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Q&A with Ben Chiarot: On time with Canadiens, Suzuki and Caufield, trade – Sportsnet.ca

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MONTREAL — Before getting traded to the Florida Panthers for Ty Smilanic, a fourth-round pick in 2022 and a first-round pick in 2023, Ben Chiarot took some time with us to talk about his three seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, the 2021 run to the Stanley Cup Final, the bright future for some of his former teammates, the impressive impact of Martin St. Louis, his impression of management, how he and his family dealt with rumours all season and, quickly, about the team he’s now joining to pursue winning his first Cup.

Eric Engels: Let’s go back to when you signed in Montreal. What were you feeling about the decision?

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Ben Chiarot: It was exciting. I grew up just down the road from Scotiabank Arena, so obviously I grew up a Leafs fan. So, signing with Montreal was, at first, like, “Oh wow. Montreal! I never thought that would happen.” And then once you think about it more, you get really excited about it. An Original Six team. Beautiful city. Always loved playing in the Bell Centre. I got really excited pretty quick once I signed there.

EE: How was the experience the last three years?

BC: I still get excited driving into downtown for games on a Saturday night, still get excited putting on the red Habs jersey. It’s a unique experience that you don’t get all over the NHL. It’s something that, when I’m done my career, I’ll always be really happy that I experienced it here.

EE: It would be fair to say these were the best seasons of your career. How have you grown here?

BC: From when I got here to now, I think I’m really a way better player defensively and offensively. A big credit of that goes to (Canadiens defence coach) Luke Richardson, who really believed in me and got me to play a certain way. Probably also brought out some of the really nasty part of my game. A lot of the credit goes to him. The partners I had…I got to play with one of the best defencemen of our generation. Shea Weber helped a lot. Carey Price behind me—I mean, it was a great situation to come into. Really fortunate to have gotten to play with those guys and play for Luke. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation once I got here.

EE: What will you take from the run to last year’s Final?

BC: Just the grind that it is. You’ll be in the middle of a game and your heart’s beating out of your chest and somehow you just find a way to get beck out there the next shift and go back at it again. And you just keep doing it over and over and over. And the exhausted feeling you have after games is something you can’t forget. Then you take a day to rest, and you fire it back up again. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve kind of done it. It’s a great memory. Getting to the Finals is the pinnacle of what hockey is when you’re playing for the Stanley Cup and its down to two teams. I’ll always be grateful that I had that experience because it’s not one that everybody gets.

EE: Was it extra special to experience it in Montreal?

BC: I’ve said it many times that playing in the Bell Centre is unique versus anywhere else in the NHL. Getting the fans back was unbelievable. And it was wild in Vegas and Tampa, with both buildings packed. But it was just special in Montreal. When the playoffs are done and you’re home in the summer and you close your eyes to go to sleep, sometimes it just comes back to you—the craziness of the games and the sounds of the Bell Centre. It’s hard to explain how cool it is.

EE: Let’s talk about some of the players you’re leaving behind here. What do you think the future holds for Nick Suzuki?

BC: I think it’s completely up to him. He’s as talented as anyone in the NHL and mature beyond his 22 years. I see him being a leader here for a long time; being a top player and obviously the face of the franchise here. I see a passing of the torch from Shea and Carey to Nick. That’s how I see it going, and I can’t think of someone better suited for it considering how mature he is and how he handles himself. On the ice and off the ice, I think he’ll be great with the media and the people around the city. Montreal’s got a good one with him.

EE: Sounds like you’re saying he should be the next captain…

BC: In my mind, he’ll be the captain.

EE: What about Cole Caufield’s future?

BC: Similar to Nick, obviously a great guy. Great guy in the room. Obviously, he’s extremely talented. I see those two being a pretty dynamic duo here for a long time. I think their style of play also suits playing here in that they love to play and love to put on a show. I think people here have a lot to look forward to with those two guys steering the ship going forward.

EE: You’ve played a lot of games with Alex Romanov of late. What have you made of his evolution?

BC: Same as those other two, I see him eventually being a leader on the back end. It takes defencemen a little longer. But just in the short time he’s been in the league he’s grown so much and developed so much as a player. I loved playing with him the last month or two here and being able to share with him my experience—I think we play the game similarly; we both like to be physical—has been fun. I think he’ll continue to learn there’s times to pick your spots as far as being physical, but that’s an aspect that makes him unique and will make him a special player. He’s going to be feared here as he gets older; guys are going to not want to go down his side because they’ll know they’re going to have to pay a price. And, as his confidence grows, he’ll only get better with the puck and offensively. The sky’s the limit for Romy, and he’s another key piece like Nick and Cole. Those three guys will be core players here for a long time.

