It’s the little things that decide games like the one played in St. Louis Wednesday night. Little things like a missed check, or a late goal post.
Dull, tiny details, like getting pucks deep, hustling to the bench for a change instead of gliding, or bearing down on your check, instead of simply skating along behind him. St. Louis is a better team than Edmonton and they mostly dominated this game, but in the dying moments there were the Oilers, on a power play, the goalie pulled, and all over the Blues with a chance to grab at least one point.
So how, after all of that, do you lose 2-1 in St. Louis? Failure to get two pucks deep into the Blues zone, that both went the other way and behind Mikko Koskinen. A slow change on a Brayden Schenn breakaway goal, and a not-quite-good-enough checking job by Connor McDavid on MacKenzie MacEachern’s 2-0 goal. A late post by Leon Draisaitl.
Details. The Blues were that little bit better at them, and when this Blues team buckles down like they did Wednesday, they are awfully tough to beat. Just a little bit too much for the Oilers on the scoreboard, but a lot more than that to the naked eye.
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Koskinen continues to be Oilers best player
We all wondered how long head coach Dave Tippett could stick with his two-on, two-off goaltending system, where Koskinen and Mike Smith took turns playing a pair, with neither grabbing the reins and becoming the No. 1.
Well, perhaps we are there.
For the second straight game, Koskinen was Edmonton’s best player, stopping 42 of 44 shots against the Blues. On Monday in Dallas, Koskinen stole a 2-1 win when he stopped all but one of the Stars’ 35 shots on net.
That’s 76 of 79 saves in the past two games, and it’s a certainty that Koskinen will get one of two games at home this Friday and Saturday, against Pittsburgh and Montreal.
Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman talk to a lot of people around the hockey world, and then they tell listeners all about what they’ve heard and what they think about it.
“Koskinen was excellent,” head coach Dave Tippett told reporters in St. Louis. “He kept us in the game. It’s a little disappointing that we couldn’t find a way to manufacture a little more offence.
“When the goaltender is that good you’d like to do a little more in front of him,” said Tippett, who thought his team’s game could have been better. “We need to make a few more plays, get up the ice cleaner get ourselves up the ice with some speed.”
Mike Smith may get the Pittsburgh game, considering his finest effort this season came in Pittsburgh, where he stopped 51 shots in a 2-1 overtime win. But his saves percentage stands at .896 compared to .919 for Koskinen. If this weekend’s back-to-back at home sees more separation between the two, you may see Koskinen start the three remaining games in the rest of December, against Vancouver, Calgary and the New York Rangers on New Year’s Eve.
Blues coach Craig Berube had the toughest of calls, whether to challenge the Oilers goal at 18:10 of the third period for goaltender interference, knowing that if he was wrong the Oilers would finish the game on the power play. He challenged and lost, and Edmonton very nearly tied the game. “It’s always risky,” he told reporters post-game. “ It’s tough, I don’t know — the rules kind of vary all the time. I’m not going to talk about that. There’s nothing to say. It is always tough (to make that decision), but you keep it 2-0. Whatever, our guys killed it off. It’s good.” … Adam Larsson took a puck to the mouth, then came back to block a sure goal with the score still 1-0. It was, he said afterwards, “a great hockey match.” … The final shots on goal were 44-36 for St. Louis, but the Oilers peppered Jake Allen late as they tried to come back. The Oilers had 18 shots in the first 40 minutes, and 18 in the final 20 … Edmonton’s powerplay went 0-for-5, a rare night when it let the team down. It was the first time in nine games it failed to convert … Draisaitl had eight shots on net, whistling off the post with 19 seconds to play.
Edmonton hosts Pittsburgh on Friday, then the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night. Edmonton has lost five of its past six games.
Habs Headlines: The Canadiens defend decision to select Logan Mailloux – Habs Eyes on the Prize
Jessica Klimkait wins judo bronze to make Canadian history – CBC.ca
Having just lost the most devastating match of her career, a semifinal defeat to go for gold in the women’s under-57 kilogram judo event, Canada’s Jessica Klimkait wasn’t sure initially she could step back out on the mat for another match.
