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Canadians unapologetic after thrashing Germany in world junior opener – Sportsnet.ca

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Canadians unapologetic after thrashing Germany in world junior opener – Sportsnet.ca


EDMONTON — Canada had 19 first-round draft picks in its lineup. Germany had 14 skaters — period.

When it was over, Canada had 16 goals. Germany had two.

“We gave up, in a way,” German head coach Tobias Abstreiter said.

“It could have been 200-1 — it’s not about that,” Canadian head coach Andre Tourigny said.

The one thing we can all agree on? “It does suck for them, that’s for sure,” said Canadian Dylan Cozens, who had a hat trick and six points.

Here are our takeaways on a blowout win for Canada in its opener at the 2021 World Junior Hockey Championship, as the team opened the 2021 World Juniors with a goal differential of plus-14. Bring on the tie-breakers!

Early and Often

Canada scored 1:54 into the game. They scored at 19:59 of the first period, at 19:51 of the second, and notched 14 consecutive goals between German snipes.

Germany, decimated by COVID-19 quarantines, dressed just 14 skaters. They eschewed an offer by the IIHF to delay the Canadian game to another day, because they would rather save the off day for games against Slovakia and Switzerland later in the week — when the Germans will start getting players back from quarantine. In short, Germany knew they weren’t going to win this game, and they played like it.

“This happens when you are not mentally and physically ready to play at this level, with this intensity and speed. This is the result,” Abstreiter said. “We had no tools, no battle level — nothing — to set anything against Canada’s strong game.”

Basically, the German players realized what they were up against, and gave in to the reality of their situation.

“There were only one or two players who were able to play physically strong,” the German coach said. “All the others, I would say, they could not keep up with these battle levels. We gave up, in a way. And this is what I can not accept.”

You’d think, with period scores of 4-1, 11-1 and 16-2, that the Canadians might have taken their foot off the gas. Well, think again.

“It could have been 200-1 — it’s not about that,” Tourigny said. “It’s about us preparing our team … to move forward in the tournament. It’s not about the score. It’s about how you play.

“We have no time to waste, to take a step back. Going out there and taking on bad habits.”

It’s funny, isn’t it? At times like these, the hockey rink is where Canadians are the least “Canadian.”

Then again, you have to remember: Canada spent two weeks in a Red Deer quarantine themselves. They only have so many periods of hockey to find their best game, and those elimination games will arrive sooner than you think.

“It’s our first game of the tournament,” Cozens said. “We’ve got to establish our good habits and play the right way. Just because we’re up by a lot, we’re not going to change the way we play. We want to pretend like it’s still a close game and keep those good habits going.”

Cozens, named Canada’s best player, did have some space in his heart for a German team that didn’t have a prayer on Saturday.

“It’s a tough spot they’re in,” he admitted. “We know how it felt when you’re just out of quarantine, how your lungs and legs felt. It does suck for them, for sure.”

Coach Speak

Tourigny was unapologetic about the 16-2 rout, and after laying down some platitudes about how well their opponents played, he cut to the chase when asked about whether Canada should have called off the dogs at some point.

“We need to have the right habits,” said the Canadian coach, whose team meets Slovakia on Sunday. “It’s was not about pushing the pace, or trying to embarrass anybody. It was about playing the right way. We’re not a team who played 15 games together, or 30 games before the (training) camp.

“Most of our guys (had) four intrasquad games, one pre-competition, and one competition game. It’s not like we have the looks to say, ‘Hey, we can play a different style.’ Or, ‘We can let it go today.’ No, we need to get better.”

Deutchland Danglers

A little history: Canada is now 15-0 at the World Juniors against Germany — not West Germany, but Germany — but the Germans have caused Canada more trouble than you might think.

There have been two World Juniors played in Germany. Canada finished seventh in 1981, and sixth in 1992, when Eric Lindros joined the team after its training camp. That was the final time that Hockey Canada would sanction a player parachuting in right before the tournament. It was a disaster.

But it was a 7-6 loss to the team from West Germany back in 1981 that prompted then Canadian Amateur Hockey Association head Murray Costello to play a major role in forming the Program of Excellence, and reshaping our national junior team into what it is today.

“When Germany beat Canada, with Dale Hawerchuk on the team, I thought, ‘That’s just not fair to him, and it’s not fair to Canada,’” Costello said in my book, Road to Gold — The Untold Story of Canada at the World Juniors. “It cast him in a bad light and it was unfair to him. He was a quality player, and everyone knew he was. I thought, ‘We have to do something.’”

Costello convinced the head of the three junior leagues to give him their best players for a summer training camp, then another one in mid-December, and the rest, as they say, was history.

Thank you, West Germany.

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Berrettini ends Murray’s comeback at Queen’s

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Berrettini ends Murray’s comeback at Queen’s

Andy Murray‘s grasscourt return was cut short in brutal fashion at Queen’s Club as Italian top seed Matteo Berrettini dished out a 6-3 6-3 defeat to the former world number one on Thursday.

The 34-year-old two-time Wimbledon champion, playing in his first singles tournament on grass for three years, could not handle the ferocious pace of Berrettini as he slid to defeat.

Murray eased past Benoit Paire in his opening match on Tuesday but world number nine Berrettini was too big a step up.

Berrettini’s huge first serve and forehand did most of the damage but the Italian also showed plenty of silky touch on the slick lawns to register his first career win over Murray.

Berrettini, 25, finished the match off with a powerful hold of serve, banging down four massive first serves before sealing victory with a clubbing forehand winner.

