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Holl's physical decision in win versus Oilers a boost Maple Leafs could use every so often – Toronto Sun

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Good on Justin Holl to pounce toward the end of the first period on Saturday night.

After Tyler Ennis bumped Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell at the side of the net, Holl reacted immediately, sending a clear physical message to the Edmonton Oilers forward that getting contact on the netminder would be unwise.

“The importance of that, and not necessarily having to drop the gloves, but standing our ground and letting our opponent know we’re not going anywhere and we’re not going to tolerate those things and we’re going to protect our net (was big),” Leafs captain John Tavares said. “(Holl) has been solid for us and that’s a great sign of what he brings to our locker room and the maturity he has.”

Jake Muzzin’s puck flip aside, the Leafs didn’t do a heck of a lot after the Calgary Flames’ Matt Tkachuk kneed Campbell in the head during a game in January. What Holl did will go a long way in the room.

“Oh man, I could go on all day about Holler,” Campbell said. “He has stepped up so huge for us.

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“It just looks like fire in his belly. He wants those big minutes and he wants the opportunity to shut down their their top players every night. As a whole D corps, we played incredible. Holler led the way and he just looks super-confident. He has such a great attitude.”

Campbell’s shutout in the Leafs’ 4-0 win was his first with Toronto after two with the Los Angeles Kings. All three have come in Canada — in Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton.

GAME ON

Mitch Marner hadn’t gone three regular-season games without recording a point in more than two years, so why would it happen now? Marner and Tavares rekindled the chemistry they have enjoyed in the past, with the captain setting up Marner for the Leafs’ second goal. That came after Marner snapped his two-game slump (using that word loosely) with an assist on William Nylander’s opening goal … Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe on Tavares: “Defensively he was rock solid. John hasn’t got enough credit for how he has defended through this season.” With Auston Matthews out, Tavares had two assists and led the Leafs with five shots on goal and eight attempts and played a key role in keeping Connor McDavid off the board … Nylander scored the only two Toronto goals in an overtime win against Calgary on Wednesday and then got the Leafs’ first goal in 13 power plays when he was set up Marner at 14:37 of the first period. An unnatural hat trick for Nylander, if you will … There’s no such thing as a good giveaway, but some are more egregious than others, especially when they come in the defensive zone. In the first period, Alexander Barabanov fed McDavid, and later, Jimmy Vesey set up Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The Oilers didn’t capitalize on either, much to the relief of each guilty Leaf … Jason Spezza’s goal was his 952nd point, tying him with Rick Tocchet for 102nd in NHL history. In Spezza’s sights are Larry Robinson (958 points) and Kirk Muller (in 100th with 959 points). Spezza’s goal came off a fake on an odd-man rush, a move he has made countless times to score. Guess it never comes up in the opposition’s pre-scout … Marner has 10 multi-point games this season … For the second time in a game, the Leafs were not shorthanded.

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THE RIGHT MOVE

Alex Galchenyuk has never played in the American Hockey League.

That’s about to change, and that’s a good thing. It indicates the Leafs are taking the right steps in attempting to get the hockey career of Galchenyuk, the third pick in the 2012 NHL draft, on track.

On Saturday, the Leafs loaned Galchenyuk and defenceman Martin Marincin to the Toronto Marlies. Reassigned to the taxi squad from the Marlies were forward Kenny Agostino and defenceman Timothy Liljegren.

After going 4-4 on an eight-game trip to start their regular season, the Marlies’ home opener comes on Monday against Manitoba.

Agostino had two goals and five assists on the trip. Liljegren had a goal and five assists and was the Marlies’ best player through the eight games.

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“Liljegren has been off to a good start, but regardless of that, is somebody that we’ve wanted to have around our group and it made sense now that we’ve been able to get him some games (with the Marlies),” Keefe said.

Nick Robertson, the Leafs’ top prospect, had one goal and six assists. He hasn’t been engaged all the time, though, and the organization wants to see his determination come more consistently before summoning him back to the NHL.

Keefe has said the Leafs will be patient with Galchenyuk, who was acquired from Carolina on Feb. 15. Toronto is Galchenyuk’s seventh NHL team in four seasons.

“Part of our plan was to get him playing and we would have made this move probably a little bit sooner had the Marlies not been out west,” Keefe said.

LOOSE LEAFS

Zach Hyman has been able to gut through the pain that comes with blocking shots, earning further respect. “Not easy,” Keefe said. “He has been going through a lot of discomfort. We all know that when he puts his jersey on, he plays the same way no matter what.” And there was Hyman scoring a pretty goal in the third period … Saturday marked five years that the Leafs traded James Reimer to the San Jose Sharks. Reimer remains one of the better people to have come through the Toronto dressing room during my years covering the team.

tkoshan@postmedia.com

twitter.com/koshtorontosun

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Cheveldayoff makes statement to Jets core with win-now deals – Sportsnet.ca

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WINNIPEG – In this summer of bold moves, Kevin Cheveldayoff has already made his mark.

