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'GREAT OPPORTUNITY': Maple Leafs acquire D-man Mark Giordano from Seattle Kraken – Toronto Sun

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Toronto also receives journeyman forward in exchange for picks

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As a 10-year-old Toronto hockey fan, Mark Giordano agonized when Doug Gilmour and the Maple Leafs were stopped in the 1993 conference final.

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Now, he has a chance to help bring his hometown some badly needed playoff joy. Certainly his family in North York is pumped he has returned, while general manager Kyle Dubas hopes the 2019 Norris Trophy winner can shore up a blueline many think incapable of surviving very long in the May tournament.

Giordano and forward Colin Blackwell came from the Seattle Kraken on Sunday in a trade for two second-round picks, this year and next, plus a third-rounder in 2024. While Dubas ended speculation of whom he’d pluck from the dwindling number of available defencemen, he also sent defenceman Travis Dermott to the Vancouver Canucks for a third-round pick.

Giordano hopes to play Wednesday at Scotiabank Arena against the New Jersey Devils.

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“Now that I’m able to get back to Toronto, it’s a great opportunity to be part of something special,” he said on a Zoom call from Seattle. “Everyone is excited. I’ve only gone through 10 to 20 text messages, there’s a ton more and I’m not sure I’ll get through them all before the end of the month.”

TJ Brodie was among the first on his contact list, the two long-time Calgary Flames a tandem up to Giordano winning the Norris. Brodie came to Toronto as a free agent; a season later Giordano was claimed by the Kraken in the expansion draft. They’ll pick up 50% of his salary on an expiring deal with a cap hit of $6.75 million US.

“Seattle treated me great to the end. (GM Ron Francis) knew I was from Toronto and this would be a great fit for me.

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“I feel great, just played my 1,000th game. Most 38-year-olds would’ve played more by now, but I started later (undrafted). I work to keep up my speed. I’m excited to get back in a game. Sitting out  the last two games waiting for the trade deadline wasn’t fun.”

With his preferred No. 5 long retired by the Leafs, he inquired if 55 is open. The six-foot Giordano played Tier II with North York and Brampton, then two years with Owen Sound of the OHL before a long climb up the Flames’ chain. He has 532 career points and seven in 23 playoff games.

He becomes the fourth former winner of the Norris to become a Leaf, behind Brian Leetch, Pierre Pilote and Red Kelly, and the second captain of another team acquired on successive deadlines after Nick Foligno was traded from Columbus.

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Dermott played 273 regular season and playoff games for Toronto after being selected 34th overall in 2015. But so many similar style defencemen, led by Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren on the current roster, made him expendable.

Dermott’s post-game comments Saturday in Nashville had an air of adios to them, though the writing on the wall was a week earlier when he was scratched from the outdoor game in Hamilton.

  1. Ottawa, ON: December 28, 2008.  Finland's #30 goaltender Harri Sateri makes a save on a shot from the point as teammate #29  Joonas Nattinen ties up #31  Kirill  Petrov in front of the crese in 3rd period action during their International Ice Hockey Federation 2009 World Junior Championship preliminary round hockey game at the Ottawa Civic Centre.

    Leafs pick up Finnish goalie Sateri as trade deadline nears

  2. Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Ondrej Kase is assisted off the ice after suffering an apparent injury during the second period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., March 19, 2022.

    Maple Leafs lose to Predators in final pre-trade deadline game

With 17 points in 39 Kraken games, the 5-foot-9 Blackwell is from a late blooming seventh round class of the 2015 draft, that includes Ryan Dzingel, Matthew Peca and others. A bad concussion cost him nearly two years of playing time at Harvard where he was Alex Kerfoot’s teammate.

“I had to find my way up through PTOs, but once I could solidify myself, I could prove to be a Swiss army knife and play a lot of different positions. I have a lot left in the tank and having had it taken away from me, I want to make it last.”

lhornby@postmedia.com

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Novak Djokovic shares message to Australian Open runner-up Elena Rybakina – Tennis World USA

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Novak Djokovic congratulated Australian Open runner-up Elena Rybakina on “an amazing tournament.” On Saturday, 23-year-old Rybakina fell just short of landing her second Grand Slam title. In the Australian Open final, Rybakina was up by a set before 24-year-old Aryna Sabalenka stormed back to win 4-6 6-3 6-4.

Six months ago, Djokovic and Rybakina lifted titles at Wimbledon. “@lenarybakina, amazing tournament,” Djokovic captioned his Instagram Story.

Djokovic congratulates Rybakina

Rybakina has now made Grand Slam finals in two of the last three Major tournaments.

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After winning Wimbledon and finishing as runner-up at the Australian Open, Rybakina admits her confidence levels have increased and she now believes even more that she can win Grand Slams. “For sure, that’s the goal, to be in the second week of all the Grand Slam, to play finals.

I mean, now I have more confidence of course even after this final. I just need to work hard, same as I did during pre-season and actually throughout the years, be healthy, and for sure the results are going to come. I would say I’m trying to not think about expectations and everything.

Still after a great pre-season like this I was thinking I should show it on the court. Then, of course, the results are going to be there. First few weeks was not that great…but I think in the end it’s just confidence to go forward, to keep on working.

I feel now good physically also. I know if I’m going to keep on working, the results are going to be (good),” Rybakina said after the match, per Tennis Majors. Rybakina has proved over the last six months that she has what it takes to be a legitimate Grand Slam contender.

En route to reaching the Australian Open final, Rybakina defeated world No 1 Iga Swiatek. It will be interesting to see how will Rybakina do after a strong Australian Open run.

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Maple Leafs’ Murray dealing with ankle injury, Samsonov to start vs. Capitals – Sportsnet.ca

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Bo Horvat puts up four assists as Canucks top Blue Jackets – Sportsnet.ca

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