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2020 MLS SuperDraft Grades



2020 MLS

The true value of every SuperDraft won’t be known until a year or two — at least. And while it’s a long shot to suggest that a future US men’s national team player emerged from the second round, who doesn’t love a quickfire reaction?

In the first two rounds of the draft, eight goalkeepers were picked, as teams look to stock up at that position. A word of caution — at this point in the life of the SuperDraft, a good portion of most picks are going to start out in the USL, whether in the Championship or League One. And of course, MLS Cup is unlikely to be decided by a draft pick, even if the likes of Chase Gasper and Hassani Dotson were two rookies that made a big impression right away after joining the league via the draft last year.

Below are grades for each team from the first two rounds.


Atlanta United

GRADE: B+ Faced with an immediate need, Atlanta came away with Patrick Nielsen, a tall, polished, no-nonsense defender. Whether the team can accommodate his international status is the obstacle, but there’s a good enough player here to at least be a reserve defender if he proves his mettle in preseason.

Draft summary:

  • Patrick Nielsen (Round 1, #23)


Chicago Fire FC

GRADE: A- In addition to trading out of the No. 10 pick to net some allocation money, Jonathan Jimenez (picked at No. 26) is someone that can come in, show he is healthy and get on the field sooner rather than later at left back.

Draft summary:

  • Traded No. 10 overall pick to NY Red Bulls for $100,000 in General Allocation Money
  • Jonathan Jimenez (Round 1, #26)


FC Cincinnati

GRADE: B One year after being one of the stories of the draft, FC Cincy adopted a much different approach this time after trading away the No. 3 pick back in November. Rey Ortiz would require an international spot, but he was one of the most talented attacking midfielders in college soccer during his four years in Portland.

Draft summary:

  • Rey Ortiz (Round 2, #29)


Colorado Rapids

GRADE: B It was a quickfire set of trades for the Rapids, who acquired Jeremy Kelly from Montreal after he was selected No. 9 overall. Kelly offers the team central midfield depth and the ability to also play as a right back. They turned around and recouped the $75,000 in allocation money by dealing away the No. 11 pick to Nashville.

Draft summary:

  • Traded No. 11 overall pick to Nashville for $75,000 in General Allocation Money
  • Traded $75,000 in General Allocation Money to Montreal for Jeremy Kelly (Round 1, #9)
  • Robin Afamefuna (Round 2, #37)


Columbus Crew SC

GRADE: B+ Grabbing a player that has potential like Miguel Berry could be significant to push the Crew’s backup forward crop. Even the late picks, Remi Prieur in goal and Danny Griffin have shown flashes to suggest they could push for roster spots.

Draft summary:

  • Miguel Berry (Round 1, #7)
  • Remi Prieur (Round 2, #47)
  • Danny Griffin (Round 2, #49)


GRADE: A- For a second year in a row, FC Dallas did very well given the parameters they had. Nkosi Burgess is a big center back with good potential that they can park at North Texas SC, and Cal Jennings could end up as a big hit coming off the bench in MLS in 2020. Second-round addition Manuel Ferriol is a talented player that slipped due to his international status and lack of athleticism. He would fit FCD’s style extremely well if he makes the team.

Draft summary:

  • Nkosi Burgess (Round 1, #14)
  • Cal Jennings (Round 1, #17)
  • Manuel Ferriol (Round 2, #40)


D.C. United

GRADE: C+ Taking fliers on a couple of players that will head to Loudoun United, D.C. traded into the first round and picked a 6-feet-9 goalkeeper from Temple, Simon Lefebvre. There were arguably better options on that spot at the time, even if the pick is immaterial for the MLS team. In the second round, they went local and grabbed Josh Fawole, who can start up front in the USL Championship and see what happens in his first season.

