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Canucks Extra: Big game players – The Province



The Canucks got a huge performance from their goalie and crucial goal from their best player.

The stats are wild.

It’s the first time the Canucks have given up more than 50 shots against since 2010. (They did give up exactly in 2016 vs. St. Louis.)

It’s the just the fifth time this century the opposition has racked up 50 or more shots on goal.

So yes, Jacob Markstrom’s performance on Saturday was *the* story.

He was tremendous. He tried to down play the volume of shots against, but really, there were a pile of shots from the best scoring area: the slot.

That’s not a winning strategy. Against a better team, it would have been a disaster.

Good thing Markstrom turned nearly everything away.

After Toffoli scored, I was just about to tweet that the Canucks were going to need more than Markstrom if they were going to pull this game out of the bag, then Pettersson scored.

It was a bit of sweet relief for the Alien, who had been denied by Jonathan Quick on a breakaway in the second period.

“It was great. He saw me kind of stopped. And then, he had a better lane for me to pass and I tried to just one-time. It was a great pass by him,” Pettersson said of the goal.

“We found a way to win. Of course we know that we can’t play like this, we know we’ve got to work harder, be better with the puck.”

Chris Tanev said the winning goal actually went all the way back to a strong play by Brock Boeser.

“A huge goal by Petey, I mean he always comes through in those big moments. A great pass by Millsy and great play by Brock to just to lay it into an area I think that gets that’ll get lost in the whole play, but it was a great play by him just to put it in space and let Millsy skate on to it.”

What’s with those second periods?

Now, after the first period, the whole game was a mess for the Canucks. Forget the third on this one, that’s a whole other story. Here it is notable that again they’ve struggled in the second.

I asked Tanev if he had any thoughts on why. He had some good ones. It’s about not getting stuck out there on a long change.

“Just executing. I mean when you have that long change, if you’re not playing it properly and getting pucks deep, guys get tired on the ice and you’re going to be in your end longer than you want to be so. That’s a big part that we need to improve on in the second.”

It makes sense. Mistakes build up zone time for the opposition and the more tired you get the more mistakes you get, just compounding the problem. Pettersson suggested that on this particular night, there was too much loose play at the blue line, which kept bringing the pressure back on them.

Some nights go that way

The Beagle line got crushed. And somehow Tyler Motte scored a goal on one of the four shot attempts he was on the ice for.

“Lucky to skate into one,” Motte admitted about the drop pass he took off Pettersson on his goal.

The rest of the night was tough on the Beagle/Motte/Schaller trio: they saw the Kings direct pucks towards the Canucks’ goal 25 times on the night.

The only Canucks forwards to finish above 50 per cent in shot quality were Jake Virtanen and Antoine Roussel; they did a good job of keeping the Kings to the outside while driving the puck towards the Kings’ net.

Chris Tanev was the only other Canuck in the positive by that metric;  he did another outstanding job in similar terms.

Oscar Fantenberg, on the other hand, had a nightmare of a game, basically his whole game was played in his own end. Bet on Jordie Benn drawing back in in his place in Calgary.

Jacob Markstrom stared down Tyler Toffoli on a breakaway in the second period on Saturday.

Gerry Kahrmann /


More Markstrom contract comps

There are a handful of goalies who have played more than 100 games in the NHL from the 2008 draft.

The only three to play more than 200 games are Braden Holtby, Jake Allen and Jacob Markstrom.

In a given draft, you’ll find three to five goalies who play any kind of true stretch in the NHL.

From that draft 11 years ago, Holtby is far and away the race leader. Allen has had a solid if relatively disappointing career.

Markstrom, as we know, is the late bloomer.

Holtby is on a deal that expires this season; it’s carried a $6.1 million cap hit.

Markstrom, obviously, is a tier below.

Allen had a run as the starter in St. Louis but now finds himself back in the backup’s role behind Jordan Binnington.

He’s making $4.35 million over the next two seasons.

Markstrom has played just 22 fewer games than Allen. Allen’s career save percentage is .912. Markstrom’s is .910.

Markstrom, surely, will point to the salary Allen’s been making and thinking he deserves above that.

Mikko Koskinen signed a $4.5 million extension last season, with next to no NHL track record.

That’s another in Markstrom’s cap.

And yet, if he went to market, what’s his value? He’s actually going to be one of the youngest goalies, potentially, in free agency next summer.

There are teams that need goalies. (The bottom of this list is Aaron Dell at $1.9 million.)

Another name stands out: Robin Lehner, who is making $5 million to be the backup to $6 million Corey Crawford in Chicago. Those two set a standard of sorts.

Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are incredible pieces to build your team around and the Oilers have managed to do the opposite.

Harry How /

Getty Images Files

My Contract Sucks: The Next Generation

Connor McDavid’s deal really looks weird now in the light of the contracts Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner signed. They both locked down shorter terms than McJesus.

