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In Game 2, Blues need more than just Binnington’s best to solve the Avalanche – Sportsnet.ca

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Identifying the issues was the easy part.

The real challenge for the St. Louis Blues is finding a way to try to correct them.

Despite being in a one-shot game that required overtime in a series opener that closed with a seeing-eye wrister from Colorado Avalanche defenceman Josh Manson, the Blues do not sound like a defeated or deflated bunch heading into Game 2 on Thursday at Ball Arena.

They also sound like a realistic one, knowing there’s clearly another level they’ll need to reach in order to even the best-of-seven series before it shifts to Missouri against an Avalanche club that outshot (54-25) and out-chanced (43-13, including 18-5 of the high-danger variety according to Natural Stat Trick) them handily.

“I liked our goaltending, that’s about it,” Blues forward Brayden Schenn told reporters on Wednesday. “From a team perspective, we’ve got to be a whole lot better. The skaters out there know that we’ve got to be a whole lot better in front of him. We know he’s capable of it and we’re going to need good goaltending throughout the series.”

Blues goalie Jordan Binnington was the story of Game 1, even in a losing cause, with some folks believing he was channelling his inner 2019 — which ended with him raising the Stanley Cup over his head after a Game 7 victory over the Boston Bruins.

But the truth is that while Binnington was excellent during that run, he wasn’t asked to face the volume or quality of shots that came his way on Tuesday night often, if at all.

With 51 saves, Binnington did his part to keep his team in the game, despite an onslaught that included 13 shots on goal in just over eight minutes of action in overtime (compared to zero for the Blues).

Binnington was mostly calm and composed in net, tracking the puck well and squaring up many rebounds, but his athletic ability was also on display — especially on a sprawling glove save on Erik Johnson.

The performance was even more impressive when you consider Binnington lost his starting job to Ville Husso this season and didn’t appear in the first three games of the opening-round matchup with the Minnesota Wild before coming out of the bullpen.

“This is where you want to be, out there competing,” Binnington told reporters. “We know we’re going to have to chip away all series long. We’re going to have to respond in Game 2.

“Every game is different, right? That’s the fun part about it. Just kind of adapting and seeing what’s coming at you. You’ve got to be prepared for what is coming at you.”

As for the Avalanche, if you thought head coach Jared Bednar was going to be concerned about the fact Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar were held off the scoresheet, think again.

Nor did he have reason to be, since MacKinnon led all players with eight shots on goal and 12 shot attempts and Makar had four shots on goal and eight shot attempts.

The scoring chances were there, even though Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly (who scored a goal for a fifth consecutive game) was able to help contain two of those key play drivers, relatively speaking of course.

“They were on for the one goal (by Valeri Nichushkin that tied the game) and I thought they played great,” Bednar told reporters after Tuesday’s game. “They were dangerous, they defended hard and they did everything right. When you’re talking about your stars needing to drive the bus, it’s not just getting on the scoresheet every night. They’re playing against a really good line and sometimes a wash is good enough. You’re not going to win that matchup every night because you’re playing against the other team’s best players.

“But I thought they were good. They played the right way, they spent a lot of time in the offensive zone. They couldn’t get the puck to go (in), so they didn’t get on the sheet, but everyone on our team is watching those guys and how they play and how they compete, with the detail to their game. When it’s good, everyone else follows.”

Blues head coach Craig Berube is considering going to a more traditional lineup that features 12 forwards and six defencemen after going with 11 forwards and 7 D-men for the past four games.

However, Berube isn’t planning to overhaul the game plan.

It was abundantly clear that he’ll be looking for much better execution, specifically when you consider the decisive edge the Avalanche had during the second period and overtime.

“There are always adjustments and things that we can do…but it boils down to wanting to make a play and using your feet a little bit more and just a little bit more composure,” Berube told reporters. “You’ve got to bump guys, you’ve got to have contact on them. Otherwise, they’re going to skate right through you. That’s the way they play. They don’t rest, they just go.

“It’s not running around and running out of position, it’s just contact when it’s there. If you don’t compete, you’re not going to give yourself a chance. I don’t care who you are. And we weren’t competitive enough.”

The Avalanche were going for much of the night, coming at the Blues in waves, showcasing that speed and explosiveness that left St. Louis on its heels for wide stretches.

Berube explained that part of that can be remedied by playing a bit more of an aggressive style, not by sitting back and feeding the transition game.

“If you don’t play in the offensive zone against them, you don’t possess pucks and you don’t make them defend, you’re going to be in your own end like we were (Tuesday) night,” said Berube. “We have to play more as a team. We were too spread out and we weren’t connected. When we are connected and we’re playing as a team, we’re a pretty damn good team. We’ve shown that. We’re a hard offensive team. We forecheck hard, we possess pucks in the offensive zone and we compete on them. That’s what makes us a good team and that’s what I see we need to do.”

