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Edmonton Oilers at Boston Bruins

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A fine way to start our Saturday. Final Score: 4-1 Oilers

As I wrote in this morning’s GDB, the biggest key to this game, to me, was paying attention to the details in all three zones on the ice to try and limit the Bruins’ ability to attack as much as possible. With the ability to get scoring from throughout their lineup, Boston can be a real handful if you’re playing loose defensively and that made me nervous considering our boys have basically been a colander in the d-zone lately. Needless to say, giving the Bruins more chances than they’ll already manufacture for themselves is a horrible idea and something that the Oilers had to eliminate from their game if they had any chance of pulling two points out of this game.

Over the past couple of games, the Oilers have come out flying and gotten the kind of starts we’ve all been yearning for, but haven’t been able to finish off as strongly. Today, I was hoping that they’d, once again, hit the ground running while also finding a way to maintain the effort for 60 minutes. It was a simple dream but it was a beautiful one. Unfortunately, it was the Bruins that got themselves on the board in the opening minutes despite a strong road period for the Oilers and the boys were forced to chase a team that doesn’t cough up leads very often. Moving into the second period, Edmonton needed to keep chipping away as they had been in the opening frame to try and build upon the foundation they started putting down. Thanks to some hard work and a little bit of luck, they were able to score two unanswered goals, grab the lead, and give themselves a chance for a win with 20 minutes to play.

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Heading into the third period with a one-goal lead, the Oilers had to make sure that they didn’t simply sit back and hope to run out the clock as they did against the Sabres. We all knew that Boston would push hard to try and tie things up, and it was up to the boys to make sure that they couldn’t execute. Much to our collective delight, the Oilers kept chipping away and attacking as they could, even extending their lead to two goals on a beautiful passing play from Kassian to McDavid. While the Bruins were certainly running the show in the third period, the Oilers didn’t look as helpless as they had been in their last two outings. Up by two goals with time running out, Edmonton did a fine job of bending without breaking to the Boston pressure that we all knew was coming and they managed to squeak out a fantastic road win in a very tough building.

The wrap.

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  • Gaetan Haas tied the game up at one after the gift pass he got from Jake DeBrusk and sunk the puck through Halak’s legs for his fourth goal of the season. I just want to take a second to appreciate Haas a little bit. Of all the scratch tickets Holland signed this summer, Haas has been the most effective in his role and I look forward to seeing what he’ll be able to do as he continues to get more at-bats at the NHL level.
  • After going more than 30 games without a goal, Darnell Nurse gave the Oilers a 2-1 lead with a wide-angle snapshot that beat Halak on the short side. Clearly, the Boston goaltender was unhappy about the brutal softie he let in with only six seconds left in the second period, but that doesn’t matter to us since it was just so nice to be on the other end of one of these for once.
  • Connor McDavid put the Oilers up by a pair of goals after he took a beautiful spinning pass from Zack Kassian in full flight and beat Halak with a quick wrister to the blocker side. McDavid was flying all game long and it seemed like only a matter of time before he’d be able to convert on one of his many chances.
  • Leon Draisaitl put the final nail in the coffin with an empty netter in the dying seconds of the third period to seal the deal for the Edmonton Oilers. Drai finished the day with a pair of points as he looks to be getting himself back into form after a very tough December.
  • Mike Smith got a second straight start as Mikko Koskinen continues to battle whatever illness Dave Tippett was talking about the other day, and the Oilers were going to need him to be at the top of his game against the Bruins. To his credit, Smith was rock solid from start to finish and gave the Oilers the kind of goaltending that allowed them to weather any storms they faced and gain the confidence they needed to move the play down up ice. In the third period, Smith really shone as he made some tremendous saves that halted the Bruins attack and allowed his team to bend without breaking, something that hasn’t happened a whole lot over the past few games, and he deserves major credit for the way he stepped up. Smith finished the day with 35 saves and a .972 save%.
  • Kailer Yamamoto continues to impress since being recalled from the Bakersfield Condors last week and I can’t help but wonder if he’s seen his last AHL game of the season. Yeah, I know that’s pretty premature to say after only three games but you have to admit that he adds a different flavour to a top-six group that desperately needed one.
  • Speaking of Yamamoto, I still really like the trio of Nuge-Draisaitl-Yamamoto and I hope that Dave Tippett gives these three a stretch of games together so that they can further develop some chemistry. Could it be that the Oilers finally have a second line?
  • Oscar Klefbom continues to log huge minutes for the Oilers, playing 28:22 in all situations while adding two shots on goal, two blocks, and a +2 beside his name.
  • Gotta love the boys winning 56% of the draws against a veteran team like the Bruins!

