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Aquilini says he has no plans for changes with Canucks – TSN

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VANCOUVER — Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini says he has “no plans to make changes” despite the team’s dismal run this season.

The Vancouver businessman took to Twitter Saturday, saying in a thread he’s disappointed by the team’s poor start but that there is no easy fix.

The Canucks (6-11-0) head into Saturday’s game against the Calgary Flames on a six-game losing skid and have given up more goals (66) than any other team in the league.

Despite the performance, Aquilini says he has “full confidence” in general manager Jim Benning and coach Travis Green.

The Canucks’ chairman says the team has been “better in recent games” and he believes it will continue to improve.

Aquilini says the club is sticking to building a core of young talent with players like Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes, and that “progression is not always a straight line.”

Last year, Vancouver surprised many with a solid run in the Edmonton playoff “bubble,” beating the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues before being eliminated by the Vegas Golden Knights in a gritty seven-game series.

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Ex-Bears Star Wanted To Punch Aaron Rodgers' Face Over 'Still Own You' Taunt – TMZ

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NHL suspends Sharks’ Evander Kane 21 games for COVID-19 protocol violations – Sportsnet.ca

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The NHL has suspended San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane for 21 games for submitting a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.

The NHL also announced Monday that its concurrent investigation into allegations of domestic abuse made against Kane by his estranged wife, Deanna, could not be substantiated.

Kane said he is in counselling in a statement released by the NHLPA.

“I would like to apologize to my teammates, the San Jose Sharks organization, and all Sharks fans for violating the NHL COVID protocols,” Kane said in a statement released by the NHLPA. “I made a mistake, one I sincerely regret and take responsibility for. During my suspension, I will continue to participate in counseling to help me make better decisions in the future. When my suspension is over, I plan to return to the ice with great effort, determination, and love for the game of hockey.”​

The Sharks also released a statement.

Kane will forfeit about $1.68 million of his $7 million salary for this season with the money going to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Kane had previously been cleared by the NHL in an investigation into allegations made by Deanna Kane that he bet on hockey games, including some against the Sharks.

But the league did determine that Kane violated the COVID-19 protocols. A person familiar with the investigation said earlier this month that the league was looking into allegations that Kane submitted a fake vaccination card. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details weren’t made public.

Using a fake vaccination card is illegal in both the United States and Canada, as well as against NHL rules.

Commissioner Gary Bettman said last week that only four players on active rosters hadn’t been vaccinated.

Kane had not been around the team since the start of training camp while these investigations were ongoing in an agreement between him and the team.

Kane, 30, is three seasons into a $49 million, seven-year contract. He’s with his third organization after being drafted by and debuting with Atlanta/Winnipeg and a stint in Buffalo.

The 30-year-old led the Sharks in scoring last season with 22 goals and 49 points in 56 games.

The Vancouver native has 506 career points (262 goals, 242 assists) in 769 NHL games with the Atlanta Thrashers, Winnipeg Jets, Buffalo Sabres and Sharks.

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Red Sox’s two grand slams lead ALCS rout of Astros – Sportsnet.ca

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HOUSTON — J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers helped the Red Sox have a grand old time in Houston.

Boston became the first team to slug two grand slams in a postseason game, with Martinez and Devers connecting in the first two innings of a 9-5 win over the Astros on Saturday that tied their AL Championship Series at one game apiece.

Martinez made it 4-0 with his opposite-field shot off rookie Luis Garcia with two outs in the first. It was the first career playoff slam for the four-time All-Star, who began his career with the Astros.

Garcia exited with right knee discomfort after walking the first batter of the second inning. Jake Odorizzi took over, and shortly after a 13-minute delay while the right-hander warmed up on the field, Devers connected with one out for slam No. 2.

“J.D.’s swing was huge to get us on the board early, and then Raffy, same thing, another granny,” red-hot teammate Kike Hernandez said. “Has that ever happened before?”

It has now.

Game 3 is Monday night in Boston. It’s the first of three consecutive home games for the Red Sox, back in the playoffs for the first time since winning the 2018 World Series after downing Houston in the ALCS.

Hernandez, who Boston manager Alex Cora referred to Friday night as “en fuego” after a two-homer performance in Game 1, remained on fire Saturday. He had two hits, highlighted by a solo homer in the fourth inning.

Hernandez has been this postseason’s hottest hitter, leading all players with 16 hits, five homers and four doubles. His nine extra-base hits are also the most in these playoffs and tied a Red Sox postseason record with Mike Lowell (2007), Kevin Youkilis (2007) and David Ortiz (2004 & 2007).

“The importance of the game is allowing me to stay focused and stay locked in,” Hernandez said.

Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi permitted five hits and three runs in 5 1/3 innings.

The Astros captured a 5-4 win in the series opener as they rallied behind homers from Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa before falling into the huge hole early in this one.

“That’s a tough team,” Cora said. “It’s never comfortable with them because they’re a swing away from getting back in the game.”

The Red Sox were up 9-0 when Houston got on the board with an RBI double by Kyle Tucker with two outs in the fourth. The Astros cut the lead to 9-3 when Yuli Gurriel followed with single to right field that scored two more.

Gurriel and Jason Castro added solo homers in the ninth off Darwinzon Hernandez before Ryan Brasier got the final out.

“At the end, it was a little too close for comfort, but we got it done,” Hernandez said.

The injury to Garcia is another blow to a Houston team trying to reach the World Series for the second time in three years. The Astros are already reeling after an injury to staff ace Lance McCullers Jr. that kept him off the roster for this series.

They won the championship in 2017, a crown tainted by the team’s sign-stealing scandal.

When McCullers went out, manager Dusty Baker said the team would just have to “hit more” to absorb the loss. But now that the rotation is further depleted, it’ll be an even taller task for this powerful lineup outgunning a Boston team whose offense has outpaced everyone this postseason.

Odorizzi was left off the Division Series roster after a disappointing first season in Houston before getting a spot in this round after the injury to McCullers. He allowed seven hits and four runs in four innings Saturday in a performance that certainly isn’t good news for a team that is running short on starters.

TOUGH UP TOP

Altuve and Michael Brantley, the top two hitters in Houston’s lineup, are a combined 2 for 17 in the series with a hit each, including Altuve’s homer in Game 1.

UP NEXT

There’s a day off Sunday before Houston’s Jose Urquidy makes his first start this postseason in Game 3 Monday. The Red Sox have yet to name their starter.

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