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Oilers' dynamic duo too much for Canadiens to handle in 4-3 loss – Montreal Gazette

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Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl both score goals as Oilers hand Habs their first loss on Western Canada road trip.

EDMONTON — Before Saturday’s game at Rogers Place, Canadiens coach Claude Julien was asked how his team could stop the Edmonton Oilers’ dynamic duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who ranked 1-2 in the NHL scoring race.

“Same way we have with those kind of players that are on different teams,” Julien said. “We’re a team that all five guys have to be aware when they’re on the ice and know that they’re there. So it’s not a big secret. We know that if they have time and space they’re going to make something happen. So we got to play these guys tight.”

Another key part of Julien’s game plan: “Stay out of the box. I think it’s pretty obvious that they’ve got a really good power play. We’re a team that, obviously, plays fairly well five-on-five, so discipline is definitely going to be a key word here for this game tonight.”


Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers battles against Canadiens’ Nick Cousins at Rogers Place on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, in Edmonton.

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Oilers coach Dave Tippett made things more difficult for the Canadiens when he decided to reunite McDavid and Draisaitl on the same line and they each scored a goal — McDavid’s was on the power play — as the Oilers beat the Canadiens 4-3. Josh Archibald and Riley Sheahan also scored for the Oilers.

Jeff Petry (short-handed), Phillip Danault (power play) and Max Domi scored for the Canadiens as they suffered their first loss in three games on this Western Canada road trip and saw their record fall to 17-13-6. The Canadiens also fell out of a playoff spot because the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers both won Saturday to move past them in the standings. The Canadiens are now fourth in the Atlantic Division, two points behind the Leafs and one point behind the Panthers.

The Canadiens and Oilers both had 26 shots and Carey Price saw his career record against Edmonton drop to 3-8-1.

The Oilers opened the scoring only 1:30 into the game when McDavid cut to the inside at centre ice and blew past defenceman Ben Chiarot to set up a two-on-one with Draisaitl. McDavid and Draisaitl combined for a perfect play, giving Price no chance to make a save. It was a two-on-one that could be used in a teaching video for kids.

As for Chiarot, he’s not the first — or the last — defenceman McDavid will make look bad with his blazing speed.

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The Oilers went up 2-0 when Archibald scored at 11:51 of the first period on a play that started when Domi failed to clear the puck out of the Canadiens’ zone. Things went to hell in the defensive zone after that and Mike Reilly showed why he’s been a healthy scratch so often this season as Archibald tipped in a pass from in front of the net. The video from that goal could be used to show kids how not to play team defence.

Petry got the Canadiens on the board at 14:19 of the first period, scoring short-handed on an innocent shot that never should have gone in, beating Mikko Koskinen to the glove side as the Oilers goalie only got a piece of the puck.

Shoot the puck, kids.

Danault tied it up 2-2 at 8:29 of the second period when he deflected a point shot by Petry for the first power-play goal of his career.

McDavid put the Oilers up 3-2 at 15:40 of the second period when he used his speed once again to burst through the middle and made a nice move to his forehand to beat Price for his 21st goal of the season. McDavid’s goal came with Jordan Weal in the box for his second tripping penalty of the game.

Domi tied it up 3-3 at 1:09 of the third period with a nice individual effort, scoring on another shot Koskinen probably should have stopped. Petry picked up an assist, giving him a three-point night. It was the second goal in two games for Domi, after his game-winner in overtime Thursday night in Calgary.

But it was Sheahan who scored the game-winner on this night for the Oilers, completing another two-on-one with a beautiful pass from Archibald at 7:48 of the third period.

At the end of the game McDavid (21-40-61) and Draisaitl (22-38-60) remained 1-2 in the NHL scoring race.

The Canadiens knew what they were getting into against the Oilers, they just failed to follow the game plan.

