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3 takeaways from the Tokyo Olympics



The IOC started rolling out its ‘Playbooks’ for the Tokyo Olympics

The main purpose of these documents is to convince the public and everyone with a stake in the Games that they can be pulled off during a global pandemic. The “game plans,” as the IOC describes them, are being released a couple of weeks after a British newspaper reported that the Japanese government has quietly resigned itself to the likelihood that the Tokyo Olympics won’t happen. They also follow a poll in Japan that found 80 per cent of respondents think the July 23-Aug. 8 Games should be cancelled or postponed again.

Separate Playbooks will soon be released for athletes, officials, broadcasters and other media, but the rollout began today with the one for “international federations.” This mostly means the world governing bodies that oversee different sports and are responsible for putting together the competitions at the Olympics. World Athletics, for example, organizes all the track and field events you’ll see in Tokyo. But we can assume that many of the guidelines in this document will end up applying to athletes and anyone else going to the Games.

As a public service to you, I read the whole thing. It’s long on colourful graphics and common-sense health and safety measures and short on details. We still don’t know, for example, whether spectators will be allowed. But the IOC says the Playbooks will be living documents, updated as the global COVID-19 situation evolves.

Three things that stood out in the first Playbook:

There’s no mandatory quarantine period before travelling to Japan, or upon arrival. Instead, everyone is being asked to “monitor” their health daily for the two weeks prior to their trip, report the results (including body temperature) in an app, and show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their flight.

It’s unclear how often people will be tested once they arrive. The Playbook only says that “you will be tested for COVID-19 regularly during the Games depending on the nature of your role.” Also, body temperatures will be checked at the entrances to venues.

Vaccination is not required. Who should get the vaccine and when is a hot-button issue at the moment, and the IOC is cannily staying in the middle of the road. The official line is printed in the Playbook: “The IOC continues to strongly support the priority of vaccinating vulnerable groups, nurses, medical doctors and everyone who is keeping our societies safe. When vaccinations are made available to a broader public, the IOC calls for Olympic and Paralympic teams to be vaccinated.” For now, though, this is only a request. “You will not be required to have received a vaccine in order to participate in the Games,” the document reads. Then comes this disclaimer on the final page: “… you agree to attend the Olympic and Paralympic Games at your own risk.” Read more about the Playbooks and what’s next for the Tokyo Olympics here.


With less than six months to go to the Tokyo Olympics, organizers have said the Games will go on no matter what. Now, they’ve released some preliminary guidelines explaining how that will happen. 1:37


The National Women’s Hockey League “suspended” its season. Even though two of the NWHL’s six teams had already dropped out of the league’s Lake Placid hub due to coronavirus issues, the remaining four were set to play in the Isobel Cup semifinals tomorrow. But the NWHL announced today on Twitter that the league and local officials have agreed “due to new positive COVID-19 tests and the resulting safety concerns for the players, their respective staff & the community that the remainder of the 2021 NWHL Season in Lake Placid have been suspended.” It’s a big blow for the league, which had a deal with the NBC Sports Network to broadcast the semis and Friday’s final live. At our publish time, it was unclear whether an attempt would be made to complete the playoffs at some point. Read the latest here.

St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong is in charge of Canada’s next Olympic men’s hockey team. With the stipulation “if NHL players are able to participate,” Hockey Canada named Armstrong GM of the men’s team for the Beijing Games. Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland was appointed the associate GM, and the assistant GMs are Ron Francis (GM of the expansion Seattle Kraken), Don Sweeney (GM of the Boston Bruins) and Roberto Luongo (an advisor to the Florida Panthers’ GM). Luongo, who retired from playing two years ago, will be in charge of “goaltender evaluation.” The NHL skipped the previous Olympics, in 2018, but is expected to participate in 2022 after the league and the players’ association agreed to work toward it as part of their new collective bargaining agreement. A deal with the International Olympic Committee and hockey’s world governing body must still be made. Read more about Canada’s men’s hockey management team here. And read about how Canada’s curlers and hockey players hope to rebound from their disappointing 2018 Olympic results here.

