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Ottawa Senators Win Second Straight Against Calgary Flames, 3-1 – Silver Seven

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We’re now firmly in the part of the season where the Ottawa Senators don’t have a lot to gain from wins, at least if you’re looking at the standings. Everyone knows that they’re going to finish last in the division, the playoffs are almost completely out of reach, and I don’t think anyone in the fanbase is especially upset about it. The Sens are one of the only teams in the league already out of the playoff race, and that means it’s a whole lot of fun to mess with the teams still in the race. This is basically our brand right now.

The Calgary Flames went into this game desperately clinging to their last little bit of hope for a playoff spot, already in a funk and in dire need of a win to set things right. Past versions of the Ottawa Senators may have laid down and let the Flames walk all over them, serving as a confidence booster and a free spot on a bingo card. But not this one. No, this version of the Sens is all about causing problems for your team, even if it doesn’t exactly help us either.

Just don’t think too hard about who Calgary was trying to catch.

Ottawa had a good start to the game, forcing the Flames’ goaltender to make a few good stops before most fans had even finished eating dinner and sat down to watch. The play was high-paced and fun, and it was clear that the Sens were pushing for a goal right from the start – a nice change from what we’ve gotten used to. The Flames picked up the pace about seven minutes in, but Gustavsson turned them away.

Unfortunately, the Sens went to the penalty kill just under halfway through the period, when Colin White went to the box for boarding. The Flames failed to record a single shot on goal on the powerplay, but kept the momentum going after the two minutes had expired, with a few dangerous shots on goal.

There was a lot more back and forth after that, both teams looking amazing but failing to score despite several good chances. There were hardly any whistles at all during the first period. It’s like they were trying to embarrass the NHL by ending the game as soon as possible.

Dadonov got a breakaway with about three minutes left in the period, and while Dadonov didn’t score on the play, Brady Tkachuk did what he does best, by which I mean he drew an interference penalty while crashing into the net. The Senators headed to their first powerplay of the game. Unfortunately, the powerplay yielded no results, and the period ended tied at 0, only 30 minutes after puck drop.

The second period started with an interesting off-ice development: Kyle Dubas was in the building, presumably because he’s such a big Sens fan that he had to take the opportunity to attend a game for free.

Anyways, both teams started the second as well as they had ended the first. The play was fast and exciting, interrupted by very few whistles, but once again, neither team quite managed to get on the board.

Halfway through the game, Calgary got called for tripping. Ottawa actually spent quite a lot of time with the net empty, because we hate whistles in this game. The Sens failed to score with the empty net or on the powerplay, though, and very nearly gave up a shorthanded goal right at the end.

Just as it was starting to feel like a goal would never be scored, Mark Giordano got past Gustavsson to make the score 1-0 Calgary.

Despite the best efforts of the Norris line, Ottawa did not manage to even the score before the end of the second frame. Calgary for a powerplay right at the end, when Nikita Zaitsev went off for interference. The Flames did not score on the powerplay, though, at the Sens went into the second intermission down by just one goal.

The Senators started the third period on the penalty kill. Gustavsson was forced to make a really nice save early on, but Ottawa killed off the penalty.

Josh Norris evened the score just under five minutes in, one-timing an excellent pass from behind the net from Evgenii Dadonov. 1-1.

I don’t know what was up with these two teams tonight, but they were still buzzing, even in the third. Ottawa was now buzzing a lot more than Calgary was, though. At one point, Zub stayed on long enough that the broadcast put up a clock for his shift, which is really all I ever wanted out of this season. A Julia Robillard sighting immediately preceded an extended period of straight up dominance from the Senators, which ultimately resulted in a Tierney goal to put the Sens ahead. The goal came off a great rebound from a Chabot shot from the point, and it was well deserved after that amazing shift – probably the Sens’ best even-strength shift in recent memory. 2-1 Ottawa.

Ottawa went to the powerplay right at the end of the game when Tim Stützle was cross-checked in the neck.

Unfortunately, the powerplay ended early when Brady Tkachuk got called for interference. Not even the fun kind, either: I would’ve tolerated a penalty if he was, say, beating up the person who had just cross-checked his best friend in the neck, but alas, this was just a silly penalty. It was bad timing, and the refs had missed a few other things before that, but thankfully Nikita Zaitsev stopped the Flames from starting a comeback with an empty net goal to make the score 3-1 Ottawa.

The final buzzer sounded, “SICKO MODE” played at the Canadian Tire Centre while the Flames walked out in shame, and the Ottawa Senators continued to absolutely own the Calgary Flames for reasons I still do not understand.

Notable Performances

  • This was a full team effort, but don’t downplay the contributions of Filip Gustavsson. He was really solid in net tonight, and earned a well-deserve first star of the game. The future of the Sens’ goaltending might actually be looking pretty bright.
  • Chris Tierney has been playing with some pretty good linemates lately, but I did think he held his own tonight, and obviously he scored the GWG.
  • Nikita Zaitsev was noticeable all night, and it was nice to see him get the empty netter at the end.
  • Zub is quickly replacing Mark Stone as the player I always throw on these lists because it’s always a safe bet that he had a good game. He is such a treat to watch.

