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'I honestly never saw myself being in this position' – NHL.com

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EDMONTON – It’s safe to say that prospect Kieran Ruscheinski will never forget attending his first Canadiens game.

Back in his hometown of Calgary while his Salmon Arm Silverbacks (BCHL) were on break, the 18-year-old defenseman hit up the Scotiabank Saddledome press box on Thursday night to see Claude Julien’s squad battle the Flames.

Ruscheinski was treated to a memorable affair, of course, with Max Domi settling the score in overtime to send Habs fans home happy.

“I honestly never saw myself being in this position, but it’s pretty cool,” said Ruscheinski, who was selected in the seventh-round, 206th overall this past June in Vancouver. “It’s even better that the game is on home turf at the Saddledome. Ten times better.”

Since being drafted by the Canadiens, Ruscheinski has made a point of keeping a close eye on their games and the play of several defensemen in particular.

“I watch a lot of their games. I’m watching guys like [Shea] Weber and [Cale] Fleury. I just watch each shift from each guy and try to take little pieces of their game and learn from it so I can make myself a better hockey player,” explained Ruscheinski, who has three assists and 25 penalty minutes in 30 games during his first BCHL campaign. “I’ll watch Fleury and [Victor] Mete because they play hard and they’re the younger guys. And Shea, he’s big like me. He plays more my style of game from a defensive standpoint, so he’s good to follow.”

Photo Credit: Pure Life Photography

Like Weber, Ruscheinski is most definitely a towering figure. The left-handed shooting blueliner stands 6-foot-6 and tips the scales at 210 pounds.

Knowing full well that size isn’t everything in hockey and that skill development matters, however, he’s making the most of his time with Salmon Arm to take his game to another level.

“It’s a learning process, but I feel I’ve gotten better with each game,” said Ruscheinski. “We have a really good team this year and a really good coaching staff. I kind of got put in the perfect position to succeed and grow. And it’s also a very competitive league. If you’re not bringing your best, you’re going to lose. You’ve got to make sure that you’re ready every night.”

Photo Credit: Pure Life Photography

With the help of head coach Scotty Atkinson, the Canadiens’ hopeful is focusing his efforts on polishing his stick skills and learning the intricacies of getting pucks through to the net.

But in their short time together, the Silverbacks’ bench boss has become a mentor for Ruscheinski with respect to off-ice matters, too.

“He’s probably the smartest person I’ve ever talked to. He knows a lot about the game and about life,” praised Ruscheinski, regarding the former longtime head coach at Mount Royal College and the University of Calgary. “He knows what it takes to be successful as a person and as a player, so I make sure to listen to him.”

A significant switch

How has life changed for Ruscheinski since joining the Canadiens’ fold? 

“I guess I’m getting a lot more attention, and I’m still learning how to deal with that attention,” confided Ruscheinski. “Everything I’ve been doing from that point of bring drafted has been about preparing to hopefully one day make it if I keep working hard.”

With that in mind, Ruscheinski spent six weeks in Montreal over the summer training at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard and living with fellow prospects Josh Brook and Cole Fonstad.

It proved to be another motivating experience for last season’s Alberta AAA Midget Hockey League (AMHL) MVP, and only strengthened his resolve to achieve his long-term objective.

Photo Credit: Pure Life Photography

“I learned a lot, and I keep saying that, but I really did,” insisted Ruscheinski. “Getting to experience that and watch how things operate, it taught me a lot about what I’ve got to keep doing and what it takes.”

And as far as going late in the Draft is concerned, Ruscheinski isn’t going to let a simple number pre-determine his future.

“There’s guys playing in the National Hockey League that didn’t even get drafted. They just kept working and grinding and perfecting their craft,” concluded Ruscheinski. “As excited as I was to get drafted, I know it doesn’t really mean much at the end of the day until you make it, so I’m taking it as it is, making sure that I come prepared every day, and I just bring that effort and intensity.”

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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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