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Demko extends Canucks’ unlikely playoff run with titanic performance – Sportsnet.ca

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EDMONTON – After seeing five shots in six months, Thatcher Demko faced five in the opening eight minutes on Tuesday and 43 in his first National Hockey League start since March 10. Fortunately for the Vancouver Canucks, he hasn’t forgotten how to play goal.

Just like Brock Boeser hasn’t forgotten how to score, and the Canucks, who fended off elimination by beating the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1, haven’t forgotten how to believe in themselves when not many others did.

With starting goalie and team MVP Jacob Markstrom unable to play due to an undisclosed injury, Demko came in covered in cobwebs and left covered in glory with a titanic performance that extended the Canucks’ unlikely playoff run to at least Game 6 against the Knights on Thursday.

Vegas still leads the second-round series 3-2. But the Canucks are still in the fight and have put at least a little more pressure on the heavily-favoured Golden Knights, who outshot Vancouver 42-17.

Livestream the Canucks in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers, plus every game of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Sportsnet NOW.

“You never know when you have to go in,” Demko said, having had only eight minutes of playoff relief before Tuesday’s unexpected start. “I just wanted to stay sharp through the whole process from training camp (in July) and getting into the bubble. I just wanted to be ready to help out.

“I know I’ve been doing my thing in practice to make sure my details are where they needed to be. Obviously, it’s a little bit different in a game. But everything you see in the game you’ve seen at some point in practice, and you just have to rely on that kind of thing.”

Sleep and healthy eating help, too, apparently.

“He’s a guy that goes to bed early and eats the right way,” defenceman Quinn Hughes said of Demko, eliciting a quick smirk from teammate Elias Pettersson during the post-game video call. “We knew that when he gets his chance, he’s going to be pretty dialled in. I don’t think anyone was surprised at how well he did, to be honest. We know how good he is. I think we all have a lot of confidence and faith in him.”

Demko made 22 saves in the first half of the game — Vancouver tested Vegas goalie Robin Lehner six times — and kept it scoreless until 15:12 of the second period when Knights defenceman Shea Theodore weaved through a series of Canucks’ shadows before burying a top-corner shot.

The goal felt like it might release a dam-burst of Vegas offence. Instead, on the next shift, Boeser worked a give-and-go with J.T. Miller before redirecting a backhand past Lehner to make it 1-1. All those shots and scoring chances and dominant shifts for the Knights to finally take a lead, and it lasted for just 24 seconds.

Somehow tied going into the third period, the Canucks exhorted themselves to play one good period and at 3:19 of the third, Pettersson deflected Boeser’s shot amid a jungle of players after Vancouver coach Travis Green had reunited his 6-40-9 Lotto Line, restoring the Boeser-Pettersson-Miller trio that was one of the NHL’s best for most of the season.

It was just the second goal in 12 playoff games for Boeser, who had had only one assist in the series.

“I don’t think we’d played together this series yet,” Boeser said. “And when we got reunited, I felt we were clicking pretty well. We knew where each other were. It was fun.

“I know I haven’t been scoring, and I know I need to score goals. I’ve been trying to bring my work ethic each and every game and contribute something to the team. It was nice to get one. I think it will definitely help the confidence. Hopefully I can keep playing this way.”

Boeser was the best Canuck not wearing goalie pads. Through two periods, he had 40 per cent of Vancouver’s 10 shots on goal.

The Golden Knights’ Jonathan Marchessault had eight shots of his own. Max Pacioretty had five shots. Both may have slept less fitfully than Demko after the game.

“I think it was lights out at maybe 10:05 or 10:10 p.m.,” Demko said when asked about his sleep Monday night after learning he’d be replacing Markstrom with the Canucks’ season in the balance. “These guys go to bed a little bit later than I do, but I like to be rested. I like to know I did everything I could to be ready to go.

“I slept great last night, thankfully. When you’re going into these games you try not to think too much and just go out and play. I’ve put in the work leading up to this point; you’ve just kind of got to rely on that.”

No one on the Canucks is saying how long Markstrom may be out, but the goalie who started Vancouver’s first 14 playoff games was unable to back up on Tuesday. So he is hurt, not merely tired.

