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In the Habs' Room: Carey Price plays penalty-killer to secure shutout – Montreal Gazette

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The Montreal goaltender, who passed Ken Dryden for third place on the Canadiens all-time shutout list, faced only 12 shots in the first two periods of the 4-0 win over the Panthers, but they fired 17 shots in the third and 12 of those came while Florida had the extra man.

Carey Price reached another milestone when he posted his 47th career shutout Saturday, but his teammates didn’t make it easy for him.

Price, who passed Ken Dryden for third place on the Canadiens all-time shutout list, faced only 12 shots in the first two periods of the 4-0 win over the Florida Panthers and only one — on a shorthanded breakaway by Jonathan Huberdeau — could be considered a scoring chance.

The third period was different. A string of penalties left the Canadiens shorthanded on four occasions.

“You don’t want to give up those opportunities, but everyone stepped up, blocked shots, got the puck all the way down and we were able to kill those off,” said defenceman Jeff Petry, whose analysis of the penalty-killing effort isn’t totally accurate.


Canadiens goaltender Carey Price attempts to clear the puck off the boards, but ended up with a delay of game penalty against the Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020.

Dave Sidaway /

Montreal Gazette

There’s a cliché that says your goaltender has to be your best penalty-killer and that was certainly the case in this game. The Panthers came to life in the third period. They fired 17 shots at Price and 12 of those came while Florida had the extra man.

“It’s obviously special for him,” Petry said. “The last one (a 2-0 win over Calgary on Jan. 13) we all knew that he tied (Dryden). The final five minutes of this game I think everyone knew what he was about to accomplish, so that was something that we wanted to get for him but, obviously, it’s also a big win for us as a team.”

Prior to the game, Price collected the Molson Cup for the month of January. The award is based on the three star selections and the shutout wasn’t enough to earn him a mention Saturday. Petry, who assisted on all four goals, received the first star, while Nick Suzuki (a goal and an assist) and Artturi Lehkonen (one goal) were the other players honoured.

When Price was asked about the last time he had a shutout and didn’t receive a star, he pointed to that Jan. 13 game.

“It’s pretty cool,” Price said. “It’s special to me because I had a conversation with Ken in my third season when things weren’t going so well and that helped me through it. I’m grateful for that. He told me to stick with trust in yourself.”

With the win, the Canadiens are six points out of a playoff spot, but they are chasing four or five teams for two spots and most of the teams ahead of them have games in hand.

The Panthers arrived in Montreal with one of the top offences in the NHL, but they might have been a tad rusty coming out of a bye week. They were playing for the first time since Jan. 21.

“We had to play a strong defensive game for what they have offensively on that side,” Petry said. ”Our game play was to chip pucks in. They’re prone to turnovers when you’re putting the puck behind them and you’re pressuring them. I thought our forwards did a good job of that.”

The Canadiens raised some eyebrows when they sent rookie Cale Fleury and 19-year-old Jesperi Kotkaniemi to Lava, but coach Claude Julien said it was more important to focus on the players returning to the lineup.

A healthy Joel Armia has joined Ilya Kovalchuk and Suzuki on the No. 2 line and Brendan Gallagher has goals in each of the two games since he returned from a concession. The Canadiens are still waiting on Jonathan Drouin, but they have cleared a roster space for him.

phickey@postmedia.com

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CFL to return in August

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The Canadian Football League (CFL), which saw its entire 2020 campaign wiped out by the COVID-19 outbreak, said on Monday its board of governors voted unanimously to kick off a shortened 14-game season in August.

The CFL, whose biggest source of revenue comes from ticket sales rather than TV deals like those enjoyed by larger U.S.-based leagues, also said fans will be able to return to the stands in line with provincial guidelines.

“This is an exciting day for Canadian football and for Canada itself,” CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a news release.

“I want to thank our fans, players, coaches, and partners for their incredible support and patience as we’ve worked together towards this day.”

The season will begin Aug. 5 while the Grey Cup championship game will be played Dec. 12 in Hamilton, Ontario.

