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Out with a cervical spine injury, Muzzin may not return to Leafs lineup – TSN

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TSN SportsCentre Reporter Mark Masters reports on the Toronto Maple Leafs, who practised at Ford Performance Centre on Monday ahead of Tuesday’s game against the Penguins in Pittsburgh. 


Jake Muzzin is out indefinitely with a cervical spine injury. He will be re-evaluated in late February. It’s unclear if the veteran defenceman will be able to return to the Leafs lineup. 

“It is not something you want to really mess around with,” general manager Kyle Dubas said. “Unless he is 100 per cent sure that this recovery time is going to allow it to settle and not be an issue, we have to do what is right for his long-term health. He is a father of two young children and a husband. We have to make sure we are doing right by him. As important as he is to us as a player, his health is paramount.”

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“I heard about it a lot earlier than you guys, obviously,” said winger Mitch Marner, who considers Muzzin among his closest friends on the team. “When you get news like that it’s pretty emotional. It was just me and him in the room when he told me and it’s a sad thing.” 

Muzzin, who will turn 34 in February, has been sidelined since colliding with Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller in Toronto’s fourth game of the season on Oct. 17. 

Dubas pointed out this isn’t the first injury like this for Muzzin, who was stretchered off the ice following an awkward collision near the end of Game 2 of the 2020 bubble best-of-five playoff qualifying series against the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

Muzzin will continue to be around the group. He’s working out in the gym and providing teammates with advice and encouragement. 

“We think, because of his experience not just as a member of our team here but his experience previously winning in L.A., he can still bring a lot to our team,” said Dubas. “We are fortunate to have him and have him around.”

“He’s been awesome around the rink still,” said Marner. “He’s still bringing that positivity regardless of the news that he’s getting.” 

Muzzin will go back to Los Angeles to meet with a specialist in February. It’s only at that time that the Leafs will know for sure if Muzzin is able to return. 

“If we had any experience with this thing, I would stand up and give some semblance of a clear answer,” said Dubas. “Because of the nature of the injury and because we really don’t have a lot of experience with this type of injury — we are more relying on other sports that don’t replicate hockey exactly — it is hard to predict.” 

In the mean time, Dubas is looking to see whether young defencemen Rasmus Sandin, 22, and Timothy Liljegren, 23, can handle more. 

“Step two will be identifying — even if they elevate themselves — if it is going to be enough to help us really accomplish what we want to accomplish, and then we will evaluate the trade market and go from there,” Dubas continued. “We are not in any real hurry. We want to see what these guys bring.”

Dubas points out that Mark Giordano will help fill the leadership void. Head coach Sheldon Keefe recently revealed the team is urging the 39-year-old, who was acquired at the trade deadline last year, to speak up more. 

“We now have Gio, who adds that kind of veteran stability,” Dubas said. 

The trade deadline is March 3. 

“As we go through the year, we will be really closely evaluating how it goes,” Dubas promised. 

ContentId(1.1877933): Leafs D Muzzin out until at least February; Brodie also on IR

T.J. Brodie will be out at least two weeks with an oblique injury. Where will the Leafs miss the defenceman most? 

“It is the stability that he brings not just in how he plays but also in how he makes others better around him,” said Keefe, who dubbed the 32-year-old “Mr. Consistent” last year. “That is the biggest piece for sure.”

Brodie leads the Leafs in even-strength minutes (18:11 per game) and is tied with Justin Holl for the most short-handed minutes (3:07 per game). 

“You can always depend on him defensively,” Marner noted. “He’s always in the right spot. He’s always making the right plays. He’s definitely a big piece.”

On Saturday, Brodie missed his first game since signing with the Leafs. 

“I was really happy with how we managed it the other night,” Keefe said. “Jordie Benn came in and played his first game for us, we were on a back-to-back, and we had to kill some penalties late in the game with the game on the line. It was really encouraging to see how the guys responded to that. We are obviously going to need more of it.”

Benn moved up to play with Morgan Rielly while Giordano ended up with Holl, who had been playing with Brodie. Sandin and Liljegren linked up on the third pair.  

