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Maple Leafs report cards: Toronto dominates the Blackhawks in Auston Matthews’ return



Let’s play a quick little game, shall we? I want you to lift a finger if you had any of the following thoughts ahead of tonight’s game against Chicago:

  1. The Leafs will lose
  2. The Leafs will be outplayed AND lose
  3. Petr Mrazek will stop everything

If you don’t have any fingers up then like me, you may be pleasantly surprised. We should expect the Leafs to make quick work of teams like the Blackhawks but unfortunately, we haven’t seen enough of that this season. Tonight’s game was a clear exception.

There were very few moments where Chicago was in it as the Leafs were in charge from start to finish. They took advantage of the opposition’s mistakes, outworked them to create their own chances, and didn’t allow a late momentum push.

Winning habits? I think so.


First star

William Nylander 

Three-point night for Nylander including his 30th of the season which came nine seconds into the game.

There was a part of me that was worried Nylander may take a step back with Matthews returning, but not only did he play to the same standard, but he also kicked it up a notch. Good edge work and awareness of Matthews earned him his first assist of the night while his speed and tenacity on the puck to maintain it long enough for help to arrive led to his second. Something that surprised me was Keefe giving him some reps on the penalty kill which has happened here and there. To make things even better, Nylander created a scoring chance from it with a strong stick on Philipp Kurashev.

Continued improvement on the defensive end in the puck, especially the handling of the neutral zone, could lead to more opportunities for him. The Kurashev goal is an example of how that could go south for Nylander but I thought he responded well afterward.

Second star

Conor Timmins

Talk about getting an opportunity and absolutely running with it. By no means was this a perfect game for Timmins but what I appreciate the most from him was his recovery when mistakes were made. Offensively, he’s another option on the rush in the neutral zone and gets a lot of pucks on net mixing it up between long wrist and slap shots (the latter of which we don’t see much on this team). Even the slap shots have some versatility to them and the one that beat Petr Mrazek in the second was low but well-placed.

Defensively, Timmins steps up to opposing players and doesn’t only rely on the boards to initiate contact. Sam Lafferty felt that twice, including this big hit at the blue line.

Although there were moments where I felt he held onto the puck too much, I thought this was a fine game for Timmins and one that should see him in the lineup again on Saturday … just watch the penalty minutes.

Third star

Auston Matthews

Three weeks out of the lineup but it didn’t look like he spent a minute out of it. Matthews was on it from puck drop and what I noticed early was how he was manipulating the location and lane of his shots. It’s fascinating how Matthews uses his body and releases pucks at different points to hit different angles at high speeds. It still amazes me how quick he is at the catch and release and Mrazek had no chance of stopping him.

Player reports


Mitch Marner 

Marner was the best player on the ice in my opinion. From whistle to whistle he was hard on the forecheck and shifty skating with the puck. He continuously took the more difficult paths through the opposition dragging the puck through Chicago’s end and creating dangerous scoring chances for his linemates. The goal was called offside via Kerfoot, but Marner was incredible on that sequence from the steal to the skating.

Additionally, he made Patrick Kane, who already wasn’t having the most outstanding night, look worse by stealing the puck off him on the power play leading to a short-handed chance to flip it over to Kämpf.


Ilya Samsonov

A very low event game for Samsonov despite allowing two goals on 29 shots. I wouldn’t hold either of those goals on him but the most important thing was he didn’t give up a soft one in the moments when the Blackhawks were getting their shots in. His best sequence was in the first period where he made saves on three shots in a row. Those chances didn’t lead to anything drastic and Samsonov did a great job shutting the door after Kurashev’s goal in the second.

Mark Giordano-Timothy Liljegren

We got a lot of this pairing last season and I think it did wonders for Liljegren’s development. I thought the pair were solid in their gaps and back pressure on puck carriers. Liljegren, in particular, had a solid effort on Domi heading back to the defensive zone and disrupting his shot before he had an opportunity to fire it off.


T.J. Brodie

Similar to Rielly, Brodie started his night with an assist getting the secondary on the Nylander goal. Anytime I noticed Brodie it was when he was putting pressure on an advancing player or trying to defend the front of the net. Quiet and efficient, that’s his motto.