There was no reason for him not take max money and no reason for him to take the term that he did. The team was already lost at that point; Chiarelli had no idea how to build out the lineup in a way that would optimize the game’s best player.

Now McDavid finds himself locked into a frustrating box. New GM Ken Holland knows it will be a couple years before this ship is righted as they have to find, well everything. They need better depth forwards. They need a top-end puck-moving defenceman … or two.

McDavid is already doing just about everything he can to keep that ship afloat. The Oilers dominate play when he and Leon Draisaitl are on the ice. They get dominated otherwise.

The team is mediocre and now it’s sinking fast.

Imagine him asking out.

The spirit of the rules

Hey, let’s be clear: I’m not suggesting Brent Seabrook’s career is definitely done. After all the guy has missed just 32 games in his career, which started in 2005-06.

He’s shown durability. He never takes a step back.

I am skeptical, though, that if it turns out that the veteran defenceman *can’t* come back from the triple-headed surgery monster — hey he’s expected to be ready for training camp next September — that, with years left on his contract and $20 million owed to him, he’ll “retire.”

If he can’t play, he’ll be retired in everything but official. It’s an old path. The Blackhawks do have cap reasons for them to simply get him off their books, but they also have the creative accounting world of LTIR to consider, too. Having his cap hit around, even if he’s never to play again.

Joffrey Lupul was a clear case of a player who should have been declared retired, but remained on the Leafs’ books because he wanted to collect his remaining salary.

That’s been the case with multiple other players. Heck, Chris Pronger even worked for the NHL while he was still technically under contract with the Coyotes. In fact, working for the league while also being employed as a player is supposed to be prohibited under the terms of the CBA.

How’s that for spirit of the rules.

It sure has a funny flexibility to it, that spirit.


(To mark the end of a story being handed in to the editing desk, be it via a local reporter or off the news wire, it was standard practice to write -30- at the end of the story, so that the editors would know where the end of the story was.)

Gerry Kahrmann is now a former journalist. He’s been working as a photographer at the Province and the Sun for three decades. Saturday, he shot his final assignment: the Canucks game.

Since I took on the Canucks beat last season, I’ve generally worked Tuesday through Saturdays.

Saturdays are always a treat, not just because it means the Hockey Night in Canada caravan arrives in town — tonight, by the way, the last game of the decade was called by John Shorthouse — it also usually meant I’d get to work with Gerry.

As our newsroom has shrunk over the years, we’ve had fewer and fewer opportunities to have our own photographers at hockey games.

Over the past year and a bit, Saturdays were pretty much the only games where I’d see one of our photogs. So it was always a treat to see one of my talented colleagues.

That it was Gerry was an added pleasure.

From just about day one, he’s been the kindest colleague. He always went out of his way to check in on how I was doing. He was a strong hand in advising me and other younger colleagues during our contract negotiation nearly three years ago between our union and ownership.

He helped land a deal with the company that saw my colleagues make sacrifices to save a large number of jobs. I’m forever thankful for that.

Staff photographers are a ever-rarer breed nowadays. The camaraderie you can have with them is special but it also enhances the ability to work together on finding the perfect photo subject to help tell your story. Last night, for instance, I suggested we get a couple photos of Drew Doughty. Gerry nailed them. And because he’s such a wise hand, he also got some key photos of Elias Pettersson trying to deke our Jonathan Quick and Jacob Markstrom stonewalling Tyler Toffoli.

Sometimes it’s just about luck, Gerry would say, but you still have to be good.

Gerry was good. He still is.

I’m going to miss working with him.

-30- indeed.

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Oilers on the lookout for Flames' desperation after watching Avs-Blues Game 5 –



CALGARY — Everyone knows how hard it is to eliminate a group of National Hockey League players, or more specifically, to send a Calgary Flames team that won 50 regular season games into its summer.

But just in case any of the Edmonton Oilers needed a refresher, many were watching Wednesday night as the St. Louis Blues forged a heroic comeback on the road in Denver. Down 3-1 in the series and 3-0 in the game, the Blues scored four goals, two in the last five minutes including one after going down 4-3, and won a game in overtime to stay alive.

Game 5 can be seen on Sportsnet, starting at 9:30 a.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. MT.

“Just another thing to see in your head, that you know it’s not going to be easy,” said Edmonton defenceman Brett Kulak, who played for the Montreal Canadiens team that came back from down 3-1 to beat Toronto a year ago. “We’re in a good spot this series (up 3-1), but the job’s not done. We all we all know what needs to get done and we got one more win to go. Now, we’re looking to get it.”

So, how does Edmonton match Calgary’s desperation in Game 5?

“We are desperate to close the series. That’s how,” said Oilers captain Connor McDavid, who was all business Thursday morning. “We want to come out and have a strong performance. play our best game in the series, and close the series out.”

