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NHL missed opportunity to stand up for social justice Wednesday night – Sportsnet.ca

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Maybe other parents have discovered the same thing.

That it’s when you are tucking your children into bed, they most want to talk. Ask big questions.

Growing up with a sports-mad father, my nine-year-old son, Will, wants to know the other scores before he falls asleep after I let him stay up and watch the first period.

On Wednesday night, that meant telling Will about the bravery of the Milwaukee Bucks, and it meant explaining the “PPD” next to all the NBA scores and a bunch of the baseball games as well.

It also meant a flood of follow-up questions building on a recurring topic in our home that began before George Floyd’s murder but has certainly spiked in frequency and detail since then:

“The cop was white, right?”

“I don’t understand. Why shoot seven times?”

“How old is Jacob Blake? Does he have kids?”

“Why didn’t the NHL players take a stand?”

“Are all NHL players white?”

I want my son to know that Jacob Blake is 29 years old. That he is a dad. That he was unarmed. That he may never walk again. And, you’re right, Will, that’s not fair.

What I wanted to tell my son is that the NHL players we’ve been entertained by each night this month stood by the NBA, members of MLB, WNBA, MLS and professional tennis. That they all banned united with athletes from other backgrounds and other sports for the common cause of decency.

That they boycotted, or they knelt, or they said something into a microphone we could feel. Be proud of.

The way Doc Rivers did. Or Kenny Smith. Or Chris Webber. Or Sam Mitchell. Or Dominic Smith.

Wednesday won’t be the only opportunity to stand up to police brutality against Black people — there’s no deadline for that — but it was a golden one.

Hockey is my favourite sport, and today I’m a little embarrassed to write that. I won’t pretend to imagine how people of colour who love the sport — fans, players, media members — must be feeling.

The 33-second moment of silence to “erase racism” and wish Blake’s family well before one of the three games played Wednesday felt flippant. The “We Skate for Black Lives” signage that hangs inside Scotiabank Arena rings as empty as the rink itself.

“The signs and the hockey ops is great and everything, but eventually words get stale,” Nazem Kadri said post-game. “It’s about action and making a difference.”

Wednesday night sure felt like a chance for some action, to spread the conversation to a largely white audience. To spark some discussion in households and make people pay attention to the injustice. For a start, watch this:

“If even one player had come to me and said, ‘Hey, I don’t think we should play,’ then we would’ve addressed it as a team. But I never got word from anyone in our room, and the league hadn’t said the players are thinking about not playing,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said.

“It’s obviously an important topic and something we need to think long and hard about as a country. But I just think tonight wasn’t maybe the time and place for us.”

So, in the hockey world, it was left to people with no Stanley Cup to play for this year — Evander Kane, Matt Dumba, Akim Aliu, Kelly Hrudey — to speak up.

“I don’t think we should be here. I really think the NHL should postpone the games,” Hrudey said on Hockey Night in Canada. “I really feel we should be more supportive of Black Lives Matter.”

The games felt unworthy of commentary outside of the disappointment that they happened at all.

Did players not protest out of fear of speaking or standing out as individuals while playoff hockey was front of mind for their teams? Peer pressure is powerful and ridding hockey culture of its rigid conformity and reluctance to embrace diversity won’t happen overnight.

But this one was on a platter for hockey players. A tap-in. They didn’t have to lead, just follow the pack of humanity. Listen. Support. Be an ally.

“The NHL, we’re always late to the party, especially on these topics, so it’s sorta sad and disheartening for me and other members of the HDA [Hockey Diversity Alliance], and I’m sure other guys across the league,” said Dumba, who once knelt alone.

“But if no one stands up and does anything, it’s the same thing — it’s just that silence that you’re just outside looking in on actually being leaders and invoking real change when you have such an opportunity to do so.”

“It’s another instance, unfortunately, that still hasn’t been acknowledged and we’re about — what? — three or four days into this video being released, or this incident occurring, and I still haven’t seen or heard anything in regards to it. So, that’s disappointing. And as a Black player in this league, it’s even more disappointing,” Kane said.

