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Ottawa Senators dump the Montreal Canadiens



The Montreal Canadiens held the Ottawa Senators to only five shots for the first half of the game, but the Senators woke up in the third period, scoring three unanswered for a 5-2 win.

Wilde Horses 

There aren’t many nights in the Canadiens season where one is not pleasantly reminded of the great work of Kent Hughes so far as General Manager. He has not made a single mistake while clearly making some winning moves already.

Kirby Dach for the 13th pick in the draft is already a massive win as Dach is having a breakout season at centre. Ben Chiarot for a first round draft pick is also a huge win as Florida is a long shot to make the playoffs, meaning that pick is going to be top-15.

Sean Monahan arrived for another first round draft pick from Calgary, which looks like it is going to be higher than expected as that team seems to be trending lower in the standings.

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Another winning moment is the Mike Matheson for Jeff Petry trade. Hughes was able to get maximum return even when Petry demanded a trade, backing the Canadiens GM into a corner. Hughes still came out with a giant win.

Petry is 35. His career is winding down. The Pittsburgh Penguins are rumoured to be trying to move him. Matheson is 28 and is in the prime of his career.

In Saturday’s game, Matheson went end-to-end, finishing a rush by moving around Thomas Chabot like he was a pylon. Matheson scored on his own rebound.

Matheson looks like a first pair defender many nights. Petry looks like it’s nearly over for him. What a trade by Hughes. These are the building blocks of success.

The Canadiens have so many young pieces playing well. Nick Suzuki went through a stretch of fatigue mid-season, but he has found his game again. Suzuki made a deke that left Mads Sogaard’s head spinning for his 20th goal of the season. Suzuki has scored in three straight games.

Wilde Goats 

Win or lose, this Canadiens team, without 10 regulars, is impressive. Martin St. Louis has this team of half Montreal/half Laval holding the Senators to five shots in the first half of the game. It is remarkable the hockey they are putting in.

The players from the Rocket aren’t even great prospects compared to the ones coming down the pike in the next three seasons. The prospects have a lot more skill and pedigree than the likes of Pitlick, Pezzetta, and Harvey-Pinard excelling now for Montreal.

It is as if something powerfully right is happening within the organization. It would be nice for a higher draft pick if this ‘something right’ could hold off for about 20 games, but an organic change happens when it happens. It can’t be controlled.

It is easy to see the excitement of the players when they score, and the camaraderie when they communicate. They tug on their crest when they are proud. The head coach celebrates with them when they succeed.

None of this is supposed to be happening with this line-up. The club is two games over .500 since the all-star break with the hardest ‘strength of schedule’ in the entire league. Imagine what they could do with ten more NHLers like a healthy Cole Caufield, Kaiden Guhle, and Kirby Dach.

Bizarre, but the rebuild is happening too fast. They may not even draft top-ten. The third period was a great respite for Team Tank with Ottawa’s surge, but Team Rebuild has been the bigger winner in February.

Wilde Cards 

It can occasionally be a good idea in hockey circles to remind everyone what the percentages of success are for draft picks in the NHL.

This afternoon, the Winnipeg Jets acquired Nino Niederreiter, so the speculation immediately began who won the deal when the Nashville Predators received a second round draft pick in return.

The pick the Predators acquired will likely be at around the 50 spot for the 2024 NHL draft. Who won the deal depends on how successful that draft pick will be in the NHL. The odds do not favour that player.

The math shows a player taken in the second half of the second round has only a 20 per cent chance of making the league as a regular. The player has only a two per cent chance of becoming a star.

The Jets likely won the deal because they received Niederreiter, who has a contract for this and next season. He is proven and immediately makes the Jets a better team for their playoff run.

The Predators will hope that somehow they beat bad math with the draft pick they eventually make.

Keep this in mind when the Canadiens are making their own moves at the trading deadline. If the player is an unrestricted free agent, then whatever can be attained is a good return. As an example, Evgenii Dadonov traded for a 10 per cent chance of making a good draft pick is better than him leaving the team for no return at all.

However, a player under contract for next season must return real value from the marketplace. A first round draft choice, even at the 30 spot in the overall order, has a 50 per cent chance of being an NHL regular. That’s the goal for Montreal – to somehow get a first rounder for an asset that is under contract and has already proven that he has an NHL pedigree.

Fans love to hope for a miracle in the draft where that gem is found late, like Henrik Zetterberg. It does happen, but it is a one in 100 event. The other 99 times, the player is a difficult trivia question during a night of fun with your mates.

Brian Wilde, a Montreal-based sports writer, brings you Call of the Wilde on after each Canadiens game.


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Juan Brunetta has a goal and an assist to lead Liga MX All-Stars over MLS All-Stars 4-1




COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Juan Brunetta and Maximiliano Meza scored a minute apart in the second half, and Mexico’s Liga MX All-Stars beat the Major League Soccer All-Stars 4-1 in the MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday night.

Brunetta (Tigres) scored in transition in the 68th minute to make it 3-1 and set up Meza (Monterrey) soon after in front of a record crowd of 20,931 at Field.

It was the first MLS All-Star Game victory for Liga MX in three tries. The MLS All-Stars won in 2022 and won on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw a year earlier.

“It was an incredible game,” Liga MX coach Andre Jardine said. “There were a lot of high-level players. It was a tight game. Both teams definitely came out to play. In the second half they came out with a lot of great names as well. I was a bit surprised. It was a bit difficult, especially in the first 15 minutes, but we had to adjust and ultimately it was a great game.”

