The National Hockey League and the NHL Players’ Association have reached an agreement for a 56-game season beginning Jan. 13.
The seven Canadian teams will be in the North Division as part of the league’s realignment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Teams are divided into four divisions with games played within the division.
The NHL stated the plan is to play games in the home arenas of participating teams, but is prepared to play games in one or more “neutral-site” venues per division if necessary.
The <a href=”https://twitter.com/NHLPA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@NHLPA</a> and <a href=”https://twitter.com/NHL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@NHL</a> have announced an agreement to play a 2020-21 regular-season schedule of 56 games beginning on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. <a href=”https://t.co/2on0oStnMd”>https://t.co/2on0oStnMd</a> <a href=”https://t.co/aggYeVMjfj”>pic.twitter.com/aggYeVMjfj</a>
Approval from health officials in the five Canadian provinces with NHL teams is needed for the Canadian clubs to play at home.
Each team in the East, Central and West divisions will play every other team in its division eight times, while each team in the North Division will play every other team in its division nine or 10 times.
The top four teams in each division qualify for the playoffs.
Canadiens, Canucks underdogs on Saturday NHL odds – Sportsnet.ca
The Montreal Canadiens will be looking to rebound from a 5-4 overtime loss to Toronto when they open a two-game set in Edmonton on Saturday night as small -105 underdogs on the NHL odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Montreal squandered a 3-1 lead on its way to Wednesday’s season-opening loss to the Maple Leafs, and also rides a three-game losing streak in Edmonton into Saturday night’s matchup at Rogers Place.
The Canadiens showed flashes of the potential that has stoked optimism among Montreal fans entering the new season. Last summer’s surprising playoff performance and offseason additions like Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli have made the Canadiens a solid +475 wager to win the North Division at online betting sites as the season gets underway. However, Montreal has been largely outclassed in recent trips to the Alberta capital, with the Oilers outscoring the Canadiens by a 22-13 margin during a 5-1 run.
The Oilers have produced mixed results in season-opening action but enter Saturday’s matchup as -115 favourites. The team never led in a 5-3 loss to Vancouver on Wednesday, but never trailed in Thursday’s victory as reduced -135 chalk, with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl combining for three goals and five assists.
Also on Saturday, the Canucks look to get back into the win column as they visit the Calgary Flames as +115 underdogs, while earlier in the evening the Toronto Maple Leafs wrap up a two-game road series with the Ottawa Senators as heavy -200 chalk.
Vancouver returns to action looking to build on a breakthrough playoff run that took them to within one game of a berth in the Western Conference Final. The Canucks have dropped three of their last four games against the Flames, scoring just three total goals in those defeats, and have alternated between victories and losses while earning the win in three of their past six games at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
And the Canucks could be facing former goaltender Jacob Markstrom, who signed with the Flames as an unrestricted free agent this past offseason. Markstrom won 99 games during seven seasons in Vancouver, but his Calgary tenure got off to a shaky start as the Flames blew an early 3-1 lead on their way to a 4-3 overtime loss in Winnipeg on Wednesday night. Despite that loss, the Flames are listed as -135 favourites in their date with Vancouver.
The Maple Leafs came out flat in a 5-3 loss to the Senators on Friday, and have now fallen to defeat in 10 of their last 14 road dates in Ottawa, which looks to Saturday night as a +170 bet.
The Maple Leafs are a joke – Pension Plan Puppets
The first period got off to a pretty tepid start. The first five minutes of action were characterized by unscreened point shots and board battles that didn’t really lead anywhere. The Leafs had more territorial control, as you’d expect against a team of the Senators quality, but they weren’t really able to turn it into great chances.
About seven minutes in, the Leafs get a break as Derek Stepan fires the puck out of play in his own zone, and they get a power play. The Leafs appear to be persisting with the spread out power play units, breaking up the loaded unit we saw under Keefe last season. The Tavares / Nylander unit got the first 45 seconds, with the Matthews / Marner group finishing it off. The latter looks better than the former, as they were able to maintain great possession in the offensive zone. However, Matt Murray stops the only real chance they generate, a Matthews one-timer off a scramble.
Shortly thereafter, Cedric Paquette holds Alexander Kerfoot, and the Leafs get another power play. And this time, the Leafs score! Nylander passes to Tavares in the bumper spot, who fools a defender by holding for a beat, rather than one-timing. Tavares shoots and the rebound pops up perfectly for Hyman to bunt into the net. 1-0 Leafs.
Matthews’ line came out for the next shift, and like we saw in the Blue/White scrimmage, they’re great at offensive zone puck recovery. This led to a Marner shot off a pass from Matthews, but it’s wayward (to say the least).
Tim Stützle had been quiet (hard to blame him, given the power plays of the Leafs), but he draws a slashing penalty on Travis Dermott. The power play led to the first real work for Frederik Andersen in the game, and he handles it ably. Politely, the Leafs gave him another chance to demonstrate his prowess, as Joe Thornton caught Thomas Chabot with a high stick with about two minutes remaining.
Hyman got a breakaway that he was unable to convert on, and afterwards, the Leafs took another bench minor for too many men. This resulted in a minute-long 5v3 that the Senators needed about half of to capitalize on. Drake Batherson finds Chabot for a one-timer, and he pounds it by Andersen. 1-1 game.
The rest of the period passes without incident, as the Leafs attempted to kill off the part of the bench minor.
