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Karim Benzema, Alexia Putellas win big at the Ballon d’Or Awards

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At the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, France- Real Madrid and French forward Karim Benzema, won the men’s Ballon d’Or Award whilst Barcelona and Spain’s forward, Alexia Putellas retained the Women’s Ballon d’Or Award on Monday evening.

Putellas led Barcelona to another Spanish title, scoring 18 goals in the process. Barça won all 30 of their League games and also won the Spanish Cup and Super Cup.

“I am very happy to be back here. Winning last year pushed me to want to be even better. Without my teammates, this wouldn’t have been possible. I want to thank the coaches and technical staff who help me to improve every day,” said Putellas.

Beth Mead finished second in the women’s vote after helping England to glory at the Euro 2022. The Arsenal forward scored six goals and added five assists to win the tournament’s golden boot and best player awards.

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Sam Kerr, the Australian and Chelsea forward came third, ahead of the Germany and Wolfsburg midfielder Lena Oberdorf. Putellas’s Spain and Barça teammate Aitana Bonmatí completed the top five.

Meanwhile, Benzema, who also won the UEFA Nations League with France last season, pushed Bayern Munich and Senegal star Sadio Mané into second place, with Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City and Belgium coming third.

People play until their later years now and I still have this burning desire. It is this drive that has kept me going and never allowed me to let up. It makes me really proud. All the work I did, I never gave up. It was a childhood dream like all kids (have). I had two motivations in my life, (Zinedine) Zidane and Ronaldo (Nazario). I have always had this dream in my mind that anything is possible.

There was a difficult period where I wasn’t in the French team, but I never stopped working hard nor gave up. I always kept my head, concentrated on playing football and I am really proud of my journey here.

It wasn’t easy, it was a difficult time. It was hard for my family as well. To be here today, for the first time for me, I am happy and pleased with my work and I keep going,” said the 34-year-old.

The Ballon d’Or was awarded to the best man and woman footballer of the year, based on performance over the 2021-22 season and was voted for by 100 journalists from around the world.

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Pettersson’s revenge: Canucks keep surprising with ‘inexplicable’ comeback vs. Canadiens – Sportsnet.ca

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Darnell Nurse sounds off on Edmonton Oilers slow starts after Stuart Skinner faces 50 shots – TSN

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Another slow start for the Edmonton Oilers wasn’t their undoing against the Washington Capitals in Monday’s 3-2 loss, but it certainly didn’t help either.

The Oilers were outshot 22-12 in the opening frame, with Stuart Skinner turning aside all 22 in his eventual 47-save performance in the loss.

“We come in here and we talk about it every day,” Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse said of his team’s starts. “We sit here after the game, talk about it over and over and over. … We want to have good starts each and every night but, you know, we’re sitting here and it’s a part of our game. We’re almost a quarter of the way through the season.

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“The more we just talk away and pester at it, we need to just show up and play. Relax, pin our ears back and come out on the on the attack.”

The Oilers were outshot 50-30 on Monday, including 19-7 in the second period, when Skinner allowed two goals.

“We weren’t as quick and physical as we wanted to be in the defensive zone,” Edmonton coach Jay Woodcroft said. “Our goalie stood tall. We’re 2-2 going into the third period. We made a critical error, and it ended up in the back of our net.”

Skinner Unfazed as Oilers Allow 50 Shots

Skinner, who has moved into the starting role ahead of Jack Campbell over the past month, saw his record drop to 7-6 on the season, with a .916 save percentage and a 2.93 goals-against average.

The 50 shots faced against the Capitals were a season high for Skinner, who said the early barrage helped put him the zone. 

“I think if you get a few [early] chances on you and make all the saves, it’s a little bit of a confidence booster,” Skinner said. “They got on the power play and I got a few shots on the power play, so after that I was ready to go.”

The loss dropped the Oilers to 14-12-0 on the season as the team currently sits in the top wild-card spot in the Western Conference. 

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‘We need to be better’: Oilers continue to fight slow starts, costly turnovers – Sportsnet.ca

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