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Canadiens’ Julien should share some blame for loss to Blackhawks –



MONTREAL — Claude Julien was asked about Charlie Lindgren’s performance in Montreal’s 4-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday and his response was that it was a team effort in losing.

The coach played his role, too. And we’re not talking about his decision to start Lindgren over Carey Price, who had stopped 72 of 73 shots in two wins prior to the game against a Blackhawks team that had scraped out an overtime win in Ottawa the night before while the Canadiens were resting and waiting for them in Montreal.

If the Canadiens started this one completely out of sorts, allowing Zack Smith (he of two goals in 40 games) to score two goals in the first nine minutes — and one in comedic fashion thanks to a miscommunication between Lindgren and Tomas Tatar — it was at least in part because Julien didn’t have them as well-prepared as they should have been.

But perhaps the most confounding thing to happen in this one came after Max Domi took a reckless, careless, selfish (or as Julien later referred to it, useless) roughing penalty on Matthew Highmore at the 10:52 mark of the second period. And no, it wasn’t Julien’s decision to park Domi at the end of Montreal’s bench after Alex DeBrincat scored 35 seconds into the ensuing power play.

The real head-scratcher was the coach’s decision to keep Domi on the bench when Smith went off for high-sticking with 4:36 remaining in the middle period.

Julien was asked after the game about how he decided to toe the line between the message he wanted to send to his player and having to rely on an offensive type while trailing in the game.

“I did what I had to do,” the coach responded. “You take a useless penalty like that, there’s consequences.”

When we asked if he was tempted to motivate Domi by telling him he had cost the team a goal and that it was time for him to go out there and get it back with the power play opportunity, Julien said the following:

“Those questions (about) whatever you guys feel like…I did what I had to do, simple as that. I don’t have to explain it more than I did. It’s not the first time he’s taken a bad penalty. There’s consequences, and sometimes those messages (date back a lot further) than the situation right there. And it doesn’t matter who we put on (for the power play) instead of Max. Max is not the guy that’s going to score goals all the time here, so a power play is a five-man unit. It’s as simple as that.”

And this team is made up of 20 players and five coaches and everyone should wear the blame for a performance Julien classified as the team’s worst in 10 games.

We needn’t remind you the Canadiens had lost eight of 10 prior to Wednesday’s debacle.

For as bad as Montreal had started against Chicago, Phillip Danault scored 54 seconds into the second period to get the Canadiens back to 2-1. And even though Domi’s penalty was so ill-timed, and unquestionably worth more time away from the ice than the 35 seconds he spent in the box, he’s the second-highest scoring player on the team and he has to be out there to give you a chance at turning a 3-1 deficit into 3-2 heading to the third period.

Maybe the game plays out differently thereafter, instead of how it actually did — with the Canadiens allowing a goal to Drake Caggiula and getting out-shot 11-6 in the final frame.

“We weren’t there at all. It’s as simple as that,” Julien said. “They’re a team that has good sticks, which was clearly pointed out before the game, but we weren’t there at all. Not at all. We lost our battles for loose pucks, we made bad decisions, and we didn’t deserve a win at all.”

That’s all true.

And Domi, who had apologized for taking a bad penalty and an unsportsmanlike conduct on top of it for a double-minor in the third period of a 4-3 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils back on Nov. 16, should have known better.

The 25-year-old, who blamed himself on that night, added, “I can’t do that, and it won’t happen again.”

But Domi is a feisty player, a player who always plays on the edge, and there was never a doubt he’d slip up again — even if he had only taken 10 minors this season before roughing up Highmore.

“During the play I certainly wasn’t trying to take a penalty,” he said about Wednesday’s situation. “But I watched the replay and it’s a penalty. So that’s how it goes. Unfortunately, they scored on that. You can’t do that — especially in the situation we’re in right now. It is what it is. Coach’s decision, and obviously I can’t afford to do that.”

There was consistency in Julien’s decision.

In Montreal’s 16th game of the season, he held Canadiens leading scorer Tomas Tatar out for most of the second period and all but four shifts in the third of a 3-2 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Nov. 7. This was after Tatar had taken minor penalties nine and 10 of the young season — both of them lazy stick infractions.

The thing is, the Canadiens are in a much more desperate situation now than they were then. They needed to turn their two-game win streak into three on Wednesday.

Even Larry David understands that, bad penalties aside, goal scorers need to be on the ice in crunch time.

Considering how they played against Chicago, it might not have mattered who came out on that failed power play while Domi was stapled to the bench.

But Domi has 11 points on the man-advantage this season, nearly twice what Nick Cousins, Jordan Weal and Artturi Lehkonen (six points) have combined for in that department, and he was highly motivated to make up for his error.

“Of course,” Domi said. “I think we’re all sitting there (wanting to do that)…”

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But Julien made his decision and held firm to it. He could have gone all the way with it by sitting Domi out for the rest of the game, but with only 20 minutes left for the Canadiens to come back he decided to play him — making the decision to leave him off that power play late in the second even more curious.