He faces British number one Dan Evans in the quarter-final after Evans beat Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.

Murray, a five-time winner of the traditional warm-up event but now ranked 124 after long battles with hip injuries including resurfacing surgery in 2019, has been handed a wildcard for the Wimbledon championships.

Apart from a slight groin niggle, Murray said he was reasonably happy with his condition, considering this was only his third Tour-level tournament of the year.

“I think obviously I need to improve,” Murray told reporters. “I actually felt my movement was actually quite good for both of the matches. My tennis today was not very good today. That’s the thing that I’ll need to improve the most.

“I felt like today that that sort of showed my lack of matches.”

Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez, who won the singles title in 2019 and the doubles alongside Murray, was beaten 6-2 6-3 by Canada‘s Denis Shapovalov.

(Reporting by Martyn HermanEditing by Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar)

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Be Like the King of the North Division and Develop Skills

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North Division

It’s been a year unlike no other for Canadian hockey teams, with COVID-19 travel restrictions forcing the creation of a new NHL division made up entirely of Canadian teams. The previous generation of NHL hockey was known as the “Dead Puck Era” because referees tolerated slowing down the game with clutching and grabbing.

The leading scorers today score in jaw-dropping fashion and routinely pull off stickhandling dangles that were unimaginable until only recently. The Canadian team that will win the North Division will be the one with the most skill.

Here are the training aids that will help you develop your skills all year long.

Passers

Innovators like HockeyShot Canada make “passers” so that players can develop pinpoint accuracy and the soft hands necessary to cradle and control a pass when it lands on your stick. The high-quality rubber bands return the puck with the same force which passed it, so you can give yourself one-timers or work on accuracy.

Whether you’re on a two-on-one, sending a breakout pass from the defensive zone, or holding down the blue line on the power play, every positional player needs to pass accurately.

Shooting

A player is lucky to get a few shots on net each game, and they can’t let them go to waste. Until recently, players needed to rent ice in the off-season to practice their shots in realistic game-like conditions.

Now, players can use shooting pads at their home that let pucks glide as they do on real ice. Shooting is perhaps the one skill that requires the most repetition because one inch can be the difference between going bar-down and clanking one wide off the post.

Practice your quick release and accuracy and develop an arsenal of shots, including wrist shots, slapshots, one-timers, and more. The more tools in your tool kit, the deadlier a sniper you’ll be.

Stick Handling

Having the puck on your stick is a responsibility, and you don’t want to cough it up to the other team and waste a scoring chance or lose possession. The ability to stickhandle helps you bide time until a teammate is open, so you can pass them the puck and continue attacking.

If you’re on a breakaway, you may want to deke the goalie rather than shoot if your hands are silky enough. Develop stickhandling skills, and you’ll keep goalies and opponents guessing – being unpredictable helps make a sniper’s job easier.

Of course, you also need to handle the puck in your own zone without causing a turnover. Stickhandling is a crucial skill in all areas of the ice.

When the coach sends you over the board, you need to be prepared for whatever comes your way. Maybe you’ll get the puck in the slot or somewhere else, but when it’s playoffs, you always need to be ready. The Kings of the North Division have all of the above skills and more, and you can too if you practice all year.

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Australia swim trials calendar shift to reap Tokyo rewards

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Australia swim trials calendar shift to reap Tokyo rewards

Australia broke with tradition to hold its swimming trials just six weeks before the start of the 2020 Olympics and former world champion Giaan Rooney said the move could reap rich rewards in Tokyo after disappointments at London and Rio.

Australia has typically held its trials up to six months before an Olympics but that gap has been drastically cut this year with swimmers vying for Tokyo spots this week in Adelaide.

Rooney, who won individual world titles at Fukuoka and Montreal and a relay gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics, said Australia is gearing up for a much improved Games after its swimmers flopped at Rio and London.

“I think we needed to make it work,” she told Reuters. “The shift started about a year ago to bring the trials into line with the rest of the world and qualify five or six weeks before.

“In sport and swimming, six months is a long time,” Rooney added. “From a coaching perspective, it’s much better to know you have chosen the team in form.”

After winning five gold medals at Sydney 2000 and seven in Athens, the Australian team was rocked by accusations of disruptive behaviour by some of its top sprinters at the 2012 Olympics.

Australia won just one gold medal in the London pool and three in Rio five years ago.

Australia knew something had to be done if it was to close the gap on the powerful Americans and moving the trials is part of the strategy.

“I think it’s to make your swimmers more resilient to change,” Rooney said.

“In the USA they get to race every week regardless of illness or breakups and under all circumstances. Nothing rattles them.

“Australia doesn’t have that racing continuity. This is about making sure you are prepared for anything. I think our swimmers are more resilient than they have been in the past decade, COVID is part of this.”

Rooney said there might even be an “upside” for Australia with the Olympics postponed by a year due to the global health crisis, with the emergence of swimmers like teenager Kaylee McKeown, who broke the women’s 100m backstroke world record on Sunday.

“We are now talking about athletes who are not only going to make the Olympics but are medal chances,” Rooney said.

“We wouldn’t have been talking about her this time last year. She might not have been ready for a position on the team. She is now a legitimate gold medal chance in Tokyo once she gets there.”

For all her confidence about Australia’s performance in Tokyo, Rooney was wary of making predictions about a gold rush for her compatriots.

“I think this will be a more successful Olympics for us than Rio in the pool but individual goal medals will still be difficult to come by,” said the 38-year-old.

“The biggest challenge is to make the jump from minor medals to gold.”

 

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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