Showstoppers at the Rio Games five years ago, Canadian women swimmers are back in a big way serving notice they are driven to be a world powerhouse in their sport.
Three goals in the second period was the difference as Russia chased American starter Spencer Knight en route to a 5-3 victory over the United States in Group B play at the 2021 World Junior Hockey Championship in Edmonton, Alberta on Friday night.
Vasily Ponomaryov scored two goals in the win that gives Russia the first leg up in what is sure to be a tough group that also includes Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Austria.
A last ditch effort in the third period came up just short for Team USA. It was Russia’s first win against the United States at the World Juniors since 2016.
The second period actually started off better for the Americans, with a couple of good chances in the opening minutes. Russia quickly turned it around when Maxim Groshev found Zakhar Bardakov with a breakaway pass, who made no mistake beating Knight making it a 2-1 game.
Once again, the United States responded well with Cole Caufield creating a chance by himself but was not able to beat Yaroslav Askarov.
The Predators first-round pick in 2020 made 23 saves in the win.
After the American power play struggled for a second time, Russia took a 3-1 lead when Ponomaryov fired his second of the game on a one-timer from in close. It was the third goal on only nine Russian shots.
Knight’s night ended after when he turned the puck over in his own zone when he was behind the net. Ilya Safonov picked up the loose puck and fired it into the net before the American could get back into the goal.
Dustin Wolf replaced Knight after the 4-1 marker. Knight made eight saves on 12 shots. Wolf was perfect in relief, making 11 saves.
The Americans had the first chance on the power play less than four minutes into the first period when Yan Kuznetsov went off for tripping but failed to get any offensive pressure. In fact, the best scoring chance was by Russia’s Vasili Podkolzin as the penalty expired.
Russia took the lead before the Americans got a shot on goal 8:07 into the game. Ponomaryov tipped an Artemi Knyazev shot that beat Spencer Knight. It was a goal that was emblematic of the start of the game, with Russia’s relentless pressure allowing them to be first on every puck.
Team USA had a strong bounce back with Matthew Boldy and Cole Caufield getting chances, but failing to hit the net.
Cam York tied the game on a shot that snuck through the arm and body of Askarov with just under six minutes remaining in the period. Boldy, who was originally credited for the goal, and Caufield were also involved in that chance.
The Russians were the better team in most of the opening 20 minutes, but could not hold onto the lead. Team USA had a great chance to take the lead shortly after but this time Askarov made a huge save to keep it tied.
Russia would get their first power play chance late in the first period, but it was only slightly more successful than the American effort with their advantage earlier in the period.
The start of the third period would have suited the Russians fine, as the United States struggled to generate anything offensively, and Russia wasn’t pushing the issue with a three-goal lead. The Americans could not adjust to the Russian pressure.
However, the third line for Team USA used hard work to start attacking, and it worked out as John Farinacci put a Drew Helleson rebound past Askarov to make it 4-2. There was some contact on Askarov, but the goal stood.
Team USA continued to push, with the line of Caufield, Trevor Zegras, and Alex Turcotte putting pressure on the Russians, but the shift ended with Yegor Chinakhov stealing the puck off of Jackson Lacombe and having a partial breakaway.
That rush led to an offensive zone penalty for Russia, and the Americans had a third power play chance to cut the deficit. This time they did generate some offensive zone time, but could not beat Askarov.
A last ditch effort in the third period on another power play saw the Americans pull Wolf to make it a six-on-four with less than four minutes left. Trevor Zegras scored with 2:18 remaining to make it a 4-3 game.
They pulled the goaltender again with a minute remaining, but it was Russia who scored as Chinakhov put the puck into the empty net.
The United States play Austria on Saturday, while the Russians play next on Sunday against the Czech Republic.
Showstoppers at the Rio Games five years ago, Canadian women swimmers are back in a big way serving notice they are driven to be a world powerhouse in their sport.
Anchored by yet another brilliant swim from 2016 superstar Penny Oleksiak, the 4 x 100-metre relay team claimed their country’s first medal at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday night, finishing second in the final.
