Dwane Casey named finalist for NBA's coach of the year five days after Raptors fire him - Canadanewsmedia
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Dwane Casey named finalist for NBA's coach of the year five days after Raptors fire him



Dwane Casey has been named one of three finalists for the NBA’s coach of the year award.

Too bad the nomination came five days after he was fired by the Toronto Raptors. Casey was named a finalist for the award on Wednesday night along with Quin Snyder of the Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.

The 61-year-old Casey was the most successful coach in Raptors history, rewriting the culture of what had been one of the worst teams in the league.

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He led Toronto to four Atlantic Division titles in five seasons, and three consecutive 50-win seasons, and the Raptors rewrote the franchise record book in this past regular-season, winning 59 games and earning the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference for the first time.

Casey was fired after the Cleveland Cavaliers swept Toronto out of the Eastern Conference semi-final for the second straight year.

After Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri fired Casey on Friday, he addressed media while fighting tears.

“I hope coach Casey gets coach of the year because he deserves it,” Ujiri said. “I saw everything he did here. I saw the job he did this year. He deserves it.”

Toronto guard Fred VanVleet was nominated for sixth man of the year as the NBA’s best bench player. Former Raptor Lou Williams is also under consideration after a successful season with the Los Angeles Clippers, as is Eric Gordon of the Houston Rockets.

Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri is calling Dwane Casey an ‘unbelievable human being,’ but says it is time for a change. Casey was fired as coach after the team was eliminated from the playoffs by the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Canadian Press

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Calgary votes 'no' for 2026 Winter Games




CALGARY – Like a nail-biting final period of a gold medal Olympic hockey game, residents of Calgary and Canmore awaited the results of a plebiscite Tuesday night (Nov. 13) on whether or not the two communities should bid on the 2026 Winter Olympic Games – and when polls closed and the results were counted 56.4 per cent of Calgarians voted ‘no.’

Canmore Mayor John Borrowman said he was very disappointed for both Canmore and the region.

“I truly believe the opportunity and future benefits would be well worth the investment and the risks would be manageable,” Borrowman said.

“However, the Town of Canmore will continue to work toward our vision and goals for our community as we have been doing for many years.”

BidCo chair Scott Hutcheson was also disappointed in the results.

“I truly believe this was the best opportunity to unite our community around a new vision of hope, confidence and realize an extended legacy, inspired by the world’s best winter athletes,” Hutcheson said in a press release.

City of Calgary council will consider the plebiscite results and the proposed Olympic and Paralympic bid next Monday (Nov. 19).

While the plebiscite is not binding on council, letters from the federal and provincial government in support of the bid made a positive result a requirement for each to provide funding.

The total cost of the Games was estimated at $5.11 billion – with $2.45 billion of that going toward the operation of the two events.

All but $220 million of that, however, was to be funded through the IOC with a $1.5 billion commitment through ticket sales, merchandise, and sponsorship.

With $2.23 billion in private funding, that left $2.875 billion in public funding to be covered by the public sector.

Finance Minister Joe Ceci said the provincial government would provide $700 million, but only if Calgarians voted yes.

“As you know, the Government of Alberta will not be able to provide any additional funds that may be required, including those to cover revenue shortfalls or cost overruns,” Ceci wrote in October confirming funding amounts.

“Moreover, we will not be providing any form of guarantee for additional costs arising from any source.”

Minister of Sport Kristy Duncan confirmed federal support for the Games at $1.423 billion matching the financial commitment for the core event costs by the province, and municipal governments.

The funding agreement was announced late on Oct. 30, the night before Calgary city council was set to vote to rescind its support to moelve forward with the bid and the plebiscite.

The funding agreement set out a revised capital cost of $2.875 billion in 2018 dollars with the City of Calgary providing $370 million in funding and $20 million for a $200 million cost-over run insurance package. The insurance forms part of the BidCo draft hosting plan containing $1 billion in contingencies.

The funding agreement included counting $150 million Calgary was already going to spend for Victoria Park and Stampede access improvements toward its share of the deal, and leveraged matching funds from the feds.

The updated agreement also lowered the total estimated capital cost for infrastructure to proceed with a bid from $3 billion. The changes, explained Moran to city council the next day, were the result of an updated security budget provided by the RCMP, and changes to proposed Olympic housing.

The original hosting plan released in September included security estimates based on Vancouver 2010, and not based on Calgary’s needs.

As a result of the RCMP’s cost estimate for Calgary 2026 there was a reduction of $155 million and the BidCo would need less housing for security personnel cutting the required budget by an additional $45 million.

The BidCo also backed away from using a site in Calgary’s East Village that would require the removal of several bus barns for $85 million, an expense that wasn’t necessary for the Games to proceed.

