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In the Habs' Room: 'We beat ourselves,' coach Claude Julien says – Montreal Gazette

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‘Some really bad penalties in the offensive zone at bad times. Some real bad decisions,’ coach adds after 4-3 loss to Oilers.

EDMONTON — There’s nothing scarier for an NHL defenceman than to get caught flat-footed at centre ice with the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid coming right at you.

That’s what happened to the Canadiens’ Ben Chiarot early in Saturday night’s 4-3 loss to the Oilers at Rogers Place and it resulted in goal by Leon Draisaitl on a two-on-one with McDavid to open the scoring only 1:30 into the game.

“I was flat-footed because there was a battle on the half wall,” Chiarot said after the game. “I thought our forward was going to poke it out, but it got knocked down. So I was flat-footed and McDavid doesn’t really stop in his own end, he just kind of carries his speed. So he picks that puck up in top gear and I’m standing still. I don’t care how good a skater you are, you’re not catching that guy when you’re standing still.”

McDavid caught Chiarot and defence partner Shea Weber flat-footed again when he broke through the middle on an Oilers power play in the second period to go in alone on goalie Carey Price and score with a nice move to his forehand.


Patrick Russell of the Edmonton Oilers moves the puck past Canadiens’ Mike Reilly at Rogers Place on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, in Edmonton.

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“He’s definitely got a couple of more gears than anyone else,” Chiarot said about McDavid. “He’s on top of you so quick. It doesn’t look like he has anything and then he’s gone. Like the power-play one. It doesn’t look like anyone’s coming through the neutral zone and then it goes to Draisaitl on the wall and he just one-touches it and McDavid’s gone already. He’s good at carrying his speed. It looks like there’s nothing and then he gets the puck with speed and you’re not catching him once he touches the puck in full gear.

“Obviously, we didn’t do a good enough job of limiting his chances or keeping him to the outside,” Chiarot said. “We made it pretty hard on ourselves.”

Giving the Oilers five power plays certainly didn’t help. Jordan Weal took two tripping penalties and was in the box when McDavid scored. The Oilers have the best power play in the NHL, clicking at 29.4 per cent.

“I’m disappointed,” coach Claude Julien said after the game. “I felt, or we felt, like we beat ourselves. Some really bad penalties in the offensive zone at bad times. Some real bad decisions. Two two-on-one goals. I didn’t think we were sharp tonight. Simple as that. We battled back, but at the end we have only ourselves to look at because we beat ourselves.”

Before the game, Julien said the key to beating the Oilers was to stay out of the penalty box.

“It doesn’t matter what I feel like right now,” Julien said after the game when asked about his frustration level. “I’m disappointed that we took those penalties — simple as that. A lot of them in the offensive zone. So those aren’t good penalties and that’s why I say we beat ourselves. We gave them what they wanted, the momentum with some power plays and, eventually, it came back to bite us.”

Jeff Petry (short-handed), Phillip Danault (power play) and Max Domi scored for the Canadiens. The shots were 26-26 and Carey Price saw his career record against the Oilers fall to 3-8-1.

Danault’s goal was the first of his career on the power play.

“I’m trying to do all those little details,” said Danault, who would love to get more time on the power play. “I won the draw, we worked hard to get that puck. A nice shot by Petey. I’m in front of the net, that’s where you score. It was good to score, but it would be even better if we won.”

Danault, who is averaging 1:08 of power-play ice time per game, now has as many power-play goals this season as Weal, who is averaging 2:03 of ice time with the man advantage.

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Since it was a road game and Julien didn’t have the last line change, it was more difficult for the coach to get Danault — his best two-way centre — on the ice against McDavid. Oilers coach Dave Tippett reunited McDavid with Draisaitl on the same line with Zack Kassian, which made the defensive job even more difficult.

McDavid (21-40-61) and Draisaitl (22-38-60) rank 1-2 in the NHL scoring race after playing 39 games. They are the first teammates to reach 60 points before game No. 40 since Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1996-97.

“Those turnovers we can’t afford against them,” Danault said about the McDavid-Draisaitl duo. “They live on that. They don’t play defence, they just play offence. So we make a little turnover on the hash mark and it’s over.

“They’re good on PP,” Danault added. “They’re tough to stop on PP. Five-on-five, too, they’re pretty good. It’s definitely a hard line to play against and they play every two shifts so you can’t match them every time. It’s a good line.”

Too good for the Canadiens to stop on this night.

scowan@postmedia.com

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Kirk’s breakout game against Yankees comes at ideal time for Blue Jays – Sportsnet.ca

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TORONTO – Just last week, the Yankees swept the Blue Jays in a series so one-sided that manager Charlie Montoyo started fielding regular questions about a potential mercy rule in baseball. No team in baseball history has allowed as many home runs over a three-game span as the Blue Jays did in the Bronx, and the three losses that followed in Philadelphia were perhaps not shocking considering the team was, to borrow Travis Shaw’s words, still a little ‘shell shocked.’

