For three winters now, pass-first Mitchell Marner has vowed to adopt a shooter’s brain, knowing full well that becoming a double threat would keep goalies guessing and the Toronto Maple Leafs winning.
“You’ve got to respect both the shot and the pass option,” goaltender Frederik Andersen explains. “The better you can be at both, the more it’s going to help you.”
Sounds simple enough.
But on a night when your team has coughed up 2-0 and 3-1 leads on the road, when the game is tied, and the tide has turned, and your centreman plants one on your tape with under eight minutes left… you still gotta bury the sucker.
Which is precisely what Marner did Tuesday in Calgary, drifting into a quiet space in the high slot, pounding a one-timer past Jacob Markstrom, and delivering Toronto its sixth nail-biting victory in eight games.
“I’ve really been working on that shot with Matts. If I can try to find that shot more, I know Matts can find me there,” said Marner.
For years now, Auston Matthews and Marner have routinely been the final two Leafs to glide off the ice during pre-game skate, using every last second of warm-up to feed each other one-timers until the buzzer sounds, the lights dim, and the music stops.
“It’s just trying to get it off my stick quickly and on to the net, for a chance on net, for a rebound or something,” Marner said. “I’m trying to get more of a shot mentality in there, trying to be more of a threat. It was a great dish by Matty, and that’s a big goal.”
Marner’s strike completed an eight-point swing in the North Division standings in favour of the Leafs over the Flames in the rivals’ first two-game miniseries.
Marner’s fifth multi-point effort and second game-winner also vaulted the winger into a tie with Connor McDavid for the NHL points lead with 12.
Critics may be quick to point out that Marner has a league-high two empty-netters or that his 31.3 per cent shooting percentage is unsustainable. Fair. But there is little doubt Marner has embarked on a mission to make his impact felt after a disappointing experience in the 2020 post-season bubble.
“A real differentiator for the true great players, the truly elite players of the league: they’re not satisfied,” coach Sheldon Keefe said. “When you see Mitch Marner, John Tavares, Auston Matthews, William Nylander out on the ice every day, practising and working on different things and spending their off-season trying to add different layers to the game, if you’re a player that is not at their level, there’s no excuses.”
Instrumental to both the Leafs’ top power-play and penalty-kill units, Marner has seen his average ice time climb to 23:33, tops among all NHL forwards.
In effort to convert his muffin to a missile, Marner has bulked up his body and stiffened his stick flex. He’s also tried to rethink his options when he gets within striking distance.
“The last two years I’ve been trying to work on it. I feel like it’s a mentality thing,” Marner said. “I feel like I really want to try and make an extra play most of the time, but this year around, trying to be more of a threat. More of a guy that can be a more consistent shooter on net, kind of change things up on goalies — and that’s what I did tonight.”
Andersen faces Marner’s shot daily in practice and believes it’s an “underrated” weapon, noting that placement can trump power.
“He’s good at picking spots and being pretty elusive and tricky about where he’s going to go,” Andersen said. “He wants to be more than an incredible passer and playmaker. I know he wants to add to his game, and I think he’s done that throughout the years I’ve played with him.”
Much of the juicy morning chatter around the Leafs’ 4-3 win will be about Jake Muzzin flipping the game puck into Matthew Tkachuk’s logo at the buzzer and Tkachuk blowing a gasket in response to the unwelcome souvenir.
But Muzzin’s take-that gesture would not have been possible had the Maple Leafs not received contributions from their bottom six — taxi-squad graduate Travis Boyd notched his first as a Leaf, and Wayne Simmonds is now running a two-game goal train — or a double dose of the Matthews-Marner connection.
“It just looks like he’s flying,” Morgan Rielly says of Marner. “I know he’s pretty motivated, and he’s in a good place right now. He’s just having fun with it, and it’s great to be around him at the rink when he’s feeling like that.”
New Leafs T.J. Brodie and Zach Bogosian have both had their eyes opened by Marner’s elite ability to make reads and contribute defensively.
“So, he’s the total package,” Bogosian says.
Even higher praise for Marner came from Leafs president Brendan Shanahan when addressing the club’s season-ticket holders in a Leafs Nation Network interview earlier this month.
“He’s got an energy that the players all love. He laughs at himself. He’s self-deprecating, but he’s also very serious about his job and the pressure that he puts on himself,” Shanahan said.
