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Hawerchuk, who dies at 57, mourned by Gretzky, hockey world –



Dale Hawerchuk and Wayne Gretzky were rivals in the NHL, but on Monday, the day before Hawerchuk died of cancer at 57, the two Hall of Fame forwards reminisced about when they were teammates.

Gretzky, hearing Hawerchuk was not doing well, called him, and of course the conversation turned to hockey, namely the 1987 Canada Cup against the Soviet Union, and the winning goal by Mario Lemieux with 1:26 left in the championship game. 

“I had a really nice conversation with Dale yesterday and his son, Eric, and we were talking about the Canada Cup,” Gretzky told on Tuesday. “And I was telling his son that he should be really proud of his dad, and obviously he was, that if you watched highlights, and because of the [coronavirus] pandemic we’ve gotten to see some of the games from 1987 that we haven’t seen for a long time. But if you looked at it and followed it closely, which I did, Dale played pretty much everywhere but left defense with Paul Coffey, left wing, right wing, everywhere.”

Gretzky was among the many members of the hockey community to remember Hawerchuk, who won the 1982 Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001 after an NHL career that saw him score 1,409 points (518 goals, 891 assists) in 1,188 career games for the Winnipeg Jets, Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers. The No. 1 pick of the 1981 NHL Draft by the Jets had 99 points (30 goals, 69 assists) in 97 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

But it was his play with Gretzky and Lemieux that led to Canada’s 6-5 win the two talked about Monday. The play was a result of coach Mike Keenan putting Hawerchuk out with Gretzky and Lemieux for a face-off in Canada’s defensive zone.

Hawerchuk won the face-off, Lemieux scooped up the loose puck, took it up the boards, passed to Gretzky, who passed it back to Lemieux, who scored. 

“I always remember we had two of the best defensive face-off men in the history of the game in Brent Sutter and Mark Messier, and a 5-5 game and a face-off in our own zone and Mike says, ‘Gretz, you and Mario and Howie go,’ and we’re going over the boards and Dale says, ‘Who’s taking the draw? Are you taking it?’ And I said, ‘I’m not taking this draw.’ And he looked at Mario and Mario said, ‘No, Dale, you’ve got it.’ So we always kind of laughed about that. He just stepped in there and the rest is history. … It was a really good group of guys. It was a memory, and I was telling this to Eric yesterday, that even as players and Canadian fans, it was one of those moments you never forget.”

Hawerchuk, who spent his first nine NHL seasons with the Jets (1981-90), was respected by all in the fierce, competitive days in the Smythe Division, said Gretzky, who played for the Edmonton Oilers from 1979-88.

“As good as our team was, and we did have a good team, I think if you talked to Calgary players as a whole, he was the one player they feared the most that could really change the game or the outcome of a series,” said Gretzky, the NHL’s all-time leading scorer with 2,857 points (894 goals, 1,963 assists) in 1,487 career games. “He was that one guy that I think they would tell you was so special.”

Hawerchuk was captain of the original Jets from 1984-90 and remains beloved in the Manitoba capital. He was inducted into the Winnipeg Jets Hall of Fame in 2017.

His NHL career-best season was 1984-85, when he had 130 points (53 goals, 77 assists) in 80 games.

“Probably one of my favorite memories was my rookie year, when he scored his 50th goal,” said defenseman Dave Ellett, Hawerchuk’s teammate from 1984-90. “He had a special year that year and the response in that arena was amazing. And it was a beautiful goal. And I can still picture his face as he was coming back to the bench; he was so happy.

“But off the ice, so humble. He cared. He wanted everyone to do well. I think sometimes it made him happier when his teammates did well. He helped a lot of people, that man.”

Video: Hall of Fame Center Dale Hawerchuk passes at 57

Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill was Hawerchuk’s teammate in Winnipeg from 1984-88 and said with humility as his strong suit, Hawerchuk stood out.