Canmore, meanwhile, set its sights on obtaining resort municipality status from the province to help pay an estimated $3 million in essential services needed during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as providing infrastructure like a celebration plaza, and the cultural olympiad leading up to the event.

Chief administrative officer Lisa de Soto laid out Canmore’s financial needs to council on Nov. 6 to host biathlon and cross-country events, develop a 1,000 units for an athletes village at a cost of $161 million, and be the site for medal presentations for the Paralympics.

Council voted 6-1 to support the bid, on the condition that it find a satisfactory method to fund its commitments as part of the multi-party agreement between the three levels of government to deliver a 2026 event. De Soto said Canmore had asked for an additional two per cent hotel tax on room nights in Canmore to meet that condition, the same model used in B.C. by Whistler in advance of the 2010 Games.

So far, Canmore has spent $200,000 on public engagement, as well as providing manager of recreation Jim Younker to the BidCo and bthe Bid Exploration Committee. It also used the money to send four members of administration and Mayor John Borrowman to PyeongChang as part of the International Olympic Committee’s observer program.

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Majority of Calgary voters say 'no thanks' to 2026 Olympics




Calgary’s bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics was rebuffed on Tuesday when local voters said “no” in a nonbinding referendum.

Unofficial results showed that 56 per cent voted against bidding for the Olympics. Results showed that out of 767,734 eligible voters, 304,774 cast ballots and 171,750 of those voted against the Olympic bid.

The city council is expected to address the results on Monday, but there is little doubt the bid seems dead. The council has already shown skepticism, with eight of 15 members voting on Oct. 31 to scuttle the public vote. Ten votes were required for the vote not to be held.

The defeat is a huge blow to the International Olympic Committee, which has only two candidates officially declared: Stockholm, Sweden, and a joint Italian bid from Milan and Cortina D’Ampezzo. Both bids also face opposition and financing problems.

Three other cities withdrew earlier this year — Sapporo, Japan; Sion, Switzerland; Graz, Austria — and Turkey’s Erzurum was eliminated last month by the IOC.

The IOC was left in a similar spot for the 2022 Winter Olympics when numerous bidders withdrew. Only two unlikely cities expressed final interest, with Beijing, China, winning narrowly in an IOC vote over Almtay, Kazakhstan.

The host for 2026 will be selected by the IOC in a vote on June 24 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The Canadian Olympic Committee said in a statement it was disappointed by the results. Calgary was the host for the 1988 Winter Olympics.

“The opportunity to welcome the world to Canada, where people can experience the uniting power of the Games and within our nation’s culture of peace and inclusion, would have offered countless benefits to all,” the statement said. “This would have been a unique opportunity for Canadians to be leaders in fulfilling the promise of a renewed vision for the Games.”

The results won’t be declared official until Friday. But the opposition was already celebrating.

“I think that people had enough of the establishment, telling us what to do, what to think,” local councillor Sean Chu said.

Mary Moran, CEO of Calgary 2026, called the issue “very divisive” and said it was time “to put that behind us.”

“We really wanted this dream for Calgary to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Moran said. “We learned so much about our community. We learned so much about each other.”

The Alberta government made its funding of a bid conditional on holding a vote and provided $2 million to pay for it.

“We fought many, many obstacles along the way,” said Scott Hutcheson, board chair of Calgary 2026. “We had three government partners that stepped up with billions of dollars to invest in this dream.”

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi voted for continuing with a bid. Calgary 2026 was hampered by last-minute negotiations over a cost-sharing agreement between the federal, provincial and city governments.


More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP–Sports

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Player grades: McDavid-Draisaitl combo back in business as Edmonton Oilers dominate Habs, 6-2




Canadiens 2, Oilers 6

Edmonton Oilers exploded out of their four-game losing streak in impressive fashion Tuesday, laying an old-fashioned thumping on the visiting Montreal Canadiens to win going away, 6-2.

It was a night where embattled head coach Todd McLellan’s decisions came up roses. The reunited pair of Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid combined three times to create even-strength goals and could have had a bunch more. New second-line centre Ryan Nugent Hopkins scored his first goal in 10 games. The realigned second and third defence pairings scored (wait for it) THREE goals to match Edmonton’s combined season total from the back end in the previous 17 games. Meanwhile the new man between the pipes was rock solid in backstopping the win.

Make no mistake, though, this was no “goalie win”. The Oilers dominated the Habs, outshooting them in all three periods and by 43-29 overall. Grade A scoring chances as compiled by the Cult of Hockey‘s David Staples were an even more convincing 16-7  Edmonton (log and summary). Antti Niemi was both terrific and terrible in turn in the Montreal cage, making a number of world class saves but leaking in a trio of tallies from outside the prime scoring zone.

With the win the Oilers up their record to 9-8-1, exactly matching their record through 18 games in 2016-17. That season they started out 9-3-1 before losing 5 in a row, all in regulation, before turning things around in a major way thereafter. There are plenty of similarities with the current campaign including a tough losing streak in early November. Hopefully the breakthrough win over the Habs will act as a springboard.