EE: What impression did Kaiden Guhle leave on you after an impressive training camp?

BC: He’s another one. Pretty short time with him, but he seemed like a very mature kid for 19 years old—off the ice, but also on the ice. He plays a professional game. When he gets in and gets to play with guys like Joel Edmundson and David Savard, I think he’ll be able to soak up what those guys do and, with time, be the same as Romy. He’ll develop into a leader on the team and a big part of the defence.

EE: What have you taken from Martin St. Louis? Where is he taking this team?

BC: It’s been so much fun, honestly, since Marty came in. Everything from practices to meetings to pregame speeches—he’s been phenomenal for us. And that goes from the youngest guy in Cole to the older guys like me and Jeff Petry. He’s been great for everyone. He’s been in everyone’s shoes, he knows what everyone’s thinking. It’s honestly some of the most fun I’ve had playing hockey in the NHL since Marty took over.

He’s a natural. He’s new to running a bench, but he’s not new to the NHL. He’s got a lifetime of experience in the NHL, so the only thing he’s really new to is calling out the lines and running practice. But he’s not having any issues with that. As time goes on, he’ll feel more comfortable in that. Honestly, there hasn’t been one time I’ve thought in my head that, “Oh, he’s new to this…” With everything he’s done, it seems like he’s been coaching for the NHL for 10 years. He’s been great. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about Marty. Hope he stays because he’ll make this even more of an attractive place to play.

He’s just got this mentality. If you think about it, he was the smallest guy in the NHL and won the MVP. He’s just got this grit to him that he can pass off into everyone else. You can feel the determination off of him and it kinda feeds through the team.

EE: What stands out to me is his ability to inspire confidence…

BC: A part of that is, and I find this, getting your confidence is an everyday thing. It’s practice and being good at practice. You do all the right things to be prepared. And when we have practices like we do, everyone has a chance to make plays, everyone has a chance to score goals, everyone has a chance to feel good about what they’re doing on the ice. And in the games he just lets guys play hockey, so everyone just feels better all the time.

EE: His practices look different. What makes them different, and what’s good about it?

BC: His practices are about making you think and making you play hockey and making plays. It’s all game situations for every single drill we do. It gets your hands, it gets your head, it makes you move your feet; you’re playing hockey the whole practice. It’s not working on the neutral zone here and working on offensive zone; you’re playing hockey the whole practice and it makes it so much fun. Guys love it. It gets the competitive juices flowing every day, so the days where you’re kind of dragging or you’re tired or don’t have your legs, it gets you going because it’s competitive and you’re constantly in a game. It’s been fun. I honestly looked forward going out to practices every day.

EE: What impression have Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes left on you in a short time?

BC: Probably just how open they are. With my situation, they’ve been completely transparent with what’s going on and, as an older guy, I’ve really appreciated that. I think they have a good idea of where they want to take this team, and they seem like two pretty organized individuals. Nothing but great things to say. They’ve been great with me.

EE: If they come calling in the summer, will you pick up the phone?

BC: Absolutely! I’ve loved my time in Montreal. Nothing but good things to say about the team and the city. It’s been everything I thought it would be. With all the highs and lows that come with being in a market like this, it fits my personality and I love it. I’d come back here in a heartbeat.

EE: How has this year been for your wife and your family?

BC: My name has been out there since the beginning, so that certainly creates uncertainty in my family’s future, which is something I haven’t really experienced before. I’ve always had a stable situation. My name had really never been out there until this year. It creates a little stress for your family, but it’s part of the business. And we’re far enough prolonged into my career that we’ve come to understand it. She’s been great from a family standpoint, getting us to worry about what we can control and not looking too far into the future and just trying to stay grounded. When I’m home, it’s home time and we’ve just shut the hockey thing off until it was time to discuss it.

EE: How have you dealt with it? You’ve said all the right things, but you’re a human being and it has to be on your mind.

BC: It really wasn’t for a long time. It didn’t really bug me at all. There’s was nothing I could really do about it, so I was just going to go out play and do my job. As we were losing and things were looking dark a while ago, I kind of just wanted to get on with it. It was, “If they’re going to move me, then move me.”

But as it looked like it was going to go closer to the deadline, you just try to focus on playing well and being part of a team and whatever takes place takes place. I guess it’s been a little bit of a rollercoaster of emotion, but for the most part, it hasn’t bugged me outside of a little two-week stretch.

EE: Thoughts on the Florida Panthers?

BC: They’ve been a powerhouse team all year long. Seems like they score at will. They’ve been at the top of the standing since pretty much Day 1, and they’re a team no one’s really looking forward to playing in the playoffs.

EE: Good luck, Ben. It’s been a pleasure.

BC: Thanks, Eric.

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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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