The Montreal Canadiens, who have managed to adapt to each of their opponents during a magical run to the Stanley Cup Final, are not about to hit the panic button after dropping the opening game of the NHL’s championship series.
Turnovers proved costly during Montreal’s 5-1 loss to the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday but they have no plans to shake up their line combinations when the best-of-seven games series resumes on Wednesday in Florida.
“Puck management was our difficulty. I don’t necessarily think it was the combination of personnel,” Montreal’s acting head coach, Luke Richardson, told reporters on Tuesday.
“As of now we are ready to bounce back next game and make a few adjustments and corrections in our gameplan and executing it a lot better.”
The Lightning, bidding to become only the third back-to-back Stanley Cup champions in the last quarter-century, made the most of three Montreal mistakes to build a commanding 3-1 lead early in the third period.
The first two costly errors came on offensive zone passes that Tampa Bay picked off and turned into counterattack rushes while the third resulted from an errant Montreal pass through the neutral zone.
“They are going to create their own offense, we don’t have to help them in any way that’s for sure,” said Richardson, who took over head-coaching duties after Dominique Ducharme tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago.
“If we can limit that to very little to none we are going to give ourselves a better chance to have more energy for our own gameplan and have a bit more success.”
Montreal will surely take some confidence after having been in a similar position the previous round where they fell 4-1 in the series opener versus the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Canadiens, who had the worst record among the 16 teams who reached the playoffs, made the necessary adjustments to win the following contest before going on to close out the best-of-seven series in six games.
Montreal will certainly have their hands full with the potent Lightning but are not about to back down from the challenge in their bid to end Canada’s 28-year Stanley Cup drought.
“They definitely are as advertised: They are a good team, move the puck real well, skate really well,” said Canadiens forward Nick Suzuki.
“We just got a taste of what they bring to the table and we just have to match that intensity, match their compete. I think we can definitely play with these guys.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)
Pistons select Cade Cunningham with No. 1 overall pick in 2021 NBA Draft – Sportsnet.ca
The Detroit Pistons selected Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft Thursday night.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) July 30, 2021
Cunningham had been widely expected to be the first name called in New York, though Pistons general manager Troy Weaver wouldn’t reveal plans earlier this week and said the team would look at every scenario, including trades.
In the end, Detroit stuck with the 19-year-old mentioned as a potential top pick before ever stepping foot on the Oklahoma State campus.
The 6-foot-8, 220-pound point guard from Arlington, Texas, lived up to expectations with his size and fluid game to become a first-team Associated Press All-American. He averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists with a game that allowed him to hit from 3-point range, score off the dribble or find teammates out of traps.
Cunningham — the first player in Oklahoma State history to be picked No. 1 overall — joins a Pistons franchise that has won 20 games for two straight seasons and hasn’t finished better than .500 for five straight years.
Cunningham was the headliner of a class that included scorers, playmakers and potentially elite defenders at the top. That group included Southern California freshman big man Evan Mobley, Gonzaga freshman point guard Jalen Suggs and Florida State freshman forward Scottie Barnes.
There are also a pair of preps-to-pros prospects in guard Jalen Green and forward Jonathan Kuminga, both of whom bypassed college basketball to play in the G League.
The draft is later than its traditional late-June slot for the second straight year due to the COVID-19 pandemic that interrupted the 2019-20 season. The 2021-22 season is scheduled to return to its normal schedule, with next year’s draft set for June again.
NBA Draft 2021: Toronto Raptors select Scottie Barnes with the 4th overall pick – RaptorsHQ
The Raptors have upended consensus in the 2021 NBA Draft, opting to select Florida State forward Scottie Barnes with the fourth overall pick. To say this was a complete shock is not entirely true — there was buzz the Raptors were at least somewhat intrigued by Barnes’ potential — but it also felt like Toronto would not take the gamble (e.g. it felt like Jalen Suggs at no. 4 was a lock).
Barnes joins the Raptors just before his 20th birthday. He’s listed at 6’9” and 227 pounds, which puts him in the small forward category, by my math. Barnes spent one season at Florida State during which he averaged 10.3 points, 4.1 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game across 24 contests. Admittedly, the numbers don’t exactly pop — Barnes only started seven games — but Toronto must love his potential.
Said potential is what our guy JD got at in his column here. Barnes has serious defensive skills, a player who can already guard almost every position via his strength, speed and know-how. The broadcast compared him to Draymond Green, which is not a bad place to be — particularly for a Raptors team that obviously values defensive ability and versatility. Like Green, Barnes has flashed an advanced play-making game for a forward, and he also has a limited offensive arsenal. Few are looking at Barnes, who shot 28 percent from three and 62 percent from the free-throw line, to be a lights-out gunner. Maybe he gets there in time, or maybe his skill-set is less dependent on his shot.
So then the risk: did the Raptors just get a player who can’t start for the current squad with OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam locked in at the small and power forward position? Could it be that Barnes only tracks as another second or third-ranked player on a championship calibre team? (If that; some are worried he’s the next Stanley Johnson.) In all, the question remains: will Toronto regret missing on Suggs?
Or do the Raptors have something else planned with regards to their roster construction? Right now it’s unclear, but we do know one thing for now: Toronto has selected Scottie Barnes in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Canada's women's eight rowing crew captures Olympic gold for 1st time in 29 years – CBC.ca
Canada’s women’s eight crew captured gold on the final day of Olympic rowing at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo on Friday, winning the event for the first time in 29 years.
New Zealand claimed silver, finishing ahead of bronze winners China.
The only other Olympic gold for Canada in women’s eight came at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, their first time reaching the Olympic podium. Canada’s crew enjoyed continued success with silver in 1996 and bronze in 2000.
Canada claimed silver in the women’s eight event at the 2012 London Olympics before missing the podium in Rio with a fifth place finish.
The men’s eight final wraps up the rowing competition at 9:25 p.m. ET.
More to come.
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WATCH l CBC Sports’ The Olympians feature on women’s eight rowing:
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