EDMONTON – Difficult as it is to believe, Bo Horvat’s virtuoso performance on Friday, in which his pair of spectacular goals included the Vancouver Canucks’ overtime game-winner, was not the biggest weekend event for the Horvat family from rural Rodney, Ont.
Horvat’s cousin, Kristin Kovacs, was getting married on Saturday. Bo was supposed to be in the wedding party, but instead had to celebrate in the National Hockey League bubble, where his surprising team has a 2-0 series lead on the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues heading into Game 3 here Sunday.
Horvat is related to Kovacs through his mom, Cindy’s, side of the family.
“He was in the wedding party, but he really couldn’t get involved,” Tim Horvat, Bo’s dad, told Sportsnet over the phone. “He didn’t know if the NHL was going to resume, and he was involved in the CBA (negotiations). And with the baby due, he didn’t know what he was going to do. He was probably going to make the decision to stay back until the baby was born, and then the baby comes 3½ weeks early. It’s been a whirlwind. But mental toughness, he can handle it, that kid.”
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Horvat, 25, has handled a lot as the Canucks’ youngest captain since Trevor Linden.
At the moment, he is handling the Blues.
Horvat has scored four goals in two games of the first-round series, and his six goals in six post-season games lead the Stanley Cup tournament.
He is leading the Canucks from the front, and his teammates are following. “Riding his coattails,” linemate Tanner Pearson described it on Friday.
Named captain last fall after being groomed for the job almost since he arrived in the NHL six years ago at age 19, shortly before the Canucks plunged to their nadir, Horvat is playing the best hockey of his life while achingly separated from his son, Gunnar, whom Holly Horvat delivered ahead of schedule on June 28.
Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman talk to a lot of people around the hockey world, and then they tell listeners all about what they’ve heard and what they think about it.
The hardest day of his life, Bo said, was leaving Gunnar and Holly on July 5 to return to Vancouver for training camp.
“It’s super tough,” Tim Horvat said. “We try and go see Holly as much as we can to support her. Holly is a remarkable mom. It’s not easy looking after a newborn baby and Gus the dog. But I’m so proud of her and how great a mom she is.
“I’ll probably get choked up telling you this. (He did). Cindy and I took Bo to the airport. Cindy and I were out in the garage with Holly’s mom, and we just let Bo say goodbye to Holly and Gunnar. Bo came out to the garage with tears in his eyes. He got in the car, didn’t say nothing, and he just broke down.
“This is the part I think I’m so proud of with Bo: You can’t teach mental toughness. You can’t teach that. When Bo was 12 years old, he left home to pursue his hockey dream. That was the toughest day of my life, taking him to Toronto. And then it comes full circle where Bo has to leave his newborn, and we’re taking him to Toronto again. It was not easy on any of us. He’s pretty good at keeping his emotions bottled up, but when it comes to family, he’s pretty passionate.”
This goes for Horvat’s hockey family, too.
Asked after Wednesday’s 5-2 win in Game 1 against the Blues about Canucks teammate Troy Stecher losing his dad on Father’s Day, Horvat was suddenly swamped by emotions and couldn’t speak. Two days later, his joy at scoring to help his team win was equally evident. After he embarrassed Blues veterans Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz on a solo shorthanded goal, he turned towards the glass with a magician’s ta-da gesture, only to find the empty stands unresponsive.
But his teammates are responding.
“I think they’re really tight,” Tim Horvat said. “That’s his family. Away from home, that’s his family. He respects and loves every one of them. I can honestly say, he has never bad-mouthed one player to me. In all the years, he has never said anything negative to me about a teammate. It’s amazing.
“When he got named captain, I just figured he could handle it. But it’s also his first year with a young group, and Bo’s got to learn, too. I know he wasn’t very happy with Game 1 (in the qualifying round against Minnesota). We had a little chat and I said: ‘You have to remember that being captain is an extra pressure all the time, no matter what.’ He just said: ‘Dad, I’ve got to be better.’ That was it.”
Canucks coach Travis Green said Vancouver’s elimination of the Wild and these first two games against the Blues are maybe the best three games he has seen Horvat play.
He buried Friday’s overtime winner after a brilliant stretch pass from Quinn Hughes.
“This is so funny,” Tim Horvat said. “After Gunnar was born, I said: ‘Bo, when Gunnar gets older, that kid is going to score goals.’ Bo stops me, he says: ‘Dad, I’m going to tell you right now, Gunnar is going to be like Quinn Hughes – a defenceman who can handle the puck, control everything and do everything.’ I said: ‘OK, I’m good with that.’ Honest to God, that’s what he said.”
• Canucks coach Travis Green offered no medical update Saturday on defenceman Tyler Myers, who was injured Friday on an unpenalized hit from behind by Schenn. Green said veteran defenceman Jordie Benn, who rejoined the Canucks in Edmonton after attending the birth of his child in Texas, should be ready to play if needed. Myers has remained in the Edmonton bubble.
Mickelson struggles Thursday at Winged Foot – pgatour.com
For a few brief moments Phil Mickelson’s dream of conquering Winged Foot to complete a career grand slam was on track at the U.S. Open, but inaccuracy off the tee once again gave him nightmares.
