NHL: Blues’ Fabbri to miss entire 2017/18 season…

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The St Louis Blues have been rocked by the news that forward Robby Fabbri will miss the entire 2017/18 season after re-injuring his surgically repaired left knee.

The news was announced by Doug Armstrong, the President of Hockey Operations and General Manager of the National Hockey League franchise.

Armstrong’s press conference can be found here.

Fabbri originally suffered the injury on February 4 in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was checked into the boards by Pittsburgh’s Carter Rowney during the first period and put no pressure on his leg as he left the ice.

After surgery to repair the torn ACL and months of intense physiotherapy and rehabilitation, Fabbri was cleared to play again on July 31. He joined the team in mid-September for the start of training camp.

Last Friday (September 22) saw Fabbri play in his first pre-season game, playing 19 minutes and eight seconds when recording three shots on goal against the Washington Capitals.

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St Louis forward Robby Fabbri will miss the entire 2017/18 NHL season

Blues GM Armstrong had said after the game that Fabbri had noticed some swelling in his left knee. That led to an MRI scan on Sunday morning where doctors felt they saw a tear in the ACL. It was then confirmed after Fabbri flew to Chicago to see Dr Bernard Bach, who confirmed the injury.

Fabbri is now expected to undergo surgery to repair the injury within the first two weeks of October and is expected to make a full recovery before training camp next September. However, he has been ruled out to play any part this season or postseason.

21-year-old Fabbri has appeared in 123 regular season games in his career, recording 66 points (29 goals, 37 assists) and 52 penalty minutes.

Injuries keep racking up

The injury to Fabbri isn’t the only one that the Blues are currently dealing with. Forward Zach Sanford suffered a dislocated shoulder during his first practice session and is expected to miss five to six months, Alexander Steen sustained a hand injury that will sideline him for the rest of preseason at least, while defenceman Jay Bouwmeester left a training camp scrimmage with a fractured ankle.

The team were already without Patrik Berglund, who will remain sidelined until December while recovering from an offseason shoulder injury.

More opportunities for younger players

The injuries in the roster will certainly create more opportunities for some of the club’s top prospects that still remain on the training camp roster. These include Sam Blais, Tage Thompson, Klim Kostin and Wade Megan – all of which have impressed at training camp thus far.

 

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Polish Speedway: Wrocław and Leszno set for Ekstraliga title battle…

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Sparta Wrocław will face Silesian rivals Unia Leszno after double world champion Tai Woffinden led Vaclav Milik to a dramatic 5-1 in Gorzow on Sunday.

With the scores level at 87-87 on aggregate going into the final heat of the semi-final tie, Woffinden and Milik came up against home pairing Bartosz Zmarzlik and Martin Vaculik for the all important place in the final.

Both sides were left holding their breath after a crash involving Vaculik and Milik on the first bend, but referee Wojciech Grodzki called all four riders back for the re-start.

Czech star Milik made the most of the second chance and made the gate, along with Woffinden, to secure a 45-45 draw (92-88 win on aggregate) and a place in the final.

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Tai Woffinden was Sparta’s top scorer, managing 15 paid 16 points

Woffinden starred for the Spartans on a fantastic 15 paid 16 points, while Milik managed 13 paid 14. Polish champion Szymon Wozniak scored 10 but Maciej Janowski endured a tough night, scoring two paid three.

Slovak racer Vaculik led the scoring for Gorzow on 11, Krzyzstof Kasprzak managed 10 paid 11 and Zmarzlik raced to a 10 point haul.

Wrocław’s opponents in the final will be Unia Leszno after the Bulls stunned table toppers Zielona Gora 45-45 (95-85 on aggregate).

Janusz Kolodziej led the Leszno charge on 11, while compatriot Piotr Pawlick managed 10 paid 11 and Russian racer Emil Sayfutdinov tallied nine points.

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Janusz Kolodziej played a starring role for Leszno against Zielona Gora

Former world no.2 Jaroslaw Hampel was the star for Falubaz on 13 paid 14. Grand Prix title contender Patryk Dudek managed 10 paid 12, while series leader Jason Doyle was unable to build on his third place at the German SGP in Teterow, scoring only four points.

Premier League 2018/19: Clubs vote to close transfer window early…

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Premier League clubs have moved to close next summer’s transfer window before the start of the season.

This is because managers have complained that allowing players to move clubs once the season is underway causes disruption to their squads.

Therefore, from next season, the window will close at 17:00BST on the Thursday before the start of the Premier League season.

However, the move was not unanimous and under the new rules, clubs will still be able to sell players until the end of the normal window.

In total, 14 Premier League clubs voted for the change, which was the minimum number needed for the plans to be approved. Five of the remaining six clubs (Manchester United, Manchester City, Watford, Swansea and Crystal Palace), voted against the plans, while Burnley abstained from voting.