Draft summary:

  • Traded No. 17 selection in 2020 Allocation Ranking and $50,000 in potential General Allocation Money based on performance metrics for D.C.’s No. 21 SuperDraft selection for the No. 21 pick in 2020 SuperDraft and No. 21 selection in 2020 Allocation Ranking.
  • Simon Lefebvre (Round 1, #21)
  • Josh Fawole (Round 2, #42)


Houston Dynamo

GRADE: B+ Grabbing Oklahoma native Garrett McLaughlin was a smart pick for the Dynamo. He’s a good, domestic player that adds a front-line attacker with pace. Provided he can cope with what new Houston head coach Tab Ramos demands of him, he could be in line for plenty of minutes this season. Luka Prpa could be a sleeper if he ends up proving the cost, as he battled injuries in 2019 at Marquette.

Draft summary:

  • Garrett McLaughlin (Round 1, #8)
  • Luka Prpa (Round 2, #34)


Los Angeles Football Club

GRADE: B Goalkeeper Paulo Pita was one of the surprising picks of the first round, as he’s a 25-year-old goalkeeper that requires an international spot. However, it shows that the team put in a shift with its scouting, as Pita backstopped Marshall’s stellar 2019 campaign. Jack Hallahan came in the second round, and could be an intriguing upside pick if the team’s able to account for his overseas status as well.

Draft summary:

  • Paulo Pita (Round 1, #24)
  • Jack Hallahan (Round 2, #50)


GRADE: C- Perhaps the most surprising pick of the day was not only that the Galaxy selected someone, but also the player it was. Tom Smart is a left back that played sparingly at Akron, after transferring in from New Mexico. It’s a bit of an odd pick, even at that stage.

Draft summary:

  • Tom Smart (Round 2, #45)


Inter Miami CF

GRADE: B+ If it were up to this pundit, Daryl Dike made perhaps a bit more sense at No. 1, given his upside. But there’s a very solid argument to be made that Robbie Robinson is the better pure finisher and soccer player right now, and tracking the two players’ careers will be fascinating. Nabbing Dylan Nealis at No. 3 surely gives them a college player that could see minutes, provided he can defend MLS attackers.

Draft summary:

  • Robbie Robinson (Round 1, #1)
  • Dylan Nealis (Round 2, #3)


Minnesota United FC

GRADE: B+ Working with just one pick, Minnesota snapped up Noah Billingsley, a right back that looks like he could be serviceable in his rookie season for the Loons.

Draft summary:

  • Noah Billingsley (Round 1, #18)


Montreal Impact

GRADE: N/A The Impact ended up making a pick, but shipped Jeremy Kelly off to Colorado. That left them with some allocation money from the first two rounds on Thursday

Draft summary:

  • Traded Jeremy Kelly (Round 1, #9) to Colorado for $75,000 in General Allocation Money


Nashville SC

GRADE: B+ Success in their expansion season will come down to other roster moves. But it’s not bad to bring in a local talent in the second round (Tanner Dieterich) and arguably the best defensive prospect in the draft in Jack Maher. Coming off an excellent season at Wake Forest, Alistair Johnston might be able to see minutes this season. Some considered Elliot Panicco the top goalkeeping prospect in college soccer as well, so it wasn’t a surprise to see him come off the board first.

Draft summary:

  • Traded $75,000 in General Allocation Money to Colorado for No. 11 overall pick
  • Traded $50,000 in General Allocation Money and $50,000 in conditional General Allocation Money to New England for No. 13 overall pick
  • Jack Maher (Round 1, #2)
  • Alistair Johnston (Round 1, #11)
  • Elliot Panicco (Round 1, #13)
  • Tanner Dieterich (Round 2, #28)


New England Revolution

GRADE: A- The New England Revolution II got a number of intriguing players on the day. Henry Kessler might be the closest to being able to contribute in MLS, and then the Revolution did well to nab some allocation money from Nashville. Simon Lekressner offers versatility, and Keegan Meyer was one of the better goalkeepers on the board in the second round.

