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Canadiens fight back to beat Flames 4-3 in overtime – Montreal Gazette

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Max Domi scores winner as Habs improve their record to 5-1-0 in the last six games after battling back from 2-0 first-period deficit.

CALGARY — The Canadiens just missed making the playoffs last season, but they were a fun team to watch and they never gave up.

They created a new identity after finishing 28th in the overall NHL standings the previous season.

After going through an eight-game winless streak earlier this season, the Canadiens seem to have regained the identity they worked so hard on developing last year. On Thursday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome, the Canadiens were losing 2-0 after the first period and 3-2 in the third period before battling back to beat the Calgary Flames 4-3 in overtime on a goal by Max Domi.

The Canadiens now have a 6-2-0 record since that eight-game losing streak (0-5-3) and are 5-1-0 in their last six games, including back-to-back road wins in Vancouver and Calgary to start this Western Canada trip.

Brendan Gallagher, Joel Armia and Nick Suzuki scored for the Canadiens in regulation time against the Flames. Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm and Olivier Kylington scored for Calgary. The Canadiens outshot the Flames 43-27.

The Canadiens improved their season record to 17-12-6 and moved into second place in the Atlantic Division. They now have a 9-4-3 record on the road.

“When you go through a situation like we did, any team is going to lose a little bit of confidence,” coach Claude Julien said after the game about his team’s eight-game winless streak. “That’s why you talk about being fragile. It seems like every time you turn around the puck’s in your net or something bad is happening. But we’ve worked our way out of it and now we’re playing with obviously a lot of confidence, but also a lot of commitment. I didn’t think our first period was the best, not that it was bad. But second period we came out, we started skating the way we wanted our guys to skate and compete and that made a big difference. The rest of the game was see-saw.

“As a group in that dressing room, we as coaches give a lot of advice and ask for a lot of things,” Julien added. “But there’s a certain amount that happens in that dressing room with leadership and pushing each other and I think this is a group that respects each other to the point where they can push each other without taking it personally. And that’s where I think we’re getting better as a team.”

Tkachuk opened the scoring for the Flames at 7:34 of the first period as the result of a defensive breakdown by Canadiens defencemen Brett Kulak and Jeff Petry with centre Phillip Danault somehow caught alone behind the net. Winger Tomas Tatar scrambled to get in front of the net, but was too late and Tkachuk was left wide open to put the puck past Carey Price.

Suzuki came close to tying it for the Canadiens with three minutes left in the period when Price hit him with a breakout pass near centre ice. Suzuki streaked down the right wing and rang a shot off the goalpost.

The Flames went up 2-0 with only eight seconds left in the first period and Danault sitting in the penalty box for tripping. Lindholm completed a gorgeous tic-tac-toe passing play with Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau. Price had no chance. Giving up goals in the final minute of a period has been a big problem for the Canadiens this season.

Gallagher got the Canadiens on the board at 9:46 of the second period when he scored from an almost impossible angle. With his butt basically touching the boards at the goal line to Flames goalie David Rittich’s right, Gallagher fired on the net and somehow it went in on the short side for his team-leading 15th goal of the season.

Armia tied it up at 13:11 of the second period on another shot Rittich probably should have stopped, but the big forward surprised the goalie with a quick release. Armia fired a short-side shot from the high slot without any screen and it went in for his 12th goal of the season, one short of the career high he set last season.

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Armia almost put the Canadiens ahead 3-2 when he went in on a breakaway and rang a shot off the post just under six minutes into the third period. That miss looked like it would prove costly when Kylington scored at 6:25 to put the Flames up 3-2, beating Price with a high shot to the glove side.

But the Canadiens battled back yet again and Suzuki scored a nice deflection goal at the 11:58 mark. The rookie had gone 12 games without a goal. Jordan Weal picked up an assist on Suzuki’s goal after going 15 games without a point.

When Domi was asked after the game if the Canadiens are starting to play like they did last season, he responded: “As far as we’re concerned we’re just worried about this year. Nothing else matters. We know what we have in this locker room. We want to play for each other. Everyone’s here to win hockey games and that’s all that matters. Confident group right now.”

“The Western road trip is a big turning point in the year,” Domi added. “If we can come away with as many points as possible in this roadie going into a couple of days off at Christmas, I think that’s what winning teams do. We’re finding ways to win right now, so we just got to keep it going.”

