Welcome to the NHL On Tap. Three NHL.com writers will share what they are most looking forward to on the schedule each day. Today, their choices from the five games Friday.
Showdown for first in the West
First place in the Honda West Division will be at stake when the Vegas Golden Knights visit the St. Louis Blues for the first game of a back-to-back set (8 p.m. ET; NHLN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVAS, FS-MW, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV). The division-leading Golden Knights won six straight before losing their past two games to the on-the-rise Minnesota Wild, so they will be looking to rebound. Vegas will be without goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who was pulled in the third period of a 4-3 loss to the Wild on Wednesday and placed in COVID-19 protocol Thursday. The Blues are one point behind the Golden Knights and 4-0-2 in their past six games. St. Louis forward Vladimir Tarasenko has one assist in two games since returning from offseason shoulder surgery. — Tom Gulitti, staff writer
Wild time for Coyotes
The Arizona Coyotes believe they are good enough to finish in the top four in the eight-team West and make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. One of the teams they’re battling is the Minnesota Wild, who are 9-2-1 in their past 12 games. The game in Minnesota (8 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-WI, FS-A, NHL.TV) should be a measuring-stick for each as the midpoint of the season approaches. Beyond that, there are great individual storylines to follow. Forward Kirill Kaprizov has been one of the most exciting offensive players the Wild have had in a while, leading them and all NHL rookies with 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists). Goalie Kaapo Kahkonen (11-4-0, 2.19 goals-against average, .922 save percentage, one shutout) has been a revelation and grabbed the No. 1 job from Cam Talbot. Kaprizov and Kahkonen are each a headliner in the discussion for the Calder Trophy given to the player voted rookie of the year in the NHL. For the Coyotes, keep an eye on Jakob Chychrun. Things are falling into place for the defenseman during his fifth NHL season. He is playing more minutes (22:58) than any Coyotes defenseman and has scored 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists), seven off his NHL career high set last season, in 26 games. — Shawn P. Roarke, senior director of editorial
Kings knocking on the door
The Los Angeles Kings are fifth in the West and have an eye on a playoff spot when they visit the Colorado Avalanche (9 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ALT2, FS-W, NHL.TV). I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Kings this season. They’ve been up and down lately (2-2-3 after a six-game winning streak), but I like the makeup of this team, a mix of proven veterans and talented youngsters. They are led by their championship core. Center Anze Kopitar leads the Kings with 31 points (seven goals, 24 assists), followed by defenseman Drew Doughty with 22 points (six goals, 16 assists). Forward Dustin Brown has scored 19 points (13 goals, six assists), tied for third with forward Adrian Kempe (11 goals, eight assists). Young players, including rookie forward Gabriel Vilardi and defenseman Mikey Anderson, have been fun to watch too. The fourth-place Avalanche are 5-2-1 in their past eight games after a 2-1 overtime win against the Coyotes on Wednesday. This two-game set (the Kings and Avalanche also play Sunday) should be fun to watch. — Tracey Myers, staff writer
Vegas Golden Knights at St. Louis Blues, 8 p.m. ET (NHLN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVAS, FS-MW, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV)
Forward Max Pacioretty is tied for first for Vegas with 12 goals and is second with 21 points. He scored a hat trick in a 5-4 shootout loss to St. Louis on Jan. 26, the only game played between the teams so far this season.
Arizona Coyotes at Minnesota Wild, 8 p.m. ET (FS-N, FS-WI, FS-A, NHL.TV)
Clayton Keller has scored eight points (three goals, five assists) during a six-game point streak for the Coyotes, who play the first of three straight against the Wild.
Ottawa Senators at Edmonton Oilers, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN+, SNW, TSN5, RDS, NHL.TV)
Edmonton looks to complete a three-game sweep against Ottawa after a 3-2 win Monday and a 7-1 win Wednesday. The Oilers are 6-0-0 against the Senators this season, outscoring them 28-13.
Los Angeles Kings at Colorado Avalanche, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN+, ALT2, FS-W, NHL.TV)
Kings center Anze Kopitar is fifth in the NHL with 24 assists and tied for eighth with 31 points. He is 19 points away from 1,000 in his career.
San Jose Sharks at Anaheim Ducks, 10 p.m. ET (PRIME, FS-SD, NBCSCA, NHL.TV)
The first of a back-to-back set, the Sharks are 2-0-1 against the Ducks this season. San Jose forward Logan Couture and Anaheim forward Max Comtois each has scored three goals in the season series.