Draft summary:

  • Traded No. 13 overall pick to Nashville for $50,000 in General Allocation Money and $50,000 in conditional General Allocation Money
  • Henry Kessler (Round 1, #6)
  • Simon Lekressner (Round 2, #30)
  • Keegan Meyer (Round 2, #43)


New York City FC

GRADE: B- Already featuring a glut of central midfielders, it will be interesting to see if Jesus Perez, an attacking center mid, can make the roster. He’s also been on the lookout for a gig overseas as well. But if that doesn’t work out, he’s an asset for NYCFC who will hold his rights or give him a long look.

Draft summary:

  • Jesus Perez (Round 1, #22)
  • Felicien Dumas (Round 2, #48)


New York Red Bulls

GRADE: B- Trading up for Patrick Seagrist didn’t come with a high cost and offers the Red Bulls a backup left back, if he proves he can make an impact at the time. But he could’ve been on the board at No. 15. While all picks are likely to start at Red Bulls II, Cherif Dieye is the name of note, as he showed dynamic traits in a good conference.

Draft summary:

  • Traded $100,000 in General Allocation Money to Chicago for No. 10 overall pick
  • Patrick Seagrist (Round 1, #10)
  • Cherif Dieye (Round 1, #15)
  • Wallis Lapsley (Round 2, #36)
  • Deri Corfe (Round 2, #41)


Orlando City SC

GRADE: A With the first four teams passing on Dike, Orlando went for value at No. 5. Bringing in Dike gives Oscar Pareja another forward to work into the rotation, and he can begin his career at Orlando City B.

Draft summary:

  • Daryl Dike (Round 1, #5)
  • Joey DeZart (Round 2, #31)
  • Jonathan Dean (Round 2, #39)
  • Austin Aviza (Round 2, #44)


Philadelphia Union

GRADE: N/A It’s tempting to give Philadelphia and other teams that skipped out on the first two rounds an “A” if things in the youth setup are being put to use. As they did last year, the Union opted to trade out of the first round, sending their pick to D.C. for 50k in allocation money if Simon Lefebvre hits certain performance metrics.

Draft summary:

  • Traded the No. 21 pick in 2020 SuperDraft and No. 21 selection in 2020 Allocation Ranking for the No. 17 selection in 2020 Allocation Ranking and $50,000 in potential General Allocation Money based on performance metrics for D.C.’s No. 21 SuperDraft selection.


Portland Timbers

GRADE: B+ Grabbing arguably the best defensive midfielder in the draft pool, Aaron Molloy’s international status is obviously the one thing holding him back. Perhaps he can buck the trend of later first-round picks failing to stick with the Timbers.

Draft summary:

  • Aaron Molloy (Round 1, #16)


Real Salt Lake

GRADE: A- Both of Real Salt Lake’s picks may not work out in MLS, but Dayonn Harris is an exciting flank player that could end up sneaking onto the MLS roster. Second-round pick Michael Wetungu has the build and physicality to make the leap to the pro level, and if he can refine his game with the Monarchs, a move up the ladder one day wouldn’t be a huge shock.

Draft summary:

  • Dayonn Harris (Round 1, #20)
  • Michael Wetungu (Round 2, #46)


San Jose Earthquakes

GRADE: B- Passing on Cal Jennings seems like a move that might’ve made sense at No. 12, although bringing in Tanner Beason, assuming he is a player that fits a Matias Almeyda system, fits a bigger need. Jon Bell and Jack Skahan, if they work out, would add more depth on the edges as well.

Draft summary:

  • Tanner Beason (Round 1, #12)
  • Jack Skahan (Round 2, #27)
  • Jon Bell (Round 2, #38)


Seattle Sounders

GRADE: B- Without a first-round pick, Seattle’s approach here was always going to be taking guys they thought could work out. Both left back Danny Reynolds and midfielder Timo Mehlich have some quality, but they both require an international spot, which could determine their chances of making the roster.

