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Andersen: Retaliating against Killorn for Leafs net crash would have been bad move – TSN

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TSN Toronto reporter Mark Masters checks in daily with news and notes on the Maple Leafs. The Leafs practised at Ford Performance Centre on Wednesday ahead of Thursday’s game against the Nashville Predators.

Midway through the third period on Tuesday night, Tampa Bay’s Alex Killorn crashed the crease, falling on Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen, who had just corralled a loose puck. The six-foot-one, 197-pound Lightning forward didn’t appear to be all that interested in the puck. With the Leafs protecting a 2-1 lead, no Toronto player did anything to remove Killorn. 

The team watched video of the play before practice today and discussed what happened. Sheldon Keefe was asked if he wanted to see someone come to the goalie’s defence. 

“Yes and no,” the coach said. “You want someone to acknowledge it and speak up that it’s not acceptable but, at the same time, I really believe strongly that you can’t overreact to situations like that.”

“It’s all situational,” Andersen said. “I didn’t really see it happening. I was trying to battle for the puck, like, no real damage was happening so I think it would’ve been undisciplined to go after him and maybe take a two-minute penalty for something that didn’t really matter. That could hurt us even more.”

Keefe says his experience as a player has him informed how he views the matter. 

“I just don’t buy into the fact that you make a big scene and you overreact and someone’s going to say, ‘Oh, OK, I won’t do that anymore.’ That’s just not reality. I think that the players know what they’re doing, they’re pretty methodical about it, you have to trust the referees are going to protect the players on the ice and it’s our job to win the games on the power play and take advantage there.”

But while Blake Coleman was called for goalie interference earlier in the game, Killorn’s jump went unpenalized. 

“If they’re taking liberties and you know they’re bothering Freddie, you’re going to want to step in,” said defenceman Travis Dermott, “but it’s all situational. It’s just being smart about it.”

“We want to be standing up for each other,” said Keefe, “we’re a family and all that kind of stuff, but it’s very important, especially this time of year, that we remain composed.”

Keefe: Leafs were right to not overreact to Killorn jumping on Andersen

After Alex Killorn jumped on Frederik Andersen last night during a scramble in front, the question was asked whether the Leafs’ handled the situation correctly, or if they should have done something about it. Andersen, Travis Dermott and Sheldon Keefe give their perspective, as they believe they handled it right.

Andersen spoke to the referee after the play and didn’t seem sold on the explanation – “He said the puck was loose” – but the Dane didn’t show any outward frustration. He didn’t allow it to shake his focus or unsettle the team. 

“It fired me up a little bit and I tried to play with an edge,” the 30-year-old said. 

Andersen ended the night strong stopping 32 of 33 shots overall as Toronto edged the highest-scoring team in the league. And while no one got in Killorn’s face, Andersen believes there was emotion in the team’s game ​and he says that has to continue. 

“There has to be emotion and some sort of feeling where you want to leave everything out there and … last game was great, we came out with fire right away and took the game to them.” 

It wasn’t long ago, after a blowout loss in Pittsburgh on Feb. 18, that Andersen admitted his focus wasn’t where it needed to be. He vowed to be better and has responded with a 5-1-1 run posting a .931 save percentage in that stretch. 

“At the end of the day, as a goalie, I’m not going to be the loudest guy in the room,” Andersen said. “I’m playing a different sport than all the guys, technically, so the way I lead is just by playing my heart out and trying to play as well as possible and really let nothing faze me when times are a little bit tough.”

Andersen will make his 53rd start of the season tomorrow against Nashville. He was given a break last week in California and only played once in a nine-day stretch before Tuesday. Toronto only has one back-to-back set left and Keefe said there’s no specific plan to get the No. 1 goalie more rest although the team is cognizant of the need to keep Andersen fresh. 

“There is an ongoing discussion, really, each day about where Fred’s at and what’s the right decision for us to make that particular day,” Keefe said. 

Andersen is 9-2-0 with a .929 save percentage against the Predators, including stopping 34 of 36 shots in win in Nashville on Jan. 27. 

