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Lightning must stick to system in Game 6 of East Final against Islanders –



The Coaches Room is a regular feature throughout the 2019-20 season by former NHL coaches and assistants who turn their critical gaze to the game and explain it through the lens of a teacher. Rob Zettler and Rob Cookson will take turns providing insight throughout the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

In this edition, Cookson, a former video coach with the Philadelphia Flyers and former assistant with the Ottawa Senators and Calgary Flames, breaks down Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders, and suggests adjustments each team might make heading into Game 6 at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

The danger for the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Islanders on Thursday is to start taking more risks to score instead of playing the way they’ve played throughout the series.

The Lightning’s commitment to their system and their commitment to defending and playing both sides of the puck are the reasons they lead 3-2 in the best-of-7 series. The coaching staff probably will remind the players of that after a 2-1 double-overtime loss in Game 5 on Tuesday.

[RELATED: Full Lightning vs. Islanders series coverage]

Players can have a tendency to try to take too many chances to score and get a lead, but the Lightning are getting lots of scoring opportunities. Looking at Game 5, they had 25 chances to score in the four and a half periods.

That basically was double the amount the Islanders had, but a lot of that advantage was nullified by strong play from New York goalie Semyon Varlamov. Varlamov has played well throughout the series; in the past four games he has a .931 save percentage (nine goals allowed, 130 shots).

That could get into the heads of the Lightning players, similar to what happened with the Vegas Golden Knights against Dallas Stars goalie Anton Khudobin in the Western Conference Final and against Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko in the final three games of the second round.

Getting back center Brayden Point after he was unfit to play in Game 5 would help the Lightning. Point missed Game 3 and returned in Game 4, but may have been re-injured when he was hit by Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech in the third period.

Tampa Bay hasn’t turned the puck over much in the series and hasn’t given New York a real chance to get anything going. The Islanders had a couple shifts when they were in the offensive zone Tuesday, but the Lightning did a good job on their coverage and limited them to 24 shots on goal, well below their postseason average of 30.1 per game.

One thing the Islanders did well in Game 5 was nullify a lot of plays coming out the Lightning zone. Tampa Bay got nothing off the rush other than a goal by defenseman Victor Hedman off a line change, and the great passing sequence where defenseman Zach Bogosian hit the post near the end of the second period.

In previous games, the Lightning had lots of opportunities off the rush.

The Islanders were able to limit the Lightning’s rush chances Tuesday because their sticks were really good on the forecheck. They got in the passing lanes, they pursued the Lightning defensemen and they took away the long passes out of the zone.

In addition, the Islanders had great gaps in the neutral zone with their defensemen. The defensemen were tight on the Lightning’s forwards and the third forward always was back to support the play and outnumber the Lightning in the neutral zone.

Video: Islanders defeat Lightning 2-1 to force Game 6

That’s the key, outnumbering the opposition in the neutral zone and being in position to kill a rush and get transition opportunities as result.

In the first four games the Lightning did an outstanding job of chipping pucks in and recovering them in the Islanders zone. Because the Islanders did a better job in the neutral zone, they killed that part of the Lightning’s game Tuesday.

New York also did a great job by blocking 32 shots, which prevented Tampa Bay from getting a lot of pucks to the net.

The Lightning have a mindset where their defensemen do a lot of quick on-and-off shots. They get the puck right to the goal and they always have two players at the net.

The Islanders don’t have that same approach. New York center Mathew Barzal is not going to fire the puck at the net; he’s going to try to stickhandle his way there.

The Islanders have some great players at the net, among them forward Anders Lee, who is one of the best in the League. If New York can get pucks there, it could battle it out and get more chances that way.

Islanders coach Barry Trotz made some good line changes in Game 5, putting Lee and Cal Clutterbuck with Barzal, which made the line heavier. Lee and Clutterbuck go to the net, so that helps Barzal’s game. Barzal needs to have more of a shot mentality, though.

The Lightning still have a territorial advantage in the way they play. They have the puck more than the Islanders do and they control the puck more.

