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Jarome Iginla leads pandemic class in Hockey Hall of Fame – TSN

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TORONTO — The Hockey Hall of Fame’s pandemic class finally got its moment in the spotlight.

And while the delay was longer than anyone wanted or expected, the wait was well worth it for 2020’s six inductees.

Jarome Iginla headlined the five players and one executive enshrined Monday night — a year later than originally intended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The former captain of the Calgary Flames was joined by Marian Hossa, Kevin Lowe, Doug Wilson and Canadian women’s national team goalie Kim St-Pierre, while Ken Holland went in as a builder to round out the group voted in by the hall’s 18-member selection committee nearly 17 months ago.

“A career in hockey is a series of exciting chapters where you learn and grow from a wide-eyed rookie to a seasoned veteran,” Iginla said in his speech. “And then in a blink of an eye, you’re done. When I look back on those chapters, each reminds me of so many things I have to say thank you for.”

A mainstay with the Flames from 1996 through 2013, Iginla led his team in scoring 11 times, winning the Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy as the NHL’s top goal scorer twice.

The Edmonton native, who also grabbed the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s top point-getter in 2001-02, combined to register 625 goals and 1,300 points in 1,554 games in a career that included four other NHL stops.

Iginla got close to winning the Stanley Cup with Calgary in 2004, but the power forward couldn’t quite get over the hump in a hard-fought series against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Iginla did, however, have plenty of success on the international stage. He became the first Black athlete to win gold at a Winter Olympics when he helped the Canadian men end a 50-year drought at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

Iginla also registered one of the most famous assists in his country’s history by setting up Sidney Crosby’s golden goal at the 2010 Games in Vancouver.

“It was truly, truly awesome,” he said of that moment.

Iginla joins Grant Fuhr, Canadian women’s national team player Angela James and trailblazer Willie O’Ree, who went in as a builder, as the fourth Black person enshrined.

“Being a young Black hockey player, it was important for me to see other Black players in the NHL,” Iginla. “My first year in hockey as a seven-year-old, a kid came up to me and said, ‘Why are you playing hockey?’ Over the years I would hear, ‘What are your chances of playing in the NHL? There’s not many Black players.’

“I heard other stuff. Luckily, there was only a few.”

The induction ceremony usually takes place in a plaza attached to the Hall of Fame in downtown Toronto, but this year’s event was held across the street at the larger Meridian Hall.

Hossa is the only player in NHL history to play in three straight Cup finals with three different teams. He finally got his hands on hockey’s holy grail in 2010 with the Chicago Blackhawks after losing the title series as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2008 and the Detroit Red Wings in 2009.

“I’m grateful to the game I love for everything it has given me,” said Hossa, 42. “The losses that taught me more than the wins, the players and the coaches who contributed so much to my success.”

The Slovak winger played for a total of five teams, registering 525 goals and 1,134 points in 1,309 games.

“Growing up in a communist Czechoslovakia, I didn’t know much about the National Hockey League,” said Hossa. “My early dreams focused entirely on playing for my country. But everything changed when I got my hands on a VHS tape of Wayne Gretzky.

“I was mesmerized.”

Unlike some of their 2020 classmates — Iginla and Hossa were elected in their first years of eligibility — Lowe and Wilson had to bide their time after retiring.

Wilson spent 24 years wondering if he’d ever have his picture mounted alongside the game’s greats, while Lowe’s patience stretched over 19 springs.

Lowe, 62, won five Cups in his 13 seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, but was overshadowed by the offensive exploits of Gretzky, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey and Jari Kurri.

“My Hall of Fame selection doesn’t happen because of my statistical merit,” he said. “I want to thank the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee for recognizing a player like me.”

The seventh player from the Oilers’ dynasty elected to the hall, the native of Lachute, Que., won a sixth title with the New York Rangers in 1994 — helping end the franchise’s 54-year drought.

“People would ask me how I felt about not being in the Hall of Fame,” Lowe said. “I’d say, ‘You know, six Stanley Cups is OK. I have enough personal satisfaction.’

“Well, I was lying.”

Wilson played 14 seasons with Chicago, winning the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenceman in 1982.

Traded to the expansion San Jose Sharks in 1991, the Ottawa native played his final two campaigns on the West Coast — he was the first captain in franchise history — before later moving into the front office, where he’s served as GM since 2003.

Wilson, 64, gave a nod to a number of mentors, including Brian Kilrea, who coached him in junior with the Ottawa 67’s and was inducted into the hall in 2003.