Fired-up Andersen: ‘The way I lead is just by playing my heart out’

Lightning forward Alex Killorn landed on top of Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen after a scramble in front and it seemed to spark the net-minder, who was ‘lights out’ for the remainder of the game. Andersen downplays the situation saying ‘the way I lead is just by playing my heart out’, but he was praised by his teammates and coaches after last nights performance.

The Leafs are 1-5 in the shootout this season after dropping another one in Los Angeles last week. Only Boston and Columbus have a worse record his season. Toronto’s only win in the skills competition came way back in November during an 11-round marathon in Philadelphia. With points so valuable right now, Keefe made the rare move to schedule a shootout drill at the end of today’s 20-minute practice.

“To be honest, it’s not an area I’ve spent a whole lot of time thinking about,” Keefe said. “But, of course, recognizing we’re at a point in time in the season where it could be a major factor (so) you’re focusing in more this time of the year on those small details that maybe get lost throughout the season. I do believe there are elements of randomness that go on in a shootout that are uncontrollable and you can’t prepare and practice for, but we tried to have more of a game-like setting to it today.”

The sides were split into two teams with the top-six forwards and extra defence shooting on Jack Campbell and the bottom-six forwards and top defencemen shooting on Andersen. Defensive defenceman Martin Marincin scored the clinching goal for the top-six team. 

“That move’s a cheat code,” Andersen said with a chuckle. “He’s got the long reach and it’s like a glitch. He did a great job. He’s gotten me with that one before as well. Maybe we’ll see him in the shootout moving forward.”

Probably not. For one thing, Marincin was a healthy scratch last night and will likely be in the press box again Thursday assuming the line rushes at practice hold true. 

When Toronto gets into a shootout they will likely rely on the usual suspects even though they have largely misfired. William Nylander and Jason Spezza have scored twice on four attempts to lead the way this season while Auston Matthews has one goal on six attempts. Mitch Marner has missed on all five of his. In Los Angeles, Matthews and Marner both failed to even get a shot off on Jonathan Quick

What’s the comfort level for Matthews in a shootout? 

“I prefer overtime,” he said. “Obviously, L.A., that one kind of got away from me, but I’m pretty comfortable.” 

Andreas Johnsson, who is out for the season after undergoing knee surgery, is the only Leaf other than Spezza, Nylander and Matthews to score in the shootout this season. 

Denis Malgin and John Tavares joined Marincin as the only players to score in today’s five round practice competition. 

Leafs Ice Chips: Marincin the unlikely hero in rare shootout work

The Toronto Maple Leafs have only one shootout win this season in six attempts and with points so valuable down the stretch, head coach Sheldon Keefe wanted to work on it in practice, something that has been rare for them this season. After a good showing, could defencemen Martin Marincin be the unlikely shootout hero for the team?

The return of Morgan Rielly was a huge boost for Toronto’s defence last night, but another key development for the Leafs has been the play of Dermott, who seemed to be stalled in his development after returning from shoulder surgery earlier this season. The 23-year-old has been elevated into a shutdown role opposite his good friend Justin Holl and has responded with his best stretch of the year. 

Dermott played just over 25 minutes against the Lightning, a career-high for a game that ended in regulation. He played 25:21 in Los Angeles last week. 

Against the Lightning, Dermott spent almost 11 minutes on the ice with reigning Hart Trophy winner Nikita Kucherov. Per the NaturalStatTrick website, Tampa Bay only outshot Toronto 7-6 in those five-on-five minutes and Kucherov failed to hit the scoresheet. Dermott’s reward was to be put on the ice in the final moments to preserve a crucial win. 

“You try to keep your mind clear of all the nerves and stresses that can be out there,” Dermott said of his mindset. “Just rely on everything we’ve been taught and keep that in the back of your mind and stay close to Freddie, help him as much as we can and then take away pass lanes, try and block as many shots as you can so it’s pretty simple when you break it down like that, but it can be nerve-wracking at times.”

It means a lot, Dermott says, that Keefe and assistant coach Dave Hakstol, who runs the defence on the bench, have faith in him. 

