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Canucks getting Jacob Markstrom at his best when they need it most –



VANCOUVER – Four weeks after turning a three-goal lead into their most embarrassing night of the season by disintegrating and letting the Pittsburgh Penguins pour in five goals in the final 14 minutes, the Vancouver Canucks took a conservative approach in the rematch with Evgeni Malkin’s team on Saturday.

They did not allow the Penguins a first-period shot.

Malkin finished with one point instead of five, and the Canucks beat the Penguins 4-1 at Rogers Arena. Those two things were directly related.


But the story underlying both continued to be goalie Jacob Markstrom, who made 28 saves in his seventh straight start. Six of those have come since Canucks backup Thatcher Demko suffered a concussion from friendly fire during practice.

When the Canucks have needed Markstrom the most, the goalie has played his best stretch of the season.

Vancouver is only 3-4 in those seven games, but it’s possible the Canucks wouldn’t have won any had Markstrom not been in supreme form. He has stopped 216 of 234 shots for a save percentage of .923.

And he is doing this after an emotionally-agonizing autumn when Markstrom’s father lost his battle with cancer back in Sweden.

“I don’t think he ever really got in a rhythm just with the way his year has gone,” Canucks coach Travis Green said. “Unfortunately, with what happened to him, he has left the team a few times and that probably has derailed him from getting into a rhythm a bit. He’s definitely in one right now.”

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Veteran centre Jay Beagle said: “This guy, he battles so hard in practice. He works hard off the ice. He’s just a true pro; I only have good things to say about him and his game. It’s hard for anyone, obviously, to be in and out of the lineup. You do get rolling once you play some consecutive games. There is a certain thing where rhythm makes a big difference. He’s playing more now and looking like himself. He’s won us a lot of games.”

The Canucks have won two games this homestand when it seemed possible a few days ago they’d win none.

The team was teetering towards a full-blown crisis when it opened with a 3-1 loss on Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens, the Canucks’ fourth defeat in five games.

But the Canucks won 5-4 in overtime Thursday against the Vegas Golden Knights, who they had beaten only once since the National Hockey League opened an outlet in Nevada, and on Saturday managed their win against a Pittsburgh team that was 7-1 in its previous eight games.

You just never know with these Canucks.

“Of course that last game (in Pittsburgh) was in the back of our heads,” centre Elias Pettersson said after scoring for the fourth time in four games. “We didn’t want to think about it too much, but we used it as fuel tonight.”

After a shotless opening 10 minutes, the Penguins must have gotten bored because they started taking penalties to get the game going.

Starting with a high-sticking double-minor to Dominik Simon at 12:24, the Penguins took eight minutes in penalties in a span of 87 seconds, leaving the Canucks with a two-minute five-on-three and an uninterrupted power play of 4:36.

By the time the Penguins’ penalty box was empty, the Canucks led 2-0.

After an opening goal by J.T. Miller was wiped out by a coach’s challenge — Quinn Hughes put himself offside 62 seconds before Miller scored at 14:05 — Jake Virtanen’s one-timer at 15:10 was as beyond doubt as it was beyond Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray’s catching glove.

Miller doubled the lead at 17:00 with a second power-play goal, a deft, top-shelf redirection of Oscar Fantenberg’s shot-pass to the high slot.

The Canucks did not allow a shot on goal in the first period, marking the first time since 2002 that the Penguins did not test the opposition goalie at least once during a 20-minute frame.

Markstrom required that 20 minutes of rest in order to play the second period, when the Penguins had two more power plays and outshot the Canucks 20-6.

Jake Guentzel guided a rebound into the net from Jared McCann’s power-play blast to halve the Canucks lead to 2-1 at 15:28.

But the Canucks, who collapsed when the Penguins leaned on them late in that dismal 8-6 loss on Nov. 27, displayed impressive resilience by answering just 44 seconds later when Pettersson roofed a Tyler Myers rebound after getting free from Penguins defenceman Marcus Pettersson (no relation).

Three of Elias Pettersson’s last four goals have been greasy. The 21-year-old is learning to play in hard areas.

