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Canada steamrolls Germany to open world junior hockey championship – Sportsnet.ca

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EDMONTON — Dylan Cozens scored a hat trick and had three assists in Canada’s 16-2 win over Germany to open the world junior men’s hockey championship Saturday.

Dawson Mercer, Philip Tomasino, Alex Newhook and Peyton Krebs each scored twice for the host country.

Kaiden Guhle, Ryan Suzuki, Jakob Pelletier, Thomas Harley and Connor McMichael also scored for Canada.

John Peterka and Florian Elias countered for the Germans in front of Rogers Place devoid of spectators because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nine German players were isolating in hotel rooms Saturday because of positive tests for the virus upon arrival in Edmonton.

Germany played 14 skaters — nine forwards and five defencemen — for a second game in as many days after falling 5-3 to Finland on Christmas Day.

Canada exploited defensive and goaltending mistakes by the fatigued Germans in Saturday’s lone Pool A game.

Canada’s 16 goals in a single tournament game was two back of the record of 18 set in both 1985 and 1986.

The defending champions face Slovakia (1-0) on Sunday.

Jonas Gahr replaced German starter Arno Tiefensee after one period and allowed 12 goals on 33 shots.

Tiefensee gave up four goals on 11 shots following a 45-save outing versus Finland the previous day.

Canada’s Devon Levi stopped eight of nine shots over two periods for the win. Dylan Garand played the third turning away five of six.

Sweden opened Pool B with a 7-1 thumping of Austria on Saturday.

The top four teams in each pool advance to the Jan. 2 quarterfinals, followed by semifinals Jan. 4 and the medal games Jan. 5.

Canada overwhelmed Germany scoring seven times on Gahr in Saturday’s second period. The Canadians’ goal celebrations muted as the score became lopsided.

German captain Tim Stuetzle had the energy, however, to check Bowen Byram over the boards and into Canada’s team bench toward the end of the period.

Krebs scored Canada’s fourth in the dying seconds of the first period. Germany argued the clock had expired, but officials ruled Krebs scored a power-play goal at 19:59.

Gahr and Tiefensee both misplaying the puck behind the German net led to a pair of Canadian goals, including Mercer’s wraparound short-hander in the first period.

McMichael also scored a short-handed goal in the third period.

Canada’s Braden Schneider was ejected before the game was nine minutes old. The defenceman’s shoulder check caught Jan-Luca Schumacher’s head for a major penalty and game misconduct.

Three Germans are eligible to leave quarantine Sunday followed by another five on Tuesday. One player is in isolation until the day before the tournament ends Jan. 5.

Canadian captain Kirby Dach is sidelined for the tournament because of a wrist injury sustained in a pre-tournament against Russia.

Head coach Andre Tourigny will alternate the captaincy between Byram and Cozens with McMichael a full-time alternate. Byram wore the C on Saturday.

The loss of Dach also meant reshuffling Canada’s forward lines. Cozens shifted to the wing of Newhook and left-winger Dylan Holloway. McMichael was promoted to top-line centre.

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Markstrom's shutout lifts Flames over Canucks – TSN

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CALGARY — Jacob Markstrom overcame the oddness of playing against his former Vancouver Canucks teammates with a 32-save shutout for the Calgary Flames in a 3-0 win Saturday.

Sean Monahan, Dillon Dube and Matthew Tkachuk scored power-play goals in Calgary’s home-opener, which was the first NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome since March 8, 2020 for a span of 10 months and eight days.

Canada’s NHL clubs are playing in empty arenas to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“Unfortunately there’s no fans in the stands, but hopefully there’s a lot of people watching and enjoyed the win,” Markstrom said. “It’s special playing my old team too.”

Vancouver goaltender Braden Holtby stopped 32 of 35 shots in the loss.

Flames off-season acquisitions Markstrom, defenceman Chris Tanev and forward Josh Leivo faced their former club in the first of 10 meetings this season.

Markstrom played a combined 243 regular-season and playoff games for the Canucks, while Tanev spent 10 seasons and Leivo his last two in Vancouver.

“It’s weirder than I thought it was going to be,” Markstrom said. “It’s weird seeing the team you played for a long time on the other side, but I just tried to stay focused on the puck and tried to do my part.”

Both Markstrom and Tanev made life difficult for their former club. Tanev led the Flames in blocked shots with eight, including three when Calgary was short-handed.

“He’s been doing it for me every since I came to Vancouver,” Markstrom said. “It’s a great fit for him here.

“Guys love him already and they see why I loved him so much as a teammate before. I’m lucky to have him with me here in Calgary.

Calgary scored three power-play goals on six chances and held Vancouver to 0-for-4.

“I liked our game defensively five-on-five. Offensively I didn’t like our game,” Canucks coach Travis Green said. “We didn’t create enough and special teams were the difference.”

Tkachuk had time to go backhand to forehand on a Johnny Gaudreau rebound and beat Holtby’s outstretched right pad at 15:16 of the third period.

