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OTT@MTL: Quotes of the night –



MONTREAL – The Canadiens snapped their five-game winless streak with a 3-1 victory over the Senators on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.

Following the game, goaltender Carey Price, forwards Brendan Gallagher and Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and interim head coach Dominique Ducharme spoke with reporters via Zoom.

Here are a few highlights from their respective chats:

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Price talked about the team’s efforts while short-handed, keeping the Senators from breaking the contest wide open when Joel Armia was assessed a double-minor early in the first period:

The penalty killers were huge for us. Everybody was working in unison and executed everything well. I thought we just did a great job of eliminating plays and closing seams. I thought that everything we wanted to do we accomplished.

Video: Carey Price on the Canadiens’ execution

The Habs’ starter also shared his thoughts on getting his groove back after a tough stretch:

I was just thankful to get back in the net and get that opportunity to get another crack at it. The whole time, it’s just been focusing on the process and keeping things simple, and the guys played very well in front of me tonight to help me out.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: La troisi��me ��tait la bonne. F��licitations, coach! 👏 Third time’s Ducharme. Congrats, coach! #GoHabsGo

Gallagher, meanwhile, was happy to help Ducharme and assistant coach Alex Burrows pick up their first wins in their new roles:

Both Dom and Burr have been working incredibly hard to implement their system and kind of put their footprint on this team and get us playing the way they want us to play. The work ethic that went into this, it’s just a building block. We’re not satisfied. We had to work hard to get out of that little skid that we were in and we don’t want to go back there, so we’re going to stay humble. We understand it’s one win. Each win in the NHL is hard to come by, so you enjoy it, but when you leave the rink, you get ready for the next one. We know how much work went into this. We’ll just continue to build on what we’ve been working on here. The exciting thing is that there are areas in our game that can continue to grow, and if we do that, we can get back to being a team that other teams are worried about.

Video: Brendan Gallagher on ending the losing streak

The Canadiens’ alternate captain praised the play of defenseman Jeff Petry as well, and the incredible progress he has made in recent years:

When he came to us, he was in a situation where he wasn’t really wanted in Edmonton. We were pretty unsure with what we were getting, but it didn’t take long to understand the talent that he had. You look at the playoff run we went on that year, he was probably our best defenseman. Since he came here, he’s been able to have that impact. He’s a guy we use in every situation. He’s a very, very good teammate, and he’s continued to get better. At this stage of his career, to continue to improve says a lot about who he is and the work that he puts in, his brain and the intelligence he has for the game. We’re fortunate to have a player like that. He’s definitely one of the best in the League. We’re just lucky to have him.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Un BOULET de Jeff Petry. 🚀A ROCKET from Jeff Petry.#GoHabsGo

Kotkaniemi discussed the Canadiens’ success with the man advantage versus Ottawa:

We were moving the puck pretty well tonight. We were trying to drive the play towards the net all the time. If you keep shooting, that gives you a lot of opportunities to score. We were good in those areas tonight.

Video: Jesperi Kotkaniemi on the win over the Sens

The 20-year-old Finn also talked about adapting to Ducharme’s system:

I like it a lot. At first, we changed little things. I could feel that day by day we were learning a lot of new things so we could try and play our game with the new system. I think it’s pretty similar to what we did in Laval last year. We saw a lot of the same things. I’m actually feeling pretty comfortable with it.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Gallagher marque sur un jeu parfait en avantage num��rique. 💯Gally scores on a perfect play on the man advantage!#GoHabsGo

The Habs’ bench boss was asked about Jonathan Drouin picking up the game puck for him:

I didn’t know that it was Jonathan who collected the puck. When we got back to the dressing room, I said something to the players and Shea gave me the puck. It was a nice gesture. I’ve known Jo for a long time. I think it’s 10 years. I’m happy for our players. We’ve been through a rough period. We deserved to win on Saturday night in Winnipeg. Wins aren’t always pretty when you snap a streak like that. But we’re seeing that we’re headed in the right direction and we deserved this win.