Draft summary:

  • Danny Reynolds (Round 2, #35)
  • Timo Mehlich (Round 2, #52)


Sporting KC

GRADE: N/A In a 2018 transaction, Sporting Kansas City dealt away a 2020 first-round pick for the rights to Krisztian Nemeth. He scored nine goals in 33 games and was out of contract at the end of the season. A No. 6 overall pick wouldn’t necessarily be a bad piece for Sporting to work with, but at this point it’s water under the bridge.


Toronto FC

GRADE: C+ Another team that leans heavily on the academy to fill out off-budget spots, Toronto’s draft picks are probably ear-marked for Toronto FC II. Achara and Malick Mbaye bring pedigree and intrigue if they can work out. Simon Waever was one of the best right backs in college soccer, but all three come with an international tag, while Nyal Higgins will get his chance in USL League One at the back.

Draft summary:

  • Nyal Higgins (Round 1, #19)
  • Achara (Round 1, #25)
  • Malick Mbaye (Round 2, #33)
  • Simon Waever (Round 2, #51)


Vancouver Whitecaps FC

GRADE: B Sure, perhaps going with Kessler or Dike might’ve made more sense for the Whitecaps. But adding a young, creative, attacking midfielder (who is also Canadian)? Can’t be too mad about that.

Draft summary:

  • Ryan Raposo (Round 1, #4)
  • Daniel Gagliardi (Round 2, #32)

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Keenum, Johnson lead Browns past Broncos – TSN



CLEVELAND (AP) — Baker Mayfield had the best seat in the house to watch the Browns’ backups deliver.

Case Keenum stepped in for an injured Mayfield and made the most of his first start in two years, third-string back D’Ernest Johnson rushed for 146 yards and Cleveland overcame a short week and a long list of injuries to beat the Denver Broncos 17-14 on Thursday night.

Keenum didn’t put up impressive stats (21 of 33 for 199 yards), but threw a touchdown pass and did enough — as did Cleveland’s maligned defense — to get the Browns (4-3) a much-needed victory.

They survived without Mayfield, who sat out with a shoulder injury and could miss more time.

“Unfortunately, some people are going to get hurt,” Keenum said after his first win since 2019. “At the same time, you love other young guys getting chances.”

Johnson, playing because stars Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt were both out with calf injuries, had the best game of his young career. He scored on a 4-yard run in the first half and picked up 52 yards on seven carries as the Browns chewed up the final 5:17 after the Broncos pulled within three.

Once he reached the end zone, Johnson wasn’t sure how to react.

“It’s unexplainable,” he said. “I wanted to celebrate but I didn’t know what to do. It’s been a long journey.”

The Broncos couldn’t stop Johnson and now they can’t stop losing, either.

“The last drive was very frustrating,” Denver coach Vic Fangio said. “We loaded up against the run and we couldn’t stop them.”

Afterward, Johnson, who worked on a fishing boat when he wasn’t drafted, got doused with water by his teammates in a raucous locker room celebration.

Johnson couldn’t believe that NBA superstar LeBron James tweeted about him in the game’s final minutes.

“LeBron?” he said. “Man, that’s my favorite basketball player. LeBron? That’s amazing. That means a lot. Wow!”

Denver quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw a pair of TD passes and gutted it out while playing with foot and quadriceps injuries. He finished 23 of 33 for 187 yards with one interception.

The Broncos (3-4) dropped their fourth straight game, and maybe as importantly, lost star linebacker Von Miller to a sprained ankle. The eight-time Pro Bowler missed all of 2020 with a dislodged ankle tendon.

Miller got hurt late in the first half when he banged legs with teammate Dre’Mont Jones while rushing Keenum.

Mayfield, who has been playing with a torn labrum, also has a broken bone in his non-throwing shoulder but believes he can continue to play with it, a person familiar with the quarterback’s health told the Associated Press.

