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Oilers lose sight of defensive aspirations in defeat to Canucks – Sportsnet.ca

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EDMONTON — They’ve been talking about goals against and 5-on-5 play since Darnell Nurse told us this in late December:

“5-on-5, obviously, we have to get our goals down,” Nurse declared. “We talk about it far too often in the last five years that I’ve been here.”

Then Connor McDavid arrived in camp and swiftly remarked, “No one’s putting their head in the sand here. Everyone understands where we’re at, and we’ve got to keep the puck out of our net if we want to be successful.”

Then opening night arrived, and Edmonton gave up five.

Five, 5-on-5 goals in a 5-3 loss Wednesday — a game that showed exactly what team the Edmonton Oilers are trying not to be.

“We haven’t played in a while,” said the less-than-trusty defenceman Adam Larsson. “I don’t think we expected the perfect game, but this was far from it. There are certain areas where we have to get a lot better.

“The greasy areas, we have to do a lot better work.”

The goaltending was average and the defensive zone coverage well below that, as the Vancouver Canucks exploited goalie Mikko Koskinen for three goals that were some version of a breakaway, and another one-timer by a wide-open Adam Gaudette left to make a sandwich between the hash marks.

Look: Vancouver was the better team, no doubt. They deserved the two points, unequivocally.

The Canucks can score, and when they’re skating in alone on your goalie shift after shift, they’ll beat you for fun. That’s what happened in the season opener, as Vancouver held leads of 1-0, 2-1, 3-2, 4-2 and 5-3.

Braden Holtby was better than Koskinen, but wasn’t left to his own devices nearly as much as the big Finn. Edmonton’s loose play from the qualifying-round loss to Chicago never missed a beat versus Vancouver.

“Just poor reads and poor puck play by some people,” said Oilers head coach Dave Tippett. “Grade-A chances against. Give up enough of them and they’re going to capitalize.”

Was it the number of chances allowed that disturbed Tippett? Or the quality of chances?

“Both,” he began, “but the quality of the ones they scored on, you’ve got to find ways to defend better on those. Larsson made a poor read on the first one. (Zack) Kassian made a poor read on the fifth one. Caleb Jones made a poor read on (the fourth one). Those are puck play errors compounded by poor reads, mistakes by players that lead to Grade-A chances against.

“Those are the ones,” Tippett continued. “If we want to be a better team, a harder team to play against, those are the ones that have to come out of our game.”

McDavid went pointless in 25:42 of ice time, but created more than enough opportunities. It was his opposite number, the once defensively accountable Larsson, whose duty was derelict.

Is Larsson finished as a shutdown-type defenceman? He was poor last season, brutal in the qualifying round, and on opening night he made two reads that resulted in Canucks walking in all alone to score on Koskinen.

There used to be a strong defensive defenceman here, and may still be one. But a season that begs for a major bounce-back began with a thud for Larsson.

“It was a couple of breakdowns today that cost us goals,” Larsson said. “We still believe in our team we still have really good players I’m really confident we’ll get this fixed tomorrow.”

There is no need to overreact, with a rematch Thursday against Vancouver. In fact, starting the season this way is an excellent reminder that this flashy, offensive-minded Oilers team won’t win squat until they learn to figure the parts of the game that never make the highlight reel.

Tippett has been preaching that for the entirety of training camp. We’d say he should have a receptive crew at this morning’s video session.

“We had a very receptive team at the beginning of camp and we still have a receptive team,” he said, clearly miffed post-game. “It’s a matter of doing it.

“It’s a matter of getting the job done.”

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Justin Poirier and Conor McGregor show mutual admiration during backstage meeting following UFC 257

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Despite his first knockout loss in the UFC, Conor McGregor was all class in defeat.

McGregor returned to action for the first time in a year when he faced Dustin Poirier in a rematch in the main event of Saturday’s UFC 257 event in Abu Dhabi. After a competitive first round, Poirier started to take over in the second, landing a series of hard low leg kicks to McGregor that put him in a compromised position.

“The Diamond” would take advantage of his brilliant strategy, dropping and finishing McGregor at just over the halfway point of the round to complete the biggest victory of his career.

While it was all class in the octagon and at the post-fight press conference, Poirier and McGregor shared a moment backstage following their second battle.

