It’s highly unusual for the backup goaltender to take the podium on a game day.
It’s also highly unusual for a winning goaltender to get yanked mid-game due to poor performance while his team is leading.
But here we are.
Or, rather, here is Jack Campbell.
Fittingly the Toronto Maple Leafs No. 1 netminder tried to take his mind off hockey Sunday in Washington, D.C., by checking out the No. 1 film at the box office, Uncharted (his review: “Solid”).
Campbell himselfis in uncharted territory as he rides the roller coaster that is a full 82 games in the white-hot Toronto market — without the seatbelt that is contract security.
And his play is sliding off the rails.
“It’s a mental block kinda thing going on right now that he’s got to work his way through, but he’ll get there,” said coach Sheldon Keefe, ahead of Monday’s game against the Washington Capitals.
“We think there’s a good goalie there that will find a level of consistency, and that’s what we continue to work through here now.”
The 30-year-old’s freefall is precipitous, from deserved All-Star Game invitee and backbone of his club’s pre-Christmas success to a .887 save percentage and a loosened grip on the starter’s gig since Jan. 1.
“It’s simple. I’m the same goalie I was to start year as far as strategy and talent, things like that,” Campbell said. “Just relax and having some fun and not beat myself up too much. So, I’m still working. You know, it’s a process. But I have great people in my life, great teammates, and I’ll snap out of it.
“It’s just having fun and chilling out a little bit. That’s it.”
Sensing Campbell had become a liability Saturday in Detroit, as the Red Wings threw four pucks past the starter within the first 5:21 of the third period, Keefe felt he had no choice but to put in Petr Mrazek late to secure the win.
Just as he’d done last month against New Jersey, Mrazek secured the two points in relief. He’ll hold the net Monday.
Keefe made a point to speak with Mrazek post-game, acknowledging he put him in a difficult spot by calling on him so late and cold. Keefe says he leaves goalie coach Steve Briere to talk over the rough outing with Campbell.
Campbell likens the veteran Mrazek’s “laid-back demeanour” to that of former Leaf Frederik Andersen. Both are quick to share information. Both are supportive.
Neither is as emotional as Campbell, whose recent struggles appear to be a direct cause of the pressure he’s exerting on himself.
“I mean, it’s not really my game,” Campbell said. “I’m the same goalie. It’s just having fun and chilling a little bit.”
Campbell’s work in the first half of his contract season was so stellar, it was unsustainable. (Fun fact: His 2021-22 save percentage and career save percentage are now and identical .917.) But his drop-off has to be a concern, particularly with the injury-prone Mrazek (8-4-0, .894) not exactly stealing the crease and running with it himself.
“Jack had earned all the attention and the accolades that were coming with his play. You have to be prepared for it to come the other way. Maybe you don’t want to have such extremes,” Keefe said.
“Knowing this was going to be Petr’s start today, there’s more time for Jack to clear his head and get back to work.”
Goaltending ranked below a top-four defenceman and a top-six winger on the Maple Leafs’ wish list ahead of the March 21 trade deadline, but if the saves don’t show up, one must wonder if priorities shift.
Captain John Tavares cast a vote of confidence for Toronto’s shaky tandem in the wake of Saturday’s 10-7 gong show.
“Ninety-nine per cent of the games, those two guys give us a great chance to win,” Tavares said.
“So, just flush it. Get back to work, as they both do really well. Trust who they are.”
One-Timers: Toronto is dealing with a flu bug, so its lineup will not be set until after warmups. “It seems like we’ve gotten through the worst of it but hoping it stays that way,” Keefe said…. Ilya Samsonov will start in goal for the Capitals. Defenceman Justin Schultz (upper body) is a game-time decision, while Dmitry Orlov (personal reasons) is expected to play…. Tavares is expected to play but admits he is still recovering with illness…. Interestingly, Auston Matthews — named NHL’s First Star of the Week — took reps in the bumper position of Toronto’s power-play Monday morning. Despite lighting the lamp 10 times in Detroit Saturday, the Leafs were held without a power-play goal.
Garnacho on target as United beats Crystal Palace in League Cup defence
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Seven months after lifting the trophy, Manchester United made a successful start to its defense of the English League Cup on Tuesday by beating Crystal Palace 3-0.
Alejandro Garnacho and Casemiro fired the holders into a 2-0 first-half lead at Old Trafford and Anthony Martial added a third after the break in the third-round match.
It is now back-to-back wins for Erik ten Hag’s team, which has endured a disappointing start to the season.
The dominant performance against an understrength Palace followed Saturday’s narrow victory at Burnley and will give United fans hope the team has turned its form around.
“The mood is always good, but of course when you are not winning at United there is disappointment, and there is frustration, but the togetherness is always there,” Ten Hag said. “We know we are not now in the position where we want to be. So we have to build up, we have to catch up and then you have to go from game to game, working on the process and working on the results. Don’t get too far ahead.”
The League Cup ranks fourth among English soccer’s most important trophies. But Ten Hag still savored last season’s success.
Victory against Newcastle in February’s final at Wembley Stadium ended the club’s six-year wait for a trophy and saw Ten Hag deliver silverware in his first season at the club. He went on to also reach the FA Cup final, only to lose to Manchester City, and also guided United back into the Champions League to mark an impressive campaign.
Things have not gone so well this term, with his team losing four out of five games before beating Burnley 1-0.
This latest victory was far more convincing, even if Palace benched regular starters Marc Guehi, Eberechi Eze and Joachim Anderson and was also without forward Odsonne Edouard.
Ten Hag also made changes with Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Rasmus Hojlund on the bench and Christian Eriksen absent.
Mason Mount, however, made his first appearance since Aug. 19 after returning from an injury.
Garnacho fired United ahead in the 21st minute after converting Diogo Dalot’s cutback in the box.
His low shot had too much power for Palace goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, who had only just come on as a substitute for the injured Dean Henderson.
Johnstone was tested again moments later when Dalot blasted an effort from an angle, which the keeper blocked.
He was beaten again, however, in the 27th, this time by Casemiro, who headed in Mount’s corner to double United’s lead.
Martial added a third 10 minutes into the second half when firing across goal after meeting Casemiro’s looping ball to the far post.
United plays Palace again in the Premier League on Saturday and the Londoners showed their threat when twice forcing saves from ‘keeper Andre Onana later in the match. But manager Roy Hodgson did not sound confident about securing a different outcome when the teams next meet.
“We are going to have to become a totally different team in the way we approach the game and the way we play the game,” he said.
Third-division Exeter produced a shock 1-0 win against Luton to knock the Premier League club out of the competition. Luton made 10 changes from the team that picked up its first topflight point of the season against Wolverhampton on Saturday, but the result will still go down as a big upset. Demetri Mitchell scored the winner in the 83rd, but Exeter had to see out the game with 10 men after he was sent off in the 88th.
Wolverhampton was also eliminated after throwing away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 at second-division Ipswich. Hwang Hee-Chan and Toti Gomes had seemingly put the visitors on course for the next round after goals inside the first 15 minutes. But Omari Hutchinson, Freddie Ladapo and Jack Taylor sealed a comeback win for Ipswich.
Burnley is still waiting for its first win in the league this season, but it is powering on in the cup after a 4-0 win against Salford City, the fourth division club co-owned by Manchester United greats including David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville.
Elsewhere, Middlesbrough beat Bradford 2-0 and Port Vale won 2-1 against Sutton United.
Fourth-division Mansfield beat third-division Peterborough 3-1 on penalty kicks after a 2-2 draw in regulation time. Lucas Akins’ penalty to even the score in the 93rd had sent the game to a shootout.
James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer
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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
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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