“It’s huge,” he said. “It really gives you that push and that confidence … you really start believing you can do it pretty quick.”

“He’s earned that through the fact that he’s improved his play,” Keefe said. “He’s stepped up and done a really good job.”

Lines at Wednesday’s practice: 

Nylander – Matthews – Hyman
Kapanen – Tavares – Marner
Engvall – Kerfoot – Malgin
Clifford – Gauthier – Spezza
Mikheyev

Rielly – Ceci
Dermott – Holl
Sandin – Barrie
Rosen – Marincin

Andersen
Campbell

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How the gambling industry in Canada has risen over the years

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Online gambling has grown to become a huge industry, and millions of people are gambling

every day. Canada is among the countries with the most daily gamblers and is ranked in eighth place among the countries with the most people who gamble every day. The global gambling industry is estimated to be around $458.93 billion in 2022.

 

The industry is estimated to grow further, and some key actions are leading to spreading the word about gambling online and making it popular. Let’s have a look at it.

The legalization act

Many countries, states, and provinces are legalizing betting or are working on bills to do so. Many states in the US legalized online betting and gambling at the best online casinos, which has undoubtedly given it quicker growth, and provinces in Canada are following suit. More of these are taking advantage of the lucrative industry. These provinces include Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia. It is estimated that Canadians spend a whopping $16 billion in local casinos every year and $ 4 billion on offshore online gambling platforms. This is from the 20 million Canadians that are playing.

Digital solutions

Another key factor when it comes to the increase in gambling activities is access to it. The internet has become highly developed, and we spend a lot of time every day here. Almost everyone owns a few impressive devices that can take you online to connect and gamble. Online sports betting sites and casinos on the internet are getting more user-friendly and practical to use. You can create your account, deposit money and start gambling within a few minutes, and the selection of games and bets are many. You can even indulge in live gambling to play in real-time against other, real players.

Spreading the word

The increased gambling activity and the possibility of developing betting sites have created competition in the industry. It makes it more desirable to make room for a higher marketing budget and to do it both online and offline to reach a preferred target audience. There are more commercials from gambling sites out there, and we can see big sportsbooks sponsoring soccer teams or even entire championships. People are joining as new bettors every day, so now it is all about attracting them to your own site.

 

 

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Great Start from Kikuchi, Jays Beat Rays – Bluebird Banter

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Rays 1 Blue Jays 4

Off the top, let’s just acknowledge how great Matt Chapman is with the glove. With almost anyone else at third base, this would have been a different game. In the sixth inning, it looked like Yusei Kikuchi was starting to lose it. He gave up back-to-back singles to start the inning. Then there was a bouncing ball up the third-base line, that Chapman pitched up, touched third and made an excellent throw to first for the double-play. The next batter hits almost exactly the grounder, a fair bit harder (103.1 MPH) that Chapman again grabbed (further) behind the bag and again made a great throw to first, getting the third out. In the seventh, he made a great catch on a popup hit behind third.

Kukichi had a terrific start. Going six innings, he gave up a solo homer, the two singles mentioned above, and one other single, just one walk with eight strikeouts. He was in charge all the way through. He may have had one more inning in him, but I was all for taking him out while things were good. Without Chapman, his last inning wouldn’t have been great.

On offence, two big swings did all the damage. Teoscar Hernandez crushed a no-doubter in the second inning, a two-run shot, 419 feet. And Santiago Espinal had his own two-run homer in the seventh. Not a no-doubter, just over the left-field wall, into the Jays bullpen, caught by David Phelps.

We only had 9 hits on the day. Teoscar (3) and Espinal (2) had 5 of the 9 hits.

Opener Matt Wisler pitched a scoreless first. After that, Ryan Yarbourgh pitched the bulk of the game, giving up 8 hits, 4 runs, and 1 walk without a strikeout, in 5.1 innings. I thought Kevin Cash left him in a little too long, but both teams have a lot of baseball ahead this weekend.

Vlad, Chapman and Moreno had 0 fors.