One day after bringing back veteran forward Paul Stastny on a one-year deal and acquiring defenceman Brenden Dillon in a trade, the Winnipeg Jets added another blue-liner, shipping a third round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft to the Vancouver Canucks to acquire Nate Schmidt on Tuesday night.

Schmidt had been a target of the Jets in the past, but they were previously one of the teams on his 10-team no-trade clause.

Interestingly enough, Schmidt joins Stastny — his former Vegas Golden Knights teammate — in waiving his no-trade clause to join the Jets.

The Jets were looking for a significant upgrade of the defence corps this off-season and that’s exactly what they’ve accomplished, adding a pair of experienced top-four blue-liners with term on their respective contracts.

Schmidt, who turned 30 earlier this month, has four years left on a deal that carries an average annual value of $5.95 million while Dillon’s commitment is for three more seasons at $3.9 million.

The Minnesota product is a high-character player and a minute-muncher who is known for his positive, energetic nature.

Undrafted out of college, Schmidt has carved out a solid career for himself as a reliable two-way blue-liner. He’s mobile, tough to play against and has ample playoff experience. Known more for his defensive acumen, Schmidt has eclipsed 30 points three times and had five goals and 15 points in 54 games with the Canucks last season.

When it comes to the projected defence pairings, it’s clear Jets head coach Paul Maurice is going to have a number of options at his disposal.

Schmidt shoots left-handed but actually prefers to play on the right side, so he’s likely going to be used alongside either Josh Morrissey or Dillon (if Morrissey ends up with pending RFA Neal Pionk or Dylan DeMelo.

One thing to consider is that the addition of the veterans means that there is basically only one spot available on the third pairing for a group that includes Logan Stanley, 2019 first-rounder Ville Heinola and 2017 second-rounder Dylan Samberg.

Stanley was protected by the Jets in the Seattle Kraken expansion draft, so he has the inside track on the job as it stands right now — though he’s obviously facing competition for those minutes.

Heinola and/or Samberg could start next season in the American Hockey League with the Manitoba Moose, depending on how things play out.

Dillon was a salary-cap casualty for the Capitals, who needed to make room for the five-year contract Alex Ovechkin agreed to on Monday.

There was plenty of chatter about how Cheveldayoff would handle this off-season and it’s clear he’s made a serious statement to the core group of players that had already committed to the organization.

Since the current contracts of Jets captain Blake Wheeler, top-line centre Mark Scheifele and goalie Connor Hellebuyck all expire at the end of the 2023-24 season, the urgency to widen the window of contention is palpable.

Winning only one round since advancing to the Western Conference final in 2018 simply wasn’t good enough and the Jets have reacted accordingly.

The cost for the Jets is two-fold: they were willing to move some future draft capital — a second-rounder in 2022, a third-rounder in 2023 and a third-rounder in 2022 (they still own the Columbus Blue Jackets’ third in 2022 from the Patrik Laine blockbuster) and take on significant salary and term at a time when salary cap space is at a premium.

Staring at a flat cap (or close to it for the foreseeable future), the Jets sacrificed some of the future for a shot at trying to win now.

You can be sure these moves will resonate with Jets players.

“Every year the ceiling’s obviously to win a Stanley Cup,” Stastny said before the deal for Schmidt was made. “I’ve said it before, that everyone thinks they’re one or two pieces away but when you have a goalie like (Hellebuyck) and you have the offensive firepower and some of the dynamic defencemen, you’re right there. There’s no perfect situation, no perfect team, and I think it just shows that’s the NHL these days. There’s probably 22 or 23 teams that think they’re going to win the Cup every year at the start of the year, maybe more, but that’s what makes it fun, that’s what makes it competitive, that’s what makes every game so impactful.

“You see the drive and the hunger through the guys and I think that makes a big difference, too. You look at teams on paper and you don’t really know the identity or the character of those players but then when you’re around these guys, you realize how bad they want to win. They were there a couple of years ago and they might have taken a step back because they had so many losses on the back end just through unfortunate, unseen events, but what happened last year, to kind of get a taste of what the potential could be and you want to keep building on that.”

Dillon, 30, had a similar message to reporters as he spoke with them for the first time since his trade became official.

“I’m going to a team that wants to win, thinks we can win, believes that we’re going to be right there and that’s exciting going into a season with those being the expectations,” said Dillon, who advanced to the Stanley Cup Final in 2016 as a member of the San Jose Sharks and has 75 playoff games on his resume.

