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Olympic women’s hockey Thursday recap: Canada, U.S. lose key forwards to injury –



One day into the Olympic women’s hockey tournament and the top two teams already are dealing with injury concerns.

After Canada lost veteran forward Melodie Daoust in a 12-1 win against Switzerland on Thursday, American forward Brianna Decker was carried off the ice on a stretcher with a leg injury after getting tangled up with Finland’s Ronja Savolainen.

It appears Decker’s tournament is over.

Canada offered no timeline for Daoust’s injury.

While skating the puck into the offensive zone, Daoust was hit by Swiss defence Sarah Forster. Daoust was slow to get up and skated slowly to the bench, holding her right arm while making her way to the locker room.

Daoust is in her third Olympics and was tournament MVP in 2018 when Canada lost in the final against the U.S.

Decker, 30, also is at the Games for a third time.

Depth could be more of a concern for the Americans. CBC reported Canada has a taxi squad in Beijing, while the U.S. does not.

Canada lights up scoreboard

Canada didn’t take long to regain its scoring touch.

Playing their first game since December after having two friendlies against the United States cancelled because of COVID-19, the Canadians enjoyed their biggest offensive output in a game since 2013.

Several new Olympians played key roles for Canada, including Sarah Filler, who scored the first two goals of the game, and Claire Thompson, who had a goal and four assists.

“We were all so excited to play after taking so much time off,” Thompson said. “The girls came out of the gate flying and never let our foot off the gas. I think I was definitely a bit nervous at the start of the game, but the veteran players gave us some advice and we can always look to them at any point because they are just so calm. I was able to settle into the game pretty quick and had a lot of fun out there.”

Coach Troy Ryan also was happy with his team’s effort after Canada outshot the Swiss 70-15.

“I think there were a lot of good things in the game. I thought offensively we were deliberate and intentional with everything we did,” he said. “We stuck to our systems and concepts and had some success with it. It was nice to see some of the young ones score their first Olympic goal, and it was fun. I think early on everybody just wants to get a shift or two under their belts, but once they did, everyone, including the rookies, settled in.”

Fillier was one of four two-goal scorers for Canada, joining Natalie Spooner, who also had three assists, Laura Stacey and Blayre Turnbull.

Canada, which captured the world title last year after losing to the United States in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, had little trouble with the Swiss, who finished fourth at last year’s worlds.

Things figure to get tougher on Saturday (Friday at 11:10 p.m. ET) when Canada faces Finland, bronze winners at last year’s worlds.

All five teams from the top-ranked Group A — featuring Canada, the United States, Finland, Switzerland and the Russians — advance to the quarterfinals. The top three teams in five-team Group B also move on.

United States 5, Finland 2

Kendall Coyne Schofield and Alex Carpenter each had a pair of goals as the Americans faced little resistance from Finland. Shots were 52-12 in favour of the Americans. Susanna Tapani had both of Finland’s goals.

Czech Republic 3, China 1

The Czechs got to celebrate a win after their Olympic debut in the sport. The Czechs outshot the hosts 36-14 and got goals from Michaela Pejzlova, Tereza Radova and Denisa Krizova.

Japan 3, Sweden 1

Haruna Yoneyama’s empty-netter with 1:01 left sealed Japan’s win over a short-handed Swedish roster (because of COVID-19 issues). Japan outshot the Swedes 40-27.

Friday schedule

Russia vs. Switzerland, 11:10 p.m. ET (Thursday)
Denmark vs. China, 11:10 p.m. ET (Thursday)

Friday spotlight

The Russians could be short-handed for their tournament opener. Stephen Wyyno of The Associated Press reported that Russia was missing five players from its roster on Thursday for practice because of COVID-19 problems.

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Defiant Serena Williams takes aim at Wimbledon title – The Globe and Mail



Serena Williams practices on Centre Court ahead of the 2022 Wimbledon Championship at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, in London, England, on June 24.Adam Davy/The Associated Press

Since she hasn’t done this for a while, Serena Williams was not in top press-conference form this weekend.

At her best, Williams may be the most electric speaker in sport. She bops between playfulness and simmering rage, often in the space of a single question. The way she stares through questioners puts most of them on the stammering defensive before they’ve said anything.

But now back at Wimbledon after what was essentially a sabbatical year, she lacked that mojo. Short answers. Less cheek. Zero flashes of annoyance.

Then a German reporter tossed her a softball: “What would be a good outcome for you?”

Williams is 40. She hasn’t played a meaningful singles match since blowing her hamstring at this tournament last year. She’s only here because Wimbledon gave her a free pass.

“Oh yes,” Williams said, like she’d been waiting for this one. She closed her eyes and lowered her voice to a purr. “You know the answer to that. Come on now.”

Laughter in the room. An amused eyeroll from the star.

Then someone else followed with the same question asked a slightly different way and Williams iced him with the same answer: “You guys know the answer to that.”

The tone made it very clear no one should try for a third.

Other questioners tried to draw her on Roe v. Wade and the Russia ban. Williams passed both times. It was a lesson to her colleagues throughout sport – there’s no law that says you must have a public opinion on everything.

