OTTAWA – It’s not exactly headline material that two members of Matthew Tkachuk’s family went on the record Friday as staunch defenders of his controversial approach to the game.
However, what is significant was a point made by his father, Keith, who knows a thing or two about character.
About selling the game.
Shrugging off the noise that has followed his son’s role in last weekend’s brouhaha, Keith took a wide-lense view of what it really is that has everyone talking about the Battle of Alberta again.
“The game, probably for the last few years, lacked personality,” said Keith, who logged 500 goals and 2200 penalty minutes over 18 NHL seasons.
“And I think it’s starting to come back.”
“When I first came in, probably half the league didn’t hear about a big body check or a big fight, so it wasn’t a big deal. But it is what it is now. That’s the world we live in now with social media.”
Everyone’s a critic.
And in this case, everyone has an opinion on Zack Kassian and Matthew, who singlehandedly resurrected the provincial war by playing the game with an edge.
Who, if anyone, was out of line, still has the hockey world abuzz.
It says plenty that at the tail end of the Calgary Flames-Toronto Maple Leafs shootout Thursday at Scotiabank Arena, Matthew was the only player booed as he skated in from centre ice before scoring the game-winner.
The villain wins again.
In the entertainment world Matthew thrives in, we need more leaders who are confident, smart enough and skilled enough to wear the black hat.
To draw people in.
To drum up interest.
Yes, the game needs more personality.
“I think so, yeah,” agreed Matthew’s younger brother, Brady, a budding character himself, whose Senators will host the Flames on Saturday in front of 40 friends and family members.
“You can almost say it rekindled the Battle of Alberta and stuff like that. I think they’re just two teams that hate one another and I think that’s great for the game. It just shows how emotional, whether it’s Game 1 or Game 41 or Game 82, playoffs … everybody is putting their heart and soul on the line for one another and trying to get those crucial two points, because they add up at the end. It just shows how both those cities are so passionate, with the fans. It’s definitely great that it rekindled that and other rivalries.”
Dad shrugs off the intense heat his eldest son has attracted of late, praising Matthew’s thick skin and maturity for making him one of the most skilled, calculating and polarizing players today.
(Admittedly, the vitriol hasn’t been quite as easy for mom to stomach.)
If anyone knows just how hard it is to get the best of Matthew, it’s his little bro.
“He has the thickest skin I’ve ever seen,” said Brady.
“He is so good at blocking stuff out like that, and all the negativity. You’ve seen it, his game is still top-end, even with all the distractions recently. That just speaks about his mental game, as well.
“I just know from personal experience, always being around him, that he doesn’t let stuff bother him. I think that’s something that is huge. Sometimes, there’s a lot of negativity toward somebody, so to block that out and still play your game, it’s pretty impressive.”
Is Brady bothered by the “turtle” tag and heat affixed to Matthew for refusing to be drawn into a fight with Kassian?
“I wouldn’t say it bugs me,” said Brady, who Matthew praised as the “future of the franchise” on Friday.
“I just think that there are people that are complaining about kind of nothing. Because if they thought they were dangerous hits (on Kassian), the league would have suspended him. I just think people need to kind of relax a little bit. But like I said, Matthew will do anything to win and he showed it that game and ended up being a crucial part for that fourth goal that ended up with Calgary winning the game and getting those two huge points and being at the top of their division.”
As someone who has looked up to Matthew his whole life, Brady’s allegiance runs deep. Obviously.
Brady is also a highly competitive talent, who will be joining his brother at all-star games in the very near future. The six-foot-four power forward has one less goal than big brother’s 15, but more penalty minutes since joining the loop last year.
“We were always so competitive growing up, whether it was sports or other things around the house,” said Brady.
“I think that’s something we both share and something we kind of learned from one another.
“I think he did a great job that game. He’s one of those guys that with a big stage he’s usually the best player. That’s just the type of guy he is. In a matter of first-place games, he’s going to show up.”
The hockey world needs more Tkachuks.
