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  • 27 Aug
    Michael van Gerwen failed to win for the third consecutive week while Robert Thornton survived elimination - but what have we learned? REPORT: Judgement Night Smith & Chisnall crash out, MVG slips off top spot Judgement Night has cast its verdict on Michael Smith and Dave Chisnall, sending them crashing out of the tournament and reducing its participants to eight. At the top of the league, it was another disappointing outing for the world No 1.Here are five talking points... Why did we give up on Thornton? Robert Thornton survived elimination before he threw a dart At the start of Week 8, the Scotsman was rock-bottom of the Premier League table without a victory to his name, staring elimination in the face. It seemed certain that it would be Thornton, plus one more, to face the chop.A stunning pair of results last week made Thornton the first player to truly take advantage of playing twice in the same night - he drew with Van Gerwen and defeated Smith to move out of the bottom two. Heading into Judgement Night, he had provided warning signs that he possessed enough quality to compete at this level.In the end, his work was done in last weeks double-header. Smith and Chisnalls defeats on Judgement Night meant Thornton was safe before he threw a dart, leaving us all to wonder why we wrote him off so quickly.MVG is in poor form… yes, you heard that right! Raymond van Barneveld admits disappointment that he didnt beat Michael van Gerwen Any time Van Gerwen leaves the oche without a win, it represents a major coup for whoever he has opposed. A shock draw with Thornton last week could possibly have been attributed to bad luck for Van Gerwen, but a third consecutive week without a win represents a mini-crisis for the world No 1.In truth, a point against Raymond Van Barneveld on Judgement Night doesnt tell the full story. Barney will have left the oche kicking himself that he didnt take a major victory, having missed one dart at a double to secure a maximum two points. Van Gerwen deserves a degree of credit for sticking around and battling, but a draw against Van Barneveld flattered him.So whats up with Mighty Mike? Thats twice in recent times he has failed to beat Van Barneveld on a major stage, having lost their World Championship tie in January. Van Gerwen has slipped down to No 2 in the table, behind Phil Taylor, but his top four spot remains secure - for now, at least.Have you noticed Taylor is top? Phil Taylor ruthlessly defeated Michael Smith On a night dominated by three players jostling for survival, and Van Gerwen uncharacteristically faltering, it is forgivable not to have realised that Taylor is top of the Premier League after nine weeks.The Power has won the tournament six times but not since 2012, and entered this years edition facing questions about whether he still had the accuracy in his arrows to contend with the likes of Van Gerwen. So far, he has quietly reassured doubters that he still belongs.Sitting a point clear of Van Gerwen heading into the next stage of the Premier League wont silence Taylors critics permanently. The new fixture list has thrown up a mouth-watering Taylor vs Van Gerwen contest in Rotterdam on the final night of the regular season - The Power must still be shining heading into Londons play-offs to finally prove he can end a four-year run without a Premier League title.Smith & Chisnall will be back Dave Chisnalls exit came after a loss to Peter Wright Whenever the worlds 10 best players come together in an unforgivably gruelling tournament, it will force two unfortunate players to appear much worse than they really are. Smith and Chisnall were eliminated on Judgement Night after winning just one match apiece in 18 combined efforts, but their place in the worlds elite crop is unlikely to change.Smith is currently rated at No 8 while Chisnall is No 11, so could be looking over his shoulder when the 2017 Premier League is discussed. But Chizzy is only a year on from a semi-final finish in the 2015 tournament, while 25-year-old Smith is regarded as one of the sports top prospects. They are down, but theyre not out.Who could play in the 2017 Premier League? Jelle Klaasen reached the World Championship semi-final where he met Gary Anderson If a new player replaces Smith or Chisnall, the likeliest candidate would be world No 10 Jelle Klaasen. Yet another prospect from the Netherlands, Klaasen would certainly be a popular addition to the line-up for our orange-clad neighbours who will host their first ever Premier League night in May.But Klaasen is also in with a shout due to his ability at the oche, not just his popularity. He already counted himself unfortunate to miss out on this years event considering he is ranked by the PDC one place above Chisnall. Bizarrely, he has already played in the 2009 Premier League as a sprightly 24-year-old alongside Sky Sports very own Wayne Mardle but hasnt been invited back since.Premier League Darts returns next Thursday