I think back to when I worked for Canada in the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics. We didn’t possess the puck a lot. We had a good team, but we played a few teams that were very good and for us it was about protecting and waiting for our opportunity to get a break.

The Islanders played a little bit like that Tuesday. The keys are to continue to get great goaltending from Varlamov and to capitalize on their opportunities when they get them.

New York got that great break in the second overtime when Tampa Bay defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk fanned on a shot attempt. The Islanders got a 2-on-1 and Jordan Eberle buried it for the winning goal.

That’s what they’re going to have to do to get to a Game 7.

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3-on-3 hockey league plans to start in June – TSN



NEW YORK — A few years after a 3-on-3 basketball league took the court, 3-on-3 hockey is launching next summer.

The 3ICE league is set to announce lThursday it’s planning to start its inaugural season on June 20. The league is expecting to make nine barnstorming stops around North America during the summer of 2021.

It has narrowed the list of cities to 13, including U.S. NHL markets Boston, Buffalo, Las Vegas, Nashville, Minneapolis and Columbus, Ohio, and plans to finalize those locations by Thanksgiving. Toronto and Quebec City are the Canadian cities in the running, along with American Hockey League markets Hershey, Pennsylvania; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Providence, Rhode Island.

Six of the eight teams are to be coached by Hockey Hall of Famers: Brian Trottier, Grant Fuhr, Guy Carbonneau, Joe Mullen, Larry Murphy and Angela Ruggiero.


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'Joey was a lifer': Gretzky shares inside look at Moss and the Edmonton Oilers – Edmonton Sun



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“I didn’t think it make a lot of sense that an 18-year-old with a handicap was standing all day, taking a bus to work in 40-below weather. I remember thinking there must be something we can do to make his life easier and more comfortable. That’s when I went to Glen with the idea.”

And just like that, Moss was in. The chemistry was almost instant.

“In some ways, I was surprised how quickly he fit in,” said Gretzky, adding everyone set the tone from the start that this wasn’t charity, that Moss would have to pull his weight and do things the Oilers way.

“Glen didn’t treat him as a child who was working in our locker-room with a handicap. If something was out of place, I remember Glen yelling at Joe and Joe would jump up and do what needed to get done.

“He fit in right from the get go. Everyone treated him with a great deal of respect. We loved having him around. It was as simple as that.”

Edmonton Oilers locker room attendant Joey Moss hugs his good friend LA Kings captain at Rexall Place on March 25, 1993. Postmedia, file

It had to be intimidating for a mentally challenged kid to walk into an NHL dressing room and be part of a regimented process where everything must run smoothly, but Moss never flinched. He didn’t have any reason to. All any team asks is that you can do the job and fit in with the guys.

Moss, of course, was a natural at both.

“The only way it wasn’t going to work was if he didn’t fit in,” said Gretzky. “He was comfortable, he knew his responsibilities. And he was genuinely excited to come to work every single day.

“It worked out from Day 1 that he was great for us and I like to think that we were great for him. He was never out of place. We treated him like everyone else in the locker-room. If we were teasing Barrie Stafford or Lyle, we’d tease Joey, and he loved being part of that.

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MLB slams Dodgers' Justin Turner for returning to field after positive COVID-19 test –



Justin Turner violated coronavirus protocols when he celebrated on the Globe Life field with his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates and he refused instructions from security to leave the field, behaviour that Major League Baseball said risked the safety of others.

The commissioner’s office said Wednesday that it is starting a full investigation of the 35-year-old third baseman.

The Dodgers won their first World Series championship since 1988 with a 3-1 victory over Tampa Bay in Game 6 on Tuesday night.

Turner was pulled from the game following the seventh inning after MLB was notified that he had tested positive for COVID-19. He was quarantined in a doctor’s office off to the side, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said.

Turner later returned to the field with a mask to celebrate the Dodgers’ title. He then took down his mask and posed for a team photo on the field.