“It’s funny, we didn’t even talk about that or mention that,” Hughes said of the players’ reaction to the goaltending switch. “(Thatcher) was awesome tonight, our best player. We’re fortunate to have two goalies like that.”

If the Canucks somehow win again on Thursday, the seven-game series will be decided the next night. By then, it will be the teams’ fifth playoff game in seven days. They may need two goalies each. Or three.

“We’ve got a really good team; we know that,” Hughes said. “The coaching staff believes in us and, most importantly, we believe in ourselves. We’ve got good leadership in the sense that we knew we didn’t play well in the first two periods and we went in the locker room and knew we needed to come back and push a little bit. I think that’s what we did.

“I think there’s a lot of faith in the group. We know they’re a really good team, but we think we’re a good team too.”

Better than almost anyone expected before these playoffs began.

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Fantasy: Waiver Wire – Week 3 – theScore

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Find positional rankings, additional analysis, and subscribe to push notifications in the NFL Fantasy News section.

Every Monday during the season, theScore’s Justin Boone runs down the recommended waiver wire pickups.

Rostered percentages are based on Yahoo leagues. Free Agent Budget (FAB) amounts are set off a $100 salary cap. Only players rostered in less than 60% of leagues are considered.

Quarterbacks

Wesley Hitt / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Ryan Tannehill, Titans

Next UpRosteredFAB
at MIN46%$1

After taking over as the Titans’ starter last season, Tannehill was one of the best quarterback plays available in fantasy. From Week 7 on, the former first-round pick averaged the fourth most fantasy points at the position and helped lead Tennessee to the playoffs. He’s picked up right where he left off with incredible efficiency through two outings (six touchdowns, no interceptions) and is once again a QB1 in the fantasy world. With defenses focused on stopping Derrick Henry and the rushing attack, Tannehill should continue to have success, including against a subpar Vikings pass defense next Sunday. He’s a great streamer and might end up being your starter the rest of the way.

Gardner Minshew, Jaguars

Next UpRosteredFAB
vs. MIA32%$1

Speaking of six touchdown passes through two games … how about Minshew‘s performance in Jay Gruden’s system so far? Yes, the sophomore QB turned the ball over a few times this week, but he’s emerging as a legit franchise quarterback and nearly helped his team earn a second straight upset victory. Minshew ranks 10th in fantasy points per game among quarterbacks through two contests and should keep that up at home on Thursday night against a Dolphins defense that just allowed over 400 passing yards and four touchdowns to Josh Allen.

Streamer options: Baker Mayfield vs. WAS (47% rostered), Philip Rivers vs. NYJ (27% rostered), Justin Herbert vs. CAR (3% rostered), Mitch Trubisky at ATL (7% rostered)

Running backs

Michael Zagaris / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Jerick McKinnon, 49ers

Next UpRosteredFAB
at NYG23%$29

With Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman both dealing with knee injuries, McKinnon vaults to the top of the 49ers’ running back depth chart. As we know from nearly every NFL season that involved a Shanahan-coached offense, this scheme generates rushing production regardless of who’s in the backfield. McKinnon, who was once handpicked to be Kyle Shanahan’s lead ball carrier two years ago, is finally healthy and poised to capitalize on his opportunity. The 28-year-old posted 44 yards and a receiving score on just eight touches in the opener before making his mark with 77 yards on three carries in Week 2 – capped off by a 55-yard run to improbably convert a third-and-31. With Mostert and Coleman at risk of missing multiple weeks, McKinnon is about to remind you he can be an RB2 with RB1 upside in fantasy.

Mike Davis, Panthers

Next UpRosteredFAB
at LAC2%$29

Fantasy first overall pick Christian McCaffrey is expected to miss four-to-six weeks with a high ankle sprain, leaving a void in the Panthers’ backfield that no one running back can fill. Davis gave his best effort in relief duties on Sunday, catching eight passes for 74 yards with the team in comeback mode late in the game. While he wasn’t given many touches last year, Davis has popped more than a few times for fantasy managers in the past. As a member of the Seahawks in 2018, Davis was given at least 15 touches in three games and posted yards from scrimmage totals of 124, 107, and 80 with three touchdowns combined in those appearances. None of the veteran free agents on the market offer an upgrade to Davis who already knows the system. He’ll be an intriguing RB3/flex option who could produce RB2 fantasy value over the next month.