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Reigning Premier League champions Chelsea were one club who voted to close the transfer window early

The window across Europe runs until August 31, but the Premier League’s move means that while clubs will be allowed to sell their players until that date, the ability to buy players will stop on August 9 for the 2018/19 season.

European leagues and clubs in the Football League will still be able to buy and sell players as normal until the window closes on August 31.

Despite this though, Football League bosses have indicated that they could follow in the footsteps of the Premier League, but will require further dialogue with its stakeholders before a final decision to go ahead with a vote is made.

The early finish will not mean that the Premier League transfer window is shorter than those in Europe and the Football League. It will start earlier and be 12 weeks long, in line with FIFA rules.

However, next summer will be different than normal with the new season following the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which will finish on July 15.

Clubs can still do business during the tournament, however they will now have only 25 days, from the completion of the tournament, to complete signings.

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The 2018 FIFA World Cup will mean Premier League clubs will have a little over 4 weeks to make signings after the completion of the tournament

Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane praised the move, saying that it would allow players to concentrate if the window was closed early.

Those views were echoed by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger who said: ‘It’s important that we close all that stuff before the championship starts,

‘Players have no clarity. Are they in? Are they out? Will they be tapped up on the afternoon of a game? It’s not the way to work.”

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson also welcomed the move when asked about Barcelona’s interest in Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho.

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Sir Alex Ferguson welcomed the decision to close the Premier League transfer window early

Speaking before the announcement, Everton manager Ronald Koeman said that he hoped the rest of Europe would follow the Premier League in closing the window early.

He said: ‘If we do it in the Premier League and the rest of Europe don’t do this, still we have a problem,

‘The best is before starting the competitions, stop the transfer window because it’s very silly.’

 

Tennis: World no.2 Murray unlikely to play again this season…

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Unlikely to play again in 2017: Andy Murray

World number two tennis player Andy Murray is likely to miss the rest of the season because of an ongoing hip injury.

The 30-year-old pulled out of the US Open just two days before the start of the tournament and has not picked up a racket since losing out to American Sam Querrey in five sets at the Wimbledon Championships in July.

He has also withdrawn from October’s ATP tour events in Beijing and Shanghai, and will also likely miss the tournaments in Vienna and Paris later in the month.

In a statement posted on social media, the Scot said he will begin the 2018 season at the Brisbane International on January 1. This will be preparation for the Australian Open, which begins on January 15.

“I’m confident after this extended period of rest and rehabilitation I will be able to reach my best level again and be competing for Grand Slam titles next season,” Murray said.

“I have a fantastic team working alongside me to help me through this process and appreciate the support from them and all of my fans over this difficult period.”

Murray had travelled to New York with the expectation of playing in the US Open. He had practiced all week in preparation but withdrew on August 26.

On Wednesday, Murray said he had consulted with a number of leading hip specialists, as well as his own team before deciding not to play in the China Open and Shanghai Masters – two tournaments where he is the reigning champion.

Murray is also the regining champion at both the Vienna Open and Paris Masters and moved to world number one by reaching the final of the latter event last November. He was overtaken in the rankings by Spain’s Rafael Nadal in August.

He had also revealed during Wimbledon that he had suffered with a sore hip since his early twenties and that the injury became more significant following his French Open semi final defeat to Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka in June.

Polish Speedway: PGE Ekstraliga playoff round-up…

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Twice world speedway champion Tai Woffinden managed 13 paid 14 points as Sparta Wrocław took a slim lead into the second leg of their Polish Ekstraliga playoff semi final with Stal Gorzów on Sunday (September 3).

Sparta triumphed 47-43 at Stadion Olimpjski with Woffinden dropping just one point from five rides as he continues his fantastic form that saw him claw his way into the Speedway Grand Prix title race.

Woffinden’s world title rival and Sparta teammate Maciej Janowski and World U21 Championship leader Maksym Drabik tallied 10 points apiece for the hosts. Czech star Vaclav Milik added eight, paid nine.

Current world no.3 Bartosz Zmarzlik starred for the visitors with 11 points and Martin Vaculik managed 10 paid 11, giving their side a great chance to book their place in the final on home shale at the Edward Jancarz Stadium.

Meanwhile, Zielona Gora have work to do to overcome Unia Lesznon after losing 50-40 in the other semi final.

Patryk Dudek managed 14 points, while fellow countrymen Jarosław Hampel and Piotr Protasiewicz scored 11 and seven, paid 10 respectively. World Championship leader Jason Doyle scored a straight seven points.

Grzegorz Zengota top scored for the Bulls with 10 paid 11. Janusz Kolodziej managed 10 points and Piotr Pawlicki picked up nine paid 11. Russian star Emil Sayfutdinov scored seven paid eight, but SGP reserve Peter Kildemand struggled to only two points.

Both deciding legs will take place next Sunday (10 September).