TORONTO — The biggest weekend of the CFL’s regular season is upon us and you might be able to see the tension of these games reflected in how the panel of pickers went this week.
Week 12 of the season was, to put it delicately, a struggle when it came to picks. The group went in as a whole on the Edmonton Elks defending their home turf against an Ottawa REDBLACKS team that it handled on the road a week earlier. That of course, did not come to fruition. The Elks’ home loss was the capper on a tough-to-predict week that saw no one do better than a 2-2 finish, while three of our writers went 1-3.
With the traditional OK Tire Labour Day Weekend games on deck, there was near unanimity with the picks this week. Montreal, Winnipeg, Toronto and Calgary got the majority of the votes this week, but we have some dissension in the ranks.
Let’s take a look at who went rogue and possibly why.
OK TIRE LABOUR DAY WEEKEND
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OTT at MTL
The writers like the Als at home this week and that makes a lot of sense. The Als are coming off of a pair of impressive wins, having handed the Bombers their sole loss of the season, then following that up with a last-second field goal win over the Ticats before they went into their bye week. A rested Als team welcomes in a REDBLACKS squad that, under quarterback Nick Arbuckle, picked up just its second win of the season in Edmonton. While Arbuckle and the REDBLACKS are talking new half of the season, new us, the writers tend to fall in the believe-it-when-we-see-it mindset.
Writers: 83% Montreal
Fans: 91% Montreal
WPG at SSK
As CFL.ca’s Jamie Nye points out in his weekly predictor column, homefield is an advantage on Labour Day. He wrote that over the last 10 seasons, regardless of teams records going into the game, the home teams in the Sunday/Monday rivalry games are a combined 23-5, with the Argos and Ticats not meeting on Labour Day in 2011 and 2013. That’s one stat to throw out if you want to go green this week. If you want to go Blue and Gold, history and records are on your side. Consider that the Bombers swept the season series with the Riders last year — including taking the Labour Day weekend game at Mosaic — and look at the Bombers’ sensational d-line going up against a Riders o-line that’s left much to be desired this year and it’s easy to lean toward the defending champs. Who’d they top to get to those Grey Cup games the last two seasons? Oh right.
Writers: 66% Winnipeg
Fans: 76% Winnipeg
TOR at HAM
At this point, as they ready to meet for the fourth time in five weeks, the Argos and Ticats probably see each other when they close their eyes to go to sleep at night. Despite their historical success at home in this game, it feels like an uphill battle for a wounded Ticats team this week. Dane Evans and Matthew Shiltz are dealing with injuries, which leaves the inexperienced duo of Jamie Newman and Jalen Morton assuming control of the offence against an Argos team that ran away with last week’s game the second that Shiltz was injured and left the game. You may look at this week’s picks and see Chris O’Leary taking the Ticats and wonder what he’s thinking, while also taking the REDBLACKS and the Riders. Well, Chris O’Leary is feeling saucy this week, folks, simple as that.
Writers: 83% Toronto
Fans: 59% Hamilton
EDM at CGY
There’s no uncertainty here with the writers and that’s likely based on the strong play of Jake Maier against the Bombers last week. There’s that and the fact that the Stamps ran away with a 49-6 win in Edmonton the last time these teams met in Week 5. The Elks have shown they’re more than capable of giving teams a tough game most weeks, but their unpredictability — and that the Elks are now 0-7 against divisional opponents — even kept the sauciest of our pick makers away from this one.
Writers: 100% Calgary
Fans: 95% Calgary
Roger Federer bids farewell, drops final match of career alongside Nadal at Laver Cup – CBC Sports
This day, this match, had to come, of course, for Roger Federer, and for tennis, just as it inevitably must for every athlete in every sport.
Federer bid adieu Friday night with one last contest before he heads into retirement at age 41 after a superlative career that spanned nearly a quarter-century and included 20 Grand Slam titles and a statesman’s role. He wrapped up his days as a professional player with a loss in doubles alongside his longtime rival Rafael Nadal for Team Europe in the Laver Cup against Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock of Team World.