Finally, here was the imperious Williams that we have missed. Now let’s see if that dominance can be transferred a few hundred feet onto the court.

Many sports stars dominate their little patch of the field, but few have controlled their whole environments the way Williams has. In the latter half of her career, it often seemed that she could beat opponents by Vulcan mind-melding them from distance. The match would be going their way. Williams would fix them with her thousand-yard stare. And then – whoop! – it’d be going Williams’s way.

Then the injuries started up. And the disappointments in major tournament finals. And the rock in her shoe that is Margaret Court’s 24 grand slam titles (Williams is stuck on 23).

Williams is the most dominating women’s player ever. You don’t need to understand tennis to understand that. All you need are eyes. But until the numbers fall her way, some dingdong is always going to say, “Yeah, sure, but …”

She has steadily denied it, but that appeared to get in Williams’s head. Her mien was still total control, but opponents no longer feared her. Broadcasters stopped mooning about her the whole way through matches. When they did tell Williams stories, they started having a “back in my day” feel. It must feel bizarre to have your professional obit written in real time while you’re still working. Here, she felt compelled to start off her presser with, “I didn’t retire.”

A year away won’t have helped any of that. Nor will the new job title. Everyone else she plays in her two weeks here – come on now – will be a tennis professional. Grinding it out on the tour 10 months a year, racking up the AmEx points.

Williams had been a tennis part-timer for a while, but now she’s more of an occasional worker. A dabbler, even. Her steady gig is as a venture capitalist.

“I’m currently out of the office for the next few weeks,” Williams said.

Her company raised more than US$100-million in seed money in the spring. It’s a good fit. I mean, are you going to say no to Serena Williams? And if you do, how do you plan on getting out of the room? She is a lot faster than you.

So now Williams is not only fighting younger, presumably fitter players, her age and a lack of practice. She’s taking on the whole idea of doing sports for a living. Though she will make money here, Williams has become an amateur. Because one way of defining that word is “someone who does something for fun.”

Williams is currently ranked 411th in the world. She’s not about to start climbing that ladder again. She’s doing this because she can and why not?

If she makes it through a couple of rounds, nobody’s going to feel weird about that. She’s Serena Williams. She can still win matches with The Look.

But if she puts a real dent in this tournament, the modern game is going to look slightly ridiculous. Everyone in it never shuts up about their up-when-it’s-still-dark workout routine and their strength coach and the sports psychologist who sleeps in a cot beside their bed. If the louche star of yesteryear who practises when he feels like it and enjoys a boozy night out were to time warp into the present day, he’d be shunned.

(Not that such players don’t still exist. Just that they’ve figured out they shouldn’t talk about it.)

So what would it say if Williams – her life full of other responsibilities, coming off a bad injury and only having swung a racket in anger as a doubles player about a week ago – were to excel here? It would put the lie to sport’s productivity cult.

When someone tried to put her on the spot about being spared a first-round match against world No. 1 Iga Swiatek, Williams’s expression flattened: “Every match is hard … and anyone could have been drawn to me.”

There have always been a bunch of reasons to be fascinated by Williams. She divides opinion, but two things cannot be argued – her quality and her charisma. She’s an all-timer in both instances. Her place at the top of the pyramid is already assured.

But floating into London in June on a working holiday, seemingly expecting to win Wimbledon? How great would that be? You guys know the answer to that.

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Stanley Cup headed for repair shop after drop by Avalanche’s Aube-Kubel –



It didn’t take long for the Stanley Cup to suffer some damage following the 2021-22 season.

Mere minutes after the Colorado Avalanche beat the Tampa Bay Lightning to claim the title on Sunday night, Avs forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel fell while skating with the Cup toward the traditional on-ice team photo.

Aube-Kubel dropped the Cup — and the result was predictable.

“I don’t even know if they even had it five minutes and there’s a dent at the bottom already,” Phil Pritchard, the Hockey Hall of Fame’s keeper of the Cup, said in an NHL Twitter post.

“Right in the middle of the team photo. It’s the third time the Avalanche have won it. I guess we have a little chat with them soon and go through the process of how we’re going to repair it and that. But the Stanley Cup tour will go on.”

Like all sports trophies, the Cup has taken its share of body blows over the years. But this one was unique.

“I guess it’s a new record today, five minutes into the presentation it has happened. It’s the first time it’s ever happened on the ice,” Pritchard said.

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Alex Newhook Becomes Third Newfoundlander To Win The Cup – VOCM



Newfoundland and Labrador’s Alex Newhook is a Stanley Cup Champion.

The Colorado Avalanche finally dethroned the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning Sunday night, holding on for a 2 -1 victory and taking the series 4-2.

Newhook becomes the third Newfoundland player to win the Cup, following Daniel Cleary of Harbour Grace and Bonavista’s Michael Ryder.

Newhook had four points in 12 games this post-season and, at the age of 21, becomes the youngest player from this province to ever win the Cup.

Anticipation now builds toward this summer when it’s expected Newhook and the Cup will make the trip home.

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