Kane also tweeted this: “Actually, it’s incredibly insulting as a Black man in hockey the lack of action and acknowledgement from the @nhl, just straight up insulting.”

Dumba, sounding defeated during his interview on Sportsnet 650, urged his white peers to join the fight.

“In hockey, that’s what it comes back to: you’re relying on the minority guys to step up and say it. But what would really make the most impact is to have strong white leaders from teams step up and have their two cents heard,” Dumba said.

“All the other white kids who grow up watching them, who might be their biggest fans, can look up and say, ‘Wow, if he’s seeing this and trying to stand up and listen, then why am I not as well? Why am I continuing to hold on to this ignorance or hate that I feel toward a subject that I maybe don’t know everything about?’ ”

On Thursday afternoon Kane, Dumba, Akim Aliu and the Hockey Diversity Alliance called on the NHL to postpone its games later that night. The players are now preparing for those cancellations.

There is power in numbers. In unity.

And there is incredible power, when you’re tucking your kids in at night, explaining to them why the NHL players chose not to play a game. Why they stood up for people who don’t look quite the same. And why they, too, believe what’s happening is unfair.

Why they chose not to skate for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake on Wednesday night?

Yeah, the NHL is in a bubble alright.

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Lightning seek commanding lead over Stars as Game 4 favourites – Sportsnet.ca

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The Tampa Bay Lightning will be looking to take a commanding 3-1 series lead when they hit the ice on Friday for Game 4 of their Stanley Cup Final clash against the Dallas Stars as -150 favourites on the NHL odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Fired up by the brief return of Steven Stamkos, the Lightning offence wasted no time taking an early lead in a 5-2 victory in Game 3. With the win, Tampa Bay seized its first lead of the series, leading Dallas two games to one going into Friday night’s matchup at Rogers Place.

Hobbled by injuries that have kept him out of the lineup since February, Stamkos made his presence felt quickly. The Lightning captain potted a first-period goal that gave the club an early 2-0 lead, but was used sparingly the rest of the way, seeing just 2:47 of total ice time. But even with Stamkos stapled to the bench, the Lightning offence enjoyed a long-awaited resurgence, scoring three times on 21 shots in the second period before patiently playing a slow-moving third period that provided the Stars with little opportunity to rebound.

Tampa Bay’s five goals marked the first time the club has topped four goals since Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final. The breakthrough provided a payout to those taking the OVER at betting sites for the first time in the Lightning’s past six contests.

The Lightning have now scored at least five times on four occasions during this year’s playoffs, but have struggled to maintain momentum in subsequent outings, scoring just seven total goals in the games immediately following their three previous high-scoring contests. However, Tampa Bay has a history of maintaining playoff momentum, claiming victory in each of its past four Game 4 appearances while sporting a 2-1 series lead.

Now just two wins away from their first Stanley Cup victory since 2004, the Lightning have vaulted to -500 favourites on the NHL playoff series prices, well ahead of Dallas, which has slipped to +350. However, the Stars cannot be counted out as they prepare for Game 4 as +130 underdogs.

Wednesday night marked just the second time in these playoffs that the Stars had lost two games in a row. Dallas responded with a mammoth defensive effort to win six of seven following their last two-game slide. But after scoring just 12 total goals at even strength in their past eight games, the Stars must find a way to spark their offence if they are to even up the series on Friday night.

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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets Game 4: Live score, updates, news, stats and highlights – NBA CA

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The Los Angeles Lakers take a commanding 3-1 series lead after holding off the Denver Nuggets to seal a 114-108 win.

The Lakers are now 11-3 in the post-season and need just one more win to make it back to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.

Anthony Davis led the charge with 34 points, five rebounds, and three blocks, while LeBron James was just shy of another playoff triple-double, recording 26 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.

For the Nuggets, they were led by 32 points and eight assists from Jamal Murray as they face a 3-1 deficit for the third time in the 2020 playoffs.

If you missed any of the action we had you covered with live updates, highlights and more from this contest.

FINAL: Lakers 114, Nuggets 108

BOX SCORE | PLAY-BY-PLAY

– Davis buries two free throws to put the result beyond doubt and the Lakers go up 3-1 in the series.