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UEFA threaten to ban breakaway clubs from all competitions

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By Simon Evans

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – European soccer‘s governing body UEFA has warned clubs linked to a breakaway Super League that they face being banned from domestic and international competitions if they set up a rival to the Champions League.

In a joint statement https://www.uefa.com/insideuefa/mediaservices/mediareleases/news/0268-12121411400e-7897186e699a-1000–statement-by-uefa-english-fa-rfef-figc-premier-league-laliga-le with Spanish, English and Italian leagues and federations, UEFA said it will consider “all measures”, including the courts and bans from domestic leagues, in opposition to plans for a breakaway competition.

UEFA said it had learnt that clubs from those countries “may be planning to announce their creation of a closed, so-called Super League”.

“If this were to happen, we wish to reiterate that we….(and) also FIFA and all our member associations – will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever,” UEFA said.

“We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way,” the statement added.

In January, FIFA had said that a breakaway league would not be recognised and that “any club or player involved in such a competition would as a consequence not be allowed to participate in any competition organised by FIFA or their respective confederation” – meaning players would be banned from the World Cup.

Sunday’s UEFA statement said: “The clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.

“We thank those clubs in other countries, especially the French and German clubs, who have refused to sign up to this. We call on all lovers of football, supporters and politicians, to join us in fighting against such a project if it were to be announced. This persistent self-interest of a few has been going on for too long. Enough is enough.”

 

(Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond and Christian Radnedge)

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Netherlands and Poland seal narrow Billie Jean King Cup playoff wins

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(Reuters) – The Netherlands and Poland both needed deciding doubles wins to battle through their Billie Jean King Cup playoffs on Saturday but Britain, Italy and Canada all enjoyed easier passages.

In Den Bosch, the Dutch were without world number 11 Kiki Bertens for the second day because of injury and found themselves trailing China 2-1 after Wang Xiyu beat Lesley Kerkhove in Saturday’s opening singles.

But Aranxta Rus beat Wang Xinyu to level the tie and then teamed up with Demi Schuurs to defeat Zhang Shuai and Zu Yifan to send the hosts through.

It was equally tight in Poland where the hosts were pushed to the brink by Brazil.

Brazil’s Carolina Meligeni Alves took the tie into a deciding doubles with a win over Katarzyna Kawa but the Poles prevailed 3-2 as Kawa and Magdalena Frech came back from a set down to beat Meligeni Alves and Luisa Stefani.

Kazakhstan also won a deciding rubber to see off Argentina.

Britain led 2-0 overnight against Mexico in London but Marcela Zacarias beat Heather Watson to keep alive the tie.

Katie Boulter proved too strong for Giuliana Olmos though to clinch the tie for the hosts.

Italy beat Romania 3-1 while Canada‘s teenager Leylah Annie Fernandez sealed her country’s path as she gave her side an unassailable 3-0 lead over Serbia thanks to a three-set win over Nina Stojanovic.

Ukraine eased past Japan 4-0 while Anastasija Sevastova secured Latvia’s 3-1 victory over India.

The eight winners move forward to next year’s qualifying round where they will hope to reach the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup Finals.

The old Fed Cup was re-branded last year and named after the American great and 12-times Grand Slam singles champion who won the inaugural tournament nearly 60 years ago.

This year’s 12-team Finals were postponed because of the pandemic and a new date has yet to be finalised.

 

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Clare Fallon)

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Motor racing-Canadian Grand Prix cancelled for second year

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(Reuters) -The Canadian Grand Prix scheduled for June 13 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal has been cancelled for the second year in a row, CBC Radio reported on Thursday although Formula One said discussions remained ongoing.

With the spread of new COVID-19 variants and Canada battling to contain a third wave of the virus, Montreal public health authorities concluded that even if run behind closed doors without spectators the risks were too high, reported the CBC.

F1 officials, according to the CBC, wanted to bypass the mandatory 14-day quarantine for the hundreds of staff, crew members and drivers and rely on private medical staff and have the entire operation run in a bubble.

The race is scheduled to follow on immediately from Azerbaijan, whose grand prix is scheduled for June 6 in Baku and is due to go ahead after also being cancelled last year.

“We are continuing our discussions with the promoter in Canada and have no further comment,” an F1 spokesperson told Reuters.

The Autosport website quoted a spokesperson for the Canadian promoter as saying the radio report referred to “a document of recommendations from public health.

“We as an organisation have not had confirmation from our public health officials and won’t comment until we get an official confirmation.”

Canada, with some of the world’s toughest travel rules, obliges its citizens and residents arriving from abroad to self-isolate for 14 days.

International arrivals are required to quarantine for up to three days in a hotel.

One of Canada‘s biggest sporting events, it would mark the second consecutive year the grand prix has been removed from the F1 schedule due to the spread of COVID-19.

Media reports have suggested Turkey is on standby to be slotted in as Canada‘s replacement.

The Istanbul circuit is logistically convenient for freight coming from Baku and was brought in last year also at short notice to bolster a calendar ravaged by the pandemic.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto/Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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