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Canucks 9, Bruins 3: Still nothing like a beatdown of the Bruins – The Province

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The Canucks finished off their February homestand with a thumping win over a team Vancouver fans still love to hate.

It was a near-unanimous comment Saturday from the Canucks before facing the Boston Bruins, who would be tired after having to fight hard to defeat the Calgary Flames on Friday night: sure, they’re among the league’s best, but they have to take advantage.

And they did, knocking off the Bruins 9-3 in front of a raucous crowd at Rogers Arena, posting their biggest win over the team. The closest they’ve come was an 8-5 win in 2018. And the first time since 1996 they scored nine goals.

Led by captain Bo Horvat and the Insurance Line, the Canucks dominated the Bruins from start to finish.

In a vintage performance Horvat scored a first-period power-play, helped create goals for both his linemates, picked up an assist along the way and also had a fight. It was the first Gordie Howe Hat Trick for a Canuck since Denis Pederson in October of 2000.

The Horvat-Tanner Pearson-Loui Eriksson was matched up all night against the Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak line and while Pastrnak tallied twice, the Insurance Line truthfully controlled play throughout.

“He plays 200 foot game and he shows up in big moments and that’s the type of player I want to be, and I look up to guys like that,” Horvat said of his matchup with Bergeron. “You want to have your best games against guys like that so I was extra motivated today for sure.”

Eriksson hit the cross-bar early and then hit the post twice before finally burying a goal late in the second period.

“We were just laughing at that, because I think it was like the second or third shift of the game, he buried one off the crossbar and you’re just like oh my god, like poor Loui, he’s never going to get one, but it’s nice to see him get one,” Horvat said.

The Canucks fired 17 shots on goal in a high-flying first period, Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask reminding onlookers more than once why he’s among the league’s best.

Second periods have been a challenge for Vancouver this season but not on this night as the Canucks scored three times. The period also featured a dust-up between Bruins captain Zdeno Chara and Tyler Myers as well as the full-on fisticuffs between Horvat and Charlie Coyle.

“I don’t know what it is,” Horvat said about his fight, the third of his career but the second against a Bruin. “I just get amped up for these games, especially in front of a home crowd it’s great and it’s always nice to get the win after that, too.”

The Bruins picked up two goals in the third, but it was too little, too late.

On top of the three goals from Horvat and Co., the Canucks also got goals from Troy Stecher, Adam Gaudette, Elias Petterson, Jake Virtanen and two third-period tallies by Tyler Toffoli while the Bruins’ other goal was scored by Chris Wagner.

Here’s what we learned…

Slickest of mitts

It was a toss-up on what was the more impressive feat in the Gaudette goal: was it Quinn Hughes’ deft puck placement on to the centreman’s stick, or was it Gaudette’s equally deft finish, flicking the puck up and over Rask’s shoulder?

Either way, it was the latest reminder that Hughes is an incredible talent and that Gaudette has come a long, long way on offence this season.

Give me the tools and I’ll finish the job

Horvat couldn’t have been any more open when the puck landed on his stick before he fired it over Rask’s shoulder to put the Canucks back in the lead on the Canucks’ first-period power play.

J.T. Miller laid a perfect pass to the wide-open Horvat, who now has nine power play goals on the season, one off his career high.

Horvat agreed, he’d never been more open in his career.

“No, I don’t think,” he replied, smiling. “I was like J.T., if you didn’t pass me that puck I probably would have been pretty upset at you so I was glad he got it to me and I was glad I was able to score it.”

Miller said he was happy that he’d heard Horvat call for a pass.

“I had my back to the play and if he didn’t yell for it I probably would have took my time since it was a power play. I probably would have just tried to get it set up but he did a good job to get in the right spot and I just tried to give it to him and obviously he did a good job burying it.”

Toffoli’s Titanic week

A week ago, Tyler Toffoli tallied a hat trick for the Los Angeles Kings at the outdoor Stadium Series game in Colorado. Monday he was traded to the Canucks.

Wednesday he picked up an assist in his debut.

