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With goaltender Cam Talbot settled in, Wild looking forward to big things



With goaltender Cam Talbot settled in, Wild looking forward to big things

Cam Talbot exudes a palpable sense of calm whenever he’s between the pipes for the Wild. It’s something coach Dean Evason and his teammates talk about often, as does general manager Bill Guerin, and even some opponents who play the Wild.

It’s gotten to the point where the 34-year-old goaltender has actually garnered the nickname Calm Talbot. Maybe not the cleverest nickname in the world, but it’s so on the nose that it doesn’t matter.

Maybe the most impressive thing about Talbot’s demeanor, though, is how he was able to operate that same way last season under trying circumstances.

After signing with the Wild in the middle of a pandemic, then hurriedly rushing to the Twin Cities a few days after Christmas for the start of an abbreviated 56-game season, Talbot very rarely felt settled in away from the rink.

“You had a week to get the kids into school, get COVID tested a few times, and then get on the ice with the guys,” said Talbot, who went on to finish last season with a 19-8-5 record, 2.63 goals-against average and .915 save percentage amid the chaos.

Needless to say, the preseason has gone much smoother this time around with Talbot arriving in the Twin Cities about a month before the start of training camp. He remembers smiling to himself as he and his wife Kelly loaded up the car with their daughter Sloane and their son Landon in the backseat.

“They were excited to come back,” said Talbot, who lives in his native Canada during the offseason. “It’s nice to see when the kids get that excited for a 14-hour drive. That’s not something that’s always fun for kids. They’ve been excited to see their old friends and stuff again and make new friends in school.”

That comfort his family has this season has allowed Talbot to feel comfortable himself heading to the rink every day.

“It’s so much more normal I guess we could say this season than the past couple of seasons,” Talbot said. “It’s definitely been nice to be here early and get settled in.”

It raises the question: If Talbot was so impressive last season with so much influx, what might he do for an encore this season now that things are more orderly?

That’s something to keep an eye on as Wild start a new chapter for the franchise this season. Gone are former faces of the franchise Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, and for the first time in more than a decade, it feels like a completely different team on the ice.

“I’m excited to see what this group can do,” Talbot said. “We took a big step forward last season. I don’t know if anyone except for us in that room expected us to do what we did last season. We have the same belief in that room this season. It’s going to be fun getting back to full 82-game season. It’s nice to get back to some normalcy here.”

No matter what happens this season, one thing the Wild can count on is Talbot staying calm in the crease. It’s something he learned as the backup to the legendary Henrik Lundqvist early in his career. He also credited longtime New York Rangers goaltending coach Benoit Allaire for helping him develop those skills.

“He was huge for my career,” Talbot said. “He’s a calming personality himself. There’s never any panic in his voice. He’s very positively driven. He just kind of rubs off on people that way. He helped me to become a little more calm and more patient.”

That’s always been a focus for Talbot, because as he has learned throughout his NHL career, a team usually goes as its goaltender does throughout a game.

If a goaltender is constantly sprawling for saves, his teammates will feed off that chaotic energy, and very rarely in a good way. If a goaltender is cool, calm and collected between the pipes, his teammates will feel comfortable making the simple play themselves.

As much as his teammates rave about him, Talbot was quick to credit them for his stellar stats last season.

“This is an easy group to play behind,” he said. “Just so easy to read off of. It starts with the six guys in front of me and obviously the forwards are a big part of that, too. We have a great lineup of skill, grit and shutdown guys up front. You mix that with our top six on the backend and not a ton for the goaltender to do. My job is to go out there and stop the shots I’m supposed to stop and give us a chance to win. Behind a group like this, they made it easy for me.”

That said, Talbot has proven more than capable of making the big saves at the biggest moments. There were many times throughout the playoff series with the Vegas Golden Knights last season — the Wild lost a heartbreaker in Game 7 of the opening-round series — that Talbot singlehandedly kept his team in it.

“I’m not going out there to do too much or try to overplay certain situations,” he said. “I try to stay as calm and patient as possible and let the play come to me. The guys in front of me they make that so much easier because they’re so easy to read off of and they’re calm themselves. We don’t have a lot of guys that panic under pressure.”

As things slowly return to normal this season, Talbot doesn’t plan on changing his playing style. He also made it clear that he wants to play as much as possible.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a back-to-back or every other day with travel kind of thing,” Talbot said. “I feel my best when I’m rolling. You don’t really get a chance to think. You just go out there and play. Whether it’s a good game the night before, or even a rough game, it’s even better to get back in there and put it behind me and get another solid start under my belt.”

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Giants hang on to beat Eagles after Michael Strahan tells impatient Giant fans to ‘appreciate what you got’



Giants hang on to beat Eagles after Michael Strahan tells impatient Giant fans to ‘appreciate what you got’

During Michael Strahan’s halftime jersey retirement ceremony on Sunday, when the great pass rusher thanked the Mara and Tisch families, a steady chorus of boos got Strahan’s attention.

So he broke from his script to defend the team.

“You know, I gotta say this,” Strahan said, with co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch sitting on the stage behind him. “Every team has their ups and downs, but the New York Giants have won Super Bowls. There are teams that [have] never had enough. Appreciate what you got. We will be back. We will be up again. I guarantee you that.”

The crowd cheered that, and they loved watching Joe Judge’s team justify Strahan’s confidence by hanging on to beat the rival Philadelphia Eagles, 13-7.

