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McDavid the unanimous No. 1 in TSN’s Top 50 players ranking



The Crosby-McDavid TSN Top 50 Dynasty has reached 13 years.

Connor McDavid is No. 1 in the TSN pre-season player rankings for a sixth straight season after a seven-year reign by Sidney Crosby.

And it wasn’t close, even though Toronto centre Auston Matthews and Stanley Cup-winning Colorado defenceman Cale Makar had sensational 2021-22 seasons.

No. 2-ranked Matthews was the NHL’s uncontested premier regular season performer, winning the Rocket Richard Trophy, Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award. Matthews received four times as many first-place votes in Hart voting as defending MVP McDavid.

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No. 3-ranked Makar, meanwhile, won the Norris Trophy and was the unanimous choice for the Conn Smythe Trophy, becoming just the third defenceman in league history to win both honours in the same season. The other two? Eight-time Norris winner Bobby Orr and seven-time Norris winner Nicklas Lidstrom.

Still, McDavid received all 20 first-place votes, earning unanimous status as TSN’s projected No. 1 player for the 2022-23 season.

It is the second straight season McDavid has been the all-in choice for No. 1.

Connor McDavid 20 0 0
Auston Matthews 0 12 6
Cale Makar 0 6 10

Connor McDavid collected all 20 first-place votes becoming a unanimous choice as No. 1 in TSN annual polling for the second straight year. Matthews and Makar were definitive choices at No. 2 and 3, combining for 18 of 20 second-place votes and 16 of 20 third-place ballots.

To be clear, McDavid’s bona fides are impeccable. The Edmonton superstar won the regular season and playoff scoring titles – setting career highs in goals for each – becoming the first player to do since Evgeni Malkin in 2009.

As usual an extraordinary number of his goals and assists shouldn’t have been counted as much as hung in a museum to preserve for future generations to appreciate.

McDavid remains hockey’s most spectacular player, even in the face of a challenge from Makar, and is justifiably regarded as the most highly evolved player in hockey history.

He won the playoff scoring title with 33 points – among them 10 goals and 17 primary assists – despite Edmonton losing in the third round.

Oiler running mate and fellow centre Leon Draisaitl finished one point behind McDavid in the postseason scoring race – collecting an NHL-record 17 points in five second-round games versus Calgary – and finished No. 4 in the TSN poll.

The Great Nate, Nathan MacKinnon, is No. 5. The Colorado centre ranks third all-time in playoff points per game, standing in the shadows of Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.

The TSN Top 10 is filled out, in order, by a trio of Tampa Bay Lightning, No. 6 defenceman Victor Hedman, No. 7 goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy and No. 8 right winger Nikita Kucherov, plus No. 9 Florida centre Aleksander Barkov and No. 10 Minnesota left winger Kirill Kaprizov.

