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NHL Rumors: Williams, Maple Leafs, Oilers, Rangers, More – The Hockey Writers

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In today’s NHL rumors, there is news on who and how many team Justin Williams turned down before rejoining the Carolina Hurricanes, the Edmonton Oilers may make one particular forward available in an attempt to grab a useful rental, and Lias Andersson opens up about his issues with the New York Rangers.

Williams Returns to Carolina, Turns Down Leafs

There were rumors an announcement might be close and it didn’t talk long before Justin Williams has made up his mind regarding his NHL career this season and has returned to the Carolina Hurricanes. But, he didn’t just get offers from the Hurricanes.

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 24: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals and Justin Williams #14 of the Carolina Hurricanes shake hands after the Hurricanes defeated the Capitals 4-3 in the second overtime period in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Capital One Arena on April 24, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

Williams signed a $700k deal with $1.3 in bonuses for the remainder of this season but there is speculation he may have turned down an offer by the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun revealed that the Toronto Maple Leafs made a pitch to land Williams and Boston looked into it but Williams was keyed in with the Hurricanes.

Considering their depth up front and injury issues on the blue line, it’s a bit surprising to hear the Maple Leafs were going after him.

Related: Alexei Yashin Trade Revisited

Oilers Ready to Offer Up Puljujarvi

Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland told Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic that in the Oilers efforts to make the playoffs and be competitive, they are prepared to move Jesse Puljujarvi.

Ivan Provorov, Jesse Puljujarvi
Edmonton Oilers’ Jesse Puljujarvi, and Philadelphia Flyers’ Ivan Provorov (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Matt Slocum)

Holland said there are three choices. First, to move him for a rental, second to move him at the NHL Draft and finally, to wait and see if he changes his mind next season or wants to stay in Europe. Of the option to trade Puljujarvi as a rental, Holland explained:

“One, do you want to trade him in a rental? He’s a 21-year-old player who was the fourth-overall pick, do you want to trade him in a rental deal and get someone on the short term and they’re gone and that asset is gone?

… his agent have made it very clear to me last summer that he didn’t want to play for the Oilers. So, I’m going to proceed along that way.

source – ‘LeBrun: Q&A with GM Ken Holland on Oilers’ deadline plans and why the regular season is important, until it isn’t’ – Pierre LeBrun – The Athletic – 01/07/2020

But, it sounded as though Holland would only consider the rental option if the rental coming back was exceptional.

Related: Oilers News and Rumors: McDavid, Holland, Yamamoto, More

Lias Andersson Breaks Silence

In a Swedish-language interview with Aftobbladet, Lias Andersson finally started talking about what was going on between he and the New York Rangers organization. He didn’t tell all, but he certainly hinted at his unrest and some physical and mental struggles.

Lias Andersson Hartford Wolf Pack
Lias Andersson Hartford Wolf Pack (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

He explained, “I have a small lower body-injury that I’m trying to take care of.” But, he added, “There is a career that’s more important – and that’s friends, family and my health.”

Basically, Andersson hinted at the struggles he was facing mentally and that he needed a break. He realizes that this break could cost him his NHL career saying, “There’s been a lot of incidents that have affected me personally, thing that have made me feel bad mentally. Hockey wise it might be an idiotic decision, but I have to think about my personal life as well.”

He’s hoping it doesn’t mean he’ll miss hockey over the next year and one half but he understands that’s a risk and he can always find other places to play if he’s alienated himself from the NHL.

The New York Rangers have yet to comment and it is believed are still looking for a trade partner.

Related: NHL Rumors: Blackhawks, Predators, Jets, More

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Tiger Woods had a tough opening round at The 152nd Open Championship

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Tiger Woods encountered difficulties during the opening round of The 152nd Open Championship at Royal Troon, finishing with an 8-over-par 79. Despite a promising beginning, including a birdie on the third hole, Woods struggled to find consistency throughout the round. His iron play and putting were particularly problematic, contributing to a series of bogeys and double bogeys.

Woods’ performance saw him slightly above average off the tee and around the green. However, he lost over two strokes to the field in both approach play and putting, ranking near the bottom in these categories. This marks a significant challenge for the 15-time major champion, especially considering the competitive field and the demanding conditions at Royal Troon.

Reflecting on his round, Woods admitted, “I didn’t do a lot of things right today. I didn’t hit my irons very close, and I didn’t give myself a whole lot of looks today. I need to shoot something in the mid-60s tomorrow to get something going on the weekend.” He emphasized the need for a strong performance on Friday to make the cut and remain in contention.

