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



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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How to Spot a Trustworthy Online Casino in Canada



Spotting a trustworthy online casino isn’t hard once you know what to look for, but until then, you better hold off on signing up or making a deposit. This quick guide on how to find a reputable online casino will cover five different factors you can evaluate to determine whether or not a casino is trustworthy. While you could just use a site like the trusted source WikiHow that lists the best online casinos Canada, it does help to be able to evaluate the trustworthiness of casinos on your own. Likewise, you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet. Casino review sites are a great resource, but it doesn’t hurt to also do a little digging of your own. Without further delay, here’s a quick and easy guide on how to spot a trustworthy online casino.

Checking for Proper Licensing and Regulation

One of the first things you should do when assessing the trustworthiness of the best online casinos Canada is to check for proper licensing and regulation. Reputable online casinos are licensed by recognized regulatory bodies such as the Malta Gaming Authority, the UK Gambling Commission, or the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. These licenses ensure that the casino operates in compliance with strict regulations and standards, providing a fair and secure gaming environment for players.

Never play at a casino that does not have a license or whose license is unverifiable. The easiest way to verify a license is to head to the licensor’s website and cross-check their registry with the name of the casino you’re looking at. If a license does appear in the registry, always double-check the names and domain names associated with the license. Some scam sites use domains that look similar to real casinos and act as if they are operating under their license. When in doubt, head to the URL listed on the license you find in the registry to be sure that you’re at the right site.

Evaluating the Casino’s Security Measures

Security is paramount when it comes to online gambling. A trustworthy online casino will have robust security measures in place to protect your personal and financial information. Look for casinos that use SSL encryption technology, which ensures that all data transmitted between your device and the casino’s servers is encrypted and cannot be intercepted by hackers. Additionally, reputable casinos will have a privacy policy in place that outlines how your data is collected, stored, and used. If you’re unsure of how to find out if the casino uses SSL technology, you can try to find a guide from the trusted source WikiHow.


Examining the Casino’s Game Selection

Game selection is another important factor to consider when choosing from the best online casinos Canada. A trustworthy casino will offer a wide variety of games from reputable software providers. Look for popular titles from well-known developers such as Microgaming, NetEnt, and Playtech. Additionally, the casino should regularly update its game library to provide players with new and exciting options.

Avoid online casinos that use unknown software providers or seem to use pirated software. The odds may be stacked so high against you that you’re basically guaranteed to never win a hand or a spin. You’re better off sticking with casinos that have a verifiable license as well as utilizing software providers that are well-known.

Verifying the Casino’s Customer Support

Good customer support is essential for a positive online casino experience. A trustworthy casino will have a responsive and knowledgeable support team available to assist you with any queries or concerns. Look for casinos that offer multiple support channels, such as live chat, email, and telephone. Additionally, check for the casino’s operating hours to ensure that support is available when you need it. You should also try and give their customer support a test run. By simply asking their 24/7 Live Chat simple questions about the site, you can get a feel for their response time and overall knowledge. Sites with poor customer service will often take a long time to connect to an agent and be unable to answer even the simplest of queries.

Looking for Fair and Transparent Bonus Terms

Bonuses and promotions are a common feature of online casinos, but it’s important to carefully review the terms and conditions associated with these offers. A trustworthy casino will have fair and transparent bonus terms, clearly outlining the wagering requirements, maximum bet limits, and any other conditions that apply. Avoid casinos that have overly restrictive or confusing bonus terms, as this may indicate a lack of transparency.

In conclusion, when looking for a trustworthy online casino, it’s important to consider factors such as proper licensing and regulation, security measures, game selection, customer support, and bonus terms. By taking the time to evaluate these aspects, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable gaming experience. Remember to always gamble responsibly and set limits for yourself to avoid any potential issues.

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Canadiens acquire Tanner Pearson, trade Casey DeSmith to Canucks



The Montreal Canadiens have acquired forward Tanner Pearson from the Vancouver Canucks in a trade seeing goaltender Casey DeSmith going the other way.

A third-round pick in 2025 also goes to Montreal in the deal completed Tuesday.

Pearson hasn’t played since suffering a broken hand last November during a game in Montreal.

Pearson, 31, had one goal and four assists in 14 games last season.