ContentId(1.1878108): Leafs’ Brodie expected to miss a couple weeks with oblique injury

Benn actually scored the winning goal against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. 

“That was awesome,” said Auston Matthews with a big smile. “I wasn’t expecting a d-man to be in the paint there.”

“The puck just started coming up the wall,” Benn explained. “I saw Mo start sliding so I wanted to slide in and just so happened I ended up in front of the net and popped’er in.”

It was Benn’s first goal since Jan. 24 and led to an exuberant celebration. 

“It doesn’t happen too often so I didn’t really know what to do,” the ex-Canuck admitted. “But, thank God Matty came and I was like, all right, here’s a hug.” 

It was a sweet moment for the 35-year-old from Victoria. 

“I was a Canucks fan so it’s definitely nice to stick it to them a little bit,” he said with a grin.

Benn was getting a look with Rielly early in the pre-season when he sustained a groin injury. 

“It’s frustrating, but s–t happens,” he said succinctly. 

Now, Benn appears eager to make up for lost time. He landed four hits and made a key block on the penalty kill while logging more than 17 minutes against the Canucks.

“He was really good,” said Keefe. “He was really competitive. All of the things we know about him: a competitive, intelligent defender. He made some plays with the puck and moved it really well. He scored us a huge goal. Particularly when you take out a presence like Brodie, it is good to have someone like that come into our group.” 

Matt Murray appears ready to return from an adductor injury and is scheduled to get the start on Tuesday in Pittsburgh. It will be his first time playing at PPG Paints Arena since being traded by the Penguins to the Ottawa Senators in October of 2020. 

“I always enjoy going back to Pittsburgh and seeing people that I haven’t seen in quite some time so I’ll be looking forward to that,” Murray said. “Even some of the security guys in the building and people like that. You know, guys that took care of me when I was there. Just really cool to see those kinds of people.”

Murray, who backstopped the Penguins to two Stanley Cups, received a video tribute when the Senators played in Pittsburgh in January, but the goalie was sidelined at that time. The 28-year-old did play the Penguins in February, stopping 42 of 43 shots in a Senators loss. 

“They’re just a dangerous group so being on the other side of it for the first time was definitely strange,” he recalled. 

Murray tore his groin during a morning skate on Oct. 15 before he was set to make his second start with the Leafs. 

The Thunder Bay, Ont., native has now gone through three full practices since the injury.  

“To have him back healthy and to give him an opportunity to get back in the net and get rolling is important for us,” said Keefe. “It is really good to see that he has come back on the early side of his timeline. It was kind of a four-to-six week type of deal. He put in a lot of hard work. The medical team took care of him and pushed him hard. He looks very much ready. We have given him a few extra days here and the addition of this practice to add to his workload so that he is all the more prepared. We are making sure that he is 100 per cent. When I say 100 per cent, there is the physical part of it with the injury, and then there is getting in the net, stopping pucks, getting into your routine, and feeling confident that you can go and perform at your best.”

Murray allowed four goals on 23 shots in a season-opening loss in Montreal.  

ContentId(1.1878109): Murray poised to play in Pittsburgh for first time since trade

Ilya Samsonov took part in his first practice since hurting his knee on Nov. 5. 

“I haven’t had an update since we left the practice, but the amount of work he did today tells me he is feeling really good,” said Keefe. “I know they were going to start off the day feeling it out and making sure they’re not progressing too quickly, but we expected him to take a step today from what he has been doing on the ice. He looked like he did that and then some. It is very encouraging and great to see both guys [Murray and Samsonov] out on the ice working together.”

Erik Kallgren and Keith Petruzzelli, who was signed to an entry-level contract after Samsonov got hurt, also took part in practice. 

“The goaltending depth and defence depth have both been tested here,” acknowledged Dubas. “The goaltending one severely with Matt, Ilya, and Joseph Woll all out.”

Woll has been sidelined since undergoing off-season shoulder surgery. 