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  • David Pastrnak opened the scoring for the Bruins with a power play goal less than four minutes into the game with a blast through traffic that deflected off Kris Russell and beat Smith high to the glove side. Not a great start for the Oilers to say the least.
  • Oilers went 0/2 on the power play today and I felt like they kept getting caught trying to force cross-ice passes that just weren’t there. I know that moving the puck through the slot has been something that has worked for them all season long, but I can’t help but feel like they need to add in a Plan B when it’s not working.
  • I thought the Oilers took their foot off the gas a little bit in the third period, and they were lucky to get some very strong goaltending from Mike Smith. That said, we all knew that Boston was going to be pushing hard for the tying goal and, all things considered, I felt like the boys did a decent job of defending the lead.
  • Why do the Oilers have such a hard time hitting empty nets? I know Yamamoto got one against the Rangers and that Leon finally cashed on in late, but it seems like the boys really struggle to close things out with a wide open cage.
  • Oilers were outshot 36-26 as 21 of those shots for Boston came in the third period. Again, thanks to Mike Smith for this one.
  • It wasn’t a great day for Kris Russell as the vet played only 11:51 which is obviously problematic for a guy they’re paying $4 million. He can be better.

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1ST PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
03:10 Boston PPG – David Pastrnak (31) ASST: Torey Krug (23), Brad Marchand (40) 0-1

2ND PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
07:41 Edmonton Gaetan Haas (4) 1-1
19:53 Edmonton Darnell Nurse (3) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (41) 2-1

3RD PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
01:48 Edmonton Connor McDavid (23) ASST: Zack Kassian (15), Ethan Bear (10) 3-1
19:51 Edmonton EN – Leon Draisaitl (24) 4-1

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Tennis legend Serena Williams to retire after U.S. Open in September – CBC Sports

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Serena Williams’ appearance at the National Bank Open in Toronto will be the final one of her career.

The tennis legend said earlier Tuesday she is planning to retire from tennis sometime following the U.S. Open, which begins later this month.

Williams, who won her opening match at the National Bank Open on Monday, made the announcement in an essay released by Vogue magazine.

“I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give,” Williams wrote in an essay released Tuesday by Vogue magazine.

She said she wasn’t sure she’d be able to look at the magazine when the issue hit newstands, “knowing that this is it, the end of a story that started in Compton, California, with a little Black girl who just wanted to play tennis.”

Williams, one of the greatest and most accomplished athletes in the history of her — or any other — sport, said she does not like the word retirement and prefers to think of this stage of her life as “evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.”

Williams is playing this week in Toronto, at a hard-court tournament that leads into the U.S. Open, the year’s last Grand Slam event, which begins in New York on Aug. 29.

WATCH | Williams advances to 2nd round:

Serena Williams advances to the 2nd round of the National Bank Open

1 day ago

Duration 0:33

Serena Williams defeated Nuria Parrizas-Diaz in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, her first singles win since the 2021 French Open.

The American has won more Grand Slam singles titles in the professional era than any other woman or man. Only one player, Margaret Court, collected more, 24, although she won a portion of hers in the amateur era.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record. Obviously I do. But day to day, I’m really not thinking about her. If I’m in a Grand Slam final, then yes, I am thinking about that record,” Williams said. “Maybe I thought about it too much, and that didn’t help. The way I see it, I should have had 30-plus Grand Slams.”

I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair.— American tennis player Serena Williams

But, Williams went on to write, “These days, if I have to choose between building my tennis resume and building my family, I choose the latter.”

Off tour for a year

She and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, have a daughter, Olympia, who turns 5 on Sept. 1.

“Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair,” said Williams, who was pregnant when she won the 2017 Australian Open for her last Grand Slam trophy. “If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labour of expanding our family.”

Williams was off the tour for about a year after getting injured during her first-round match at Wimbledon in 2021. She returned to singles competition at the All England Club this June and lost in the first round.

After that defeat, Williams was asked whether she would compete again.

“That’s a question I can’t answer,” she said at the time. “I don’t know. … Who knows? Who knows where I’ll pop up?”

Williams hints in the essay that the U.S. Open will be her last tournament but does not say so explicitly.

“I’m not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment,” Williams wrote. “I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst.”

Plans to celebrate in Toronto

The announcement has already set off plans to celebrate Williams, along with ticket sales having skyrocketed according to tournament director Karl Hale.

“Tremendously (impacts everything with the tournament). Ticket sales have gone through the roof, we’ll be sold out by (6 p.m.) today, which doesn’t happen on a Wednesday, typically,” he said. “The media requests have been significant to say the least, everybody wants to see Serena and talk to her. Even the players in the players lounge, everybody’s talking about Serena.”

“Tomorrow night, we’ll celebrate her for sure.”

The American has won more Grand Slam singles titles in the professional era than any other woman or man. Only one player, Margaret Court, collected more, 24, although she won a portion of hers in the amateur era.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record. Obviously I do. But day to day, I’m really not thinking about her. If I’m in a Grand Slam final, then yes, I am thinking about that record,” Williams said. “Maybe I thought about it too much, and that didn’t help. The way I see it, I should have had 30-plus Grand Slams.”

But, Williams went on to write, “These days, if I have to choose between building my tennis resume and building my family, I choose the latter.”

She and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, have a daughter, Olympia, who turns 5 on Sept. 1.

News saddening to younger players

Despite Williams’ announcement being considered imminent, for younger players like American Coco Gauff, the news is still saddening.