1. Connor McDavid, Edm C 1 1 80 44 79 123
2. Auston Matthews, Tor C 3 2 73 60 46 106
3. Cale Makar, Col RD 12 3 77 28 58 86
4. Leon Draisaitl, Edm C 5 4 80 55 55 110
5. Nathan MacKinnon, Col C 2 5 65 32 56 88
6. Victor Hedman, TB LD 7 6 82 20 65 85
7. Andrei Vasilevskiy, TB G 6 7 63 2.67 .916 5
8. Nikita Kucherov, TB RW 4 8 47 25 44 69
9. Aleksander Barkov, Fla C 10 9 67 39 49 88
10. Kirill Kaprizov, Min LW 26 10 81 47 61 108
11. Sidney Crosby, Pit C 9 11 69 31 53 84
12. Mitchell Marner, Tor RW 16 12 72 35 62 97
13. Roman Josi, Nsh LD 31 13 80 23 73 96
14. Jonathan Huberdeau, Cgy LW 18 14 80 30 85 115
15. Igor Shesterkin, NYR G 15 53 2.07 .935 6
16. Artemi Panarin, NYR LW 8 16 75 22 74 96
17. Johnny Gaudreau, CBJ LW 17 82 40 75 115
18. Adam Fox, NYR RD 23 18 78 11 63 74
19. Matthew Tkachuk, Fla LW/RW 19 82 42 62 104
20. Alex Ovechkin, Wsh LW 17 20 77 50 40 90
21. Mikko Rantanen, Col RW 19 21 65 32 56 88
22. Patrick Kane, Chi RW 14 22 78 26 66 92
23. Steven Stamkos, TB C 23 81 42 64 106
24. Brad Marchand, Bos LW 11 24 70 32 48 80
25. David Pastrnak, Bos RW 15 25 72 40 37 77
26. Brayden Point, TB C 13 26 66 28 30 58
27. Sebastian Aho, Car C 22 27 79 37 44 81
28. J.T. Miller, Van C 28 80 32 67 99
29. Kyle Connor, Wpg LW 34 29 79 47 46 93
30. Charlie McAvoy, Bos RD 39 30 78 10 46 56
31. Filip Forsberg, Nsh LW 31 69 42 42 84
32. Mika Zibanejad, NYR C 27 32 81 29 52 81
33. Patrice Bergeron, Bos C 25 33 73 25 40 65
34. Jacob Markstrom, Cgy G 34 63 2.22 .922 9
35. Jack Eichel, VGK C 35 35 34 14 11 21
36. Elias Lindholm, Cgy C 36 82 42 40 82
37. Nazem Kadri, Cgy C 37 71 28 59 87
38. Aaron Ekblad, Fla RD 38 61 15 42 57
39. Gabriel Landeskog, Col LW 44 39 51 30 29 59
40. Juuse Saros, Nsh G 40 67 2.64 .918 4
41. Jake Guentzel, Pit LW 45 41 76 40 44 84
42. Jaccob Slavin, Car LD 42 79 4 38 42
43. John Carlson, Wsh RD 41 43 78 17 54 71
44. Jason Robertson, Dal LW 44 74 41 38 79
45. Moritz Seider, Det RD 45 82 23 34 57
46. Quinn Hughes, Van LD 38 46 76 8 60 68
47. Alex DeBrincat, Ott LW 47 82 41 37 78
48. Chris Kreider, NYR LW 48 81 52 25 77
49. Jack Hughes, NJ C 49 49 26 30 56
50. Kris Letang, Pit RD 50 78 10 58 68

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Riots in Belgium, Netherlands after Morocco win at World Cup – CTV News




Riots broke out in several Belgian and Dutch cities after Morocco’s 2-0 upset win over Belgium at the World Cup Sunday.

Police detained about a dozen people after they deployed water cannons and fire tear gas to disperse crowds in Brussels and eight more in the Northern city of Antwerp. Two police officials were injured in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam. By late evening Sunday, an uneasy calm had returned to most of the cities involved.

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Dozens of rioters overturned and torched cars, set electric scooters on fire and pelted cars with bricks. Police moved in after one person suffered facial injuries, said Brussels police spokeswoman Ilse Van de Keere.

Brussels mayor Philippe Close urged people to stay away from the city center and said authorities were doing their utmost to keep order in the streets. Even subway and tram traffic had to be interrupted on police orders.

“Those are not fans, they are rioters. Moroccan fans are there to celebrate,” Close said. There were also disturbances in the city of Antwerp and Liege.

“Sad to see how a few individuals abuse a situation to run amok,” said Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden.

Police in the neighbouring Netherlands said violence erupted in the port city of Rotterdam, with riot officers attempting to break up a group of 500 soccer supporters who pelted police with fireworks and glass. Media reported unrest in the capital Amsterdam and The Hague.

Morocco’s victory was a major upset at the World Cup and was enthusiastically celebrated by fans with Moroccan immigrant roots in many Belgian and Dutch cities.

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Canada claims first Davis Cup title with win over Australia in final



The Davis Cup is billed as the “World Championship of Tennis”.

And on Sunday in Malagá, Spain, Canada defeated Australia and won it.

The squad that wasn’t even supposed to be in the finals at all lifted the iconic trophy for the first time since its initial participation all the way back in 1913.

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After being swept 4-0 by the Netherlands in a qualifying tie back in March — a tie top players Félix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov both decided to skip — Canada was given a pass (as the highest-ranked country eliminated) into to the final phases of the event when defending champion Russia was ejected from the tournament following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Given a second life, the Canadians got through the elimination rounds in September in Valencia to reach the final eight this week in Malagá.

They defeated Germany in the quarterfinals Thursday, Italy in Saturday’s semifinal and then swept their two singles match against Australia on Sunday to clinch the title.

