After injury ruined his first Oilers season, Joakim Nygard rediscovering his game back home in Sweden

Joakim Nygard

One of the more unheralded signings made by Ken Holland in his first summer as Edmonton Oilers GM was that of speedy Swedish winger 

Joakim Nygard

. A late bloomer with little international experience, Nygard posted continuously improving goal and point totals through a seven-year career in the Swedish Hockey League, all with Farjestad BK. By 2018-19 he connected for 21 goals, finishing second in the SHL in that crucial department. That’s when Holland came calling.

Nygard’s first season in North America can best be classified as promising but ultimately disappointing. He suffered cracked ribs in October that cost him a bunch of time, before gradually working his way into and occasionally up the line-up. By January he was contributing excellent two-way hockey on the bottom six, scoring little but allowing not a lot the other way. Playing a little over 10 minutes a night, he scored 3-6-9 in 33 games, while his 1.27 points per 60 at 5v5 put him on the cusp between third- and fourth-line scoring rates. He was an efficient defensive player, and his “even” plus-minus attests to the fact that he didn’t get caved by NHL competition, as does his on-ice shot rate of exactly 50.0%.

…read more

Source:: Edmonton Journal – Sports

      

Analysis: Latest snub by the college football hierarchy, a No. 14 ranking in first CFP survey, leaves BYU steaming — again

Head football coach Kalani Sitake talks with members of the media after BYU opened football practice at the indoor facility in Provo on Wednesday, July 31, 2019.

Head football coach Kalani Sitake talks with members of the media after BYU opened football practice at the indoor facility in Provo on Wednesday, July 31, 2019. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Cougars coach Kalani Sitake holds little back in blasting the ‘false narrative’ that emerged that BYU was ducking a game with the Pac-12’s Washington, wonders if the PR ploy hurt BYU in the eyes of the selection committee

Forget that BYU has a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback, a 9-0 record, has been demolishing opponents by an average of 33 points a game, is ranked No. 8 in both major polls and is the only college football team in the country in the top 10 in both total offense and total defense.

In the end, when the much anticipated first College Football Playoff rankings of 2020 were released on ESPN on Tuesday night, the Cougars were where they always seem to be since going independent in 2011.

On the outside looking in.

As soon as the CFP committee ranked BYU No. 14 — six spots worse than their standing in the national polls, now rendered meaningless — outrage flowed throughout Cougar Nation. Most observers believe the Cougars need to be in the top 10, certainly no worse than No. 12, to get an at-large berth into a lucrative New Year’s Six bowl game when the final rankings are released Dec. 20.

“My gosh, BYU (at) No. 14? That is absolutely nuts to me, just watching how dominant they are, not just analytically, but physically, when you turn on the tape.” — ESPN analyst David Pollack

The disappointment on BYU coach Kalani Sitake’s face when he appeared on the rankings show — the only coach to appear — was palpable to those who know him best.

The snub — and make no mistake that’s exactly what it was — “will be a great motivation for our team,” Sitake said through gritted teeth.

Even some of ESPN’s analysts looked bewildered, especially after BYU was ranked behind Iowa State, which has two losses, including a 31-14 setback at home to Louisiana, usually an also-ran in the Sun Belt Conference.

“My gosh, BYU (at) No. 14?,” exclaimed David Pollack, the former Georgia star born and bred in the SEC. “That is absolutely nuts to me, just watching how dominant they are, not just analytically, but physically, when you turn on the tape.”

It was …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

      

‘All in’: Why BYU basketball coach Mark Pope signed a contract extension through the 2026-27 season

BYU Cougars coach Mark Pope directs his team in the game against Santa Clara at Brigham Young University in Provo on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Pope deferred increased compensation in the new contract into future years in an effort to assist the athletic department with budget concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In Mark Pope’s debut season as BYU’s head basketball coach, the Cougars overachieved and returned to national prominence.

So it’s not surprising that the school is planning to keeping Pope around for a long time to come.

On the eve of the Cougars’ 2020-21 season opener, athletic director Tom Holmoe announced Tuesday night that the school has extended Pope’s contract through the 2026-27 season.

Pope deferred increased compensation in the new contract into future years in an effort to assist the athletic department with budget concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s such a gift to be able to coach here. There are so many reasons why. It certainly starts with the people you get to work for,” Pope said on his coach’s show on BYUtv shortly after the announcement was made.

Pope said BYU President Kevin J. Worthen, athletic director Tom Holmoe and other leaders’ work during the pandemic “has been inspiring. I’m so blessed to work here and work for them and be a part of this great university. I could not be more excited.”

Contract extension discussions began at the end of last season, Pope said.

“We had some conversations on both sides. On my end, Tom asked the question a few days ago to all of Cougar Nation, ‘Who’s all in?’” Pope said. “Lee Anne (Pope’s wife) and I were like, ‘We are all in.’ We couldn’t be more grateful.”

In his first year at the helm, Pope guided the Cougars to a 24-8 record and a No. 18 final national ranking. BYU was projected as a single-digit seed in the NCAA Tournament before it was canceled due to the global pandemic.

Pope’s 24 wins marked the most wins for a first-year coach in BYU basketball history. He led the team to a win over No. 2 Gonzaga in the Marriott Center, the highest-ranked team the Cougars have defeated in the Marriott Center’s history. BYU landed in the national rankings for the first time since 2010-11, jumping as high as No. 14.

During the offseason, Pope enhanced his reputation as a …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News