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Former Canucks McLean, Adams still upset over ’94 Stanley Cup loss – Sportsnet.ca

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For the 1994 Vancouver Canucks, that seven-game Stanley Cup loss still stings.

A series against the New York Rangers that started as a David and Goliath contest quickly turned into one of the greatest stories in hockey history, and a remarkable love affair between that team and the Canucks faithful.

But the members of that Vancouver squad, who overcame myriad adversities and stretched the 112-point Rangers all the way to a decisive Game 7, still haven’t made their peace with how it ended.

“We live it every day, people talk about it all the time. It’s always nice to talk about it, but at the end of the day we didn’t reach our ultimate goal,” former Canucks goalie Kirk McLean said Saturday during After Hours on Hockey Night in Canada. “It was a great experience, but we lost.”

Instrumental in Vancouver’s campaign that year, McLean had 52 saves in Game 1 of the Final at Madison Square Garden, helping his team to an overtime win and kickstarting a significant movement toward a seven-game series.

He was among the former players on that ’94 team to be honoured ahead of the Canucks’ win over the Rangers at Rogers Arena on Saturday, which turned into a loud reminder of how much appreciation the fans have nurtured, and still hold to this day, for the Final run despite the disappointing result.

“It’s always a wonderful feeling,” McLean said. “For some reason, (fans) gravitate toward the ’94 team. We had, obviously, (Stanley Cup Final appearances in) ’82 and 2011, but it never gets old.”

The Canucks beat all the odds that year. As a seventh seed in the west, they found themselves down 3-1 in the first round of the playoffs against the Calgary Flames, then came back to win the last three games in overtime. With that effort, the bond between fans and club carried over to Toronto and later to New York.

“It’s disappointing to have lost, but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything in the world,” former Canucks forward Greg Adams said during After Hours. “I didn’t come that close to winning a Stanley Cup ever again in my 17-year career. So, it was very special.

“The whole playoffs, the thing I remember the most was the fans … It was just an amazing feeling, and this city was so electric.”

Adams was the overtime-goal scorer for the Canucks in that Game 1 at Madison Square Garden, but he still acknowledges his netminder as the main responsible in securing that win.

“It was a tremendous confidence-builder for us, winning that first game,” he said. “And we all knew Kirk stole the game for us, he basically won the game for us. I was fortunate to be able to be in the position to score that goal, but, without Kirk… you know.

“We did have confidence that we could win, but we also knew that we were outplayed and if it wasn’t for him there’s no way they were winning that game.”

Current Rangers president and former goalie John Davidson was there for all seven games, back then as a broadcaster in New York. He recalls just how close the Canucks came to winning it all.

“This series could have, frankly, been four straight,” Davidson said during After Hours, “but (McLean) started it, and when they started winning games, the Canucks’ edge is they wore down the Rangers’ defence … I have also watched Game 7 over again. That was really close, that could have gone either way.”

After winning Game 1 of the Final, the Canucks fell behind 3-1 and, much like in the first round against Calgary, rallied back to force a Game 7. A hectic, gritty and sometimes desperate 60 minutes of hockey culminated in a tight 3-2 Rangers win, thus ending Vancouver’s Cinderella tale.

And though the love affair with the city still lives on, the players of that 1994 team have never truly come to terms with how the story ended.

“It’s nice that people remember where they were, and what they were doing, and name their kids after us, or whatever it may be,” said McLean. “But at the end of the day we wanted to win a championship and we came up short.”

Adams gets the same feeling whenever he thinks about the series.

“The losing part is something that hurts, and watching that hurts,” he said. “Watching videos of those games, Game 7, and still coming up a goal short, we keep hoping that something is going to change but it never does.”

The present-day Canucks secured a seventh-straight win against the Rangers on Saturday. Led by young names like Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat, they currently sit third in the Pacific and have a legitimate chance to contend for multiple Stanley Cup Final trips in the coming years, perhaps even build a new love affair, perhaps win the team its first Cup.

McLean guarantees that’s all the old-school guys can hope for.

“We want to move on and we want the team to win now.”

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LeBron Saves Team USA in Thrilling Exhibition Against South Sudan at O2 Arena

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LONDON — In what could have been one of the most monumental upsets in international basketball history, Team USA narrowly escaped with a 101-100 victory over a spirited South Sudan team at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday night. This exhibition match, serving as a tune-up for the 2024 Olympics, showcased the rapid rise of South Sudanese basketball and the indomitable spirit of the American team led by LeBron James.

The atmosphere at the O2 Arena was electric, with fans witnessing a game that turned out to be far more competitive than expected. South Sudan, a team composed largely of refugees and players from the diaspora, pushed the heavily favored Americans to their limits.

First Half Highlights:

  • South Sudan came out firing on all cylinders, building a surprising 16-point lead in the second quarter.
  • Team USA struggled with their three-point shooting, missing 12 of their first 13 attempts from beyond the arc.

Despite the odds, South Sudan’s players, many of whom have overcome significant personal and professional challenges, played with remarkable cohesion and determination. Their performance was a testament to the rapid progress the team has made under the guidance of former NBA star Luol Deng.

