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Maple Leafs’ issues run deeper than Hutchinson struggles in loss to Rangers

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NEW YORK — It’s another four goals behind Michael Hutchinson and another two potential points lost in the playoff chase.

But on Wednesday night the Toronto Maple Leafs’ issues ran deeper than the backup-turned-starting goaltender.

The Leafs failed to sustain any momentum after their good moments at Madison Square Garden, surrendering a goal 74 seconds after opening the scoring and then allowing another one 34 seconds after Auston Matthews briefly got them back to 3-2 down.

That fourth New York Rangers goal was particularly tough for Hutchinson, who lost his stick and never got into a set position before seeing Pavel Buchnevich’s shot get through him. He’s been under the spotlight in Toronto ever since Frederik Andersen went down with a neck injury on Monday and won’t silence his critics after this 5-3 loss.

Playing behind a team that is prone to loose defensive play hasn’t made his job any easier.

The Leafs operate on the philosophy that playing offence is the best form of defence and have at times made it work — such as during a dominant second period against the Florida Panthers earlier this week when they didn’t allow an even-strength shot on goal from their own zone.

However, they use a passive five-man defensive approach when the other team has possession and attempt to take away the middle of the ice. But they’ve also allowed more goals off the cycle than any other team this season, according to Sportlogiq.

During Wednesday’s game, Filip Chytil had a tap-in on Hutchinson after Tony DeAngelo feathered a pass through the middle of the ice. That made it 1-1 following a John Tavares goal.

Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider then scored six seconds apart, with Zibanejad beating Hutchinson over the glove after the Rangers won an offensive zone faceoff, and Kreider breaking in alone on the ensuing draw at centre ice.

The Leafs played a better second period and saw Matthews get them within one, but Hutchinson gave up the backbreaker to Buchnevich on the very next shift.

Matthews added his second of the night — and 39th of the season — on a late power play. Greg McKegg hit the empty net.

Toronto remains a point behind Florida for the final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division — albeit with two more games played.

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Latvia in QF, Slovakia out – IIHF

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The teams had met only three times previously in World Junior play, most recently in 2012, and Czechia won all three by a combined score of 19-5.

Both goalies were playing in their third of four games for their respective teams, Jan Bednar having the better GAA than Bruveris – 3.36 to 3.84 – but it was Bruveris who made the difference today.

“We believed we could win,” Darels Dukurs said. “We just played one game at a time and gave it our best. We played like a team and fought for each other. We stayed focus the whole time.”

The Latvians got just the start they needed, jumping into a 2-0 lead by the halfway point of the period. Martins Lavins got the opener on a fine rush by Harijs Brants. He drove down the left wing and got the puck in front to Lavins, who quickly re-directed the puck between the open pads of Jan Bednar at 4:30.

They made it 2-0 at 12:21 off another great pass from behind the goal line. This time it was Raimonds Vitolins who fed Rainers Rullers in front. Rullers lifted a high shot over the shoulder of Bednar.

Latvia then took two successive penalties. The PK was letter perfect on the first and dodged a bullet on the second before finally succumbing. Michal Gut took a back-door pass that left him with nothing but net to shoot at, but he shot wide and looked heavenward for answers that could be more easily found on his stick tape.

But moments later he was given another opportunity through a hard pass cross crease from captain Jan Mysak, and this one he didn’t miss.

The Vitolins-Rullers combo had another sensational chance early in the second to make it a 3-1 game, but this time Bednar came across and made a great save on Rullers. Latvia had two power plays soon after but couldn’t capitalize, and it started to feel as though they had squandered chances to take control of the game.

Indeed, Czechia tied the score at 9:33 on a broken play. Captain Ralfs Bergmanis blocked a shot in front, but it landed with Stanislav Svozil. He moved in and roofed a backhand over Bruveris, and that feeling of lost opportunities care to the fore.

But credit to Latvia, and to Bergmanis in particular. He put his team ahead at 11:15 after David Jiricek made a poor clearing. Bergmanis’s quick point shot fooled Bednar and gave the underdogs another lead. Bruveris scored again six minutes later on a similar shot during a power play when his long wrister beat Bednar high.

