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John Tavares pays tribute to minor coach

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Monday marks the start of the Maple Leafs’ first-ever Mentors Trip.

“It’s outstanding,” said head coach Sheldon Keefe, who has invited his mother-in-law. “This is unique from what I’ve seen and I think it’s great to expand it. They’ve already done moms and dads here and to expand it to really anyone who has a positive impact on your life is outstanding.”

Leafs’ captain John Tavares is bringing his old minor hockey coach James Naylor.

“He made a big impact on my life not just as a hockey player, but as a person,” Tavares said. “When you have someone who was around you almost 20 years ago and you still talk to him frequently and have a really good relationship, I think it speaks to the impact he made on me, so happy to have him here.”

The group of mentors posed for a picture with the players and staff before the morning skate and will be accompanying the team to New York for Wednesday’s game against the Rangers.

Arkells frontman Max Kerman ​is the guest of GM Kyle Dubas for the trip.

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Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov left Saturday’s game in Montreal with a lower-body injury and will miss tonight’s showdown in Toronto. The centre is listed as day-to-day.

“It affects your power play, five-on-five important minutes and penalty killing,” said head coach Joel Quenneville. “He plays big minutes, important minutes and you’re missing a very important piece … so it will be a good test for us to play the right way and do the little things we’ll need to do to have some success. Everyone should assume they’ll get more ice time and quality ice time as well.”

Barkov is averaging just less than 20 minutes per game this season and is second on the Panthers in scoring with 54 points.

“He’s our best player,” said Jonathan Huberdeau. “He’s so good in every situation so we all got to step up.”

The Leafs are looking to avenge an ugly 8-4 loss to the Panthers on Jan. 12. Keefe previously said his group looked like an “immature team” in that setback, which saw them trailing 5-0 early in the second period.

“The feeling of that game certainly lasted longer,” Keefe admitted. “I don’t know that it bled into the other games that we had that didn’t go our way after. I don’t know if that was necessarily the case, but because it was such a big game and a divisional opponent it stung for longer, in particular, through that break and everything like that. So we’ve been looking for a chance to get back at it.”

Quenneville confirms Barkov is out against Leafs with lower-body injury

Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville confirms that Aleksander Barkov will miss tonight’s game against the Maple Leafs with a lower-body injury and listed as day-to-day. He explains why it just means more valuable minutes for others and everyone will need to pick up the slack.

Panthers’ defenceman Anton Stralman will play the 800th game in his NHL career tonight right back where he started his career in the 2007-08.

“Funny how it works,” the 33-year-old said with a smile.

Stralman reflected on his two-season experience in Toronto this morning.

“It was very special coming here,” Stralman said. “Mats (Sundin) being such a big role model for me growing up and I had a chance to play with him for a year and that was quite special … It’s all good memories.”

Travis Dermott skated alongside Tyson Barrie this morning after missing Saturday’s game due to illness. Keefe noted that Dermott hasn’t done much over the last few days and will be a game-time decision tonight. Toronto will dress seven defencemen in warmup with Martin Marincin on standby if Dermott can’t go.

Leafs lines at morning skate: 

Hyman – Matthews – Marner

Kerfoot – Tavares – Nylander

Johnsson – Engvall – Kapanen

Moore – Gauthier – Spezza

Timashov

Muzzin – Holl

Dermott – Barrie

Sandin – Ceci

Marincin

Andersen starts

Hutchinson

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Three Stars from Day 6 of WJC: Bergmanis steals the show in Latvia’s historical win – Sportsnet.ca

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In a slate of games featuring the likes of Sweden, Finland and the United States, the showstopper of Day 6 at the World Juniors was Latvia.

The tiny country notched its first ever win in WJC preliminary round play and by the same token hopped over Czechia and Slovakia into third place in Group A.

Latvian captain Ralf Bergmanis scored a hat trick and his team downed Czechia 5-3. They will play a World Juniors quarterfinal game for the first time in the country’s history.

Needless to say, the young men in burgundy were quite thrilled.

