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Canada's Einarson downs Fleury, advances to Scotties semifinals – TSN



Andrea Crawford thought she had the win until Krista McCarville snatched it away.

McCarville’s rink from Northern Ontario battled back from a four-point deficit to steal a point in the extra end to defeat Crawford’s New Brunswick team 9-8 Saturday night and earn a trip to the final of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

McCarville made two brilliant shots in the eighth end to climb back into the Page playoff 1 versus 2 game at the Canadian women’s curling championship in Thunder Bay, Ont. Crawford had a chance to win on her last rock but she hit and rolled out, giving McCarville the victory.

“We always say we’re never going to give up,” said McCarville. “If we can take them to the 10th end we’ve done our job even if we lose.

“We’re good at battling and that’s what we did. We knew we could work our magic. That three in the eighth really gave us that jump we needed.”

The Northern Ontario team of third Kendra Lilly, second Ashley Sippala and lead Sarah Potts will play the winner of Sunday’s semifinal between Crawford and Kerri Einarson’s Team Canada.

Crawford opened the scoring drawing with two in the first end. McCarville used her last rock in the second end to remove two New Brunswick stones to count three.

Crawford regained the lead with another draw for two in the third. In the fourth, she heaved a sigh of relief after navigating a narrow port to remove a Northern Ontario stone. McCarville missed the following takeout, giving New Brunswick a steal of one and a 5-3 lead.

Crawford stole another point in the fifth when McCarville’s last-rock draw was light and kissed a guard coming into the house. Northern Ontario gave up another point in the seventh after missing on a long raise.

Northern Ontario rallied in the eighth end. McCarville removed two New Brunswick stones with a raise on her first shot, then took out another on her final to score three points and slash the lead to 7-6.

Crawford had a chance for two in the ninth but had to settle for a single when she came up short on a draw. That made the score 8-6 but gave McCarville the hammer in the 10th end.

McCarville scored two in the 10th to force the extra end.

A disappointed Crawford said her rink has to prepare for Sunday’s semifinal.

“My team played really well,” she said. “I just missed a few key shots.

“We’ve had other tough games, you need to be able to park those. I’m confident we’ll be able to do that.”

McCarville, the hometown favourite who plays out of the Fort Williams Curling Club, drew cheers all night from the crowd of around 275 allowed into the building under COVID-19 protocols.

“It would mean the world to win it here,” said McCarville. “It would be the most amazing dream in the world.”

Crawford, appearing in her first playoffs in her 10th trip to the Scotties, finished the round-robin portion of the tournament second in Pool A with a 6-3 record.

The last rink from New Brunswick to reach the Scotties playoffs was Heidi Hanlon, who lost the 1991 final to B.C.’s Julie Sutton. The only New Brunswick rink to win a Canadian women’s curling championship was skipped by Mabel DeWare in 1963.

McCarville, making her ninth Scotties appearance, was third in Pool A at 5-3. She lost in the 2016 final to Chelsea Carey’s Alberta rink and finished third in 2010.

Einarson, the two-time defending champion, kept her dream of a three-peat alive with a 11-6 win over Tracy Fleury’s Wild Card 1 rink in the Page 3 versus 4 game Saturday afternoon.

That match turned in the sixth end when Fleury missed on a chip shot. With her last stone, Einarson calmly took out Fleury’s rock to score four points and take an 8-5 lead. It was the 14th time during the tournament Team Canada scored three or more points in an end.

Einarson sealed the win by stealing two in the next end.

“We made all our shots,” said Einarson. “We got a couple of misses out of them.

“We’ve been playing really all week putting lots of pressure on the opponent.”

Mistakes cost Fleury.

“I just had a couple of misses at the wrong time and Team Canada capitalized and they made a lot of shots,” she said.

Einarson’s rink of third Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard and lead Briane Meilleur from Gimli, Man., were a perfect 8-0 during the round robin before losing 8-6 to Crawford in a playoff game Friday night. They are looking to join an elite group of rinks to win three consecutive titles.

Saskatchewan’s Vera Pezer won three titles between 1971 and 1973 while Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones won championships between 2008 and 2010. Colleen Jones of Nova Scotia won four consecutive titles beginning in 2001.

Fleury’s team of third Selena Njegovan, second Liz Fyfe and lead Kristin MacCuish from the East St. Paul Curling Club in Manitoba finished first in Pool A during the round robin with a 7-1 record. They lost 8-3 to Northern Ontario Friday night.

Fleury didn’t play her first game of the championship until Thursday after being forced to isolate following a positive COVID-19 test before the tournament. Njegovan took over the skipping duties for the team that leads both the Canadian and world rankings.

Due to COVID-19 concerns the round-robin portion of the tournament was held in an empty Fort Williams Gardens without fans or media in the building. A limited number of volunteers registered for the competition and junior curlers from the area were allowed to attend the playoffs.

The Scotties champion will represent Canada at the 2022 Women’s Curling Championship in Prince George, B.C., from March 19-27.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 5, 2022.

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Defiant Serena Williams takes aim at Wimbledon title – The Globe and Mail



Serena Williams practices on Centre Court ahead of the 2022 Wimbledon Championship at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, in London, England, on June 24.Adam Davy/The Associated Press

Since she hasn’t done this for a while, Serena Williams was not in top press-conference form this weekend.

At her best, Williams may be the most electric speaker in sport. She bops between playfulness and simmering rage, often in the space of a single question. The way she stares through questioners puts most of them on the stammering defensive before they’ve said anything.

But now back at Wimbledon after what was essentially a sabbatical year, she lacked that mojo. Short answers. Less cheek. Zero flashes of annoyance.

Then a German reporter tossed her a softball: “What would be a good outcome for you?”