You can be sure that one of the adjustments the Blues will attempt to employ is to complete more tape-to-tape passes rather than just dumping the puck into the neutral zone to try and stem the tide.

“We chucked too many pucks away and flipped too many pucks out. And then you kind of let them keep on coming at you,” said Schenn. “One way to defend is to make better puck plays. Then you have the puck more and you make them defend. I don’t think we did enough of that, not at all. We know we’ve got to be a whole lot better with the puck. They come fast at you, they don’t give you much time and space. But that means the players out there have to support one another and that gives you an option to make a play.”

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Canada's Bianca Andreescu reaches Bad Homburg final after Simona Halep withdraws – CBC Sports

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Bianca Andreescu reached her first final in more than a year after Simona Halep withdrew ahead of their semifinal match at the Bad Homburg Open in Germany on Friday with a neck injury.

In her first grass-court final, Andreescu will play Caroline Garcia on Saturday.

“I am sorry that I had to withdraw today before my semifinal match,” Halep wrote on Instagram. “But unfortunately I woke up this morning with a blocked neck and this is not allowing me to perform to the best of my ability.”

The 22-year-old Andreescu beat top-seeded Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.

The Canadian’s last title win was her breakout U.S. Open victory in 2019, when she beat Serena Williams. Her last final was against Ash Barty in Miami in April 2021, when she retired with an ankle injury.

WATCH | Andreescu ousts top-seeded Kasatkina in Germany:

Andreescu knocks out top seed Kasatkina to reach semifinals in Bad Homburg

1 day ago

Duration 3:29

Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., defeated top seed Daria Kasatkina of Russia 6-4, 6-1 to reach the semifinals of the Bad Homburg Open in Germany.

Andreescu, who took time off to recharge and work on her mental health, missed the Australian Open before returning to the tour in April.

While the Canadian was able to rest up and prepare for the final, Garcia had to spend close to three hours on court to beat fellow French player Alize Cornet 7-6 (9), 3-6, 7-5.

Garcia saved match point at 5-4 down in the deciding set before winning the next three games as Cornet struggled with an apparent right leg injury which restricted her movement.

Andreescu and Garcia have not met before.

WATCH | Canadian tennis star Andreescu answers questions from kids: 

Bianca Andreescu answers questions from kids

6 hours ago

Duration 4:02

Canadian tennis champ Bianca Andreescu answers questions and offers a few words of advice to young athletes from the Ontario Racquet Club in Mississauga.

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Canada Betting in 2022; What to Expect? The Latest News

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Canadian sports fans can breathe a sigh of relief thanks to Bill C-218, which was passed in August 2021. The additional legislation to the Criminal Code decriminalizes single-event sports betting, marking a new era for sports betting fans in the region. So if you’d like to wager on a single event you’re following, you can. The single-game wager options currently available to Canadian sports fans include:

  • In-game wagers on leading events
  • Wagers on various fantasy sports
  • eSports wagers
  • Wagers on novelty events

 

Reasons for the Shift in Gambling Laws

As witnessed with most North American states over the past few years, legalizing sports betting options has its benefits. So as US legislators worked on ways to accommodate their sports fans’ needs, they also pushed Canadian legislators to do the same. Thus, helping them take steps towards joining the billion-dollar iGaming industry.

For starters, legalizing online sports gambling means lawmakers in the region can set parameters to guarantee their residents’ safety while they’re on betting sites in Canada. These include measures like vetting possible operators’ services and regulating the market’s various offerings. In turn, bettors don’t need to rely on unverified sites to enjoy themselves. So, the government gets to keep all the revenue generated from its residents’ gambling activities.

The revenue collected can then go towards various developmental projects to improve the same residents’ lives. So it’s a win-win for everyone involved. Regulating the market also ensures the adherence to responsible gambling measures to reduce the risks associated with online gambling. Operators would follow the rules to stay in business, while sports fans will do what’s necessary to continue enjoying unrestricted sports gambling activities.

 

Canadian Regulations and Legal Operators by Province

Before Bill C-218 got passed, online bettors in Canada could only make parlay bets. These are a group of bets that rely on each other’s outcome to reward payouts. It makes it tricky to wager, especially if you only know about one of the events available to bet on.

To make a parlay wager, you need to bet on a minimum of two games on one slip. If your predictions for the two events are correct, then you win the wager. But if one loses and the other is successful, you lose the entire bet. But with the passing of Bill C-218, you only need to bet on the events you’d like to, even if it’s just one game per slip.