The Canadiens will wrap up their Western Canada road trip Monday in Winnipeg against the Jets (8 p.m., TSN2, TSN3, RDS, TSN 690 Radio).

scowan@postmedia.com

twitter.com/StuCowan1

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Hockey Canada's strategy of deflecting serves no one but its disgraced leadership – The Globe and Mail

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Witnesses Scott Smith, Hockey Canada President and Chief Operating Officer, left, and Hockey Canada Chief Financial Officer Brian Cairo, appear at the standing committee on Canadian Heritage in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 27, 2022.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

A while back, I had a job in a movie theatre. The theatre at the foot of an atrium in an open-plan tower. We plebs could look up at the offices and hallways above, where the corporation’s big wigs worked.

The biggest wig in our world would often lean over a balcony and stare down at us, like a gargoyle in pinstripes. If you were caught loafing, a call would be made and you’d hear about it.

One day, there was a commotion from several floors above – a lot of screaming and banging. The biggest wig had been fired. His reaction was to go back to his office and barricade himself inside it.

The banging was security kicking in the door. The screaming was him being dragged to the elevators. It was a different time.

But the lesson therein is timeless. Nobody likes being canned. But people in charge take it particularly hard.

Right now, 2½ months into Hockey Canada’s sex-abuse scandal, we’re at the barricade stage.

In any other country, this would be over now. Through a combination of popular outrage and political panic, the Hockey Canada edifice would have been burned to the ground.

But in this country we continue to believe shame will do the job for us. That the people in charge of this world-class gong show will get the message and slink off home.

But Hockey Canada’s leadership is not operating on Canadian rules. They’re pulling from the American handbook on how to survive a scandal. Shamelessness is a prerequisite.

Their first job was deflecting.

In terms of an absolute defence, the deflecting’s gone about as well as a guy trying to push off bullets by waving his hands around. But it bought time. The men in charge knew they could count on Ottawa to a) quickly promise to take decisive action and b) take absolutely forever to decide what that decisive action looks like.

Deflecting has another virtue – it dilutes outrage. No matter how awful, people can only read about a story for so long without becoming bored. And there’s always a fresh outrage to divert us.

This week, Hockey Canada hired someone to head an investigation into the workings of Hockey Canada. You could’ve written out this person’s CV long before the name was made public – retired judge, history of public service, member of the new Family Compact, etc.

Finding people is not hard. There are a whole bunch of them out there twiddling their thumbs, itching for someone to stick a microphone in front of them.

But after two months of withering pressure, Hockey Canada is just now figuring out who will set up the Slack group to discuss how to begin discussing their problems. Let me guess that if they’d been bleeding cash instead, organizing some sort of working committee would have taken two hours.

But this is how you do it, American-style. Pretend it’s a live broadcast with screen time to fill before commercials – stretch. Continue talking about nothing. Don’t stop speaking. It’s the silence that kills.

While you’re stretching, keep your eye on the horizon. That’s where the sports are. If you can make it to sports, you might be okay. The same people who wanted your head paraded in the town square yesterday might be distracted by a waving flag.

On Tuesday, the world junior hockey championship begins in Edmonton. Over the weekend, there will be a barrage of publicity about the tournament that launched a thousand official denials. We’ll rehash the particulars of this ugly affair and assess where we’re at. This column is part of that.

By Tuesday, the usual outlets will be talking about hockey. How’s Canada’s top line measuring up? Where’s the United States at? Whither the Olympic team?

This is how you erect a modern, media barricade.

Having seen a million of these things go down in recent years, you know you’re not going to talk your way out of your problem.

Bottom-line: You were in positions of authority at a public institution when something abhorrent happened. The integrity of that institution cannot be maintained if you continue to lead it.

This is obvious. But in our rush to definitively nail someone, anyone, we have skidded past the obvious. Now we’re all deep in the weeds, hacking away.

Uncovering the minutiae about who said what to whom at what board meeting may absorb reporters and politicians, but it only serves Hockey Canada’s current leadership.

While we’re Inspector Clouseau-ing this thing, we’re also avoiding the clear end point. The longer we spend doing that, the more likely it is that these fish all get off the hook.

This was the goal all along. Deflect, get to the world juniors, hope that Team Canada wins and that everyone is too exhausted by the end of it to keep taking pops at you. By the time your judge wraps up his report – let me guess ‘Mistakes were made but there is a clear plan forward’ – maybe you’ll have successfully run your gauntlet.