“Such a humble person,” Nill said. “He didn’t use his position as a star player to influence other people, he used his personality, and that says a lot. You wouldn’t meet a better person. There are not a lot of times you’ll see star players go back and coach a junior team.”

Hawerchuk was the coach of Barrie of the Ontario Hockey League from 2010 until he stepped away because of his health in 2019.

“But that was his passion for the game,” Nill said. “He loved working with young kids and had a lot to teach them. It showed you the kind of person he was.”

Hawerchuk’s Winnipeg Jets Hall of Fame banner was taken down in Bell MTS Place Tuesday and placed on public display in True North Square in the block next to the arena, executive chairman Mark Chipman said.

“Those guys don’t come along all that often that have that incredible combination of ability and humanity that he possessed,” Chipman said.

Chipman also said that a statue of Hawerchuk has been commissioned to anchor the team’s future new hall of fame display and that he informed Hawerchuk of that last week.

“He was such an important part of the fabric of not only the Jets but the city of Winnipeg,” Gretzky said. “He was a first pick overall with a lot of pressure. He went into a great hockey market and he embraced it and they embraced him.”

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Lightning’s Stamkos secures place in Cup lore with Game 3 goal vs. Stars –



EDMONTON — Seven seconds.

That’s how much time the puck spent on Steven Stamkos’s stick blade on this night, and perhaps that’s all it will spend there throughout the entirety of this Tampa Bay Lightning playoff run.

That’s all the hard-luck captain needed to secure his place in Stanley Cup lore. Seven freaking seconds.

Somehow, after spending 60 days as a practice-only player inside the NHL bubble and going 210 days between games, Stamkos scored the biggest goal of a career overflowing with them.

He was in full stride down the right boards when Victor Hedman hit him in the neutral zone. He blew past Esa Lindell, who defended the play poorly and managed to settle a bouncing puck in time to tuck it up under the crossbar behind Anton Khudobin.

The Lightning bench exploded. Jon Cooper said the reaction was “just a little bit louder” than any of the others during a playoff run that has included five overtime goals. The coach saw it as a sign his team wouldn’t be denied, and they weren’t while grabbing a 2-1 series lead over the Dallas Stars with a 5-2 victory Wednesday.

“It was pretty damn cool,” said Cooper.

Stamkos called it a dream come true.

Forget the unfortunate timing of the injuries that have cost him big playoff games and a chance at playing for Team Canada at the Olympics in recent years. Just being trapped inside the bubble with no guarantee of playing would be agony for someone who has given as much to the Lightning as Stamkos.

And then to get in for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, and only be able to play five shifts and score on one of them after not playing for seven months?

Hollywood might not accept that script.

“At this time of the year, you want to do anything you can to help your team win,” said Stamkos. “I’ve watched these guys be so committed to what our end goal is, and to be part of it tonight, it was a dream come true and I’m so proud of these guys. And to be able to share that moment with them and just even be on the bench and watch how well we played tonight, I have told these guys before: It’s inspiring.

“It was great to be part of.”

Quickly, the backstory: Stamkos underwent core muscle surgery on March 2 and was supposed to be recovered in time for the second round of a normal playoffs. Then we had the COVID-19 pause, he had some kind of setback while preparing for the NHL’s return to play and the Lightning have gone on a run without him.

But he’s remained a large figure in the shadows.

You could see him dousing Brayden Point with water after he scored a quintuple overtime goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Round 1 and he was summoned to the ice to help the Lightning accept the Prince of Wales Trophy after they eliminated the New York Islanders.

Everything he had to endure in order to even play for two minutes 41 seconds of Wednesday’s game has happened behind the walls. And based on the fact he sat on the bench while not taking a shift for the final 46 minutes here suggests we might not see him in uniform again for the rest of this series.

So that goal? That was something.

“He’s worked extremely hard to get back to a spot where he could play,” said Brayden Point. “Just seeing him day in and day out — the positivity that he brings, and the leadership that he brings. It’s nice to see him work that hard to get back into the lineup. And then to score one? It’s pretty inspirational for everyone.”