“What a way to end the year. It’s Davis Cup and we are the champions, world champions,” said Vasek Pospisil, the veteran of the group.

Captain Frank Dancevic, who took part in the Davis Cup for 14 years as a player, vowed the party would last all night — right through to their 6 a.m. flights on Monday.

Young substitutes Alexis Galarneau and Gabriel Diallo, who undoubtedly will have their part to play in years to come, came into the post-tournament press conference but could barely croak out a few words.

Their unwavering and very vocal support from the sidelines, along with a large contingent of Tennis Canada employees, coaches and support staff, made it a true team effort.

“We faced a lot of obstacles this week. We were down many matches, but we had our spirits high and kept fighting until the end, and we are here now with the trophy. It’s just an incredible feeling,” Dancevic said.

After the nervous moments earlier in the week, the final against Australia Sunday was almost anticlimactic.

Shapovalov, who was battered physically Saturday after a three-hour, 15-minute effort in defeat, came out a new man in the opening match.

He easily defeated a nervous-looking Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-2, 6-4.

And then, to clinch the tie — and the Cup — Auger-Aliassime was just as impressive in dispatching Australian No. 1 Alex de Minaur 6-3, 6-2.

His performance during the week — notably coming in for Shapovalov in doubles against the Italian team on Saturday, to give Canada the opportunity to play in Sunday’s final — was impeccable.

“I saw the opening. I thought, ‘This is it. I’m going for it.’ That’s it,” Auger-Aliassime said of match point. “After that, my legs just dropped on me. I was just … my leg just collapsed. To have Frank and everybody rush me, screaming, it was amazing.”

Fans watching in Canada on both official broadcasters — Sportsnet in English and TVA in French — were deprived of seeing the final moments of victory when the international feed went down, right at the most inopportune time. The commentators were left scrambling to try to explain. And only after the fact were they able to get some coverage of the trophy ceremonies by hooking into the American feed from Tennis Channel, which was not affected.

The Canadian men have excelled in team-format competition in recent years, beginning with their surprise run to the final of the first “new-format” Davis Cup in 2019.

They were defeated by the far more experienced Spanish team there.

But Auger-Aliassime was just 19 then; Shapovalov just 20.

Last January down in Australia, Canada won the ATP Cup, a new team competition with a similar format that featured even more of the world’s best players.

And on Sunday, it won the ultimate prize.

The Davis Cup has been around since 1900. And despite recent fundamental and much-derided changes to the format that have, in the opinion of many, turned the event into a pale shadow of its former iconic self, it remains the ultimate prize.

Auger-Aliassime didn’t commit to the preliminary final rounds in September until after a surprise early elimination at the U.S. Open a couple of weeks beforehand.

But he made the date and led Canada to qualification, without which Sunday would never have been possible.

He and Pospisil had to get it done without Shapovalov, who didn’t play.

Pospisil, 32 and a decade older than the team’s young stars, has always answered the call of his country. And on some occasions before their rise to prominence, he basically lifted the entire team on his shoulders and carried it to victory.

It’s no wonder he was by far the most emotional on Sunday.

“Over the years we have just slowly been growing closer and closer to getting the title. In 2013, we had a bit of a run and made the semis. Then we’ve been in world group for a while and made finals in 2019,” Pospisil said. “It’s hard to explain, but (at the) beginning of the week it kind of felt like we were going to win it. Just kind of this feeling that I had. Maybe some of the other guys had it, too.”

The return of Shapovalov to the fold for the final stages allowed Pospisil to focus on the doubles and gave Canada two top-25 singles players.

And Canada took full advantage of teams that were missing key elements.

Germany did not have Olympic gold medallist Alexander Zverev, who has been out with injury since June.

Italy was missing its top two singles players: Jannik Sinner and Matteo Berrettini.

And notably, Nick Kyrgios was not in the lineup for Australia. He is that country’s highest-ranked player in both singles and doubles.

So Canada boasted one of the best one-two singles punches in the event, and the one with the most upside.

But potential is one thing; without the on-court performance to back it up, it’s only a theory.

On Sunday, Canada back it up to become world champions.