Bednar was replaced by Tomas Suchanek to start the third, but he faced only three shots as his teammates fired 17 on Brumanis without scoring. Czechia had a golden chance to cut the lead midway through the period when Lavins closed his hand on the puck in the crease, resulting in a penalty shot. But Mysak was stoned by Bruveris and kept it a 4-2 game.

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Rory MacDonald announces retirement after 2022 PFL Playoffs exit – MMA Fighting

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Rory MacDonald is stepping away from competition after a devastating loss.

The former Bellator welterweight champion and longtime UFC contender announced his retirement on Sunday, one day after losing by first-round TKO to Dilano Taylor in the 2022 PFL semifinals.

MacDonald, 33, broke the news via Instagram.

“My time has come to put the gloves down for good,” MacDonald wrote. “I’m so thankful for this sport and every person I’ve been able to meet along the way.

“I started this sport as a 14-year-old kid, I still remember my first day and knowing this is what I want to spend my life doing. The passion for martial arts and becoming a pro MMA fighter gave me hope and a way to a better life! And I’m so thankful to God for putting that gym Toshido MMA in kelowna in my path. It truly changed the direction of my life and saved me!

“What an adventure this career has been, 17 years of professional fighting. It all came and went so fast! So many painful trainings that are etched into my being, travelling to all parts of the planet and meeting so many people.

“I’ve learned so much about myself through this career, not all of it good. And I’ve made so many mistakes along the way, but here I am 33 years old a better man because of those mistakes, to which I’m very grateful I’ve grown up.”

MacDonald went on to thank fans for their support, as well as the UFC, Bellator, and the PFL.

Debuting in 2005, MacDonald quickly emerged as one of the hottest prospects in his native Canada, beginning his career 10-0. He eventually took his talents to Montreal’s Tristar Gym, where he trained alongside UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. MacDonald joined the UFC in 2010, where he won eight of his first 10 fights, including a dominant decision win over future welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.

“The Red King” had his shot at the UFC’s 170-pound title at UFC 189 in July 2015, where he lost by fifth-round TKO to Robbie Lawler in one of the greatest fights in MMA history.

In 2017, MacDonald signed with Bellator and captured a welterweight title by beating Douglas Lima in just his second bout for the promotion. He successfully defended his belt twice before ceding it back to Lima in the finals of a grand prix tournament. MacDonald also unsuccessfully challenged Gegard Mousasi for the Bellator middleweight championship.

The last leg of MacDonald’s career came with the PFL. He signed with the league in 2019, but failed to recapture his previous success, going just 2-4 including the stunning loss to Taylor that was the final fight of his career.

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Near lead, Cameron Smith penalized a day after playing ball from 'wrong place' – Golf Channel

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – As if his week hasn’t been eventful enough, Cameron Smith began the final round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship four shots off the lead after being assessed a two-stroke penalty for “playing [his] ball from the wrong place” at No. 4 on Saturday. 

After starting the day at 11 under and two shots off the lead held by J.J. Spaun, Smith was informed by PGA Tour rules officials that he was now 9 under and four back after it was determined he violated Rule 14.7.

Officials discovered the violation after reviewing footage from Round 3 of Smith’s drop at the fourth hole, a par 3. The footage shows Smith dropping and playing his next shot from the hazard line, which is a violation of Rule 17.1 (when ball is in penalty area), turning his bogey-4 on the hole into a triple-bogey 6.

Full-field scores from FedEx St. Jude Championship


“When I asked him the question [if his golf ball was on the hazard line], unfortunately, he said to me, ‘No, the ball was definitely touching the line,’” said Gary Young, the PGA Tour’s chief referee. “At that point there’s no turning back. That was a moment where I know that the player has knowledge that the ball was touching the line, he just simply didn’t understand the rule that it requires the entire ball to be outside of the penalty area and in his relief area.”

The ruling took on added significance given Smith’s position on the FedExCup points list, No. 2, and his quest to overtake Scottie Scheffler atop the world ranking. The Australian will move to No. 1 on both lists with a victory Sunday at TPC Southwind.

“His answer to me is, ‘The rules are the rules,’” Young said. “He just accepted the two-stroke penalty … he very calmly left the office and he’s just going about his business for the day.”

It was yet another headline for Smith who has dominated them this week. According to Australian golfer Cam Percy and a report in The Telegraph, Smith is poised to jump to LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed rival league. Smith has repeatedly declined to address the reports.

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