“If I was accepting, like, being stamped out, boxed out, I wouldn’t be able to score that goal,” he said. “So I’m always trying to be hard on myself and work hard.”

“I think he’s evolving,” Green said. “He’s a very bright, young player. He listens. In hard games, he knows he’s got to go to hard areas, and he is. All the top players in the league, they play in those types of games and they go to hard areas.”

Brock Boeser made it 4-1 with 5:29 remaining, intercepting a Pittsburgh clearance before working a give-and-go with Pettersson.

“We did a lot of good things and it was nice to get the win,” Beagle said. “But we’ve got to continue to build here. We’ve got to be better. We can’t be satisfied with 14 shots (and) Marky standing on his head.”

Well, the goalie-standing-on-his-head part is pretty good.

The Canucks finish their pre-Christmas homestand Monday against the Edmonton Oilers.

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The Best Canadian Players Ever To Play In The NFL



When people talk about the best players in the history of the NFL, they usually talk about American players. Well, when we consider that most of the legends were from this country, this should not come as a surprise. The case is the same today. Just take a look at and you will see who the most popular individual players are and the top betting picks for football enthusiasts.

However, looking further north, we can see that there are many splendid Canadian players who graced the NFL with their talent.

Let’s take a look at the best ones who played in the league.

Nate Burleson

This ridiculously talented American-Canadian football player had a successful career in the league. He played as a wide receiver for various teams throughout his career, including the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, and Cleveland Browns. Burleson was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft.


He quickly made a difference on the field, showcasing his speed, agility, and reliable hands. During his time with the Vikings, he became known for his ability to make acrobatic catches and his versatility as a receiver. In 2006, Burleson signed with the Seattle Seahawks, where he continued to excel. He played a key role in the team’s success, helping them reach the Super Bowl in the 2005 season. However, injuries limited his playing time during his tenure with the Seahawks.

In 2010, this wonderful man joined the Detroit Lions, where he had some of the best years of his career. He formed a dynamic receiving duo with Calvin Johnson, and together they became one of the most formidable wide receiver tandems in the league. Burleson’s leadership and veteran presence were also highly valued by his teammates. After his time with the Lions, Burleson signed with the Cleveland Browns in 2014.

Bronko Nagurski

This football diety wrote a delightful piece of the NFL history and he made the whole of Canada proud. He played as a fullback and defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears in the 1930s and early 1940s. Nagurski was known for his incredible strength and power on the field, earning him a reputation as one of the toughest players of his time.

During his splendid career, Nagurski helped lead the Bears to multiple championships, including the NFL Championship in 1932, 1933, and 1940. He was a dominant force on both offense and defense, known for his ability to break tackles and his hard-hitting style of play. Nagurski’s physicality and versatility made him a standout player in an era when two-way players were common.

He was later shown the heavenly doors of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963. This of course, only made his legacy a legit one in this neck of the woods. What do his colleagues have to say about him? Well, most of them remember him being one of the toughest dudes to roam the green fields.

Mike Vanderjagt

This absolute legend became famous for playing as a placekicker for the Indianapolis Colts from 1998 to 2005 and later for the Dallas Cowboys in 2006. Vanderjagt was known for his accuracy as a kicker and he has the NFL record for the most consecutive field goals made with 42. He was also the first kicker in NFL history to have a perfect season, making all of his field goal and extra point attempts in 2003.

Vanderjagt was selected to the Pro Bowl twice in his career and was a key contributor to the Colts’ success during his time with the team. Imagine having those tales to tell the kiddies on your lap when you get old.

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Jimmy Butler steals the show on NBA media day with ‘emo’ phase look following Damian Lillard’s trade to the Milwaukee Bucks



CNN — 

Whether or not Miami Heat’s golden child Jimmy Butler’s new “emo” look is just a phase, the NBA star carried it off with some aplomb, drawing plenty of laughs from his teammates.

