TORONTO — The past few explosive weeks in the NBA have seen Phoenix owner Robert Sarver and Boston coach Ime Udoka suspended. Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards was reprimanded for homophobic comments. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant were at the centre of a chaotic Brooklyn off-season.
NBA training camps tipped off Tuesday after some of the most turbulent times the league has seen in some time.
Raptors president Masai Ujiri was asked if a league that prides itself on social awareness is slipping.
“I think we all have to revisit our cultures and the way our organizations are run and how we work,” Ujiri said at the team’s annual media day. “Respecting the workplace is very, very important. It’s the No. 1 key and core to what we do in our organization and what (NBA commissioner) Adam Silver preaches in this league.
“The things that start to deviate from that … people are going to make mistakes. They’re humans, and they make mistakes. We have to be held accountable, too.
“I know in our organization, our culture, we treat people well, we have respect for whatever positions we have. These cases are learning examples for us. It tells us we have to tighten up in everything we do.”
The embattled Sarver was suspended one year and fined US$10 million by the NBA over workplace misconduct that included racist speech and hostile behaviour toward employees. He said last week he intends to sell the team.
“There is no place for that kind of behaviour in our league,” Ujiri said. “People are going to make mistakes and sometimes there are consequences for theses mistakes. Thankfully it has ended up in the right place.”
There had been plenty of optimism around the Celtics after their surprise run to the NBA Finals, but then Udoka was suspended for the season after a months-long investigation that found multiple violations of team policies reportedly involving an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the organization.
NO. 6 IN THE 6IX
The Toronto Raptors are wearing a black No. 6 patch on their jerseys this season — but it’s in memory of NBA legend Bill Russell, not a nod to Toronto’s nickname.
“Oh, man, it’s incredible,” Raptors guard Fred VanVleet said. “It makes sense for us, right? Being in the 6ix (the city’s nickname coined by Drake, a reference to its 416 area code). But just for what he meant to the world, it’s hard to find a better icon and a better ambassador for the game and for humanity and the barriers that he broke and the things that he had to endure so that guys like myself can even be sitting here in front of you today.”
Russell was the centrepiece of the Celtics dynasty that won 11 championships in 13 years. He’s being honoured not just for his incredible success on the court, but for his commitment to civil rights off it.
The NBA announced that his No. 6 will be retired leaguewide, and every player will wear the patch this season.
Russell died July 31 at age 88.
“It’s hard to put into words what exactly he meant, but he’s an incredible human being and a guy that definitely needs to be held up in the highest respect to the end of time … an incredible journey and incredible life and meant so much to so many people,” VanVleet said.
FROM SILVER SCREEN TO SCOTIABANK ARENA
The casual sports fan or movie buff might be more familiar with Bo Cruz than Juancho Hernangomez.
The new Raptor played the lead role of Cruz, a fictional character, alongside Adam Sandler in this year’s Netflix hit movie “Hustle.”
Hernangomez, signed by the Raptors in July, said his acting debut began out of boredom during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was living with brother Willy in Charlotte after the NBA shut down in the early days of the pandemic, and decided to audition for the movie.
“I got an interview with the director, with an acting teacher, and then an interview with Adam,” he said.
The movie was produced by Sandler and LeBron James, took two years to make, and featured numerous cameos by NBA players, including former Raptors Kyle Lowry and Jose Calderon and former assistant coach Sergio Scariolo.
“It was fun. It was tiring,” Hernangomez said. “We were shooting for two years, two summers, sometimes like 12 to 14 hour days shooting. But I met a lot of great people, it was a great experience that is going to last forever.”
Another great experience was helping Spain capture the EuroBasket title barely a week ago. Hernangomez scored a team-high 27 points in the gold-medal game, while brother Willy was named tournament MVP.
Hernangomez said he heard good things about the Raptors franchise from Marc Gasol, Calderon and Scariolo.
The 26-year-old landed in Toronto on Sunday night and flew to Victoria for camp on Monday, so he had no time to explore his new home.
“When I played on other teams, I loved to come to Toronto,” he said. “Great city, and lots of things to do.”
The six-foot-nine, 214-pound Madrid native averaged 3.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 11.1 minutes in 40 appearances (nine starts) last season with Boston, San Antonio and Utah. He was picked 15th overall by Denver in the 2016 NBA draft.
NURSE CHEERING ON CANADIAN WOMEN
Nick Nurse has been impressed with Canada’s women’s team at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney, Australia.
Nurse, head coach of the Raptors and Canada’s men’s team, was up early enough Monday morning to catch the women’s game against No. 3 Australia before heading to the team’s media day obligations.
And while the fourth-ranked Canadians lost by three points to the Aussies — their first loss of the tournament — Nurse said “they have played great.”
“They could have won that game against a tough Australia team in Australia but, man, they looked good,” he said. “I think (the loss to Australia) will be a good growth game for them for when it matters in the knockout round.
“I would encourage everybody, if you’re up, turn on your TV or get up 20 minutes earlier than you normally do and watch them and support them because they’re really fun to watch.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 27, 2022.
Canadiens @ Oilers: Start time, Tale of the Tape, and how to watch – Habs Eyes on the Prize
How to watch
Start time: 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
In Canada: CBC, Sportsnet 360 (English), TVAS (French)
The Montreal Canadiens will look to add another win on their Western-Canada-plus-Seattle road trip two nights removed from an exciting 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Thursday. The game might have been a one-goal contest, but it would’ve been a lot different if goaltender Jake Allen hadn’t stood on his head, making a whopping 45 saves in the victory, his first since November 19.