– The Nuggets went cold down the stretch, not making a field goal over the last 3:28 minutes, missing their last five shots

– HUGE offensive rebound from Rondo, the Lakers’ 12th of the night. They’ve outscored the Nuggets 25-6 in second chance points

– Rondo climbs up the all-time playoff assist list, moving past Scottie Pippen for 8th

– Jokic misses the hook shot with a chance to cut it to five. He’s scorelss in the fourth, going 0-of-3.

– Monte Morris and Jamal Murray have scored the last 12 Nuggets points as they trim the lead to 105-102 (3:10)

– Jokic is back in the game alongside Millsap. They both have five fouls

– KCP hits the three at one end and gets the steal down the other. He’s making big plays for the Lakers down the stretch (3:56)

– Jamal Murray AGAIN! He gets another tough finish to go at the rim and the Nuggets are back within four points. (5:34)

– Davis and Rondo connect for another alley-oop. AD has scored the last eight Laker points as they go up five 99-94, (6:15)

– Anthony Davis goes down after turning his ankle on a jumper. He stays in the game and shoots two free throws (6:44)

– Jokic fouls Anthony Davis, picking up his fifth. The Lakers are in the bonus the rest of the way Millsap comes into the game (8:06)

– Jamal Murray is keeping the Nuggets within touching distance. His aggressiveness driving to the basket is catching the Lakers defence out.

End of third quarter: Lakers 87, Nuggets 84

– Every time the Lakers make a run and get the lead out to double-digits, the Nuggets have found a response and head into the third quarter down three points, closing the period on an 11-4 run

– Michael Porter Jr has come to life for the Nuggets with a couple of big triples. He gets one to go on the final shot of the quarter to make it 13 points and six rebounds off the bench.

– Anthony Davis is again struggling on the glass, with just one rebound. Howard (11) and LeBron (8) have done the bulk of the damage on the glass for LA.

– Rajon Rondo has provided a big spark in the third quarter! The ball fake never gets old. His layup gives the Lakers a 10-points lead (2:35)

– The Nuggets are shooting well from the field (57.4%) but the Lakers’ domination on the glass has made the difference. They’ve piled up 20 second-chance points midway through the third.

Torrey Craig drains the triple and Murray follows it up with another layup as the Nuggets get back to within five points. Timeout Lakers (7:21)

– Dwight Howard gets the free throw to go down and the Lakers have opened up a 10-point lead (70-60) thanks to a 10-2 run (8:14)

Half-time: Lakers 60, Nuggets 55

– After trailing by 12 points, the Nuggets rallied to cut the half-time deficit to just five points, led by Jamal Murray’s 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Jokic and Grant have 10 apiece

– Dwight Howard has been a monster in the first half, scoring 11 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, with 6 on the offensive glass. His activity around the rim has helped the Lakers create 18 second-chance points, more than they’ve had in any game during this series.

– Davis leads the way with 19 points, but the Lakers have four different players in double figures with 14 points from LeBron and 10 from Kuzma.

Half-time team stats:

https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/NBA_Global_CMS_image_storage/ac/ce/nuggets-lakers_48lf0pqr75zf1x8326b6qcx54.png?t=-1023334772&w=500

– The Lakers have now missed 8 of their last 9 shots as the Nuggets trim the lead to four points (1:36)

– Jamal Murray or Michael Jordan? Check this finish from the Nuggets PG!

– Kyle Kuzma’s giving the Lakers some strong minutes, He’s got 10 points in 10 minutes on court.

– The Lakers are making their presence felt on the glass, outrebounding the Nuggets 15-6 midway through the period. Jokic if off to a slow start with 2 points and 0 rebounds.

Alex Caruso drains the corner triple as the Lakers open their largest lead of the game 42-32 early in the second.

End of first quarter: Lakers 37, Nuggets 30

– It’s been a first-quarter shootout between Davis and Murray. AD leads the Lakers with 14 points, while Murray has 12 for the Nuggets. We’re on track for a high-scoring game with both teams shooting above 55%.