Drouin must return to mentality that’s led to success this season – Sportsnet.ca
It was something Dominique Ducharme said after his Montreal Canadiens played an abysmal game against the Ottawa Senators last week, something that only truly resonated after they lost 3-2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday — a game that emboldened the struggle Jonathan Drouin’s currently enduring.
“Ninety per cent of the mistakes we made were mental, and the rest of it was above our shoulders.” the coach said after the 6-3 loss to Ottawa last Saturday, somewhat channelling New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra with this bit of wit and wisdom.
It was hard not to think of those words watching Drouin play the way he did on Wednesday. For much of this season, the talented left winger has played a primary role in Montreal’s success. He’s led them with 19 assists, been tenacious on the forecheck, physically engaged all over the ice, cerebral as always in his execution and, as he’s said on several occasions, relatively unconcerned by whether or not his name has been featured on the scoresheet.
But it seemed clear, after watching Drouin dump a breakaway into Jack Campbell’s chest with one of 32 shots the Maple Leafs goaltender turned aside to set a franchise record with his 10th consecutive win, he had diverted from that. And that affected the way he played the rest of the game.
It was Drouin’s fifth in a row without a point, his 18th without a goal, and he’d have to be a robot not to be suffering the mental wear of not seeing the puck go in more than twice since the season started, the torment of seeing only three per cent of his shots hit the back of the net through 36 games after 10 per cent of them resulted in goals through the first 348 games of his career.
“It is weighing on me where, when I have a chance and miss the goal, I might be trying to score too much,” Drouin said. “It’s something I obviously think about — every player would — and I’ve just gotta put it past me and just keep shooting pucks.”
Ideally, the 26-year-old wouldn’t be thinking about any of this. These are thoughts that weigh a player down and right now the Canadiens are in tough without Brendan Gallagher for the rest of the season and Drouin needs to be light and free to help account for that loss. And in order for him to do that, he needs to focus on what he does best.
Because the reality is that even though Drouin can score more, scoring isn’t what he needs to do in order to be at his best and really help this team.
“When his feet are moving and he’s making plays, Drou’s a pass-first guy,” explained Jake Allen, who made 29 saves in Carey Price’s absence. “When his feet are moving, his head’s always in it. When his feet are moving, he’s controlling the play, controlling the puck. He’s a guy who really can control the play for a whole line. You want the puck on that guy’s stick and let the other guys do the dirty work and he’ll find them.”
But when Drouin’s feet aren’t moving, there just isn’t enough of that other stuff happening.
When Drouin’s feet weren’t moving, he lost a battle for the puck in the offensive zone and allowed the NHL’s leading goal scorer to start the rush that resulted in the winning play of Wednesday’s game.
Auston Matthews to Mitch Marner, back to Matthews, off Allen and slammed into Montreal’s net by Zach Hyman with 9:39 remaining in the third period, with Drouin watching from just inside his own blue line.
“You give a 3-on-2 to the Matthews line and it’s the kind of play they’re going to make you pay on,” said Ducharme.
Was Drouin still thinking about that shot he didn’t bury in the second period?
It’s understandable if he was, but those are the kind of thoughts he needs to shake right now.
“He wants to do well, and I’m sure it’s getting a little bit in his head,” said Ducharme. “I think the best remedy for him is to be scoring that goal or making that big play, and I think he’s going to be energized by that and less thinking, more acting.
“It is a fine line. Those kind of thoughts is not something that you want to happen. But when you receive that puck and you see the opening and stuff, (the slump) comes back to (your mind). That’s why the mental part of the game is something that’s very tricky. It’s not his will to be thinking that way. Every player who’s going through a time like that will have that thought and scoring that goal will take him to a different level. At those kind of times you need to make it even simpler and being even more inside going at the net and finding a garbage (goal) right there and you put it in and sometimes you go on a little run. It might be that kind of goal that he needs to get that monkey off his back.”
It’s the kind of goal Corey Perry scored twice to give the Canadiens a chance in this game.
But Drouin isn’t Perry, who rightly pointed out after the game he’s made a career of scoring goals that way. And even if Drouin can borrow from what Perry does next time he has a chance like the one Brett Kulak set him up with for that breakaway, there are other ways he can positively impact the game.