It needs more characters.
“I would agree with that,” said Flames GM Brad Treliving.
“Look back in time and there were the villains. We’ve sanitized it a bit. There’s nothing wrong with emotion.
I love how he plays with emotion and it gets our team engaged. We certainly don’t want him changing. He’s a throwback.”
Just like dear ol’ Dad.
Sportsnet announces revised schedule for postponed NHL games – Sportsnet.ca
Sportsnet and the NHL have announced changes to the broadcast schedule for the 2021-22 NHL season. The changes account for a large number of games that were postponed in recent weeks due to a surge of COVID-19 cases across the league.
As a result, the following updates have been made to Sportsnet’s national and regional broadcast schedules. Please note that all times are Eastern.
For the most up-to-date broadcast schedule, please visit our TV Listings page.
For a complete list of every game rescheduled by the NHL on Wednesday, click here.
Monday, Jan. 31
New Jersey at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., Sportsnet
Monday, Feb. 7
Carolina at Toronto, 7 p.m., Sportsnet (Rogers Hometown Hockey)
New Jersey at Ottawa, 7 p.m., Sportsnet ONE (Rogers Hometown Hockey)
Wednesday, Feb. 9
Chicago at Edmonton, 8 p.m., Sportsnet (Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey)
Vegas at Calgary, 9:30 p.m., Sportsnet ONE
Saturday, Feb. 12
Columbus at Montreal, 12:30 p.m., Sportsnet (Hometown Hockey)
Boston at Ottawa, 12:30 p.m., Sportsnet ONE (Hometown Hockey)
Toronto at Vancouver, 7 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada and Hockey Night in Canada: Punjabi)
Winnipeg at Nashville, 7 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada)
NY Islanders at Calgary, 10 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada)
Sunday, Feb. 13
Buffalo at Montreal, 12:30 p.m., Sportsnet (Hometown Hockey)
Ottawa at Washington, 12:30 p.m., Sportsnet ONE (Hometown Hockey)
Monday, Feb. 14
Toronto at Seattle, 9 p.m., Sportsnet
Chicago at Winnipeg, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West
Edmonton at San Jose, 10:30 p.m., Sportsnet ONE
Tuesday, Feb. 15
Edmonton at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 16
Minnesota at Winnipeg, 7 p.m., Sportsnet (Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey)
Anaheim at Calgary, 9:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 17
Anaheim at Edmonton, 9 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 19
St. Louis at Toronto, 7 p.m., Sportsnet and CityTV (Hockey Night in Canada and Hockey Night in Canada: Punjabi)
Boston at Ottawa, 7 p.m., Sportsnet ONE (Hockey Night in Canada)
Seattle at Calgary, 10 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada)
Anaheim at Vancouver, 10 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada)
Sunday, Feb. 20
Minnesota at Edmonton, 8 p.m., Sportsnet ONE
Monday, Feb. 21
Toronto at Montreal, 7 p.m., Sportsnet
Seattle at Vancouver, 10 p.m., Sportsnet
Wednesday, Feb. 23
Buffalo at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Monday, March 7
Toronto at Columbus, 7 p.m., Sportsnet
Edmonton at Calgary, 9:30 p.m., Sportsnet
Monday, April 4
Toronto at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m., Sportsnet
Monday, April 18
Calgary at Chicago, 8 p.m., Sportsnet (Hometown Hockey)
Dallas at Vancouver, 10:30 p.m., Sportsnet (Hometown Hockey)
Wednesday, April 27
Montreal at NY Rangers, 7:30 p.m. (Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey)
Tuesday, Feb. 8
Vegas at Edmonton, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West (Oilers region)
Arizona at Vancouver, 10 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific (Canucks region)
Wednesday, Feb. 9
NY Islanders at Vancouver, 10:30 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific (Canucks region)
Thursday, Feb. 10
Toronto at Calgary, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West (Flames region)
Friday, Feb. 11
NY Islanders at Edmonton, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West (Oilers region)
Tuesday, Feb. 15