Andrew Mangiapane sent a behind-the-back backhanded feed across the high slot for Dube to rifle over Holtby’s shoulder at 16:22 of the second.

The hosts killed off a Canucks two-man advantage for 81 seconds in the opening period. Markstrom turned away three shots and Tanev blocked two attempts during it.

Tkachuk on Holtby’s left fed Monahan in the slot for a power-play goal at 8:31.

The Canucks (1-2-0) played their third road game in four nights to start the regular season. They get another chance to solve their former goaltender Monday in Calgary before returning to Vancouver.

“He played really well tonight. Not going to say he didn’t,” Canucks forward Bo Horvat said. “He stole games like that for us in previous years so we know how he can be.

“We’ve got to get in his eyes and create havoc in front of the net and we didn’t do that in front of him tonight.”

Calgary (1-0-1) has a more gentle start to its regular season with a five-day break following Monday’s rematch.

The Flames paid tribute to team president Ken King, who died March 11, and Calgary Police Service Sgt. Andrew Harnett who was killed while working New Year’s Eve.

Notes: Former Flames defenceman Travis Hamonic returned to the Saddledome wearing Canuck colours . . . Flames goaltender David Rittich dressed Saturday after sitting out the season-opener because of family issues . . . Off-season acquisition Dominik Simon made his Flames debut Saturday . . . Calgary is 9-8-3 in home openers since the turn of the century.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021.

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Maple Leafs’ Spezza will retire if claimed on waivers, agent says – Sportsnet.ca

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TORONTO — Jason Spezza simply can’t see himself playing anywhere else.

The veteran centre is so entrenched with the Toronto Maple Leafs that he’d rather walk away from the sport than report to another team that claims him off the waiver wire, according to agent Rick Curran.

“He’ll simply retire,” Curran told Sportsnet on Sunday.

The Leafs placed Spezza and No. 3 goaltender Aaron Dell on waivers as part of roster maneuvering needed to create flexibility in the wake of a left knee injury to Nick Robertson. The NHL’s other 30 teams have until noon ET on Monday to put in a claim.

While Dell is likely headed elsewhere — there’ve been four claims involving goaltenders already in this young NHL season — Spezza intends to stay in Toronto no matter what happens.

The 37-year-old relishes the role he’s carved out with his hometown Leafs and holds the cards here: In the event he was claimed by another team and refused to report, he’d likely see his $700,000 contract terminated.

That would allow him to sign another deal in Toronto.

Spezza said there was “unfinished business” when he returned to the Leafs on a second straight one-year contract in October, and understood at the time that a roster move like the one that occurred Sunday was possible because of the team’s salary cap position, according to Curran.

He’s taken on a mentorship role inside the organization — skating with Robertson and other prospects at the team’s practice facility throughout the off-season — while happily embracing a depth position on the roster.

Spezza is averaging 7:44 through three games and picked up his 600th career NHL assist in the season opener. He won all 10 faceoffs he took during Saturday’s 3-2 victory in Ottawa.

“To me, it’s special to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs,” Spezza said in September. “Being a Toronto boy, it’s something that I dreamed of, and you wanted to be a part of something special.

“I didn’t take for granted any days that I got to put the jersey on.”

He may get to do that again as soon as Monday night, when the Winnipeg Jets visit Scotiabank Arena — assuming he goes unclaimed.

The Leafs’ decision to place Spezza on waivers was tied directly to the knee injury Robertson suffered in Ottawa, the extent of which will be known following an MRI on Sunday. It temporarily left Toronto with only 17 healthy skaters on the active roster, forcing the team to make additional moves in order to bring up reinforcements from the taxi squad.

Spezza, the No. 2 pick in the 2001 draft, has appeared in more than 1,200 career NHL games and remains very much in the Leafs’ plans.

They remain in his, too.

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Maple Leafs' Spezza will retire if claimed on waivers, agent says – Sportsnet.ca

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TORONTO — Jason Spezza will retire if another NHL team claims him off the waiver wire, according to agent Rick Curran.

The Toronto Maple Leafs put the veteran centre and No. 3 goaltender Aaron Dell on waivers Sunday as part of roster maneuvering needed to create flexibility in the wake of a knee injury to Nick Robertson.

But Spezza, playing for his hometown team on a league-minimum $700,000 contract, has no intention of continuing his career anywhere else.

“He’ll simply retire,” Curran told Sportsnet.

The 37-year-old Spezza is in his second season with the Leafs and understood this kind of roster move was possible when he signed another deal with Toronto in October, according to Curran. He’s happy to serve a depth role for the organization — helping mentor younger players while playing fourth-line minutes.

Spezza is averaging 7:44 in the first three games with one assist. He won all 10 faceoffs he took during Saturday’s 3-2 victory in Ottawa.

Robertson suffered a left knee injury against the Senators and is due to undergo an MRI on Sunday to determine the extent of the damage. That left Toronto with only 17 healthy skaters on the active roster, forcing the team to make moves in order to bring up another body from the taxi squad.

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