Saturday, he scored twice and also picked up an assist. Seven points, three games, making headlines. Surely he’s a candidate to be an NHL star of the week?

“I’ve been in a spot like this before personally and, you know, not play the way I wanted to play before my career and I want to do well right now and if I’m doing well, that means I’m helping the team and winning games … winning games is a lot of fun.”


Loui Eriksson #21 of the Vancouver Canucks shoots the puck in net past goalie Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins during NHL action at Rogers Arena on February 22, 2020 in Vancouver, Canada.

Rich Lam /

Getty Images

Nothing like beating a goalie

Troy Stecher pointed out the reason for his great delight in scoring earlier this year was because it was the first time he’d beaten a goalie to score in some time.

When he opened the scoring against the Bruins, firing the puck from the side boards past Rask, he practically jumped through the end-glass in celebration. It’s been a trying few days for the Richmond blueliner, who finds himself in the midst of trade chatter for the first time in his NHL career, so it’s understandable why he might have been even more excited to score his fourth of the year.

That he had scored against the Bruins, the team he rooted against as a teenaged fan in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, also was a factor in his exaltation, it would seem.

“Yeah, I threw a pretty big fist pump, like that one it felt pretty good. I want to play in Vancouver you know, I take pride in playing at home, I take pride playing for our city and I try to represent our city as best as I can. Every time I put that jersey on I definitely want to win and it feels a little sweeter when you play the Bruins, just obviously being from Vancouver,” he said with a grin.

He chuckled about the goal itself, knowing it was a shot that Rask really should have stopped.

“It’s called luck for a reason,” he said. “Honestly I was just trying to shoot far-pad, kind of blocker-side, looking for a rebound.”

He’s been a quiet dynamo on the Canucks’ blueline again this season and lately has been in a shutdown role alongside Alex Edler. A pending free-agent this summer, he wants to stay in Vancouver but if this proves to have been his final game at home in blue and green, he went out on the highest of notes.


Boston Bruins forward Danton Heinen (43) clips Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom (25) with his stick during the first period at Rogers Arena.

Anne-Marie Sorvin /

USA TODAY Sports

In case you didn’t know…

Pastrnak is very good.

The move he pulled off to undress Jacob Markstrom on his first-period breakaway can be found in the dictionary under “big league moves.”

It’s no easy feat faking right then going left at full speed. Pastrnak added on a return move to his right, leaving the Canucks’ goalie sliding the wrong way.

It’s no surprise he has 44 goals on the season.

Markstrom laughed about the move.

“I think I went in the locker room and you know he got me in the corner,” he said with a grin. “Good play.”

Markstrom made a huge save on Pastrnak with time winding down in the second to keep the game at 5-1.

Pastrnak got his second goal on a third-period power play.

Just in case

Since emergency backup goaltenders are a topic of conversation after Toronto’s EBUG Dave Ayers got the win on Saturday for the Carolina Hurricanes over the Maple Leafs — a team he works for, by the way, raising no concerns about conflicts of interest or anything like that — the man who sits in the press box, ready to go just in case is usually UBC goalie Rylan Toth.

On Saturday it was Ben Maquignez, who is UBC’s third-stringer. He’s served in the role before, as has Toth’s normal backup Patrick Dea.


pjohnston@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/risingaction

NEXT GAME

Tuesday

Vancouver Canucks vs. Montreal Canadiens

4 p.m., Bell Centre, TV: SNETP, TSN2; Radio: SNET 650 AM

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Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email vantips@postmedia.com

LISTEN: Ed Willes joins Paul Chapman to talk about the current plight of the Vancouver Canucks.

Is the trade for Tyler Toffoli a wise move for the franchise? Ed is not sour on the deal, but having spent a lot of time watching Tyler Madden last year, he feels the kid has a lot of potential.

They also get into the injury and the issues plaguing Brock Boeser, the team MVP candidates, and revisit Sedins Week and talk about the ups and downs of the 2000s as part of the Canucks at 50 series.