One year on from his memorable fake dreadlocks look, the 34-year-old outdid himself by turning up at the Heat’s media day on Monday sporting a straightened fringe, piercings in his eyebrow and lips and painted black nails.

Butler said he’s now “emo” and after the summer he and the Heat have had, who can blame him?

After former Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and his agent publicly stated on numerous occasions that he would only want to play for Miami, it seemed like a matter of when, not if, the 33-year-old would end up in South Beach.


Butler led the Heat to an improbable NBA Finals appearance as the eight seed last season, so it’s easy to imagine his excitement at the prospect of Lillard’s addition to the roster pushing the team over the top and to its first title in the post-Lebron James era.

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) gets his new hairdo brushed at the start of a TV interview, during the NBA basketball team's media day, in Miami, Monday, Oct. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

However, the Milwaukee Bucks swooped in last week with a package that blew Miami’s out of the water, meaning Lillard will now be plying his trade in Wisconsin and not Florida.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, laugh it up,” Butler said as he entered his press conference, pushing his fringe out of his eyes. “I’m emo. This is my emotional state, I’m at one with my emotions so this is what you get.”

Despite failing to acquire Lillard and losing key contributors Gabe Vincent and Max Strus, Butler remains confident ahead of the upcoming season, telling reporters the Heat are going to win it all.

If it’s good news that he’s now at one with his emotions, Butler might just also be a gifted method actor and isn’t actually going through a belated “emo” phase. The six-time All Star could be heard saying “don’t make me break character” as he entered the press conference.

Oct 2, 2023; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler poses for a photo during media day. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

His new character was certainly a hit with his teammates and had Bam Adebayo crying tears of laughter as the pair were having their photos taken for the new season – which means, yes, Butler will have this hair in official photos for the entire year.

Certainly not someone to do things by halves, Butler was fully immersed in his new state and even posted songs from emo bands on his Instagram story throughout the day.


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Finding Your Perfect Match: The Best Ways to Choose an Online Sportsbook



In the ever-expanding world of online sports betting, selecting the right sportsbook is crucial. This is to ensure an enjoyable and secure gambling experience. With numerous options available, it can be challenging to find the perfect fit. For instance, you can be looking into sites like BestOdds to find a sportsbook to go with but do not know what exactly to check.

This article will explain the basics of finding an excellent online sportsbook.

Licensing and Regulation

The first and most critical factor when choosing an online sportsbook is ensuring it operates in a legal and transparent manner. A reputable sportsbook should possess a valid license from a recognized regulatory authority. These licenses indicate that the sportsbook adheres to strict standards, including fair play, responsible gambling and financial security.

Before registering, check for the sportsbook’s licensing information. In most cases, you will find this in the footer of their website. Some of the most reputable regulatory bodies for online sports betting include the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission.


Additionally, research the sportsbook’s track record for regulatory compliance and any previous non-payment or unethical practices incidents. User reviews and industry news sources can provide valuable insights into the sportsbook’s reputation.

Odds and Betting Markets

The quality of odds and the variety of betting markets offered are key factors in determining the suitability of an online sportsbook. Competitive odds provide better potential returns for your bets, while a wide range of markets allows you to explore different betting options.

Compare odds from multiple sportsbooks to ensure you get the best bet value. Some websites and apps even offer odds comparison tools to make this process more convenient.

Moreover, consider the breadth of sports and events covered by the sportsbook. Whether you’re into mainstream sports like football, basketball, or soccer or niche sports and events, the sportsbook should offer diverse markets to cater to your preferences.

Security and Payment Options

Security is paramount when sharing personal and financial information with an online sportsbook. Look for sportsbooks that employ the latest encryption technologies, such as SSL (Secure Socket Layer), to safeguard your data. Consider factors like two-factor authentication (2FA) to enhance account security further.

Payment options are another critical aspect. Ensure the sportsbook offers convenient and secure methods for depositing and withdrawing funds. Common payment methods include credit/debit cards, bank transfers, e-wallets (like PayPal or Skrill) and cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin). Choosing a sportsbook that supports your preferred payment method is essential to streamline your betting experience.


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