WATCH | Justin Turner celebrates with teammates:

Justin Turner was removed from the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays after registering Major League Baseball’s first positive test in 59 days, but he returned to join the celebrations about an hour after the game. 2:16

“Immediately upon receiving notice from the laboratory of a positive test, protocols were triggered, leading to the removal of Justin Turner from last night’s game,” MLB said in a statement Wednesday.

“Turner was placed into isolation for the safety of those around him. However, following the Dodgers’ victory, it is clear that Turner chose to disregard the agreed-upon joint protocols and the instructions he was given regarding the safety and protection of others. While a desire to celebrate is understandable, Turner’s decision to leave isolation and enter the field was wrong and put everyone he came in contact with at risk. When MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply.”

Turner became a free agent when his $64 million US, four-year contract expired following the victory.

Turner’s agent, Greg Genske, did not immediately respond to a text from The Associated Press seeking comment.

On Wednesday, both teams were still at the Dallas area hotel where they had spent the World Series.

“Last night, nasal swabs were conducted on the Dodgers’ travelling party,” MLB said. “Both the Rays and Dodgers were tested again today and their travel back to their home cities will be determined after being approved by the appropriate authorities.”

Both teams were travelling home from the Dallas area on Wednesday in co-ordination with their local health authorities, a person familiar with the arrangements said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no announcement was made.

No additional players received positive results from rapid PCR tests early Wednesday, the person said, but the wife of one Rays player tested positive, the person said. The wife and the player did not travel with the team and were to travel on their own, the person said.

A private plane was being arranged for Turner’s travel, the person said.

Players’ association gathering facts

The commissioner’s office said it will consult with the players’ association as part of its investigation. The union was in the process of gathering facts on the events.

Turner hit .307 with four homers and 23 RBIs in the pandemic-shortened season and .293 (17 for 58) with three homers and six RBIs in the post-season, including .320 with a pair of solo homers in the World Series.

“Having a mask on and staying socially distanced, he want to come out and take a picture with the trophy, which can’t state strongly enough how big of a role he’s played in the success of this organization,” Friedman said.

“But I think for him, just being a free agent, not knowing exactly how the future is going to play out. I don’t think there was anyone that was going to stop him from going out,” he said. “I think from at least my perspective and not watching it super closely with everything going on, but I think he was mindful of other people, especially other people that he hadn’t already been in contact with. This is something that we’re going to wrap our arms around tonight and in the morning and figure out where we’re going from here.”

Turner, however, was visible on the field without a mask during the celebration. And Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was nearby, also not wearing a mask.

“I haven’t seen the pictures,” Friedman said. “If there are people around them without masks, that’s not good optics at all. I haven’t seen them, so it’s hard for me to speak to it specifically.”

“But I think from our standpoint, I think the people who were around him were people that would be in the contact tracing web, anyway, with just how closely a lot of us have been around each other,” he said. “And so now I think the subsequent tests we’re going to take are really important to figure out what we do and to make sure that any of us that are potentially positive do not spread it to other people.”

Turner has served as a player representative on the union executive board and spoke about the protocols on Sept. 29, a day ahead of the Dodgers’ post-season opener.

“Obviously there’s a lot of protocols and things that we’re allowed to do and not allowed to do in getting tested every day, and I would say it’s been a pretty successful season getting to this point and getting to the playoffs,” he said then.

“I was probably in that category where I was optimistic that we were going to have a season, but there was definitely some doubt whether or not it was going to happen. So to be sitting here today watching playoff baseball as the American League kind of kicks off their wild-card round, I would say that we did a good job and I commend everyone for taking it serious and being responsible and making good choices and allowing us to get to this point.”

He addressed the success of reaching the World Series despite the pandemic on Oct. 19, a day before Game 1.

“I think it’s ultimately a testament to the players for being responsible and making good choices and doing everything that we had to do to ensure that the season was able to go on,” he said. “So I tip my cap to every player who put the uniform on and took that risk of playing and was responsible about it and did it the right way and enabled us to have a full season and now be able to participate in a World Series.”

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