Video: Dominique Ducharme on his first win as head coach

Ducharme was proud of his group for a number of reasons:

We faced adversity. The Senators play the right way. They worked hard. They do a bunch of things that make life difficult for their opponents. I’d say we faced more adversity tonight than during the game in Winnipeg. When we had tough moments, I liked the way our players regrouped. I think it’s good experience for our players to keep on growing as a team. We handled the situation well.

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Drouin must return to mentality that’s led to success this season –



It was something Dominique Ducharme said after his Montreal Canadiens played an abysmal game against the Ottawa Senators last week, something that only truly resonated after they lost 3-2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday — a game that emboldened the struggle Jonathan Drouin’s currently enduring.

“Ninety per cent of the mistakes we made were mental, and the rest of it was above our shoulders.” the coach said after the 6-3 loss to Ottawa last Saturday, somewhat channelling New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra with this bit of wit and wisdom.

It was hard not to think of those words watching Drouin play the way he did on Wednesday. For much of this season, the talented left winger has played a primary role in Montreal’s success. He’s led them with 19 assists, been tenacious on the forecheck, physically engaged all over the ice, cerebral as always in his execution and, as he’s said on several occasions, relatively unconcerned by whether or not his name has been featured on the scoresheet.

But it seemed clear, after watching Drouin dump a breakaway into Jack Campbell’s chest with one of 32 shots the Maple Leafs goaltender turned aside to set a franchise record with his 10th consecutive win, he had diverted from that. And that affected the way he played the rest of the game.

It was Drouin’s fifth in a row without a point, his 18th without a goal, and he’d have to be a robot not to be suffering the mental wear of not seeing the puck go in more than twice since the season started, the torment of seeing only three per cent of his shots hit the back of the net through 36 games after 10 per cent of them resulted in goals through the first 348 games of his career.

“It is weighing on me where, when I have a chance and miss the goal, I might be trying to score too much,” Drouin said. “It’s something I obviously think about — every player would — and I’ve just gotta put it past me and just keep shooting pucks.”

Ideally, the 26-year-old wouldn’t be thinking about any of this. These are thoughts that weigh a player down and right now the Canadiens are in tough without Brendan Gallagher for the rest of the season and Drouin needs to be light and free to help account for that loss. And in order for him to do that, he needs to focus on what he does best.

Because the reality is that even though Drouin can score more, scoring isn’t what he needs to do in order to be at his best and really help this team.

“When his feet are moving and he’s making plays, Drou’s a pass-first guy,” explained Jake Allen, who made 29 saves in Carey Price’s absence. “When his feet are moving, his head’s always in it. When his feet are moving, he’s controlling the play, controlling the puck. He’s a guy who really can control the play for a whole line. You want the puck on that guy’s stick and let the other guys do the dirty work and he’ll find them.”

But when Drouin’s feet aren’t moving, there just isn’t enough of that other stuff happening.

When Drouin’s feet weren’t moving, he lost a battle for the puck in the offensive zone and allowed the NHL’s leading goal scorer to start the rush that resulted in the winning play of Wednesday’s game.

Auston Matthews to Mitch Marner, back to Matthews, off Allen and slammed into Montreal’s net by Zach Hyman with 9:39 remaining in the third period, with Drouin watching from just inside his own blue line.

“You give a 3-on-2 to the Matthews line and it’s the kind of play they’re going to make you pay on,” said Ducharme.

Was Drouin still thinking about that shot he didn’t bury in the second period?

It’s understandable if he was, but those are the kind of thoughts he needs to shake right now.

“He wants to do well, and I’m sure it’s getting a little bit in his head,” said Ducharme. “I think the best remedy for him is to be scoring that goal or making that big play, and I think he’s going to be energized by that and less thinking, more acting.