Columbus at Calgary, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West (Flames region)
Thursday, Feb. 17
Pittsburgh at Toronto, 7 p.m., Sportsnet Ontario (Maple Leafs region)
Vancouver at San Jose, 10:30 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific (Canucks region)
Saturday, Feb. 19
Edmonton at Winnipeg, 4 p.m., Sportsnet West (Oilers region)
Monday, Feb. 21
Winnipeg at Calgary, 4 p.m., Sportsnet West (Flames region)
Tuesday, Feb. 22
Toronto at Columbus, 7 p.m., Sportsnet Ontario (Maple Leafs region)
Tuesday, April 19
Calgary at Nashville, 8 p.m., Sportsnet West (Flames region)
Ottawa at Vancouver, 10 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific (Canucks region)
'Strongest team in all of snowboarding': Canadian squad named for Beijing Olympics – CBC Sports
Canadian snowboarders brought home four medals at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
The team looking to build on that number was announced by Canada Snowboard on Wednesday, including all four previous medallists — Sébastien Toutant (the lone gold medallist), Max Parrot, Mark McMorris and Laurie Blouin.
Joining them in slopestyle and big air are Darcy Sharpe, Brooke Voigt and Jasmine Baird. Meanwhile, the halfpipe team features Derek Livingston, Brooke D’Hondt and Elizabeth Hosking.
Missing from that list is Liam Brearley, the emerging 18-year-old who won a medal in all three disciplines at the 2020 Youth Olympics. Brearley, of Gravenhurst, Ont., was victim of a roster crunch, as Canada earned the maximum four quota spots in slopestyle and big air.
Megan Farrell and Arnaud Gaudet will compete in parallel giant slalom, while the snowboard cross squad includes Zoe Bergermann, Tess Critchlow, Meryeta O’Dine, Audrey McManiman, Eliot Grondin, Kevin Hill and Liam Moffatt.
CBC snowboard analyst Craig McMorris, the older brother of Mark McMorris, said the Canadians should be a force.
“I think it is the strongest team in all of snowboarding, especially in male slopestyle and big air with Max Parrot, Sebastien Toutant and Mark McMorris all returning for their third Games. The skill is there. And the veteran wisdom and experience is there as well,” he said.
The omission of Brearley reveals the overwhelming strength of the men’s slopestyle and big air squad. Toutant and McMorris both sit in the top five of World Snowboard’s slopestyle ranking, while Parrot is ranked first and McMorris fifth in big air.
Parrot pre-qualified for the Olympic team before the season began in October, with the stipulation that he remain in the top-30 of rankings. He has since not competed in World Cup races, freezing his ranking in place.
The final decision may have come down to Sharpe vs. Brearley, with each similarly ranked in the two disciplines.
“[Sharpe] was out for a long time and his points freeze, then he comes back and his points unfreeze but then he gets COVID so he can’t compete, and that was crucial in deciding the team. So I feel like it was an extremely, extremely tough job,” McMorris said.
WATCH | Mark McMorris discusses difficulties of qualifying in pandemic:
Parrot, the Bromont, Que., native who won slopestyle silver in 2018, is a recent cancer survivor.
The 27-year-old was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma about 10 months after the Olympics but returned to competition less than a year later, winning X Games big air gold in the process.
Mark McMorris, the 28-year-old from Regina, enters his third Games looking to upgrade on the bronze he won each of the past two times — this time free of a near-fatal crash directly in his rearview mirror.
Toutant, 29, of L’Assomption, Que., experienced an eventful Pyeongchang Olympics as he recovered from a last-place finish in slopestyle to become the big air champion.
WATCH | CBC Sports’ Returning Champions series features Sébastien Toutant:
Blouin back for more
On the women’s side, Blouin, 25, overcame some adversity in Pyeongchang herself after a crash in training left her participation in the Games at all in question.
