Canada’s Gushue rolls to win over Czech Republic at men’s curling worlds
OTTAWA — Canada’s Caleb Flaxey looks like his head is on a swivel from his perch on the coach’s bench at the world men’s curling championship.
With notebook at the ready and binoculars by his side, the Team Brad Gushue coach is constantly monitoring the action on all four sheets at TD Place.
“These guys are arguably the best in the world but there’s always continuous improvement needed,” Flaxey said. “So it’s always finding the fine details that can help out quite a bit.
“I’ve developed an eye for that over time.”
Flaxey has helped guide the Brad Gushue team to a 4-2 mark after four days of round-robin play. The latest victory was a comfortable 8-3 win over Lukas Klima of the Czech Republic on Tuesday.
Canada scored a deuce in the third end and pulled away with a steal of three points in the fourth.
Gushue, vice Mark Nichols, second E.J. Harnden and lead Geoff Walker were in a fifth-place tie with Japan’s Riku Yanagisawa entering the late draw.
“We’re still in a position where we control our own fate … that’s all we can do and we’ll see what happens,” Gushue said.
Three of the four Canadians shot over 90 per cent. Gushue finished at 94 per cent while Klima was at 78 per cent.
“They’re kind of perfectionists and that’s what you need to be at the top,” Czech coach Craig Savill said of the host team. “You can’t settle for mediocre and you can’t settle for great.
“You have to always be striving for perfection.”
Round-robin play continues through Friday night. The top six teams in the 13-team field will qualify for the weekend playoffs.
With longtime coach Jules Owchar not keen to travel outside of Alberta this season, the Gushue rink reached out to Flaxey last spring.
Harnden, a new addition to the squad who had played with Flaxey and was coached by him for years, raised his name. Gushue decided to call him out of the blue.
“We had quite the chat,” Flaxey recalled. “We probably chatted for nearly an hour just talking about curling, talking about the team and what they were looking for.
“I must say I’m quite happy he gave me a call.”
Flaxey wasn’t sure what his coaching future might hold after the members of Team Brad Jacobs went their separate ways last year.
The 39-year-old Toronto native is busy with his work at an optical business, but the chance to work with the St. John’s, N.L.-based side was too good to pass up.
“There would have only been a few opportunities that would have really excited me to do this,” Flaxey said. “So to get the call from Brad — really the best of all-time — it was definitely a situation that I wanted to be a part of.”
Gushue is 39-9 on the season and currently ranked fourth in the world.
“I would say he brings us a little bit of all the great coaches we’ve had over the years, all in one person,” Gushue said. “It’s nice. We trust him when he’s holding the broom for us to give us the feedback we want.”
During game action, Flaxey is studying rock orders, patterns and ice changes across the sheets. He also zeros in on the Canadian players for each throw.
“Caleb has a great mind for the game,” Harnden said. “He sees everything really well in terms of strategy and ice conditions and does a phenomenal job with rocks.
“He also just has the ability to be able to say the right thing at the right time, and be very mindful of when to say something, when not to and how to say it.”
In other games Tuesday afternoon, defending champion Niklas Edin of Sweden (6-0) defeated Japan 9-6. Germany’s Sixten Totzek beat Turkey’s Ugurcan Karagoz 9-6 and Italy’s Joel Retornaz dropped a 9-8 decision to Norway’s Magnus Ramsfjell in an extra end.
After 10 draws, Norway and Switzerland’s Yannick Schwaller were tied in second place at 5-1. Scotland’s Bruce Mouat was next at 4-1 and Italy was alone in seventh place at 3-3.
Medal games are scheduled for Sunday.
Gushue’s schedule will pick up starting Wednesday when he begins a run of three straight two-game days. He’ll play in the morning and evening each day and still has some notable competition to come.
Canada will play 2018 Olympic champ John Shuster of the United States on Wednesday night, Scotland on Thursday and Sweden in the round-robin finale Friday evening.
