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MessagePosté le: 03/12/2016 06:33:48    Sujet du message: not longer. The Timberwolves have not given Répondre en citant

TORONTO -- Toronto FC now has brainiac GM Tim Bezbatchenko to go along with up-and-coming manager Ryan Nelsen. The underachieving MLS team has a $20-million training centre that is the envy of the league, a fan base that has stayed remarkably loyal considering the dreck put in front of it, and an owner willing to spend more than US$25 million on two marquee designated players when the transfer window re-opens in January. There is salary cap space and allocation money to spend, not to mention some talent available to move. So is the dark age over for the 4-14-11 club, whose career league record is a woeful 49-102-66 going into Saturdays home game against Sporting Kansas City? "I do not think the dark days are over yet but I think there is a light at the end of the tunnel and we control our own destiny," said Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. "And now we have to do the heavy lifting to get there by January so we could look everyone in the eye and tell them this is a different era here in this organization. Its not about flash, its not about spin. Its about hard work, tough decisions, spending some money and making the right decisions. I think well know that in January." No stranger to navigating multibillion-dollar sports empires, Leiweke is used to being the smartest person in the room. The 31-year-old Bezbatchenko may give him a run for his money, although the new GM is undoubtedly too smart to make it too obvious. A lawyer with degrees from the University of Cincinnati and the University of Richmond, Bezbatchenko comes from the leagues inner circle. As senior director of player relations and competition at Major League Soccer, he was a young league insider with intimate knowledge of MLSs complicated legal landscape. His brief at the league -- a single entity structure in which players are signed to the league rather than the team -- was to oversee and manage six clubs budgets and rosters, among other things. And his group included Toronto FC. Bezbatchenko (pronounced bez-buh-CHENK-oh) clearly knows where the bodies are buried in MLS. Although Leiweke said exactly that about former president and GM Kevin Payne before firing him. Bezbatchenko, a native of Westerville, Ohio, played midfield for the second-tier Pittsburgh Riverhounds in 2004-05, joining MLS in 2010 after two years with the law firm Shearman & Sterling. Bezbatchenko was working in mergers and acquisitions at the law firm. Or as he explained, he was getting deal experience in buying and selling companies. "This is the same, but youre doing it with players," he said of the move into soccer. Its not exactly a warm, fuzzy management approach. But top sports executives tend to be more ruthless than Ruth Buzzi. Bezbatchenkos job will be to help Nelsen get what he needs to continue the reconstruction of a moribund franchise. Leiweke has given an unqualified vote of confidence to Nelsen, saying the new GM would have to work with him in 2014. But it is clear that come January, if Nelsen gets the players he wants, the clock will be ticking on the manager. Should Nelsen ever depart the team suddenly, he no doubt has a book in him. He has quietly cleaned one mess after another at TFC while staying mostly mum. Leiweke made a point of noting that this is not rocket science. Hard work and good judgment are whats needed. "To be honest with you, this is not that difficult. Theres 11 slots and you need a couple of players per slot. And this is about filling in the boxes ... And one thing that Ryan pointed out, and I think hes right, is its not like were 22 boxes away. Were four or five boxes away. A couple of those are DPs." Those designated players are key, with Toronto eyeing international stars who can score goals while bringing some much-needed sizzle to the franchise. The team has pushed back the deadline for season ticket-holders to put their money down to January so they can see what progress has been made. Asked how long it takes to turn around an MLS team, Bezbatchenko smartly stepped around the crux of the matter. When pressed, he said it would be difficult to do it in one year "but our goal would be to have a nice upward trend over the next few years." Spoken like a true suit. Much of the talk Friday was about business plans, the right course and analysis. Although Bezbatchenko worked himself into a verbal pickle when he talked about Toronto "not having a successful playoff run in, ah, well ever." The club has never made the post-season in its seven seasons in the league. Some observers commented that Nelsen looked uncomfortable at the podium Friday, alongside Leiweke and Bezbatchenko. If so, it was likely because the former New Zealand international is more at home on the training field than in a suit -- although he cleans up nicely. Nelsen, 35, is smart enough to know he needs someone who knows the league and can do the spadework to unearth the talent he wants. Bezbatchenko fits that bill. "This is kind of a Theo Epstein hire," Leiweke said, referring to the baseball executive. Epstein, currently president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs, was 28 in 2002 when the Boston Red Sox made him the youngest GM in Major League Baseball history. Bezbatchenko, who is married with a one-year-old son, acknowledged his goal has been to become a GM. "Absolutely. Its the reason I went to law school," he said. There is no shortage of grey matter in the Bezbatchenko household. His wife is in higher education with a PhD to her credit. Leiweke said while commissioner Don Garber was loathe to let Bezbatchenko go, he saw the bigger picture. The league needs to fix Toronto as a franchise once and for all. "He was in Toronto a couple of weeks ago and he went to the game and he saw whats going on here," Leiweke said of a Sept. 11 tie with the Chicago Fire that drew a season-low crowd of 15,217. "I think he understands our pain ... And he knew that we need a big, bold statement. And amazingly he sees this the same way we do. It wont be the biggest name in the business but it will be the best move we could have possibly made." Bezbatchenko has also been a key figure in an MLS partnership with the French Football Federation that sees MLS youth