Added Victor Hedman: “This is how much he means to us as a teammate and as a leader and as a friend. We were just super happy for him.”

Stamkos played six games against the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 Final and didn’t manage to score. In this situation, the Lightning put him on the fourth line alongside Cedric Paquette (zero goals this playoffs) and Pat Maroon (one goal this playoffs) and he produced one in limited minutes before his injury forced him to become a spectator.

What happens next will determine what this means historically.

But what it meant to Stamkos and the Lightning won’t change no matter what. He’s only going to get so many chances like this one.

“It was amazing to be a part of a huge win for us,” he said. “I was just really happy to obviously contribute in a game that I didn’t play too much.”

This was a kid who used to go to shooting school twice per week and fire 500 pucks per session. That’s a skill that endured the injuries, the layoff, everything.

It made this moment possible.

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New York Mets vs. Tampa Bay Rays – 9/23/20 MLB Pick, Odds, and Prediction – Sports Chat Place



Tampa Bay Rays (36-19) at New York Mets (24-30)

MLB Baseball: Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 7:10 pm (Citi Field)

Tyler Glasnow (4-1) (4.21) vs. Michael Wacha (1-3) (6.75)

The Line: New York Mets +190 / Tampa Bay Rays -210 — Over/Under:
Click Here for the Latest Odds

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The Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Mets meet Wednesday in MLB action from Citi Field. 

This will be the third and final installment in a three-game series between the Mets and Rays this week. Tampa Bay landed the first blow with a 2-1 win on Monday. In the Tuesday game two, the Mets were able to strike back with a 5-2 victory of their own. Check back all season long for free MLB picks and MLB predictions at Sports Chat Place. 

Check Out Our Cosensus Report To See How Many Handicappers are On A Play

New York Mets vs Tampa Bay Rays Free Pick 9/23/20 MLB Pick and Prediction MLB Tips

The Rays posted just five hits to the Mets’ 10 in the Tuesday loss, and could only come up with a pair of runs. Willy Adames put up a solo homer with two runs for Tampa Bay in that one, and starting pitcher Blake Snell took the loss with 5.2 innings, three earned runs, six hits, three walks and nine strikouts.
For the Wednesday starting pitcher outing, Tampa Bay will go with Tyler Glasnow. In his 10 starts this year, Glasnow has a 4-1 record with a 4.21 ERA and 83 Ks in 51.1 innings. Over his MLB career, Glasnow is 14-18 with a 4.46 ERA and 375 Ks in 309.0 innings. 

Over on the Mets’ side, starting pitcher Seth Lugo put up 6.1 innings in a win on Tuesday with four hits, two runs (one earned), one walk and seven strikeouts. Pete Alonso slapped a homer with three RBI and two hits on the night.  

In the Wednesday game three starter job, the Mets are going with Michael Wacha. In his seven games (six starts) this year, Wacha is 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA and 33 Ks in 28.0 innings. Across his MLB career, Wacha is 60-42 with a 4.00 ERA and 792 Ks in 895.2 innings of work.

The Rays are 12-2 in their last 14 games following a loss and 4-1 in their last five Wednesday games. Tampa Bay is 18-6 in their last 24 road games and 12-4 in their last 16 games as a road favorite. 

Meanwhile, the Mets are 14-3 in their last 17 Wednesday games and 2-5 in their last seven home games. New York is 6-16 in their last 22 games as an underdog and 24-53 in their last 77 games as a home underdog. 

Pick: Going Rays again here. There aren’t a lot of teams I’d pick over Tampa Bay right now; they’re just cooking. Glasnow has been great lately as well, with at least seven strikeouts in each of his last seven starts. In all likelihood, this will be Glasnow’s final start before the playoffs begin, and he’s got a nice opportunity to help the Rays put one of the final nails in the Mets’ 2020 season coffin. 


