CALGARY – No food, no drink, no emotion, no execution, no chance.
Playing their first game at home in over a month, the Calgary Flames put on a display eerily similar to the lacklustre efforts they repeatedly pieced together in last year’s bubble against the Ottawa Senators.
The only difference was that this time they didn’t embarrass themselves in an empty arena.
Limited to 50 per cent capacity by provincial health regulations, the Saddledome hosted 9,639 masked diehards who were prohibited from buying or consuming any food or beverage.
In the middle of a barren, boarded up concourse were two large Gatorade coolers of water with tiny paper cups provided for fans to help wash down what may have been the team’s worst outing of the season.
The only two things interesting about the game included a Milan Lucic fight with Scott Sabourin that attempted to get the crowd and his team back into it, and a feisty exchange between Matthew Tkachuk and brother Brady.
The latter came with five minutes left, when the bigger-but-younger brother shoved Matthew down after a whistle in front of Ottawa’s net, prompting Tkachuk to reach up from the ice to forcefully slash Brady in the thigh.
No words were exchanged.
Those will come from their mother later.
You can bet the Flames will get quite the tongue-lashing from Darryl Sutter, whose club did little to start proving it will be capable of turning its fortunes around in a rink in which the team is now 4-4-4.
“Just disappointing, the energy and the emotion was lacking in our game,” said Sutter after a 4-1 loss to an Ottawa team that has played just one game since Christmas.
“I just think the emotional level of our group has been lacking for a period of time now.
I think Looch recognized that and tried to grab onto it tonight.”
He was one of the only Flames doing their part to coax the sparsely populated crowd into the proceedings after the team gave up the opening goal 1:43 into the evening.
Hardly the bounce back the team vowed through the five days it had to rest and prepare for one of the league’s bottom-feeders.
“This is not a knock on goaltending or anyone, but when the other team scores a goal on the first shot it’s never the way you want to start a game,” said Lucic, who dominated Sabourin in the bout which came with the Flames down 2-0.
“This giving up four goals a game doesn’t work for us, or anyone. When you’re losing battles and little things like that, that’s when frustration kicks in and the game gets away from you.
“We didn’t have that in the first 28 games before we got hit by Covid so we’re going to have to get back to doing the little things again.”
Things like turning the puck over at their own blue line as the Flames did on both of Nick Paul’s goals in the first period.
The crowd and the team seemed out of it at that point, as a poor first period was followed by an even worse effort in the second when the Flames were outshot 13-6 and went down 3-0 when Drake Batherson roofed one short side on Jacob Markstrom who hugged all but a portion of the post.
Matthew Tkachuk offered a flicker of hope 47 seconds into the third when he redirected a Chris Tanev point shot past Matt Murray.
However, a Connor Brown breakaway conversion minutes later put an exclamation mark on the team’s fourth-straight loss and eighth in their last ten.
“It’s definitely not the way we want it to be right now,” said Tkachuk, whose club now sits one point out of a wild card spot.
“Thank god we had the start we did to keep us kind of in it still. There’s no panic by any stretch, but we want to fix this, and we only have eight left before the all-star game, so we’d love to get this figured out soon so we can go on a little bit of a roll before that all-star break.”
Things won’t get much easier for the bunch as their next game comes Tuesday against the first-place Florida Panthers, who just recently schooled the Flames in Sunrise.
“The big thing is I’d like for our team to get into some sort of rhythm,” said Sutter, whose club has another four days off before they’ll play again.
“I don’t think there’s enough disappointment when they lose. Just not enough emotion in our game right now.”
The fact that Sam Bennett will be returning to the Dome to face his old club for the first time since being traded by the Flames should add some juice.
“It seems like ever since we’ve come back in these six games (since the Christmas/Covid break) it hasn’t been there consistently enough,” said Lucic of the team’s emotional engagement.
“That’s something we’re going to have to find again. It’s up to us as a group to find that together.”
Promised Tkachuk, “We’ll come out with emotion the next game. I don’t doubt that.”
Olympics-Canadian snowboarder Parrot eyes Beijing gold after cancer battle
Canadian snowboarder Max Parrot said on Friday that the mental toughness he gained during his battle with cancer carried over to the slopes where the slopestyle Pyeongchang silver medallist now hopes to go one better and win gold at the Beijing Olympics.
Parrot’s career was put on hold when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in December 2018. Two months after being declared cancer free in mid-2019, Parrot won an X Games big air gold medal in his return to competition.
Showing no signs of rust, Parrot also won a World Cup gold later that year and started off 2020 with another big air gold at the X Games in Aspen.
“Every year I become better and better physically and mentally, and especially going through such a big challenge as cancer you get really more mentally tough,” Parrot told a virtual news conference.
“If you look back at my season right after my cancer … It was pretty much my best year ever.”
