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Chiefs' Reid already at work assembling staff

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Chiefs' Reid already at work assembling staff

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Kansas City Chiefs were in shambles after the worst season in franchise history, and chairman Clark Hunt promised their devoted followers that better ways were ahead.

That was on Monday. By Friday, he had delivered Andy Reid.

While only the future will tell whether the longtime Eagles coach will be able to replicate the success he had during 14 seasons in Philadelphia, the reaction to his hiring in Kansas City was overwhelming positive - to the point where every move he made was being documented.

Reid arrived at a downtown airport aboard a chartered flight Friday afternoon, shortly before he signed a five-year deal with the Chiefs. Reid climbed into a black SUV and drove to Arrowhead Stadium, tailed the entire way by helicopters from local television stations.

His hiring hadn't even been announced, and he was already receiving rock-star treatment.

The Chiefs ultimately announced Reid's hiring on Twitter, a few hours after he toured the team's facilities. A news conference is scheduled for Monday afternoon, but neither the Chiefs nor Reid has spoken to the media or offered a statement upon his hiring.

Leave it to others to sing their praises.

``Excited for the new hiring,'' said defensive back DeQuan Menzie, who spent most of his rookie season on injured reserve. ``Looking forward to playing for such a highly respected coach.''

Tight end Tony Moeaki tweeted, ``Andy Reid though? That's sweet!'' Left tackle Eric Winston also took to Twitter when he was asked his impression, and said: ``Excited. Proven winner.''

Winston even said he was looking forward to April and the start of offseason work.

The work is only beginning for Reid, who takes over a team that was just 2-14, but whose own record of 130-93-1 represented the most wins in the history of the Eagles.

A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that Reid had already begun assembling his staff, and the majority of that work could be done soon. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because those details were not public.

It's expected that Reid will attempt to lure back many names from his best days in Philadelphia, including Pat Shurmur, who was fired as the Cleveland Browns coach on Monday. Shurmur was an assistant with the Eagles from 1999-2008.

Another name that has surfaced is Brad Childress, who was the Browns' offensive coordinator this past season. He worked in Philadelphia from 1999-2005, first as quarterbacks coach and then as offensive coordinator, before taking the head coaching job in Minnesota in 2006.

Doug Pederson, who played ahead of Donovan McNabb during part of the 1999 season, rejoined the Eagles as an assistant coach in 2009 and could stay with Reid in Kansas City.

Juan Castillo reportedly has an offer from Reid to become his offensive line coach. Castillo was successful in that role with Philadelphia, but after struggling in a new role as defensive coordinator, Reid made a difficult decision to fire him earlier this season.

Reid will also have to fill out his front office.

The Chiefs and general manager Scott Pioli agreed to part ways Friday after four tumultuous seasons, and Hunt appears willing to give Reid a significant say in his replacement.

Longtime Packers personnel man John Dorsey, who has turned down overtures from other teams in the past, has been closely linked to Reid in Kansas City. Former Browns GM Tom Heckert, who was a longtime executive in Philadelphia, is also on the list of candidates.

Reid's new brain trust will have plenty of decisions to make once they're in place.

Kansas City has the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft for the first time in franchise history, so there will be pressure to dissect the college football all-star games, visit the pro days hosted by schools, and then prepare for the annual scouting combine in Indianapolis.

``We have the first pick in the draft and that's a unique opportunity,'' Hunt told the AP in an interview earlier this week. ``On one hand I'm sad we have, because we had to earn it through playing poorly, but on the other hand it's a great opportunity for us. I think there's going to be a lot of thought that goes into that pick.''

The Chiefs are in desperate need of improved play at quarterback. They benched Matt Cassel, who has two years left on a $63 million, six-year deal, and struggled the rest of the season with former first-round pick Brady Quinn, who is scheduled to become a free agent.

Kansas City is expected to add at least one quarterback through the draft.

