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Marner and Matthews together make Maple Leafs magic, but Keefe will always consider options – Toronto Sun

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While Sheldon Keefe certainly can see the value in putting Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews on the same line, it’s not a duo that is etched in ice.

At least, not yet.

The pair, aided well by Zach Hyman, were electrifying in the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday, spiriting the Leafs to a shocking 8-6 win.

“I would say we’re still kind of in the experiment stage,” coach Keefe said of the Marner/Matthews pairing.

“How it works out long term is not necessarily just on how that goes, but how things underneath them go. We look at all of that.”

Keefe had some intriguing looks in the warmup, with Matthews between Marner and Hyman; John Tavares centring Ilya Mikheyev and Pierre Engvall; Alex Kerfoot between William Nylander and Kasperi Kapanen; and Frederik Gauthier centring Dmytro Timashov and Jason Spezza.

Keefe tweaked to start the game, putting Spezza with Tavares and Mikheyev, saying he had a hunch Spezza would have some off-the-hop pop with his four daughters in the crowd, and it worked, as Spezza scored at 30 seconds. Note, of course, something similar didn’t occur to Mike Babcock on opening night, who refused to get out of his own way and made Spezza a healthy scratch.

Anyway, Keefe reverted to his warmup lines, and eventually Matthews and Marner took over. When there were mistakes made in the game that allowed Carolina to score five in a row, Keefe didn’t think it was because of what certain Leafs lines were doing, so he kept them intact.

“It makes sense to me (in keeping Matthews and Marner together) in terms of the way one sees the ice and passes and the way that one finishes,” Keefe said. “But we also know Mitch and (Hyman) were successful with (Tavares) there as well.

“We have to weigh that, and again, it’s a lot to do with just how things fall into place underneath them as well.

“I think if I’ve shown anything in the early going here, it’s that I’m not one want to maybe stick with anything for too long.”

Agreed. Innovation where Keefe’s predecessor was stubborn.

Fact is, the luxury that Keefe has with his forward depth makes him happy to use it to his advantage when he sees fit. People can be moved around without fear of a drop in play.

As one might imagine, both Matthews and Marner are fine if they’re not separated.

“We just want to make sure we’re defensively stable,” Marner said. “We know if we stay patient, we can get our opportunities and we’re going to score on them and if not, we’re at least going to get those opportunities for good looks and think that’s what we did tonight. We just stayed patient with it.”

Said Matthews: “We’ve always felt we’ve had fun playing with each other in the past, whether it was for a couple of shifts or for a period or one game. We never really had consistency, playing together. He’s a really great player and he’s fun to play with. We just try to feed off each other, like we did tonight.”

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Canada takes on Slovakia as World Juniors continue on TSN – TSN

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Team Canada has had its first taste of summer hockey at the World Junior Championship and will continue the quest for gold tonight against Slovakia.

Watch Canada vs. Slovakia at 6 p.m. ET on TSN4, TSN.ca and the TSN App. TSN’s coverage of Thursday’s games at the tournament begins at 2 p.m. ET with Finland facing Czechia.

Connor Bedard, a top prospect for the 2023 NHL draft, opened the scoring for Canada (1-0-0) and added an assist in a 5-2 win over Latvia (0-0-2) on Wednesday.

Sebastian Cossa got the start in net and made 22 saves for a Canadian squad quickly looking to build chemistry in Edmonton.

Canada’s head coach Dave Cameron said prior to the game he wanted to see “disciplined 200-foot hockey” and that the effort against Latvia was pretty much what he expected.

“It’s early, this is really only our second game, so you knew it was going to come in ebbs and flows,” said Cameron. “I like that we stuck with it and found a way to get that fifth goal which was huge and took a little bit of that pressure off towards the end of the game.” 

Canada has reached the podium in four of the past five tournaments, including gold medals in 2018 and 2020. Canada last won gold on home soil in 2015.

Cameron was quick to say that getting prepared to play hockey in August is not an issue.

“Not a chance, it’s what I do,” said Cameron. “I’ve done summer tournaments before … hockey’s hockey.

“It doesn’t matter the environment, the city, the number of people in the stands, anything like that. We’re hockey people and when that puck drops – game on.”

Slovakia (0-0-1), which features another top 2023 draft prospect in centre Dalibor Dvorsky, fell 5-4 to Czechia in their first match of the tournament on Tuesday. 

TSN’s Mark Masters reports that Dylan Garand is expected to start against Slovakia. 

Riley Kidney and Carson Lambos are projected to be scratches, while Brennan Othmann and Ethan Del Mastro will draw in for Canada. 

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Tom Brady Steps Aside From The Buccaneers: Details – HotNewHipHop

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Tom Brady is one of the best players in the entire NFL, and this season, he is looking to win his eighth Super Bowl title. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking good right now, and there is a real sense that they will win the NFC South, once again.

Unfortunately, Brady has had to put a halt to his training camp efforts as he is dealing with a personal matter. According to Ian Rapaport, Brady was not at practice today due to the issue and it seems like he won’t be returning to the field until after the team’s upcoming preseason game against the Tennessee Titans, which is set to take place on August 20th.

Brady is one of the oldest quarterbacks in the history of the league, and it is nothing short of impressive that he is still performing at such a high level. Many pundits believe the Buccaneers are favorites to win it all, yet again, although they will have to prove themselves following a disappointing end to the season in 2022.

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images for The Match

This is a developing story so stay tuned to HNHH for all of the latest news and updates. 

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Watch Live: Oilers pay tribute to Ben Stelter – Sportsnet.ca

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Ben Stelter was an inspiration to many in the sports world and beyond.

Two months before his fifth birthday, Stelter was diagnosed with glioblastoma — a form of brain cancer. After meeting the Edmonton Oilers, he quickly became a motivation for the team during their run to the Western Conference Final.

Stelter died at the age six, his father had announced Wednesday.

The Oilers will speak publicly starting at around 12:30 p.m. ET, and their comments can be seen in their entirety on Sportsnet through the video player atop this page.

Note: This live stream has ended.

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