There were plenty of big names on the field, but the absence of the brightest and biggest one took some luster out of the event. The league announced Monday that Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi was unable to play because of ligament damage in his right ankle.

The 2022 World Cup champion was injured while playing for Argentina in its victory over Colombia in the Copa America final on July 14.

Fans cheered when Columbus forwards combined to tie the match 1-all in the 17th minute, about a minute after Germán Berterame (Monterrey) scored for Mexico on a header.

From the left flank, Diego Rossi found Crew teammate Cucho Hernandez racing unmarked down the middle of the box for the equalizer.

“Unbelievable for me to score in front of my home fans,” Hernandez said.

Oussama Idrissi (Pachuca) made it 2-1 in the 41st with a strike from the top of the penalty area.

MLS had two chances to tie it in the 63rd when Riqui Puig (Los Angeles Galaxy) hit the crossbar and on the follow, Luca Orellano (Cincinnati) was denied on a goal-line clearance by Unai Bilbao (Tijuana).

Minutes later, Liga MX put the game out of reach.

MLS recognized the revival of the Columbus market by awarding it the All-Star Game. The Crew, a 1996 charter member, were threatened in the fall of 2017 with relocation to Austin, Texas, by then-owner Anthony Precourt.

A grassroots movement called Save the Crew drew international attention and helped persuade Cleveland Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam to buy the team and keep it in Columbus.

The Crew won the MLS Cup in 2020 and 2023, reached the final of the 2024 CONCACAF Champions Cup and opened Field in 2021, where there have been 28 straight sellouts for MLS matches.

“It shows everyone the courage of the owner,” Crew and MLS All-Stars coach Wilfried Nancy said. “Listen, this is a representation of what Columbus is and the passion for the soccer.”

The All-Star squad had five Crew players. Hernandez and Rossi were joined by midfielder Darlington Nagbe and defenders Rudy Camacho and Steven Moreira.


MLS and Liga MX continue the rivalry with the start of the Leagues Cup on Friday All 47 teams will compete in a World Cup-style format, with the championship match on Aug. 25. There will be 77 matches in the United States and Canada. Inter Miami is the defending Leagues Cup champion.


AP soccer:

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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Chelsea salvages 2-2 tie with Wrexham in friendly at Levi’s Stadium




SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Lesley Ugochukwu scored in the 82nd minute to help Chelsea salvage a 2-2 tie with Wrexham in a friendly match Wednesday night at Levi’s Stadium.

Ugochukwu rolled a shot from the middle of the box through traffic into the right corner.

Wrexham took a 2-1 lead when Jack Marriot scored on a counterattack in the 72nd minute.

Luke Bolton also scored for Wrexham, the Welsh team co-owned by Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds that was promoted this year to the third tier of English soccer.

Christopher Nkunku scored first for Chelsea in the perennial Premier League power’s first pre-season match and its first under manager, Enzo Maresca, the former Leicester City manager.

Nkunku fired a shot from the middle of the box into the left corner of the net past goalie Arthur Okonkwo in the 35th minute off an assist from Marc Guiu after a corner kick.

Wrexham tied it in the 58th minute when Bolton scored from the right wing off an assist from Sebastian Revan, who connected with Bolton on a crossing pass.

Chelsea goalkeeper Robert Sanchez blocked a breakaway shot from James McLean in the 29th minute.

Chelsea beat Wrexham 5-0 in a friendly last season.


Wrexham: Visits the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.

Chelsea: Plays the Celtic on Saturday at Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.

AP soccer:

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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Preseason Opener: Enzo Maresca’s Chelsea Takes on Wrexham



Welcome to the first match of the summer, the first preseason game, and the first chance to see Enzo Maresca’s Chelsea in action. While the main focus today is on fitness, this game will undoubtedly spark analysis and excitement among fans.

Football, sort of, is back! Let’s see how the teams line up for this highly anticipated friendly.

Chelsea Starting XI:

  • Sánchez
  • James (c)
  • Tosin
  • Badiashile
  • Colwill
  • Lavia
  • Chukwuemeka
  • Nkunku
  • Madueke
  • Guiu
  • George


  • Beach
  • Bergström
  • W. Fofana
  • Veiga
  • Acheampong
  • Gusto
  • Chilwell
  • Santos
  • Ugochukwu
  • Sterling
  • Ângelo
  • Broja

Wrexham Starting XI:

  • Okonkwo
  • Cleworth
  • Brunt
  • O’Connor
  • Bolton
  • Jones
  • Dobson
  • Lee
  • Revan
  • Palmer
  • McClean (c)


  • Howard
  • Burton
  • Boyle
  • Barnett
  • James
  • Forde
  • Evans
  • Ashfield
  • Cannon
  • Davies
  • Bickerstaff
  • Waters
  • Dalby
  • Marriott

Match Details:

  • Date / Time: Wednesday, July 24, 7pm PDT; 3am BST (next day); 7:30am IST (next day)
  • Venue: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA, USA
  • On TV: ESPN (USA); none (UK); elsewhere
  • Streaming: ESPN+ (USA); Chelsea TV (int’l pay-per-view)

Both teams will be eager to test their tactics and players ahead of the upcoming season. Chelsea fans are particularly excited to see how new manager Enzo Maresca will shape the team, while Wrexham supporters are keen to see their team perform against top-tier opposition.

Let’s see how the starting formation and tactics unfold as we get a first glimpse of what’s to come this season. Stay tuned for an exciting game!ea

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