Andrew’s Pick
Tampa Bay Rays -210

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a Sports Chat Place site consensus.

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Blue Jays rout Yankees, inch closer to playoff berth – TSN



BUFFALO, United States — The Toronto Blue Jays showed Wednesday night why they could be a dangerous wild-card team in the playoffs.

Danny Jansen hit two solo homers as the Blue Jays used a 16-hit attack and eight-run sixth inning to bulldoze the New York Yankees 14-1 at Sahlen Field. Jansen had four hits and three runs to help the Blue Jays move closer to nailing down a playoff berth.

“Putting ourselves in this spot is a great feeling,” Jansen said. “But we’ve still got work to do.”

Toronto (29-27) trimmed its magic number to one with the victory and can secure its first post-season spot since 2016 with a win in Thursday’s series finale.

Cavan Biggio scored three times, Randal Grichuk added a pair of runs and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., had three RBIs. Starter Robbie Ray was effective over four-plus innings and A.J. Cole threw a scoreless fifth inning for the win.

Under Major League Baseball’s expanded playoff structure, 16 teams will reach the post-season. Division winners will be seeded No. 1 through No. 3 in each league, second-place teams will be seeded fourth through sixth, and two third-place wild-card teams will get the seventh and eighth seeds.

The Los Angeles Angels, currently ninth in the AL, kept their faint playoff hopes alive earlier Wednesday with a 5-2 win over the San Diego Padres.

Facing veteran right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (3-3), the Blue Jays took advantage of a couple breaks to put up two quick runs in the first inning.

With Biggio on after a leadoff walk, Teoscar Hernandez hit a double-play ball up the middle that took an unexpected high bounce near the lip of the grass and rolled into the outfield.

Guerrero stroked a single that scored Biggio with the game’s first run. Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez tried to pick the young slugger off first base but a wide throw went down the right-field line as Hernandez trotted home.

Ray breezed through the first inning but issued two walks in the second. Gio Urshela singled to load the bases and a passed ball allowed Luke Voit to score the Yankees’ lone run.

New York loaded the bases with none out in the fifth inning. But Cole (3-0) held off the heart of the Yankees’ order by fanning Giancarlo Stanton and getting Voit — who leads the majors in homers — on an infield fly and then Gleyber Torres on a flyout.

“That was really the game,” Jansen said. “Saving that was huge for us. Bases loaded, no outs, coming in and getting that. There’s a lot of momentum swing right there.”

Toronto followed New York’s lead by putting its first three batters on base in the sixth. The Blue Jays took full advantage by batting around with a two-run single by Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Biggio’s two-run double serving as highlight blows.

The victory came a day after New York dumped Toronto 12-1.

“Today was a big game after yesterday,” said Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo. “That’s what they’ve done all year — come back from top losses. It was great to see, facing another good pitcher like Tanaka, coming back tonight and scoring all those runs. A big win for us.”

New York (32-24) had four hits and a season-high four errors. The Yankees have a magic number of one to secure a second-place finish in the East Division.

Ray, who was pulled after the first two batters reached in the fifth, allowed three hits, four walks and had five strikeouts. Tanaka gave up three earned runs, eight hits and three walks while striking out five.

Jansen, who went deep off Tanaka in the fourth, added another shot in the eighth off Yankees catcher Erik Kratz, giving the Toronto backstop six homers on the season.

Toronto was a wild-card entry when it last reached the post-season four years ago. The Blue Jays went on to reach the AL Championship Series for the second straight year.

Notes: Ross Stripling threw four shutout innings of relief for his first save. … The game took three hours 39 minutes to play. … The Blue Jays will send ace Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-2, 3.00 ERA) to the mound on Thursday. The Yankees will also start a left-hander in Jordan Montgomery (2-2, 5.12). … The Blue Jays will close out their regular season with a three-game weekend series against the Baltimore Orioles.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2020.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

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