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Carey Price in dominant form as Canadiens stifle superstar-led Oilers – Sportsnet.ca

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There was Carey Price, 190-odd feet away from most of the action, watching his Montreal Canadiens slice through the Edmonton Oilers like a hot knife through butter.

He was almost easy to ignore as the Canadiens had their way — four lines churning and backing the Oilers into the corner with a 4-0 lead built on a power-play goal, two at even-strength and one shorthanded.

Almost.

For as dominant as Montreal was in this game — fully, completely, and it was compensated with a 5-1 win — it was Price who delivered on the key tenet of the plan.

If you want to beat the Oilers — even this deeper group than we’ve seen most recently in Edmonton — you have to hope to contain Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. You can’t count on stopping them outright, but keeping them from scoring four points apiece, like they did in Thursday’s win over the Vancouver Canucks, is a must.

And on most nights, it takes a full team effort to do that.

But on this night, it took a superstar. The one named Price.

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He is the equalizer on Montreal’s side, still very much the steady hand on this new-and-improved, bleu, blanc et rouge ship, and he showed it on his first save of the game — a dandy on Kyle Turris — and on the 33 that followed.

But the two saves Price made on McDavid, and the six he made on Draisaitl, were the difference between this game being close and it ending as it did.

Canadiens coach Claude Julien agrees.

“It’s certain he had a huge impact,” Julien said after Saturday’s game. “Listen, we’re not blind; we saw the chances they had to score and how solid Carey Price was on them. He was an excellent goalie for us tonight. We did good things, but we still have things we’ll continue to try to improve, and there were maybe too many chances against at a point…”

There was about 15 minutes of play between the Canadiens holding tight to a 1-0 lead late in the first period and expanding to 4-0 in the 10th minute of the second that come to mind.

It started with Price sliding across his crease to get a pad on a late first-period breakaway for McDavid.

Big-time save, yeah.

But Price is a big-time-save goaltender.

As Canadiens assistant captain Brendan Gallagher put it, “Probably the best player in the world coming down on him, but if you’re sitting on the bench you almost just know you’re going to get the save.”

Almost.

If you’re sitting on Edmonton’s bench, you’re practically celebrating McDavid’s goal before the puck has even crossed the line.

Price took nothing for granted on the play. He didn’t guess, he didn’t try to bait McDavid into shooting to a specific spot; he just let the play come his way.

“It wasn’t really a read; it was just kind of a reaction,” Price said after the game. “He came in with a lot of speed and I was just able to close the holes.”

Because that’s what Price does when he’s on his game. He just closes holes.

The 33-year-old pulled a page out of former Oilers goaltender Bill Ranford’s book early in the second period, stacking his pads on a Draisaitl snapper from 16 feet away to close a hole. It was a deadly power-play chance turned away with flair.

But Price made all the other hard saves look easy.

He made the easy ones look easy, too, which is not what you’d say of Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen on this night.

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Still, the Canadiens made Koskinen’s night difficult. They deserve their due — if not for helping Price a bit with McDavid, Draisaitl and Co., then certainly for what they did offensively.

They started with wave after wave of pressure, inundating the Oilers and knocking them on their heels with their speed. Jeff Petry opened the scoring on the power play soon after.

The former Oiler added one at 5-on-5 after Tomas Tatar made it 2-0.

Jake Evans scored unassisted on a shorthanded rush before the game was half over, and the Canadiens suffocated the life out of the rest of this one before Tatar buried a breakaway beauty with just over 10 minutes remaining in the third.

The goal that beat Price? A laser from Slater Koekkoek with 8:01 remaining — an open shot from a sharp angle that grazed the goaltender’s mask and pinged off the back bar.

Shutout bid busted, but spirit barely dented.

Sure, Price was mad about it, but he was much happier about earning his first win of the season.

It was a commanding performance for him, and his teammates, and they all felt it — even if Julien wisely downplayed it knowing the next meeting with the Oilers is less than 48 hours away.

“We’re a fast team. We consider ourselves fast,” Julien said. “On the other side, they were playing their third game in four nights. So there was certainly a fatigue element on the other side that took away some of their speed.

“But it was up to us to be smart and take advantage of the fact that they were playing their third in four nights.”

And it was up to Price to make the difference against two players who are among the very best no matter what the situation. Even if the shine was off of him in this game, he did exactly that.

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Senators chase Rittich, rout Flames for third-straight win – Sportsnet.ca

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OTTAWA — Matt Murray and the Ottawa Senators have their longest win streak of the season.

Murray stopped 29 shots while Drake Batherson extended his goal streak to four games as Ottawa earned a 6-1 decision over the Calgary Flames on Thursday. The win was the Senators’ third straight as they improved to 5-2-0 in the last seven contests.

“I think we’re starting to build, I think we’re recognizing what it takes to win on any given night and how difficult it really is,” Murray said. “I think we’re starting to do the little things right the majority of the time and that’s huge in this league.

