During his three seasons with Sault Ste. Marie in the OHL, Barrett Hayton never lost to London winning all nine games he played against Dale Hunter and the Knights. That perfect record was a point of discussion during Team Canada’s summer camp at the World Junior Showcase.
“He was on me a bit about that,” Hayton said with a smile. “He actually brought it up. I don’t have that in me to throw that out there. He just brought it up and it was a funny, little joke.”
Hayton scored four goals and added three assists in two games against London last season.
“I said, ‘Take it easy on us,'” Hunter recalled with a laugh. “It’s a good thing he didn’t come back.”
Instead, Hayton made the Arizona Coyotes. Canada has five returning players at the World Juniors, but only Hayton has NHL experience on his resume.
“It makes a big difference,” said Hunter. “He’s one of those kids who absorbs so he’s watching everything and he’s here and he’s working his tail off and he’s ready to go. On and off the ice he’s a character kid and everybody looks up to him.”
In a team meeting before Wednesday’s practice, Hunter officially named Hayton captain of Team Canada with Flint centre Ty Dellandrea, Grand Rapids centre Joe Veleno and Spokane defenceman Ty Smith serving as alternates.
“Just incredibly honoured,” said Hayton, who wore the ‘C’ with the Greyhounds last season. “This is the tournament you grew up watching and you idolized the guys who played here so to be able to lead this team and lead the group we have is a special feeling. Having that responsibility is something I love and have a lot of pride in.”
The 19-year-old from Peterborough, Ont. possesses the blend of skill and grittiness that Hunter hopes will become the identity of this year’s Team Canada.
“He’s hard to play against,” noted Dellandrea. “He has that skill and poise with the puck, but what is underrated is how hard he works and how aggressive he is too. So, a lot of people think of him as a skill guy, always playing with the puck, but he’s tough and aggressive and I think that’s underrated about him.”
The NHL experience also carries a lot of weight inside the dressing room.
“His presence,” said Dellandrea when asked what stands out, “the way he carries himself, everybody listens to him.”
Hayton scored a goal and recorded three assists in 14 games with the Coyotes before being loaned to Hockey Canada for the World Juniors. Those months spent in the NHL accelerated his development.
“It’s the best league in the world,” Hayton said as his eyes lit up. “It’s an incredible league. The biggest thing for me was just the guys I was surrounded with. There’s so many tremendous leaders, it’s a great group there, there’s a lot of older guy and some young guys and they’ve all been incredible for me in learning how to carry yourself, learning how to take care of yourself, learning how to play on the ice, it’s really everything. It’s a whole package of learning.”
Hunter didn’t name a starting goalie on Wednesday, but whoever gets the call – Guelph’s Nico Daws or Portland’s Joel Hofer – will be playing for Canada at an international tournament for the first time.
Does the lack of experience matter?
“It’s a big setting, very intimidating, I guess you could say, but I’m just here to stop pucks,” Daws said. “I don’t think it really matters too much aside from the bigger ice. No matter what jersey you’re wearing you’re still doing the same thing.”
Daws has done that thing very well this season posting a .939 save percentage in the OHL and carrying that into Canada’s camp where he has a .942 save percentage in his four appearances.
As for intimidating settings, Daws has some experience with that thanks to the Barrie Colts, who visited Guelph on Dec. 6 and seemed determined to get under his skin.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” Daws said. “They just came into the game and they were hitting me. I got hammered behind the net when I was playing the puck, they were yelling at me and trying to get in my head. I was told before the game even started that the first shot was going to go in. It didn’t really work out too well for them.”
Daws stopped all 39 shots he faced and was the first star in a 4-0 Storm win.
“It didn’t really faze me,” he said. “You know, obviously, a little bit more motivation so it probably helped me.”
Emotions will likely run hot on Boxing Day as Canada and the United States renew their rivalry and that’s fine by Daws.
“It’s something I’ve watched my whole life,” the Burlington, Ont. native said. “It’s one of those things, you always have it out for the States and it would be cool to be a part of one of those games.”
Unlike last year when Canada throttled Denmark 14-0 in a breezy opener, this year’s first tournament encounter is full of intrigue. The United States has won a medal in four straight World Juniors and, like Canada, has five returning players.
“Playing each other I think grabs both teams’ attention right away,” said Team USA coach Scott Sandelin.
“There’s no putting your foot in the water,” said USA centre Shane Pinto. “You got to go full in and it’s going to be a tough one.”
The battle will happen on the ice and between the ears. Discipline is key and trash talk is expected.
“The boys are really hyped up,” said Veleno. “Going to be a lot of chirping and some physicality going on. It’s going to be a real good game to watch and real fun game to be a part of. We like playing in those types of games, it’s kind of the Canadian way a little bit so we’re excited.”
How does Veleno rate his chirping skills?
