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Alexis Lafreniere sets tone for Team Canada with complete play – TSN

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TSN reporter Mark Masters checks in daily with news and notes on Team Canada. The team skated at the practice rink at the Ostravar Arena on Friday. 


With Canada down 2-0 in the first period on Boxing Day, Alexis Lafreniere looked to spark a comeback. But before he exploded for three assists and an incredible game-winning goal, the 18-year-old landed a couple big checks on the American top defensive pair of Mattias Samuelsson and Jordan Harris. 

“I didn’t really realize it,” said smiling Ottawa defenceman Kevin Bahl. “I thought he was all skill, but he loves to throw around the body and I absolutely love that. I saw him just going full speed after that guy, dummied him and thought I better get a hit and I saw that guy coming down the wall.”

Moments later the 6-foot-7 Bahl delivered a bone-crushing blow on American forward Bobby Brink and it was game on in Ostrava. 

“Early in the game the U.S. had a lot of the momentum,” said Flint centre Ty Dellandrea, “and we had a couple big hits all on the same shift and that turned the tide.”

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“I always try to bring some physicality in my game,” said Lafreniere, who stands 6-foot-1, 194 pounds. “It’s something I want to improve. Getting involved physically is always good. A couple good hits and it helped me just start to be in the game a little bit more.”

Lafreniere got himself going and the team going and then the Rimouski left winger, the consensus top pick in the next NHL entry draft, saved the day, striking back seven seconds after the Americans had tied things. 

“Something else,” said captain Barrett Hayton of the game-winning goal. “I mean, you see his speed off the faceoff, he jumps through and bats that puck down. Not many guys are going to do that. That was a pretty flat pass by the American guy (K’Andre Miller). Just unbelievable hand-eye.”

But Lafreniere wasn’t done. He finished what he started by setting up Dellandrea for the empty-net goal. 

“It’s incredible,” Dellandrea gushed. “Everything about him, it’s fun to watch. He’s skilled, but he’s also all over the puck, hunting and I think he showed last night that he can play an all-around game. He was on in the last minute and made that pass for the empty-netter and shutting down to finish the game. I think he can do everything.”

“He’s a gamer,” said assistant coach Andre Tourigny. “He’s a money player. He’s a competitor. He wants to win every battle and he’s the same in practice. He has a long stick and he’s always in it and stays on puck, that’s what I like about him and last year at U18 it was the same. He never quits. He’s relentless. He’s a great player for us.”

‘He can do everything’: Lafrenière sets the tone with physical play

Touted as the projected No. 1 pick at the 2020 NHL draft for some time, Alexis Lafrenière showed up and absolutely dominated on the ice against the Americans on Boxing Day. ‘I thought he was just all skill, but he loves to throw around the body’ remarked teammate Kevin Bahl, ‘I absolutely love that’.

—-

Quinton Byfield, the consensus No. 2 pick behind Lafreniere, had a relatively quiet debut at the World Juniors, failing to register a shot in 11:40 of ice time while also picking up a penalty. 

“Those first couple shifts you’re a bit nervous,” he admitted. “I tried to play my best, play my hardest, didn’t have too much of a big impact on the game, but my team played exceptional. Laffy played really well. I’m just a guy hoping for the wins here and any way they come I’m good with that.”

But Team Canada may need the 17-year-old, who’s playing in the top six on a line with Hayton and Dylan Cozens, to be a factor down the road. And, with that in mind, Byfield is hoping to take a page out of his draft rival’s playbook. 

“I’m still probably looking for more from myself,” Byfield said. “I definitely could be more physical, hitting a lot more people with my big body. Yeah, I definitely could have a lot more on the table.”

At 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, Byfield is Canada’s heaviest forward and wants to use that to his advantage. 

“It definitely adds another level to your game,” he said of physical play, “creates separation, people might not want to come as close to you because they know your physical and stuff like that.”

After picking up a point in 27 of 30 OHL games this season, Byfield has now been held pointless in three straight outings with Team Canada, including the two pre-tournament games. 

Byfield on quiet WJC debut: ‘I’m still looking for more from myself’

Quinton Byfield got his first taste of World Juniors action on Boxing Day against USA, however he feels like he has much more to offer the team. Teammate Alexis Lafrenière gave his advice to Byfield telling him to ‘just enjoy it and have fun, it goes by pretty fast’.