It’s not a plan, as such. As with Hockey Canada’s in-camera board meetings, nobody’s written it down. It’s instinctive process based on observation. In scandals as in sports, the mission is getting through today.

It’s not going to work. That’s also obvious. No matter what the eventual report says, it will reignite outrage.

The names of the players involved in the two alleged assaults will come out, probably during the NHL season. That will reignite outrage.

At any moment, the alleged victims could make fulsome public declarations. That will reignite outrage.

Any way you go, the outrage is going to leak out again. The only way to contain it is to blow this down to the foundations. Eventually, everyone’s going to realize that.

Really, all that’s being decided now is how you want to get to the elevators – walking under your own power, or being dragged there screaming by the rest of Canada.

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Rafael Nadal announces he will not be playing at the Canadian Open

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Montreal, Canada- 22 Grand Slam champion, Rafael Nadal, has announced that he will not be playing at the Canadian Open which kicks off this weekend.

Nadal cited that the reason to abandon the Canadian Open was a result of an abundance of caution regarding injury concerns.

“From the vacation days and my subsequent return to training, everything has gone well these weeks. Four days ago, I also started training my serve and yesterday, after training, I had a little discomfort that was still there today.

We have decided not to travel to Montreal and continue with the training sessions without forcing ourselves. I sincerely thank the tournament director, Eugene, and his entire team for the understanding and support they have always shown me, and today was no exception.

I hope to play again in Montreal, a tournament that I love and that I have won five times in front of an audience that has always welcomed me with great affection. I have no choice but to be prudent at this point and think about health,” said the Spaniard.

Last month, Nadal was forced to withdraw from his Wimbledon semifinal against Nick Kyrgios due to an abdominal injury.

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic has also withdrawn from the Canadian Open as his status as unvaccinated against COVID-19 means he cannot enter the country.

Djokovic is also unlikely to play at the US Open after organizers said they would respect the American government rules over travel for unvaccinated players as the United States (US) requires non-citizens to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter.

“Per the Grand Slam Rule Book, all eligible players are automatically entered into the men’s and women’s singles main draw fields based on ranking 42 days prior to the first Monday of the event.

The US Open does not have a vaccination mandate in place for players, but it will respect the US government’s position regarding travel into the country for unvaccinated non-US citizens,” read a statement from the US Open which is set to take place in New York from the 29th of August to the 11th of September, 2022.

Nevertheless, Novak Djokovic will be joining Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray to play for Team Europe in the Laver Cup.

The event, which pits six European players against six from Team World over three days, will take place in London between 23 and 25 September 2022.

“It’s the only (event) where you play in a team with guys you are normally competing against. To be joining Rafa, Roger and Andy, three of my biggest all-time rivals, it’s going to be a truly unique moment in the history of our sport,” said Djokovic.

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Canada beats Sweden to claim gold in Hlinka Gretzky Cup – Sportsnet.ca

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RED DEER, Alta. — Canada scored early and often and also stayed out of the penalty box en route to a 4-1 victory over Sweden in the gold-medal final of the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.

Tanner Howe, Ethan Gauthier, Calum Ritchie and Brayden Yager scored for the Canadians, who held period leads of 2-1 and 3-1 at the Peavey Mart Centrium on Saturday. Riley Heidt also chipped in with two assists for the champions.

Hugo Pettersson scored for Sweden, who were outshot 36-26. Each team received eight minutes in penalties.

Canada had beaten Sweden 3-0 on Aug. 3.

“Three weeks ago, we put this roster together and I felt right away this was a tight group,” said head coach Stephane Julien. “It’s not easy when you have this much talent, but everyone accepted their role and I’m so happy for them.”

The win is Canada’s first gold medal since 2018, the last time this tournament was held in Canada.

“I’m so happy for this group,” added Julien. “They haven’t had it easy in their careers the last two years with the pandemic, but now they have this, a gold medal and something they are going to remember for the rest of their career.”

Canada advanced to the final with a 4-1 win over Finland, while Sweden defeated Czechia 6-2. Finland beat Czechia 3-1 in Saturday’s bronze-medal final.

The Hlinka Gretzky Cup will shift to Europe in 2023, returning to Breclav and Piestany, Czechia for the first time since 2021. 

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