Darrell Henderson, Rams

Next UpRosteredFAB
at BUF31%$24

As NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported prior to kickoff Sunday, the Rams had planned to get Henderson more involved this week. The goal was a three-way timeshare between Henderson, Cam Akers, and Malcolm Brown. However, when Akers left the game early due to a rib injury, the hot-hand competition was down to just two backs. Henderson was far more effective with his touches, amassing 81 rushing yards, 40 receiving yards, and a touchdown to Brown’s 47 total yards. So for the second straight week we’ll take a shot on this productive backfield. You should be trying to roster any of the Rams’ runners in hopes that one of them rises to the top of the depth chart and stays there at some point this season.

Joshua Kelley, Chargers

Next UpRosteredFAB
vs. CAR39%$24

We’re getting there. Kelley‘s almost being rostered in half of fantasy leagues, so hopefully his third straight appearance in this article will put him over the top. Kelley followed up the 60 yards and a score in his debut with 64 rushing yards and two receptions for another 49 yards. He’s settled into the Melvin Gordon role quite nicely and is the perfect complement to starter Austin Ekeler. Expect the Chargers to continue to call his number, making him a weekly flex option with the potential to go nuclear if Ekeler gets hurt.

High-upside backups like Alexander Mattison (45% rostered), Tony Pollard (31% rostered), Chase Edmonds (45% rostered), and Darrel Williams (18% rostered) should be rostered in almost all leagues.

Flex options: Myles Gaskin at JAX (15% rostered)

Risky flex options: Dion Lewis vs. SF (5% rostered), Wayne Gallman vs. SF (1% rostered), Frank Gore at IND (14% rostered)

Sneaky stash: Devonta Freeman – Free agent working out for the Giants this week (13% rostered)

Deeper upside backups: Brian Hill vs. CHI (3% rostered), Carlos Hyde vs. DAL (18% rostered), Boston Scott vs. CIN (35% rostered), Giovani Bernard at PHI (4% rostered), Darrynton Evans at MIN (3% rostered), Jordan Wilkins vs. NYJ (0% rostered)

PPR possibilites: Chris Thompson vs. MIA (22% rostered), J.D. McKissic at CLE (1% rostered), Jalen Richard at NE (1% rostered)

Long shot bench stashes: Kerryon Johnson at ARI (38% rostered), La’Mical Perine at IND (3% rostered), Gus Edwards vs. KC (1% rostered), Jamaal Williams at NO (8% rostered), Rex Burkhead vs. LV (2% rostered), Bryce Love at CLE (3% rostered)

Wide receivers

Dustin Bradford / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Corey Davis, Titans

Next UpRosteredFAB
at MIN42%$24

Even with A.J. Brown out of the lineup, Davis wasn’t able to replicate his 101-yard performance in the opener. That’s alright, they aren’t all going to be gems. The fact Davis still had a solid fantasy day with 36 yards and a touchdown is a positive sign for his value moving forward. He’s set up for another big outing against the Vikings’ work-in-progress cornerbacks in Week 3. Continue to consider Davis a WR3 for as long as Brown remains sidelined and potentially beyond that.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling/Allen Lazard, Packers

Next UpRosteredFAB
at NO36%/47%$19/$14

It turns out Davante Adams‘ hamstring injury isn’t serious, so we’re likely to see the Packers’ No. 1 receiver back on the field this week. That might be good news for Valdes-Scantling and Lazard, who struggled when asked to be the top targets when Adams missed time last year. Instead, the young duo can continue to operate as secondary pieces – something they’ve done very well in 2020. MVS has 160 yards and a touchdown through two games, while Lazard isn’t far behind with 108 and a score. With Aaron Rodgers looking sharp early in the season, both wideouts are upside flex options. If forced to pick between them, I’d take Valdes-Scantling for his big-play upside.

N’Keal Harry, Patriots

Next UpRosteredFAB
vs. LV27%$19

Harry‘s path to fantasy relevance has been a long, winding road with several speed bumps and not the clear highway many first-rounders seem to be on. Even so, we’re finally starting to see signs of life from the 6-foot-4, 225-pound wideout, who’s coming off his best game as a pro with eight receptions and 72 yards against the Seahawks. It’s nice to see the 22-year-old’s confidence growing as Cam Newton takes him under his wing. If we continue on this road, Harry will be a regular in fantasy lineups as a flex play and maybe more later in the year.