With the game hanging in the balance, LeBron James demonstrated why he remains one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Benched at the start of the third quarter, James returned to the floor with a determination that was palpable.

Key Moments:

  • Third Quarter: Anthony Davis’ defensive prowess helped shrink the deficit. LeBron’s return brought stability and focus back to Team USA.
  • Final Minute: With just 20 seconds left, JT Thor of South Sudan scored over LeBron, giving his team a one-point lead.
  • Game-Winning Shot: LeBron drove to the basket, scoring the decisive layup with eight seconds remaining.

South Sudan’s journey to this point has been nothing short of inspirational. The country gained independence from Sudan in 2011, and the basketball program, still in its infancy, has quickly become a source of national pride.

Notable Contributions:

  • Carlik Jones: Delivered a triple-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.
  • Wenyen Gabriel: LeBron’s former teammate with the Lakers, contributed 11 points.
  • Marial Shayok: Led South Sudan with 24 points.

The team’s formation and rise have been spearheaded by Luol Deng, who played a pivotal role in recruiting and funding the program. His efforts have culminated in South Sudan qualifying for the Olympics, marking a historic achievement for the young nation.

Stephen Curry: “Wild game. They played really intense. It was nice to see how we responded. LeBron with a great finish down the stretch.”

Steve Kerr: “The whole team was embarrassed at halftime. We were challenged today, and it was good for us to feel that now. This was a reminder that we need to bring our best every game.”

Luol Deng: Expressed immense pride in his team’s performance, emphasizing the significance of their journey and the obstacles they have overcome.

This exhibition game was more than just a pre-Olympic warm-up. It highlighted the potential for underdog stories in sports and underscored the global reach and impact of basketball. Team USA, despite the narrow escape, was reminded of the importance of every game and the challenges that lie ahead.

South Sudan, on the other hand, has cemented its place on the international stage, showcasing that with determination and the right support, even the newest teams can compete with the best in the world.

As both teams prepare for the Olympics, this game at the O2 Arena will be remembered not only for its thrilling finish but also for the remarkable stories of resilience and ambition that played out on the court.

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UFC Vegas 94: Amanda Lemos vs. Virna Jandiroba – Main Event Recap

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In a thrilling main event at UFC Vegas 94, strawweights Amanda Lemos and Virna Jandiroba faced off on Saturday night. After an evenly matched first round, Jandiroba secured a dramatic submission victory in the second round, just moments before the bell.

Fight Summary:

  • First Round: The opening round was highly competitive, with both fighters showcasing their skills and maintaining a close contest.
  • Second Round: In the final seconds of the second round, Jandiroba managed to secure a submission, forcing Lemos to tap out. The win marks an impressive fourth consecutive victory for Jandiroba.

Post-Fight Remarks:

  • In her post-fight interview inside the Octagon, Jandiroba confidently called out UFC President Dana White, declaring, “Dana, I’m the next one. Dana, I’m your next champion.”

Future Implications:

  • With this victory, Jandiroba has positioned herself as a strong contender for the strawweight title. Tatiana Suarez, who was the rightful next contender for Weili Zhang, has been sidelined due to an injury. Jandiroba’s current four-fight win streak and her dominant performance at UFC Vegas 94 make a compelling case for her title shot.

Stay tuned for more updates as the UFC strawweight division continues to evolve, and see if Virna Jandiroba will indeed become the next challenger for the championship belt.

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Jake Paul vs. Mike Perry: Fight Night Updates

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Jake Paul is back in the ring, and he’s promising fireworks as he takes on former UFC star Mike Perry at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. The fight will be broadcast live on DAZN. Originally, Paul was set to fight Mike Tyson, but Perry stepped in after Tyson suffered an injury.

Fight Details:

Jake Paul (9-1, 6 KOs)

  • Paul is coming off a first-round TKO of Ryan Bourland in March.
  • He has promised that Perry won’t survive the second round.
  • Paul is more experienced in boxing but still relatively new to the sport.

Mike Perry (0-1)

  • Perry, known as “Platinum,” brings over a decade of fighting experience, mainly in MMA and bare-knuckle fighting.
  • He believes Paul is still green in the fight business and intends to use his experience to pull off an upset.

Main Event:
Jake Paul vs. Mike Perry

Live Updates: Follow DAZN for all the live updates, results, and highlights from the Paul vs. Perry pay-per-view main card.

Main Card Results:

Amanda Serrano def. Stevie Morgan via TKO

  • Round 2, 0:38
    • Watch the finish

Lucas Bahdi def. H20 Sylve via knockout

  • Round 6, 2:27
    • Watch the finish

Corey Marksman def. Tony Aguilar via majority decision

  • Scores: 76-76, 77-75, 78-74

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. def. Uriah Hall via unanimous decision

  • Scores: 59-55, 59-55, 58-56
    • Recap

Stay tuned for the main event updates and see if Jake Paul can deliver on his promise of another highlight reel knockout or if Mike Perry will teach him a lesson and pull off a major upset.

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