John Tavares 

The quick hands in front of the net on the power play are something I want to see more from Tavares as the calendar gets closer to April. The goal, albeit relatively easy, brings him a step closer to another 30-goal year.

Rasmus Sandin 

The eye for offence from the backend worked in Sandin’s favour tonight. He got a lucky goal off Connor Murphy’s stick that was an intended pass but took a lot of opportunities to activate from the blue line

The Blackhawks’ goaltender made a pretty solid save on Sandin who labeled a shot for the top right corner of the net.


Alex Kerfoot 

Offside aside, the puck was following Kerfoot tonight. Part of it was Marner’s performance but he showed some good hustle and speed through the neutral and offensive zones. That assist for Tavares was a mistake on Mrazek’s part and was also a won race against Ian Mitchell.

Michael Bunting 

Bunting had a couple of close calls and empty nets in the middle frame. What I liked the most about his game was that it was quiet yet effective as he was the midway point for Nylander and Matthews to do their thing by bumping pucks over to one of them in the corner and supporting them if it was lost.

Morgan Rielly 

Rielly puts his name on the game early with that stretch pass to Nylander, the 399th of his career. That’s Rielly at his best: taking a step back, seeing a play develop, and moving the puck to the appropriate area. Unfortunately, falling for the Kane decoy on the second goal against after getting back to the defensive zone late put him in the “puck-watching” box as Kurashev blasted it past Samsonov.

The fourth line (Zach Aston-Reese, Pontus Holmberg, Joey Anderson)

I loved the energy from the fourth line and it wasn’t lacking from a single member of the trio. Aston-Reese was doing his part winning battles and throwing pucks to open spaces. Holmberg was great at grabbing the loose puck and distributing it throughout the offensive zone and occasionally stealing and working it back in the Leafs’ possession. Anderson, however, was definitely the weakest link on the line. He did his part on the recovery and got some wraparound chances on Mrazek but he had a number of turnovers and is pushed off the puck way too often.


Calle Järnkrok

A very uncharacteristic and poorly timed pass from Järnkrok put Chicago on the board not too long after the Leafs scored. However, I like the offensive power Järnkrok adds lower in the lineup, especially on the penalty kill. It would’ve been a highlight reel play if Kerfoot was able to bat that puck out of the air.


Pierre Engvall

A little too predictable with the rushes. I wish he would find ways to mix it up with his decisions on the zone entry, especially when some of those ‘stop and spins’ lead to turnovers and missed opportunities at offensive zone time. He did more of that late in the third period, setting Järnkrok up on a rush and making Jake McCabe fall on a rush to the net.

David Kämpf

Kämpf was the only Leafs centre who didn’t hit 50 percent in the faceoff circle finishing well below at 33 percent. He’s also hovering in the Kerfoot territory of getting looks and not scoring on them. Kämpf isn’t a player we expect goals from, but he hasn’t scored since December 8th.

Game Score 

Final grade: A

The Chicago Blackhawks looked tired, disengaged at times, and had a level of defence different brands of swiss cheese would envy. That said, I’m still going to praise the Leafs for dominating this game. The pressure on puck carriers in their own end was something I noticed quickly and often. The Leafs would either have two players on the carrier or two in the vicinity while using the boards to stop the puck and quickly transition it. The skilled players, especially Matthews, Marner, and Nylander, took advantage of the time and space the Blackhawks gave them and Samsonov made the saves when called upon. This was the perfect response to a bad loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets: a team they should beat.

What’s next for the Leafs?

Leafs. Habs. Hockey Night in Canada (CBC at 7:00 p.m.). Regardless of where they are in the standings, these games mean something to either fan base. That being said, the Leafs should win this one (he types optimistically).

(Top photo: Nick Turchiaro / USA Today)


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Canadian momentum build continues at women's curling worlds with wins over Italy, Scotland –



Canada’s Kerri Einarson improved to 4-1 in round-robin play with a sweep of her matches Monday at the world women’s curling championship.