from Sheffield, live on Sky Sports 2 HD. Also See: Fixtures/Results On Sky TV Prem Table Darts betting Get Sky Sports Christian Jaros Senators Jersey . Rinne played two periods in his first game since left hip surgery in early May. Gabriel Bourque scored 3:07 into the second period and Austin Watson tallied 5:15 later for Nashville. Custom Ottawa Senators Jerseys . It was the kind of score that might make everyone else wonder which course he was playing. Except that Graeme McDowell saw the whole thing. Crouched behind the 10th green at Sheshan International, McDowell looked over at the powerful American and said, "Ive probably seen 18 of the best drives Ive seen all year in the last two days. . JOHNS, N. Brady Tkachuk Senators Jersey . The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Lions have not announced the hiring, which was first reported by ESPN. Lombardi, the grandson of former Green Bay Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi, has been an offensive assistant on Sean Paytons New Orleans staff since 2007. Colin White Senators Jersey . The move comes after the Canadiens were approached by the Buffalo Sabres for permission to speak to Dudley - a former Sabres player and head coach. "The Sabres called for permission and I appreciate that, Im flattered, Dudley told TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun of ESPN. FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- General manager Thomas Dimitroff finally has the security he wanted from the Atlanta Falcons.Dimitroff signed a three-year contract extension on Monday, ending questions about whether this season, the final year of his deal, would be his last with the Falcons.This is where I wanted to be, so Im really happy I got the opportunity to be here a little longer, Dimitroff said. Were in a spot where I think the arrow definitely is up, and I think we have a lot of budding talent here that can take us to the levels we want to get to.Financial terms were not disclosed for Dimitroffs new deal, which runs concurrently with coach Dan Quinns through 2019.Owner Arthur Blank said in a statement that hes been pleased with Dimitroffs work in 1+ seasons alongside Quinn.My expectations remain very high, Blank said. By extending Thomas, we expect to see their partnership continue to grow and deliver results for our team and our fans, on and off the field.The Falcons never had consecutive winning records before Dimitroff was hired in 2008, and they were above .500 in his first five seasons and made the playoffs four times. Dimitroff was credited for drafting quarterback Matt Ryan, receiver Julio Jones, running back Devonta Freeman and cornerback Desmond Trufant.The Falcons have begun rebuilding one of the NFLs worst defenses under Quinn, a former defensive coordinator in Seattle. The Falcons drafted defensive end Vic Beasley, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, safety Keanu Neal and linebackers DeVondre Campbell and Deion Jones over the last two years. All five are starters.When Quinn was hired in February 2015, Blank gave him the final say on which players comprise the 53-man roster and the 10-player practice squad.It was never an ultimatum, Quinn told The Associated Press. I just wanted a guy I knew I could work with. I dont want to be the overseer of it all. I wantt somebody I can work with from the personnel side.ddddddddddddHonestly, we havent had decisions where it was tenuous or tough.Dimitroff is the point man in targeting players for the draft, free agency and trades. Hes in charge of scouting and player contracts.In all the years I was with coach Mike Smith and in the two years Ive been with Dan, we have never been at a spot where we have disagreed on who that player is, Dimitroff told The AP. Its not really anywhere near the issue people make it out to be. Dan and I have a very good working relationship that way. In the end, there has to be someone who has (the 53-man roster). It cant be a mutual decision.The Falcons won six of their first seven games last year in Quinns first season, but they stumbled in the second half and finished 8-8. Theyre off to a 6-3 start this year, have the NFCs second-best record and enter a bye week in seemingly good shape to make the playoffs for the first time since 2012.Before Quinn arrived, Dimitroff and Smith led the team to a 10-22 record after advancing to the NFC title game. Smith was fired, but Dimitroff managed to keep his job despite bearing responsibility for the slide.Yes, difficult, but not down in the dumps, not feeling sorry for myself, Dimitroff said. I understand what I signed up for in this position. We have an excellent fan base here, a very knowledgeable fan base, and they want a championship football team. Were going to do all in our power to put it together.Game notes Quinn said Trufant was getting a second opinion Monday on his injured shoulder. Trufant was hurt in last weeks win at Tampa Bay. Quinn said the team would update Trufants status on Wednesday.---For more NFL coverage: and ' ' '