The Canadiens flew to Edmonton after the game and will look for their third straight road win Saturday against the Oilers (7 p.m., SNE, CITY, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio).

scowan@postmedia.com

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Tennis legend Serena Williams to retire after U.S. Open in September – CBC Sports

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Serena Williams’ appearance at the National Bank Open in Toronto will be the final one of her career.

The tennis legend said earlier Tuesday she is planning to retire from tennis sometime following the U.S. Open, which begins later this month.

Williams, who won her opening match at the National Bank Open on Monday, made the announcement in an essay released by Vogue magazine.

“I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give,” Williams wrote in an essay released Tuesday by Vogue magazine.

She said she wasn’t sure she’d be able to look at the magazine when the issue hit newstands, “knowing that this is it, the end of a story that started in Compton, California, with a little Black girl who just wanted to play tennis.”

Williams, one of the greatest and most accomplished athletes in the history of her — or any other — sport, said she does not like the word retirement and prefers to think of this stage of her life as “evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.”

Williams is playing this week in Toronto, at a hard-court tournament that leads into the U.S. Open, the year’s last Grand Slam event, which begins in New York on Aug. 29.

WATCH | Williams advances to 2nd round:

Serena Williams advances to the 2nd round of the National Bank Open

1 day ago

Duration 0:33

Serena Williams defeated Nuria Parrizas-Diaz in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, her first singles win since the 2021 French Open.

The American has won more Grand Slam singles titles in the professional era than any other woman or man. Only one player, Margaret Court, collected more, 24, although she won a portion of hers in the amateur era.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record. Obviously I do. But day to day, I’m really not thinking about her. If I’m in a Grand Slam final, then yes, I am thinking about that record,” Williams said. “Maybe I thought about it too much, and that didn’t help. The way I see it, I should have had 30-plus Grand Slams.”

I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair.— American tennis player Serena Williams

But, Williams went on to write, “These days, if I have to choose between building my tennis resume and building my family, I choose the latter.”

Off tour for a year

She and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, have a daughter, Olympia, who turns 5 on Sept. 1.

“Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair,” said Williams, who was pregnant when she won the 2017 Australian Open for her last Grand Slam trophy. “If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labour of expanding our family.”

Williams was off the tour for about a year after getting injured during her first-round match at Wimbledon in 2021. She returned to singles competition at the All England Club this June and lost in the first round.

After that defeat, Williams was asked whether she would compete again.

“That’s a question I can’t answer,” she said at the time. “I don’t know. … Who knows? Who knows where I’ll pop up?”

Williams hints in the essay that the U.S. Open will be her last tournament but does not say so explicitly.

“I’m not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment,” Williams wrote. “I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst.”

Plans to celebrate in Toronto

The announcement has already set off plans to celebrate Williams, along with ticket sales having skyrocketed according to tournament director Karl Hale.

“Tremendously (impacts everything with the tournament). Ticket sales have gone through the roof, we’ll be sold out by (6 p.m.) today, which doesn’t happen on a Wednesday, typically,” he said. “The media requests have been significant to say the least, everybody wants to see Serena and talk to her. Even the players in the players lounge, everybody’s talking about Serena.”

“Tomorrow night, we’ll celebrate her for sure.”

The American has won more Grand Slam singles titles in the professional era than any other woman or man. Only one player, Margaret Court, collected more, 24, although she won a portion of hers in the amateur era.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record. Obviously I do. But day to day, I’m really not thinking about her. If I’m in a Grand Slam final, then yes, I am thinking about that record,” Williams said. “Maybe I thought about it too much, and that didn’t help. The way I see it, I should have had 30-plus Grand Slams.”

But, Williams went on to write, “These days, if I have to choose between building my tennis resume and building my family, I choose the latter.”

She and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, have a daughter, Olympia, who turns 5 on Sept. 1.

News saddening to younger players

Despite Williams’ announcement being considered imminent, for younger players like American Coco Gauff, the news is still saddening.

“A little bit sad because I’ve always wanted to play her so I’m hoping my draw in Cincinnati or the U.S. Open or even here, can work out so we could play each other because that’s one of my goals,” the 18-year-old said.

Her legacy has been one to behold and one that Gauff believes may be untouchable.

“I think the legacy she’s left on the world just through her tennis career is something that I don’t think any other player could touch. I think the legacy she’ll continue to leave throughout her life is something that can inspire many more generations,” she said.

When asked about her impact on her being young Black tennis player, Gauff made sure to point out it wasn’t just Williams who made an impact, it was also her dad Richard Williams.

“I grew up watching her. That’s the reason why I played tennis. Tennis being a predominantly white sport, it definitely helped a lot because I saw somebody look like me dominating the game and it made me believe that I could dominate too.