Einarson, Val Sweeting, Shannon Birchard and Briane Harris downed Italy’s Stefania Constantini 7-2 in the morning draw before holding on for a 9-8 win over Scotland’s Rebecca Morrison in the late session. The wins moved Canada into sole possession of second place behind Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni (5-0).

“We’ve had a few really tight battles and a few where we’re very grateful to win,” Birchard said. “It feels similar to last year when I know we dropped one or two early but then powered through the rest of the week.

“We need to keep the momentum going. We’re feeling strong and feeling good out there on the ice. All we can do is keep getting better.”


The Canadians meet the Swiss in Tuesday’s afternoon draw at the Goransson Arena before taking on New Zealand in the evening.

WATCH | Canadians defeat Scotland for 3rd straight victory: 

Canada improves to 4-1 at women’s curling worlds with win over Scotland

5 hours ago

Duration 0:43

Canada’s Kerri Einarson moves into sole possession of second place at the world women’s curling championship by beating Scotland’s Rebecca Morrison 9-8.

Einarson scored four in the first end against Morrison, but the Scots replied with four in the second.

The Canadians started slowly building a lead, and went up 9-5 after steals of one in the seventh and eighth ends.

Morrison got two back in the ninth, and made it close with a steal of one in the 10th.

WATCH | Canada’s Einarson beats Italy’s Constantini at women’s curling worlds:

Canada’s Einarson defeats Italy’s Constantini at women’s curling worlds

6 hours ago

Duration 1:22

Canada’s Kerri Einarson improves to 3-1 in round-robin play with a 7-2 victory over Italy’s Stefania Constantini at the world women’s curling championship.

“We talked about it after the second end and it was essentially like we blanked the first two ends and it was just going to be an eight-end game from there on. We really parked it,” Birchard said. “We were firing after that and there were no real missteps. I feel like we put together a pretty good game.”

In the earlier match, Italy faced a triple-raise double-takeout to score in the ninth end but gave up a steal of two to end the game.

The top six teams in the 13-team field qualify for the playoff round. The final is scheduled for Sunday.

Einarson won bronze at last year’s world championship in Prince George, B.C.

WATCH | Einarson talks worlds on CBC Sports’ ‘That Curling Show’:

That Curling Show: Kerri Einarson ready to take on the curling world in Sweden

21 days ago

Duration 6:37

Fresh off her fourth straight Scotties title, the skip joins That Curling Show to talk about what makes her team so dominant, having her kids be able to watch the final and how she’s prepping for worlds.

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Carson Briere, son of Flyers GM Danny, charged for pushing wheelchair down stairs – CTV News



Three misdemeanour charges were filed Monday against the son of Philadelphia Flyers interim general manager Danny Briere after a video posted on social media showed him and another Mercyhurst University athlete pushing an unoccupied wheelchair down a staircase.

Police in Erie, Pa., filed charges of criminal mischief, criminal conspiracy to commit mischief and disorderly conduct against Carson Briere, who completed his third hockey season at Mercyhurst. Patrick Carrozzi, listed as a senior member of the school’s lacrosse team, faces the same three charges, according to documents filed with District Judge Sue Mack.

The two are scheduled to appear in court on May 22.


Briere and Carrozzi are seen on a surveillance video at the top of a staircase of a local bar, where they push the wheelchair down the steps on March 11. Police say their actions posed a potential danger to anyone coming up the stairs, while also creating a hazardous condition by blocking the staircase.

The wheelchair’s owner, identified as Sydney Benes, filed a complaint saying the fall down the stairs damaged the left brake handle, broke the right arm rest’s plastic molding, bent a rear handle and caused the wheels to drag when moving forward. Benes said the wheelchair was purchased a year ago, costing US$2,000.

It’s unclear if Briere or Carrozzi have lawyers who can speak on their behalf.

Briere and two other athletes were placed on interim suspension, while the school investigated the matter.

A message seeking comment left with a Mercyhurst athletic department spokeswoman was not immediately returned.

Last week, the 23-year-old Briere apologized in a statement released through the NHL’s Flyers.

“I am deeply sorry for my behaviour on Saturday,” he said. “There is no excuse for my actions, and I will do whatever I can to make up for this serious lack of judgment.”