Mayfield hopes the injury improves enough in coming days days that he can play against Pittsburgh on Oct. 31, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

The fourth-year QB revealed the break in his humerus bone — which runs from his shoulder to elbow — to Fox during the network’s pregame show.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski did not get into any specifics about Mayfield’s injury, but said it was “too far away” to know if the QB will be back next week.

Until he’s ready, Keenum showed he can keep the Browns going forward.

So did Johnson, an unlikely hero.

“A guy like him, who the locker room loves and everybody loves — a great young family and just a good overall person,” Keenum said. “To come in here and having an incredible night like that and make some big time plays for us on a national stage, very pumped for him. It was exciting.”

After Bridgewater’s 8-yard TD pass to Melvin Gordon brought the Broncos within 10-7 in the third quarter, Keenum directed a 13-play, 75-yard drive he capped with a 1-yard scoring pass to fullback Johnny Stanton IV.

Keenum made the biggest play on the drive, converting a fourth-and-3 play with a 5-yard scramble to Denver’s 1.

The 33-year-old, who last started for Washington two years ago, was excited about the opportunity to play, saying Wednesday he was “built for this” and Keenum showed he’s more than capable of filling in.


Browns receiver Jarvis Landry had five catches for 37 yards in his first action since missing four games with a sprained knee. He was activated a few hours before the opening kick.


Odell Beckham Jr. had a forgettable night.

The Cleveland star receiver, who didn’t practice this week due to a shoulder injury, had a drop, got called for an illegal formation and was briefly out of the game after banging his shoulder — all in the first half.

Beckham bounced back with two receptions in the third quarter.


Broncos: ILB Micha Kiser (groin) left in the first quarter. Denver was already thin at linebacker after placing Alexander Johnson and Andre Mintze on injured reserve earlier this week.

Browns: WR Donovan People-Jones suffered a groin injury during pregame warmups and didn’t play. … CB Denzel Ward injured his left hamstring in the fourth quarter. … Cleveland was also missing starting RT Jack Conklin, who missed his second straight game with a knee injury.


Broncos: Host Washington on Oct. 31.

Browns: A much-welcomed extra few days off to heal before facing rival Pittsburgh on Halloween.


More AP NFL coverage: and

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Taylor hits three home runs as Dodgers beat Braves to extend NLCS –



LOS ANGELES — Chris Taylor hit three homers and drove in six runs as the Los Angeles Dodgers broke loose at the plate to beat Atlanta 11-2 on Thursday, cutting the Braves’ lead to 3-2 in the best-of-seven NL Championship Series.

AJ Pollock had two home runs and four RBIs for the defending champion Dodgers, who have won seven straight postseason elimination games dating to last season. They also trailed 0-2 and 1-3 against Atlanta in the NLCS last year before rallying to win three straight at a neutral site in Texas.

“We needed to make a statement,” Taylor said. “They put it on us yesterday. We had to respond.”

Game 6 is Saturday back in Atlanta, where the Braves get two more chances to clinch their first trip to the World Series since 1999.

After mustering just four hits during a 9-2 loss in Game 4 that pushed them to the brink of elimination, the desperate Dodgers rapped out eight hits by the third inning off Max Fried. They finished with 17, a club record for a postseason game, and also equaled a postseason franchise mark with five home runs.

The Dodgers got to Fried with four consecutive hits in the second. Pollock hit a tying homer and Taylor drove the first pitch he saw to left field, putting Los Angeles in front for good, 3-2.

Starting in place of injured Justin Turner at third base, Taylor became the second Dodgers player with a three-homer game in the postseason. Kike Hernandez also did it in Game 5 of the 2017 NLCS against the Chicago Cubs.

“First time I’ve ever done it,” Taylor said. “It’s kind of surreal.”