Finland had no pity for Slovakia and continued their solid run in the tournament with a 9-3 win. The Young Lions were 5-for-7 on the power play, sending their next opponents Canada a message to stay disciplined for their final preliminary round game on Monday.  

Slovakia saw their chances to play a quarterfinal game crumble before their eyes in the next game. Sitting in the stands, Slovak players held their heads in their hands as Bergmanis scored his third goal from across the ice into an empty net.

The Americans outpaced Sweden for most of their battle for first place in Group B. Goaltending woes allowed the Junior Crowns to hope for a comeback but the red, white and blue weathered the late storm to clinch a 3-2 win.

The Swedes will play Germany on Monday and the winner will end the preliminary round in second place.

Here is a look at the top performances from Day 6 of the World Juniors:

3rd star: Matt Coronato, USA

Coronato’s scoring ability is more than evident. If you give an inch, he’ll take a mile.

The five-foot-10 winger added two goals to his World Juniors tally and helped the Americans finish atop Group B. Coronato is now tied with his country-mate Carter Mazur as the tournament’s second-leading goalscorer with four.

The Calgary Flames’ 13th overall selection in the 2021 NHL Draft showed his eye for goal with his second marker of the night. Off a Swedish turnover, Coronato bagged the eventual game-winner with a sniper’s goal.

Coronato notched his first goal of the game in the second period when he pounced on a rebound from a shot by Logan Cooley. The soon-to-be Harvard sophomore made Sweden goalie Jesper Wallsted look bad by lodging the puck under his blocker and into the net.

2nd star: Kasper Simontaival, Finland

There’s no shame in being opportunistic, especially if it earns you points in return. Simontaival did exactly that to bridge the gap between the Finns and Slovaks. The winger finished the game with three points (two goals, one assist) including one assist on the power play. 

The LA Kings third-rounder in 2020 stood by the slot and pounced on a rebound to give Finland a power-play goal 34 seconds into the second period. The goal was later given to Roni Hirvonen, who had touched the puck last. 

Both players also combined in the first period, this time Hirvonen found Simontaival in the slot for the goal. 

Simontaival notched his second goal of the game in the third period when he was, once again, in front of the net. He redirected Aatu Raty’s pass in the back of the net and gave Finland an 8-3 lead. 

The 20-year-old even screened goalie Tomas Bolo for Finland’s ninth goal of the game courtesy of Kasper Puutio. Bottom line, sticking around dangerous areas is paying off for the five-foot-nine winger.

1st star: Ralfs Bergmanis, Latvia

Captain Latvia came through for the motherland. Charles and Nikolaj Boyle from Brooklyn’s 99th precinct would be proud.

Bergmanis opened his tournament account and finished the game as the hat trick hero, lifting his country into the knockout round. 

Bergmanis completed his hat trick in an empty net, from behind his own net. A rink-long shot sealed his team’s victory, as the disillusioned Slovak players watched their elimination from the stands.

[brightcove videoID=6310886309112 playerID=JCdte3tMv height=360 width=640]

Latvia took a first-period lead and right as Czechia attempted the comeback with an equalizing goal in the second, the University of Vermont commit got to work. Bergmanis regained Latvia’s lead when his shot from the point in traffic found the back of the net. 

Bergmanis then gave his country a two-goal lead on the power play. From the point, the blueliner broke Frantisek Nemec’s ankles before beating Czech netminder Jan Bednar with a wrister. 

The 20-year-old is still undrafted but he sure made a lot of eyes look his way in one of the biggest games in Latvian junior hockey history. 

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Blue Jays activate Springer from IL, designate Zimmer for assignment – Sportsnet.ca

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The Toronto Blue Jays have activated outfielder George Springer from the 10-day injured list ahead of Monday’s series opener against the Baltimore Orioles.

Outfielder Bradley Zimmer was designated for assignment in a corresponding move.

Springer has been on the IL with right elbow inflammation since Aug. 5. Interim manager John Schneider has previously said Springer is expected to slot in as the designated hitter once activated to allow the injury to continue to heal.