– Howard’s making the most of his start today, hauling in eight rebounds to go with eight points late in the first. Lakers lead 29-23.

– The Lakers have gone to their zone defence early, but credit the Nuggets who have moved the ball well early, getting 4 assists on their first 8 made field goals

– LeBron’s bucket caps off a 12-3 run as the Lakers take an eight point lead (5:26)

– A fast start for Anthony Davis, he’s got the Lakers’ first 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting as they lead 10-9. (8:16). Millsap picks up two quick fouls guarding AD and heads to the bench.

– Jokic gets the layup to go for the first points of the game and we’re underway in Game 4

Pre-game

– Dwight Howard will start at centre in place of JaVale McGee, alongside Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis

– Nuggets starters: Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Jerami Grant, Paul Millsap, and Nikola Jokic.

– Jamal Murray gets loose ahead of Game 4

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Blue Jays clinch 1st post-season berth since 2016 after defeating Yankees – CBC.ca

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Vladimir Guerrero Jr., homered and ace Hyun-Jin Ryu threw seven shutout innings as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the New York Yankees 4-1 on Thursday night to wrap up their first post-season berth in four years.

Toronto survived a nervous eighth inning as New York scratched out a run off reliever Anthony Bass, who was pulled after loading the bases with his third walk of the frame.

Rafael Dolis came on and got pinch-hitter Gary Sanchez to fly out on a ball that Randal Grichuk caught against the wall in left-centre field for the third out.

Dolis returned for the ninth and when he fanned Aaron Hicks for his third strikeout of the inning, the party was on at Buffalo’s Sahlen Field.

The Blue Jays celebrated near their dugout, with many players putting on T-shirts that read “Respect Toronto.”

“We keep believing in ourselves,” said manager Charlie Montoyo. “It’s awesome. I’m so proud of this group. I’m the happiest guy right now.”

The Blue Jays were in control of their playoff destiny after entering play with a magic number of one. The two teams that had a chance of catching Toronto — the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners — were idle.

Regular-season play continues through Sunday and the playoffs will begin Tuesday. All first-round series will be best-of-three matchups.

It’s possible that the Blue Jays could still move up in the seeding order, but they are good bets to stay in the No. 8 position. If the season ended Thursday night, Toronto would meet the top-seeded Tampa Bay Rays.

Expanded playoff format

Under Major League Baseball’s expanded playoff structure, 16 teams will reach the playoffs. Division winners will be seeded Nos. 1-3 in each league, second-place teams will be seeded fourth through sixth, and two third-place wild-card teams will get the seventh and eighth seeds.

Guerrero had three of Toronto’s 10 hits. He hit a solo homer off New York starter Jordan Montgomery in the second inning and scored on Alejandro Kirk’s two-run double in the sixth inning.

Ryu pitched into the seventh inning for the first time this season, allowing five hits and two walks. He had four strikeouts and threw 62 of his 100 pitches for strikes.

Gio Urshela doubled off Ryu (5-2) in the second inning to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. He was left stranded when Clint Frazier struck out.

Guerrero turned on a 1-1 pitch from Montgomery (2-3) in the bottom half of the frame for his eighth homer. Back-to-back doubles from Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette in the third made it a 2-0 game.

The Yankees (32-25) threatened in the sixth inning after singles by Luke Voit and Hicks. But Ryu struck out Giancarlo Stanton, got Gleyber Torres to fly out and then Urshela on a groundout.

Kirk, a rookie catcher who served as designated hitter, lashed a pitch from Adam Ottavino into the left-field corner to help the Blue Jays double their lead. Grichuk scored ahead of Guerrero, who hustled around third base and slid just under Kyle Higashioka’s tag.

New York can’t catch first-place Tampa Bay in the East and has a magic number of one to secure second place in the division.

Before the game, the Blue Jays activated right-hander Nate Pearson after a month-long stint on the injured list due to right elbow tightness. Reliever Wilmer Font was designated for assignment.

The Blue Jays won the wild-card game en route to an appearance in the American League Championship Series in 2016.

Toronto’s last World Series victory came in 1993. A long playoff drought followed until the Blue Jays reached the ALCS in 2015.

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