``The GM and the head coach are really going to dictate what the priorities are,'' Hunt said, ``but clearly better quarterback play is a priority in 2013.''

Along with the draft, the new front office will have to make other personnel decisions.

Defensive end Tyson Jackson, who's been a disappointment since being the No. 3 overall pick in 2009, is due to make close to $15 million this season. The Chiefs could try to restructure his deal or simply cut him in an attempt to create more money for filling in other holes.

Decisions will also have to be made about left tackle Branden Albert, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and even punter Dustin Colquitt, one of their five Pro Bowl selections. All three were key contributors who can become free agents.

``I think the Pro Bowl balloting tells us a little about what coaches and players around the league think about the roster, that there's some very talented players,'' Hunt said. ``But at the same time, we all know there are holes and those need to be filled.''

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A Capital doesn't win Hardest Shot at NHL Skills for the first time in 3 years

A Capital doesn't win Hardest Shot at NHL Skills for the first time in 3 years

ST. LOUIS -- John Carlson did a valiant job trying to defend his title for the hardest shot, but Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber took home the prize with a blistering 106.5 MPH shot at the NHL Skills on Friday.

Alex Ovechkin won the Hardest Shot in 2018 and Carlson won it in 2019. He looked to be in good position to win it again after taking the lead with only one shooter left to go.

As Carlson skated up for his turn, the number to beat was 102.4 from Vancouver Canucks forward Elias Pettersson. Carlson shattered that with a shot of 104.5, beating his own winning shot from last year of 102.8.

The only problem? Weber was the last shooter.

"With Webs going behind him you kind of just expect him to go put up some big numbers," T.J. Oshie said. "But when John put up 104.5, you thought maybe there was a chance, but obviously Shea stepped up and took care of business."

Weber had Carlson beat on his very first shot. Weber smashed the puck for 105.9 MPH on his first attempt. As he was the last shooter, he had already won, but took his second shot anyway and beat his own mark, finishing with a 106.5 MPH shot.

While the Caps had won the event in each of the past two seasons, Weber had won it three straight times before Ovechkin took the title in 2018.

Even when Carlson took the lead, he still did not believe he would win knowing Weber still had to go.

"I think I knew all along we were all just a part of the show," Carlson said.

Braden Holtby also fell short in his attempt to win the Save Streak event. Frederik Anderson had the number to beat of seven when Holtby went between the pipes. He faced shooters from the Atlantic Division and made a run at seven when he stopped David Pastrnak’s shot. A goalie's round could not end on a save. As the captain, Pastrnak was the last shooter unless Holtby saved his shot. When Holtby stopped Pastrnak, that meant he would continue facing shots until he was beaten. With two straight saves, Holtby denied Shea Weber and Brady Tkachuk to get his streak up to five saves before he was finally beaten by Jack Eichel.

"I was just hoping Shea Weber wouldn't come down and take a slap shot on me,” Holtby told the NBCSN broadcast.

St. Louis Blues Jordan Binnington ended up winning the event, much to the delight of the home crowd. Andrei Vasilevskiy raised the save streak up to nine with Binnington as the last goalie to go. In dramatic fashion, Binnington went on to deny 10 straight shots to take the win.

Other highlights of the All-Star Skills:

Ryan O’Reilly’s football helmet

Next week is the Super Bowl Sunday and Ryan O’Reilly showed who he is cheering for in warmups as he came onto the ice wearing a Kansas City Chiefs' helmet.


Connor McDavid is not the fastest skater?

We all know who the fastest skater in the NHL is. It’s Connor McDavid. You might as well just declare the race over, right?

Not so fast. (See what I did there?)

Stunningly, McDavid did not win the event and was edged out by New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal who completed the event in 13.175 seconds, just 0.03 seconds away from the record.

The Justin Bieber mask

San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl decided to have some fun during the save streak. Before his shot attempt on Binnington, he busted out a Justin Bieber mask and put it on before shooting.

No, he did not score. Yes, the mask was terrifying.