It was a buoyant performance on the first medal night of the meet, immediately backing up the breakout six-medal heist the Canadian women extracted out of the pool in Brazil. The silver medals the four Canadian women placed around each other’s necks during the post-race ceremony were a shiny update from the bronze they captured in Brazil.
And the legend of Oleksiak continued as she won a fifth Olympic medal, tying middle-distance runner Phil Edwards and rowing coxswain Lesley Thompson-Willie for the most summer Olympic medals among Canadian athletes.
Based on the form the foursome flashed, Saturday’s effort set the tone for more success to come in the nine-day meet. Medal opportunities could come almost nightly and the confidence created from the opening silver could be huge for the Canadians who had far less racing opportunities than most of their competitors.
First-time Olympian Kayla Sanchez swam the opening leg of Saturday’s event, held at a spectator-free Tokyo Aquatic Centre. Sanchez was followed by Maggie Mac Neil and Rebecca Smith. Those three kept the medal pursuit alive, even if the favoured Australians were sprinting away to a runaway gold.
And then it was Oleksiak – the four-time medallist from 2016 – who brought it home, sending an early indication that she’s returned to top form by doing what she does best. The 21-year-old once again showed her pure racing prowess, a trait that earned her gold in the 100-metre freestyle event at Rio.
“If you are going to want someone racing the 100 free or anchoring your relay, you probably want it to be Penny,” Sanchez said in an interview prior to the Games. “She knows how to finish those last 50 metres. She knows how to do anything in her power to touch that wall first.”
Favoured Australia took gold, as expected and set a world record in the process while U.S. with Simone Manuel anchoring took bronze.
Gunning for Canada’s first medal of the Games, the Swimming Canada braintrust juggled the lineup from the heats to the final, a strategy it has employed in the past for big event relays. Taylor Ruck, who like Oleksiak was part of the 4 x 100 bronze medal relay squad in Rio, was replaced by Mac Neil for Saturday’s final and inserted in the second spot, following leadoff swimmer Sanchez.
“I’m so proud to be part of this team,” Sanchez said. “We did what we needed to do. We’ve been saying all afternoon: ‘it’s Game 1 and Canada has so much more to go.”
It was the first Olympic medal for Sanchez, Mac Neil and Smith, who are all making their Games debut.
Despite limited racing opportunities over the past four years, the Canadians have kept their competitive drive engaged, something Oleksiak unleashed yet again on Saturday.
“Honestly, we are already one of the most dominant countries in the world in swimming and all the girls are working so hard every single day,” Oleksiak said. “I’m really excited to see these specific girls make a mark on the world again.
“Hopefully we can get a few more going.”
And in every event they have been called upon to leave the blocks.
The focus on strong relay teams is a huge part of the Canadian program under head coach John Atkinson. With an emphasis on depth, Canadian women showed their strength in that area at the 2016 Rio Olympics where they captured a pair of medals.
The emphasis for most swimmers such as freestyle ace Oleksiak, backstroker Kylie Masse and butterfly speedster Mac Neil is their individual events. But Atkinson is determined to parlay that talent into relay success.
“It’s a nine-day competition in the pool,” Atkinson said. “We have selected a team that can compete in six relays and be competitive through all nine days, in individual events as well as relays.”
TOKYO (AP) — Naomi Osaka is back playing, still winning, and also talking to the media again.
The Japanese superstar who lit the Olympic cauldron defeated 52nd-ranked Zheng Saisai of China 6-1, 6-4 on Sunday in her first match in nearly two months.
Osaka hadn’t played since she withdrew from the French Open in May to take a mental health break, revealing that she has dealt with depression. She then sat out Wimbledon.
Osaka stopped to talk with reporters afterward, having said in Paris that she experiences “huge waves of anxiety” before meeting with the media and that she would be skipping news conferences.
“More than anything else I’m just focused on playing tennis,” Osaka said. “The Olympics has been a dream of mine since I was a kid so I feel like the break that I took was very needed. I feel definitely a little bit refreshed and I’m happy again.”
She added that she was “happy” that reporters were asking her questions, then added: “I feel a little bit out of my body right now.”
“There’s nothing wrong with my body, I just felt really nervous,” Osaka said. “I haven’t played since France so there were definitely some things that I did a bit wrong but I think I can improve in the matches that I continue playing.”