Player grades

#4 Kris Russell, 7. The veteran responded to a new partner and reduced ice time (just 15:27) with a rejuvenated performance, posting impressive boxcars of 1-1-2, +3. The goal, his first in 42 games, was an outside wrister through heavy traffic that found a whole. The assist was more impressive, a strong defensive play to gain control of the puck behind his own net, move it to safety and find Strome with a good outlet pass to spring the counter attack. Excellent flow-of-play numbers — indeed, the entire defence corps posted an individual Corsi between 58-63%.

#5 Kevin Gravel, 6. A solid performance on the left side of that third pairing. An assist on Russell’s goal, and some strong play behind his own blueline including 3 blocked shots.  14 minutes including 2 on the penalty kill.

#6 Adam Larsson, 6. Chipped in 22 minutes. Is becoming ever more involved in the offensive zone, contributing to a monstrous 7 scoring chances in this one even as he never found the scoresheet. Did get burned by a sharp pass on the second Habs goal. 3 shots, 2 blocks, 2 hits, and an always-welcome dose of surliness highlighted by his quick grease job of Brendan Gallagher after the Habs pepperpot took some liberties with Chiasson behind the play.

#8 Ty Rattie, 5. No points but an effective game. Some excellent work along the walls, where he has excelled. Smart puck distribution and 3 shots of his own. His d-zone interception and dump to but not over the icing line provided welcome relief and a line change for grateful teammates when the Habs were pressing hard for a time in the third period.

#16 Jujhar Khaira, 6. His night was slightly marred by a neutral zone turnover that led directly to a Habs goal but he got that back with some diligent work on Russell’s tally, earning his fifth assist of the season. A team-high 4 shots and some strong play on the cycle on an effective fourth line. Made a superb rush and power deke on the penalty kill, where only a splendid save by Niemi kept him off the sheet.

#18 Ryan Strome, 6. Finally earned his first assist of the season in Game #18 when he found RNH streaking through the neutral zone on the critical 4-2 tally. Strong on the dot, where his 8/10=80% was the best of a solid team effort that scored 59% overall. Also spent a fair bit of time on the wing after Rieder’s departure. Played 1¾ minutes on each special team and 11 minutes at evens during which time Oilers outshot the Habs 10-5. Fired 4 shots to co-lead the team. A night where his versatilty shone through.

#19 Mikko Koskinen, 6. The Finnish Leviathan had a shaky start when he lost his angle on the very first socring chance he faced and was beaten high on the glove side, but settled down nicely thereafter to post his fourth win in five starts, all in regulation. Puts the “calm” in “competent”. 29 shots, 27 saves, .931 save percentage.

#22 Tobias Rieder, 5. Was struggling early in the game, with the Oilers getting outshot 6-0 during his 5 minutes of 5v5 action. As usual found some way to contribute with one hard shot on the powerplay and some good work on the penalty kill. Appeared to possibly jam his wrist along the boards in front of the Oilers bench early in the second, and that was it for his night after just 6:17 TOi.

#25 Darnell Nurse, 6. Adjusted to his new/old partner quickly and played his best game in a while. Some wobbles behind his own blueline but strong in the offensive zone, with net contributions to scoring chances of 4 for, 3 against. Buried an outside wrist shot to finish the scoring.

#27 Milan Lucic, 5. Posted his usual 0-0-0, but found other ways to contribute including a strong drive to the net front on the RNH goal. Had his usual issues handling the puck including another furstrating sequence where he couldn’t advance the puck the necessary 3 feet to clear the defensive zone, but later in the game had a great sequence where he won a puck battle in that exact spot and made a power move and pass to get over the line and get the disc heading north. Just 1 shot himself but very good shot shares for his line overall. 3 hits including a doozy on Mike Reilly who had earlier clobbered Chiasson.

#28 Kyle Brodziak, 6. Centred an effective fourth line which dominated the possession battle, cycled the puck well, and left a few fresh bruises in the process. Brodziak had 5 shot attempts. 2 shots, 2 hits, and a solid contribution to Russell’s goal with an early pass and effective screen. 10/16=63% in his busiest game of the season to date in the faceoff circle.