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Blue Jays shift Kikuchi to bullpen; White to start vs. Yankees – TSN

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Toronto Blue Jays manager John Schneider confirmed the team will start righty Mitch White Saturday against the New York Yankees while struggling southpaw Yusei Kikuchi shifts to the bullpen.

Kikuchi did not sit in the dugout for Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles and was instead seated in the bullpen with other relievers, indicating an apparent change in role. 

The 31-year-old has struggled mightily in 20 starts this season, posting an ERA of 5.25 and a WHIP of 1.51. His latest outing came Monday night when he allowed six runs (three earned) in 3.1 innings in an eventual 7-4 loss to the Orioles. It was his second tough outing against Baltimore in as many starts as he surrendered five earned runs in 5.0 innings one week prior at Camden Yards. 

Signed to a three-year, $36 million deal in the off-season, Kikuchi is due $16 million this season and then $10 million in 2023 and 2024.

Meanwhile, White was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers on trade deadline day earlier this month and will start his third game for the Jays Saturday in the Bronx. In 17 appearances split between the two teams this season, White is 1-3 with a 3.72 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 65.1 innings.

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Canada at The 2022 FIFA World Cup: Time To Build Excitement

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It’s been a long time since Canada made it to the FIFA World Cup Finals. Indeed, for younger Canadians, this will be the first time they get to see their national team on soccer’s biggest stage — the last time they played in the finals was way back in 1986. They’ll be hoping that things go a little better this time since, in their previous outing, they lost all three games without scoring a goal, making them the worst-performing team in the competition.

Still, there are two things to remember. First, just making it to the World Cup is an achievement. And second, the World Cup is a lot of fun even if your team doesn’t win! So it’s going to be an exciting month of football. In this blog, we’ll take a look at some essential information that’ll help you to build excitement for the tournament.

Canada at The 2022 FIFA World Cup: Time To Build Excitement

Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/ball-blur-championship-close-up-209841/

 

Who Canada Will Play And When

Canada are guaranteed to play at least three games. Their first match will take place on November 23 (2 pm ET, 11 am PT), when they take on Belgium at the Al Rayyan Stadium in Qatar.

Next up is Croatia, who they’ll play four days later on November 27 (11 am ET, 8 am PT). Their final group game will be against Morocco, who they’ll play on December 1 (10 am ET, 7 am PT). If they finish in the top two, they’ll play again on December 5 or 6. But it’s best not to mark that potential date in your calendar just yet.

 

What Are Canada’s Chances of Winning?

Canada do not, unfortunately, have all that much chance of winning the World Cup — there are simply too many sides stronger than them. They’re unlikely to make it out of the group stage, in large part because they were given an especially difficult draw. Belgium have some of the world’s best players, while Croatia made it to the final of the World Cup last time out in 2018. Stranger things have happened, but don’t be too disappointed if they’re returning home early — they’re still heroes!

 

Extra World Cup Fun

Photo by RF._.studio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-person-wearing-neon-green-socks-3621104/

Extra World Cup Fun

There’s more to enjoy about the World Cup than just Canada’s participation. This, after all, is a tournament that’s easy to love even if your country did not qualify. During the competition, there’ll be plenty of ways to get into the World Cup spirit, including listening to themed podcasts, participating in BetVictor’s Crack The Code competition, challenging yourself in a fantasy football tournament, and organising viewing parties for you and your friends.

Throw yourself into all that the World Cup provides, and you’ll find that you enjoy the month of sporting action even if Canada don’t go as far as you would like.

 

What Else To Know About The World Cup

This World Cup is unique because it’s the first to take place in the winter and also the first in the Middle East. This means it’ll be slightly different from previous tournaments, but if you think it’ll be any less enjoyable, think again. The World Cup is a global spectacle that’s fun no matter when it’s held!

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Between court ruling and new world rankings, LIV golfers facing long road back to PGA Tour – Sportsnet.ca

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WILMINGTON, Del. — Long before the PGA Tour’s post-season opener ended with a winning bogey in a three-hole playoff, the biggest drama was in the clubhouse at the TPC Southwind.