Taylor had an RBI single in the third to make it 4-2. He went deep in the fifth, sending an 0-2 pitch from Chris Martin to center field and extending the lead to 6-2.

Taylor homered again in the seventh, taking Dylan Lee out to left-center before taking a curtain call in the dugout.

“I never look cool doing anything,” Taylor said.

The versatile veteran had an opportunity to match the major league mark of four home runs in a game, but struck out swinging to end the eighth.

“I was trying not to think about it,” Taylor said. “Usually I’m just trying to hit line drives.”

The mild-mannered Taylor also hit a game-winning homer in the bottom of the ninth inning against St. Louis in the NL wild-card game.

Albert Pujols wasn’t just hugging, he was hitting, too.

The 41-year-old slugger got on base three times, including a walk, and scored twice on Taylor’s homers. He got two singles for his third and fourth hits of the postseason in his second start. He had two hits in the NL Division Series against San Francisco.

Pujols has taken to greeting his much younger teammates with bear hugs in the dugout after home runs, and they kept him busy.

Los Angeles got a clutch performance from its bullpen after opener Joe Kelly allowed a two-run homer to Freddie Freeman in the first and soon exited after 28 pitches with tightness in his right biceps that will sideline him for the rest of the postseason.

Evan Phillips, Alex Vesia, Brusdar Graterol, Blake Treinen, Corey Knebel and Kenley Jansen combined to allow just three hits the rest of the way.

Phillips struck out three in 1 1/3 innings and was credited with the win.

Atlanta’s Eddie Rosario, who homered twice in his second four-hit game of the NLCS in Game 4, went 2 for 4 with a strikeout.

Pitching in his hometown, Fried gave up five runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. The left-hander struck out three and walked two.

“I wasn’t executing on the corners like I normally do and when you leave the balls over the middle, normally damage happens,” Fried said.

In the feast-or-famine nature of the Dodgers’ offense, Cody Bellinger went 3 for 4 with a strikeout and NL batting champion Trea Turner was 3 for 4 with an RBI single in a four-run eighth capped by Pollock’s three-run homer. But Mookie Betts and Corey Seager were a combined 2 for 10.

“We’re up 3-2 and we’re going home,” Freeman said. “That’s a great position to be in. We’re going to be just fine.”


Taylor set a Dodgers postseason record with 13 total bases, most by any major leaguer in an elimination game. He became the 11th player to hit three home runs in a postseason game, a list that also includes Pujols and Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson and George Brett. Babe Ruth accomplished the feat twice. Taylor became the first to do it for a team facing elimination.


Braves: OF Jorge Soler was activated after being out following his positive COVID-19 test. He struck out swinging as a pinch-hitter in the eighth.

Dodgers: Justin Turner was replaced on the NLCS roster by INF Andy Burns after straining his left hamstring while running to first in the seventh inning Wednesday. To make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Edwin Uceta was designated for assignment.


RHP Ian Anderson goes for the Braves in Game 6. RHP Max Scherzer starts for the Dodgers.

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In the Habs' Room: It's 'really frustrating,' Nick Suzuki says – Montreal Gazette



Biggest smile in Bell Centre was on Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s face after he scored for Hurricanes in 4-1 win to drop Canadiens’ record to 0-5.

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So, that’s what a $6.1-million smile looks like.


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The biggest smile in the Bell Centre Thursday night was on Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s face after he scored the third goal for the Hurricanes in a 4-1 win over the Canadiens.

It was Kotkaniemi’s first point in three games this season after agreeing to a $6.1-million offer sheet from the Hurricanes that the Canadiens decided not to match and it helped Carolina improve its record to 3-0-0, while the Canadiens fell to 0-5-0.

There were no smiles on the Canadiens’ faces after the game. They have now been outscored 19-4 this season are are 1-for-19 on the power. The Canadiens went 1-for-6 against the Hurricanes with Tyler Toffoli scoring their first power-play goal of the season to cut the Hurricanes’ lead to 2-1 at 17:57 of the second period.