Fred VanVleet scored a Raptors-record 54 points last night. That broke the old mark of 52 set by DeMar DeRozan in an overtime win over Milwaukee three years ago. VanVleet didn’t need OT, just a hot hand that saw him drain 11 of his 14 three-point attempts, 17 of his 23 shots  from the field overall and 9 of 9 free throws in a 123-108 win at Orlando. Besides the Raptors record, VanVleet set a new single-game high for anyone who wasn’t picked in the NBA draft. Previous record holder Moses Malone, who was drafted out of high school by the ABA and joined the NBA when the leagues merged, scored 53 for Houston on Feb. 2, 1982 — exactly 39 years before VanVleet’s big night. Read more about it here.

All of tomorrow’s Australian Open tuneup matches were cancelled. A worker at a hotel in Melbourne where some 600 players and support staff are quarantining tested positive for the coronavirus. So play was suspended for at least a day at the six warmup events currently taking place ahead of the Feb. 8-21 Grand Slam. Everyone is being tested before organizers decide what to do next. Read more about the potential disruption to the Aussie Open here.

A Canadian diver lost her three Olympic medals — and pretty much everything else she owns — in a condo fire. Meaghan Benfeito was home alone last Thursday evening when a barbecue propane tank exploded on the balcony of the unit directly below hers. She got out safely, but not before the third-floor unit she shared with her CFL-player boyfriend Alexandre Dupuis burned to the ground. Among the possessions lost were the three bronze medals Benfeito won in 10-metre diving events at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. The IOC will eventually replace those, and a GoFundMe page set up by one of Benfeito’s former teammates has already raised more than $31,000 for her and Dupuis. But the couple is still coming to grips with this life-changing event. Read more about the fire and how Benfeito is coping with it in this story by CBC Sports’ Doug Harrison.

Mikael Kingsbury is back. The 2018 Lou Marsh Trophy winner will make his season debut at Thursday’s World Cup moguls competition in Utah. Kingsbury missed the first two events after fracturing two vertebrae while training in November. But the reigning Olympic and world champion is now recovered and ready to add to his record 63 career moguls and dual moguls World Cup wins. Read more about Kingsbury’s comeback here and watch him compete live Thursday at 4 p.m. ET on and the CBC Sports app.

And finally…

Tyler Toffoli is killing the Canucks. It’s bad enough that he leads the NHL with nine goals after Vancouver allowed him to leave for Montreal in free agency last fall. But eight of those have come against the Canucks — including a pair in last night’s 5-3 Habs win. Toffoli is the first player in the NHL’s expansion era to score at least eight goals against a team he played for during the previous season. And he’s done it in only five games, with four Montreal-Vancouver matchups still to come this season.


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Sunday best: Tiger Woods thanks golfers for red shirt tribute –



Tiger Woods offered a heartfelt thanks to his fellow golfers for their tribute on Sunday, where many donned the 15-time major champion’s signature Sunday red and black for the final round.

Woods suffered a car accident on Tuesday and was being treated at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles with a fractured right leg and a shattered ankle, calling into question the future of the 45-year-old’s historic career.

An 82-time PGA Tour winner, Woods famously wears a red shirt and black trousers on Sundays.

“It is hard to explain how touching today was when I turned on the TV and saw all the red shirts,” Woods said in a Twitter post shortly after the conclusion of the World Golf Championships event in Florida.

WATCH | Golfers pay tribute to Tiger Woods by wearing red shirts:

Various PGA Tour players at the World Golf Championship event in Bradenton, Florida wear red and black in support of golfer Tiger Woods. 0:25

“To every golfer and every fan, you are truly helping me get through this tough time.”

With his win on Sunday, rising star Collin Morikawa joined Woods as the only two golfers to win a major championship and a World Golf Championship event before turning 25 years old.

Morikawa, 24, took time after his victory to thank Woods directly.

“Tiger means everything to me,” Morikawa said.

“He had the crash and thankfully he’s alright and hopefully he has a quick and great recovery, but I don’t think we say thank you enough.