The second-ranked Osaka was sharp from the start, serving an ace down the T on the opening point of the match and and racing out to a 5-0 lead.
Wearing a bright red dress and a red visor and with her hair styled in red-and-white braids to match the colors of the Japanese flag stitched onto the left side of her chest, Osaka served six aces in all and produced 25 winners to Zheng’s 10.
Osaka’s match was originally scheduled to open the tournament on Saturday but then was pushed back a day before her starring role in Friday’s opening ceremony.
“I feel very very proud,” Osaka said, revealing that Olympic organizers asked her to handle the cauldron honors back in March.
“When I lit the flame I was super honored,” she added. “I think that’s a position that you dream about and not anyone can do it so for me when they asked me if I wanted to I was very surprised but very honored and I’m just very happy to be here and very happy to play — especially in Tokyo.”
Osaka will next face 50th-ranked Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland.
For other top players in the tennis tournament at the Tokyo Games, it wasn’t so straightforward.
Top-ranked Ash Barty was upset by 48th-ranked Spanish opponent Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-4, 6-3 and two-time defending gold medalist Andy Murray withdrew from singles because of a right quad strain.
Both still remain in the doubles competition.
Barty won with Australian partner Storm Sanders on Saturday while Murray and British partner Joe Salisbury beat the second-seeded French team of Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.
Barty’s singles defeat came 15 days after she won Wimbledon for her second Grand Slam title.
She struggled with a whopping 55 unforced errors to Sorribes Tormo’s 13 and got in only 54% of her first serves compared to her opponent’s 83%.
Murray pulled out shortly ahead of his scheduled opener against ninth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada on Center Court.
“I am really disappointed at having to withdraw but the medical staff have advised me against playing in both events, so I have made the difficult decision to withdraw from the singles and focus on playing doubles with Joe,” Murray said.
It’s the latest setback for the 34-year-old Murray after only recently returning to the tour from a three-month absence because of a groin problem. He has also had serious issues with a bad hip that wound up requiring two operations.
Murray has a total of three Olympic medals. He also won a silver in mixed doubles at the 2012 London Games with Laura Robson.
Max Purcell of Australia was to play Auger-Aliassime instead.
Heat and humidity were issues again with the temperature rising to 91 degrees F (33 degrees C) and the sun baking the hard courts at Ariake Tennis Park.
Also advancing was Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, who beat Alize Cornet of France 6-1, 6-3, while third-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus eliminated Magda Linette of Poland 6-2, 6-1.
Carla Suarez Navarro, the Spaniard who plans to retire this year, beat Ons Jabeur of Tunisia 6-4, 6-1 for her first victory since recovering from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Camila Giorgi of Italy eliminated Jennifer Brady, the American who was this year’s Australian Open finalist, 6-3, 6-2.
Among the men advancing were fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany, seventh-seeded Hubert Hurkacz of Poland and 12th-seeded Karen Khachanov of ROC.
Kyle Dubas is in no mood to be doing favours.
Still smarting after a difficult first-round loss by his Toronto Maple Leafs, and limited in the ways he can reshape the roster by cap space and a lack of draft capital, the generally affable general manager took a firm stance when approached over the weekend about facilitating a sign-and-trade agreement involving Zach Hyman.
The benefits of the arrangement were clear for two of the parties at the table — it would have allowed Hyman to add an eighth year to his rich free-agent contract while giving the Edmonton Oilers a chance to lower the winger’s annual cap hit by more than $400,000 per season.
As for the Leafs?
Well, Dubas didn’t view the late-round pick Edmonton was offering as being worth the trouble. Cap space is king in this league. And there’s a cost to wriggling free of cap obligations even if it’s part of a sign-and-trade scenario rather than a more common contract dump.
“We’ve been in that situation before at the trade deadline and when you’re in that spot the other GM’s aren’t helping you out. They’re pulling the pin from the grenade and they’re throwing it to you,” Dubas said Saturday. “I know that there’s a narrative that we should just get something, but when you’re saving a team significant dollars on the salary cap that comes with a cost and we’re not going to bend on that.”