“He was more than a coach,” Wilson said. “He was a teacher of life.”

The eighth woman — and first female goaltender — enshrined, St-Pierre played boys hockey until the age of 18.

“There are decisions that can change your life,” said the 42-year-old from Chateauguay, Que. “When I was eight years old, I asked my parents if I could play hockey.

“They were probably very, very surprised.”

St-Pierre went onto star for McGill University’s women’s team before helping Canada capture three Olympic gold medals and five world championships.

“It is our responsibility to make sure that women’s hockey and girls’ hockey will continue to grow,” she said.” We are all dreaming about a women’s professional hockey league — and now it is time to make it a reality.

“Never stop fighting for what you believe in. Your efforts will be rewarded.”

With his playing career over and a young family to feed in the mid-1980s, Holland’s mother suggested her son get a job selling vacuum cleaners to pay the bills.

The native of Vernon, B.C., thankfully didn’t listen and eventually joined Detroit as a scout before working his way up to assistant GM.

Holland was promoted to GM in 1997, and native spent 22 seasons in the post, guiding the Red Wings to three Cups.

Now the general manager of the Edmonton Oilers, he pointed out Tuesday will be exactly 41 years since he made his NHL debut as a player for the Hartford Whalers at Madison Square Garden.

“The opportunity of a lifetime,” recalled Holland, now 66. “After the first period, I felt I’m here to stay. Second period, I gave up five goals. Down 6-1 going into the third period, I’m sitting in the intermission thinking to myself, ‘Ken, you’re never going to be in the National League league ever again.’

“I guess you paraphrase an old expression: ‘Hockey has been very, very good to me … after I stopped trying to play it.'”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 15, 2021.

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Italy, Portugal drawn in same bracket for World Cup qualifying playoffs – CBC.ca

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The World Cup in Qatar is sure to be without either Italy or Cristiano Ronaldo.

Italy and Portugal, the current and previous European champions, were drawn into the same qualifying playoff bracket Friday, meaning at least one will fail to qualify for next year’s tournament.

Italy will first face North Macedonia at home in a playoff semifinal next March, and the winner will play away at either Portugal or Turkey for a spot at the World Cup.

Four-time champion Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, missing the tournament for the first time since 1958 after losing in the playoffs to Sweden. Now, after winning Euro 2020 in July, it may have to beat Euro 2016 champion Portugal to avoid a second straight failure.

“It’s not a great draw and it could have gone better,” Italy coach Roberto Mancini acknowledged. “Just like we wanted to avoid Portugal, they would have wanted to avoid Italy.”

Ronaldo has led Portugal to every World Cup since 2006 and this could be his last attempt at winning international soccer’s biggest trophy. He will turn 37 before next year’s tournament starts.

Ronaldo helped Portugal get through the playoffs for the 2014 World Cup, scoring a hat trick in a 3-2 win over Sweden that featured an epic duel between superstars, with Zlatan Ibrahimović netting twice for the Swedes.

“It’s not worth thinking about (Italy),” Portugal coach Fernando Santos said. “It’s important that we concentrate on beating Turkey.”

Italy’s forward Federico Chiesa (L) challenges Switzerland’s defender Ricardo Rodriguez during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification Group C football match between Italy and Switzerland on November 12, 2021 at the Olympic stadium in Rome. (Akberto Pizzoli/AFP via Getty Images)

Other matchups

Also in the 12-team draw, Scotland will face Ukraine at home, and the winner will play at Wales or Austria in the final of their bracket.

Russia will host Poland for the right to face Sweden or the Czech Republic in their bracket final. Russia or Poland will host the final.

Scotland looks to end a 24-year wait to play at the World Cup while Wales’ only appearance was in 1958.

“At the moment, the way the team is playing, the confidence the boys have got, we would be happy to play anyone, anywhere,” said Scotland coach Steve Clarke, whose team has won six straight since September.

However, Ukraine won at Hampden Park in June, in the Euro 2020 round of 16 against Sweden, and went unbeaten through a World Cup qualifying group won by France.

Scotland players celebrate as they leave the pitch after the FIFA World Cup 2022 Group F qualification football match between Scotland and Denmark at Hampden Park in Glasgow on November 15, 2021. (Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)

Sweden will not have Ibrahimović for its semifinal against the Czechs. The 40-year-old forward has a one-game ban for getting yellow cards in the qualifying group.