Preston Williams, Dolphins

Next UpRosteredFAB
vs. BUF38%$19

How can we be recommending a receiver who caught one pass in Week 2 and has just three grabs on the year? Well, if you read this column last Monday, you’d understand Williams was never intended to be a fantasy option in the first two games after coming off a torn ACL and facing the Patriots and Bills – two tough matchups. Don’t let those performances sway your outlook on him. The wideout’s best outings are yet to come in 2020 as he gets his legs under him and the schedule eases up.

Jerry Jeudy, Robby Anderson, Mike Williams, and Brandin Cooks are around the 60% rostered mark and should be rostered in almost all leagues.

Upside flex options: Russell Gage vs. CHI (22% rostered), Golden Tate vs. SF (36% rostered), Laviska Shenault Jr. vs. MIA (17% rostered), DeSean Jackson vs. CIN (48% rostered), Jalen Reagor vs. CIN (35% rostered), Tre’Quan Smith vs. GB (13% rostered), MeCole Hardman at BAL (36% rostered), Demarcus Robinson at BAL (1% rostered)

Risky flex options: Christian Kirk vs DET (53% rostered), Keelan Cole vs. MIA (3% rostered), Randall Cobb at PIT (6% rostered)

Promising rookies: Brandon Aiyuk at NYG (36% rostered), Michael Pittman Jr. vs. NYJ (15% rostered), Van Jefferson Jr. at BUF (4% rostered), Chase Claypool vs. HOU (5% rostered), Darnell Mooney at ATL (0% rostered), Tee Higgins at PHI (3% rostered), Bryan Edwards at NE (13% rostered)

Deep bench stashes: Curtis Samuel at LAC (27% rostered), Miles Boykin vs. KC (4% rostered), Mohamed Sanu at NYG (4% rostered), Kendrick Bourne at NYG (7% rostered), David Moore vs. DAL (0% rostered), Deonte Harris vs GB (3% rostered), Isaiah Ford at JAX (0% rostered), Tim Patrick vs. TB (0% rostered), Hunter Renfrow at NE (12% rostered), Damiere Byrd vs. LV (0% rostered)

Tight ends

Greg Fiume / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Logan Thomas, Washington

Next UpRosteredFAB
at CLE32%$5

Thomas returns this section, not due to his stat line (4-26-0) which was a bit of a letdown in Week 2, but rather for his nine targets. That pushes him to 17 targets on the year and into a tie for second in the league in that category among tight ends – only Travis Kelce has seen more passes thrown his way. Opportunity like that is rare at his position, so don’t let yourself be dissuaded. Thomas remains an intriguing TE2 with a chance to still finish as a low-end TE1 on the season.

Mo Alie-Cox, Colts

Next UpRosteredFAB
vs. NYJ1%$3

With Jack Doyle on the shelf, Alie-Cox broke out with five catches and 111 yards versus the Vikings. His run-after-catch ability is fear-inducing and you can’t put that kind of weapon back in the box. We don’t know whether Doyle will be able to return in Week 3, but even when he does suit up, the Colts would be foolish not to find ways to get the ball in Alie-Cox’s hands. There aren’t that many tight ends with 100-yard upside. He’ll be a streaming option against the Jets and then we’ll reassess his value.

Jonnu Smith and Mike Gesicki are around the 60% rostered mark and should be rostered in almost all leagues.

If George Kittle is ruled out in Week 3, Jordan Reed (7% rostered) would become the top add under the 60% rostered mark this week.

Other options: Dalton Schultz at SEA (2% rostered), Chris Herndon (46% rostered), Drew Sample at PHI (1% rostered), Eric Ebron vs. HOU (33% rostered), O.J. Howard at DEN (30% rostered), Tyler Eifert vs. MIA (10% rostered), Jimmy Graham at ATL (10% rostered), Jordan Akins at PIT (2% rostered)

Defenses

Week 3 streamers

TeamNext UpRostered
Buccaneersat DEN50%
Coltsvs. NYJ41%
Eaglesvs. CIN36%
Brownsvs. WAS17%
Chargersvs. CAR30%

Favorable upcoming schedules: Cardinals DEF (47% rostered), Colts DEF (41% rostered), Jaguars (1% rostered)

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Bianca Andreescu to miss remainder of 2020 season – TSN

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TORONTO — Bianca Andreescu says she is taking the remainder of the tennis season off to focus on her health and training.

