“As of late, I haven’t made enough of the Grade-A saves.” — Mike Smith, pregame.
EDMONTON — Deep in his crease and deep into his career, Mike Smith is now officially in a deep hole.
Playing behind an Edmonton Oilers team that isn’t what you’d call air-tight defensively, Smith gave up a softie early on and simply failed to give his team the big save it needed in a 5-2 loss.
“You make one of those breakaway saves, and it’s probably a different game,” sighed Smith, who was beaten on both Pittsburgh breakaways on the night.
Now, clearly, giving up breakaways belies a team that makes mental mistakes, and the first of the two clearly belonged to Oscar Klefbom, who failed to heed calls from the bench that Joseph Blandisi was coming out of the penalty box.
But teams that win get big saves. Teams that lose — and Edmonton has now lost six of seven — talk about all the big saves they didn’t get.
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“You’d like to get a save out of one of those, but they were Grade-A chances,” head coach Dave Tippett said. “Other than the first one.”
Leon Draisaitl went minus-4, the 13th consecutive game he has not been a plus player. He has gone minus-18 in that span.
“In the last couple of weeks, he hasn’t been nearly as good as he was earlier in the year,” admitted Tippett. “He is one of those guys that when we get behind in the game, he gets chasing the game and trying to do whatever he can to get us back in the game. But that leads to a lot of chances against.”
Pittsburgh, playing without Sidney Crosby, Justin Schultz, Patric Hornqvist and Brian Dumoulin, handled a healthy Oilers roster with relative ease. Tristan Jarry was far better in goal than Smith, and the skaters were quicker, played the game faster, and with far more attention to detail than the loose Oilers.
It’s going sideways in Edmonton, and now the red-hot Montreal Canadiens are in for a 5 p.m. MT start on Saturday. Yikes!
“It’s not easy to play a team like Pittsburgh where you have to score three goals in the third period,” Klefbom said. “You’re not giving yourself a chance.”
With the team in free-fall, it is likely time to play Mikko Koskinen three out of every four games, and see if he can handle the load. We would expect that Smith has played his final game in 2019, the way the games are spaced out.
After that, it’s up to the veteran to find his game. Right now, his save percentage is .893 — a few points lower than the .898 he posted in Calgary last year.
“You’ve got to makes saves. You’ve got to make more saves,” Smith repeated. “At important times in games we’re either making too many mistakes, and they can’t get covered up for. Or, myself, I can’t get a big save at the right time in the game. You make one of those breakaway saves, and it’s probably a different game.”
The last time these two teams met, Smith made 51 saves in a 2-1 overtime win. Since that game in Pittsburgh, however, Smith is 2-5 with a ghastly save percentage of .854. The Oilers aren’t exactly the 1995 New Jersey Devils defensively, but Smith’s game has fallen off a cliff.
“You can only do so much,” said Smith, 37. “The numbers impact the way you assess a goalie, from the outside looking in. But you only control what you can control as a goalie. You can’t control what’s going on in front of you, whether it’s deflections or breakaways, power plays, penalty kills.
“The last couple of games I feel like I’ve played pretty well. I just haven’t made those big saves at important times in games. I feel like I’m not letting in soft ones. It’s the important ones, the big saves where it’s a higher (pedigree) chance? You need to make more of those.”
In a 3-2 league, this is the sixth time in eight games the Oilers have allowed four or more goals on home ice. That is in part due to lacklustre goaltending, but more so, defensive mistakes made by a loose team.
It needs to get fixed, or another year outside the playoffs awaits.
How to Spot a Trustworthy Online Casino in Canada
Spotting a trustworthy online casino isn’t hard once you know what to look for, but until then, you better hold off on signing up or making a deposit. This quick guide on how to find a reputable online casino will cover five different factors you can evaluate to determine whether or not a casino is trustworthy. While you could just use a site like the trusted source WikiHow that lists the best online casinos Canada, it does help to be able to evaluate the trustworthiness of casinos on your own. Likewise, you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet. Casino review sites are a great resource, but it doesn’t hurt to also do a little digging of your own. Without further delay, here’s a quick and easy guide on how to spot a trustworthy online casino.
Checking for Proper Licensing and Regulation
One of the first things you should do when assessing the trustworthiness of the best online casinos Canada is to check for proper licensing and regulation. Reputable online casinos are licensed by recognized regulatory bodies such as the Malta Gaming Authority, the UK Gambling Commission, or the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. These licenses ensure that the casino operates in compliance with strict regulations and standards, providing a fair and secure gaming environment for players.
Never play at a casino that does not have a license or whose license is unverifiable. The easiest way to verify a license is to head to the licensor’s website and cross-check their registry with the name of the casino you’re looking at. If a license does appear in the registry, always double-check the names and domain names associated with the license. Some scam sites use domains that look similar to real casinos and act as if they are operating under their license. When in doubt, head to the URL listed on the license you find in the registry to be sure that you’re at the right site.
Evaluating the Casino’s Security Measures
Examining the Casino’s Game Selection
Game selection is another important factor to consider when choosing from the best online casinos Canada. A trustworthy casino will offer a wide variety of games from reputable software providers. Look for popular titles from well-known developers such as Microgaming, NetEnt, and Playtech. Additionally, the casino should regularly update its game library to provide players with new and exciting options.
Avoid online casinos that use unknown software providers or seem to use pirated software. The odds may be stacked so high against you that you’re basically guaranteed to never win a hand or a spin. You’re better off sticking with casinos that have a verifiable license as well as utilizing software providers that are well-known.