Poirier evened up the series at a win apiece on Saturday. McGregor knocked out Poirier in the opening round of their first meeting at UFC 178 in September 2014.

A trilogy fight is of interest to both competitors, but it seems that Poirier will move ahead to compete for the lightweight title, which is currently held by the retired Khabib Nurmagomedov. UFC President Dana White hasn’t lost hope that “The Eagle” will return for at least one more fight. It appears as if those chances are fading away by the hour, though an official decision on the title has yet to be announced.

Source:- MMA Fighting

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Floyd Mayweather Issues Scathing Conor McGregor Critique – HotNewHipHop

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Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor have had a rivalry for a very long time now. Ever since the two fought back in 2017, it’s clear that they don’t like each other very much and that fact isn’t going to change anytime soon. McGregor has been practically begging for rematches, all while Mayweather has sought opportunities elsewhere.

Last night, McGregor lost in stunning fashion to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 and Mayweather was clearly waiting for a reason to comment on the match. Upon seeing a social media post that pondered why McGregor is praised for his confidence while Mayweather is criticized for it, Mayweather decided to let his feelings be known. Taking to Instagram, Mayweather offered a large paragraph explaining that he thinks there is a lot of racism at play here and that guys like McGregor need to be taught a lesson.

Per Mayweather:

“I seen this post and my take on it is that the world knows Con Artist McLoser can steal everything from me and be loved but I’m hated. That just lets you all know that racism still exist. Just know, that bum will never be me or be on my level. I’m just built different, my mindset is on another planet, my skills are second to none, I’m a natural born winner and yes I talk a lot of trash, but every time I back it up! This is what they hate. It’s sad that you can be a poor black kid from the ghetto that has dealt with racism your whole life and work extremely hard to put yourself and your family in a better position, and most of the hate come from my own people. Connor cannot even win in his own sport, but talking about coming back to boxing to fight Pacquiao. Nobody wants to see that, it’s like my leftovers eating leftovers.”

These biases have existed for quite a long time and it’s clear that Floyd is fed up with seeing them play out time and time again. Not to mention, Mayweather’s post hints at the fact that a McGregor rematch is no longer in the cards, which is unfortunate but not surprising.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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Corey Perry’s debut shows his acquisition is another win for Bergevin – Habs Eyes on the Prize

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Corey Perry’s addition to the Montreal Canadiens was always going to be interesting. He clearly had some value left to share, but he didn’t really have a place in the lineup on opening night. However when Tyler Myers concussed Joel Armia at the end of Thursday’s game, it opened the door for the NHL vet to step into the lineup, and onto the team’s hottest line.

He went ahead and made the most of it, a great sign that even at 35 years old, Perry can still bring it on the ice in a decent-sized role.

HockeyViz.com

In his 13:10 of five-on-five ice time (second on the team among forwards), Perry controlled just shy of 63% of the shots when he was on the ice. In his matchups, there were only two players he was below 50% against in terms of shot attempts: Nils Hoglander (42%) and Zack MacEwen (37%). Perhaps slightly more impressive is that against the big guns of J.T. Miller, Brock Boeser, and Elias Pettersson, Perry didn’t allow a single shot attempt against.

While he was on a line with Tyler Toffoli and Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who have been outstanding in the series against Vancouver, Perry was able hold his own even if he did spend time away from both during the game. To cap it all off, Perry even added his first goal in a Canadiens jersey, which, despite being ugly in nature, still counts all the same on the scoreboard.

It’s moments like this that you can see how well Perry still reads the game at the NHL level, his head is up the whole way, and he knows exactly where his linemate is. He had a handful of these moments as the game wore on, including a beautiful bit of dangling to create a scoring chance for himself.

Perry’s speed and elite goal-scoring ability are long gone, but he provides more than that on the ice due to his hockey IQ. With Joel Armia out long-term, Montreal needs exactly this type of veteran to step up and play while giving them the best possible chance to win.

Marc Bergevin being able to secure a piece like Perry for nearly league minimum just in case the team needed some reinforcements is looking like another great bit of foresight. It’s been just one game, but it’s far more comforting to be adding a guy with over 1000 NHL games, than hoping a fringe AHL player can make an impact. With a deep Calgary team looming on the horizon, Montreal will be counting on more games like this one from Perry, and it seems like he’s got plenty left in the tank to oblige.

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