Matthew Tkachuk scored 42 goals in the regular season, and opened this series with a Game 1 hat trick. Since then, he chipped in just a single assist in the next three games, all Flames losses.

There was a time when No. 19 wore the black hat in the Battle of Alberta, and used that antagonistic side of his game to inject himself into the series. Usually offence followed, and when it was all said and done, “Matthew” and “Tkachuk” were the two words trending in both Northern and Southern Alberta.

Thus far in Round 2, Tkachuk has been neither pest nor producer, something that will have to change if the Flames are going to turn this thing around.

What has to change?

“Just the skill set. He’s got to use it more to his advantage,” his coach, Darryl Sutter, said. “It’s got nothing to do with effort, with any of our guys who haven’t been as productive after Game 1 of the series. But you have to give Edmonton credit in that too.

“Maybe our guys are doing all they can. Maybe Edmonton is just a little bit better,” Sutter proposed. “That’s kind of the (sidebar) that nobody’s talked about. It’s always been about the negative. Not the good stuff that’s gone on.”

So far, the best Flames forward in this series has been Mikael Backlund, but he’s a 12-goal guy. If the big boys don’t weigh in — starting with Game 5 — it’s hard to see Calgary winning three straight over Edmonton.

As for Johnny Gaudreau, who is a pending UFA, Thursday night could be his last game at the Saddledome — or for the Flames organization, for that matter. He’s not looking ahead that far, of course.

“I really enjoy playing with all these guys in this locker room,” Gaudreau said. “We have a good group in there. It’s been fun all year long.”

Defenceman Chris Tanev took the morning skate next to Oliver Kylington and looks to be in for the Flames again in Game 5. His suspected shoulder injury cost him four playoff games — from Game 7 of Round 1 through Game 3 of Round 2 — and left him doubled over in pain on the Calgary bench at times upon his return in Game 4.

The Flames like their leader on the ice and in their midst, even if it’s pretty clear they are getting something less than 90 percent of their assistant captain.

“You know, even-strength minutes, he was really good last game,” said Sutter of the 17:12 Tanev played at even-strength (19:24 in total). “He made his partner a better player, and with the experience on our back end — or lack of experience or back end — he was important.”

Plenty of players are playing through the pain here, on both sides. Namely, Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse for Edmonton, who have both gutted their way through these playoffs at something less than 100 per cent.

“He’s such a huge part of our team on and off the ice.” Tkachuk said of Tanev. “So, when you get a guy like that to come in for a big game, that definitely motivates you to be a lot.”

“We won 55 games this year. We’re pretty good at getting set for the next one.”

Looks like the same lines as Game 4 for both teams, with Tanev still a bit of question mark and Draisaitl and Nurse once again eschewing the skate.

Evander Kane, whose partner gave birth to a newborn son on Wednesday, remained at home in Edmonton. He’ll be down in time for the game. In other Oilers news, the Finnish media continues to report that goalie Mikko Koskinen is headed for Lugano in the Swiss League next season.

Here are Thursday night’s expected lineups.




















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CFLPA voting on new tentative agreement with CFL on Thursday – TSN



The CFL and CFL Players’ Association have reached another tentative seven-year agreement.

According to a league source, the two sides hammered out a second agreement in principle Thursday, two days after CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie unveiled the league’s final offer to its players.

The source spoke on the condition of anonymity as neither the CFL nor the CFLPA have confirmed the deal.

The new agreement is pending ratification by both the CFL Players’ Association membership and the league’s board of governors. According to two sources, the players will vote on the deal Thursday night.

Players on six of the nine CFL teams must vote to ratify the deal, with the required margin being at least 50 per cent plus one of ballots in favour.

Time is of the essence as the CFL pre-season schedule is slated to kick off Friday night with two games.

On Monday, the players voted against a tentative deal that the union had recommended they accept. The CFLPA is also recommending the ratification of Thursday’s tentative agreement.

According to sources, CFL teams will have seven Canadian starters and 21 in total on rosters this year. In 2023, that number increases to eight with one being a nationalized Canadian — an American who has spent either five years in the CFL or at least three with the same team.

Clubs will also be able to rotate two nationalized Canadians for up to 49 per cent of snaps. Teams can move to three nationalized Canadians in 2024 but the two franchises that play the most Canadians at the end of the season will receive additional second-round draft picks.

And the seven pure Canadian starters per game will remain intact throughout the term of deal, which can be reopened after five years when the CFL’s broadcast agreement with TSN expires.

The CFL will also provide $1.225 million in a ratification pool for players.

The biggest asset the CFL receives in the deal is extended labour piece and the opportunity to really rebuild its business.

Last December, the league announced a partnership with Genius Sports, a data, technology and commercial company that connects sports, betting and media. In August 2021, the CFL signed a multi-year partnership with BetRegal to become its official online sports-gaming partner.