Tuesday’s firing of offensive coordinator Jason Garrett did not produce an immediate outburst of points with Freddie Kitchens calling plays on the headset.

But Pat Graham’s defense forced six turnovers. Kitchens’ offense committed none. Daniel Jones hit tight end Chris Myarick with a 1-yard TD pass in the third quarter for a 10-0 lead.

And Philly wideout Jalen Reagor dropped two passes on the game’s final drive, including what might have been the game-winning touchdown on the Eagles’ final play in vain with 15 seconds to play.

Darnay Holmes, Tae Crowder and Xavier McKinney all intercepted Eagles QB Jalen Hurts. Dexter Lawrence forced a fumble by Eagles back Boston Scott into the arms of safety Julian Love late in the fourth quarter up six.

And the Giants’ defense forced two Eagles turnovers on downs, one of which they turned into a 10-play, 59-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter.

Kitchens called plays for Jones to run early and emphasized getting the ball to playmakers in space.

Kenny Golladay failed to haul in a couple end zone jump ball targets with a renewed focus on involving him in the red zone. But he made back-to-back 18-yard catches on the Giants’ fourth quarter field goal drive to create important separation with a 39-yard Graham Gano field goal.

Otherwise the Eagles easily would have forced overtime with a field goal of their own down the stretch.

Love, the Giants’ safety, dropped an interception on Philly’s final drive after Reagor failed to catch a deep throw from Hurts down the left sideline with rookie Aaron Robinson in coverage.

But Reagor returned the favor, posting up Robinson on the goal line in the middle of the field, to seal the Giants’ win.

The Giants (4-7) bounced back from last Monday night’s horrible loss at Tampa, while the Eagles (5-7) faltered after winning three of their previous four to enter the playoff picture.

Judge, Jones and the whole Giants team handled the pressure coming off the Buccaneers embarrassment well. The team played extremely hard, and the defense rose to the challenge. The offensive line was still an atrocious liability, but they did their best to coach around it.

Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram and Golladay all made explosive plays of 18 yards or more, and while Jones put some passes in harm’s way, including an Engram drop nearly picked off by Avonte Maddox, avoiding turnovers protected their lead.

This doesn’t mean the Giants are out of the woods with their fans just yet.

Sunday was the second time that Mara has heard boos from the home crowd this season.

He was booed loudly during Eli Manning’s halftime jersey retirement in a Week 3 loss to the Falcons.

The Giants haven’t put Mara at a podium on the field since. He wasn’t on the field at all for the 10th anniversary celebration of the 2011 Super Bowl champions during halftime of a Week 6 loss to the Rams.

And while Mara and Tisch sat on the stage for Strahan’s ceremony on Sunday, they were the only people on the stage not introduced to the crowd, and neither owner spoke.

Even Strahan had given the organization a hard time during the week about how long the Giants had waited to retire his No. 92.

“What took you so long?” Strahan had said Wednesday.

That’s what happens when a team loses constantly. Everyone from ownership on down loses the benefit of the doubt.

Still, when Judge’s team plays for him like they did Sunday, and they win, maybe it gets a bit easier for the frustrated fans to keep the faith.

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Aurora school district closes campuses for lunch after shootings



Aurora school district closes campuses for lunch after shootings

AURORA — After recent shootings involving teens in Aurora, the public school system has decided students will have to stay on campus during lunch break at least for the next several weeks.

All high schools in Aurora will have closed campuses beginning Monday and continuing at least through winter break, an Aurora Public Schools spokesperson told KCNC-TV in Denver.

The announcement was made Saturday at a vigil held at Nome Park, where six students from Aurora Central High School were shot and injured on Nov. 15. Two arrests have been made.

Four days later, three more students were injured in a shooting in the parking lot at Hinkley High School. Three arrests have been made in that case.

Aurora schools will have additional security and mental health support for students when they return to classes after the Thanksgiving break, Superintendent Rico Munn said in a letter to the community.

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Instant Analysis: Miami Dolphins 33, Carolina Panthers 10



50 Colo. Time dealers, Wells are auto fame inductees

David Furones, Dolphins Writer

This is what the Dolphins look like clicking on all cylinders. Tua Tagovailoa, even without DeVante Parker and Will Fuller, connecting with Jaylen Waddle non-stop. The defense swarming and forcing turnovers. Even special teams is scoring. The momentum is real, and Miami can legitimately reinsert itself into playoff discussion with a few more wins against a favorable upcoming schedule.

Keven Lerner, Assistant Sports Editor

The Dolphins had their most complete effort of the year and they are now 5-7. Tua Tagovailoa played very well and the defense was even better. Wins against the quite-incomplete Giants and Jets would have Miami at .500. Crazy.

Steve Svekis, Assistant Sports Editor

OK … the Dolphins have basically negated the Falcons and Jaguars losses with two wins as a home underdog against the Ravens and Panthers. They are 5-7 and it would be inexcusable for this meteorically rising defense and the truly competent offense to not defeat the visiting Giants and Jets to get to 7-7. Then, they probably would need to sweep the Saints, Titans and Patriots to reach the playoffs. But, more realistic now — and inconceivable four games ago — is a winning season at 9-8. Tua did two big things he hadn’t during this season: didn’t throw a bad interception, and hit Jaylen Waddle in stride deep down the field. Waddle could end up right in the mix for consideration as the best wide receiver in this draft’s loaded wide receiver first round.

This will be updated.

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