“So, I want to say thank you to Tiger. Sometimes you lose people too early. Kobe, I lost my grandpa about a month ago, and you don’t get to say thank you enough.

“So thank you, guys.”

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Auston Matthews limited in practice, but not ruled out for Monday's game against Edmonton Oilers – TSN



The Maple Leafs practised in Edmonton on Sunday. 

For the first time since aggravating a wrist injury on Wednesday, Auston Matthews practised with his teammates. But Toronto’s No. 1 centre was limited during the workout. He didn’t skate on a regular line and didn’t take part in all the drills. He also didn’t appear to let loose with any shots. 

“He’s progressed here today compared to where he’s been the last few days so that’s very positive,” said head coach Sheldon Keefe, who chatted with Matthews on the ice at the end of the session. “He’s not ruled out for tomorrow. We’re just going to have to see how he is.”

John Tavares continued to skate between Joe Thornton and Mitch Marner on the top line. 

“I played a lot with Mitch over my time here,” Tavares said, “so obviously have a good feel for him, but my first real time playing with Jumbo. We’re trying to spread the opponent out and do a good job of moving the puck quick and trying to find open space. Obviously, you’re talking about one of the best passers of all time so a real treat to play with Jumbo. It’s amazing what he’s doing at his age (41) and great to have the opportunity.”  

Tavares picked up two assists and fired five shots on net (matching a season high) on Saturday while helping hold Connor McDavid to one shot. Per NaturalStatTrick, shot attempts were even between the Leafs and Oilers in the nine minutes the pair of captains shared the ice in five-on-five play. 

“John has not gotten enough credit for how he’s defended,” Keefe said after the game. “His efforts defensively have been a real big part of our success as a team. You ask a lot more of him taking on even tougher match-ups [with Matthews out] and I thought he was outstanding. He was above the puck all night long.”

‘Rock solid’ Tavares helps Leafs contain McDavid and win without Matthews

The Leafs beat the surging Oilers on Saturday without leading goal scorer Auston Matthews in the lineup. John Tavares filled in as the top-line centre producing two assists and helping keep Connor McDavid off the board. “John has not gotten enough credit for how he’s defended through this season,” said coach Sheldon Keefe. “He was outstanding.”

Frederik Andersen took part in a full practice for the first time since sustaining a lower body injury in Montreal on Feb. 20. Will he start on Monday? 

“Ah, it’s not looking that way, if we’re being honest,” Keefe revealed. “Today he was on the ice for the better part of an hour and took lots of shots and we’re essentially​ just waiting for him to feel comfortable and we don’t really know when that’s going to be. But today was a very positive step towards that. So, whether it’s, you know, goaltending or Auston up front, we got a lot of question marks that we probably won’t get answered until game time tomorrow.”

Jack Campbell returned from a leg injury on Saturday and pitched a 30-save shutout. However, he was slow to get up and flexed his leg after getting run into by Tyler Ennis late in the first period and Campbell was absent from practice on Sunday. 

“We gave him the day off,” Keefe said. “Coming off the injury that he has, we want to make sure we manage that properly.”

Keefe was noncommittal when asked if Campbell was the likely starter on Monday. 

“Between Campbell and Fred and their situations, we got a lot of things to sort through here that I don’t suspect we’ll get sorted out until tomorrow night,” Keefe said.

Michael Hutchinson and Joseph Woll were the other two goalies on the ice at practice. 

Leafs still waiting for Andersen to get comfortable; Campbell misses practice

Sheldon Keefe provided an update on the status of Frederik Andersen, and explained why the team feels confident playing in front of Jack Campbell while they await Andersen’s return.

The Leafs shut down the high-flying Oilers on Saturday without Matthews and Andersen and now they may have to do it again. 

“We’re being real here,” said Keefe. “I mean, we had a great game and that’s good and we like a lot about it but, you know, the puck is going to drop again tomorrow night. The scoreboard is going to be back to zeroes and you got to be able to do it again. I mean, we didn’t come here just to get one win so we better continue to refocus and get better.”