—-
After allowing three power-play goals on Thursday, Team Canada dedicated a good chunk of practice to special teams work. Tourigny, who oversees that unit, struck an urgent tone on and off the ice. 

“The way the Russians play, they play really low on their power play. They have four guys really low, so we want to make sure we cut seams and stuff like that,” Tourigny said.

The penalty kill looked fine in the pre-tournament games, but didn’t get a lot of work with Canada only shorthanded twice. 

“Maybe we were just thinking too much,” said Dellandrea. “We have a lot of stuff we want to hit on when we’re on the PK and sometimes it gets confusing just running around thinking about a bunch of things at once. (Tourigny) talked a lot about practising it today so we don’t have to think so much when we’re out there tomorrow. So he wants to keep it simple and cover all the spots we need.”

TSN senior hockey reporter Frank Seravalli has more on Canada’s penalty kill here:  
—-

The Boxing Day showdown with the Americans wasn’t just the World Juniors debut for Nico Daws, but also his first ever game for Canada at an international competition. 

“Definitely special,” the Guelph goalie said. “Putting on that jersey, hearing the fans cheer for you, it’s something I’ll never forget.”

Daws stopped 28 of 32 shots and settled down nicely after Canada fell behind in the first period. 

“A little bit shaky, obviously, first game, a lot of nerves,” the 19-year-old said, “especially against a good team like that, that scored some good goals and probably one or two I’d like back. But, overall, I’m pretty happy with the way I played.”

In the immediate aftermath of Thursday’s win, Dale Hunter wouldn’t commit to starting Daws against Russia, but the coach spoke positively about the Burlington, Ont. native. 

“He was solid,” Hunter said. “Remember, these are the elite shooters of this age group, so it’s a little different than your club team where you have a couple elite shooters. Everyone on that team can score and they’re a good offensive team.”

The only even-strength goal allowed by Daws came off the stick of Leafs prospect Nick Robertson, who used defenceman Jacob Bernard-Docker as a screen. 

“Coming over, pulling it through and around and through the legs and it’s just a great shot,” said Hunter, “and that makes it tough on goalies.”

Lines at Friday’s practice: 

Lafreniere-Veleno-Foote

Byfield-Hayton-Cozens 

Foudy-Dellandrea-Dudas

McMichael-Thomas-Lavoie

Merc​er

McIsaac-Smith

Bahl-Bernard-Docker

Byram-Addison

Drysdale

Daws 

Hofer

Rodrigue 

Power-play units at Friday’s practice: 

Addison

Lafreniere – Veleno – Hayton

Cozens 

Smith 

Byram – Lavoie – Foote 

Byfield

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These are the other 8 victims who died in the Kobe Bryant crash – Global News

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A family of three, a mother-daughter pair and Kobe Bryant‘s own child, Gianna, were among the eight people who died alongside the NBA star in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., on Sunday.

A total of nine people were killed when Bryant’s private Sikorsky S-76 helicopter went down in foggy conditions on Sunday, investigators said. The helicopter was on its way to a girls’ basketball game when it crashed.


READ MORE:
Kobe Bryant fans flock to vigils held for basketball star

So far, here’s what we know about the people who died with Bryant in the crash.






3:32
NBA legend Kobe Bryant killed in helicopter crash near Los Angeles


NBA legend Kobe Bryant killed in helicopter crash near Los Angeles

Gianna Bryant

Gianna Bryant, 13, was the second-oldest of her father’s four children, all of them girls. She was commonly known as Gigi and was a rising star in girls’ basketball.

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Kobe Bryant is shown with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.

Kobe Bryant is shown with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.


Kobe Bryant/Instagram

Bryant took an active role in coaching Gianna at his Mamba Sports Academy, and he once touted her as a basketball star in the making.


READ MORE:
Gianna (Gigi) Bryant — The 13-year-old loved basketball as much as her dad

He told Jimmy Kimmel in an 2018 interview that he didn’t need a son to carry on his legacy because he had Gianna.