“We already did it last time (in 2018) and we of course (know) that we can do it again,” said Sweden coach Janne Andersson.

The six playoff semifinals will be played as single-leg games March 24. The three finals are played five days later.

The three winners will complete Europe’s entry of 13 nations in the 32-team lineup in Qatar.

FIFA will make the tournament draw on April 1 in Doha.

The European playoffs feature the 10 teams who finished second in their qualifying groups along with two teams — Austria and the Czechs — who won Nations League groups last year.

Also, FIFA said Qatar will host the intercontinental playoff in June that will decide the last two qualifiers for the tournament.

Intercontinental draw

The intercontinental draw paired the team from Asia against the team from South America, and a team from North American region CONCACAF against Oceania’s representative.

Those qualifying campaigns are still being played.

The winners of the two single-leg games on June 13-14 will complete the 32-team World Cup lineup.

The intercontinental playoff was originally scheduled for March 2022 as two-leg, home and away series. The games were pushed back as the global qualifying program stalled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Canadiens @ Sabres Top Six Minutes: Just send Norlinder home already – Habs Eyes on the Prize

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For our new readers and members, the Top Six Minutes is a continuation of the discussion in the game thread. We try to keep it light and entertaining. Full recaps are up the morning after every game.

  • Olofsson, Dahlin, Lehkonen, and Norlinder – Go Frölunda!

First Period

  • Thompson scores, from a Lehkonen turnover in Montreals zone, followed by some defence miscues. Here we go, again…
  • Montembeault with a brain fart, he has to scramble to make a fantastic save to keep the score at one down.
  • Post – Girgensons almost scores out of nothing.
  • Josh Andersson scores! Game is tied at one.
  • Toffoli goes down, but controls the puck and gets a good shot off.
  • Armia, then Caufield with giveaways in their own end.

Second Period

  • The Second period has started, not sure Montreal knows that. They barely get out of their own zone.
  • Olofsson gets in all alone on Montembeault, who somehow saves without knowing where the puck is.
  • It’s all Buffalo.
  • Dvorak with a sneaky move, Tokarski saves it after some initial problems.
  • Petry joins the attack, good moves, but drops the puck. Three-on-two the other way and Eakin makes it 2-1 Sabres.
  • Double power kill for Montreal.
  • Okposo gets like 15 chances, and scores on one of them. 3-1, blue.
  • Dvorak into the boards, awkwardly getting up.
  • … and a penalty to Montreal. Savard to the sin-bin.
  • Montreal kills off that penalty.
  • Norlinder TOI after the second period – 5:55. Montreal, and Marc Bergevin, seems to see it as a weakness to send him back to SHL.

Third Period

  • Gallagher-Evans-Lehkonen kickstarts the third period. No goal but a really good shift.
  • Almost Dvorak.
  • 4-1, Thompson.
  • Another break for Buffalo, Montembeault saves.
  • Chaos, utterly chaos in their own end.
  • This is a team without any confidence; no-one, absolutely no-one wants the puck on their stick.

EOTP 3 Stars

3) Someone has to win that game

2) You can’t say the Canadiens’ special teams haven’t been productive this season

1) One of the players is going to let this slip some night

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One of Italy or Portugal will miss World Cup after qualifying draw – Sportsnet.ca

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ZURICH — European champion Italy and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal were drawn in the same World Cup qualifying playoffs bracket Friday, meaning at least one of them will miss next year’s tournament in Qatar.

Italy will face North Macedonia at home in a playoff semifinal next March, and the winner will play away at either Portugal or Turkey for a spot in the World Cup.

Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup — losing in the playoffs to Sweden — and now will likely have to beat Ronaldo and Portugal to avoid missing the tournament for a second straight time. Portugal has always qualified during Ronaldo’s career. He first played at the 2006 World Cup.

Also in the 12-team draw, Scotland will face Ukraine at home, and the winner will play at Wales or Austria in the final of their bracket.

Russia will host Poland for the right to face Sweden or the Czech Republic in their bracket final. Russia or Poland will host the final.

The six playoff semifinals will be played as single-leg elimination games March 24. The three finals are played five days later.

The three winners will complete Europe’s entry of 13 nations in the 32-team lineup in Qatar.

FIFA will make the tournament draw on April 1 in Doha.

The playoffs feature the 10 teams who finished second in their qualifying groups along with two teams — Austria and the Czechs — who won Nations League groups last year.

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