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Manchester United match-winner Luke Shaw back on track

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Peter Smith

Comment and Analysis @p_smith86

Left-back scored first goal of his career in win over Leicester

Last Updated: 10/08/18 11:56pm

Luke Shaw scored Manchester United's second in their 2-1 win over Leicester

Luke Shaw scored Manchester United’s second in their 2-1 win over Leicester

Luke Shaw, Manchester United’s match-winner against Leicester, is showing signs he is finally ready to fulfill his potential at Old Trafford, writes Peter Smith…

“I’m up and running now,” joked Luke Shaw as he analysed his first career goal in 141 appearances as a professional footballer.

While his decisive goal in Manchester United’s opening-day 2-1 victory over Leicester on Friday night might not be the precursor to a scoring streak, Shaw’s performance suggests he is finally back on track.

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Shaw says that his first goal is the highlight of his career so far

Shaw says that his first goal is the highlight of his career so far

It’s been a tough three years for the left-back since suffering that awful double leg fracture against PSV in the Champions League.

The injury kept him out of action for 11 months and subsequent problems with fitness, form and favourability under boss Jose Mourinho have seen him routinely linked with leaving Old Trafford ever since.

But despite that speculation, Shaw remains a United player and, it seems, more determined than ever to fulfil his potential of becoming a world-class defender.

Shaw hooks in his first-ever goal as a pro Shaw hooks in his first-ever goal as a pro

Shaw hooks in his first-ever goal as a pro

“I’ve worked really hard over the pre-season,” said Shaw, who admitted to being motivated by his absence from England’s World Cup run to the semi-finals in Russia.

“I had a lot of time off and a lot of time to think and do what I needed to do. I’m working really hard and I want to be up there with the best left-backs in the world.

“I want to be back in the England squad and involved in competitions like the World Cup. Mentally, I think that’s what pushed me on even more, because it was pleasing to see how well they’d done but disappointing for myself to be sat at home watching.

“I want to be in the World Cups and Euros and fighting for a place here in the Champions League and Premier League games.”

I had a lot of time off and a lot of time to think and do what I needed to do. I’m working really hard and I want to be up there with the best left-backs in the world.

Luke Shaw

At just 23 years old, there is still plenty of time ahead for Shaw to achieve his ambitions. But it felt that the start to this campaign would be a key moment in his career.

He had to win back Mourinho’s trust – and against Leicester, he certainly impressed his boss.

While Leicester concentrated their attacks down the other side of the pitch, United used Shaw’s flank when they were in possession, with 51 per cent of their play in the left third of the field.

Shaw, at the centre of the action, recorded more touches than any player on the pitch and used them effectively, combining an 85 per cent passing accuracy with a willingness to run at the Leicester defence – a tactic which resulted in his goal.

It is testament to the physical work Shaw has done in pre-season that he was so far up the pitch to receive Juan Mata’s pass and then race around Ricardo to hook his finish past Kasper Schmeichel in the 83rd minute. The fact he was third among his team-mates for distance covered and total sprints underlined his good condition.

“I’m very pleased,” said Mourinho, when asked to assess Shaw’s performance. “In 90 minutes, he made one mistake – and it was probably a mistake where the linesman could help him and give a free-kick for us and resolve the problem.

“He was very good defensively, he was good with the ball and physically he coped well.”

That’s some contrast to the public criticism Mourinho dished out to the England international in March after an FA Cup game with Brighton. But it seems Shaw now has a clear idea of what his manager demands – and the motivation and fitness to deliver.

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Jose Mourinho praised Shaw in his post-match interview

Jose Mourinho praised Shaw in his post-match interview

“He likes a player with desire, work rate and aggressiveness,” Shaw said of Mourinho. “He does like me to attack and I think last season that’s why he was a bit disappointed with me because he knew I could do that and I wasn’t doing that when I was playing. Of course, defending is also very important for him and I’m learning more of that, I look at a lot of videos.”

After making just his 38th start for United from a possible 153 matches, it feels as though Shaw is finally settling into the role he, his manager and the club want him to play. The challenge will be to add consistency now.

But, as he says, he’s up and running.