“If we start getting into a run-and-gun style game then we’re probably not going to have as good a chance to win. I think tonight was a good example of what it takes to win on any given night and now difficult it is. I love the direction we’re headed.”

Colin White scored twice for Ottawa (7-14-1). Erik Gudbranson, Connor Brown and Erik Brannstrom had the others.

“You know what? You never critique a win,” Ottawa head coach D.J. Smith said. “We found a way to score early and took the pressure off us.

“But there’s probably been four or five games of late that we’ve played better and didn’t get that result. It was just one of those games where everything went our way.”

Milan Lucic replied for Calgary (9-10-2), which was playing for the third time in four nights. And while the Flames came in having won three of the previous four meetings with Ottawa, they’re 1-4-1 in their last six games overall.

“It’s on us, it’s on the players. We’ve got to be better,” said Lucic.

It was the first of three straight games between the two teams in Ottawa. They meet again Saturday afternoon before finishing up Monday night.

“I thought that was Matt Murray’s best game this year,” said Smith. “He looked really calm back there.

“We hung him out to dry in the third period and gave them some Grade-A chances that we shouldn’t have given but he made the saves and he looked really good doing it.”

Murray was sharp in the third as Calgary outshot Ottawa 15-8 in the period. Overall, the Senators held a 31-30 advantage in shots on goal.

But Murray said his teammates performed solidly in front of him.

“We did the best job we could’ve staying above them trying to keep their chances to a minimum,” he said. “That’s a really, really dangerous team.

“The way we played in the (defensive) zone, we just kind of kept them to the outside. A lot of really good things to build off of moving forward until the next one.”

Batherson opened the scoring at 7:45 of the first period. David Rittich made the save on Tim Stutzle’s shot but Batherson fired the rebound past the Flames goaltender for his sixth of the season.

Gudbranson made it 2-0 with his first of the year at 9:27 as Ottawa outshot Calgary 13-5.

Lucic pulled Calgary to within 2-1 with his fifth 1:41 into the second. But Brown restored Ottawa’s two-goal lead at 4:39, intercepting a pass deep in the Flames zone and beating Rittich on the backhand unassisted for his fifth.

“I thought we did a really good job and responded well after that (Lucic) goal,” Murray said. “I like how we really didn’t sit back.

“We kept going and got a few more goals coming out in that third period I think that was huge.”

Brannstrom put Ottawa up 4-1 at 7:24. He blasted a rolling puck from outside the blue-line past Rittich, his second of the year and second in as many games. Shortly afterwards, Calgary made the goaltending change as Artyom Zagidulin got into his first NHL game replacing Rittich, who allowed four goals on 20 shots.

White slid the puck under Zagidulin at 4:55 of the third, for his third. He added his fourth at 14:46.

“He (White) was dinged up there . . . the last little bit and that affected him,” Smith said. “When pucks go in for guys all of a sudden . . . they start skating and they start making plays.

“He’s been really competitive, he’s been a great teammate throughout this. He’s playing well.”

While admitting Thursday’s victory was far from a complete performance, Ottawa defenceman Thomas Chabot said there are many benefits to winning.

“It’s good for everyone,” he said. “Everyone gets more confidence, everybody makes more plays, everybody is happy coming to the rink, everybody’s in a good mood.

“It’s just great for the team overall.”

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U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach kills himself after being charged – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Anna Liz Nichols And Ed White, The Associated Press


Published Thursday, February 25, 2021 5:17PM EST

LANSING, Mich. – A former U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach with ties to disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar killed himself Thursday, hours after being charged with turning his Michigan gym into a hub of human trafficking by coercing girls to train and then abusing them.

John Geddert faced 24 charges that could have carried years in prison had he been convicted. He was supposed to appear in an Eaton County court, near Lansing, but his body was found at a rest area along Interstate 96, according to state police.

“This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

Nessel earlier announced that Geddert was charged with a bushel of crimes, including sexual assault, human trafficking and running a criminal enterprise. The charges were the latest fallout from the sexual abuse scandal involving Nassar, a former Michigan State University sports doctor now in prison.

Geddert, 63, wasn’t arrested and transported to court. Rather, Nessel’s office allowed him to show up on his own.

“We had no indication that Geddert intended to flee or hurt himself or others. We had been in contact with his attorney and were assured of his co-operation,” Nessel spokeswoman Kelly Rossman-McKinney said.

Calls seeking comment from attorney Chris Bergstrom weren’t immediately returned.

Geddert was head coach of the 2012 U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team, which won a gold medal. He was long associated with Nassar, who was the Olympic team’s doctor and also treated injured gymnasts at Twistars, Geddert’s Lansing-area gym.

Among the charges, Geddert was accused of lying to investigators in 2016 when he denied ever hearing complaints about Nassar. But the bulk of the case against him involved his gym in Dimondale and how he treated the young athletes whose families paid to have them train under him.

The charges against Geddert had “very little to do” with Nassar, said Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark.