Williams is 40. She hasn’t played a meaningful singles match since blowing her hamstring at this tournament last year. She’s only here because Wimbledon gave her a free pass.

“Oh yes,” Williams said, like she’d been waiting for this one. She closed her eyes and lowered her voice to a purr. “You know the answer to that. Come on now.”

Laughter in the room. An amused eyeroll from the star.

Then someone else followed with the same question asked a slightly different way and Williams iced him with the same answer: “You guys know the answer to that.”

The tone made it very clear no one should try for a third.

Other questioners tried to draw her on Roe v. Wade and the Russia ban. Williams passed both times. It was a lesson to her colleagues throughout sport – there’s no law that says you must have a public opinion on everything.

Finally, here was the imperious Williams that we have missed. Now let’s see if that dominance can be transferred a few hundred feet onto the court.

Many sports stars dominate their little patch of the field, but few have controlled their whole environments the way Williams has. In the latter half of her career, it often seemed that she could beat opponents by Vulcan mind-melding them from distance. The match would be going their way. Williams would fix them with her thousand-yard stare. And then – whoop! – it’d be going Williams’s way.

Then the injuries started up. And the disappointments in major tournament finals. And the rock in her shoe that is Margaret Court’s 24 grand slam titles (Williams is stuck on 23).

Williams is the most dominating women’s player ever. You don’t need to understand tennis to understand that. All you need are eyes. But until the numbers fall her way, some dingdong is always going to say, “Yeah, sure, but …”

She has steadily denied it, but that appeared to get in Williams’s head. Her mien was still total control, but opponents no longer feared her. Broadcasters stopped mooning about her the whole way through matches. When they did tell Williams stories, they started having a “back in my day” feel. It must feel bizarre to have your professional obit written in real time while you’re still working. Here, she felt compelled to start off her presser with, “I didn’t retire.”

A year away won’t have helped any of that. Nor will the new job title. Everyone else she plays in her two weeks here – come on now – will be a tennis professional. Grinding it out on the tour 10 months a year, racking up the AmEx points.

Williams had been a tennis part-timer for a while, but now she’s more of an occasional worker. A dabbler, even. Her steady gig is as a venture capitalist.

“I’m currently out of the office for the next few weeks,” Williams said.

Her company raised more than US$100-million in seed money in the spring. It’s a good fit. I mean, are you going to say no to Serena Williams? And if you do, how do you plan on getting out of the room? She is a lot faster than you.

So now Williams is not only fighting younger, presumably fitter players, her age and a lack of practice. She’s taking on the whole idea of doing sports for a living. Though she will make money here, Williams has become an amateur. Because one way of defining that word is “someone who does something for fun.”

Williams is currently ranked 411th in the world. She’s not about to start climbing that ladder again. She’s doing this because she can and why not?

If she makes it through a couple of rounds, nobody’s going to feel weird about that. She’s Serena Williams. She can still win matches with The Look.

But if she puts a real dent in this tournament, the modern game is going to look slightly ridiculous. Everyone in it never shuts up about their up-when-it’s-still-dark workout routine and their strength coach and the sports psychologist who sleeps in a cot beside their bed. If the louche star of yesteryear who practises when he feels like it and enjoys a boozy night out were to time warp into the present day, he’d be shunned.

(Not that such players don’t still exist. Just that they’ve figured out they shouldn’t talk about it.)

So what would it say if Williams – her life full of other responsibilities, coming off a bad injury and only having swung a racket in anger as a doubles player about a week ago – were to excel here? It would put the lie to sport’s productivity cult.

When someone tried to put her on the spot about being spared a first-round match against world No. 1 Iga Swiatek, Williams’s expression flattened: “Every match is hard … and anyone could have been drawn to me.”

There have always been a bunch of reasons to be fascinated by Williams. She divides opinion, but two things cannot be argued – her quality and her charisma. She’s an all-timer in both instances. Her place at the top of the pyramid is already assured.

But floating into London in June on a working holiday, seemingly expecting to win Wimbledon? How great would that be? You guys know the answer to that.

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Stanley Cup headed for repair shop after drop by Avalanche’s Aube-Kubel –



It didn’t take long for the Stanley Cup to suffer some damage following the 2021-22 season.

Mere minutes after the Colorado Avalanche beat the Tampa Bay Lightning to claim the title on Sunday night, Avs forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel fell while skating with the Cup toward the traditional on-ice team photo.

Aube-Kubel dropped the Cup — and the result was predictable.

“I don’t even know if they even had it five minutes and there’s a dent at the bottom already,” Phil Pritchard, the Hockey Hall of Fame’s keeper of the Cup, said in an NHL Twitter post.

“Right in the middle of the team photo. It’s the third time the Avalanche have won it. I guess we have a little chat with them soon and go through the process of how we’re going to repair it and that. But the Stanley Cup tour will go on.”

Like all sports trophies, the Cup has taken its share of body blows over the years. But this one was unique.

“I guess it’s a new record today, five minutes into the presentation it has happened. It’s the first time it’s ever happened on the ice,” Pritchard said.

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Alex Newhook Becomes Third Newfoundlander To Win The Cup – VOCM



Newfoundland and Labrador’s Alex Newhook is a Stanley Cup Champion.

The Colorado Avalanche finally dethroned the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning Sunday night, holding on for a 2 -1 victory and taking the series 4-2.

Newhook becomes the third Newfoundland player to win the Cup, following Daniel Cleary of Harbour Grace and Bonavista’s Michael Ryder.

Newhook had four points in 12 games this post-season and, at the age of 21, becomes the youngest player from this province to ever win the Cup.

Anticipation now builds toward this summer when it’s expected Newhook and the Cup will make the trip home.

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