“He had a bit of a setback with the shoulder,” Dubas revealed. “In his recovery, he sustained a bit of an ankle injury. He is slated to participate tomorrow with the Marlies in full practice. To me, that is a positive sign. With what he is coming back from, we just need to continue to be patient. We are hopeful that in the next two or three weeks, he can be back up to full practices, get cleared, and get rolling again as well.”

For the first time this season, Matthews and Marner started Saturday’s game on separate lines. Matthews played between Michael Bunting and William Nylander while Marner joined Alex Kerfoot and John Tavares. And that’s how Toronto’s top six will look when Tuesday’s game starts. 

“We think it makes sense to continue with it for a little bit here,” Keefe said. 

“I’m really comfortable with Willy,” said Matthews, who has only scored two goals in 5-on-5 play this season. “We have really good chemistry. Even though we don’t play a whole lot together other than the power play nowadays I think we still kind of understand each other’s game and know where we want to be out there and how we want to play. We really utilized each other and generated some good chances.”

The reviews were more mixed for Tavares and Marner. 

“I still think we can generate a little more, make it a little tougher on the opponent,” Tavares said. “But, certainly, two guys I’m very familiar with and played with a lot in my time here. I thought Kerf found me a few times for some nice looks so keep building on that.” 

Tavares scored a career-high 47 goals while playing alongside Marner during his first season in Toronto.

“Our games do mesh well,” said Tavares. “Obviously, we played that whole year together and had a lot of success and have had periods here and there since then and still play a good amount of time on the power play. Obviously, have a really good feel for his game. I think he has a good feel for my game. So, don’t need to go out there and force the issue and do too much.” 

How does Marner’s outlook change? 

“For me, it’s trying to find my way through the neutral zone with the puck a little more maybe and trying to find speed off the rush and try to find him in spots where he’s coming in later or going back side and stuff like that,” he said.  

Keefe split up Matthews and Marner for a 10-game stretch early last season following a slow start by the team. Tavares also played with Marner when Matthews missed nine games due to injury.  

The Leafs sat in a tie for 23rd in 5-on-5 goals this season entering Monday’s games. 

ContentId(1.1878110): Leafs Ice Chips: Matthews, Marner remain split up

The Leafs have yet to live up to their own lofty expectations so far, but Dubas isn’t worried. 

“It may come off as strange, but in my role with the team, I personally think going through these types of things — whether it is injury or poor play that results in some consternation about where we are at — is a very positive thing,” he said. “You learn a lot about the people you are with day in and day out. You learn who can handle it and who may not be able to.”

The noise in the market got ratcheted up after the team went winless over four games in Las Vegas and California at the end of October. 

“Coming back off of that Western road trip where we did not play well, I thought our guys did an excellent job here the whole week at home in getting ready to roll and putting together a really good week,” Dubas noted. “Last week, on the [Sunday in Carolina] going into the second period, we are down again. Rather than let that start to snowball, they dug in and found their way. That, to me, is very encouraging. If you look around the league, it is so close right now. There are maybe three or four teams that would be really happy with the way they have started unequivocally. The others have been a bit up and down.”

The Leafs still sit second in the Atlantic Division, but are only two points up on Tampa Bay, Florida, Detroit and Montreal. 

Dubas credits Keefe for navigating the team through this early-season turbulence. 

“Everything is done with a purpose,” Dubas stressed. “There is never anything about him that isn’t purposeful. In my time knowing him and working with him, when things are not necessarily perfect, he finds a way to be at his best and get the most out of the group. The thing for me about Sheldon that has been most encouraging in working with him, even as we have gone through this season where we have had stretches where we haven’t played as well: The group responds to him.”

On Friday night, Keefe coached his 200th game behind the Leafs bench. On Nov. 20, he will mark his third anniversary in the job. 

“He is always adapting and trying to change the way he does things to make sure he is always getting through to the group,” Dubas said. 