In general, the 1-1 score is relatively fair. The Leafs haven’t generated much at 5v5, and what they have generated was almost entirely from the Matthews group. However, the Senators have generated even less. Both teams got reasonable chances via their power plays, and took advantage.
The second period started with Ottawa having a 40 second power play. However the Leafs manage to kill it without issues. It’s worth noting that Matthews didn’t get any PK time.
About five minutes in, the Mikheyev-Kerfoot-Hyman line hems the Senators in for about 90 seconds. Because it’s those three, there were precisely 0 dangerous shots, but hey, it’s better than spending time in your own zone. The shift afterwards, Justin Holl and Thornton somehow found themselves on a 2-on-1. Presumably shocked, Holl did literally nothing and the chance evaporated.
That said, the Leafs looked better in terms of territorial advantage and pressure in this part of the game. That said, they still didn’t really generate a large amount of great chances, especially when Matthews and his crew isn’t on the ice.
But sometimes, you don’t need great chances to score. Alex Kerfoot wired one in from the point, with Hyman and Mikheyev both providing effective screens. 2-1 Leafs.
Shortly after the Kerfoot goal, the Sens generated a mad scramble in front of Andersen that did not inspire confidence in the Leafs’ ability to lock this game down, but the puck stayed out. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the ensuing shift, where a Nikita Zaitsev shot from the right half-boards is tipped by Brady Tkachuk. 2-2 game, and the Sens aren’t going away quietly.
Joe Thornton then displayed some of the superlative skills he still has. He managed to box out a Sen below the net, and found a darting Matthews at the netfront. Matt Murray makes a great save to keep it tied. On the other end, the Leafs don’t get quite as good goaltending.
Nick Paul made a good play to get the puck off the boards in the offensive zone, finding Braydon Cobourn, who drops it off to Austin Watson. His shot from the right circle goes bar down, and it’s 3-2 Sens.
It’s a great shot, don’t get me wrong… but in a game where the Leafs have gotten more chances, you’d like Andersen to make a big save here.
The period then went from bad to worse for the Leafs. On a delayed penalty, Chris Tierney shovels a rebound into the net while facing the wrong way. 4-2 Senators and this is not ideal at all. While I’d say the Leafs have gotten more chances than the Senators on the whole, they’re not creating tons of golden chances offensively. And the few chances that the Sens are getting are basically right in front of the net, and pretty high value.
With three minutes to go, the Leafs received a chance to atone for some of their sins, with Chabot getting the gate for high sticking. Did they take it? Reader, they did not. Instead, Nylander turned the puck over in his own zone, and Spezza took a penalty as a result.
Toronto escaped the second without further damage.
Like the second period, the third started with Ottawa on the power play, and like the second, nothing happens in that time. Two minutes in, Chabot took another penalty, this time for holding. However, Toronto was unable take advantage of the power play.
At this point, Keefe started busting out the line blender, with Hyman moving up to join Tavares and Nylander.
After a pretty unforced icing from the Leafs, Brodie turns the puck over behind his own net. Derek Stepan finds Batherson in front, and his shot results in a loose puck that Stepan tucks home himself. 5-2 Senators.
The Leafs then loaded up their top unit power play with the five guys who you would expect to see there. It immediately paid off as Tavares absolutely rips a wrister home on a broken play. 5-3 Senators, and the Leafs have a glimmer of hope.
I gotta be honest. The fact that when the chips are down, the Leafs move Vesey off Tavares’ wing and play their five best players on the PP suggests that maybe they should do that from puck drop, instead of waiting until their win probability is in single digits.
After Dermott iced the puck under literally zero pressure, he then failed to clear the puck on the ensuing shift. As usual, the Leafs were terrible in their own zone, which led to a great chance for Erik Gudbranson, of all people. Andersen made a great save to keep it superficially close.
Nylander capped off a brutal performance by giving the puck away and then taking a high sticking penalty to kill off any chance of a comeback. After a strong opening night from him, this was a game to forget.
Nothing happens the rest of the game. I mean, maybe something did, but I paid as much attention as the Leafs evidently do when south of their own blue line. Final score, 5-3 Senators.
One thing I want to be clear about here. The Senators have not executed a smash and grab. They are basically going even with a team that they are far worse than on paper. There are universes where this performance resulted in a win for the Leafs, but Ottawa was by no means undeserving of the result here.
This third period is especially bad. Maybe the Leafs deserved better in the first two frames, but they’re in the position they’re in. To have a third period where you generate nothing offensively at 5v5, trailing, against a team like the Senators is inexcusable. Just a straight up terrible effort.
Olympic champion says she was assaulted by sports official – CBC.ca
Olympic sailing champion Sofia Bekatorou of Greece has accused an unnamed sporting official of sexually assaulting her in 1998 during preparations for the Sydney Games.
Bekatorou, who won gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics, said the male official from the Hellenic Sailing Federation performed a “lewd act” after inviting her to his hotel room to discuss team preparations.
Bekatorou said she had made it clear that the act was not consensual, adding that she was left feeling “exhausted and humiliated.”
She did not name the official but described him as having a senior rank in the federation.
In a statement Friday, the sailing federation said it had not received any formal or informal complaint from Bekatorou but urged her to make one.
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Canadiens, Canucks underdogs on Saturday NHL odds – Sportsnet.ca
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