“Not very good,” he said with a laugh. “I just like being a part of it, hearing the other guys chirp cracks me up a little bit, but I’m not really that type of person. I don’t really talk too much on the ice.”
So, who will lead Canada’s verbal barrage?
“I got to say (Aidan) Dudas is the best one,” Veleno said. “You can speak to him and he’ll probably tell you the same thing. He’s just a tenacious little guy, who likes to stir the pot.”
When the United States finalized their roster on Monday night, Canadian defenceman Jacob Bernard-Docker sent a congratulatory text to Pinto, a fellow Ottawa Senators prospect and his teammate at the University of North Dakota. But there will be no more communication between the pair until after Thursday’s game.
“We aren’t really going to talk right now,” Pinto said.
Bernard-Docker and Pinto did speak about the World Juniors back at school, but they didn’t get too deep into it, because neither guy felt they had a spot secure. Fast forward to Christmas and Bernard-Docker is skating on Canada’s shutdown pair with Kevin Bahl while Pinto is skating with Nick Robertson and Oliver Wahlstrom, a top-six unit on Team USA.
“He’s just so poised with the puck,” Pinto said of Bernard-Docker. “He’s very mature in his game. He’s very good defensively.”
“He’s a two-way guy,” noted Bernard-Docker of Pinto, “big, has a great shot and has great vision as well.”
The mutual admiration will be put on hold as of 1 pm ET on Boxing Day.
“I know his tactics up at the point,” said Pinto, “but I don’t know if he knows mine so hopefully he kind of gets surprised by that. We’ll see.”
“I know everything he’s going to do,” Bernard-Docker said with a chuckle. “He thinks he has stuff up his sleeves, but I’m pretty sure I know his moves.”
Pinto isn’t about the slow up on the forecheck just because he’s playing against a teammate.
“I’m going to hit him,” Pinto vowed. “USA versus Canada, it’s going to be intense so, yeah, I’m going to hit him.”
Lines at Wednesday’s practice:
Power play units at Wednesday’s practice:
Lafrenière – Veleno – Hayton
Byram – Lavoie – Foote
How to Spot a Trustworthy Online Casino in Canada
Spotting a trustworthy online casino isn’t hard once you know what to look for, but until then, you better hold off on signing up or making a deposit. This quick guide on how to find a reputable online casino will cover five different factors you can evaluate to determine whether or not a casino is trustworthy. While you could just use a site like the trusted source WikiHow that lists the best online casinos Canada, it does help to be able to evaluate the trustworthiness of casinos on your own. Likewise, you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet. Casino review sites are a great resource, but it doesn’t hurt to also do a little digging of your own. Without further delay, here’s a quick and easy guide on how to spot a trustworthy online casino.
Checking for Proper Licensing and Regulation
One of the first things you should do when assessing the trustworthiness of the best online casinos Canada is to check for proper licensing and regulation. Reputable online casinos are licensed by recognized regulatory bodies such as the Malta Gaming Authority, the UK Gambling Commission, or the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. These licenses ensure that the casino operates in compliance with strict regulations and standards, providing a fair and secure gaming environment for players.
Never play at a casino that does not have a license or whose license is unverifiable. The easiest way to verify a license is to head to the licensor’s website and cross-check their registry with the name of the casino you’re looking at. If a license does appear in the registry, always double-check the names and domain names associated with the license. Some scam sites use domains that look similar to real casinos and act as if they are operating under their license. When in doubt, head to the URL listed on the license you find in the registry to be sure that you’re at the right site.
Evaluating the Casino’s Security Measures
Examining the Casino’s Game Selection
Game selection is another important factor to consider when choosing from the best online casinos Canada. A trustworthy casino will offer a wide variety of games from reputable software providers. Look for popular titles from well-known developers such as Microgaming, NetEnt, and Playtech. Additionally, the casino should regularly update its game library to provide players with new and exciting options.
Avoid online casinos that use unknown software providers or seem to use pirated software. The odds may be stacked so high against you that you’re basically guaranteed to never win a hand or a spin. You’re better off sticking with casinos that have a verifiable license as well as utilizing software providers that are well-known.
Verifying the Casino’s Customer Support
Good customer support is essential for a positive online casino experience. A trustworthy casino will have a responsive and knowledgeable support team available to assist you with any queries or concerns. Look for casinos that offer multiple support channels, such as live chat, email, and telephone. Additionally, check for the casino’s operating hours to ensure that support is available when you need it. You should also try and give their customer support a test run. By simply asking their 24/7 Live Chat simple questions about the site, you can get a feel for their response time and overall knowledge. Sites with poor customer service will often take a long time to connect to an agent and be unable to answer even the simplest of queries.
Looking for Fair and Transparent Bonus Terms
Bonuses and promotions are a common feature of online casinos, but it’s important to carefully review the terms and conditions associated with these offers. A trustworthy casino will have fair and transparent bonus terms, clearly outlining the wagering requirements, maximum bet limits, and any other conditions that apply. Avoid casinos that have overly restrictive or confusing bonus terms, as this may indicate a lack of transparency.