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Bell: Nenshi whines sour grapes over Olympic loss

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Poor, poor Nenshi.

But we knew it all along.

Only a matter of time. Just the way the mayor rolls.

Yes, on Thursday, we get the next act.

Nenshi whines.

That’s what happens when a city kisses its mayor’s butt, treats him as a rockstar who can do no wrong but then his appeal wears thin and they turn against him and his pet project.

And Nenshi loses the Olympic vote.

Now we hear the complaining. Now we see the finger pointing. It’s someone else’s fault. None of this is on Nenshi.

Nenshi says both the provincial and federal governments “dithered.”

They are accountable for the Olympic loss.

He goes after the province.

“If you’re the province and you’re making a $700-million commitment for something, own it,” says Nenshi, admitting he’s not happy.

“Talk about why it’s a good thing instead of writing a press release in the middle of the night on a Friday and then disappearing.”

Your Worship, truth to power, they had to give you the money but they didn’t have to like it.

After all, if they hadn’t coughed up the cash, imagine the headline. Alberta Government Kills Calgary Olympic Dream.

They weren’t going there. They weren’t playing that game.

What’s this? Premier Notley is in Calgary on Thursday.

In this city and she doesn’t visit with Nenshi! What is the world coming to? Doesn’t she know who he is?

In fact, the mayor says no one from the province has talked to him since the Yes side lost. Oh dear.

Notley says it wasn’t appropriate for the Alberta government to go Yes or go No on the Olympic bid. They wanted to hear from Calgarians.

That’s why they demanded a plebiscite city council didn’t want to give Calgarians.

Ricardo Miranda, Notley’s culture minister, says Nenshi is looking for someone to blame.

No kidding.

Then Nenshi says the federal government’s sport minister fumbled the Olympics and “probably should be held accountable.”

Nenshi says the federal government could have announced their Olympic funding earlier.

The day before, Nenshi said the Yes side had terrific momentum and wondered what would have happened if the feds had come in earlier and Yes had more time.

Oh well.

Nenshi hasn’t heard from the federal government either. Sad.

The mayor doesn’t realize a lot of people voted No because Calgary city hall screwed up.

Remember the time when I held up a document on Olympic finances.

Remember the best parts were all blacked out and treated as top secret, including one whole page about revenue projections and expense projections and construction budget projections and financial guarantees.

That was a City of Calgary document.

City hall talked a lot about the Olympics but they didn’t say much that made sense.

Methinks even the Olympic bid people would have loved them to shut up.

But city hall didn’t.

They spent time telling us what they couldn’t tell us.

But, oh no, a No vote to the Olympics couldn’t be a failure of Nenshi’s leadership.

This is how city hall works.

When they screw up, they try to hide it or fudge it or pretend it isn’t there.

When that doesn’t work, it’s on to Plan B. Blame somebody else.

Taking some responsibility? Forget about it.

Putting the mirror up to someone else is so much easier than looking in the mirror yourself.

And, while we’re letting cats out of the bag, more than a few Calgarians voted No to the Olympics because they don’t like Nenshi.

Remember last year when Nenshi was re-elected with a very slim majority.

He’s a mere mortal now.

What could be worse for Nenshi on this day? The Olympic vote stats came out.

Let’s go ward by ward. Did they go Yes or No?

Ward 1. No. Ward 2. No. Ward 3. No. Ward 4. No. Ward 5. No. Ward 6. No. Ward 7. No.

Isn’t this fun?

Ward 8. Yes. The ward includes Mount Royal.

Ward 9. Really No. The ward includes Forest Lawn, Dover and Ogden. Way to go!

Ward 10. Really No. The ward includes Marlborough Park, Temple and Rundle. More great neighbourhoods!

Ward 11. No. A shout out to Braeside, Cedarbrae and Acadia, among others.

Ward 12. No. Riverbend, Cranston. Among the smart ones.

Ward 13. A big No. Nice to see Canyon Meadows on board!

Ward 14. No.

My oh my. Thirteen wards go No and one ward goes Yes.

Somebody is out of touch. Who could it be?