The Canadian tennis star made the announcement Tuesday on Twitter.

The decision was expected after the 20-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., withdrew from the French Open. Outside of the last Grand Slam of 2020, there are only a handful of tournaments remaining on the WTA schedule that haven’t been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As hard as it was to come to this conclusion, I have so much to look forward to in 2021, including the Olympics,” Andreescu said. “I want to use this time to focus my game so I can come back stronger and better than ever.”

Andreescu hasn’t played a competitive match since suffering a knee injury last October at the WTA Finals in China.

She also skipped the U.S. Open this month in New York, calling it a “difficult” decision. Andreescu won the 2019 U.S. Open over Serena Williams, becoming the first Canadian to win a singles Grand Slam.

Andreescu also won major events in Toronto and Indian Wells, Calif., last year as she reached No. 4 in the WTA rankings. She is currently at No. 7 despite her long period of inactivity.

The clay-court French Open, usually held in the spring, was postponed by four months due to the global pandemic.

Leylah Annie Fernandez of Laval, Que., and Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., are slated to represent Canada in women’s singles at the tournament. Bouchard received a wild-card into the event.

Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime and Vancouver’s Vasek Pospisil are Canada’s players on the men’s side.

The main draw begins Sunday.

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NFL hands more than $1 million US in fines against 3 teams, coaches who didn't wear masks during games – CBC.ca

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NFL coaches thumbed their collective, and exposed, noses at the NFL’s mask mandate in Week 2.

The league responded with hefty fines of $100,000 US per coach and $250,000 per club. The first three to get fined were Denver’s Vic Fangio, San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan and Seattle’s Pete Carroll, according to a person with knowledge of the punishment who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the coaches were not identified.

The punishment was meted out a week after the NFL reminded team personnel on the sidelines about the rules for wearing face coverings during the coronavirus pandemic, lest they put the fledgling season at risk.

More coaches and clubs can expect similar punishments as the memo last week from Troy Vincent, who oversees the league’s football operations, was largely ignored throughout the weekend.

Among other offenders: Patriots coach Bill Belichick and his offensive co-ordinator Josh McDaniels, Chiefs defensive co-ordinator Steve Spagnuolo, Colts coach Frank Reich and Rams coach Sean McVay.

Capping a weekend of deliberate defiance and/or desultory disobedience, Raiders coach Jon Gruden, who said last week he felt Vincent’s memo was directed at him, and Saints coach Sean Payton were shown on a split screen Monday night, both of them breaking the rules.

Gruden wore his mask like a chin strap, and Payton sported his gaiter like a turtleneck.

Players exempt from face covering rules

Following the Raiders’ 34-24 win over the Saints, Gruden revealed he’d had COVID-19 and apologized for violating the rules.

“I’m doing my best,” Gruden said. “I’ve had the virus. I’m doing my best. I’m very sensitive about it. I’m calling the plays. I apologize. If I get fined, I will have to pay the fine.”

The scenes were similar Sunday with head coaches and assistants apparently finding it too hard to keep their faces covered as required under the league’s COVID-19 protocols with either a mask, gaiter or face shield. Players, who, like the coaches, are subject to daily COVID-19 tests, are exempt from the face covering requirements.

Some coaches such as Belichick, McDaniels and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin wore their masks or gaiters over their mouths but not noses. Others such as Carroll, Spagnuolo and Fangio wore their face coverings around their chins or necks, exposing both their mouths and noses.

In his strongly worded memo, Vincent said teams “must remain vigilant and disciplined in following the processes and protocols put in place by not only the league, union and clubs, but also by state and local governments.”

Vincent added: “Becoming careless or ignoring face covering and physical distancing requirements will put the 2020 season at risk.”

The rules don’t apply to players, but all other individuals with bench area access, including coaches and members of the club medical staff, are required to wear face coverings at all times.

Failure to do so, Vincent warned in his memo, “will result in accountability measures being imposed against offending individuals and/or clubs. The face covering must be worn as designed so that it securely fits across the wearer’s nose and mouth to prevent the transmission of the virus.”

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