The truth is that the victors, the statistics and the score (OK, for the record it was 4-6, 7-6 (2), 11-9) did not matter, and were all so entirely beside the point. The occasion was, after all, about the farewell itself. Or, better, the farewells, plural: Federer’s to tennis, to the fans, to his competitors and colleagues. And, naturally, each of those entities’ farewells to Federer.
“It’s been a perfect journey,” Federer said. “I would do it all over again.”
When the match and, with it, his time in professional tennis ended, Federer hugged Nadal, then Tiafoe and Sock. And then Federer began crying. There were plenty of tears to go around; Nadal wiped his own away, too.
WATCH | Federer plays final point of career:
“When Roger leaves the tour, an important part of my life is leaving, too,” said Nadal, 36, who used the words “sad” and “unforgettable” to describe the occasion.
As cascades of clapping and yells of affection came from the stands, Federer put his hands on his hips, his chest heaving. Then he mouthed, “Thank you,” while applauding right back toward the spectators who had chanted, “Let’s go, Roger! Let’s go!” during the concluding moments of a match that lasted more than two hours and ended at about 12:30 a.m.
His wife, Mirka, their four children — twin girls and twin boys — and Federer’s parents joined him on the court afterward for embraces and, yes, more bawling. Members of both teams joined together to hoist Federer up in the air.
“It’s been a wonderful day. I told the guys I’m happy; I’m not sad,” Federer said. “I enjoyed tying my shoes one more time. Everything was the last time.”
The Swiss star announced last week that the three-day team event, which was founded by his management company, would be his final event before retirement, then made clear the doubles outing would be the last match. His surgically repaired right knee — the last of three operations came shortly after a loss in the Wimbledon quarter-finals in July 2021, which will go down as his official exit in singles — is in no shape to allow him to continue.
“For me, just personally, [it was] sad in the first moment, when I came to the conclusion it’s the best decision,” Federer said in an interview with The Associated Press this week about his emotions when realizing it was time to go. “I kind of held it in at first, then fought it off. But I could feel the pain.”
He had said he wanted this to feel more like a party than a funeral, and the crowd obliged, rising for a loud and lengthy standing ovation when Federer and Nadal — each wearing a white bandanna, blue shirt and white shorts — emerged together from a tunnel leading out to the black court for the last match on Day 1 at the O2 Arena. They remained on their feet for nearly 10 minutes, through the pre-match warmup, holding aloft phone cameras to capture the moment.
Please welcome to the black court, Team Europe’s <a href=”https://twitter.com/rogerfederer?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@rogerfederer</a> and <a href=”https://twitter.com/RafaelNadal?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@RafaelNadal</a>. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/LaverCup?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#LaverCup</a> <a href=”https://t.co/lnX3hOTMQc”>pic.twitter.com/lnX3hOTMQc</a>
They came ready to roar for him, some with Swiss flags, some with homemade signs (“Idol Forever” read one), and they made themselves heard with a wall of sound when Federer delivered a forehand volley winner on the match’s second point. Similar reactions arrived merely at the chair umpire’s announcement before the third game of “Roger Federer to serve,” and again when he closed that game with a 117 mph service winner.
Doubles requires far less movement and court coverage, of course, so the stress on Federer’s knee was limited Friday.
“Honestly,” he said, acknowledging that leading into the match there were the sorts of nerves he’d get before a Grand Slam final, “I was so surprised how well I was able to play tonight.”
He showed touches of his old flair, to be sure, and of rust, as to be expected.
There were a couple of early forehands that sailed several feet too long. There also was a forehand that slid right between Sock and Tiafoe and seemed too good to be true — and, it turned out, was: The ball traveled through a gap below the net tape and so the point was taken away from Federer and Nadal.
Although this match amounted to, essentially, a glorified exhibition, all four doubles participants played as if they wanted to win. That was clear when Sock, a three-time major champion in doubles who is 29, leaped and screamed after one particularly terrific volley or when Tiafoe, 24, sent a couple of shots right at Federer and Nadal.