ContentId(1.1878121): Dubas gives vote of confidence to Keefe and team

Lines at Monday’s practice: 

Bunting – Matthews – Nylander 

Kerfoot – Tavares – Marner 

Engvall – Holmberg – Jarnkrok 

Aston-Reese – Kampf – Malgin 

Simmonds, Robertson 

Rielly – Benn 

Giordano – Holl 

Sandin – Liljegren 

Clifford – Hollowell 

Murray 

Kallgren 

Samsonov 

Petruzzelli

Power-play units at Monday’s practice: 

PP1

Rielly, Nylander, Matthews, Marner, Tavares 

PP2

Sandin, Malgin, Kerfoot, Jarnkrok, Bunting 

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A Look At Today’s Best Live Dealer Online Casino Games

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Online Casino Games

Some of the most popular games you can play at fully licensed online casinos today are live dealer games, such as Live Dealer Roulette, Live Dealer Blackjack, TV Game Show-themed live dealer games, and Live Dealer Slots. Here is a closer look at some of the best live dealer games from three leading software providers – Evolution Gaming, Pragmatic Play, and OnAir Entertainment.

All of these state-of-the-art live dealer games are now available to play in the real money mode at a fully licensed online casino called Lucky Spins Canada, which is free to sign up to and is currently offering all new Canadian players up to 500 FREE SPINS for Play’n GO’s iconic Book of Dead online slot, plus a 100% matching deposit bonus worth up to C$500.

Top 10 Live Dealer Games in the Spotlight

Here are ten of the best live dealer casino games that you must check out. These games have wide betting ranges that cater to low rollers and high rollers alike (and pretty much all other betting ranges in between low rollers and high rollers), and you can often play one round/hand/spin from as little as C$0.10 to C$0.50 up to C$1,000.00 or more.

The top ten live dealer games from Evolution Gaming, Pragmatic Play, OnAir Entertainment, Betgames.tv, Ezugi, and eBET that you must check out include the following mixture of live table & card games, live slots, and television game show live dealer games:

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  • Live PowerUp Roulette from Pragmatic Play
  • Live Andar Bahar from Ezugi
  • Live Teen Patti from Ezugi
  • Live XXXtreme Lightning Roulette from Evolution Gaming
  • Live Crazy Coin Flip from Evolution Gaming
  • MONOPOLY Live from Evolution Gaming
  • Live Wheel of Fortune from Betgames.tv
  • Live Airwave Roulette from OnAir Entertainment
  • Live Black Sports Arena from OnAir Entertainment
  • Bet On Poker Live from Betgames.tv

How old do I have to be to play live casino games?

To play live dealer games at online casinos, such as Lucky Spins, you generally need to be at least 18 years old. However, always check because, in some regions where online gambling is legal, it could be 21 or 20 years old.

What devices can I play live dealer games from?

You can play live dealer games from all of the providers mentioned above using either a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. Just make sure that it has decent Wi-Fi or internet connectivity. Most games can be launched instantly in your web browser, plus you also generally have the option to download and install a free casino app directly onto your smartphone or tablet and then play from within the secure app.

What to remember when playing for real money

When playing for real money, don’t forget to set deposit limits where possible. Don’t ever chase your losses because it may result in you losing even more money, and don’t gamble just for the sake of it. Try and have fun, and always remember to gamble responsibly. Gambling is meant to be fun, so if you aren’t having fun anymore, it might be a good idea to take a break from gambling for a while.

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Gambling in Ireland vs. Canada

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Regulation of Online Gambling in Ontario: The Fight Against Black-Market Operators Continues

Gambling has traditionally played a significant role in Irish society. Naturally, the advancement of technology has changed how Irish gamblers conduct their business. Because of cell phones, placing bets is now simpler than ever (You could check here for a few trustworthy ones). However, Irish individuals must be cognizant of the country’s licensing laws.

Irish gamers can wager on bingo, lotteries, casino games, poker, sports, and more about the regulated and licensed gambling websites, making internet gambling in Ireland a multi-million-dollar business. This is not so dissimilar from the humongous gambling industry in Canada. For the past couple of years, gambling practices have been on the rise in Canada. So in today’s article, we’ll be looking at how gambling has fared in Ireland vs. Canada.