Danny Briere, who was promoted to run the Flyers after Chuck Fletcher was fired two weeks ago, said he was shocked to see his son’s actions and called them “inexcusable,” while saying his son “accepts full responsibility for his behaviour.”

Mercyhurst previously released a statement saying the actions displayed in the video fall short of the school’s “belief in the inherent dignity of each person,” adding the school’s “tradition also reminds us that students and all people who make poor choices deserve opportunities to learn, change behaviours and atone for harmful actions.”

Carson Briere previously was dismissed from Arizona State’s hockey club in 2019 for what the school called a violation of team rules.

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Quick Reaction: Raptors 111, Bucks 118



O. Anunoby37 MIN, 22 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 8-12 FG, 4-5 3FG, 2-2 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, -1 +/-

Not much more you could ask for from OG tonight, except maybe for some more touches down the stretch. His run of great form continued against the Bucks tonight where he played phenomenally on both ends.

P. Siakam39 MIN, 13 PTS, 12 REB, 7 AST, 2 STL, 5-14 FG, 1-5 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -12 +/-

Siakam is one of the better players in the league in terms of finding ways to impact the game when his shot isn’t falling, but boy the shot would have been nice to have tonight. He’s cooled down a bit from his unfathomably hot start earlier in the season. It’s not a cause to be concerned just yet, but as the team around him starts to hit their stride, it’ll be even sweeter as Pascal does as well.

J. Poeltl31 MIN, 20 PTS, 6 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 10-18 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 2 BLK, 1 TO, -17 +/-

It was nice to finally have someone who can take the Brook assignment without Nurse having to implement an entire scheme to make up for the lack of size. Even so, it wasn’t the greatest performance from the big man tonight, who went a shocking -17 in his 30 minutes.

S. Barnes13 MIN, 5 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 2-3 FG, 1-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -5 +/-


The X-ray came back negative thankfully, but Scottie missed the second half with a wrist injury. He was playing well up until his departure. While the loss is tough to swallow, it’s important to keep in mind that Mr. 4th Quarter had to watch it from the locker room.

F. VanVleet38 MIN, 23 PTS, 4 REB, 11 AST, 1 STL, 9-21 FG, 3-8 3FG, 2-3 FT, 0 BLK, 4 TO, 3 +/-

Fred always plays well against the Bucks and tonight was no different. He kept the ball moving and made shot after shot for a team that desperately needed it.

P. Achiuwa20 MIN, 5 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 2-3 FG, 0-1 3FG, 1-2 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 7 +/-

The numbers are underwhelming sure, but Precious looked like vintage Precious tonight. In a good way, too. Getting Precious back into a rhythm this season hasn’t been easy but he’s slowly finding his step, and was absolutely a positive on the floor tonight in a matchup where his physicality on defence was necessary.

G. Trent Jr.33 MIN, 18 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 6-18 FG, 5-10 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 3 +/-

This is a different Raptors team when Gary is on. He played great early on but it trailed off toward the latter half. I think he’ll continue to excel in his role off the bench, but in particular with Scottie out for the second half, Gary couldn’t deliver when they needed it tonight.

C. Boucher16 MIN, 5 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 2-4 FG, 0-1 3FG, 1-1 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -3 +/-

A pretty unremarkable stretch from Boucher all things considered. The Bucks are not a great match-up for him either and it showed.

W. Barton13 MIN, 0 PTS, 2 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 0-6 FG, 0-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -10 +/-

The Barton minutes were, too put it bluntly, bad. He got an extended run in the fourth and it cost the team a lot more than it should have. The backup PG revolving door may continue until game 82 at this rate.

Nick Nurse

Outside of a questionable lineup to open up the fourth, Nurse did fine to put us in a position to win against perhaps the best team in the league.

Things We Saw

  1. The Raptors clearly wanted to let the Bucks shoot from 3, and it almost worked. They took 45 threes tonight and only made 16.
  2. OG Anunoby took one shot in the fourth quarter after playing a stellar three quarters offensively. As easy as it is to say I’d love to see him be more assertive, the Raptors also have to make an effort to find him in these situations.

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