A week after hitting just 12 of 56 fairways at the Safeway Open, Mickelson managed to find the short grass off the tee just twice in Thursday’s opening round on the way to a dismal 9-over 79.
The 50-year-old’s chance at redemption from 2006 looked a chance after he rolled in back-to-back birdies out of the gate. Perhaps he truly had let go of the infamous 72nd hole double bogey that helped Geoff Ogilvy claim the trophy over 14 years ago.
Mickelson’s early birdies came despite missing both fairways left into deep rough and the fairytale writers lifted their eyebrows and dared to think something special might be on its way.
However, the inaccuracy quickly caught up. From the moment a four-foot par putt on the third hole lipped out, Mickelson found himself in a deep spiral not even his 44-time PGA TOUR winning experience could fight.
Bogeys on the fourth, fifth and eighth followed with Mickelson not chalking up his first fairway until the par-5 ninth hole. It didn’t help as he would go on to make par after another missed putt.
Bogey at 10 and another at 13 came soon after the turn with the latter the start of a six-hole finishing stretch that the six-time U.S. Open runner-up played in six over. Ultimately, he would finish 14 shots off the pace and all but officially be eliminated from contention. Only U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Lukas Michel (80) was behind him on the leaderboard.
The words he said as he left Napa must have been ringing in his ears throughout the round.
“The last couple of months I’ve been missing it more to the right and not worried about the left and the left crept in again,” Mickelson had said after the Safeway Open. “For years I missed it left. I haven’t been fearing that at all lately, but this week I missed it left, which is not good. I can deal with missing it right now, but not left.”
He went on to say he was confident of being able to turn it around before the opening round in New York but sadly that was not the case. Prior to the Safeway Open he had won his debut start at PGA TOUR Champions.
“I actually have had some nice breakthroughs in the last year and I feel like I’m on the precipice of playing really well, but I’ve got to get it to click,” he said.
Jays lose third in a row to Yankees – Bluebird Banter
Well, game three end up a lot closer than the first two games.
There were lots of Yankees home runs. Lots. Yankees seem to have that swing down to loft the ball to the short porch to left.
Julian Merryweather ‘opened’ and he managed not to give up a home run. But he wasn’t good, 2 hits, 2 walks, 2 earned. I hoped he could go two innings but no such luck.
Chase Anderson followed and threw a very good second inning. Then he gave up 5 home runs in the third, while getting just 2 outs. He gave up three consecutive home runs on three pitches.
It did remind me of a joke from my youth. What goes whoosh, crack, whoosh, crack, whoosh, crack. A pitcher going down to the minors.
Wilmer Font finished out the third inning and got through the fourth without allowing a run. Our pitching MVP of the series.
T.J. Zeuch pitched 3 innings, giving up just 1 run on, you guessed it, another homer. He allowed 3 hits, 3 walks with 3 strikeouts.
We had a rally in the ninth, giving us a few moments of fun. . With one out:
Aroldis Chapman came in:
- Bo Bichette singled home 2. 10-7, bringing the tying run to the plate.
- Randal Grichuk struck out.
- Teoscar Hernandez struck out to end the game. Hernandez was 0 for 5 with 4 strikeouts in his first game back. It will take couple of games to get his timing back
Jay of the Day: Lourdes (.124 WPA).
Matt Shoemaker can’t come back quick enough.
Tomorrow is a double-header, in Philadelphia. first game is 4:00 Eastern.
We had 753 comments in the GameThread. 13yearoldbaseballfanatic led us to defeat.
The series had me thinking of this song, the chorus is ‘Burn this cabin down’. I’m thinking we should do that to Yankees Stadium, burn it to the ground.
Blue Jays lose big again – Bluebird Banter
We held them to a couple of touchdowns today. Progress of sorts.
Yankees hit 7 home runs. 4 off of starter Tanner Roark. The first, a solo homer in the first inning, was a Yankees Stadium special, one that would only be a home run with the short porch in the Bronx. But the other ones were crushed.
Roark went 4 innings, allowed 6 hits, 6 earned, 2 walks and 4 strikeouts.
Jacob Waguespack pitched the next 2 innings, giving up 5 hits, 5 earned, 1 walk with 2 home runs.
Hector Perez got into his first MLB game. He pitched 1.2 innings with 3 hits, 2 earned, 3 walks, 1 k with 1 home run.
Anthony Bass got the last out.
Someone named Kyle Higashioka (the Yankees backup catcher) hit 3 home runs.
Offensively, we only had 5 hits. We didn’t get our first hit until the sixth inning, when Jonathan Villar led off with a double. He would score our first run on a wild pitch. Joe Panik homered in the ninth, to get our second run.
Can’t blame the defense today.
No Jays of the Day today. Danny Jansen had the high mark at .007 WPA for his 0 for 2 and a walk.
Suckage: Roark (-.246).
It’s possible that the Jays will send out Wags before tomorrow’s game, if they decide they need someone who can give them a few innings.
We had 643 comments in the GameThread. FlipDown Shades led us to crushing defeat.
Mickelson struggles Thursday at Winged Foot – pgatour.com
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