“A little bit sad because I’ve always wanted to play her so I’m hoping my draw in Cincinnati or the U.S. Open or even here, can work out so we could play each other because that’s one of my goals,” the 18-year-old said.

Her legacy has been one to behold and one that Gauff believes may be untouchable.

“I think the legacy she’s left on the world just through her tennis career is something that I don’t think any other player could touch. I think the legacy she’ll continue to leave throughout her life is something that can inspire many more generations,” she said.

When asked about her impact on her being young Black tennis player, Gauff made sure to point out it wasn’t just Williams who made an impact, it was also her dad Richard Williams.

“I grew up watching her. That’s the reason why I played tennis. Tennis being a predominantly white sport, it definitely helped a lot because I saw somebody look like me dominating the game and it made me believe that I could dominate too.

“Mr. Williams and all that he’s done for both (Venus and Serena) of them, inspired my dad to continue to coach me and help me even though he didn’t (have much) tennis experience. He was like, ‘if Mr. Williams could do it, then I can.’ It’s not so much just what Serena and Venus have left, it’s also the whole Williams family in general.”

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Kevin Durant Didn't Previously Express Wish For Nets To Fire Steve Nash, Sean Marks – RealGM.com

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Kevin Durant met with Joe Tsai recently in London and it was revealed he expressed a lack of faith in the direction of the Brooklyn Nets. Durant reportedly issued an ultimatum that he is not interested in continuing with the Nets if Steve Nash remains as head coach and Sean Marks continues running the front office.

“The timing of it is also unusual,” said Brian Windhorst on Tuesday. “While star players have gotten coaches fired for decades and will get them fired for decades, he didn’t express this, as far as I’m aware to the Nets at the end of the season. And he didn’t express this to the Nets when he made his trade demand. So doing it now is a maneuver. A maneuver that I don’t think worked. 

“Because as I talk to teams out there, they don’t think his increased his trade value, they think this hurt his trade value.”

Windhorst also noted that Tsai statement of support for Nash and Marks also includes a sentence the league paid strong attention to stating “We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.”

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Thousands of tickets still available for world junior hockey tournament in Edmonton – CBC Sports

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Odd summer timing and an ongoing sexual assault scandal at Hockey Canada could be the reason thousands of tickets to the world junior championship are still available on the eve of the tournament, says an Edmonton professor.

Prof. Dan Mason, who teaches in the faculty of kinesiology, sport, and recreation at the University of Alberta, said when Canada hosts, there are usually so many fans who want to see the home team take the ice that they are willing to buy Hockey Canada’s packaged games that include teams that are not Canadian.

“So Latvia vs. Slovakia, for example, those games will be sold out as well because in order to get the tickets to watch Canada play, you have to buy a package that includes some of the other games,” he said on Friday.

“The fact that there are still Team Canada tickets available, that tells you the demand is much lower than it usually is for this kind of event.”

WATCH l World junior tournament to go ahead amidst Hockey Canada controversy:

World junior hockey tournament to go ahead amidst Hockey Canada controversy

7 hours ago

Duration 2:07

Ticket sales for the World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton are below expectations as the tournament kicks of this week in the shadow of an ongoing sexual assault scandal at Hockey Canada.

The tournament runs from Aug. 9-20 at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

The initial 2022 championship in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta., was called off Dec. 29 after just four days because of rising COVID-19 cases among players and officials, which forced game forfeitures.

The 10-country tournament will be minus Russia, barred from participating by the International Ice Hockey Federation because of that country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Holiday tradition

Around 1,500 tickets are still available for purchase on Ticketmaster to the first game between Czech Republic and Slovakia on Tuesday. About 1,300 tickets are available for the next day when Canada takes on Latvia. About 1,500 seats for the final game are also available with hundreds of other tickets to watch the 11-day tournament.

This time of year, you probably already had plans to go to the lake … or do something summer-related.— Edmonton professor Dan Mason on poor ticket sales for an August world juniors

Mason said the timing of the games could be why interest is so low. The tournament typically runs over the Christmas holidays.

“Over the past 30 years or so, TSN has built the world juniors into this holiday event that people partake in,” he said.

“I watch it with my family over the [Christmas] break though so it’s kind of become part of our holiday tradition.

“This time of year, you probably already had plans to go to the lake, go to the mountains or do something summer-related. I don’t think we’re willing to give up those plans to watch hockey.”

Many people could also be waiting for a former judge on the Supreme Court of Canada to begin independently reviewing Hockey Canada’s governance amid calls for a change of leadership.

The review comes after members of the 2018 world junior team were accused of a group sexual assault after a gala event, and after Hockey Canada reached a settlement.

“I think there’s people who weren’t sure if they would go or not, and maybe deciding not to go because of that,” Mason said.

The CEO of Explore Edmonton, which promotes tourism in the Alberta capital, said in an email the marketing organization paused its promotion of the games in response to the allegations.

“As the host city for the upcoming tournament, we continue to have discussions with Hockey Canada officials about their plans to address the need for change,” said Traci Bednard.

Mason said inflation and less disposable income could be other factors working against the tournament.

“Canada may be more focused on that player development piece than trying to sort of make money off of a tournament being held in the summer,” he said.

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