“The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans would come up to me and she’ll be standing next to me,” Bryant told Kimmel. “And they’ll be like, ‘You’ve gotta have a boy, you and (Vanessa) gotta have a boy. You gotta have somebody to carry on your tradition, the legacy.’

“She’s like, ‘Oy, I got this,’” Bryant recalled. “I’m like, ‘That’s right. Yes, you do. You got this.’”

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Alyssa, Kerri and John Altobelli

Alyssa Altobelli, 13, and her parents, Kerri and John Altobelli, were also killed in the crash.

John Altobelli, 56, was the longtime head coach of the Orange Coast College baseball team in Southern California.

John Altobelli, 56, is shown in this photo shared by OCC Athletics.

John Altobelli, 56, is shown in this photo shared by OCC Athletics.


OCC Athletics/Twitter

The college described him as a “coach, a colleague, a mentor and a friend” who had worked there for 27 years.

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“He truly personified what it meant to be a baseball coach,” the school’s athletic director Jason Kehler said in a statement. “The passion that he put into the game, but more importantly his athletes, was second to none — he treated them like family.”

Alyssa played on Gianna’s team at Mamba, CBS News reports. Kobe Bryant praised Alyssa’s defensive game in an Instagram video last November.

Christina Mauser

Christine Mauser, 38, was a girls’ basketball coach at a private school and a wife and mother, according to Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley.

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Christina Mauser’s husband, Matt, shared his memories of her in an emotional interview with the Today show.

“It’s horrible,” he said. “I got three small kids and am trying to figure out how to navigate life with three kids and no mom.”

He explained that Bryant had hand-picked his wife to be an assistant coach for Gianna’s Mamba Academy basketball team.

“He picked her because she was amazing,” Mauser said. “I was so proud of her and she was so happy.”

Matt Mauser is shown with his wife, Christina, in this 2014 photo from his Facebook page.

Matt Mauser is shown with his wife, Christina, in this 2014 photo from his Facebook page.


Matt Mauser/Facebook

Christina Mauser is survived by children aged 11, nine and three.

“She was beautiful, smart, funny,” Matt Mauser said.

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Sarah and Payton Chester

Sarah Chester and her middle school-aged daughter, Payton, were on the helicopter due to a break in their normal routine, Payton’s grandmother Catherine George told NBC News.

“They had to get on the helicopter as a convenience today,” George said. “They usually drove by car.”

Todd Schmidt, who was the principal at Payton’s former elementary school, described the Chester family as “engaged, supportive, encouraging and full of mischief and laughter.”

Payton Chester is shown in this image shared on Facebook by her former principal, Todd Schmidt.

Payton Chester is shown in this image shared on Facebook by her former principal, Todd Schmidt.


Todd Schmidt/Facebook

“This family made such a huge impact,” Schmidt wrote on Facebook. “While the world mourns the loss of a dynamic athlete and humanitarian, I mourn the loss of two people just as important … Their impact was just as meaningful, their loss will be just as keenly felt, and our hearts are just as broken.”

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Ara Zobayan

Friends and colleagues have identified the pilot as Ara Zobayan, the New York Times reports.

Ara Zobayan is shown in this file photo.

Ara Zobayan is shown in this file photo.


Via KTLA

Zobayan was a longtime pilot and a dedicated flight instructor, student Darren Kemp told the Los Angeles Times. He added that Zobayan was Bryant’s private pilot whom he trusted.

“He doesn’t let anyone else fly him around but Ara,” Kemp told the L.A. Times.

Zobayan received his commercial pilot certificate in 2007, CBS reports.

With files from The Associated Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Kobe Bryant will be inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame this year, report says – CBC.ca

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The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is bypassing the normal election process and making the late Kobe Bryant the first inductee of the 2020 class, The Athletic reported Monday.

“Expected to be arguably the most epic class ever with Kobe, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett,” Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo said, per the report. “Kobe will be honoured the way he should be.”

Bryant, 41, died Sunday along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, Calif.

As an 18-time all-star, a five-time NBA champion and the fourth-leading scorer in league history, Bryant was virtually assured of being elected on the first ballot in his first year of eligibility this year anyway.

The other 2020 finalists will be announced Feb. 14 during all-star weekend.  The rest of the class will be announced in April at the Final Four, and Bryant’s posthumous induction will take place in Springfield, Mass., on Aug. 29.