When healthy, Springer has made a major impact from the lead-off spot for the Blue Jays. In 89 games he has hit .251/.331/.464 with 18 home runs and 49 RBI, good enough to earn a selection to this year’s all-star game.

Zimmer was never able to make an impact beyond as a defensive replacement this season and his role was further limited by the addition of free-agent Jackie Bradley Jr. last week. The 29-year-old Zimmer was brought in to provide some depth as a left-handed bat and appeared in 77 games, hitting .105/.209/.237.

The Blue Jays outfield, now healthy, consists of Springer, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Teoscar Hernandez and Bradley, Jr., with Whit Merrifield and Cavan Biggio available as platoon options.

Yusei Kikuchi will be on the mound when the Blue Jays host the Orioles in the first of three games Monday night. You can watch the game on Sportsnet and SN NOW beginning at 7:07 p.m. ET.

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Hockey Canada announces Women's Worlds roster – TSN

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Hockey Canada has announced the 23 players named to Canada’s National Women’s Team who will look to defend the gold medal at the 2022 IIHF Women’s World Championship, beginning August 24 in Denmark. 

The players were chosen following an 11-day selection camp at the Markin MacPhail Centre at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park in Calgary as part of the BFL National Women’s Program Summer Showcase. The camp featured on- and off-ice testing, skills sessions and six intrasquad games showcasing players competing for roster spots with Canada’s National Women’s Team and Canada’s National Women’s Development Team. 

GOALTENDERS

Ann-Renée Desbiens, Clermont, Que.; Emerance Maschmeyer, Bruderheim, Alta.; Kristen Campbell, Brandon. Man.

DEFENDERS

Jocelyne Larocque, Ste. Anne, Man.; Meaghan Mikkelson, St. Albert, Alta.; Renata Fast, Burlington, Ont.; Ella Shelton, Ingersoll, Ont.; Ashton Bell, Deloraine, Man.; Erin Ambrose, Keswick, Ont.; Micah Zandee-Hart, Saanichton, B.C.

FORWARDS

Laura Stacey, Kleinburg, Ont.; Jessie Eldridge, Barrie, Ont.; Sarah Fillier, Georgetown, Ont.; Brianne Jenner, Oakville, Ont.; Sarah Nurse, Hamilton; Emily Clark, Saskatoon; Emma Maltais, Burlington, Ont.; Marie-Philip Poulin, Beauceville, Que.; Blayre Turnbull, Stellarton, N.S.; Kristin O’Neill, Oakville, Ont.; Sarah Potomak, Aldergrove, B.C.; Jamie Lee Rattray, Kanata, Ont.; Victoria Bach, Milton, Ont.

Head coach: Troy Ryan, Spryfield, N.S.

Assistant coaches: Kori Cheverie, New Glasgow, N.S.; Alison Domenico, Ottawa; Caroline Ouellette, Montreal.

Goaltending coach: Brad Kirkwood, Calgary.

Video coach: James Emery, Calgary.

The roster – three goaltenders, seven defence and 13 forwards – was selected by head coach Troy Ryan, in consultation with Gina Kingsbury, director of hockey operations, and Cherie Piper, senior manager of player development and scouting, along with the rest of the scouting and coaching staffs. 

“It is unusual to play in a world championship and an Olympics in a single year, but this opportunity allows us to evaluate ourselves against the best in the world as we start our new four-year Olympic cycle,” said Kingsbury in a statement. “We are fortunate to have familiarity among our coaching staff and players who know what it takes to win.

“We had an extremely competitive camp and we believe we have assembled an experienced team that will give us the best chance to compete once again for a gold medal.” 

The 10-team tournament features Canada in Group A with Finland, Japan, Switzerland and the United States, while Group B includes Czechia, host Denmark, Germany, Hungary and Sweden. 

Canada opens the tournament against Finland on Aug. 25, and faces Switzerland on Aug. 27 and Japan on Aug. 28 before closing the preliminary round against its rivals from the United States on Aug. 30. 

Prior to the start of women’s worlds, Canada will play a pair of pre-tournament games against Denmark on Aug. 20 and the United States on Aug. 23.

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