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Hughes, Canucks need bounce-back game against Golden Knights – Sportsnet.ca

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EDMONTON — There are so many lessons for the Vancouver Canucks these days, and so many folks out there eager to point the Canucks players in the direction of their next tutorial.

Ryan Reaves. Zone exits. Quinn Hughes. Antoine Roussel.

You want advice? Hop on Twitter, or sports talk radio. We’ve got advice.

The lineup of those who seem to know where the Canucks should start their recovery from a 5-0 Game 1 obliteration by Vegas is a long one. The acceptance of this friendly advice by Canucks coach Travis Green and his players, however, is much shorter.

Livestream the Canucks in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers, plus every game of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Sportsnet NOW.

“Win a game and move on as fast as possible, lose a game and move on as fast as possible,” said Tanner Pearson, winner of the 2014 Stanley Cup as a Los Angeles King. “We’ve reiterated that after every game. Next game’s a new game, and the last one doesn’t really matter.”

That lesson is of particular value when you get thrashed as mightily as the Canucks did in Game 1. Truly, as Green said after the game, “This was probably our worst game (of the playoffs) tonight.”

So, where do they go, these Vancouver Canucks, against a supremely confident Vegas team that has lost but once in nine starts since arriving in the Edmonton bubble?

Well, it starts in their own end, where the Canucks’ brightest young stars — Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser — all spent far too much time on Sunday night. So much, in fact, that none of the trio even registered a shot on net in the game.

Hughes in particular was, and will be, a focus of the Golden Knights. A rookie in his first NHL post-season, it is fair to say that the 20-year-old has never met an opponent as big, fast and deep as Vegas.

“They try to pressure everyone, not just Quinn,” Green said Monday afternoon. “Obviously he’s a big part of our team and they are hoping to get the puck out of your best players’ hands. I did talk to Quinn briefly last night, I will again today. I think good players adapt … especially a young guy who hasn’t been in this situation before. The one thing about a good, young, great player, they adjust to different situations.”

There is absolute trust that Hughes, like the Canucks did in previous series against Minnesota and St. Louis, will bounce back against Vegas in Game 2.

“Quinn is probably the most skilled and confident player I’ve ever played with,” defence partner Chris Tanev said. “I have no doubt in my mind: next game he’ll be fine and he’ll be flying out there.”

There will be no special wisdom imparted, no Knute Rockne speeches. Just the usual talks that Tanev and the young prodigy have had since the season began nearly a year ago.

“We always talk. We hang out together quite a bit,” said Tanev, giving some examples. “What can we do? What can we do better? What do we like about our game? We’re always trying to make little things better, and last night we weren’t good enough.”

Green, meanwhile, shifted the focus off his young core and on to, as hockey people like to say these days, the group.

“Not just our younger players; it’s our team in general,” Green said. “I don’t think their team did a lot of things that surprised us. We just weren’t sharp. We weren’t on top of our game. We didn’t pass the puck as well as we can. We didn’t receive passes … And give their team credit. They’re a good team.”

Too good a team for Vancouver? That remains to be seen.

But the team that will skate out with a 1-0 series lead on Tuesday evening at Rogers Place in Edmonton is supremely confident, with absolutely no doubt about whether they will get past the Canucks and into Round 3.

“I don’t know where (Game 1) ranks,” Vegas head coach Peter DeBoer said. “Definitely it’s on that list of complete efforts from us. Especially considering the circumstances – there were a lot of distractions, a lot of stuff flying around. I loved how we blocked out the noise and just went to work.”

How about a team whose former No. 1 goalie, “face of the franchise” Marc-Andre Fleury, is on the bench, while controversy swirls over a tweet sent out by his agent? And while the hockey world whips the story into a frenzy — could you imagine the media storm if that were a Canucks goalie? — the other guy, Robin Lehner, calmly goes out and pitches a shutout.

“That’s just outside noise to us,” DeBoer said. “We’re inside the bubble, and in our own bubble inside the bubble, where we’re not going to let any of that outside noise get in the way of what we’re trying to do. That’s advancing all the way to the Stanley Cup.”

It is pretty clear that the Canucks are facing an opponent that is focused, experienced, and is laser-focused on getting further than last season’s disappointing Round 1 ouster to San Jose.

