing to prove the critics wrong.”

As Holloway prepares for the second half of the season with the Badgers, he is still ranked as a potential first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. Emulating his performance at the Chicago Steel camp, expect Holloway to turn more heads as he skates his way to the professional hockey realm. 
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Alexis LaFreniere Preparing for Leadership Role on World Junior Team

OAKVILLE– Alexis LaFreniere is itching to get back on the ice.

While the rest of Canada’s World Junior hopefuls were taking part in practices, LaFreniere was putting in a ton of work on the bike. For the last few weeks, the Rimouski Oceanic forward has been nursing an ankle injury. It forced him to miss the QMJHL’s games against the Russians in the Canada/Russia series. And for the entirety of World Junior Selection Camp, including practices and games against U Sports, LaFreniere has been on the sidelines.

On Thursday morning, the 18-year-old met with the media for the first time during camp. When asked about his injury, LaFreniere was pleased with his recovery, saying that the ankle is getting better day by day.

“It’s gotten better over the last couple of days,” said LaFreniere. “They don’t want me to push too much on it. I am excited to be back on the ice soon.”
***
While LaFreniere has not been on the ice, he has been integral behind the scenes. With three 17-year-olds at camp, LaFreniere has served as a mentor, introducing them to one of the most celebrated traditions in hockey.

It was just one year ago where LaFreniere was that young, inexperienced future star playing in his inaugural World Juniors. While a quarterfinal exit on home soil in Vancouver was not what he had desired, the Saint-Eustache native inherited a wealth of knowledge that he can translate into veteran leadership on this year’s team.

“Big experience last year,” said LaFreniere. “I can take that to help me this year and to have a bigger role. It’s important for the younger guys to enjoy it, have fun and work hard.”

One of those young players who LaFreniere has interacted with is Sudbury Wolves forward Quinton Byfield. Similar to LaFreniere, Byfield has generated a lot of buzz with his high level of play, currently second in the OHL in scoring (57 points). While Byfield and LaFreniere will be compared and debated regarding who should be the number one pick in the upcoming 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the two have put that aside to focus on making an impact on the World Junior team. Despite the two playing in different leagues, LaFreniere and Byfield welcome the opportunity to be on the same team and to learn from each other.

“Quinton played great last game,” said LaFreniere. “He’s a big guy, who is exciting to watch. It is fun to have him here. To eventually being able to skate with him is going to be fun.”

“He’s a busy guy so it’s hard to talk to him,” said Byfield. “But we’ve said hi a couple of times and it is great to have him here.”
***
Even with a lingering ankle injury, LaFreniere has been dominant in the QMJHL. His 23 goals, 47 assists (70 points) lead not just the Quebec league but the entire Canadian Hockey League. When watching his performance with Rimouski, it is evident LaFreniere has progressed with his puck handling ability and tendency to get in front of the net to create traffic. While he is a pass-first forward, the youngster has improved his shot, making him a dynamic offensive talent that is NHL ready.

While the heightened attention regarding his NHL draft status will come in due time, LaFreniere has a huge opportunity in front of him. When the time comes for LaFreniere to hit the ice again, the highly touted prospect is ready to embrace a leadership role on this team.

Looking to bring Canada back to the golden promise land. The post Alexis LaFreniere Preparing for Leadership Role on World Junior Team appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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Injuries, Goalies, Team Identity: Day 2 World Junior Selection Camp Recap

OAKVILLE— Canada’s World Junior hopefuls reached another checkpoint in the Selection Camp process.

Now having completed the doubleheader of practices on Tuesday, the team is now ready to embark on actual games between U Sports on Wednesday and Thursday. A chance for the Canadian selectees to apply the skills and knowledge gained in practice into an actual contest.

Day 2 of the World Junior Selection Camp was filled with a lot of firsts. It was the first time highly touted Sudbury Wolves prospect Quinton Byfield took the ice, after surviving a seven-hour flight delay on Monday. It was the inaugural media availability for Hunter brothers, Mark and Dale, providing insight and perspective on the players on the ice and the character they want in the locker room.

Watching the practices, it is clear that a Dale Hunter-led junior team will be focused on puck possession, speed, and skill.