 

Ireland

According to the most recent statistics from Ireland from 2022, approximately half of the Irish population (49%) partakes in gambling, while its estimated prevalence for gambling addiction is 0.3%, meaning there are 12,000 problem gamblers in Ireland. Since only a small percentage of those with an issue with betting seek treatment, there is a need to try and understand Irish gambling behavior and treatment adoption.

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According to industry statistics, Irish gamblers ended up losing over €1.36 billion the year before last, or around €300 on average for every person, ranking them as the fourth-largest gamblers throughout the EU. According to industry researchers H2 Gambling Capital, Ireland places 14th internationally for the biggest median gambling losses, comfortably ahead of the UK but behind Sweden (€325 per adult), Malta (€334), and Finland (€342).

Revenue rose €51.9 million in conventional betting duty revenues and €40.6 million in online betting receipts in 2019, almost twice as much as the corresponding amounts from the preceding year ($28.9 million & €21.7 million, respectively). Sports betting is the most well-liked online form of gambling, comprising over 41% of the industry and bringing in €10 billion in 2019, claims the European Gaming and Betting Association.

Instead of using desktop computers, over 44% of all internet wagers are placed from a phone or tablet. By 2025, it is anticipated that approximately 6 out of 10 online wagers will be placed using mobile devices. Despite representing just 1.1% of the total population, Ireland generates 2.6% of Europe’s online gambling market in terms of revenue, according to the H2 data.

 

 

Canada

Like many other nations, Canada has a large gambling industry. The majority of gamblers don’t suffer any consequences, but a small percentage will. The number of gambling options in Canada has grown over the years, and new gambling innovations like online poker & sports betting have increased the significance of more thorough and ongoing oversight.

A study used information from the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) to assess gambling and gambling-related issues among adults aged 15 and over. Those who may be at risk of developing a problem with gambling are identified using a Problem Gambling Index. This evaluates problem gambling behavior and the effects of that behavior on the individual or others.

Of the 18.9 million Canadians aged 15 and over, nearly two-thirds (64.5%) reported betting in the previous year, & 1.6% of those gamblers were exposed to a substantial risk of gambling-related issues. Men were more prone than women to file gambling in the previous year across all age categories. Additionally, men were more likely to have a relatively high risk of developing gambling-related issues.

Though they were more prone to developing gambling problems, people in lower social households were less inclined to wager than those of relatively high-earning households.

 

For instance,

 

  • 1% of Canadians at significantly higher risk for gambling issues were among the 71.5% of those living in higher-earning households who reported betting in the last year.
  • 8% of people from low-income families gambled in the preceding year, and 2.7% of them were at moderate to high risk for developing gambling addictions.

 

The likelihood of gambling-related issues rose with the quantity of casino games played.

In the multivariate analyses, the majority of factors, such as engaging in various gambling activities, living single (or separated or divorced), being unmarried, and possessing poor or fair mental well-being, remained independently related to gambling problems.

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Canada Soccer has hit the big time with coach John Herdman

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John Herdman, Head Coach of Canada, reacts during a press conference at the Main Media Center on Nov. 30, during the World Cup in Doha, Qatar.Mohamed Farag/Getty Images

In every team’s final news conference at a World Cup, it’s tradition to ask the head coach if he plans to stick around.

Someone threw it up at Canadian national men’s coach John Herdman following this country’s measured success in Qatar.

Herdman gave a meandering answer of 1 minute 15 seconds that ended this way: “[Belgian assistant coach] Thierry Henry told me this team played [Belgium] off the park. I’ll take that. Because if that’s our foundation? We’ve got a great four years ahead, and I can’t wait to get after it.”

Though that reply didn’t contain the crucial word, people took it for a “yes.” Because what else would it be?

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Few coaches in the world have a gig this sweet. Herdman is such a big fish in Canada’s soccer pond that he essentially runs the program. He’s got a guaranteed spotlight in the next World Cup, which Canada will be in by virtue of being a co-host. He’s still young (47), says he loves living here and is signed for the long term.