Does his name start with a N?

rbell@postmedia.com

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Ontario excludes OHL players from provincial employment standards

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PETERBOROUGH, Ont. — The Government of Ontario is excluding Ontario Hockey League players from provincial employment standards legislation in order to keep a “level playing field” with other major junior hockey leagues across the country, the province said in a release Thursday.

The move maintains the status of the league’s 425 players as amateur athletes, and prevents them from becoming employees regulated by the Employment Standards Act.

“Hockey is central to so many childhoods, so many great family moments, part of all our communities,” Premier Doug Ford said in a statement. “Our government is proud to take action and cut red tape to provide clarity and help make sure the OHL is able to continue training players and showcase this great sport.”

The provincial government called the application of the legislation to OHL players “unnecessary” and said it is “protecting the long-term sustainability of local junior hockey teams.”

Ontario said players will still be protected by legislation, such as the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

“Amateur hockey is part of Canadian life, and we’re ensuring it stays that way,” said Ford.

The Canadian Hockey League — the parent organization of the OHL, along with the Western Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League — is currently embroiled in an $180-million class-action lawsuit, filed in 2014 by Toronto-based Charney Lawyers. The suit on behalf of all current and many former players seeks outstanding wages, overtime pay, holiday pay and vacation pay.

Sam Berg, a former Niagara IceDogs forward, and Daniel Pachis, a former member of the Oshawa Generals, were recognized as the representative plaintiffs against the OHL when the lawsuit was certified in March 2017. The OHL appealed the certification and is expected to be heard in court on Jan. 29.

The league lauded the Government of Ontario’s decision Thursday.

“I want to thank the government for its leadership in ensuring that our 17 Ontario teams can continue to be leaders in the community and contribute to the economic development of the communities in which we play,” said OHL commissioner David Branch, who also serves as CHL president.

“This also allows our teams to continue to focus on our most important role, and that is providing our 425 players with the best on and off-ice experience, the hallmark of which is our scholarship program.”

Branch sent a letter to the province on Nov. 5, pushing for the government to keep players’ amateur status.

Joshua Mandryk, a lawyer at Goldblatt Partners, which is also pursuing the suit against the CHL, told The Canadian Press earlier this week it wasn’t given an opportunity to present its side before the Ontario government publicly threw its support behind the league.

Junior players are currently eligible for post-secondary school scholarships, with each season spent in the league being worth one year of tuition, books and compulsory fees. Players also get money for out-of-pocket expenses, equipment, billeting and travel costs while on a CHL roster.

The news comes after nearly all other jurisdictions in which CHL teams play have reviewed this issue and already passed exemptions/clarifications on employee standards, including Quebec, New Brunswick, B.C, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island, as well as the states of Washington and Michigan.

With files from Kyle Cicerella in Toronto

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Insider Trading: Is a bridge deal in the cards for Nylander?

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TSN Hockey Insiders Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun join host Gino Reda to discuss the William Nylander contract situation, Auston Matthews‘ return from injury and the future of head coach Todd McLellan with the Edmonton Oilers. 


When is Auston Matthews coming back?

Leafs Ice Chips: Matthews continues to progress, joins Leafs’ morning skate

Auston Matthews has been sidelined for over two weeks with a shoulder injury, but the Leafs’ star centre has been progressing in his recovery and ramped up his practice level Thursday, joining the team at morning skate. Head coach Mike Babcock expects Matthews to be fully prepared once he makes his return to the lineup, while Garret Sparks is impressed with Matthews’ rehab as he inches closer to NHL action. Mark Masters has more.

Gino Reda: When Matthews went down with a shoulder injury the thought was he’d be gone at least four weeks. We’re not even at three weeks yet, but on Thursday he was wearing a regular jersey. What’s the timeline here? 

Pierre LeBrun: Well, it’s not quite a firm timeline as of yet. He needs to take contact first. And that means their next full practice is on Sunday. The Leafs will have a better idea at that point after that practice, but certainly if all goes well and there is no regression and setbacks, it is a possibly that he returns on Saturday, Nov. 24, which basically would be at the four-week juncture that he has been out. But, again, it really depends on how he feels once he takes contact in practice. 


Is McLellan on the hot seat?

