The Toronto Maple Leafs (optional) and Edmonton Oilers skated at Scotiabank Arena on Monday.
After missing Sunday’s practice, Jack Campbell was back on the ice at the morning skate, but will not start against the Oilers tonight.
“We’ve got to really be smart with how we manage Jack’s workload here,” head coach Sheldon Keefe explained. “The reality is that he hasn’t been playing at 100 per cent and the games take a toll on him. The combination of the fact that he’s not used to playing multiple games in a row and the fact that his body hasn’t quite co-operated with him the way he’d like it to through this season, we’ve got to be really smart.”
Campbell initially sustained a left leg injury on Jan. 24 in Calgary. He returned to the lineup on Feb. 27 in Edmonton posting a shutout, but also aggravating the issue and being forced to the sideline again.
Campbell has won three straight starts since returning to the lineup on March 20. However, he wasn’t happy with his performance on Saturday despite improving to 6-0-0 on the season.
“He took the day [off] yesterday, because he wasn’t feeling the best coming off of the game and I think he’s feeling a little better today, and that’s positive,” Keefe said. “I just think us continuing to roll him out there when he’s not 100 per cent is not smart. We’ve got to manage it.”
So, Michael Hutchinson will get his seventh start of the season. He posted a 31-save shutout in Edmonton on March 1, but has struggled in his past two starts. He was pulled after allowing two goals on three shots in his last outing on March 14 in Ottawa.
Keefe wasn’t sure if Campbell would be available to dress as the backup goalie. The recently acquired Veini Vehviläinen, who has played just one NHL game with Columbus, will suit up for the first time if Campbell isn’t available. The 24-year-old Finn has only skated twice with the team since emerging from a post-trade quarantine.
Frederik Andersen remained off the ice on Monday as the team awaits further clarity on his lower-body injury. He hasn’t skated since March 19.
Mike Smith will start again for the Oilers.
Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl remained on the same line at the Oilers morning skate. Edmonton’s dynamic duo had a hand in all three goals scored by the team in Saturday’s 4-3 overtime loss.
“It can seem like a two-on-two [rush] and all the sudden it’s in the back of your net so that’s the element they bring,” said Leafs defenceman Justin Holl. “It’s just a reminder that you have to be absolutely perfect against them.”
It’s a big challenge for the coach as well. In Saturday’s game Keefe looked to get either the Auston Matthews line or the Pierre Engvall line out against Edmonton’s big boys.
“It’s harder to match against them when they’re on separate lines,” Keefe said. “When they’re together, you can control the matchup a little bit better and they’re also that much more dangerous when you make a mistake. Between the Matthews and Engvall line, we really tried to get that matchup going, but the difficulty is that they play so much. It has the ability to really disrupt your own flow. I actually felt some of that through the game where you’re worried about that matchup and you lose your flow a little bit with your own bench. I’ve got to manage that here tonight. Certainly, there’s that much more heightened awareness and narrowed focus when they’re together.”
The Leafs were able to grab two points on Saturday, because the John Tavares line outscored Edmonton’s second unit by two goals.
“We need to be able to contribute just like those [top-line] guys,” said Kailer Yamamoto. “Maybe not as much, but we need to be able get in there and contribute points. It’s definitely a challenge for me and I need to be better.”
Yamamoto registered just one shot while playing 15 minutes and 50 seconds in his first game back from injury.
“It felt different, but it’s game one. I got another one tonight so just trying to improve on it,” Yamamoto said. “The biggest thing for me is the speed of the game and getting your timing back. It’s a fast game and you have to react quick.”
“Connor’s line generated most of our chances,” acknowledged coach Dave Tippett. “So, we’ll look to tweak things a little bit to see if we can generate more.”
Dominik Kahun projects to be a scratch while Kyle Turris took reps alongside Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Yamamoto at the morning skate. Turris hasn’t played since March 8. He recently spent time on the NHL’s COVID protocol list.
“We’d like to get him back up and going,” Tippett said. “He missed a week and that’s hard on players. You take a week in the middle of the season where they can’t skate, can’t really do anything so it’s taken him a few practices to get up and going. He works hard in practice. He’s got unbelievable skill. You talk to our goaltenders about the best goal scorers on our team and his name comes up all the time.”
Joe Thornton started Saturday’s game on the top line, but was dropped down to the fourth line with Alex Kerfoot and Jason Spezza. What’s it like bouncing around the lineup?
“I love it,” he said enthusiastically. “I love it. Just put me anywhere. It don’t matter. I’m starting to feel good. I’m starting to feel comfortable. It doesn’t matter where I play as long as we keep winning. That’s all that matters.”
Thornton was asked about the unlikely bond he’s formed with 22-year-old defenceman Mac Hollowell, who has been on and off Toronto’s taxi squad of late.
“He’s just a super kid,” the 41-year-old said. “He’s a fun guy to be around. The guys like him being in the locker room. He just lightens things up. He’s 20 years younger than me, but we have the same interests and it’s kind of cool. He’s teaching me a lot of things and I’m teaching him some things and it’s a good friendship.”
What are they teaching each other?
“He’s got some different music than me,” Thornton said. “I’m trying to teach him stuff about The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Def Leppard so we can teach each other lots of different things.”
With his sister Kia Nurse starring as part of TSN’s basketball coverage, Darnell Nurse was asked if he’s interested in being an analyst one day.