The Canucks, meanwhile, fell behind Minnesota 1-0, and lost Games 3 and 4 to St. Louis, to which the hockey world responded by counting Vancouver out.

Well, here they are: Game 2, Round 2.

What do these Canucks have?

It is time, once again, to find out.

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UFC 253 video: Cold open with Ron Perlman released – MMA Fighting

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The UFC has released the cold open for tonight’s pay-per-view event and sets the table for a a rare and pivotal middleweight title fight between champ Israel Adesanya and challenger Paulo Costa.

It’s a rare meeting of two fighters undefeated in MMA, and it’s the top-billed attraction on a fight card that features a second title fight: a battle between Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight belt vacated by Jon Jones.

Narrated by the longtime voice of UFC promos, Ron Perlman, check out the feature above as the hours tick toward the fight card Saturday on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

You can also follow full UFC 253 results and get info on the event’s start time here.

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Jays beat Orioles to keep momentum going – TSN

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — Cavan Biggio broke up a no-hit bid with a solo home run in the sixth inning, Randal Grichuk added a three-run shot and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 Saturday night.

The Blue Jays need another victory in Sunday’s regular-season finale, and a Miami win over the Yankees in New York, to move up to second place in the AL East and the fifth seed in the league. If not, Toronto will remain in eighth place and get a first-round playoff meeting with the top-seeded Tampa Bay Rays.

“Regardless of what happens tomorrow, we’re ready to go,” Biggio said.

Toronto has won four straight and six of seven following a season-worst six-game losing streak.

Baltimore’s John Means (2-4) held the Blue Jays hitless until Biggio broke a scoreless tie with his eighth homer.

Means walked infielder Jonathan Villar, the second batter of the game, and didn’t allow another baserunner until Biggio connected on a 1-0 pitch.

Biggio credited Jonathan Davis, who lined out to end a 10-pitch at bat immediately beforehand, for wearing Means down.

“He really made him work for that out, something that we weren’t doing the whole game,” Biggio said. “I can probably say confidently that (Means) doesn’t hang me a slider there if he isn’t worn out from facing JD.

“Hats off to him, he pitched a great game,” Biggio added. “He made one mistake and that’s what the run was.”

Biggio’s drive to right ended a streak of 16 consecutive outs by Means, including five straight strikeouts at one stretch. The left-hander struck out nine and walked one in six innings.

Means has a 1.52 ERA over his past four starts, giving up just a single run each time. Given how well he’s been pitching, Means isn’t quite ready for end of the season.

“I wish there was 100 games left,” he said.

Grichuk connected on the first pitch he saw from Hunter Harvey in the seventh. It was his 12th homer of the season and the 19th of his career against the Orioles, more than he’s hit against any other opponent. His seven homers against Baltimore this season are the most by one player against a single opponent. Grichuk also homered in Toronto’s 10-5 win Friday.

The Blue Jays scratched right-hander Matt Shoemaker, the scheduled starter, and turned to right-hander T.J. Zeuch. Shoemaker threw a side session before the game, meaning he could be used in the opening round of the playoffs.

Zeuch allowed five hits in five scoreless innings.

Chase Anderson (1-2) got the win, striking out the first four batters he faced in a two-inning relief stint. Anthony Bass got the final four outs for his seventh save in nine chances.

Blue Jays outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. yelped in pain after he fouled a pitch off his left foot in the second inning. Gurriel batted again in the fifth, but was replaced by Grichuk in the top of the sixth. The Blue Jays said Gurriel had a contusion on his foot.

He wasn’t the only Blue Jays player to leave injured. Right-hander Ross Stripling was replaced by Bass after being hit on the right shin by DJ Stewart’s comebacker in the eighth.

“They’re both fine, which is great,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said.

Austin Hays had three hits and José Iglesias had two doubles and drove in a run, but the Orioles lost for the eighth time in 10 games. Baltimore has lost 14 of 18 overall following a 20-21 start.

“There’s been some ups and downs this year,” Hays said, “but I think we showed early on what this team is capable of doing.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: Montoyo said LHP Hyun Jin Ryu is not hurt, but would not commit to starting Ryu in Game 1 of the playoffs. Montoyo said Friday that Ryu was “a little sore” after throwing a season-high 100 pitches over seven innings against the Yankees on Thursday. … INF Rowdy Tellez (right knee) ran the bases and hit on the field before the game.