“I think the best part is the team is in a pretty good mood,” Flaxey said. “We’ve been fairly relaxed throughout this event, so that’s good.
“The nerves might have been a bit edgier in the first few days but I think we’re finding our groove.”
Gushue, who won Olympic gold in 2006, has settled for silver at his last two world championship appearances. His lone world title came in 2017 at Edmonton.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 4, 2023.
2023 Canadian Open: Live stream, watch online, TV schedule, channel, tee times, radio, golf coverage – CBS Sports
One last tune up for the U.S. Open takes place this week at the 2023 Canadian Open at Oakdale Golf and Country Club in Toronto, Ontario. The third-oldest running tournament on the PGA Tour schedule behind just the U.S. Open and The Open, the Canadian Open will feature a stout field as players look to find their footing ahead of the third major championship of the season.
The field is headlined by world No. 3 Rory McIlroy, who looks to pull off a rare three-peat. A seven-stroke winner at the 2019 Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf & Country Club, the Northern Irishman successfully defended his title three years later (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) at St. George’s Golf & Country Club. If he is to win this week, McIlroy will have claimed three Canadian Open titles on three different golf courses spanning five years.
Looking to get in McIlroy’s way is reigning U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick. Set to defend his title next week at Los Angeles Country Club, the Englishman has his sights on claiming his second victory of the season — as does his fellow countryman Justin Rose. The English contingent is rounded out by Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood, both of whom appear keen on breaking a winless drought on the PGA Tour.
Cameron Young hopes to find some form following a pair of missed cuts, as does Sam Burns. Shane Lowry and Sahith Theegala are eager at the prospect of raising the trophy, while Canadians Corey Conners, Nick Taylor, Adam Hadwin and many more look to put together a memorable performance in front of their very own.
All times Eastern; streaming start times approximated
Round 3 – Saturday
Round starts: 9:15 a.m.
PGA Tour Live: 9:15 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. — PGA Tour Live
Early TV coverage: 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. on Golf Channel
Live TV coverage: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on CBS
Live simulcast: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports App
Radio: 2 – 7:30 p.m. — PGA Tour Radio
Round 4 – Sunday
Round starts: 8:15 a.m.
PGA Tour Live: 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. — PGA Tour Live
Early TV coverage: 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. on Golf Channel
Live TV coverage: 2:30 – 6:30 p.m. on CBS
Live simulcast: 2:30 – 6:30 p.m. on CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports App
Radio: 1 – 6:30 p.m. — PGA Tour Radio
Bobrovsky bounces back, Panthers win Game 3 of Stanley Cup Final – NHL.com
SUNRISE, Fla. — Before Matthew Tkachuk and Carter Verhaeghe were the late-game heroes for the Florida Panthers, Sergei Bobrovsky was back to doing what he did best.
The Panthers goalie rebounded from being pulled in his previous start to make 25 saves in in a 3-2 overtime victory against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at FLA Live Arena on Thursday.
Florida still trails 2-1 in the best-of-7 series, with Game 4 here Saturday (8 p.m. ET; TNT, TBS, truTV, CBC, SN, TVAS), but has life now after rallying from 2-1 deficit with Tkachuk scoring the tying goal with 2:13 left in the third period and Verhaeghe scoring the winner 4:27 into overtime. But the Panthers wouldn’t have been in position to pull out the first Stanley Cup Final victory in their history without Bobrovsky.
He was at his best in the second period, stopping 12 of the 13 shots he faced to prevent Vegas from building more than a one-goal lead.
“I can’t even count how many huge saves he made tonight,” Verhaeghe said. “Probably at least 10.”
[RELATED: Complete Stanley Cup Final coverage]
Panthers coach Paul Maurice scoffed Wednesday at the suggestion that Bobrovsky might not start Game 3 after he was pulled in the second period of a 7-2 loss in Game 2 on Monday after allowing four goals on 13 shots. So, Maurice couldn’t resist asking the media postgame Thursday, “You want to ask who’s starting next game?”