#29 Leon Draisaitl, 9. Had such a game that by night’s end he could be seen sitting on the bench shaking his head in disbelief that he “only’” had 3 points. Indeed, it would take very little stretch of the imagination to envision Leon as a 5-goal scorer in this game. He twice dinged the same stick-side post from the slot in the first period, and later had a third shot bounce off the other post after Niemi first got just enough of it to send it into the pipe. Was outright robbed by the Habs netminder on 3 different occasions. Still managed to beat him once on an excellent finish of a 2-on-1 with McDavid, which was started by Leon 160 feet away with a d-zone interception and chip to #97 which sprung the duo on the odd man rush. Now leads the Oilers with 11 goals. What stood out generally was Leon’s ability to find open ice to fade into shooting positions, and his quick, powerful release once the puck was fed to him. Which — did I mention? — happened often. If Plan A was Connor passing to Leon, Plan B was Leon passing to Connor which earned the big German a pair of secondary assists. Tackled most of his line’s faceoff duty (an area McDavid has struggled recently) and won 11/18=61%. His 22:52 comfortably led the forwards, and included over 2 minutes of excellent work on the penalty kill.

#39 Alex Chiasson, 6. The game began with no fewer than five (5) Oilers forwards that had 0 assists on the season, but that number was cut to “just” three when Chiasson and Strome earned primaries on consecutive goals. Chiasson’s was nothing fancy, just a play to direct a puck on net that resulted in a juicy rebound. Indeed, it seems likely Chiasson’s no-nonsense take-it-to-the-net approach won him a job in Edmonton, while younger, fancier Dans who shall remain nameless are honing their considerable skills in Bakersfield. Which means he is doing everything the club could have hoped for when they offered him a PTO two months ago.

#44 Zack Kassian, 6. Oilers fans saw “Good Zack” on this night, skating well and bashing every opponent within reach. He was credited with a game-high 7 hits, while an 8th was deemed to be an interference penalty due more to the heaviness of the contact than its lateness as Kassian crushed Mike Reilly, a shift after Reilly had hammered Chiasson. Fortunately his mates killed it off, and Kassian went straight back to dash and crash. That fourth line dominated on the cycle, with both Kassian and Brodziak sharing a team best Corsi of 71% based on 15 shot attempts for, just 6 against. Nearly rewarded with a goal after a late-game steal and a quick rising shot which was repelled by Niemi’s blocker. More please.

#77 Oscar Klefbom, 7. Led both teams in ice time and shot attempts with 25:13 and 8 respectively. Good shot shares and chipped in on 5 Oilers scoring chances. Nearly scored on a rebound in tight to the net, where his backhand (!) drive was stymied by Niemi. Made a key defensive stop against the dangerous Max Domi. That’s a lot of up arrows, even as he had his underwhelming moments the net contribution was a big plus.

#83 Matt Benning, 7. Passed his latest test in the second pairing and eanred a further look. Was directly involved in 3 goals at the good end and 1 at the bad, and posted boxcars of 1-1-2, +2 to prove it. His first goal of the season required a fortunate bounce, but after 25 shots on the season he was maybe due for one to find a hole. Had some dicey moments but also some proactive ones, as 5 shot attempts and 3 hits might suggest. Played 18:42 including a couple of minutes on each special team.

#91 Drake Caggiula, 7. Lady Luck is smiling on him these days, as his spot on a line with Connor Freaking McDavid and Leon Freaking Draisaitl bears witness. Making the most of that opportunity, as he chipped in on a remarkable 9 scoring chances, all at even strength. His line scored 3 times, with Caggiula involved twice in the build-up without earning an official assist either time. Scored his sixth of the season, oddly enough when both of his famous linemates were on the bench, when the opportunist chopped at Chiasson’s rebound and somehow bounced the disc through a tiny whole between Niemi’s hip and blocker. That stood up as the game winner.  The only down arrow was a lost battle on the second Habs goal.

#93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 7. His line with Chiasson, Rieder and various fill-ins largely held its own even as it didn’t dominate territorially even as it won the all-important goals battle 2-0. Nuge contributed one of those goals himself on a strong rush and wrist shot that eluded Niemi. Did some fine work on the penalty kill, where he played 2:18 to lead all forwards. Had some good moments on the powerplay as well, even as that group failed to cash. Created one of those powerplays himself, drawing a foul on a fine rush. 5/12=42% on the dot.

#97 Connor McDavid, 8. All over the ice, mostly in a good way. Earned 3 primary assists and created an amazing 13 Grade A looks in all situations. How much was he around the puck? His 4 giveaways and 4 takeaways each led both teams. The prettiest of his helpers was the 2-on-1 with McDavid, which was actually a 2-on-2 until McDavid left Poor David Schlemko in a puddle along the boards after a failed attempt to squeeze out the speedster. Wrong move. The sweet sauce that followed iced that cake. When he makes a sudden shift with the puck, most often from his right to left, the opponent has no chance. He did have a mistake on the second Habs goal, but unlike last game he was able to pay off that debt three times over at the good end. Hard to believe he wasn’t named a game star in the building, even as there were other deserving players they didn’t dominate to this degree.


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Every move made by Oilers coach Todd McLellan came out a winner as the Edmonton Oilers stomped the Montreal Canadiens. Bruce McCurdy and David Staples of the Cult of Hockey dig in.

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