“He just cares. He cares a lot. This is a guy that I hope plays his entire career in Toronto. And if he does, I have no doubt he will bring us success. And I have no doubt that he’s going to have a statue outside of the arena one day.”
Online Games in Canada – The Ultimate Guide
Looking for the best online games in Canada? Read this ultimate guide and learn how to earn more money when gambling.
There are several aspects to consider when looking for the best online games in Canada. If you’ve ever browsed any casino’s library, you’ve noticed the many available options. There’s a reason for that. Naturally, gambling wouldn’t be so thrilling if all games were the same. It’s the variety of options that makes online gambling so tempting.
While some games are built to be fun, others can also generate loads of money. In the end, it all depends on your personal goals. But, for the most part, people are in it for the money. Registering at Slotbox Casino and claiming the €200 cash bonus and 200 free spins is one way to bring such objectives to fruition. It is a legitimate tactic to improve your odds.
However, here comes an exciting master plan: combining a generous bonus (such as the one we just described) with a perfect game, producing results beyond belief. This brings us to why we give you this guide: learn how to use casino games and bonuses to craft the perfect earning strategy.
Most Popular Online Games in Canada
Whether you’re looking for fun or making gambling your bread and butter, you have a plethora of options. Still, despite being spoilt for choice, players from Canada somehow always end up playing a ring-fenced group of games. In the lines that follow, we’ll cover Canadians’ favourite picks in more detail.
Online slots are among the most fascinating games you’ll ever encounter. These features require little to no strategy. As a result, you can enjoy the gameplay despite lacking gambling experience. The popularity of slots stretches beyond Canada as video slots are the usual first choice for many less-experienced punters worldwide—not to mention the minimal investment requirements.
One of the reasons for its immense popularity lies in the game’s simplicity. There are no fancy strategies or money-building tactics. It all comes down to clicking one button and enjoying the thrills—and massive payouts—only slots can produce. Namely, slots are among the highest-paying games in the history of online gambling.
If you ever question slots’ popularity, remember that Mega Moolah paid out $21.7 million to a player from Belgium. When it comes to fellow Canadians, bear in mind one player grabbed C$16,496,347 in 2020.
All things considered, online slots can be quite rewarding. However, if you’re not careful with your money, slots can produce a real punch-in-your-teeth experience. For this reason, a casino with a generous free spins bonus can help you make your dream come true: winning the ultimate jackpot.
Online Games in Canada: Table Games
This category encompasses a much broader spectrum of games. It includes different features like:
Table games come in video and live versions. Video games run on the Random Number Generator, an algorithm that makes every outcome independent from one another. When playing live versions of table games, you can enjoy a traditional casino atmosphere where all games are led by professional dealers. In Canada, it seems that live versions are the most prevalent. We’ll cover each game in the sections below.
This is by far the most popular game in casino history, both online and land-based. This card game requires a lot of strategy and understanding of its mechanics. In poker, you’re playing against others, and your goal is to have the most valuable hand. This is a highly competitive game that includes strategy, knowledge, and psychology.
Poker does not offer insane payouts like slots. However, you can always join exclusive high-roller tournaments and win more money. One of the reasons why this game is popular lies in its potential to make you rich and a legend at the same time. Look at Phil Ivey, for example. Phil is considered one of the best players in the world. Simultaneously, he is one of the richest poker players, boasting a $125 million net worth thanks to poker.
Blackjack is a more pacey game in comparison to poker. The rules are less complicated than in other table games. Here, you’re not playing against other players but against the house (dealer). Your goal is to reach the maximum value of the hand (21) without exceeding that limit.
Furthermore, one of the reasons why blackjack is among the most popular online games in Canada lies in its house edge. The house edge against less-experienced players is around 2%. As for experienced punters, the house advantage swings between 0.5-1%.
What does this mean? In simple words, it means that on every C$100 you wager in blackjack, you can expect between C$99.5 to C$99 in return on average. Of course, some sessions will result in big profits for you.
To improve your chances in the long term, you can use different blackjack strategies and combine them with a great live casino bonus. There are approximately 200 tactics for blackjack, so we advise you to pick the one you like the most very carefully. Start with the basic strategy, and once you memorize the charts, look for more advanced ones.
Despite being a table game, roulette is more similar to online slots. The game of roulette comprises the dealer, a wheel, and a ball. The dealer spins the wheel, throws in the ball, and your goal is to guess on which number (or group of numbers) the ball will land.