We have been outspoken about the job he’s done under the circumstances he’s had to deal with this season. We believe he’s done as well as anyone could with the roster he’s had and the injuries the Canadiens have been hit with.

But Julien’s decision on Wednesday played a role in Montreal’s loss to Chicago, and he should share some of the blame for the outcome.

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Canada joins U.S., U.K., in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics – National Post



Said China’s foreign ministry of the Australian diplomatic boycott: ‘Whether they come or not, nobody cares’

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OTTAWA – Canada will not be sending diplomats to the Beijing Olympics in early February, effectively joining a diplomatic boycott with the United States, United Kingdom and Australia denouncing China’s alleged human rights violations.


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“As many partners around the world, we are extremely concerned by the repeated human rights violations by the Chinese government,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters Wednesday, flanked by Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly and Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge, as well as MP and former Olympian Adam Van Koeverden.

As the boycott only involves diplomatic staff and government officials, Canadian athletes will still compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympic games beginning next February. The foreign minister argued that Canada’s decision sends a “strong signal” to China without unfairly affecting athletes working to compete in Beijing.

  1. A card calling the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

    John Robson: There is value in a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics

  2. A snowboarder stands in front of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics logo in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, China, on Nov. 20, 2021. Canada should join the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the Games, writes Tasha Kheiriddin.

    Tasha Kheiriddin: A diplomatic boycott of Beijing is a no-brainer, except in Ottawa

  3. In this file photo taken on December 01, 2021, people walk past the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics logo at the Shougang Park in Beijing. - Canada will not send officials to the Beijing Olympics in February, Trudeau announced on December 8, 2021, joining the US and other allies' diplomatic boycott of the Games.

    Matt Gurney: Trudeau’s diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics the absolute least he could do


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Joly and St-Onge said their top priority for the country’s athletes competing in China was their safety, and that the RCMP would be working with the Canadian Olympic Committee to ensure they are properly protected during the games.

But neither minister was able to provide details of what that meant.

“There are already agents that have been hired to ensure the security of the athletes and we’re still in discussion with the RCMP with (Public Safety Minister) Marco Mendicino. Everything will be in place to make sure that the athletes are safe,” St-Onge said.

China is facing strong and increasing international criticism over what many countries, including Canada, have called the “genocide” of its Uyghur minority, as well as its recent strongarm tactics to increase its control over Hong King by cracking down on democracy and civil liberties via a security law enacted during the pandemic.


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China also recently released two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were detained for over three years due to what Canada described as “hostage diplomacy.”

Federal opposition parties criticized the Trudeau government for taking so much time to decide to boycott the Games and not acting sooner to push for them to either be postponed for one year or even relocated to another country.

According to former Canadian ambassador to China Guy St-Jacques, delaying the games for one year to allow an international investigation into human rights abuse allegations in China would have been the clearest and most effective message Canada could have sent.

But a widespread diplomatic boycott is the second-best option at this point and will still send a strong message to Chinese President Xi Jinping without requiring Canadian athletes to suffer the consequences of a full boycott, he said.


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“It will have an impact because this will result in a loss of face for President Xi Jinping. We know that he wanted to use the Olympics to showcase that China’s a modern country, a superpower that knows how to organize things,” said the former ambassador.

It will have an impact because this will result in a loss of face for President Xi Jinping

“He was hoping that having foreign leaders there would confirm that, in fact, China has become so powerful that nobody would dare to criticize it,” he continued, adding he expects many more if not all members of the European Union to join the boycott.

The U.S. was the first country to formally announce that they would send no diplomatic envoys or staff with their athletes to the upcoming winter games during a press conference on Monday, citing China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang” against the Uyghur people.


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“U.S. diplomatic or official representation would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the [People’s Republic of China]’s egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang, and we simply can’t do that,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a briefing.

Two other Canadian allies, Australia and then the U.K., followed suit on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, each denouncing China’s repressive actions and human rights violations against its own people.

Joly said that she has used every opportunity possible to discuss the Olympics with Canada’s allies in the G7 and NATO, likely to exhort them to follow suit in the diplomatic boycott.

“There are still many countries studying the question but clearly, I want to make sure as I’m heading to the G7 … that I raise this issue and I want to make sure that more countries in the world send a strong signal,” Joly said.


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The decision is likely to aggravate Canada’s already strained relationship with Beijing, notably as the Trudeau government is also expected to announce a formal decision on whether Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei will be allowed to participate in Canada’s 5G network.

In an interview with National Post last week, China’s ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu warned that such boycotts are not in line with the values of the Olympic Games.

“It is for the people. It is for humanity. It is not for politicians,” Cong said. “It is against the spirit of the Olympic Games to politicize these issues.”

China has denied any wrongdoing in Xinjiang and said abuse allegations are fabricated.

Its foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a daily briefing in Beijing that Australian politicians were engaged in “political posturing.”

“Whether they come or not, nobody cares,” he added.