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Croatia coach sends Canada a stern message ahead of World Cup showdown





Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic sent Canada a message Saturday at the World Cup. And he didn’t need the F-word to deliver it.

Dalic offered up a stern statement when asked about John Herdman’s emotional words after Canada’s 1-0 loss to Belgium on Wednesday.

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Asked in a pitchside interview what he had said to his team in a post-game huddle, the Canada coach replied: “I told them they belong here and we’re going to go and eff— Croatia. That’s as simple as it gets.”

While Herdman delivered the last line with a smile, Dalic clearly did not see the humour.

When a Canadian reporter at Saturday’s pre-game news conference asked Dalic for his team’s response to Herdman’s heat, the Croatia coach lectured his opposition ahead of Sunday’s showdown at Khlalifa International Stadium.

Dalic used the word “respect” 12 times in his answer.

“The Croatian team deserves respect from everyone … We respect everyone, equally so,” he said through an interpreter. “We expect our opposing teams to respect us. We are worthy of their respect. The Canadians must also have respect for us. This way of putting words together is not a sign of respect. We are the (2018 World Cup runners-up), not Brazil, Spain or other countries.”

“I shall not focus or comment on any other people’s comments,” he added. “We will be prepared (Sunday), we will be fit and we will demonstrate respect for Canada … and for everyone else. We expect respect just as we exercise this view”

Croatian forward Ivan Perisic then backed up his coach, saying simply: “I second the head coach and I cannot wait for the match to begin.”

Sunday may prove otherwise but it seems, motivationally speaking, Canada has taken a knife to a gunfight.

Both the 41st-ranked Canadians and No. 12 Croatia need to get points out of the match. Belgium tops Group F with three points while Croatia and Morocco both have one point after their scoreless draw.

Canada needs to secure at least a point if it hopes to have any chance of reaching the knockout round. A loss Sunday and the Canadians can finish with no more than three points while Croatia ups its total to four. And no matter what happens in Sunday’s match between No. 2 Belgium and No. 22 Morocco, one of those teams will have at least four points.

With only two teams advancing out of the group, that would render Canada’s final group game next Thursday with Morocco meaningless in terms of tournament progression.

“At the end of the day, both teams really have to win this game,” said Herdman.

Croatian reporters didn’t bother engaging Zlatko on Herdman’s inflammatory words. They had already done so, with tabloids back home having a field day.

In contrast, three of the first four questions in Herdman’s availability were about his post-game hot take. Another came later.

The Canada coach, who had already addressed the issue on Thursday, tried to laugh off the reaction he had sparked in the Croatia camp.

He insisted he was on task “and loving the experience.” And he rejected the assertion that his words were just another motivational tool.

“We’ve been waiting 36 years to get here. I’ve used all my motivation tactics in the 20-odd games it took to get here,” he said in self-deprecating fashion.

But he maintained his words to his players in the post-game huddle after Belgium were simply “to remind them that there’s another task ahead.”

And he was quick to compliment Croatia, calling it a “top top top top football team.”

“(A) hell of a test. Hell of a test for this team,” he added. “But we’re excited.”

Herdman called Sunday’s match a “defining moment for Canada in this World Cup. It’s one of those do-or-die games now that we have to perform in to stay at a World Cup.”

Dalic, meanwhile, called Canada “a tough team full of self-confidence.”

The two sides have never met before.

The Croatian roster features the likes of Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Perisic (Tottenham), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea) and Mario Pasalic (Atalanta). Only six of its 26-man roster play at home in Croatia, with four of those at Dinamo Zagreb.

Despite that talent, Croatia had its hands full with No. 22 Morocco in its tournament opener, playing to a scoreless draw in a game that saw each team put just two shots on target.

Croatia goes into Sunday’s match riding a seven-game unbeaten streak (5-0-2) dating back to a 3-0 loss to Austria in June in UEFA Nations League play. Croatia avenged that defeat with a 3-1 decision over the Austrians in September.

Croatia has outscored the opposition 9-3 over that run, which includes a win and tie against No. 4 France.

“With all due respect to Croatia, they have a very very good team. It’s going to be tough for us,” said Canadian midfielder Stephen Eustaquio. “But it’s going to be tough for them as well.”

The Canadians, who blamed traffic for showing up 41 minutes late for their news conference before the Belgium game, arrived two minutes early Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2022.

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