Since every outcome in roulette is independent, there’s no need to consider complicated strategies. What you can affect, though, is the size of your potential payout. However, note that your potential reward is proportional to the amount of risk. The higher the risk, the higher your payout, and vice versa. Luckily, in roulette, you can pick between several bet types. Each has clearly displayed odds and the potential reward, making it easier to play.
Online Games in Canada: Baccarat
This game is primarily popular in Asia, whose players both admire and fear the game. Is it because of the amiable house edge (1.24%) or because this is one of James Bond’s favorite casino games? No matter the answer, baccarat is among the most sought-after games in Canada.
Baccarat is known as a player-friendly game. In physical casinos, a group of players would gather around the table and chat, having the time of their lives. Since Canadians are known to be very friendly, perhaps this is one of the reasons why live baccarat is so prevalent in Canada.
How to Choose the Right Casino Game
Selecting the perfect game is not as challenging as it may seem at first. The possibility of making a mistake is minimal as long as you follow the same pattern:
- Choose a casino
- Conduct proper research
- Find online games in Canada that suit your needs and style
Luckily, you have plenty of resources at your disposal. There are many online casino review websites that can help you in making an educated decision. Here are some of the available resources:
Czechia upsets U.S. in World Junior quarterfinals – TSN
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Petr Hauser and Matyas Sapovaliv scored in a 3:11 span of the second period and the Czech Republic upset the United States 4-2 on Wednesday night in the world junior hockey quarterfinals.
The defending champion United States dropped out after going 4-0 and never trailing in round-robin play.
Tomas Suchanek made 28 saves to help the Czech Republic set up a semifinal against Canada on Saturday night. Earlier, Canada beat Switzerland 6-3, Sweden held off Latvia 2-1, and Finland beat Germany 5-2.
Hauser gave the Czech Republic the lead at 7:34 of the second with a wrist shot to the top corner, and Sapovaliv followed at 10:45 off a rebound.
With the U.S. on a five-minute power play for Stanislav Svozil’s kneeing major, Carter Mazur pulled the Americans within a goal with 8:29 left. Jiri Kulich put it away with an empty-netter with 1:32 to go.
Logan Cooley opened the scoring for the Americans with 7:57 left in first. Jan Mysak tied it with 2:05 left in the period.
Kaidan Mbereko made 20 saves for the United States.
Canada won after sweeping its preliminary group, with Logan Stankoven scoring twice and adding an assist. Tyson Foerster had a goal and two assists, Jack Thompson, Nathan Gaucher and Will Cuylle also scored and Dylan Garand made 23 saves.
Attilio Biasca scored twice and Simon Knak added a goal for Switzerland.
Emil Andrae broke a tie for Sweden midway through the third.
Isak Rosen opened the scoring for Sweden on a power play in the first period. Gustavs Ozolins tied it late in second. Jesper Wallstedt made 12 saves for Sweden.
Roby Jarventie had two goals and two assists for Finland. Kasper Simontaival and Joel Maatta each had a goal and an assist, with Finland scoring four times on the power play.
Roni Hirvonen also scored and Leevi Merilainen made 19 saves. Bennet Rossmy had two power-play goals for Germany.
NFL, Watson settle on 11-game ban – TSN
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will serve an 11-game unpaid suspension, pay a $5 million fine and undergo professional evaluation and treatment as part of a settlement with the NFL following accusations of sexual misconduct by two dozen women.
The league had sought to ban Watson for at least one year for violating its personal conduct policy. He was accused of sexually harassing and coercing the women during massage therapy sessions while he played for the Houston Texans.
Watson signed a $230 million guaranteed contract after being traded to the Browns in March. The three-time Pro Bowler will lose $632,500 in salary this season while serving the suspension, which takes effect Aug. 30.
The settlement ends months of speculation and headed off a ruling from former New Jersey attorney general Peter C. Harvey, who was appointed by Commissioner Roger Goodell after the league appealed a six-game suspension issued by disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson.
As part of the settlement between the league and the NFL Players Association, Watson will have to be evaluated by behavioral experts and follow their treatment program, the NFL said.
Watson, who recently apologized for the first time since the allegations surfaced, spoke to reporters after the settlement was issued. He offered more contrition, but also maintained he’s never been inappropriate with women.