Orioles: GM Mike Elias confirmed that RHP Michael Baumann was shut down after straining a flexor muscle in his elbow at the team’s alternate training site. One of Baltimore’s top prospects, Baumann is expected to be healthy by spring training. … Elias also said he is optimistic OF Trey Mancini will be able to play next season. Mancini missed this season while undergoing treatment for colon cancer. Mancini completed chemotherapy treatment last Tuesday.

CHEEKY CRIME

Villar stole third base on catcher Pedro Severino’s throw back to the pitcher in the eighth.

ARMED AND DANGEROUS

Hernandez made a strong throw to catch Ryan Mountcastle trying to stretch out a double in the eighth. It was his seventh outfield assist of the season, matching Boston’s Alex Verdugo for most in the majors.

UP NEXT

Baltimore LHP Keegan Akin (1-2, 3.57) starts Sunday’s season finale against Blue Jays RHP Tanner Roark (2-3, 7.01). Akin has struck out 24 batters over 15 innings in September.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Paulo Costa open to competing in two divisions, would move up for Jon Jones – MMA Fighting

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Paulo Costa has no issues making the middleweight limit, but if the right opportunity comes along, he’ll gladly jump up a division.

While it’s obvious Costa is one of the larger fighters competing at 185 pounds, his first concern is conquering his current weight class as he challenges champ Israel Adesanya in the main event of UFC 253 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.

At media day on Wednesday, Costa told reporters his weight cut is on point for the official weigh-ins, which take place Friday. His weight has been a topic of conversation in the past; he was one of several fighters advised by the California State Athletic Commission to potentially move up a division. The recommendation was made following Costa’s unanimous decision win over Yoel Romero at UFC 241 in August 2019.

Because Costa’s fight night weight (213.8 pounds) was 15 percent higher than his weigh-in day weight (186 pounds), he just came in at the threshold where the CSAC asked a fighter to consider a change in divisions.

Costa, 29, doesn’t expect this to be an issue going forward, and if he ever moves up to light heavyweight, it will be by choice, not necessity.

“Every time that I come here to fight at 185 pounds, it’s been more easy to me,” Costa said. “I don’t know what happened, maybe my body’s getting mature. But as I told before, I could fight at light heavyweight anytime.

“So it depends if I have a very good opponent, a big challenge at light heavyweight or at middleweight, it depends. I have both possibilities to move in both divisions.”

A reporter asked if Costa would be interested in fighting a returning Anthony Johnson, to which he answered, “I think so.” But were he given the option to fight an even bigger fish, one that currently has plans to change divisions himself, that’s a target that Costa couldn’t pass up on.

“If Jon Jones was still there, then I’d definitely want to move up to fight him, but we’ll have to wait for this weekend to see how that fight plays out,” Costa said via a Portugues translator. “But maybe stay at middleweight if it’s interesting.”

Though Costa is 13-0 as a professional with wins in all five of his UFC fights, Adesanya has questioned the resume of his unbeaten challenger. The two have on shared opponent, Romero, with Romero also having notable victories against middleweight veteran Uriah Hall and former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks.

Costa likes how his conquests stack up against those of the champion.

“Israel said that I don’t have a good enough resume, I haven’t fought high-caliber fighters,” Costa said via a Portuguese translator. “I fought Johny Hendricks. Johny Hendricks might have been at the end of his career, but back then people said, ‘Hey, he’s not gonna get through him.’ And I did, and I fought Romero, almost knocked him out, so it doesn’t make too much sense.

“Adesanya was afraid of fighting Romero.”

Costa shied away from anointing his matchup with Adesanya as the greatest middleweight fight in UFC history, saying that he’d leave it to the media to work that angle. He did concede that it is a “rare moment” in MMA to have two undefeated fighters fighting for a world title.

In terms of legacy, though, Costa knows what the middleweight championship means to Brazil given its most well-known titleholder is Anderson Silva, arguably the country’s most beloved fighter. Before making any light heavyweight overtures, Costa is determined to do right by the standard set by Silva.

“It’s continuing the legacy for Brazil,” Costa said via a translator when asked what it means to fight for a title so strongly associated with Silva. “Holding that belt.”

“I’m proud to be a Brazilian,” he continued. “I’m a patriot and I hope that people can value me and realize that I’m the new champion.”

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