WATCH | Raptors, Spurs honour Kobe Bryant with on-court tribute:

Both teams allow the 24 second shot clock to expire on their first possessions to pay respect to number 24, Kobe Bryant. 1:27

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These 2020 Grammy Performances Were So Heartfelt, They Made Everyone Emotional – Showbiz Cheat Sheet

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Over the years, viewers have gotten to witness some pretty incredible musical performances take place on The Grammys‘ stage. Some of which have left many of us speechless and are still talked about to this day.

Now that the 2020 Grammy Awards have come and gone, there are a few performances from the night that are very deserving of being added to the list of the most unforgettable and emotional moments in the award show’s history.

Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish performs during the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Lizzo kicked off the show with an emotional tribute to Kobe Bryant

Last night was a bittersweet evening as many people mourned the death of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, who died the same day in a helicopter crash.

News of his tragic passing sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry, leaving many fans and celebrities experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions.

With this unexpected news coming to light a few hours before the 2020 Grammy Awards, many celebs taking the stage that night decided to honor the late legend with vulnerable yet powerful performances.

Lizzo kicked off the ceremony with a showstopping performance she dedicated to Bryant. “This night is for Kobe,” she shouted before performing a medley of her hit songs, “Cuz I Love You” and “Truth Hurts.” 

LizzoLizzo
Lizzo during the 62nd annual GRAMMY Awards| Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Oh, and we can’t forget about that impeccable flute performance!

Demi Lovato couldn’t hold back tears while performing “Anyone”

Demi Lovato made her comeback to the Grammys stage and music with an emotional performance of her new song, “Anyone,” which she penned just days before her drug overdose in July 2018.

The singer took to the stage wearing a white ballgown with only a pianist accompanying her. Just a few seconds after the song began, Lovato was overcome with emotion and ended up restarting the track as tears rolled down her face.

Lovato went on to deliver a tearful yet powerful performance that earned her a standing ovation from the audience and viewers.

Billie Eilish delivered a beautiful rendition of “When The Party’s Over”

In addition to being the night’s biggest winner, Billie Eilish also gave one of the most incredible performances of the evening with her intimate rendition of “When The Party’s Over” from her debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

Billie Eilish during the 62nd Annual GRAMMY AwardsBillie Eilish during the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards
Billie Eilish during the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

The singer took the stage and wowed fans with her beautiful vocals as her brother/ producer, Finneas O’Connell, played the dreamy tune on the piano.

No one could seem to take their eyes off of her as she poured herself into the emotions of every lyric while giving the most heartfelt performance of her career.  

Camila Cabello’s heartfelt tribute to her dad

Just when we thought we cried enough during the 2020 Grammy Awards, Camila Cabello goes and delivers an emotional performance that made everyone watching shed a tear or two.

Before the show aired, The Grammys teased that Cabello would be performing a song dedicated to a “special man” in her life.

While many of us thought the song would be all about her boyfriend, Shawn Mendes, the emotional track turned out to be all about her father.

During her performance, the former Fifth Harmony member belted out the lyrics, which shined a light on the special relationship she has with the first man who’s ever loved her.

As she sang, home videos of the father-daughter duo played in the background. Near the end, Cabello walked up to her dad, who had tears streaming down his face, and sang the last few verses.

After wrapping her performance, Cabello and her father embraced as the audience wiped tears from their eyes.

Nipsey Hussle remembered during a powerful tribute

Toward the end of the night, John Legend, DJ Khaled, Meek Mill, Kirk Franklin, Roddy Ricch, and YG took to the Grammys stage to give a heartfelt performance paying homage to Nipsey Hussle, who tragically passed away in March 2019 after being gunned down in Los Angeles.

“Long live Nipsey Hussle,” Khaled said as he took the stage, encouraging the audience to rise to their feet. Legend then accompanied Khaled on piano for a performance of Hussle’s posthumous track “Higher.”

The performance ended with images of Hussle of NBA star Kobe Bryant projected on the screen and Khaled sharing a few heartfelt words honoring their legacies.

“Rest in peace, Nispey Nussle. Rest in Peace Kobe Bryant,” the DJ said. “Long live Nip. Long live Kobe. The marathon continues.”

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