“I’ve always stood on my innocence and always said that I’ve never assaulted anyone or disrespected anyone and I’m continuing to stand on that,” he said. “But at the same time, I have to continue to push forward with my life and my career, and for us to be able to move forward, I have to be able to take steps and put pride to the side.
“I’m going to continue to stand on my innocence and keep pushing forward, and I’ve always stood on not disrespecting or sexually assaulting anyone.”
As part of the settlement, Watson may return for the Browns’ game on Dec. 4 in Houston.
Along with his $5 million fine, the league and Browns are donating $1 million each to a fund that will support nonprofit organizations across the country to educate young people on “healthy relationships, promote education and prevention of sexual misconduct and assault, support survivors, and related causes.”
Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam, who have been widely criticized for trading for Watson, stood by the QB. They said they expect him to learn and grow from the experience.
“Since Deshaun came into our building in April, he has done everything we have asked of him and more,” Jimmy Haslam said at a news briefing with his wife and Browns general manager Andrew Berry. “And he has been the person, the leader that we expect him to be and I think he understands where he is in his life, it’s a pivotal point, and we as an organization are going to do everything we can to help him not only be the best football player he can be but more important to be the best person he can be.”
On Aug. 1, Watson was suspended six games by Robinson, a former federal judge jointly appointed by the league and union to act as an independent disciplinary officer.
Robinson found the 26-year-old Watson violated the league’s personal conduct policy after reviewing an investigation into his actions and called his behavior “egregious” and “predatory.”
Believing the suspension was too light, the league appealed and pushed Watson’s case back to Goodell, who had handled all player discipline in the past. The league previously pushed for an indefinite suspension and hefty fine.
Per the 2020 collective bargaining agreement, Harvey’s decision would have constituted “full, final and complete disposition of the dispute.”
At the owners’ meetings this month, Goodell said the league’s pursuit of a yearlong ban was warranted following its investigation and Robinson’s findings.
“She reinforced the evidence,” Goodell said. “There were multiple violations that were egregious, and it was predatory behavior.”
In her conclusion, Robinson cited Watson’s lack of remorse as a factor in her decision. Watson apologized for the first time “to all the women that I have impacted” before making his Browns’ debut Friday in an exhibition in Jacksonville.
Watson was accused of being sexually inappropriate with the women during massage therapy sessions from March 2020 to March 2021 in Texas. In civil lawsuits filed in Texas, the women accused Watson of exposing himself, touching them with his penis or kissing them against their will. One woman alleged Watson forced her to perform oral sex.
Two separate grand juries in Texas declined to indict Watson, who has denied any wrongdoing. He recently settled 23 of 24 lawsuits.
For now, the suspension ends months of speculation about whether Watson would play in 2022 for the Browns, who outbid several other teams, traded three first-round draft picks to the Texans in March and signed the QB to a five-year contract.
Watson’s case sparked strong opinions while raising questions about the league’s handling of player discipline and its spotty record of supporting women.
The Browns believe Watson could make them a Super Bowl contender. Without him, they could struggle to simply contend in the AFC North against defending conference champion Cincinnati along with Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
The suspension also means Watson will be idle longer. One of pro football’s elite QBs, he sat out last season in Houston after demanding a trade and before the sexual allegations surfaced.
In her 16-page ruling, Robinson found that the league proved its case that Watson violated three provisions of the conduct policy: sexual assault as defined by the league, posing a genuine danger to the safety and well-being of another and undermining or putting the league’s integrity at risk.
Robinson also pointed out flaws in the league’s conduct policy, saying it was unfair to “identify conduct as prohibited only after the conduct has been committed, just as it is inherently unjust to change the penalties for such conduct after the fact.”
Her punishment was criticized by several organizations, including The National Organization for Women, which called it “unacceptable, insulting and dangerous — but not surprising. The NFL and the multibillion-dollar sports industry have a vested interest in enabling sexual misconduct, assault and violence.”
Attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents all 24 women who sued Watson, and Ashley Solis, the first woman to go public with allegations against Watson, decried the original six-game suspension at a news conference in Houston in early August.
Watson has continued to practice while his case made its way through the league’s process.
All along, the Browns’ plan was to turn their offense over to veteran Jacoby Brissett, who has made 37 career starts, during Watson’s suspension. But it’s now possible Cleveland will explore other options at quarterback.
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