There were moments of levity.
Federer and Nadal were able to laugh after a bit of confusion over which should go for a ball on a point they lost. After Nadal somehow flicked one back-to-the-net shot around the post, only for it to land barely wide, Tiafoe, a semifinalist at the U.S. Open, crossed over to extend a hand with congratulations for the effort.
In the first set, the older duo couldn’t quite hear each other between points, so Federer trotted from the net back to the baseline to consult with Nadal, then pointed to his ear to signal what the issue was.
Before Federer began winning Grand Slam titles in 2003, the men’s mark for most major tennis championships was 14 by Pete Sampras. Federer blew past that, accumulating eight at Wimbledon, six at the Australian Open, five at the U.S. Open and one at the French Open, setting a new standard that Nadal, now with 22, and Novak Djokovic, with 21, equaled, then surpassed, as part of a golden era for the sport.
If there’s one thing you watch today, make it this.<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/LaverCup?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#LaverCup</a> | <a href=”https://twitter.com/rogerfederer?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@rogerfederer</a> <a href=”https://t.co/Ks9JqEeR6B”>pic.twitter.com/Ks9JqEeR6B</a>
Surely, there are those who would have found it particularly apt to see Federer finish across the net from Nadal, often an on-court nemesis but eventually an off-court friend. Maybe it could have taken place about 15 miles away at Centre Court of the All England Club, say, or in Court Philippe Chatrier at Roland Garros, or Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park, or even Arthur Ashe Stadium, the centrepiece of the U.S. Open, the lone Grand Slam tournament at which they never faced off, somehow.
Perhaps they could have provided everyone with one final installment of a head-to-head matchup as memorable as any in the long history of their sport — or, indeed, any other.
Roger vs. Rafa — just one name apiece required — belongs up there with McEnroe vs. Borg (as it happens, the two Laver Cup team captains, John and Bjorn), Evert vs. Navratilova, Sampras vs. Agassi, Ali vs. Frazier, Magic vs. Bird, Brady vs. Manning, and so on.
And yet, there was an unmistakable element of poetry with these two men who challenged each other and elevated each other performing as partners, slapping palms and sharing smiles.
This goodbye follows that of Serena Williams, the owner of 23 major singles championships, at the U.S. Open three weeks ago after a third-round loss. It leaves questions about the future of a game he and she dominated, and transcended, for decades.
One key difference: Each time Williams took the court in New York, the looming question was how long her stay would endure — a “win or this is it” prospect.
Friday WAS it for Federer, no matter the result.
“All the players will miss him,” said Casper Ruud, who beat Sock in singles 6-4, 5-7, 10-7.
The day’s other results, which left Team Europe and Team World tied at 2-2: Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Diego Schwartzman 6-2, 6-1 in a match interrupted briefly when an environmental protester lit a portion of the court and his own arm on fire, and Alex de Minaur got past Andy Murray 5-7, 6-3, 10-7.
Due to begin playing shortly after the end of Murray’s loss, Federer and Nadal first provided him with some coaching tips, then watched part of that one on TV together in a room at the arena, waiting for their turn. When Federer and Nadal were in action, it was Djokovic’s turn to suggest strategy.
heading to dinner with some friends <a href=”https://twitter.com/RafaelNadal?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@RafaelNadal</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/andy_murray?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@andy_murray</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/DjokerNole?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@DjokerNole</a> <a href=”https://t.co/2oYR3hnGaZ”>pic.twitter.com/2oYR3hnGaZ</a>
The last hurrah came after a total of 103 career singles trophies and 1,251 wins in singles matches for Federer, both second only to Jimmy Connors in the Open era, which began in 1968.
At the height of his powers, Federer appeared in a record 10 consecutive Grand Slam finals, winning eight, from 2005-07. Extend that to 2010, and he reached 18 of 19 major finals.