She was heartbroken. The world’s number-one ranked judoka in her weight class, Klimkait imagined a golden moment in Tokyo to end her first Olympic experience.
But there was still a medal up for grabs. It was not the colour Klimkait wanted but it still a chance to step on the podium.
Klimkait cried a bit. She talked to her coach. And then not long after she got back on the mat for her bronze-medal match.
Inside the hallowed Nippon Budokan near the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Klimkait showed resilience, power and poise to battle back and win bronze for Canada.
WATCH | Klimkait makes Canadian history, captures Olympic bronze:
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“Right now I’m going to be emotional about missing that gold medal but I think looking back I’m going to be proud of myself because the last two or three years have been extremely hard,” Klimkait said.
She defeated Slovenian Kaja Kajzer to become the first Canadian woman to land on the Olympic judo podium.
Kosovo’s Nora Gjakova won gold, while France’s Cysique won second. Japan’s Tsukasa Yoshina also won bronze as they award two third-place finishes in judo.
WATCH | Klimkait steps to the podium for her historic medal:
It’s Canada’s first medal in judo since the 2012 Olympics.
“I came here with gold in mind. That was the goal for me,” she said, fighting back tears.
“At the end of the day I’m just happy I was able to collect myself after that loss and come away with a medal.”
Stunning loss in semis
But about an hour earlier Klimkait’s Olympic gold medal dreams were dashed by France’s Sarah Léonie Cysique.
The referee handed Klimkait a third shido, or penalty, after a failed attack. That gave Cysique a stunning win.
“I’m a really offensive player. The only solution that I had was that I was trying to attack. I kept trying to attack. Some of them were not as great as they could have been,” Klimkait conceded.
Klimkait, 24, had to battle through four matches on Monday to secure the bronze, including the demoralizing semifinal.
“I just used all my mental strength that I could and kept it about trying to perform in the bronze medal match despite my emotions and some physical fatigue,” she said.
WATCH | Klimkait reflects on her historic medal for Canada:
Klimkait, from Whitby, Ont., has been carving a new path in the sport for Canada over the past number of years, alongside world No. 2, Canadian Christa Deguchi.
But it wasn’t a completely smooth journey for Klimkait in becoming Olympic champion.
Just before the pandemic hit in March 2020 and COVID-19 shut down sports around the world, Klimkait and Deguchi were months away from a fight-off for Canada’s lone Olympic quota spot, and then Klimkait suffered a knee injury.
The pandemic pause was a blessing for Klimkait as she was able to rest and recover. She told CBC Sports that if she wouldn’t have gotten the time off, she wouldn’t have been able to train properly and would have lost the fight-off – that would have ended her Olympic dream.
WATCH | Sport Explainer – Judo:
With only one Olympic spot available per country per event in judo, it had been decided that whoever of the two finished higher at the 2021 worlds would get Canada’s 57kg berth.
In early June, Klimkait defeated Momo Tamaoki of Japan by waza-ari in the world final, becoming Canada’s second world champion in the sport after Deguchi won in 2019.
Klimkait won the world championship and booked her ticket to Tokyo. Deguchi finished fourth.
“The last two or three years have been really uncertain for me in trying to qualify for the Olympics,” Klimkait said.
“I had to tuck the dream of the Olympics away and try to get better at judo for a while. I just did my best to be the best player I could and hoped that would be enough for qualification.”
WATCH | Klimkait wins judo world championship gold, qualifies for Tokyo:
It was somewhat of a full-circle moment for the Canadian judo program – Canada’s first judo medal was won inside the same Budokan venue at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo by Doug Rogers, taking the heavyweight silver.
It would take two decades before Canada would win another judo medal, as Mark Berger won heavyweight bronze at the 1984 Games.
Coming into these Games in Tokyo, Canada had won two silver medals and three bronze medals.
Canada hadn’t won an Olympic medal in judo for nine years.