“It might intrigue me,” the Oilers defenceman said with a smile. “Seeing her do it and how well she’s been doing it for TSN, for me, that’s a lot of pressure to step in behind that. I don’t know if I have the confidence to hop in behind Kia, because she’s been doing such a great job. It’s been fun to watch. I know she did the Raptors game with the first all-female broadcast last week and, I mean, she can do it all. Not just an analyst in between games, but also during the game, so it’s so cool to see her do it. So, like I said, it might be a little too much pressure.”
Projected Leafs lineup based on Sunday’s practice:
Hyman – Matthews – Marner
Galchenyuk – Tavares – Nylander
Mikheyev – Engvall – Simmonds
Thornton – Kerfoot – Spezza
Rielly – Brodie
Muzzin – Holl
Dermott – Bogosian
Projected Oilers lineup based on Monday’s skate:
Draisaitl – McDavid – Puljujarvi
Turris – Nugent-Hopkins – Yamamoto
Shore – Khaira – Archibald
Ennis – Haas – Kassian
Nurse – Barrie
Lagesson – Larsson
Russell – Bear
Olympics-U.S. women to face Australia in women’s football at Tokyo Games
(Reuters) – The U.S. women’s national team will face Australia, Sweden and New Zealand at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, while in the men’s competition 2016 winners Brazil will take on Germany following the group stage draw on Wednesday.
The American women’s team are the reigning world champions and four-time winners of the Olympic tournament and will start as favourites in Tokyo, with Rio 2016 winners Germany failing to qualify.
Team GB women have drawn 2016 bronze medallists Canada, Chile and hosts Japan. Making only their second Olympic tournament appearance, Team GB will be led by England’s interim coach Hege Riise.
On the men’s side, Brazil will take on Germany, Ivory Coast and Saudi Arabia.
Mexico, the 2012 gold medallists, were pitted against hosts Japan, South Africa and France.
The men’s team are usually restricted to selecting players under the age of 23, with just three overage players allowed.
However, the age bracket has been raised for the Tokyo Games in line with the one-year postponement of the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)
Rafael Nadal rallies from set down to advance in Barcelona
Top seed Rafael Nadal rallied from a set back to beat Ilya Ivashka of Belarus 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 on Wednesday in the second round at the Barcelona Open in Spain.
Nadal lost serve in the opening game of the match and wasn’t able to break Ivashka’s serve throughout the first set. He won just 70.6 percent of points on his first serve, was broken twice and had two double faults in an uncharacteristically poor showing on service in the opening set.
By the second set, he had righted his serve, winning 86.7 percent of points on his first serve in the second set and 83.3 percent in the third. He didn’t face a break point in either set.
In other action, No. 2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, No. 3 Andrey Rublev of Russia, No. 4 Diego Schwartzman of Argentina, No. 6 Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain and No. 10 Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada were among those advancing.
No. 9 Fabio Fognini of Italy defaulted for verbal abuse. He was losing 6-0, 4-4 to Zapata Miralles of Spain when the line judge reported him for swearing after a foot fault. He had been warned earlier in the match
Top seed and home-country favorite Novak Djokovic needed just 68 minutes to top South Korean Soon-woo Kwon 6-1, 6-3 and advance to the quarterfinals in Belgrade, Serbia.
Djokovic capitalized on five of his eight service break opportunities in the win. In the next round, he’ll meet fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic, the eighth seed, who needed three sets to oust Arthur Rinderknech of France 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
Also advancing was the No. 2 seed, Matteo Berrettini, who defeated fellow Italian Marco Cecchinato 6-4, 6-3. Fifth seed Filip Krajinovic beat Nikola Milojevic 6-1, 6-1 in an all-Serb match.
(Field Level Media)
Ice hockey-Women’s world championships cancelled due to COVID-19
(Reuters) -The women’s ice hockey world championships set to be played in Halifax and Truro, Nova Scotia have been cancelled because of a surge in COVID-19 cases in Canada, Hockey Canada said on Wednesday.
The announcement came one day before the 10 teams were to arrive to begin their quarantine ahead of the May 6-16 tournament.
“This is very disappointing news to receive with just a few weeks until the tournament was to begin,” said International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel in a statement.
“We strongly believe that we had the adequate safety measures in place. In the end, we must accept the decision of the government.”
The IIHF and Hockey Canada were informed by the Nova Scotia provincial government on Wednesday that the 10-country tournament could not go ahead due to safety concerns associated with COVID-19.
Still the news came as a shock after Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer had 24 hours earlier given the event the thumbs- up.
“At five o’clock this morning we were full go and at 7:30 am we were not,” explained Hockey Canada chief executive officer Tom Renney. “That is the way the world is right now and there is only so much we can control.
“At the end of the day there is a bigger game than the one we play here and quite honestly it is about the safety of the general public.”
The cancellation was another blow for the women’s game that has endured a number of recent setbacks, including the folding of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.
It was also the second consecutive year the Nova Scotia world championships have been stopped by COVID-19.
“Definitely, a little bit of disbelief, a little shock, a lot of emotion,” said Canadian coach Gina Kingsbury, who pulled some players off the ice to deliver the bad news. “This is a group that has been through a lot this past year and two years so they are definitely familiar with disappointing news.”
Both the IIHF and Hockey Canada indicated they plan to play the world championships this year, possibly this summer, in Canada.
“Our intention, and that of the IIHF, is to reconnect with this event as a world championship in 2021 in Canada,” said Renney. “That’s our number one objective. We have every desire to hold this event in Canada.”
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, Editing by Ed Osmond)
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