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Oilers notebook: Joke about McDavid’s one-timer at your own peril – Sportsnet.ca

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EDMONTON — Leon Draisaitl, one-timer extraordinaire, was asked about Connor McDavid’s burgeoning one-timer. The Oilers captain has been hard at work on that skill, and Draisaitl has taken notice.

“Yeah,” he chuckled. “It’s fluffing off really nice.”

It’s refreshing to see that kind of humour between teammates, and Draisaitl knows it’s only a matter of time until McDavid masters the shot. Joke at your own peril when it comes to McDavid and feats of hockey strength.

“I worked hard this summer, worked on my game and just tried to think of different ways to create offence,” McDavid said, adding that he also worked to “round out the full 200-foot game, be better defensively and harder off faceoffs.”

But the work that continued right up to Wednesday’s season opener was on a one-timer that represents one of the scant few ways McDavid has not worked into his game. He’s been pounding away, hoping to give opposing penalty killers another one-time threat to worry about, opposite of Draisaitl.

“If I can find a way to score a couple of goals from that side, I think it would help a lot,” said McDavid. “If I’m willing to shoot over there, it will open up some other things. That way it doesn’t have to be Leo always being the trigger guy. We’ve got lots of threats out there and that’s just one of them I’ve been trying to work on.”

What’s weird is watching McDavid work on something that he’s not particularly good at. It just meets the eye in a strange way to see a virtuoso wailing away on one-timers, with some looking smooth, others clumsy.

But give him credit: Too many players only work at things they are good at. Now, here’s the best player in the world, finding a way to get better.

Yikes!

“It’s like anything, it’s just repetition,” he said. “For some guys, shooting the puck comes real easy. For others, it doesn’t. And I would fall into the category where it doesn’t, so I’ve really got to work at it. And I tried my best to do what I can and try to round out my game and score from a distance.

“So many teams are worried about my speed and they back in, where if I can find a way to shoot it by some guys, and score from outside, it might force them to come up and now I can beat them wide again. So it’s kind of the way I’ve been thinking.”

His Daddy’s Son

A nice pre-season on a professional tryout landed Colton Sceviour a one-year, two-way deal as a depth right winger for Edmonton. He gets $750,000 while playing in the NHL, $200,000 in Bakersfield, but is guaranteed to take home $450,000 this season no matter how many NHL games he gets — a pretty nice “minor-league” number.

He made the team by proving he could play all three positions in camp, with some nice work replacing Josh Archibald on the penalty kill. Now, with Zack Kassian (concussion) missing the opener, he gets a third-line spot next to Derek Ryan and Warren Foegele.

“My ability to penalty kill is one of the top assets I bring, and that’s what I wanted to show,” said Sceviour, a Red Deer kid who comes from a line of good hockey men from Central Alberta.

His uncle Todd played four seasons at the University of Calgary in the early ‘90s, and his dad Darrin was a Chicago draft pick who played one NHL game as a Blackhawk: On Feb. 1, 1987 at Edmonton.

“I have never seen the tape,” Sceviour Jr. said. “He never forced me into hockey, but once I decided I wanted to go into it he was my coach up until Bantam. I’m probably not here without him. His knowledge of pro hockey was huge for me to learning how to play, and what I needed to do to get to this level.”

Darrin played half a year for the Nova Scotia Oilers, Edmonton’s AHL farm team in the ‘80s, a roster stocked with such luminaries as Bruce Boudreau, Mike Rogers, Esa Tikkanen and Steve Smith — plus goalies Ron Low, Darryl Reaugh and Jim Ralph. He’s a building inspector in Red Deer now, and is likely planning to make the drive up the highway to see his boy Colton play NHL game No. 501 Wednesday vs. Vancouver.

“There’s an Oilers connection there for sure,” Colton said.

Travellin’ Man

An Edmonton Oilers player for the past three seasons, Alex Chiasson opens his tenth NHL season in a Vancouver Canucks uniform tonight — his sixth team in a 564-game career. This, after his third training camp invite on a professional tryout, which has to be some kind of record.

Does it get any easier, on your third PTO?

“No, it gets worse,” the 31-year-old said. “As a player, it comes with a lot of doubts. Three PTOs… You know, I had 42 goals the last three years.”