The types of sports wagers available and where you can make them in Canada depends on where you reside. Canada has ten provinces and three territories, each deciding what they’ll offer their sports betting fans. Here is a breakdown of what you can expect from the various locations in 2022.

British Columbia

BC has been offering retail and online sports betting options for years. But it was one of the first provinces to take action after the passing of Bill C-218 in 2021. So its residents can now enjoy single-game wagers on their favorite games online. You need to have reached a minimum of 19 years to access online gambling options.

PlayNow is the legally licensed platform offering these options. It’s run by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC). Through this site, you can also make mobile bets through your smartphone or tablet. But for the mobile version to work, you must have geolocation apps installed to verify where you’re accessing the site from.

Manitoba

Like British Columbia, Manitoba has been offering retail and online gambling for years. It’s currently able to offer single-game bets through PlayNow under the management of the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation (MBLL).

Residents of this province can also access sports betting options offered by offshore operators. That means you have the option to also gamble on mobile.

Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick

Also known as the Atlantic Provinces, these four locations all offer retail and online sports gambling activities to their residents. While Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick started offering online variations in 2021, Nova Scotia joined the fold in February 2022.

All four destinations have their online activities managed by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC). These can be accessed on PRO•LINE Stadium, the only sportsbook available locally to residents in the four regions.

Saskatchewan

Sports betting in this province is overseen by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SIGA). Residents can make in-person bets on Sport Select through participating retailers found at gas stations and convenience stores. But soon, online gambling options could become a reality. In June 2022, the SIGA signed an agreement with the BCLC to make PlayNow a legal online platform for its residents.

But while residents wait for this to become a reality, they can access offshore betting sites accepting Canadian bettors.

Ontario

Ontario makes up the country’s largest sports betting market. Residents can make their sports wagers at retail and online bookmakers through platforms like PRO•LINE Stadium which is managed by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.

Besides that, bettors in this state can also make wagers on platforms like FanDuel, DraftKings, theScore Bet, BetRivers, and PointsBet Canada. These are among the 25 sportsbooks (40 operators) licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). So, all offerings on these sites are legal for Ontario residents.

Quebec

Quebec residents can enjoy online sports betting options through Mise-o-jeu+, which allows desktop and mobile gambling through its app. For in-person wagers, there’s Mise-o-jeu. Both these gambling options are managed by Loto-Quebec. Through them, you can also enjoy live betting on leading events, a rare offering in Canada.

Residents are hopeful that since the region has several casino gambling halls, it’ll soon add sports betting halls as well for its residents.

 

Alberta, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Manitoba, Yukon, and the Nunavut

These locations are referred to as the Prairie Provinces. Bettors in each of these areas have been able to access a vast gambling selection on PlayAlberta.ca since September 2021. The platform is licensed by the Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis (AGLC).

For retail options, Prairie Province residents turn to Sport Select. This gambling option is run by the Western Canada Lottery Corporation (WCLC). There are also talks to add PointsBet Canada as one of the sportsbooks residents can access for the online betting options.

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2022 NBA Draft: Toronto Raptors select Christian Koloko with 33rd pick in 2022 NBA Draft – RaptorsHQ

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The Toronto Raptors selected Christian Koloko with the 33rd overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft on Thursday night.

The Raptors only had the one pick tonight; they traded their first-round pick to the San Antonio Spurs for Thaddeus Young at last season’s trade deadline. There were several strong candidates remaining at 33, but Koloko seems like a strong fit for the Raptors.

For one, he’s big — like, an actual big. He’s 7’1”! The Raptors leaned into length last year, but this is a whole ‘other story: he’s got a 7’5.25” wingspan!

By all accounts, Koloko is an athletic shot blocker, rim-runner and dunker; he can shoot a little, but not from range (yet); he’s a high-energy player.

That all sounds appealing! Well, OK, maybe not the “can’t shoot from distance part,” but hey, that’s what the NBA G League is for!

Koloko played three seasons in Arizona, and averaged 12.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and an insane 2.8 blocks in 25 minutes per game for the Wildcats last season. He also shot the ball well from the floor and the line (63.5% and 73.5%, respectively) but again, nothing from deep.

He’s also from Doula, Cameroon — Pascal Siakam’s hometown! Also like Siakam, he picked up hoops later in life, so he’s still raw — a real unfinished product.

Size, quickness, shot-blocking, energy. What more can you want? (Oh, yeah. Shooting.) Well, we can’t have it all, right?

Our draft expert JD Quirante will have a full breakdown of Koloko’s game and fit with the Raptors tomorrow.

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