But the Quebec City native bounced back in a big way en route to earning slopestyle silver.
“I’m really happy, it seems like 2018 was yesterday and now it’s crazy that we’re already looking ahead to the next Olympics,” Blouin said.
Along with McMorris and Sharpe, Blouin is set to compete at the winter X Games beginning Friday in Aspen, Colo., as part of her Olympic tuneup.
WATCH | Blouin takes slopestyle bronze at Calgary World Cup:
D’Hondt, 16, is projected to be the youngest Canadian athlete in Beijing.
“It doesn’t feel real yet. I’m so grateful for this opportunity, and couldn’t be more excited to represent my country in Beijing,” D’Hondt said.
Meanwhile, Craig McMorris suggested that Baird, the 22-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., could be an emerging star for Canada.
“I don’t think she has the tricks to be on the podium yet, but she’s still super young. So I think after these Games, if she still keeps going and training at the rate she is and learning, I think she’ll definitely be a threat in 2026,” he said.
- Brooke D’Hondt — Calgary (halfpipe)
- Elizabeth Hosking — Longueuil, Que. (halfpipe)
- Megan Farrell — Richmond Hill, Ont. (parallel giant slalom)
- Jasmine Baird — Georgetown, Ont. (slopestyle/big air)
- Laurie Blouin— Québec City (slopestyle/big air)
- Brooke Voigt — Fort McMurray, Alta. (slopestyle/big air)
- Zoe Bergermann — Erin, Ont. (snowboard cross)
- Tess Critchlow — Big White, B.C. (snowboard cross)
- Meryeta O’Dine — Prince George, B.C. (snowboard cross)
- Audrey McManiman — St-Ambroise-de-Kildare, Que. (snowboard cross)
- Derek Livingston — Aurora, Ont. (halfpipe)
- Arnaud Gaudet — Montcalm, Que. (parallel giant slalom)
- Mark McMorris — Regina (slopestyle/big air)
- Max Parrot — Bromont, Que. (slopestyle/big air)
- Darcy Sharpe — Comox, B.C. (slopestyle/big air)
- Sébastien Toutant — L’Assomption, Que. (slopestyle/big air)
- Eliot Grondin — Sainte-Marie, Que. (snowboard cross)
- Kevin Hill — Vernon, B.C. (snowboard cross)
- Liam Moffatt — Truro, N.S. (snowboard cross)
Shapovalov rallies to win second-round match at Australian Open – Sportsnet.ca
Canada’s Denis Shapovalov is heading to the third round of the Australian Open for the third time in the past four years after notching a come-from-behind victory on Wednesday.
Shapovalov survives in five
@denis_shapo prevails in an epic 7-6(6) 6-7(3) 6-7(6) 7-5 6-2 battle with Soonwoo Kwon after four hours and 25 minutes!#AusOpen #AO2022
: @wwos • @espn @eurosport @wowowtennis pic.twitter.com/OvOtSIOMdh
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2022
The No. 14 seed, from Richmond Hill, Ont., rallied for a 7-6 (6), 6-7 (3), 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-2 win over world No. 54 Kwon Soon-woo of South Korea.
The match lasted four hours 25 minutes.
After failing to convert on two set points in the third set, Shapovalov broke his opponent in the final game of the fourth set and did so again to take a 2-0 lead in the decider.
“It was difficult getting over the second and third set because I had a lot of chances in both sets,” Shapovalov said. “Lot of opportunities that just weren’t going my way. But I did a good job of flipping the script, kept fighting and I was really happy to get away with it.”
Shapovalov had 29 aces, 26 more than Kwon. The Canadian had 81 winners, but also made 77 unforced errors.
Shapovalov will face No. 23 seed Reilly Opelka of the United States in the third round. Shapovalov never has advanced past the third round at the first Grand Slam of the season.
No. 9 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal plays his second-round match on Thursday against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain.
No Canadian women are left in the singles draw after Leylah Fernandez and Rebecca Marino lost in the first round on Tuesday.
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