After Pierre-Luc Dubois was benched for lack of effort two days ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday traded the unhappy star center to the Winnipeg Jets for Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic and a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. Dubois, Columbus’ top-line center, made it clear when he signed a two-year contract before the season that he wanted a change of scenery. Laine, an All-Star winger also had been asking for a trade. Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said the deal had been in the works and wasn’t hastened by the rift between Dubois and Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella, who benched the 22-year-old star for loafing in Thursday’s 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay in overtime. “We’ve been working on this for a while and we’ve always said that it could take a while until we find the right deal, but if the right deal is on the table we’re ready to move fast,” Kekalainen said. “So just everything came together.” Dubois is a dynamic center whom the Blue Jackets hoped would be one of their building blocks. But he declined to sign a long-term deal and let it be known he wanted to play elsewhere. After leading the team in scoring with 49 points last season, Dubois had one goal and no assists in the first five games of 2021. Laine, a 22-year-old Finnish winger, has scored 36, 44, 30 and 28 goals in each of his four NHL seasons but has grown into a better all-around player in the process. Roslovic, a 23-year-old center who grew up in Columbus, has 26 goals and 41 assists in 180 career games. The trade included signing Roslovic, a unsigned restricted free agent, to a two-year, $3.8 million contract through the 2021-22 season . . . Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn didn’t practice a day after his right leg buckled awkwardly during a collision with Viktor Arvidssson in a season-opening, 7-0 victory over Nashville. Coach Rick Bowness provided no update after practice on Benn’s condition or his status for Sunday’s game, when the Stars play Nashville again.
AP source: Lions to explore trade of Stafford
A person with direct knowledge of the situation says the Detroit Lions and quarterback Matthew Stafford have mutually agreed to explore the possibilities of trading him, according to the Associated Press. The person says Stafford expressed an interest in being traded after the season ended and the team responded by tabling the idea until a new general manager and coach were hired. Stafford was on a call earlier this week with Lions general manager Brad Holmes and coach Dan Campbell earlier this week, according to the person, and they discussed parting ways. Detroit drafted Stafford No. 1 overall in 2009 and he has two years left on a $135 million, five-year contract . . . The Green Bay Packers elevated recent cornerback acquisition Tramon Williams to their active roster for Sunday’s NFC championship game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The move Saturday comes two days after the Packers announced they had signed Williams to their practice squad. The 37-year-old Williams was waived by the Baltimore Ravens on Monday, two days after their 17-3 AFC divisional playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills. Williams previously played for the Packers from 2007-14 and 2018-19. . . . New Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith added four assistants to his staff, including 38-year veteran defensive line coach Gary Emanuel, who coached the New York Giants’ defensive line in 2018-19. The Falcons also named Steve Hoffman as a senior assistant, Justin Peelle as tight ends coach and Matt Pees, the son of new Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees, as a defensive assistant.
USA Basketball to expand prospect pool
USA Basketball is casting a wider-than-usual net in its roster selection for this summer’s rescheduled Tokyo Olympics, two people with knowledge of the situation said Saturday. Additions to the list in recent weeks include New Orleans’ Zion Williamson, Atlanta’s Trae Young, Memphis’ Ja Morant, Miami’s Duncan Robinson and Detroit’s Christian Wood. The additions mean at least 60 players could be on the player-pool list that will be released by USA Basketball in the coming weeks. Most of those are holdovers from the finalists list that was announced in February 2020 in anticipation of an Olympics last summer.
Telfort (career-high 23) sparks NU men
Jhamyl Telfort scored a career-high 23 points in the second half, while Shaquile Waters and Chris Doherty each had double-doubles to lead the Northeastern men’s basketball team (8-5, 7-0 CAA) to a 72-63 victory over James Madison (6-5, 1-1 CAA) at the Cabot Center. With the win, NU head coach Bill Coen moved within one of legendary coach Jim Calhoun’s record of 250 at Northeastern from 1972-86 . . . Javante McCoy scored a team-high 16 points, including four free throws in the final 20 seconds, to go along with nine rebounds while Walter Whyte added 14 points to lead the Boston University men (2-5, 2-5) to an 81-76 Patriot League victory over Lafayette (5-2, 5-2) in Easton, Pa. . . The Holy Cross men (2-5, 2-5 Patriot League) rallied from a 14-point deficit to pull within 54-52 in the second half only to suffer a 75-72 loss to Lehigh at the Hart Center in Worcester when Dominic Parolin blocked R.J. Johnson’s 3-point bid at the buzzer to help Lehigh (2-5, 2-5) snap a five-game losing skid . . . In men’s ice hockey, Boston College coach Jerry York recorded his 1,100th career victory after the top-ranked Eagles (9-2-1) scored a 4-2 victory over the host UConn Huskies (5-6-2) in Storrs, Conn. Casey Carreau and Marc McLaughlin scored on back-to-back goals in the second period to help BC break a 1-1 tie.
Court honor draws controversy
Australia media are reporting controversial former tennis champion Margaret Court, 78, will receive the Companion of the Order of Australia, the country’s top award in the Australia Day honors list, but the apparent decision is already being criticized by Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews, who did not support Court receiving the honor. The award recognizes Court’s “eminent service to tennis” as winner of a record 24 Grand Slam singles titles and a mentor for young athletes. However, her tennis achievements have recently been overshadowed by her views on homosexuality, conversion therapy, same-sex marriage and transgender people. Court, a Pentecostal minister who runs the Victory Life Centre church in Perth, Western Australia, said she won’t change her opinions . . . The International Tennis Federation denied a bid by 29th-ranked Dayana Yastremska to lift her suspension for failing an out-of-competition doping test. The ruling can be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport by the 20-year-old Ukrainian . . . Knicks Go went to the lead right out of the gate and dared the other 11 runners in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational to catch him. Nobody came close as the heavily-favored Knicks Go won the fifth running of the Pegasus at Gulfstream Park, to push his lifetime winnings to $3 million after his fourth consecutive victory.