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Kotkaniemi deflected in a shot to make it 3-1 at 9:23 of the third period and Sebastian Aho scored his second of the night into an empty net to seal the Carolina victory with 39 seconds left. The same Sebastian Aho Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin tried to get out of Carolina with a five-year, US$42.295-million offer sheet two years ago that the Hurricanes matched. Aho also had an assist.

“It’s tough right now,” the Canadiens’ Nick Suzuki said after the game. “The confidence for our group just seems to be low. There’s plays that we make all the time and we’re just not executing them. It’s definitely a tough patch. We had some of these my first (year) and even last year, these stretches. Good teams find a way to get out of it. We need to really bounce back.”


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Suzuki is still looking for his first goal this season, as is every other player on the Canadiens with the exception of Jonathan Drouin (who has two), Chris Wideman and Toffoli.

“This is the NHL … it’s not easy to score goals,” said Toffoli, who led the Canadiens with 28 goals in 52 games last season. “We’re trying. We’re slowly getting there. Not necessarily time’s running out, but we got to come together and capitalize on our opportunities.”

The Canadiens appeared to take a 1-0 lead at 5:33 of the first period when Brendan Gallagher deflected in a point shot on the power play, but the goal didn’t count after a video review for goalie interference.

“It’s such a fine line,” Toffoli said about goalie interference. “I’m not here to complain. But one game it’s a goal and the next game it’s not. It’s definitely frustrating. For Gally, too, that’s how he scores his goals.


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“It’s not an easy job,” Toffoli added about the video judges. “Whatever their decision was is what we had to go with and you can’t use that as an excuse. We got to find a way. It’s still early in the game and there’s no excuse for it.”

The Canadiens were outshot 33-28, but they had plenty of chances to score.

“We’re working at it as much as we can,” Josh Anderson said. “There was multiple chances there in the blue paint. We just couldn’t finish the puck. We got a goal called back. But we just got to keep grinding away. We got 20 guys in that locker room each and every night. You got to keep working at it and fight through together and once you do go on a roll from there.”

Suzuki admitted the frustration level is growing in the Canadiens’ locker room as the losses pile up without any wins.


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“When everyone gets frustrated you start to get on different pages and that’s never a good thing for a hockey team,” he said. “It’s definitely really frustrating right now. Somehow we have to find a way to get that first one in. But we started the game well, some pucks just didn’t go in the net or they were right in the crease.

“It’s a team game and when a team has success all the players have success and you start having fun,” Suzuki added. “It hasn’t been fun losing all these games. We just need to find our first one and I think we can get the ball rolling and get a pile of confidence back and really help the team out.”

Kotkaniemi looks like he’s having a lot of fun with the Hurricanes. He was at left wing on the first line with fellow Finns Aho and Teuvo Teravainen, logging 12:58 of ice time with three shots and three hits to go along with his goal.


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“I like his potential, for sure,” Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme said after Thursday’s morning skate when asked what he liked about Kotkaniemi during his time in Montreal. “I think at times he really showed that. Being consistent is hard for a young player and going through those ups and downs. But he’s a good kid. He’s liked by his teammates.

“I’ve said it before, I wish I could have kept working with him but I understand his situation where they put that pile of money on the table for him. He said yes. Who would have said no?”


  1. Hurricanes' Jesperi Kotkaniemi celebrates his third-period goal with teammate Sebastian Aho Thursday night at the Bell Centre. Kotkaniemi signed a $6.1-million contract with Carolina during the off-season.

    Jesperi Kotkaniemi helps pile on Canadiens’ woes with triumphant return

  2. Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme checks the clock while standing behind Jonathan Drouin, from left, Christian Dvorak, Josh Anderson and Cole Caufield Tuesday night 5-0 loss to the Sharks at the Bell Centre.

    Stu Cowan: It’s too early for Canadiens and fans to start panicking



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