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Soccer-Chelsea lose top spot after 3-3 draw at Zenit



Champions League holders Chelsea finished as Group H runners-up after conceding a stoppage-time equaliser in a pulsating 3-3 draw at Zenit St Petersburg on Wednesday.

The result left Chelsea second on 13 points from six games, two behind group winners Juventus who leapt into pole position thanks to a 1-0 home win over Sweden’s Malmo.

Both sides had already booked their last-16 berths while third-placed Zenit will go into the second-tier Europa League after the winter break.

Chelsea made a perfect start as Timo Werner fired them ahead in the second minute with a tap-in after a Ross Barkley corner was nodded into his path.

Mason Mount squandered a sitter to double the lead after Zenit twice came close to an equaliser and the England midfielder’s miss turned out to be costly as the home side turned the game round with two quickfire goals.

Brazilian forward Claudinho levelled in the 38th with a glancing header into the far corner after his compatriot Douglas Santos swung in a cross past a static visiting defence.

Rattled by the equaliser, Chelsea fell behind three minutes later when Iranian striker Sardar Azmoun beat the offside trap from Malcom’s fine through ball and slotted home after rounding goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Romelu Lukaku hit back in the 62nd minute as he stroked the ball into an empty net after a flowing move and Chelsea seemed to have forced the final twist after Werner struck again in the 85th thanks to more crisp-one touch passing.

The move left Zenit’s defence bedazzled with Christian Pulisic delivering the final pass to Werner, who fired in a snap shot from 10 metres after side-stepping his marker.

The Premier League side were undone, however, by a spectacular equaliser at the death as they failed to clear a cross and Magomed Ozdoev unleashed an unstoppable volley into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area.

(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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U.S. ambassador to Canada expects countries to be ‘aligned’ over Beijing Olympics boycott – Global News



The United States’ newly-confirmed ambassador to Canada says he expects both countries to be “aligned” in its policy towards China, including a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics spearheaded by Washington.

David Cohen made the comments after presenting his letters of credence Tuesday to Gov. Gen. Mary Simon in a ceremony at Rideau Hall, officially beginning his role as liaison between the two allies.

The White House on Monday announced it will not send any political representatives to next year’s Winter Games due to China’s human rights “atrocities,” though U.S. athletes will still be allowed to travel to Beijing to compete.

Read more:

Canada should join diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics: O’Toole

Cohen told reporters the U.S. announcement was “virtually identical” to comments Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made in November regarding Canada’s participation in the Games, and said he anticipates Ottawa will follow Washington’s lead.

“I have a high level of confidence that Canada and the United States will be aligned on our China policy, including our policy with respect to the Olympics,” he said.

Trudeau told reporters on Nov. 18 that while Canada has had “frustrations” with China’s recent actions — including the detention of two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, for nearly two years — he recognizes that athletes have been training for the Games and wants to ensure they aren’t caught in the middle of the diplomatic dispute.

“We’re looking for a way to both be able to see (athletes) show their capacities and fulfill all the hard work that they’ve done for many years, while continuing to demonstrate our real concerns with the way the Chinese government has behaved,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Government engaged in conversations surrounding 2022 Beijing Olympics'

Government engaged in conversations surrounding 2022 Beijing Olympics

Government engaged in conversations surrounding 2022 Beijing Olympics – Nov 18, 2021

On Monday, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole urged the federal government to join in the diplomatic boycott, a position supported by the NDP.

A spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said on Monday that the question of whether to implement a diplomatic boycott is something Canada is still discussing with the U.S.

“Canada remains deeply disturbed by the troubling reports of human rights violations in China,” said press secretary Syrine Khoury in an email.

“We will continue to discuss this matter with our closest partner.”

Pascale St-Onge, the minister of sport, told journalists ahead of question period on Monday that no decision has yet been made on whether to join the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott.

Click to play video: 'China’s ambassador to Canada says Olympics ‘should not be politicized’ after U.S. announces diplomatic boycott'

China’s ambassador to Canada says Olympics ‘should not be politicized’ after U.S. announces diplomatic boycott

China’s ambassador to Canada says Olympics ‘should not be politicized’ after U.S. announces diplomatic boycott

China is facing growing global pressure over its persecution of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, its crushing of internal dissent — including in Hong Kong — and the arbitrary detentions of Kovrig and Spavor, who have since been released, in what was widely viewed as a hostage-taking related to Canada’s detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

Cohen, a lawyer, lobbyist and former U.S. tech executive, is the first full-time U.S. ambassador in Ottawa since Donald Trump’s choice, Kelly Craft, decamped in August 2019 to serve the U.S. envoy to the United Nations.

During his confirmation hearings in Washington, Cohen suggested the Biden administration was growing impatient waiting for the release of Ottawa’s long-term China policy.

He also said he would be involved in discussions to “make sure that Canada’s policies reflect its words in terms of the treatment of China.”

— with files from Global’s Amanda Connolly and David Akin, and the Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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