The women’s 3-on-3 game was awesome

If there is one complaint about the All-Star Skills and All-Star Game, is that it is not competitive enough. Players have fun with it, as they should, but they aren’t exactly going 100-percent like they would in an actual game. That was certainly not the case for the 3-on-3 women’s game between Canada and USA.

The women’s teams put on a great display of skill in what was an incredibly fun game to watch. Canada took a 1-0 lead in the first period off a goal from Rebecca Johnston. Melodie Daoust made it 2-0 in the second period and Hilary Knight finally put USA on the board putting them to within one.

But really it was the goalies who stole the show. With plenty of room to work, there were a number of breakaways and odd-man rushes. Both Alex Cavallini for the USA and Ann-Renee Desbiens for Canada were strong in net to keep it a three-goal game.

"It was pretty impressive," Oshie said. "The goalies stood on their head, but the girls were making some awesome plays, some great moves. It's always fun cheering on the Americans."

Desbiens had a drop the mic moment with a glove save just as time expired to maintain the 2-1 win for Canada.

Shooting Stars

You have to credit the NHL for trying. One of the new events featured players on a raised platform in the crowd shooting at targets on the ice. It was...different. The biggest issue with it was that the players could not hit most of the targets and the one that seemed the easiest to get was worth the most points. This one will need some tweaking if they want to bring it back again next year.

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Ryan Zimmerman’s return to the Nationals is finally happening

Ryan Zimmerman’s return to the Nationals is finally happening

If Ryan Zimmerman did not return to the Nationals, he at least would have a future teaching how not to negotiate.

Zimmerman openly drove down his bargaining leverage for almost a year before signing a one-year deal on Friday to return to the only professional team he’s known, a source confirmed. The deal is reported at $2 million.

Throughout the season, Zimmerman openly discussed his interest in returning and understanding it would be at a low rate. As if his stance wasn’t already clear, Zimmerman explained at a screening of the Nationals’ championship video he would return or play more golf.

“So, we’ll be good to go,” Zimmerman said.

It’s baseball for now. Zimmerman rejoins the defending World Series champions to play his 16th season. He’s a 35-year-old platoon player this season. Zimmerman’s money and legacy have been established. He’s back in the fold to pursue another title. 

And he makes an already old Nationals team older. Zimmerman turns 36 years old the day after the 2020 regular season ends. Howie Kendrick will be 37 years old by midseason. Asdrúbal Cabrera is 34 years old. Eric Thames is 33 years old. Will Harris is 35, Daniel Hudson 32, Sean Doolittle 33, Max Scherzer 35, Kurt Suzuki 36. Yan Gomes will be 33 just after the All-Star break. 

Zimmerman will share first base with Thames and, occasionally, Howie Kendrick. They provide an intriguing splits-based platoon. Thames hits right-handers well -- 23 of his 25 2019 home runs came against them, as did much of his opportunity in Milwaukee -- and Zimmerman has a .917 career OPS against left-handed pitchers. Zimmerman is the much better defender.

He’s back because he -- and the Nationals -- believe Zimmerman’s production remains directly tied to his health. His September and postseason work showed Zimmerman’s bat speed remains intact. He is quietly one of the better defensive first baseman in the league. They think they can protect him. Overall, the Nationals are so comfortable with an expanse of older players because they plan to shield them with limited usage. Also, Josh Donaldson went to Minnesota, clearing the cash and providing a need for Zimmerman. 

Kendrick, Cabrera and Starlin Castro can play various infield spots. Thames and Zimmerman will reduce the other’s role, as well as pinch-hit when not starting. Davey Martinez has options. He also has the challenge of rotating players. One thing on his side: older players know they are just that. Grousing about playing time should not be an issue with the group, the majority of which played as role players last year on the way to a World Series title. 

One other thing to note about Zimmerman: he’s 30 home runs short of 300. Can he get there with another two years on the field? He has at least one more to add to his total, assuring his driver has another lonely summer.

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