The full schedule will be released on Tuesday along with each of the league’s nine team’s plan for distributing tickets to season ticket holders and, where government restrictions on stadium capacity allow, ticket sales to the general public.

After first delaying its 2020 season, the CFL decided to scrap it entirely following a last-ditch effort to secure financing from the Canadian government to stage a shortened campaign that would have been held entirely in Manitoba was turned down.

The CFL had previously said it would only move forward with a 2021 season if it could secure the government approvals for its plans to keep players and coaches safe and the green light to allow a “significant” number of fans to attend games.

“We are on track to receive all of the necessary health and safety approvals, thanks to our tireless medical advisers and staff, and the dedicated government officials who have been working with them,” said Ambrosie.

“And while the outlook for fans in the stands varies from province to province, we are confident that process is also on the right track.”

 

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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Mixed Martial Arts-Door is open for YouTube’s Paul brothers in MMA

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Logan and Jake Paul would make great Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters, Bellator president Scott Coker has said as he targets exhibition matches featuring the YouTube personalities such as the former’s boxing bout against Floyd Mayweather.

Logan Paul went the distance, surviving eight rounds against unbeaten (50-0) five-division world boxing champion Mayweather in an exhibition on Sunday at Miami’s Hard Rock stadium.

USA Today reported the fight brought in one million pay per view buys with $50 million generated from sales in the United States.

It was only the second fight of Paul’s career, while his brother Jake has fought in three professional boxing matches, beating former MMA fighter Ben Askren in April.

Critics have labelled the bouts a sideshow due to the lack of sporting credibility of the duo, who made their names as social media personalities and have millions of subscribers on YouTube.

However, Coker told Reuters the brothers have impressive physiques and the door is open for them to move into MMA.

“I met with Logan Paul about two years ago and I’ve spoken to Jake Paul’s manager and Jake on a zoom call recently… The one thing I said was hey, if you want to do MMA we would love to promote you guys,” the 58-year-old said in a Zoom interview.

“These guys are young, athletic, strong and you saw the fight on Sunday night these guys they came and did their work.

“Mayweather couldn’t finish him and I know he tried, I heard he wanted to knock this kid out so bad,” he added.

“When I heard both had high school wrestling backgrounds in Ohio, which is a prominent wrestling state in the U.S., it really made me interested in pursuing them in some super fights in Mixed Martial Arts – and that door is continually open.”

HEADLINE FIGHT

Bellator, owned by Viacom, is gearing up for a busy month of events, starting with Bellator 260 on Friday with the headline fight between reigning welterweight world champion Douglas Lima and the undefeated Yaroslav Amosov.

However, super fights and exhibitions are where Coker is targeting a younger audience.

“My 14-year-old niece, I told her I was going to the Logan Paul fight and she thought that was the greatest thing,” he said.

“She asked me who he was fighting and I said Floyd Mayweather and she said ‘who’s that?’ – I thought wow, she doesn’t know boxing, she doesn’t know MMA, she’s just a 14-year-old girl on the internet doing what they do.”

As the sporting world gears up for the delayed Tokyo Olympics starting in July, Coker believes MMA will feature in future Games.

“When you think about mixed martial arts, what you’re talking about is boxing, wrestling, judo, taekwondo, karate – those are all Olympic sports,” he said.

“Why wouldn’t mixed martial arts eventually get into the Olympics because six out of the seven disciplines MMA is known to use really is already there.

“There’d be a lot of details to work out but to me I think it will happen, it’s just a matter of time.”

 

(Reporting by Christian Radnedge,; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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Montreal will host the 2024 world figure skating championships

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Montreal will host the 2024 world figure skating championships, the International Skating Union (ISU) said on Wednesday, after the 2020 event Canada was to host was cancelled due to COVID-19.

The championships will return to Montreal from March 18-24, marking the 11th time Canada has staged the event.

“Skate Canada has a proven track record of holding successful ISU events and we are looking forward to bringing the world’s best skaters to the fantastic Canadian city of Montreal,” said Debra Armstrong, CEO of Skate Canada, in a statement.

 

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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