Maybe he’d like to coach at a sexier program in Europe. Wouldn’t anyone in his position?

But with that caveat, from the outside looking in, Canada is a great job. It wasn’t always, but Herdman (with a major assist from Alphonso Davies’s parents) turned it into one.

Which makes it curious that reports out of New Zealand on Wednesday claimed that Herdman was about to be appointed the coach of that country’s men’s national team.

In a report from the NewsHub network, Herdman was described as “the clear top pick” for the job. To hear this story tell it, it was just a matter of fussing with details.

Canada is the 53rd-ranked team in the world and on the rise. New Zealand is 105th and just barely treading water. New Zealand is Canada 10 years ago, and not in a fun, preinflation sort of way.

A complicating factor – Herdman’s son, Jay, plays for New Zealand’s under-19 national team. An even more complicated one – money. Some people love their job, but everyone loves money.

That said, judged from the perspective of social capital, the New Zealand job is not a promotion. It’s not even a lateral move. It’s trading the big leagues for the bush leagues.

So what’s going on? Does Herdman want out of Canada? And if so, why? Does he want more money? Is he a secret Lord of the Rings superfan?

This is what happens when a story like this is loosed into the world and not recaptured immediately – people begin to wonder all sorts of fantastical things.

As usual, whenever a story about it is breaking, Canada Soccer was caught in a blank stare on Wednesday morning. It wasn’t until early afternoon that an official denial was put together.

Three people commented in that statement – Herdman, Canada Soccer general secretary Earl Cochrane and Canada Soccer president Nick Bontis.

Bontis affirmed the “full confidence” of the board in Herdman, which is weird. He just took Canada to its first World Cup in 40 years. Why wouldn’t the board have confidence in him?

Cochrane noted first and foremost that Herdman is under contract until after the 2026 World Cup, which is also weird. That’s not news.

Herdman was unequivocal: “I’m not going anywhere.” But he also felt the need to mention that he’s got “several offers” recently, including one from New Zealand, which is super weird. If you’re happy where you are, why do so many people think you aren’t? And why do you feel the need to share that information?

Another oddity – no one mentioned anything about the story out of New Zealand being wrong. Actually, none of them mentioned the story at all.

If there were no truth to any of this, all that was required was a straight denial. That should have taken 15 minutes to put together.

Instead, it took hours to wrangle all the top decision-makers at Canada Soccer to patch up a complex, interwoven, multiperson denial. That has the whiff of an organization protesting o’ermuch.

So no fire, but plenty of smoke and lots of time left to sit around doing a paranoid arson investigation.

Nothing has come of this little fizzle, but something’s coming. That’s how this works. Not always, but often enough to make it a rule. It’s just a matter of figuring when, where, who and how it can hurt the most.

Can the Canadian men’s program survive without Herdman? Of course it can. Every graveyard is full of indispensable men, but none are as chock-a-block as the crypts of sports. Herdman’s done the hard work of stitching the Canadian team into a unit. All the next person has to do is hold that group together until 2026.

A better question is can the men’s team thrive if we’re going to spend the next three years trying to figure out when John Herdman is leaving, and where he’s going, and who’s to blame for that, and what does Alphonso Davies think about that, and why is Canada Soccer always like this, and exactly how long is a regulation pitchfork?

Those questions are a lot more interesting, and the people who care about them – it’s a small group, but it’s growing – will spill barrels of virtual ink interrogating them.

Uncertainty is an enemy of successful sports organizations, and intrigue is its accelerant. From player strikes to spats over pay to people rubbishing the organization after they’ve left, Canada Soccer has always had these twin weaknesses much worse than most. The difference is that now people have started paying attention.

At the very least, making the World Cup in Qatar was supposed to graduate Canada out of this high school state of affairs. Canada was a big-timer now, with a big-time coach with big-time plans. Well, I hope Canada Soccer is happy. Because now it has a big-time HR headache, and shouting at people that you feel fine, fine, totally fine is not going to make them believe you.

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