“We are a skilled team,” said Hunter after Tuesday’s evening practice. “But we need to be a hard-working team. We are going to need to play on top of the puck all the time.”
Team Canada’s Injury Concerns
On the first day of Selection Camp, Los Angeles Kings prospect Aidan Dudas briefly skated before leaving the ice. On Tuesday, Dudas did not participate in any of the two practices.

When asked about Dudas’ status, Mark Hunter reaffirmed what Brad McEwen (Head Scout, Hockey Canada) said on Monday, that they are taking his status “day by day.” Dudas not practicing in either of the two scheduled practices on Tuesday is a cause of concern, especially with the two U Sports games coming up.

Another player absent from the Tuesday practices is consensus No. 1 draft pick in the 2020 NHL Draft Alexis LaFreniere. LaFreniere, who also missed Monday’s practice due to a maintenance day. was seen working out on the bike while his teammates were on the ice.

Coming into the Selection Camp, the Rimouski Oceanic forward had played four games in five nights. While his spot on the junior roster is not in question, it appears unlikely that he will play in the U Sports games, in order to be healthy ahead of the start of the World Junior Hockey Championship on December 26th.

“He needs a few days off for maintenance time,” said Mark Hunter. “He has a few bumps and bruises that need to be cleared up.”

Second Consecutive Day Team Canada Goalies Shine

Goaltending is always a pillar that needs to be addressed for Canada’s World Junior teams. And this team is no different.

However, for the second straight day, the four goalies at the selection camp have remained poised and effective in between the pipes. Whether it is getting into positioning or dealing with the blazing shots from the Canadian forwards and defensemen, Joel Hofer, Hunter Jones, Nico Daws, and Olivier Rodrigue have each made their case to be one of the three goalie spots on this year’s team.

Unlike previous years, where the goalies coming to Selection Camp had international experience, the four goaltenders this year lack in this department. But what they fall short in terms of representing Canada, they make up for it in their stellar performances in the short-term.

Below are the stat lines for each of the goalies at this point in the season:

W
L
GAA
SV%

Joel Hofer
20
4
1.81
0.937

Olivier Rodrigue
15
6
2.79
0.907

Nico Daws
13
3
2.06
0.939

Hunter Jones
19
3
2.53
0.918

It is evident that the strategy of Canada’s coaching staff is to employ netminders who have the “hot hand” in the present. This means that the U Sports games will go a long way in determining the goalies who can raise their performance against tough competition. According to Dale Hunter, “all four goalies will play” in both games, giving them all ample time to showcase their skills.

Daws was one goalie that Coach Hunter had high praise for. The OHL’s leader in Goals Against Average and Save Percentage, Hunter from his experience coaching the London Knights the dominance Daws can bring in the crease.

“Nico didn’t get much of a chance to play last year, backing up an older goalie,” said Hunter. “But they come back with a younger team and Nico has stood tall for them. It is a credit to the team and especially him.”

Team Identity Rounding into Shape for Team Canada

The two practices on Tuesday provided an opportunity for the line combinations for the first day to take shape.

Below are the forward lines that were used:

Byfield-Cozens-Foote

Perfetti-Dellandrea-Foudy 

Holloway-Groulx-Newhook 

Krebs-Zary-Lavoie 

McMichael-Thomas-Mercer

The defensive pairings also remained consistent from Monday’s practice. Below are the pairings from Tuesday’s morning practice:

McIsaac-Byram

Smith-Schneider

Bahl-Bernard-Docker

Harley-Drysdale

Diliberatore-Addison 

Unlike Monday’s practice, the coaching staff spent Tuesday evening’s session focusing on special teams. With the offensive firepower Canada possesses, it is not surprising that their power play will make a resounding impact.

Below are the power play lines from Tuesday’s practice:

Byram
Perfetti – Foote – McMichael
Cozens

McIsaac
Lavoie – Thomas – Addison
Byfield

With the fast-paced nature this team possesses, it places great expectations on the 17-year-olds who are at the camp. Quinton Byfield, Cole Perfetti, and Jamie Drysdale have all shined on their respective OHL franchises.

But on the big ice and a grander stage at selection camp, every moment completing a drill in practice may end up determining their spot on the team. For Drysdale, he has become accustomed to blocking out the noise and focusing on the things that he can control.

“My confidence is high right now,” said Drysdale. “I just want to be able to show that I can play at both ends of the rink.”

Team Canada will take on U Sports on Wednesday at 5 pm EST.
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