“It is a fine line. Those kind of thoughts is not something that you want to happen. But when you receive that puck and you see the opening and stuff, (the slump) comes back to (your mind). That’s why the mental part of the game is something that’s very tricky. It’s not his will to be thinking that way. Every player who’s going through a time like that will have that thought and scoring that goal will take him to a different level. At those kind of times you need to make it even simpler and being even more inside going at the net and finding a garbage (goal) right there and you put it in and sometimes you go on a little run. It might be that kind of goal that he needs to get that monkey off his back.”

It’s the kind of goal Corey Perry scored twice to give the Canadiens a chance in this game.

But Drouin isn’t Perry, who rightly pointed out after the game he’s made a career of scoring goals that way. And even if Drouin can borrow from what Perry does next time he has a chance like the one Brett Kulak set him up with for that breakaway, there are other ways he can positively impact the game.

You can appreciate that Drouin said he’s putting pressure on himself to score more and help make up for the goals the team will be missing with Gallagher sidelined, but that might not get him to where he needs to be mentally to contribute as much as he already has this season.

What would, though, is a sharp turn towards the mentality he described just days ago. The one that’s enabled him to be a much more consistent player this season than he has in seasons past.

“When I was younger, I’d stay on one game or stay on one play for too long and wouldn’t be able to let it go for a bit or a couple of days,” Drouin said. “But I think for me now it’s can I look at myself in the mirror after a game and did I give my good effort? Was I a part of this game? Was I doing something right in a lot of areas?

“That’s what I do now. I think points are there, goals are there, assists are there, but it’s just about playing that real game and playing to help your team win.”

Drouin’s done a lot of that this season and has a chance to get right back to it when the Winnipeg Jets visit the Bell Centre Thursday.

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Scioscia to lead U.S. baseball bid for spot at Tokyo Olympics



(Reuters) – Mike Scioscia, who won World Series both as a player and manager, was named manager of the U.S. men’s national baseball team on Tuesday, as they seek a spot at the Tokyo Olympics.

After 19 seasons as manager of the Anaheim Angels, guiding them to their only World Series win in 2002, Scioscia will make his international coaching debut in June when the United States hosts the Baseball Americas Qualifier in Florida.

For the tournament the U.S. will be grouped with the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Nicaragua in Pool A while Canada, Colombia, Cuba, and Venezuela will make up Pool B.

The top two teams from each pool will advance to the Super Round, where the country with the best overall record will earn a spot in the Tokyo Olympic tournament.

Second and third-place finishers will advance to a final qualifier, joining Australia, China, Taiwan, and the Netherlands.

“Mike’s tenure with the Angels’ franchise was nothing short of spectacular, creating and celebrating a culture of success with six division titles, an American League pennant, and its first-ever World Series title,” said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler in a statement. “More impactfully, his leadership, integrity, and character are unparalleled in our game, making him the perfect fit for the USA Baseball family.”

The Olympic tournament will take place from July 28-Aug. 7 in Fukushima City and Yokohama.

Hosts Japan, Israel, South Korea, and Mexico have already secured a berth in the six-team field.


(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Toby Davis)

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Masters 2021: Tiger Woods says he'll miss Champions Dinner, running up DJ's bill – Golf Channel



AUGUSTA, Ga. – Dustin Johnson will host his first Champions Dinner on Tuesday night in the Augusta National clubhouse, and he’ll be joined by several past Masters champions.

One former winner who won’t be there is five-time champ Tiger Woods, who is still home in South Florida recovering from a serious car accident in February near Los Angeles. Justin Thomas, who is still working toward his invite to the prestigious dinner, said Woods texted him Friday night and was “bummed” to not be at the Masters this year.

Woods then tweeted Tuesday afternoon that he’ll miss one of his favorite nights of the year.

“I’ll miss running up @DJohnsonPGA’s bill at the Champions Dinner tonight,” Woods said. “It’s still one of my favorite nights of the year.”

Johnson responded to Woods’ tweet, saying: “Will miss having you here. This week isn’t the same without you.”

The PGA Tour announced that the club would leave a seat open for Woods at the dinner, though the tweet has since been taken down.

Johnson will serve a menu including filet mignon, sea bass and peach cobbler.

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