Even on Monday afternoon, as the Blue Jays prepared for their final series of the season against the Yankees, Bo Bichette hesitated when asked about the rivalry between the two AL East teams.

“I don’t know if you could call it a rivalry,” Bichette said. “They beat us up pretty good. Hopefully, we can make it one soon, but I wouldn’t call it a rivalry when we lost three pretty bad games. But we’re going to come out here and try to show everybody that we can compete with them.”

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For one night, at least, the Blue Jays did just that, beating the Yankees 11-5 in a game that included a few encouraging developments beyond the result itself. Most importantly, the win gives the Blue Jays a 28-26 record and lowers their magic number to three with six games to play. There are no guarantees, as last week’s skid shows, but the Blue Jays’ chances of reaching the playoffs remain in the 98 per cent range, according to FanGraphs.

Of course, not all wins are created equal, and in this case, how the Blue Jays won is also important. Alejandro Kirk, the 21-year-old catcher who had never played above Class A until this month, has now exceeded any realistic expectations the Blue Jays could have had when they made the surprise decision to promote him nine days ago. He became the youngest catcher in franchise history to homer and finished the night with four hits.

“It felt great,” Kirk said through interpreter Hector Lebron. “The satisfaction that I felt. When you make contact and sometimes you don’t even feel the ball hit the barrel. It was just unbelievable. I can’t describe it.”

Added Montoyo: “His approach at the plate has been amazing.”

If and when the Blue Jays reach the point that they’re building a playoff roster, Kirk must now be on it. And to be sure they make the most of his discerning eye, consistently hard contact and sneaky power, the Blue Jays might even want to roster a third catcher like Reese McGuire. In theory, that would enable Montoyo to use Kirk’s bat off the bench without worrying that he’ll be caught short-handed later in the game.

Meanwhile, Matt Shoemaker pitched well in his return from the injured list, going three innings against a Yankees lineup that offers little room for error. Despite missing a month with a lat strain, the right-hander was throwing harder than usual with a fastball that topped out at 95.9 m.p.h. over the course of 54 total pitches.

“I didn’t even know I hit that until some of the guys told me,” Shoemaker said. “My body’s in good shape, and maybe velocity ticks up as a result.”

Radar gun readings aside, Shoemaker felt strong during and after his start. Already, he’s looking forward to his next chance to pitch.

“It felt phenomenal,” he said. “When you’re out there on the mound, it’s where you belong. It’s so exciting. I’m so thankful to be back.”

This season, Dan picks an issue, trend, news item or story from around MLB, and digs in on it with a guest. And he does it five times a week for about 15 minutes a day. Enough time to inform and entertain, but also get fans back to all the sports going on.

His command eluded him at times, and two second-inning walks helped the Yankees score their first run of the game, but some rust is understandable after an extended absence. Holding New York to one run over three innings has to be considered a success for Shoemaker, who suddenly looks like an option to start a playoff game.

On paper, his next start would be Saturday and the one after that would be a week from Thursday when Game 3 of the wild card round would take place if necessary. At this point it’s still too early to make final calls on who pitches when, but if nothing else Shoemaker belongs in that conversation.

“If we can stretch him out enough, he’ll be in the conversation for sure,” Montoyo said. “You can count on that.”

In contrast to those positives, the Blue Jays’ bullpen looks weaker now than it has in weeks (and did even before Wilmer Font’s rough ninth-inning appearance). The club announced Monday that closer Ken Giles will undergo Tommy John surgery, officially removing him from the equation. Even beyond Giles, Rafael Dolis remains day to day with right knee discomfort and Julian Merryweather was placed on the injured list with right elbow tendinitis.

Considering Merryweather was starting to look like a valuable multi-inning reliever, his absence will hurt down the stretch and potentially into the playoffs. Perhaps Nate Pearson, who was up to 97-98 m.p.h. in a 25-pitch live batting practice session Monday, can fill that role but there are just six days remaining in the regular season and as Shoemaker’s start shows, there’s value in working through some things before the playoffs begin.

Either way, this isn’t the first time the Blue Jays have had to adapt on the fly. Many times, their momentum slowed before the Yankees stopped it completely last week. And yet here the Blue Jays are, firmly in playoff position with less than a week remaining in the season.

“Internally, we’re not surprised at all. We’re where we expected to be. Maybe even a little bit under,” Bichette said. “We’re excited to get going this last week and hopefully clinch.”

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Two-time Stanley Cup winner Bob Nevin dies at 82 – ESPN

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Bob Nevin, a fan favorite who won two Stanley Cups with the Toronto Maple Leafs before a successful run as captain of the New York Rangers, has died. He was 82.

The NHL said he died early Monday but did not give a cause.

Nevin played 1,128 NHL games with Toronto, New York, Minnesota and Los Angeles, totaling 726 points (307 goals, 419 assists) while compiling just 211 penalty minutes.