Geddert was charged with using his strong reputation in gymnastics to commit a form of human trafficking by making money through the forced labour of young athletes.

“The victims suffer from disordered eating,” Nessel said, “including bulimia and anorexia, suicide attempts and attempts at self harm, excessive physical conditioning, repeatedly being forced to perform even when injured, extreme emotional abuse and physical abuse, including sexual assault.

“Many of these victims still carry these scars from this behaviour to this day,” the attorney general said.

Nessel acknowledged that the case might not fit the common understanding of human trafficking.

“We think of it predominantly as affecting people of colour or those without means to protect themselves … but honestly it can happen to anyone, anywhere,” she said. “Young impressionable women may at times be vulnerable and open to trafficking crimes, regardless of their stature in the community or the financial well-being of their families.”

Geddert was suspended by Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics during the Nassar scandal. He told families in 2018 that he was retiring.

USA Gymnastics said in a statement late Thursday that news about the charges against Geddert would “lead to justice through the legal process.”

“With the news of his death by suicide, we share the feelings of shock, and our thoughts are with the gymnastics community as they grapple with the complex emotions of today’s events,” the organization said.

On his LinkedIn page, Geddert described himself as the “most decorated women’s gymnastics coach in Michigan gymnastics history.” He said his Twistars teams won 130 club championships.

But Geddert was often portrayed in unflattering ways when Nassar’s victims spoke during court hearings in 2018. Some insisted he was aware of the doctor’s abuse.

Sarah Klein, a gymnast who trained under Geddert for more than 10 years and was assaulted by Nassar, said the coach’s death was an “escape from justice” and “traumatizing beyond words.”

“His suicide is an admission of guilt that the entire world can now see,” said Klein, a lawyer.

Rachael Denhollander, the first gymnast to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual abuse in 2016, said she was proud of the women who stepped forward against Geddert.

“So much pain and grief for everyone,” she said on Twitter after his death. “To the survivors, you have been heard and believed, and we stand with you.”

White reported from Detroit.

Nichols is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues

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AG: U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach dies by suicide after charges – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Anna Liz Nichols And Ed White, The Associated Press


Published Thursday, February 25, 2021 5:17PM EST

LANSING, Mich. – A former U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach with ties to disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar killed himself Thursday, hours after being charged with turning his Michigan gym into a hub of human trafficking by coercing girls to train and then abusing them, authorities said.

John Geddert was supposed to appear in an Eaton County court, near Lansing. His body was found at a rest area along Interstate 96, according to state police. No other details were immediately released.

“This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

Nessel earlier announced that Geddert was charged with two dozen crimes, including sexual assault, human trafficking and running a criminal enterprise. The charges were the latest fallout from the sexual abuse scandal involving Nassar, a former Michigan State University sports doctor now in prison.

Geddert, 63, was head coach of the 2012 U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team, which won a gold medal. He was long associated with Nassar, who was the Olympic team’s doctor and also treated injured gymnasts at Twistars, Geddert’s Lansing-area gym.

Among the charges, Geddert was accused of lying to investigators in 2016 when he denied ever hearing complaints about Nassar. But the bulk of the case against him involved his gym in Dimondale and how he treated the young athletes whose families paid to have them train under him.

The charges against Geddert had “very little to do” with Nassar, said Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark.

Geddert was charged with using his strong reputation in gymnastics to commit a form of human trafficking by making money through the forced labour of young athletes.

“The victims suffer from disordered eating,” Nessel said, “including bulimia and anorexia, suicide attempts and attempts at self harm, excessive physical conditioning, repeatedly being forced to perform even when injured, extreme emotional abuse and physical abuse, including sexual assault.

“Many of these victims still carry these scars from this behaviour to this day,” the attorney general said.

Nessel acknowledged that the case might not fit the common understanding of human trafficking.

“We think of it predominantly as affecting people of colour or those without means to protect themselves … but honestly it can happen to anyone, anywhere,” she said. “Young impressionable women may at times be vulnerable and open to trafficking crimes, regardless of their stature in the community or the financial well-being of their families.”

Geddert was suspended by Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics during the Nassar scandal. He told families in 2018 that he was retiring.

On his LinkedIn page, Geddert described himself as the “most decorated women’s gymnastics coach in Michigan gymnastics history.” He said his Twistars teams won 130 club championships.

But Geddert was often portrayed in unflattering ways when Nassar’s victims spoke during court hearings in 2018.

“What a great best friend John was to Larry for giving him an entire world where he was able to abuse so easily,” said gymnast Lindsey Lemke. “You two sure do have a funny meaning of friendship. You, John Geddert, also deserve to sit behind bars right next to Larry.”

Rachael Denhollander, the first gymnast to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual abuse in 2016, said she was proud of the women who stepped forward against Geddert.

“So much pain and grief for everyone,” she said on Twitter after Geddert’s death. “To the survivors, you have been heard and believed, and we stand with you.”

White reported from Detroit.

Nichols is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues

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