Sunday’s practice was geared toward tidying up breakouts and pressuring the puck better in certain situations.  

“We know they’re going to be coming hard if not harder, because of last night’s game,” said defenceman Travis Dermott. “We got to be prepared and take it to them like we did last game and just kind of give them no option, but to follow our game plan.”

Oilers defenceman Tyson Barrie, who spent last season in Toronto, was impressed with the Leafs’ performance. 

“That was what we were trying to do last year,” Barrie said. “That looked like the team we were trying to be last year. They played a great game. They’ve got a ton of skill and a ton of poise on that team. They’re a puck-possession team and they played that to a tee last night and unfortunately we were on the other end of it.” 

Of course, last year the Leafs had plenty of good games. What’s been really impressive this season is they’ve been able to maintain a strong baseline effort in winning 16 of 22 games.

“We’re really focused on being focused and showing up every day whether we’re playing or practising or it’s an off day and we have to be taking care of ourselves at home,” Dermott said. “Everyone is just buying into a team plan that we’re going to be ready to go every day.”

Barrie praises Leafs: ‘That looked like the team we were trying to be last year’

Tyson Barrie spent last season with the Maple Leafs before signing in Edmonton in the offseason. When asked about whether Toronto has taken strides since last year, Barrie praised his former team’s improvements and weighed in on how their style of play compares to the Oilers.

Even with a healthy Matthews and Andersen, slowing down McDavid and Leon Draisaitl​ is a tall task. McDavid, the NHL points leader, has only been held off the scoresheet in five games and never in consecutive outings. 

“We have to continue to have the level of commitment defensively when the puck changes hands,” noted Keefe. “We got to be in really good spots and look to slow them down when we can … We’re expecting them to be more like themselves tomorrow and we’ve got to be prepared to be even better.”

How did the Leafs frustrate Edmonton’s two-headed monster up front on Saturday? 

“We just played a smart, five-man game,” said defenceman T.J. Brodie. “The forwards did a really good job of staying above them and trying to take away their speed. They’re guys who can get up to top speed real quick and they like to pull up [in the offensive zone] so if you have the pressure coming back you can sort of try and pinch them and take that time and space away. When they do pull-up that’s when they make their plays and they’re really good at it.” 

Brodie’s subtle stick work thwarted McDavid on multiple occasions. 

“He had a couple awkward plays that he looked like he was almost beat and then he brought that stick out of nowhere and disrupted the play,” Dermott raved.

Shot attempts favoured the Leafs (12-9) in the nine minutes that Brodie and McDavid shared the ice in five-on-five play, per NaturalStatTrick. It was 8-4 Leafs in the nearly nine minutes that Brodie faced Draisaitl​.

Despite logging tough minutes, Brodie has been whistled for just one penalty this season. 

“He’s a smart player,” Keefe said earlier this week. “He doesn’t put himself in bad spots. He’s got a really good stick. His stick is on the ice a lot and disrupts a lot of plays, which at times can lead to getting in people’s feet and tripping or hooking or whatever it might be, but he does a really good job with it. A lot of the game that he plays is methodical and that helps keep himself out of trouble.”

The Oilers’ power play didn’t get any chances on Saturday. It was the first time all season that happened. 

“There’s probably a little bit of luck attached to it, but I thought we did skate and we worked,” Keefe said. “We really skated well yesterday and used our body to establish positioning instead of our stick. The more consistently we can do that it’s going to help, but some of it probably is just flat out luck and circumstance.” 

‘We need to have more drive’: Oilers eyeing a better effort in rematch vs. Leafs

The Maple Leafs shut out Edmonton on Saturday night in the first of three straight meetings between the two teams. Speaking to the media on Sunday, the Oilers discussed what went wrong in the loss and stressed the importance of staying even-keeled regardless of the results.

The return of stalwart defenceman Jake Muzzin also boosted the Leafs on Saturday. 

“He’s unreal on the ice in shutting plays down and being a defensive mastermind out there, but his voice in the room is equally as important,” said Dermott. 