He did indeed. But the Oilers did not re-sign Chiasson, bought out James Neal, and brought in Zach Hyman to work the net front on their league-leading power play. Jesse Puljujarvi will also serve in that role, while Chiasson had to find another gig.

“I always find a way,” he said. “My career has always kind of been that way. Perseverance. Resilience. This time around though, was probably a little bit harder than the two before.”

Drafted in round two by Dallas, Chiasson moved on to Ottawa in the deal that made Jason Spezza a Star. Then he was dealt to Calgary before signing free-agent deals in Washington, Edmonton, and now with the Canucks.

“I’ve been everywhere,” he said. “I’ve done the Battle of Alberta from both sides. I’ve always thought Vancouver was a great place to play. A great city.”

He’s on a line with J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson tonight, and on the No. 1 powerplay unit. An injured Brock Boeser skated with the team for the first time Wednesday, and should soon reclaim his spot on that line from Chiasson.

For now though, that’s a soft landing after a hard try-out in Vancouver for Chiasson.

“I had the chance (at camp) to be on the first powerplay and play with the top players. Guys that go on a PTO, sometimes it doesn’t work that way,” he said. “It feels like the last few weeks have (flown) by, but here we are. Game 1 of my tenth year.”

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NHL great Mike Bossy reveals lung cancer diagnosis – CTV News

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Former New York Islanders winger and TVA hockey analyst Mike Bossy is battling lung cancer.

He announced the news in a letter to TVA Sports Tuesday.

“It is with a lot of sadness that I need to step away from your screens, for a necessary pause. During this break I’ll be receiving treatment for lung cancer. (The score is) 1-0 so far, but I haven’t said my last word,” Bossy wrote.

“I intend to fight with all the determination and fire you’ve seen me show on the ice.”

Referring to viewers, he added: “You’ll never be far away in my mind. To the contrary, you’ll have a choice seat and be a part of what motivates me to get better.

“Like all athletes who prepare for the biggest performance of their lives, I’ll need all of my strength and all my concentration.”

Bossy, 64, helped the Islanders win 4 straight Stanley Cup, starting in 1980.

The Montreal native tallied 573 goals and 1,126 points over 10 seasons.

Bossy won the Calder trophy as the NHL’s top rookie in 1978 and the Conn Smythe as the league’s MVP in 1982. He was also awarded the Lady Byng trophy for sportsmanship in 1983, ’84 and ’86.

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 19, 2021.

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Astros erupt for seven runs in ninth, beat Red Sox to tie ALCS – Sportsnet.ca

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BOSTON — Six outs from falling behind 3-1 in the AL Championship Series and facing elimination in Game 5 in Boston — where the Red Sox had yet to lose this postseason — the Houston Astros offence awakened.

After tying it in the eighth inning on Jose Altuve’s solo homer, the Astros bullied the Boston bullpen for seven runs in the ninth to win 9-2 on Tuesday night and even the best-of-seven playoff at two games apiece.

“This is one of the great things about baseball,” said the Astros’ 72-year-old manager, Dusty Baker. “When you’re dead in the water and things aren’t going good, and then all of a sudden, boom, boom, boom, and you got seven runs.

“That’s what they’ve been doing to us this whole series,” he said. “And we’re capable of doing that as well.”

Jason Castro looked off a potential third strike from Nathan Eovaldi before driving in watch-tapping Carlos Correa with the go-ahead run in the ninth, then the AL West champions kept on scoring to guarantee themselves at least one more game back home.

Game 5 is Wednesday in Boston, with Games 6 and 7 back in Houston on Friday and, if necessary, Saturday.

The Red Sox are 5-0 after playoff losses under manager Alex Cora.

“We’re feeling pretty confident,” said Eovaldi, the Game 2 winner who made his first relief appearance since 2019. “That’s been one of our strengths is being able to turn the page and come in tomorrow.”

In a series that had been dominated by offence — especially Boston’s, which has hit 10 homers in the series, including a record-setting three grand slams to turn Games 2 and 3 into routs — the teams traded first-inning home runs.

Alex Bregman hit a solo shot into the Green Monster seats, then Xander Bogaerts topped it with a towering, two-run drive onto Lansdowne Street in the bottom half to give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead.