academy coaches learn from the French model. Leiweke is a big believer in the role MLS academies can play, knowing if done right they can be a pipeline for cheap talent. Toronto canned Payne on Sept. 5 with Leiweke saying the two were no longer on the same page. Earl Cochrane, Paynes right-hand man and Torontos director of team and player operations, was also fired. Chief scout Pat Onstad subsequently left. Just minutes before Fridays announcement at BMO Field, pictures of Cochrane and Onstad remained on the wall outside the news conference room. But they were gone by the time it started. The team also wasted little time trading Argentine striker Maximiliano Urruti, Paynes prize acquisition, to Portland after just 37 minutes action in a Toronto uniform. For those wondering, Bezbatchenko grew up a Manchester United fan. He has since helped sign a Rooney, although unfortunately it was John -- Waynes little brother. Coyotes - Tonight will go a long way in determining the two wild card spots in the Eastern Conference. Oliver Ekman-Larsson Coyotes Jersey. Fourteen players were suspended last summer by Major League Baseball as part of the Biogenesis drug scandal, ranging from All-Stars to also-rans. With one week left in the regular season, Cornish - voted The Toughest Player To Bring Down - is a leading candidate for the CFLs Most Outstanding Player award. He has rushed for 1,799 yards and could break Willie Burdens club record for rushing yards in a single season with a 98-yard performance against the B. Mike Smith Coyotes Jersey. Curtis Davies and Robert Koren secured the victory with goals inside 35 minutes of the fifth-round replay against the second-tier side. Custom Coyotes Jersey. An unconventional night for Texas-El Paso nearly led to the Miners getting a huge upset. Down by 14 with 2:21 left, the Miners went on a frantic closing spurt that fell just short, and UTEP was beaten by No.MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Timberwolves best days came with Flip Saunders on the sideline. Now that the organization is shrouded in uncertainty surrounding the long-term future of star forward Kevin Love, Saunders is returning to the bench to try revive a franchise that hasnt made the playoffs in 10 years. With the teams coaching search complicated by Loves status, the Timberwolves decided the best course of action was to have Saunders, who was hired last season as president of basketball operations, step in for a second stint as coach until the situation stabilized, two people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Thursday. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not officially announced the move. A news conference was scheduled for Friday. Saunders previously coached the Timberwolves from 1995-2005. He won 411 games in 10 1/2 seasons in Minnesota and guided the Wolves to the only eight playoff appearances in franchise history, including the Western Conference finals in 2004. He has a career record of 638-526 in 16 seasons as an NBA head coach, a career that also includes stops in Detroit and Washington. Saunders is joining a short list in the NBA of coaches that also have final-say executive authority, one that includes newly hired Stan Van Gundy in Detroit, Doc Rivers with the Los Angeles Clippers and, to a certain extent, Gregg Popovich in San Antonio. Saunders will continue to work closely with GM Milt Newton in the front office while handling coaching duties. When Rick Adelman retired at the end of the regular season, he did so in part to try to help the Timberwolves move forward with a plan to show Love, a three-time All-Star who can opt out of his contract next summer, that there was a long-term plan in place for success. But Loves tenuous situation didnt help the search process, with trade rumours serving as a caution sign for several high-profile candidates. Saunders was in the market for a coach with extensive head coaching experience, either in the NBA or at a major college program, one that could command the respect of a young locker room and also handle the media scrutiny that comes with the questions surrouunding Love.dddddddddddd Names like Tom Izzo, Billy Donovan and Fred Hoiberg came and went without any traction. The Wolves hosted Memphis coach Dave Joerger for an interview two weekends ago, but Grizzlies owner Robert Pera sweetened his contract to keep him around. Sam Mitchell, Lionel Hollins, Scott Skiles and several others received consideration as well. Unable to find what they felt was the right fit for a delicate job, Saunders and owner Glen Taylor met this week to reassess the situation. Taylor said when he brought Saunders back as team president that he would not put him back on the bench. He fired Saunders as coach once before, in 2005 when Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell, unhappy with their contracts, submarined the follow-up to the teams stirring run to the Western Conference finals. Saunders was also hopeful that he could find someone other than himself to take over the team. But with Loves status preventing them from pursuing the coaches they felt would fit best, the two decided that Saunders should take over for at least this season if not longer. The Timberwolves have not given up on convincing Love to play out this season in Minnesota and re-sign next summer to a contract that can pay him and extra year and about $26.5 million more than any other team. It was not immediately clear what the appointment of Saunders would do for Loves desires to stay or go. Love has yet to make the playoffs in his six seasons in the league and is believed to be growing impatient with the Wolves, who finished 40-42 and in 10th place in the West this year. Love created a stir when he spent last weekend in Boston, where the Celtics are rumoured to be making a run at trading for the 25-year-old power forward before the June 26 draft. Just how long Saunders will coach remains to be seen. There is the possibility that Saunders will add assistants to his staff who could be groomed to eventually take over. The Wolves were expected to reach out to Mitchell, a former Timberwolves player and Raptors head coach, and David Blatt, who has spearheaded Russias return to Olympic relevance and coaches in Israel, to gauge their interest in joining his staff. Wholesale Jerseys ' ' '
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