But Klimkait has ended the drought in the same place judo became an Olympic sport.
“That’s been a goal and dream of mine not only to attend the Olympic Games but to be on the podium. Obviously the highest step on the podium would have been preferred,” she said.
“I still wanted to feel that pride even if it wasn’t gold.”
Habs draft pick Logan Mailloux’s sharing of intimate photo raises questions about accountability, experts say – The Globe and Mail
The decision by the Montreal Canadiens to select a junior hockey player who shared explicit images without his sexual partner’s consent – and had asked not to be picked while he works on improving his character – has provoked a backlash inside and outside the hockey world.
The Canadiens used their first pick from among dozens of National Hockey League prospects to take Logan Mailloux, an Ontario defenceman who played in Sweden last season on loan from his Canadian junior team, the London Knights.
Mr. Mailloux, who has turned 18 since the 2020 incident, was playing with SK Lejon in Sweden’s third division last fall when he sent images to teammates of the sexual encounter, along with information that identified his female partner.
He was charged with distributing a sexual photo without consent in Sweden and paid fines amounting to $5,300. When news of the incident broke in North America last week on sports site Daily Faceoff, Mr. Mailloux released a statement asking NHL teams to avoid drafting him. “I don’t feel I have demonstrated strong enough maturity or character to earn that privilege in the 2021 draft,” he said.
The NHL has no mechanism for players to withdraw their candidacy. Mr. Mailloux was passed over by all other NHL teams with picks in the first round before the Canadiens made their choice.
Tara Slone, co-host of the weekly Rogers Hometown Hockey on Sportsnet, said she was disappointed and disgusted by the Canadiens and team general manager Marc Bergevin.
“It’s sort of jaw-dropping. You start thinking things are improving and the needle is moving a little bit, and we take a bunch of steps backward,” Ms. Slone said in an interview. “I quite frankly found it baffling and heartbreaking at the same time. As a woman who works in hockey, I could not comprehend the decision.”
Ms. Slone said many of the men who run hockey “know they can get away with it and hockey trumps everything. It’s consequence-free.”
Elliotte Friedman, Ms. Slone’s Sportsnet colleague, said she was far from alone in her dismay. People around the hockey world, including him, “felt sick to their stomachs” after the pick, he said. “It put a stain on what was a really good week for the sport,” Mr. Friedman said on his podcast. Hockey media stalwarts from TSN, including Craig Button and Bob McKenzie, also expressed shock and dismay.
Farrah Khan, manager of Consent Comes First, a support organization against sexual and gender violence at Ryerson University in Toronto, said the Canadiens showed a complete misunderstanding of the meaning of consent in brushing aside the incident and the player’s wish to be left alone to sort out his issues.
She questioned what the Canadiens have in place to help the player. “We know there’s a problem with misogyny in sports. He is one player of many across sports teams that have caused sexual harm. What are the Canadiens doing concretely to address the issue?” Ms. Khan said.
The Canadiens did not respond to the question Sunday.
Mr. Bergevin, the general manager, justified the choice on the weekend, saying the team would be able to “provide [Mailloux] the tools” to address his behaviour. Assistant general manager Trevor Timmins said Mr. Mailloux meets with “a lady psychiatrist a couple times a week” and will be welcomed to training camp before the next season. The team has a plan, he said.
“We feel he is sincere in his redemption quest,” Mr. Timmins said. “We believe in giving people second chances.”
Mr. Mailloux told reporters Saturday he will try to take advantage of resources offered by the Canadiens. He also said he has apologized several times to his victim. “At this point I hope she knows I am sincere about this. I am really sorry,” he said.
The victim in the case wrote to The Athletic site last week to say Mr. Mailloux’s apology was a three-line text, and she didn’t believe it was sincere. “I do not think that Logan has understood the seriousness of his behaviour,” she said. “All I wanted was a heartfelt apology for his behaviour.”
Ms. Slone of Sportsnet said the Canadiens failed to take the victim into account in their selection. “There isn’t much attention paid to her side.”
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