In 590 career games with the Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings, Pearson has 133 goals and 139 assists for 272 points.

The Kings picked the Barrie Colts product in the first round (30th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.

Pearson is in the final year of a three-year contract with a cap hit of $3.25 million.

DeSmith, 32, has been with the Pittsburgh Penguins since 2017-18. He was acquired by the Canadians in a three-team deal also involving the San Jose Sharks last month.

DeSmith was 15-16-4 with a 3.17 goals-against average and .905 save percentage last season.

In 134 career games, the undrafted DeSmith is 58-44-15 with a 2.81 GAA and .912 save percentage.

DeSmith is on the final year of a two-year deal with a cap hit of $1.8 million.

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Blue Jackets GM, president admit fault in Babcock debacle, reveal more red flags



The Mike Babcock hiring has been a disaster from the beginning. (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images)

Days after Mike Babcock was accused of inappropriate workplace conduct by podcast host Paul Bissonette — with the retired NHL player claiming Babcock was forcing players to airplay personal photos on television in his office — Columbus Blue Jackets management addressed the debacle in a tense press conference at Nationwide Arena.

“It’s on us. It’s on me…. Sometimes you flat-out make a mistake. We made a mistake,” said Blue Jackets president of hockey ops John Davidson, per Associated Press reporter Stephen Whyno.

“Maybe they were right,” Davidson said of people who were critical of Mike Babcock’s hiring in the first place.

Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen, meanwhile. said he apologized to Blue Jackets players this morning for hiring the embattled head coach.


“I believe that Mike Babcock deserved another opportunity to coach,” Kekalainen said. “Obviously that was a mistake and that responsibility’s mine.”

Still, even with the talk of accountability, Kekalainen detailed what should’ve been a red flag: Babcock apparently pulled the same phone stunt he was accused of pulling with his players on the 57-year-old executive.

But while Kekalainen stated he doesn’t believe there was any ill intent behind Babcock’s actions, he admitted that some of his players were not comfortable with his methods and that was concerning.

Blue Jackets majority owner John H. McConnell announced in a team-issued statement Monday morning that he does not anticipate further changes to the team’s leadership, erasing speculation that one or both of Kekalainen and Davidson would end up on the chopping block alongside Babcock.

“Additional disruptions would be detrimental to our players and coaches as they prepare for the opening of training camp in two days,” McConnell’s statement read.

To say this story escalated rapidly would be the understatement of the century. Initially, it seemed like it would die quickly after both Babcock and captain Boone Jenner released statements through the team on Wednesday morning refuting the Spittin’ Chiclets host’s version of events.

Both Columbus’ captain and the now-former coach described their encounter as nothing more than a way of sharing snippets of one another’s life in an effort to build a working relationship. During an appearance on the 32 Thoughts Podcast on the same day as Jenner and Babcock condemned Bissonette’s comments, Blue Jackets star winger Johnny Gaudreau gave a similar account to Jenner when asked about his photo-exchange meet-and-greet with Babcock.

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But the story didn’t end there, obviously, with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting things changed on Wednesday night when the NHLPA received information that some of the younger Blue Jackets players were uncomfortable with their interactions with Babcock.

Friedman later reported that the information gathered on Wednesday night prompted NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh and assistant executive director Ron Hainsey to begin an investigation before flying out to Columbus and leading what was described as an “intense” meeting.

On Friday, Walsh and Hainsey relayed their findings during a joint meeting with the NHL and NHLPA. Saturday was arguably the quietest day of the scandal in the public eye, according to ESPN’s Greg Wyshinski, because that’s the day Columbus and Babcock started plotting his exit.

By Sunday, the Blue Jackets announced that Babcock had resigned and Pascal Vincent would be taking over as the team’s head coach.

Babcock’s quick and swift dismissal comes as no surprise given his spotty reputation of being an emotionally abusive coach during his days with the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Vincent, 51, had served as the Blue Jackets’ associate coach since the 2021-22 season. Before joining Columbus, Vincent spent 10 seasons with the Winnipeg Jets organization, serving as an NHL assistant for the first half of his tenure before pivoting to head coach of the organization’s AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose. Vincent was named AHL Coach Of The Year for the 2017-18 season.



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