Reda: To the Edmonton Oilers. Just one win in their last five games, certainly not where management would like them to be right now. The question is, what’s the job security like for Todd McLellan right now because there is some speculation?

Darren Dreger: There has been some speculation, but he’s safe for now and that was an enormous win over the Montreal Canadiens, 6-2 on Tuesday, so perhaps in some way that will alleviate some of the pressure. Now I know the big brass of the Edmonton Oilers met on Wednesday and that includes the likes of Bob Nicholson, Peter Chiarelli, Wayne Gretzky was there, Kevin Lowe part of it. Not unusual, but the message is let’s stay the course so now they’ve got the Calgary Flames coming up on Saturday. The pressure may have cooled a little bit in Edmonton, but it’s kind of game-by-game at this stage.


Weekly Nylander Update

Reda: Meanwhile in Toronto, the clock is ticking on the William Nylander situation. The Dec.1 deadline now just outside two weeks away. Originally, we’ve been talking an awful lot about two options for the Toronto Maple Leafs – sign him or trade him. Now possibly a third option?

Hurricanes GM Don Waddell comments about possible Nylander trade

Leafs Lunch host Andi Petrillo and co-hosts Dave Feschuk & Pierre Lebrun discuss Don Waddell’s comments that the Hurricanes would be interested in possibly trading for William Nylander.

LeBrun: And that’s just what we need is more time to talk about William Nylander. But the Leafs, I believe internally have discussed this other option, which is we can wait until the trade deadline to say listen if we don’t get the trade offer that we want on Dec. 1, maybe there’s a better offer before the trade deadline. Those would come from non-playoff teams obviously because Nylander can’t play in the NHL this year if he isn’t signed by Dec. 1. But it could be that a non-playoff team that doesn’t require his services until next season anyway might pony up the kind of assets that could help the Leafs in a playoff run this year. Not the likeliest scenario, but nevertheless an option that is on the table for the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

Bob McKenzie: I got to believe that Plan A is still trying to get William Nylander signed a vice versa for the player to play in the NHL for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Lots of speculation into how that might happen. Talked to one agent, not involved in the process at all, who predicted that this would likely end up being settled on a three-year bridge deal – four million in the first year, five million in the second year, seven million in the third year. That would be a $5.33 million AVV. Richer than what the Leafs want to get, less than what William Nylander wants, but the third year would be key getting him up to the seven-million-dollar mark into that stratosphere for qualifying offers and such after that.


Trade speculation in Colorado?

Embedded ImageDreger: Well, speaking of trade speculation, I mean fluctuating ice time for 23-year-old defenceman Nikita Zadorov of the Colorado Avalanche has some NHL clubs wondering if he might be available. Now he played seven minutes and 22 seconds versus the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night. He, too, is a restricted free agent at the end of the year. The belief is that the Avs would like to add a forward. They like this kid – six foot five – but based on his ice time, he’s in the coach’s doghouse so he could be a part of something bigger down the road. 


New rules in in the IIHF

Reda: On Thursday, the NHL announced simply a fine to Josh Morrissey for a hit that looks awfully similar to the one Mike Matheson had to pay with a two-game suspension. On the heels of that, outside the NHL, the IIHF has already addressed hitting the player after he releases the puck.

McKenzie: It’s kind of interesting. We know the IIHF’s standards on hits to the head are much more extreme than it is in the NHL. This is a new rule in the IIHF this season about late hits. And a late hit constitutes a body check to a skater who is in a vulnerable position because he no longer has control or possession of the puck. It could be minor penalty, could be major penalty. If there is what they call reckless endangerment, which some people might argue is what happened to Pettersson and/or TJ Oshie that it could be suspensions. It’s interesting because it continues to highlight the difference between the IIHF, who take these extreme views of hits to the head and late hits, versus the National Hockey League. Where it also comes into play, Tim Hunter, who’s heading up Canada’s national junior team, knows if they call this rule tightly at the world junior championship, then the players on Team Canada and Team USA, the North Americans, are going to have to alter their behaviour in terms of the old finish-the-check mentality. It’s going to be interesting to keep an eye on.


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