A dozen or so players gathered around a screen to watch the outcome in the first of what figures to be many court fights between the PGA Tour and Saudi-funded LIV Golf.

“I walked by player dining and I saw about 10 really nervous people pacing all around the room and I thought, ‘Well, there’s something going on,’” Jon Rahm said.

He was curious enough to stay for the finish.

This one went to the tour. A federal judge denied the request of three LIV golfers to compete in the FedEx Cup playoffs. Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones were in Memphis, Tenn., in case they got the green light but soon were headed home.

When will they return?

That was one of the realities that came out of the ruling, even if it was an emergency hearing. More detailed arguments for a temporary injunction could come later. U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman said her first open spot for an evidentiary hearing was Sept. 27-29.

That’s the week of the Presidents Cup. Such is the year.

The assumption is the three players — possibly more if they chose not to resign from the PGA Tour — want freedom to play both circuits. For now they are suspended — or banned, which is the word used in a text exchange from February between Sergio Garcia and Greg Norman.

“Hi Sharky! It’s official, the Tour has told our manager this week that whoever signs with the League, is ban from the Tour for life! I don’t know how are we gonna get enough good players to join the League under this conditions. What do you think?” Garcia said in his text, now part of the court documents.

Norman replied: “They cannot ban you for one day let alone life. It is a shallow threat. Ask them to put it in writing to you or any player. I bet they don’t. Happy for anyone to speak with our legal team to better understand they have no chance of enforcing.”

Judge Freeman ruled otherwise.

For some players, it might be awkward to be in the same tournament as the 10 players who are suing the PGA Tour. This is starting to get personal. Until now, any hard feelings was over someone wearing spikes too long or getting called “Brooksie.”

The notion of a lifetime ban is premature. Even so, the reality is LIV golfers might not be seen on the PGA Tour anytime soon whether they want to or not.

“It doesn’t look like it,” Rahm said. “I’m confident that the LIV side of things are still going to push strong to keep trying to change some things. But I also know that the lawyers on the PGA Tour side are going to keep fighting for the way things are going right now. It’s not the last thing we are going to hear from them.”

Outside of court are two issues still to be determined.

The majors have not announced their criteria for eligibility next year. The U.S. Open typically waits until the fall to go over any tweaks it wants to make. The USGA hasn’t make any significant changes to its exemptions since going to the top 50 (from top 20) in the world ranking in 2001 and doing away with money lists on the PGA Tour and European tour in 2012.

The Masters began using the top 50 in the world ranking in 1999. Masters champions currently have lifetime exemptions, and six of them since 2010 are now part of LIV Golf. There isn’t a seating chart for the Masters Club dinner on Tuesday night for past champions. This might be a good time to start a new tradition.

The Open Championship leans heavily on the world ranking for exemptions and an alternate list. The PGA Championship uses the PGA Tour money list and a catch-all “special invitations” category that seems to always catch the top 100 in the world. It just doesn’t say that in writing.

At this rate, maybe the majors don’t have to make many adjustments if they want to limit the number of LIV golfers.

LIV Golf no longer has anyone in the top 20 because Dustin Johnson dropped to No. 21 this week. Its players don’t get world ranking points, and its July 6 application to be included in the world ranking system probably won’t be decided until next year at the earliest. The process historically takes one year or longer.

It’s a safe bet that with few exceptions, the only players who will be exempt for all the majors already are exempt because they won one in the last five years — Phil Mickelson, Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed (who has one year left).

That leads to another reality also unveiled last week. The world ranking began the switch to a modernized system that is reputed to be more accurate and in doing so eliminates minimum points for smaller tours and weak fields.

Reed played the Asian Tour last week. He tied for 31st and received 0.31 points. The winner got just under 7.4 points — about half what the Korn Ferry Tour winner received.

A year or so from now, good luck finding anyone from the top 75 who isn’t a PGA Tour member.

Players are free to choose whatever path they want. If that means guaranteed money — more than they could reasonably have earned on the PGA Tour — it’s hard to fault them.

But it could be a long road back, if that’s where they even want to go.

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