Cheveldayoff explained last week the Jets were committed to improving and he’s backed up that statement with actions.

As free agency opens on Wednesday morning, the Jets will be looking to perhaps add a depth forward. Otherwise, the next order of business revolves around getting new deals for pending RFAs Andrew Copp, Pionk and Stanley taken care of.

The money available to the Jets is dwindling (just under $4.55 million with 21 of 23 roster spots spoken for) after this flurry of activity, but with centre Bryan Little expected to be heading to LTIR again next season, there is a bit of wiggle room (up to an additional $5.291 million) to take care of the other business.

In the meantime, Cheveldayoff has already crossed off a couple of pressing items on his to-do list — including the most important one.

As it stands right now, the Jets defence corps appears to have gone from a weakness to a potential strength in a span of fewer than 24 hours.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau 'deeply disappointed' by Montreal Canadiens' decision to draft Logan Mailloux – ESPN

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he’s “deeply disappointed” in the Montreal Canadiens‘ decision to select Logan Mailloux in the first round of the 2021 NHL draft last weekend.

The Canadiens shocked the hockey world Friday night by selecting Mailloux, an 18-year-old defenseman. He had “renounced” himself from the draft earlier in the week after multiple news reports covered an incident in Sweden in which he showed teammates a photo that depicted him and a woman engaged in a consensual sexual act.

The photo was taken without the consent of the woman, who went to local police. Mailloux was fined but not arrested for invasion of privacy and defamation.

“As a lifelong Habs fan, I am deeply disappointed by the decision,” Trudeau told a news conference on Tuesday. “I think it was a lack of judgment by the Canadiens organization. I think they have a lot of explaining to do to Montrealers and fans right across the country.”

Trudeau is perhaps the most high-profile critic of the pick, but the selection of Mailloux has been widely criticized by fans and media. That criticism only grew when Mailloux did an about-face and embraced the Canadiens’ selection of him with the 30th pick in the first round, saying that working with Montreal would assist him in his “betterment” as a person.

“It was totally irresponsible and a stupid act that I committed without thinking twice. I know I caused a lot of harm to this person and her family, and I regret doing this stupid and egotistical act. I deeply regret it,” he said in a statement before answering questions Saturday morning. “What I did is now unfortunately a part of both of her life and mine. I’ve apologized to her, but nonetheless this will follow her for the rest of her life. For that, I deeply and sincerely regret it.”

The team continues to face backlash against the pick. CBC news reports that the Jean Coutu pharmacy chain, the St-Hubert restaurant chain and the financial services cooperative Desjardins Group — all Canadiens sponsors — have released statements “saying they are rethinking their relationship with the Canadiens.”

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Simone Biles, U.S. gymnast, out of Olympics team gymnastics competition – Global News

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Gymnastics superstar Simone Biles was pulled from the team gymnastics competition at the Tokyo Olympics, as the U.S. lost its title to Russia.

After a disappointing vault in the first rotation of the women’s team event, the American was signified by an ‘R’ on the competitor list before the bars began, indicating she would not continue in the competition.

“After the performance I did, I just didn’t want to go on,” Biles said after the event. “I felt like it would be better to take a back seat. I didn’t want to risk the team a medal because they worked way too hard for my screw ups.”​

According to an official Olympic Twitter account, Biles was attended to by a trainer after her vault, and returned to the arena with her foot strapped heavily. Her teammate Jordan Chiles performed on the uneven bars in her place.

USA Gymnastics confirmed in a statement that Biles withdrew because of a “medical issue” and said she would be assessed daily to determine whether she can participate in future competitions.

According to Reuters, Biles said Tuesday that she was not injured, “Just a little injury to my pride.”

“I have to focus on my mental health,” she said.

“I just think mental health is more prevalent in sports right now…. We have to protect our minds and our bodies and not just go out and do what the world wants us to do.

“I don’t trust myself as much anymore…. Maybe it’s getting older. There were a couple of days when everybody tweets you and you feel the weight of the world.​

“We’re not just athletes, we’re people at the end of the day and sometimes you just have to step back.​”

Read more:
‘Bigger than media’ Olympians call for greater mental health support for athletes

The International Gymnastics Federation confirmed she would play no further part in the team event, but said she would still receive a medal if the heavily favoured U.S. ended up on the podium. The team ended up winning silver, behind the team from Russia.

Biles was chasing the six gold medals she needed to become the most decorated woman in Olympics history, but will not achieve it this Games. She won four gold medals at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Biles is still eligible to compete in the individual events, including defending her all-around title on Thursday.

“We’re going to see about Thursday,” she said. “We’re going to take it a day at a time and see what happens.”

–With files from Reuters

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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