Then, the pitchers took over.

It was still 2-1 when Altuve homered against Garrett Whitlock to tie it in the eighth. It was his 21st career postseason home run, breaking a tie with Derek Jeter for third-most in baseball history and trailing only Manny Ramirez (29) and Bernie Williams (22).

Eovaldi, making his first relief appearance since he was coming back from an injury two years ago, came on for the ninth and gave up Correa’s leadoff double.

The Red Sox thought they were out of the inning when Eovaldi’s 1-2 breaking ball appeared to catch the plate for strike three on Castro. Still alive, Castro singled in Correa to give Houston the lead.

“Yeah, a lot of people thought it was a strike,” Cora said. “It was a good game until the end, right? We were one pitch away from ending that inning, and it didn’t happen, and then they scored seven.”

Michael Brantley hit a three-run double off Martin Perez. Yordan Alvarez added an RBI single. Perez’s throwing error on Correa’s infield single allowed a run to score, and Kyle Tucker singled in another run.

Houston has scored 36 runs with two outs in the postseason, including 18 of its 22 in this series.

“We knew with this team that we’re playing we wanted to pad the lead,” Baker said. “And pad the lead we did, you know what I mean? That one run might not have stood up, especially in this ballpark.”

The Red Sox, who were the first team in major league history to have double-digit hits six straight times in a single postseason, had just five on Tuesday — two of them when already trailing by seven in the ninth.

Nick Pivetta allowed just one more hit after Bregman’s homer before leaving with a 2-1 lead through five innings. Eovaldi took the loss, allowing four runs while getting just two outs.

Kendall Graveman, the fifth Houston pitcher, threw two scoreless innings for the win. The Astros had special praise for Cristian Javier, who pitched three scoreless innings to get them through five as Houston’s bullpen delivered 7 2/3 shutout innings.

“What the relievers did today was amazing,” Altuve said.

It was the third straight game the Red Sox got five or more innings from a starter, and the third straight that the Houston starter didn’t make it out of the second inning; Zack Greinke got just four outs on Tuesday.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: CF Jake Meyers, who injured his left shoulder crashing into the wall in the Division Series clincher, was originally listed in the starting lineup but “wasn’t quite ready yet,” Baker said. Chas McCormick started in centre instead.

Red Sox: Schwarber appeared to tweak his left hamstring on a swing in the fourth inning. He limped out a groundout and remained in the game.

UP NEXT

Game 5 is Wednesday at 5:08 p.m. Chris Sale will start for the Red Sox after allowing one run over 2 2/3 innings in Game 1. Framber Valdez goes for Houston. He gave up two earned runs in 2 2/3 innings during the series opener.

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Golf-Olympic gold medallist Schauffele pumped for Zozo Championship in Japan

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AmericanXander Schauffele returns this week for the Zozo Championship in Japan nearly two and half months after winning the gold medal at the Tokyo Games and the 27-year-old said he is looking to grab a “special” victory at the PGA Tour event.

The tournament returns to Japan at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club on Thursday after last year’s edition was moved to California due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The $9.95 million event will feature Asia’s first Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, two-time major winner Collin Morikawa and Schauffele, who won gold for the United States at the Tokyo Olympics in August with a one-stroke victory.

Schauffele, whose grandparents reside in Japan, said winning at the Zozo Championship would be a huge honour for his family.

“I’m very excited,” Schauffele, who also won the Ryder Cup with the United States last month, said on Wednesday.

“Winning here would be really cool. It would be really special to sort of win twice in Japan, especially since I don’t live here.

“I think it would be a huge honour for my family if I was able to do that and I’m going to do my best this week.”

American Morikawa, whose father is of Japanese descent, said he is looking forward to playing in front of an energetic crowd with 5,000 spectators allowed each day.

“These are some of the best fans,” Morikawa said. “I remember my first tee shot out here two years ago when there were fans on stools and lined up five, six people deep.

“They would cheer for you walking to tee boxes, hitting every tee shot whether it’s good or bad.

“They bring so much energy. I’ve said it since we returned from COVID, it’s just really good to see people out here again.”

 

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; editing by Kim Coghill)

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