More than those numbers, folks will remember the powerful forehand, the one-handed backhand, the flawless footwork, the spectacularly effective serve and eagerness to get to the net, the willingness to reinvent aspects of his game and — the part of which he’s proudest — the unusual longevity. Beyond the elegance and effectiveness while wielding a racket, Federer’s persona made him an ambassador for tennis, someone whose immense popularity helped attract fans.
“This is not the end-end, you know. Life goes on. I’m healthy, I’m happy, everything’s great,” Federer said, “and this is just a moment in time.”
Homan eliminated at PointsBet Invitational after losing draw to the button – TSN
FREDERICTON — Rachel Homan’s third-seeded team was eliminated from the PointsBet Invitational Friday after dropping a 7-6 decision to Kristie Moore’s sixth-seeded side.
Moore, who’s filling in for absent skip Casey Scheidegger, scored two points in the ninth end and held Homan to a single in the 10th.
Since traditional extra ends are not used at this event, Moore sealed the victory by finding the rings with her draw to the button after Homan’s throw was short of the paint.
“I knew that that was the one I wanted if we had that draw,” Moore said of her 10th end shot selection.
“We hadn’t played much of the game on the other side, and I hadn’t actually drawn for quite a while. I was happy to get that one in my for sure. It’s tricky out there and it’s not easy ice to draw on.”
Moore played lead for Scheidegger at two Scotties Tournament of Hearts and the 2021 Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials before forming a new team in the off-season as a skip.
Despite her past experience playing with Jessie Haughian and against vice-skip Kate Hogan and lead Taylor McDonald, Moore said it’s a process to get familiar with the team.
“We’re just trying to learn as much as we can out there. We’re a new team, literally,” she said. “I was lucky enough to get to practice with Taylor and Kate two times before the event so we’re still just learning … learning their tendencies and learning as much as I can this whole weekend. I’m happy to be here still.”
Moore will next play second-seeded Kaitlyn Lawes, who topped No. 10 Penny Barker 9-4 to also advance to the semifinals of the single-knockout competition.
Fifth-seeded Jennifer Jones also advanced by outscoring No. 13 Selena Sturmay 11-9 and top-seeded Kerri Einarson doubled No. 8 Kelsey Rocque 10-5. Einarson and Jones will matchup in the other semifinal on Saturday.
In the men’s draw, top-seeded Brad Gushue defeated John Epping 8-4 to continue his march to the final.
Despite the win, vice-skip Mark Nichols feels the team still has some work to do.
“There are some loose shots out there — from everyone, I think,” he said. “You’re definitely still knocking a little bit of rust off. You try to manage it as best you can based on what you’re feeling on the day.
“We had a good practice weekend last weekend (in Toronto), but the instincts take over when you’re out there. Lucky for us, we’ve had enough experience on the ice where we can manage those situations.”
Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., will meet Winnipeg’s Reid Carruthers in Saturday’s semifinal. Carruthers took out Calgary’s Kevin Koe 8-6 to advance.
In other action, Edmonton’s Brendan Bottcher trounced Saskatoon’s Colton Flasch 10-3 to earn a spot in Saturday’s other semifinal against Matt Dunstone of Kamloops, B.C.
Dunstone scored an 8-7 win over Glenn Howard of Penetanguishene, Ont.
Play continues through Sunday at Willie O’Ree Place.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2022.
Rejuvenated Hoglander opening eyes at Canucks camp: 'He looks so much faster' – Sportsnet.ca
WHISTLER, B.C. — Sixteen months ago, at the end of Nils Hoglander’s rookie season amid the pandemic, the discussion around him was about his potential to become another of the Vancouver Canucks’ young, core players — someone essential to their future.
In training camp here ahead of the Swede’s third season, the discussion is whether he’ll even make the roster next month.
That’s how disappointing the second National Hockey League season was for Hoglander.
The dynamo forward plummeted from the Canucks’ top six and saw his minutes decline under new coach Bruce Boudreau, who even made Hoglander a healthy scratch in February before a groin injury a month later put an exclamation mark on the winger’s sophomore slump.