Woods, 48, has shown determination and resilience, competing in all four majors this year for the first time since his serious car accident in 2021. Despite physical limitations, he believes he can still contend for major titles under the right conditions. His performance on Thursday puts him in a challenging position, requiring a significant turnaround in the second round to stay in the tournament.

As Woods prepares for Friday’s round, his focus remains on improving his game and making the cut. Fans and analysts alike will be watching to see if he can achieve the remarkable recovery needed to advance and compete over the weekend. Woods’ journey at The 152nd Open Championship continues to be a testament to his enduring skill and competitive spirit.

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NBA Returns to Montreal with Raptors vs. Wizards Pre-Season Game

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Montreal, QC – The NBA is set to make an exciting return to Montreal. The league announced on Thursday that the Toronto Raptors will face off against the Washington Wizards at the Bell Centre on October 6, marking the 10th edition of the NBA Canada Series.

This annual series has featured 15 teams playing 18 pre-season games across six Canadian cities. Notably, this will be the eighth NBA Canada Series game in Montreal, the highest for any city outside the Raptors’ usual home in Toronto.

Last year, Montreal fans witnessed the Detroit Pistons take on the Oklahoma City Thunder, featuring Canadians Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luguentz Dort. The Raptors’ previous game in Montreal was in 2022.

This year’s game will be particularly special as it will showcase several Canadian players. Montreal natives Chris Boucher and Quincy Guerrier are both on the Raptors’ training camp roster. Additionally, Kelly Olynyk and RJ Barrett, who are set to represent Canada at the upcoming Summer Olympics, are also expected to play for the Raptors.

The Wizards bring their own Canadian connection with Kyshawn George, selected in this year’s NBA Draft. George, born in Switzerland, is the son of Montreal’s Deon George, a former member of Canada’s men’s basketball team.

The October 6 game will cap off the Raptors’ Montreal-based training camp, promising an exciting end to their preparations.

For more updates and coverage on the NBA Canada Series, visit Canada News Media

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Fafa Picault Leads Vancouver Whitecaps to Victory Over Sporting Kansas City

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Vancouver, BCFafa Picault emerged as the hero off the bench, scoring in the second half to secure a 2-1 victory for the Vancouver Whitecaps against Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday.

The Whitecaps (11-7-5) dominated the first half, with two goals being disallowed due to offside calls. Vancouver’s breakthrough came in the 34th minute when Kansas City defender Robert Valoder accidentally scored an own goal, giving the ‘Caps a 1-0 lead.

Sporting Kansas City (6-14-5) showed more vigor in the second half, equalizing in the 69th minute with a goal from Willy Agada. However, Picault’s decisive goal in the 76th minute ensured the Whitecaps extended their unbeaten streak in Major League Soccer (MLS) to five games (4-0-1).

Yohei Takaoka delivered an outstanding performance with 16 saves for Vancouver, while Tim Melia made 12 stops for Kansas City, whose three-game winning streak came to an end.

First Half Dominance

The Whitecaps were aggressive from the start, creating several early scoring opportunities. Brian White nearly scored with a header in the seventh minute, but Valoder cleared it off the goal line.

Ali Ahmed had a notable moment in the 27th minute, maneuvering past defenders to set up White for a goal that was disallowed due to offside. The Whitecaps’ pressure paid off in the 34th minute when Valoder deflected the ball into his own net, attempting to intercept a pass from Ryan Gauld to White.

Ahmed seemed poised to increase Vancouver’s lead eight minutes later, but his goal was also ruled offside. Despite these setbacks, Vancouver outshot Kansas City 9-2 in the first half.

Kansas City’s Resurgence

Sporting Kansas City made three substitutions at halftime, revitalizing their performance. Stefan Afrifa, substituting for Alenis Vargas, struck the crossbar in the 63rd minute, and Daniel Salloi’s follow-up shot was expertly saved by Takaoka.

Kansas City equalized six minutes later when Agada capitalized on a rebound after Takaoka’s save, slotting the ball into an open net.

Picault’s Winning Goal

The Whitecaps regained the lead in the 76th minute through Picault’s sixth goal of the season. Sebastian Berhalter, who replaced Ryan Raposo in the 67th minute, delivered a perfect cross to Picault, who headed it past Melia to make it 2-1.

Kansas City had a chance to level the score in injury time, but Erik Thommy’s free kick went over the bar following a foul by Mathias Laborda.

The victory solidifies the Whitecaps’ position as a formidable team in the MLS, with Picault’s performance highlighting their depth and resilience.

Stay tuned for more updates and coverage on the Vancouver Whitecaps at Canada News Media.

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