We’re starting to see a hardened public edge forming around a man who has watched his organization take a lot of bullets since squandering a 3-1 series lead against Montreal in May. The Leafs were even roundly mocked during Wednesday’s Seattle Kraken expansion draft, the brunt of jokes about the long gaps since they’ve last won a playoff series and Stanley Cup.
Dubas is meeting the criticism head-on.
He’s started speaking openly about attaching his own job security to the core of players he refuses to break up and even acknowledged that those players are guilty of being too passive in elimination games: “We’ve been in those moments now the last five seasons and we’ve fallen short in those moments.”
It had been his hope to keep Hyman in Toronto, extending a max term eight-year offer after the season. But he couldn’t get close to the kind of money on the table in Edmonton. That prompted Dubas to grant Hyman’s agent, Todd Reynolds, permission to speak to other teams and set the table for the possibility of the NHL’s first ever sign-and-trade agreement.
Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman talk to a lot of people around the hockey world, and then they tell listeners all about what they’ve heard and what they think about it.
The Leafs understand the value of cap flexibility as well as anyone — having surrendered the 13th overall pick in the 2020 draft to Carolina to rid themselves of the final year of Patrick Marleau’s $6.25-million annual contract and sent fourth-round picks to both San Jose and Columbus for double salary retention on Nick Foligno at the trade deadline.
They also added a 2020 fifth-round selection as a go-between in the Robin Lehner deadline day trade with Chicago and Vegas, absorbing $1.1-million of the goalie’s cap commitment.
What Edmonton stood to gain in a potential Hyman sign-and-trade eclipsed each of those precedent-setting trades in total value. The pending unrestricted free agent is believed to be in line to receive $5.075-million annually on an eight-year deal or $5.5-million per on a seven-year contract from Edmonton should he get to the open market.
“In terms of compensation, I think it’s fairly simple,” said Dubas. “There’s a big benefit to me of adding the eighth year on in terms of the cap savings to the team that’s going to sign him. … So we know what the value is of that retention, of going to the eighth year, the cap savings, and so if there’s a fair deal to be made to do that we’ll do that.”
The challenges of the cap system are one of the main reasons why Dubas had only three selections to make during the NHL Draft — taking forward Matthew Knies at No. 57, forward Ty Voit at No. 153 and goaltender Vyacheslav Peksa at No. 185.
He mentioned that his lack of draft capital and cap space also kept him out of the rampant trade discussions during a wild weekend of activity across the league.
The impending Hyman departure only adds to the challenge of getting his group over the hump, but Dubas trudges forward: “It’s a loss, but we have to pick up and move on and do all that we can to put the team in the best position possible for next season.”
They will be looking for a depth defenceman or two that can play with snarl and won’t break the bank when free agency opens Wednesday. They also need a goaltender to play alongside Jack Campbell and another left-winger to fill out their lineup.
Ideally, those needs will be addressed on the open market but Dubas isn’t boxing himself in if it doesn’t happen. He remains open to trades.
“We’ve got our high picks next year and our prospect pool, plus players on our roster that teams are always circling around and asking about,” said Dubas. “We’ll get to work here on Wednesday or prior to Wednesday and see what’s available. We’ll try to use every avenue we can to improve the team.”
That could still involve a sign-and-trade for Hyman if the Oilers come around to his way of viewing the situation. But there doesn’t appear to be a compromise.
Right now Dubas isn’t bending the knee for anyone.
Virus resurgence menaces economy just as rescue programs unravel – POLITICO
Kirby Dach crashes Colton's first media session – FortSaskOnline.com
Tokyo 2020: Canada wins first medal after swimming to silver in women's 4×100 freestyle relay – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
August PlayStation Plus Games Leaked By Sony – TechRaptor
This Week in Apps: Clubhouse opens up, Twitter talks bitcoin, Snap sees record quarter – Yahoo News Canada
2021 NHL Draft Tracker: Round 1 picks, notes; Results for Rounds 2-7 – NHL
Toronto Pearson Airport begins separating arrivals based on vaccination status – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
Oak Bay sets aside $27,000 for Indigenous art at muncipal hall – Saanich News