He had managed to exasperate two head coaches in one season, as both Boudreau and his predecessor, Travis Green, expressed concern about Hoglander’s play and awareness without the puck.
When he reported to Whistler, Hoglander found himself on Boudreau’s “fifth line,” assigned to skate with Linus Karlsson and Nils Aman, Swedish prospects who almost certainly will start the season in the American Hockey League.
Through two days of camp, Hoglander has done everything he can to prove he doesn’t belong there.
“I was going to say, let me talk about Hogs because I think he’s the best player on the ice right now,” Boudreau said Friday after the second day of camp. “He looks so much faster than he did last year. Determination. He’s definitely, you know, he’s definitely ready. Last year was a little bit of a setback for him and he doesn’t want it to happen again.”
Hoglander’s speed stands out, and on Friday he seemed to bury every good scoring chance he had during drills. But what was exceptional was his competitiveness, how physical and determined he was in his puck battles and one-and-one drills.
At five-foot-nine and 185 pounds, Hoglander is getting under the shoulders of taller players, using his strength and low centre of gravity against defenders.
“It’s definitely a response,” Boudreau said. “He saw who got signed and everything else. He’s counting (NHL jobs) and he’s going, ‘Well, I better get my stuff together.’ And he is. He’s doing a great job.”
The Canucks signed Russian free agents Ilya Mikheyev and Andrei Kuzmenko over the summer, and those guys are playing with Elias Pettersson far above Hoglander. But the team also rebuilt its fourth line, adding experience and size that will make it difficult for Hoglander to secure a spot there.
To play, he probably has to be in the Canucks’ top nine, possibly ahead of Kuzmenko if the newcomer struggles to adapt to the NHL and smaller ice or is held back by conditioning.
“You always want to be in the top lines, but sometimes you aren’t,” Hoglander said when asked about starting on the fifth line. “Then you just have to work your way up. It’s a challenge to come back again, and I take that challenge and I’m ready for it. I’ve been working all summer for this camp and this season, so I should be ready.
“I mean, this time of year, you’re always excited to come in and take a spot on the team. And I feel more excited now because I had it a little bit tough last year and I had the injury and I’m just ready to come back and show I can play.”
Hoglander’s sophomore season was far from a disaster statistically. He didn’t shoot as well or score as often, managing only 10 goals and 18 assists in 60 games after amassing 13 goals and 27 points in 56 games as a rookie. But he still drove possession with a shot share of 53.3 per cent.
His coaches, however, publicly noted the flaws and lack of structure in Hoglander’s overall game, and his average ice time fell to 13:05 from his rookie TOI of 15:27 when he was a sparkling source of hope in an otherwise dark and desultory Canucks season. Hoglander’s name periodically surfaced in trade rumours, and continues to do so.
“It’s not like the whole defensive zone, it’s small things, like coming back and stopping (on the puck or a check),” he acknowledged Friday. “It’s small things — not really harder than that. I know what I can do in the offensive zone.”
“Young guys, it’s always the hardest thing,” Boudreau said of playing without the puck. “Hopefully he learned a lot last year. Again, he’s going to be another one playing a lot of pre-season games and we’ll see how it goes. I certainly have liked exactly what he’s shown. (But) let’s call it like it is: It’s only two days. A lot of guys can look great in two days. Let’s see how they look in 10 days.”
The third and final day of training camp is Saturday. The Canucks’ pre-season opens with a pair of split-squad games against the Calgary Flames, home and away, on Sunday.
Especially for forwards, the Vancouver lineup looks a lot harder to make now than it was two seasons ago.
“I mean, you always want it to go up,” Hoglander said, angling his hand towards the sky, when asked about his trajectory. “But sometimes it’s going down, too. You have to be ready for that because it’s never going to go up the whole time. I mean, I had a good rookie season and then a little bit last year wasn’t that good. A lot of things happened with the team, and then the injury. So I’m just ready for this to show what I can do.”
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