Tale of the Tape
|45.8% (24th)||Scoring-chances-for %||50,5% (17th)|
|2,78 (26th)||Goals per game||3,42 (9th)|
|3,39 (22nd)||Goals against per game||3,63 (7th)|
|15,7% (29th)||PP%||27,6% (5th)|
|82,3% (6th)||PK%||71,6% (27th)|
|1-1-0||H2H Record (’21-22)||1-1-0|
On Thursday, it was Montreal’s first overall pick from this summer’s draft, Juraj Slafkovský, who opened the scoring on the first shot of the game at 13 seconds, when Calgary all-star goaltender Jacob Markstrom decided to leave his crease to try to play the puck, which inevitably resulted in a poor miscue by the former Vezina nominee.
Habs standout Cole Caufield, who has been mesmerizing fans and brass alike, scored the eventual game-winner, a power-play marker six-and-a-half minutes into the third period for his team-leading 13th goal of the season. The man advantage has been a bit of a soft spot all season, finding itself 29th in the league, and also especially after going zero-for-six earlier in the week against San Jose, it was nice to see it clicking for once.
Thursday’s game was also a homecoming of sorts for Sean Monahan, a former 2013 first-round pick of the Calgary Flames. His return was met with a lot of chants and cheers, as opposed to Kirby Dach’s return to Chicago a week prior. Monahan, who currently sits fourth in team scoring with five goals and 16 points, assisted on both Montreal goals.
Tonight’s opponent, the Edmonton Oilers, saw their three-game winning streak come to an abrupt halt in their last game Thursday night, a 5-3 loss to Kirill ‘The Thrill’ Kaprizov and the Minnesota Wild squad. The Oilers’ one-two punch of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each had a goal and a helper in the contest, but it didn’t help their cause.
McDavid and Draisaitl have been two of the best players in the game in recent years, and yet again find themselves on pace for record-setting seasons, sitting number one and three in the NHL scoring race, respectively. McDavid’s 19 goals and 43 points through his first 24 games make his numbers last season (44 goals and 79 assists) look like a poor performance for the perennial all-star.
His German counterpart currently has 16 goals and 38 points, making his career-best totals of 55 goals and 110 points also seem well within reach, which makes these two some of the best teammates at the top of the leaderboard since the late-90s when the Pittsburgh Penguins had Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr taking the league down in a fury.
Both Edmonton goaltenders, Jack Campbell and Stuart Skinner, have shared an equal workload with Mike Smith on the Long-Term Injured Reserve list. Campbell, who signed an off-season deal with the Oilers at five years and-$25 million, has put up seven wins, but a league-worst 4.12 goals-against-average.
Last season saw these two squads split the season series, with each road team getting a victory. Edmonton took the first contest, a 7-2 dismantling at the Bell Centre on January 29, and then Montreal exacted revenge on March 5, with a 5-2 victory at Rogers Place.
One bright spot for Habs last year was that of all nine of Edmonton’s goal-scorers versus Montreal, none wore the number 97. McDavid registered zero points across both contests. Just a little optimism that it can repeat itself Saturday in Alberta.
NHL Buzz: Manson out week to week for Avalanche – NHL.com
Welcome to the NHL Buzz. The 2022-23 regular season is underway, and NHL.com has you covered with all the latest news.
Josh Manson is out week to week for the Avalanche because of a lower-body injury.
The defenseman, who sustained the injury in a 6-4 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, has six points (two goals, four assists) in 21 games this season.
Andreas Englund was recalled from Colorado of the American Hockey League. He has one assist in four games with the Avalanche this season.
“Englund has played good when he’s been up with us,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “I really like what he did when he was up. … Just another big (6-foot-3, 189 pounds), heavy, strong guy that’s been an efficient puck mover for us on the back end.”
Teuvo Teravainen could return for the Hurricanes on Saturday one day after the forward was activated off injured reserve.
Teravainen, who has missed the past 10 games with an upper-body injury, has seven assists in 14 games this season.
Carolina plays at the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET; BSW, BSSO, ESPN+, SN NOW).
Cam Atkinson said he’s getting closer to making his season debut, but the forward remains day to day because of an upper-body injury.
Atkinson added he’s been fully cleared for contact and is not restricted in any way.
“It’s obviously good to be back with everyone and take a little bit of licks and see how I do,” Atkinson said. “Just day to day for me right now.
“It’s been pretty good. A little bit of an adjustment but just working out the kinks. I’m getting close, but not enough to where I think I can help this team right now. But I’m closer than not.”
Atkinson was second on the Flyers in goals (23) and points (50) last season. Entering Saturday, Philadelphia was last in the NHL in goals per game (2.38).
Atkinson said the nature of his injury has allowed him to skate and stay in shape that way but that it might take a game or two for him to get his timing with the puck back to normal.
“If I was playing and if we had a day off, even one day off, even if I played 30 games and I took a day off, I still feel like that next practice my timing is just a little bit off,” he said. “Maybe it’s more mental than not. So obviously not playing any games it’s going to take a game or two to get adjusted, but we’re on a pretty good schedule for me right now. I’ve revved it up a lot and I’m feeling good. I feel like my timing is pretty solid, but you really won’t know until you play a game.” — Adam Kimelman
World Cup Daily: Timeless Messi is on a mission for Argentina – Sportsnet.ca
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