Last month, the single-game sports betting industry opened fully in Ontario.

But Canadian Justin Palardy, a former kicker who spent time with five CFL teams from 2010-15, took to social media to voice his displeasure with the deal.

“Like I said on another tweet, what’s the point of drafting more (Canadians) if we’re getting rid of Canadian starters?” he tweeted. “You may think it’s a terrific idea, doesn’t mean it makes sense.”

The two sides had been at odds regarding the Canadian ratio.

Last Wednesday, the CFL and CFLPA reached a tentative seven-year agreement, ending a four-day strike by seven of the league’s nine teams. At first glance, there seemed to be many positives for the players, including a revenue-sharing model, the ability to reopen the pact in five years once the CFL signed a new broadcast deal, and veteran players having the ability to negotiate partially guaranteed contracts.

But the agreement also called for CFL teams to increase the number of Canadian starters from seven to eight. The extra would’ve also been a nationalized Canadian.

In addition, three other nationalized Canadians could play up to 49 per cent of snaps. And the deal didn’t include a ratification bonus.

On Tuesday, Ambrosie unveiled an amended proposal that included a $1-million ratification pool and the abolition of the three nationalized Canadians playing 49 per cent of snaps. However, it also reduced the number of Canadian starters to seven, including one nationalized Canadian.

Not only did Ambrosie say it was the CFL’s final offer, but it was good until midnight ET on Thursday, given the league’s exhibition schedule was slated to begin Friday night with two games. Ambrosie added if the players rejected the offer and opted to go back on strike, they’d be served notice to vacate their respective training-camp facilities.

It marked the second time Ambrosie had gone public with a final contract offer to the CFLPA. On May 14, he posted a letter to fans on the league’s website detailing the league’s proposal to players hours before the former CBA was set to expire.

The next day, players on seven CFL teams opted against reporting to training camp and went on strike. The Edmonton Elks and Calgary Stampeders both opened camp as schedule because they weren’t in a legal strike position, as per provincial labour laws, at the time.

It marked just the second work stoppage in league history and first since 1974.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022.

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Rocket advance with win in 3OT thriller | – American Hockey League



The Laval Rocket are off to the Eastern Conference Finals after a wild 6-5 triple-overtime victory over the Rochester Americans on Wednesday night.

The Rocket completed a three-game sweep of the Amerks and will face either Charlotte or Springfield in the next round.

Working on a power play following a delay of game penalty against Rochester, former Amerk Jean-Sébastien Dea wristed a shot that beat Aaron Dell at 1:51 of the third OT period to give the Rocket the victory. It was the second goal of the night for Dea, and came on Laval’s 60th shot of the evening.

Rochester nearly escaped with a Game 3 victory, scoring three times in the third period to take a 5-4 lead before Jesse Ylönen netted the equalizer for the Rocket with 1:07 remaining in regulation.

Back home in front of an energetic crowd of 10,662 fans at Blue Cross Arena, the Amerks struck quickly when Mark Jankowski pounced on a loose puck and scored his sixth goal of the playoffs just 1:04 into the contest.

JJ Peterka made it 2-0 in favor of Rochester with a power-play goal at 8:05, and that lead held until late in the second period, when Laval scored four goals in a span of 3:56 to swing the game in their favor.

Brandon Gignac started the comeback with 6:08 to go in the second period with a nifty deflection of a Corey Schueneman shot from the point. Danick Martel tied things up 55 seconds later, taking Gabriel Bourque’s pass from behind the net and snapping home his fifth goal of the series.

Just 76 seconds after that, the Rocket took their first lead of the night as Xavier Ouellet floated a shot from the left point through traffic that found the top corner over the glove of Aaron Dell.

And with 2:12 to go before intermission, Dea put Laval in front by two, hitting an open cage with Dell out of position following a collision with a teammate in front.

Rochester regrouped during the break and needed just 1:32 to tie things back up. Brett Murray scored 13 seconds into the third period to pull the Amerks to within 4-3, and Peterka got his second of the night 1:19 later off a slick feed from Peyton Krebs.

Murray then scored his second of the period at 8:35, getting a piece of Ethan Prow’s shot from the point and deflecting it home to put Rochester back in front.

Laval outshot Rochester 24-12 during sudden death and killed off two Amerks power plays before converting on their own for the winner.

Cayden Primeau (6-1) made 34 saves and earned his fourth consecutive victory in net for the Rocket. Dell (5-5) stopped a career-high 54 shots for Rochester.

North Division Finals (best-of-5)
N3-Laval Rocket vs. N5-Rochester Americans
Game 1 – Sun., May 22 – LAVAL 6, Rochester 1
Game 2 – Mon., May 23 – LAVAL 3, Rochester 1
Game 3 – Wed., May 25 – Laval 6, ROCHESTER 5 (3OT)

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