“His honest, two-way play and leadership earned him the respect and admiration of teammates and fans alike,” the Rangers said on Twitter.

Nevin, one of the first NHL players to wear contact lenses, was part of one of hockey’s more surreal moments. During a 1962 game with Toronto in Chicago, he lost a lens. Time was called, and players and officials dropped to their knees to scour the ice, looking for the wayward lens. It never turned up.

He played his first full NHL season in 1960-61, scoring 21 goals as a rookie and finishing runner-up to Maple Leafs teammate Dave Keon in the Calder Trophy voting.

Nevin helped the Maple Leafs win Stanley Cup titles in 1962 and 1963 before being dealt to the Rangers along with Arnie Brown, Bill Collins, Dick Duff and Rod Seiling in a blockbuster trade that sent star winger Andy Bathgate and forward Don McKenney to Toronto.

While Bathgate helped the Maple Leafs win another championship in 1964, Nevin became an important part of the Rangers, serving as captain of the team from 1965 to 1971.

He helped the underachieving club end a four-year playoff drought in 1967. He led the Rangers to their first series win in 21 years in 1971, when New York beat the Leafs 4-2 in the quarterfinals.

Nevin was dealt to the North Stars before the 1971-72 season and spent two seasons in Minnesota before joining Los Angeles. His career was rejuvenated in his three seasons with the Kings. He had his highest-scoring campaign in his next-to-last NHL season — 31 goals and 41 assists with Los Angeles in 1974-75.

Nevin joined the World Hockey Association’s Edmonton Oilers for the 1976-77 season but broke a collarbone 13 games into the season and retired.

Nevin was from South Porcupine, Ontario, and came to the Maple Leafs via junior hockey’s Toronto Marlboros. He lived in the Toronto area after his 19-year career.

“Bob was ever-present at Leafs games and within the alumni community,” the Maple Leafs said on Twitter.

Survivors include his wife, Linda.

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Former Leaf, Rangers captain Nevin dead at 82 – TSN

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TORONTO — Bob Nevin, a fan favourite who won two Stanley Cups with the Toronto Maple Leafs before a successful run as captain of the New York Rangers, has died. He was 82.

Nevin died early Monday, according to the NHL. No cause of death was given.

Nevin played 1,128 NHL games with Toronto, New York, Minnesota and Los Angeles, putting up 726 points (307 goals, 419 assists) while compiling just 211 penalty minutes.

The Maple Leafs, Rangers, Kings were among the organizations offering condolences on social media.

“The Rangers are saddened to learn of the passing of Bob Nevin,” the team posted on Twitter. “A captain and fan favourite during his tenure with NYR, his honest, two-way play and leadership earned him the respect and admiration of teammates and fans alike. Our thoughts are with Bob’s wife, Linda, and his family.”

Nevin, from South Porcupine, Ont., came to the Maple Leafs via junior hockey’s Toronto Marlboros, where he played four seasons and helped the team to a Memorial Cup title in 1956.

He played his first full NHL season in 1960-61, scoring 21 goals as a rookie and finishing runner-up to Maple Leafs teammate Dave Keon in the Calder Trophy voting.

Nevin helped the Leafs win Stanley Cup titles in 1962 and 1963 before being dealt to the Rangers along with Arnie Brown, Bill Collins, Dick Duff and Rod Seiling in a blockbuster trade that sent star winger Andy Bathgate and forward Don McKenney to Toronto.

While Bathgate helped the Maple Leafs win another championship in 1964, Nevin became an important part of the Rangers, serving as captain of the team from 1965 to 1971.

He helped the underachieving club end a four-year playoff drought in 1967, and led the Rangers to their first series win in 21 years in 1971, when New York beat the Leafs 4-2 in the quarterfinals.

The 2009 book “100 Ranger Greats” listed Nevin at No. 51.

Nevin was dealt to the North Stars before the 1971-72 season and spent two seasons in Minnesota before joining Los Angeles.

His career was rejuvenated in his three seasons with the Kings. He had his highest-scoring campaign in his penultimate NHL season, putting up 31 goals and 41 assists with Los Angeles in 1974-75.

Nevin joined the World Hockey Association’s Edmonton Oilers for the 1976-77 season, but suffered a broken collarbone 13 game into the campaign and retired.

Nevin, who the Maple Leafs had at No. 64 on their list of 100 all-time players released for their 2016 centennial season, lived in the Toronto area after his 19-year playing career.

“Bob was ever-present at Leafs games and within the Alumni community,” the Maple Leafs said in a Twitter post. “Our deepest sympathies go out to Bob’s wife Linda.”

Nevin, one of the first NHL players to wear contact lenses, was part of one of hockey’s more surreal moments when he lost a lens during Toronto’s 1962 game against the Blackhawks in Chicago. Time was called, and players and officials dropped to their knees to scour the ice looking for the wayward lens. It never turned up.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2020.

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