Verifying the Casino’s Customer Support
Good customer support is essential for a positive online casino experience. A trustworthy casino will have a responsive and knowledgeable support team available to assist you with any queries or concerns. Look for casinos that offer multiple support channels, such as live chat, email, and telephone. Additionally, check for the casino’s operating hours to ensure that support is available when you need it. You should also try and give their customer support a test run. By simply asking their 24/7 Live Chat simple questions about the site, you can get a feel for their response time and overall knowledge. Sites with poor customer service will often take a long time to connect to an agent and be unable to answer even the simplest of queries.
Looking for Fair and Transparent Bonus Terms
Bonuses and promotions are a common feature of online casinos, but it’s important to carefully review the terms and conditions associated with these offers. A trustworthy casino will have fair and transparent bonus terms, clearly outlining the wagering requirements, maximum bet limits, and any other conditions that apply. Avoid casinos that have overly restrictive or confusing bonus terms, as this may indicate a lack of transparency.
In conclusion, when looking for a trustworthy online casino, it’s important to consider factors such as proper licensing and regulation, security measures, game selection, customer support, and bonus terms. By taking the time to evaluate these aspects, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable gaming experience. Remember to always gamble responsibly and set limits for yourself to avoid any potential issues.
Canadiens acquire Tanner Pearson, trade Casey DeSmith to Canucks
A third-round pick in 2025 also goes to Montreal in the deal completed Tuesday.
Pearson hasn’t played since suffering a broken hand last November during a game in Montreal.
Pearson, 31, had one goal and four assists in 14 games last season.
In 590 career games with the Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings, Pearson has 133 goals and 139 assists for 272 points.
The Kings picked the Barrie Colts product in the first round (30th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.
Pearson is in the final year of a three-year contract with a cap hit of $3.25 million.
DeSmith, 32, has been with the Pittsburgh Penguins since 2017-18. He was acquired by the Canadians in a three-team deal also involving the San Jose Sharks last month.
DeSmith was 15-16-4 with a 3.17 goals-against average and .905 save percentage last season.
In 134 career games, the undrafted DeSmith is 58-44-15 with a 2.81 GAA and .912 save percentage.
DeSmith is on the final year of a two-year deal with a cap hit of $1.8 million.
Blue Jackets GM, president admit fault in Babcock debacle, reveal more red flags
Days after Mike Babcock was accused of inappropriate workplace conduct by podcast host Paul Bissonette — with the retired NHL player claiming Babcock was forcing players to airplay personal photos on television in his office — Columbus Blue Jackets management addressed the debacle in a tense press conference at Nationwide Arena.
“It’s on us. It’s on me…. Sometimes you flat-out make a mistake. We made a mistake,” said Blue Jackets president of hockey ops John Davidson, per Associated Press reporter Stephen Whyno.
“Maybe they were right,” Davidson said of people who were critical of Mike Babcock’s hiring in the first place.
Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen, meanwhile. said he apologized to Blue Jackets players this morning for hiring the embattled head coach.
“I believe that Mike Babcock deserved another opportunity to coach,” Kekalainen said. “Obviously that was a mistake and that responsibility’s mine.”
Still, even with the talk of accountability, Kekalainen detailed what should’ve been a red flag: Babcock apparently pulled the same phone stunt he was accused of pulling with his players on the 57-year-old executive.
GM Jarmo Kekalainen said Mike Babcock did the phone thing with him as well. “Personally I had no problem with it but I can see how it might put someone in an uncomfortable situation.”
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) September 18, 2023
But while Kekalainen stated he doesn’t believe there was any ill intent behind Babcock’s actions, he admitted that some of his players were not comfortable with his methods and that was concerning.
Blue Jackets majority owner John H. McConnell announced in a team-issued statement Monday morning that he does not anticipate further changes to the team’s leadership, erasing speculation that one or both of Kekalainen and Davidson would end up on the chopping block alongside Babcock.
“Additional disruptions would be detrimental to our players and coaches as they prepare for the opening of training camp in two days,” McConnell’s statement read.
To say this story escalated rapidly would be the understatement of the century. Initially, it seemed like it would die quickly after both Babcock and captain Boone Jenner released statements through the team on Wednesday morning refuting the Spittin’ Chiclets host’s version of events.
Both Columbus’ captain and the now-former coach described their encounter as nothing more than a way of sharing snippets of one another’s life in an effort to build a working relationship. During an appearance on the 32 Thoughts Podcast on the same day as Jenner and Babcock condemned Bissonette’s comments, Blue Jackets star winger Johnny Gaudreau gave a similar account to Jenner when asked about his photo-exchange meet-and-greet with Babcock.
But the story didn’t end there, obviously, with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting things changed on Wednesday night when the NHLPA received information that some of the younger Blue Jackets players were uncomfortable with their interactions with Babcock.
Friedman later reported that the information gathered on Wednesday night prompted NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh and assistant executive director Ron Hainsey to begin an investigation before flying out to Columbus and leading what was described as an “intense” meeting.
On Friday, Walsh and Hainsey relayed their findings during a joint meeting with the NHL and NHLPA. Saturday was arguably the quietest day of the scandal in the public eye, according to ESPN’s Greg Wyshinski, because that’s the day Columbus and Babcock started plotting his exit.
By Sunday, the Blue Jackets announced that Babcock had resigned and Pascal Vincent would be taking over as the team’s head coach.
Vincent, 51, had served as the Blue Jackets’ associate coach since the 2021-22 season. Before joining Columbus, Vincent spent 10 seasons with the Winnipeg Jets organization, serving as an NHL assistant for the first half of his tenure before pivoting to head coach of the organization’s AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose. Vincent was named AHL Coach Of The Year for the 2017-18 season.
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