“We did a good job of sticking to our game plan,” Muzzin said. “Even when we were up a few we stayed with it. We had great goaltending and commitment from everyone on the defensive side of play so it was a good start to the road trip.”

Muzzin, who missed two games with a facial fracture, is wearing a full face shield for the first time in his career.  

“With sweat coming down, it’s tough to clean,” Muzzin said, “you got to unclip it so it’s just more annoying than anything.” 

‘Just praying the eye was OK’: Muzzin returns from scary injury with full shield

Jake Muzzin admits he was pretty scared when he was initially hit in the face by Tyler Toffoli’s stick, but he’s thankful he didn’t get hit in the eye. Now he’ll have to adjust to wearing a full shield, nothing he’s had experience with in the past.

Lines at Sunday’s practice: 

Thornton − Tavares − Marner
Barabanov − Kerfoot − Nylander
Mikheyev − Engvall − Hyman
Petan − Boyd − Spezza
Vesey − Agostino − Sabourin

Rielly − Brodie
Muzzin − Holl
Dermott − Bogosian
Lehtonen − Liljegren

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Kane scores 400th NHL goal as Blackhawks dominate Red Wings –



CHICAGO — No. 400 for Patrick Kane was just like so many others.

A slick move, and then one well-placed shot.

Kane scored his 400th career goal, Kevin Lankinen made a career-high 44 saves and the Chicago Blackhawks closed out a successful February with a 7-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday night.

Kane and Alex DeBrincat got loose for a 2-on-1 midway through the third period. The 32-year-old Kane kept the puck, waited for sprawled Detroit defenceman Filip Hronek to slide by him and then beat Thomas Greiss on the stick side for his team-best 11th of the season.

“I think the biggest thing is once you start reaching these types of milestones, 400 goals and 1,000 games coming up, it leaves you wanting more,” Kane said. “It’s exciting to achieve them.”

Kane pumped both of his arms after becoming the 100th NHL player to reach 400 goals. The three-time Stanley Cup champion is the fourth player in franchise history to reach the milestone with the club, joining Hall of Famers Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita and longtime star Steve Larmer.

“Tonight was all about Kaner,” teammate Ryan Carpenter said. “It’s nice for him to get that goal, and we all admire him for it.”

Carpenter, Pius Suter, Dominik Kubalik and DeBrincat also scored in the third as Chicago broke open a tight game against lowly Detroit. Carpenter also scored in the first, DeBrincat added three assists and Kane posted a three-point night in his 996th NHL game.

Bouncing back nicely from a 5-3 loss to the Red Wings on Saturday night, the Blackhawks closed out a 9-3-1 February with their third win in four games.

“Our team, it’s coming together,” Kane said. “We have a lot of young guys that are just going to keep getting better and better.”

Evgeny Svechnikov scored for the second straight game for Detroit, which had won two in a row. Sam Gagner also scored.

The Red Wings played without captain Dylan Larkin for the second straight game because of an upper-body injury. They went 5-8-1 in February.

“It’s disappointing, obviously. I think (Greiss) battled really hard for us and kind of hung him out to dry there at the end,” Gagner said.

Chicago jumped in front on Nikita Zadorov’s first goal since he scored three times for Colorado in the playoffs last year. The 6-foot-6 defenceman, who was acquired in an October trade with the Avalanche, got a pass from David Kampf and beat Greiss from the high slot 11:41 into the first.

The Blackhawks then caught a break when Carpenter’s shot went off Red Wings defenceman Alex Biega in front and was inadvertently kicked in by a scrambling Greiss, making it 2-0 with 2:47 left in the opening period.

The Red Wings, who put 21 shots on net in the first, got one back when Gagner redirected Jon Merrill’s shot past Lankinen with 2:09 to go. It was Gagner’s fourth goal in three games after he had a hat trick in Detroit’s 5-2 victory against Nashville on Thursday night.


Carpenter’s goal in the third period was his first career power-play goal in his 216th NHL game.

It was the highest scoring game of the season for Chicago.


Red Wings: Visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.

Blackhawks: Open a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.

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