From the pen:

  • Trent Thornton gave up a hit and had a strikeout in the seventh
  • Phelps gave up a walk and got a strikeout in the eighth.
  • Cimber got the save (pitching his third game in a row). His fourth of the season. He finished it with a strikeout.

Jays of the Day: Kikuchi (.258 WPA), Teoscar (.189) and Espinal (.171). I’m giving Chapman an honourable mention, despite his -.076 WPA, for his glove.

No one had the Suckage number. Bo (-.087), Moreno (.080, but deserves points for helping Kukichi navigate the game) and Vlad (-.070) all came close.

Tomorrow we have a day game for Canada Day, a 3:00 Eastern start. Jose Berrios 5-4, 5.86 ERA, is hoping to bounce back from a terrible start. Corey Kluber (3-4, 3.45) gets the start for the Rays.

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Trial of WNBA star Brittney Griner begins in Russia – Al Jazeera English

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The trial of United States professional basketball player Brittney Griner, who was arrested in Russia in February after authorities found vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage, has begun in Moscow.

Griner, a Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) all star and two-time Olympic gold medallist, arrived at a courtroom on the outskirts of the Russian capital on Friday for the trial, in which she faces up to 10 years in prison.

Arriving at Khimki City Court in handcuffs, the 31-year-old athlete wore a T-shirt showing guitar icon Jimi Hendrix and was accompanied by three people. US embassy staff were in attendance at the proceedings. Cameras were not permitted in the court.

Two witnesses were questioned by the prosecution: an airport customs official, who spoke in open court, and an unidentified witness in a closed session. according to the state news agency RIA-Novosti. The trial was then adjourned, it said, when two other witnesses did not show up, and the next session was set for July 7.

Alexander Boykov, an attorney for Griner, told reporters outside court that “I wouldn’t want to talk on the specifics of the case and on the charges and to comment on our position on it because it’s too early for it.”

US Charge d’Affaires Elizabeth Rood told reporters at the trial that Griner told her she was “keeping the faith” and that she was doing “as well as can be expected”.

The US State Department has labelled Griner “wrongfully detained” and is negotiating for her release amid tanked relations with Russia in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine. Griner’s arrest came just days before Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into the neighbouring country on February 24.

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On Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied the case was politically motivated.

“I can only operate with known facts, and the facts indicate that the eminent athlete was detained with illegal drugs that contained narcotic substances. There are articles in Russian legislation that provide for punishment for such crimes,” he told reporters.

“Only the court can pass a verdict.”

Griner’s detention has prompted concerns that Moscow could use the athlete to seek the release of a high-profile Russian in US custody, with Senator Tim Kaine warning the forward for the Phoenix Mercury could be used as a “negotiating chip”.

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Some of Griner’s supporters have called on the US to offer such a swap.

High-profile figures across the sports world have also called for Griner’s release, with NBA players wearing T-shirts that say “We are BG” at some games.

WNBA players, who are paid considerably less than their male counterparts, are often offered lucrative contracts by the Russian Women’s Basketball Premier League to play during the US off-season.

Some have now left the Russian league, amid Griner’s detention and Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine.

US officials say Griner is one of two citizens wrongfully detained by Russia. Paul Whelan, a former US marine, has been held in Russia since 2018 after being convicted of spying. He has denied the allegation.

Russian news media have repeatedly raised speculation that she could be swapped for Russian arms trader Viktor Bout, nicknamed “the Merchant of Death,” who is serving a 25-year sentence on conviction of conspiracy to kill US citizens and providing aid to a “terrorist” organisation.

Others have suggested that she could be traded in tandem with Whelan.

After Griner’s hearing, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted: “We – and I personally – have no higher priority than bringing her and other wrongfully detained Americans, including Paul Whelan, home.

“We won’t stop working until they are reunited with their loved ones.”

Blinken, when asked Sunday on CNN whether a joint swap of Griner and Whelan for Bout was being considered, sidestepped the question.

“As a general proposition … I have got no higher priority than making sure that Americans who are being illegally detained in one way or another around the world come home,” he said. But he said he could not comment “in any detail on what we’re doing, except to say this is an absolute priority”.

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