In conclusion, when looking for a trustworthy online casino, it’s important to consider factors such as proper licensing and regulation, security measures, game selection, customer support, and bonus terms. By taking the time to evaluate these aspects, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable gaming experience. Remember to always gamble responsibly and set limits for yourself to avoid any potential issues.
Canadiens acquire Tanner Pearson, trade Casey DeSmith to Canucks
A third-round pick in 2025 also goes to Montreal in the deal completed Tuesday.
Pearson hasn’t played since suffering a broken hand last November during a game in Montreal.
Pearson, 31, had one goal and four assists in 14 games last season.
In 590 career games with the Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings, Pearson has 133 goals and 139 assists for 272 points.
The Kings picked the Barrie Colts product in the first round (30th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.
Pearson is in the final year of a three-year contract with a cap hit of $3.25 million.
DeSmith, 32, has been with the Pittsburgh Penguins since 2017-18. He was acquired by the Canadians in a three-team deal also involving the San Jose Sharks last month.
DeSmith was 15-16-4 with a 3.17 goals-against average and .905 save percentage last season.
In 134 career games, the undrafted DeSmith is 58-44-15 with a 2.81 GAA and .912 save percentage.
DeSmith is on the final year of a two-year deal with a cap hit of $1.8 million.
Blue Jackets GM, president admit fault in Babcock debacle, reveal more red flags
Days after Mike Babcock was accused of inappropriate workplace conduct by podcast host Paul Bissonette — with the retired NHL player claiming Babcock was forcing players to airplay personal photos on television in his office — Columbus Blue Jackets management addressed the debacle in a tense press conference at Nationwide Arena.
“It’s on us. It’s on me…. Sometimes you flat-out make a mistake. We made a mistake,” said Blue Jackets president of hockey ops John Davidson, per Associated Press reporter Stephen Whyno.
“Maybe they were right,” Davidson said of people who were critical of Mike Babcock’s hiring in the first place.
Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen, meanwhile. said he apologized to Blue Jackets players this morning for hiring the embattled head coach.
“I believe that Mike Babcock deserved another opportunity to coach,” Kekalainen said. “Obviously that was a mistake and that responsibility’s mine.”
Still, even with the talk of accountability, Kekalainen detailed what should’ve been a red flag: Babcock apparently pulled the same phone stunt he was accused of pulling with his players on the 57-year-old executive.
GM Jarmo Kekalainen said Mike Babcock did the phone thing with him as well. “Personally I had no problem with it but I can see how it might put someone in an uncomfortable situation.”
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) September 18, 2023
But while Kekalainen stated he doesn’t believe there was any ill intent behind Babcock’s actions, he admitted that some of his players were not comfortable with his methods and that was concerning.
Blue Jackets majority owner John H. McConnell announced in a team-issued statement Monday morning that he does not anticipate further changes to the team’s leadership, erasing speculation that one or both of Kekalainen and Davidson would end up on the chopping block alongside Babcock.
“Additional disruptions would be detrimental to our players and coaches as they prepare for the opening of training camp in two days,” McConnell’s statement read.
To say this story escalated rapidly would be the understatement of the century. Initially, it seemed like it would die quickly after both Babcock and captain Boone Jenner released statements through the team on Wednesday morning refuting the Spittin’ Chiclets host’s version of events.
Both Columbus’ captain and the now-former coach described their encounter as nothing more than a way of sharing snippets of one another’s life in an effort to build a working relationship. During an appearance on the 32 Thoughts Podcast on the same day as Jenner and Babcock condemned Bissonette’s comments, Blue Jackets star winger Johnny Gaudreau gave a similar account to Jenner when asked about his photo-exchange meet-and-greet with Babcock.
But the story didn’t end there, obviously, with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting things changed on Wednesday night when the NHLPA received information that some of the younger Blue Jackets players were uncomfortable with their interactions with Babcock.
Friedman later reported that the information gathered on Wednesday night prompted NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh and assistant executive director Ron Hainsey to begin an investigation before flying out to Columbus and leading what was described as an “intense” meeting.
On Friday, Walsh and Hainsey relayed their findings during a joint meeting with the NHL and NHLPA. Saturday was arguably the quietest day of the scandal in the public eye, according to ESPN’s Greg Wyshinski, because that’s the day Columbus and Babcock started plotting his exit.
By Sunday, the Blue Jackets announced that Babcock had resigned and Pascal Vincent would be taking over as the team’s head coach.
Vincent, 51, had served as the Blue Jackets’ associate coach since the 2021-22 season. Before joining Columbus, Vincent spent 10 seasons with the Winnipeg Jets organization, serving as an NHL assistant for the first half of his tenure before pivoting to head coach of the organization’s AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose. Vincent was named AHL Coach Of The Year for the 2017-18 season.
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