“Mr. Williams and all that he’s done for both (Venus and Serena) of them, inspired my dad to continue to coach me and help me even though he didn’t (have much) tennis experience. He was like, ‘if Mr. Williams could do it, then I can.’ It’s not so much just what Serena and Venus have left, it’s also the whole Williams family in general.”

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Kevin Durant Didn't Previously Express Wish For Nets To Fire Steve Nash, Sean Marks – RealGM.com

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Kevin Durant met with Joe Tsai recently in London and it was revealed he expressed a lack of faith in the direction of the Brooklyn Nets. Durant reportedly issued an ultimatum that he is not interested in continuing with the Nets if Steve Nash remains as head coach and Sean Marks continues running the front office.

“The timing of it is also unusual,” said Brian Windhorst on Tuesday. “While star players have gotten coaches fired for decades and will get them fired for decades, he didn’t express this, as far as I’m aware to the Nets at the end of the season. And he didn’t express this to the Nets when he made his trade demand. So doing it now is a maneuver. A maneuver that I don’t think worked. 

“Because as I talk to teams out there, they don’t think his increased his trade value, they think this hurt his trade value.”

Windhorst also noted that Tsai statement of support for Nash and Marks also includes a sentence the league paid strong attention to stating “We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.”

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Thousands of tickets still available for world junior hockey tournament in Edmonton – CBC Sports

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Odd summer timing and an ongoing sexual assault scandal at Hockey Canada could be the reason thousands of tickets to the world junior championship are still available on the eve of the tournament, says an Edmonton professor.

Prof. Dan Mason, who teaches in the faculty of kinesiology, sport, and recreation at the University of Alberta, said when Canada hosts, there are usually so many fans who want to see the home team take the ice that they are willing to buy Hockey Canada’s packaged games that include teams that are not Canadian.

“So Latvia vs. Slovakia, for example, those games will be sold out as well because in order to get the tickets to watch Canada play, you have to buy a package that includes some of the other games,” he said on Friday.

“The fact that there are still Team Canada tickets available, that tells you the demand is much lower than it usually is for this kind of event.”

WATCH l World junior tournament to go ahead amidst Hockey Canada controversy:

World junior hockey tournament to go ahead amidst Hockey Canada controversy

7 hours ago

Duration 2:07

Ticket sales for the World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton are below expectations as the tournament kicks of this week in the shadow of an ongoing sexual assault scandal at Hockey Canada.

The tournament runs from Aug. 9-20 at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

The initial 2022 championship in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta., was called off Dec. 29 after just four days because of rising COVID-19 cases among players and officials, which forced game forfeitures.

The 10-country tournament will be minus Russia, barred from participating by the International Ice Hockey Federation because of that country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Holiday tradition

Around 1,500 tickets are still available for purchase on Ticketmaster to the first game between Czech Republic and Slovakia on Tuesday. About 1,300 tickets are available for the next day when Canada takes on Latvia. About 1,500 seats for the final game are also available with hundreds of other tickets to watch the 11-day tournament.

This time of year, you probably already had plans to go to the lake … or do something summer-related.— Edmonton professor Dan Mason on poor ticket sales for an August world juniors

Mason said the timing of the games could be why interest is so low. The tournament typically runs over the Christmas holidays.

“Over the past 30 years or so, TSN has built the world juniors into this holiday event that people partake in,” he said.

“I watch it with my family over the [Christmas] break though so it’s kind of become part of our holiday tradition.

“This time of year, you probably already had plans to go to the lake, go to the mountains or do something summer-related. I don’t think we’re willing to give up those plans to watch hockey.”

Many people could also be waiting for a former judge on the Supreme Court of Canada to begin independently reviewing Hockey Canada’s governance amid calls for a change of leadership.

The review comes after members of the 2018 world junior team were accused of a group sexual assault after a gala event, and after Hockey Canada reached a settlement.

“I think there’s people who weren’t sure if they would go or not, and maybe deciding not to go because of that,” Mason said.

The CEO of Explore Edmonton, which promotes tourism in the Alberta capital, said in an email the marketing organization paused its promotion of the games in response to the allegations.

“As the host city for the upcoming tournament, we continue to have discussions with Hockey Canada officials about their plans to address the need for change,” said Traci Bednard.

Mason said inflation and less disposable income could be other factors working against the tournament.

“Canada may be more focused on that player development piece than trying to sort of make money off of a tournament being held in the summer,” he said.

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