You can appreciate that Drouin said he’s putting pressure on himself to score more and help make up for the goals the team will be missing with Gallagher sidelined, but that might not get him to where he needs to be mentally to contribute as much as he already has this season.
What would, though, is a sharp turn towards the mentality he described just days ago. The one that’s enabled him to be a much more consistent player this season than he has in seasons past.
“When I was younger, I’d stay on one game or stay on one play for too long and wouldn’t be able to let it go for a bit or a couple of days,” Drouin said. “But I think for me now it’s can I look at myself in the mirror after a game and did I give my good effort? Was I a part of this game? Was I doing something right in a lot of areas?
“That’s what I do now. I think points are there, goals are there, assists are there, but it’s just about playing that real game and playing to help your team win.”
Drouin’s done a lot of that this season and has a chance to get right back to it when the Winnipeg Jets visit the Bell Centre Thursday.
Scioscia to lead U.S. baseball bid for spot at Tokyo Olympics
(Reuters) – Mike Scioscia, who won World Series both as a player and manager, was named manager of the U.S. men’s national baseball team on Tuesday, as they seek a spot at the Tokyo Olympics.
After 19 seasons as manager of the Anaheim Angels, guiding them to their only World Series win in 2002, Scioscia will make his international coaching debut in June when the United States hosts the Baseball Americas Qualifier in Florida.
For the tournament the U.S. will be grouped with the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Nicaragua in Pool A while Canada, Colombia, Cuba, and Venezuela will make up Pool B.
The top two teams from each pool will advance to the Super Round, where the country with the best overall record will earn a spot in the Tokyo Olympic tournament.
Second and third-place finishers will advance to a final qualifier, joining Australia, China, Taiwan, and the Netherlands.
“Mike’s tenure with the Angels’ franchise was nothing short of spectacular, creating and celebrating a culture of success with six division titles, an American League pennant, and its first-ever World Series title,” said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler in a statement. “More impactfully, his leadership, integrity, and character are unparalleled in our game, making him the perfect fit for the USA Baseball family.”
The Olympic tournament will take place from July 28-Aug. 7 in Fukushima City and Yokohama.
Hosts Japan, Israel, South Korea, and Mexico have already secured a berth in the six-team field.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Toby Davis)
Masters 2021: Tiger Woods says he'll miss Champions Dinner, running up DJ's bill – Golf Channel
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Dustin Johnson will host his first Champions Dinner on Tuesday night in the Augusta National clubhouse, and he’ll be joined by several past Masters champions.
One former winner who won’t be there is five-time champ Tiger Woods, who is still home in South Florida recovering from a serious car accident in February near Los Angeles. Justin Thomas, who is still working toward his invite to the prestigious dinner, said Woods texted him Friday night and was “bummed” to not be at the Masters this year.
Woods then tweeted Tuesday afternoon that he’ll miss one of his favorite nights of the year.
“I’ll miss running up @DJohnsonPGA’s bill at the Champions Dinner tonight,” Woods said. “It’s still one of my favorite nights of the year.”
Johnson responded to Woods’ tweet, saying: “Will miss having you here. This week isn’t the same without you.”
The PGA Tour announced that the club would leave a seat open for Woods at the dinner, though the tweet has since been taken down.
Johnson will serve a menu including filet mignon, sea bass and peach cobbler.
GLAAD Media Awards presenters support transgender athletes – Coast Reporter
$600K donation to boost online mental health programming in Nova Scotia – CBC.ca
Joe Biden: Could his tax plan affect US investment in Ireland? – BBC News
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Galaxy M31 July 2020 security update brings Glance, a content-driven lockscreen wallpaper service
Economy23 hours ago
Canadian dollar rebounds from one-week low ahead of jobs data
News23 hours ago
Canadian fertilizer producer Nutrien to cut greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2030
Economy23 hours ago
CANADA STOCKS – TSX rises 0.52% to 19,228.87
Economy23 hours ago
Canadian dollar outshines G10 peers, boosted by jobs surge
Economy23 hours ago
CANADA STOCKS – TSX ends flat at 19,228.03
News22 hours ago
Canada aims to raise safety along notorious “Highway of Tears” with cell phone service
News21 hours ago
Citigroup lawyer says another bank made bigger payment error than Revlon
Art19 hours ago
Imaginations, creativity of Mountview students on display at Cariboo Art Beat – Williams Lake Tribune – Williams Lake Tribune