Parrot finished fifth in his Olympic debut at the 2014 Sochi Games before a runner-up showing at Pyeongchang.
The 27-year-old Canadian pre-qualified for the slopestyle/big air team headed to Beijing based on his results from the 2020-21 winter season and is not shy about his intentions.
“Of course my goal is to go for the gold, that’s for sure,” said Parrot, whose cancer battle is chronicled in a documentary called “MAX – Life as a Gold Medal” that was released this week on his website.
“But I am really happy as well that if I don’t get the gold I won’t have any regrets because I did everything in my power over the past couple months and that was something important for me as well, just to not have any regrets.”
While there were some days during Parrot’s cancer battle where he wondered if he would ever return to the sport he loves, he said he never let those thoughts take over.
“When I had cancer it was ‘OK, I’m going to do treatments, I am going to do them as best as possible’ and even if I didn’t know if the treatments would work or not, in my mind cancer had no chance against me,” said Parrot.
“I had a lot of determination and motivation and the whole time I just wanted to get back to my passion as soon as possible. But never getting back to it was not really an option in my head.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)
Canada's Denis Shapovalov is on to the fourth round of the Australian Open – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, January 21, 2022 7:28AM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 21, 2022 6:40PM EST
MELBOURNE, Australia — Canada’s Denis Shapovalov has a spot in the fourth round of the Australian Open for the first time in his career.
He beat Reilly Opelka 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Friday to set up a showdown with third-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany.
The Canadian has been pushed hard at Melbourne Park, averaging three hours 37 minutes of court time per win so far.
“I’ve gotten very familiar with the ice baths the last week,” Shapovalov said with a smile in an on-court interview. “We’ve become very good friends.”
At six foot 11 and 225 pounds, Opelka is an imposing force on the court. He had a 17-10 edge in aces on the 14th-seeded Shapovalov but made 46 unforced errors.
“Early on I actually found a rhythm on his serve,” Shapovalov said. “I was able to chip quite a lot back, so I was happy with that. I think I did a really good of just taking the chances today.
“Obviously it’s really tough to get the rhythm against a guy like that so I’m super happy.”
It was the first career meeting between Shapovalov and the 23rd-seeded American. Zverev, meanwhile, has a 4-2 edge in head-to-head matchups against the Canadian.
“Hopefully I can win,” Zverev said. “It’s going to be a great match.”
Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ont., previously reached the third round at Melbourne Park in 2019 and 2021. The 22-year-old’s best Grand Slam performance was a semifinal showing last year at Wimbledon.
Zverev defeated Maldova’s Radu Albot 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in third-round play.
“Radu is in great form right now … 1/8I’m 3/8 happy to be through in three sets,” Zverev said.
Ninth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal was scheduled to play Britain’s Daniel Evans in third-round play Saturday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2022.
Defense trade targets for the Maple Leafs, Sheldon Keefe's "soft" comment, and how many games should Petr Mrazek start the rest of the way? – MLHS Podcast Episode 38 – Maple Leafs Hot Stove
Founded in 2008, Maple Leafs Hotstove (MLHS) has grown to be the most visited independent team-focused hockey website online (Quantcast).
Independently owned and operated, MLHS provides thorough and wide-ranging content, varying from news, opinion and analysis, to pre-game and long-form game reviews, and a weekly feature piece entitled “Leafs Notebook.”
MLHS has been cited by: ESPN, Sports Illustrated, CBC News, USA Today, Fox Sports, Yahoo! Sports, NBC Sports, TSN, Sportsnet, Grantland, CTV News, CBSSports, The Globe & Mail, The National Post, The Toronto Star, The Toronto Sun, Global News, Huffington Post, and many more.
Apple poised as Peloton's saviour among news the company is pausing equipment production – MobileSyrup
Bitcoin falls 9.3% to $36,955
Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard Buy Is Not A ‘Metaverse Bet’ – Forbes
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Europe kicks off vaccination programs | All media content | DW | 27.12.2020 – Deutsche Welle
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
News14 hours ago
Blend of optimism and caution highlights Canada's COVID-19 forecast – CTV News
Business11 hours ago
Canada Dec retail sales seen down as COVID restrictions bite
Sports12 hours ago
Canadiens' Allen to miss eight weeks with lower-body injury – TSN
Tech15 hours ago
Xbox boss wants to revive old Activision Blizzard games – Rock Paper Shotgun
Economy7 hours ago
Launching Zero Waste Economic Transformation Lab – guelph.ca
News11 hours ago
Canada rushes to crush more canola despite crop crunch
News11 hours ago
Canada to offer Ukraine a loan, seeks other ways to help Kyiv deal with Russia
News11 hours ago
Canada’s Trudeau vows action after four freeze to death in ‘mind blowing’ tragedy