Bobrovsky didn’t seem bothered that he was pulled in Game 2, saying, “It is what it is.”
“I only can control the things that I can control,” Bobrovsky said. “You try to give your best and sometimes it’s happening, so it’s OK. As long as you stay mentally [focused] and the series goes on, and tonight is a big win for us.”
Video: VGK@FLA, Gm3: Bobrovsky stops Theodore and Howden
Still, Bobrovsky wasn’t the same goalie in the first two games against Vegas as he had been in the second and third rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes, when he was 8-1 with a 1.51 goals-against average, .954 save percentage and one shutout.
Vegas utilized screens in front and took advantage of Florida’s defensive breakdowns on rush chances to score eight times on 46 shots on Bobrovsky in the first two games. It helped that Florida played with better defensive structure in front of Bobrovsky on Thursday, but he also elevated his play to make big saves at key moments.
Among them was a glove save on defenseman Nicolas Hague‘s open shot from the left circle at 4:05 of the second period and a right pad stop on Jonathan Marchessault‘s shot from the left circle at 5:49 of the second to keep the score tied 1-1.
“He’s been doing it for us all year and especially the last couple weeks,” Panthers forward Sam Reinhart said. “When we’re in lanes, we’re kind of back defensively collapsing, it makes it a little bit easier on him and he’s been making the spectacular saves at the right time, and that’s what you need at this time of year.”
“Every game he’s giving us a chance to win the game,” Panthers center Aleksander Barkov said. “And today, no different. He was incredible for us. Made some unreal saves in literally every period. He gave us the chance to win, and we used that chance.”
Video: Panthers earn comeback OT victory in Game 3 of SCF
Bobrovsky said he didn’t feel that different than he did in Game 2.
“I felt pretty comfortable last game too, but I feel good tonight as well,” he said.
Instead, he credited his teammates for the way they played in front of him.
“This game, the coaches gave us a pretty clear plan, and I thought the guys were executing it unbelievably tonight,” Bobrovsky said. “We defended very well. We didn’t give much space or room for them, or time, so that’s a big win for us.”
Blue Jays cut ties with pitcher Anthony Bass amid backlash over anti-LGBTQ social media post
Reliever Anthony Bass has been designated for assignment by the Toronto Blue Jays.
It’s the latest development in a controversy that began last week when Bass shared a social media post that supported anti-LGBTQ boycotts.
Bass, who made a public apology last week for the post, had been scheduled to catch the ceremonial first pitch by LGBTQ advocate leZlie Lee Kam when the Jays hosted Minnesota on Friday night to kick off their Pride Weekend.
The Blue Jays said pitcher Kevin Gausman would catch the first pitch instead.
The decision to include Bass was met with criticism by some on social media.
Bass has a 0-0 record and 4.95 earned-run average over 22 appearances this season.
Toronto called up right-hander Mitch White in a corresponding roster move.
Bass had shared a since-deleted video post urging others to spurn Target and Bud Light over the support they showed for the LGBTQ community.
He said in a scrum that he initially did not think the video post — which described the selling of Pride-themed merchandise as “evil” and “demonic” — was hateful.
“That’s why I posted it originally,” he said. “When I look back at it, I can see how people can view it that way and that’s why I was apologetic.”
Before Friday’s game, Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said the decision to cut Bass was primarily motivated by performance and not by the pitcher’s off-the-field circumstances.
“There’s a myriad of variables,” Atkins said. “Performance is usually the driving one and performance was a large aspect of this decision. Distraction was a small part of it and something we had to factor in.”
Atkins refused to say whether Bass would still be on the team if his performance had been better.
“We’re trying to build the best possible team we can build,” Atkins said. “This was a baseball decision to make our team better.”
Atkins also said it was not “a realistic option” for Bass to land in Toronto’s minor league system.
“We won’t stand in his way to be with another organization,” Atkins said.
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