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Recap: Maple Leafs finish a dull game with passion; get their backup a win over Detroit – Pension Plan Puppets

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Are you ready to relive the game of the century? I’m sure you are, so let’s get to it.

Lines tonight are almost last night’s with Jason Spezza out and Trevor Moore (finally) reactivated from LTIR and on the fourth line. Timashov stays in the game.

First Period

Michael Hutchinson with the play of the game. Dylan Larkin got a breakaway when an Activated Justin Holl spontaneously fell down.

Leafs get an early power play when the evil Red Wings knock down Zach Hyman.

Plot twist! Calvin Pickard comes in for Jonathan Bernier who left for undisclosed reasons either a LBI or fear the Leafs might trade for him if he looked good. Tough spot for Pickard to come in cold on the PK.

Whoa! Pickard makes a save on the one-timer, but gives up a big backup rebound, and Marner nearly has a wide-open net.

Leafs let Larkin go for a slower rush, and this time Hutchinson actually has to make a save.

Travis Dermott with a heroic sliding block when a pinch goes awry. Er, sorry, an Activated Defender move results in the most probable outcome, er, I mean, when the system works as intended.

And a scoreless period closes. The Leafs have all the zone time, 58% Adjusted Corsi and 42% of the Expected Goals. Against the Detroit Red Wings.

Meanwhile in the AHL

The Marlies are playing in Belleville, and on my other monitor, as they help Greg Moore start his pro-coaching career. They have Joseph Woll in net, and you know what that means (they don’t, traditionally, offer up much defending in front of Woll). Pontus Aberg scored on the first shot of the game, giving Moore totally the wrong idea about this team, and then they did this:

This team needs some work. But it’s only 2-1 for the B-Sens, they can still come back.

Thoughts

Second Period

Auston Matthews carries the puck up the neutral zone with support, and he… dumps it in, and Kapanen goes and retrieves it, and he… cycles it back high personally, passes it to Tyson Barrie who is standing still in the centre of the blueline, and he wails on it like it’s the hardest shot contest at the All-Star break. Pickard with an easy save. This entire sequence was to hockey what Miracle Whip is to an aioli.

Red Wings get another chance on a two-on-one, and Holl comes to tidy up behind Hutchinson.

OMG. I’m writing a sternly worded letter of complaint to HNIC. “You might not know that Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan were teammates.” Yes, yes, that’s before everyone’s time, sure.

Hutchinson has to make another big save, so the Leafs try that shooting at the net thing, and Pickard comes up equal to the task.

Trevor Moore with a nice move, but he misses the net. He’s been working hard in his very few shifts tonight.

Yay! A penalty behind the play. I guess the number two ref was bored. And it’s Alexander Kerfoot, Mr Penalty, who is going off, but he’s taking Fabbri with him, so it’s four-on-four.

Matthews cheats so high on a four-on-four play, Phil Kessel is jealous, and what comes of it is not a lot, since he can’t actually out-deke four Red Wings all alone.

Golly, I hope he does the lacrosse goal, next.

The pace of the game is somewhere between glacial and film running in reverse. The commentary is reduced to enthusing over defensive Activation! while the ensuing opposing breakaway is already in progress.

Sheldon Keefe comes up with a line of Hyman, Matthews and Marner because this team, frankly, sucks worse than they did last night.

Hyman gets hauled down on a breakaway, and he bowls Pickard. The ref is a coward and calls a penalty, not a penalty shot.

No, wait, this might be a goal.

Yup, they’re calling it a goal (technically an own goal by the Red Wings)

1-0 Leafs

Matthews looked like he was legit thinking of try the lacrosse goal. How be you score one yourselves the old-fashioned way first.

Oh, cool. Jake Muzzin takes a tripping call with under a minute to go.

And that period ends with the Leafs having given away all of their shot share, and now have 49% adjusted Corsi and 40% Expected Goals, and again, they are playing a historically bad team that has CALVIN PICKARD in net.

As noted by Kevin Papetti, Nylander and Kapanen have been benched for a large part of the second period since well before the goal.

Meanwhile in the AHL

Greg Moore obviously has an effective intermission speech, since the Marlies played their second period very well, upping the shots on goal to 11-12 on the period, and crucially scoring two goals to Belleville’s one. They lead 4-3 in a game they don’t really deserve to be winning.

Thoughts

As long as you’re loose and having fun, really, what else matters? Anyone for some ping pong?

Third Period

Leafs open the period by killing the rest of the Muzzin penalty.

The Leafs immediately get their own power play because the Red Wings are that dumb.

Matthews isn’t out for the power play, and the Leafs have only four guys on the ice. Finally the bench notices.

And because you can look like a fool one minute and still be the hero, Matthews gets an old-fashioned goal on the power play.

2-0 Leafs

It’s possible Matthews realized he’d just narrowly missed being a gigantic idiot on Hockey Night in Canada on home ice.

Nylander and Kapanen are playing with Kerfoot in this third period, so maybe some messages have been learned all around. Engvall is with Tavares and Mikheyev, while the line that scored the goal, Hyman, Marner, Matthews is the other top line.

Red Wings get another odd-man rush, and the shot goes wide, and in the “there is no deserve in hockey” theme of the night, Hyman makes it 3-0 Leafs on the return rush.

Great shot and a great play, so it’s not like they didn’t work for the goal, but they’ve only worked for it some of the time tonight.

The Leafs look like they’ve twigged to the fact they owe their goalie some effort, and they’re spending a lot of time in the Detroit zone again.

All that hockey-playing pays off and Matthews makes it 4-0 Leafs.

And now there’s a not-fight in the corner. Mantha vs Muzzin, and this went horribly wrong. A wresting move where Muzzin takes Mantha down ends with the trainers on the ice, after Mantha hits his head on the ice.

I. Hate. This.

Muzzin reacted to being jumped by Mantha, but went way overboard. Muzzin gets a roughing and an unsportsmanlike penalty, and Mantha gets a roughing minor as well. Mantha looks bad, and yes he started it, but that was an unfortunate ending to say the least.

Detroit has a power play for the rest of the game.

Dammit. The Red Wings spoil the shutout on the power play.

4-1 Leafs

Dermott gets a game misconduct for slapping his stick on the ice from the bench to make a show of how much he didn’t like the extra penalty to Muzzin. I’m not clear what the extra penalty was for to be clear.

And now, here we go. Athanasiou takes a knee-on-knee run at Kerfoot, and Justin Holl goes for him. Good man, Holl, on that move, that was a dirty hit.

Athanasiou gets six or so penalties, including a fighting major, just to get him out of the game. Holl joins him.

And this dull, tepid, lackadaisical game comes to a limping close. I hope Mantha is well. Most of the rest of it was just stupid.

Meanwhile in the AHL

The Marlies can take a period or two off because they have a significant scoring skill advantage over almost the entire NHL. They upped the score to 7-3 in a third period that the B-Sens basically handed them. Sound familiar?

Thoughts

Every once in a while I think the Leafs should post the ticket prices the fans pay in the locker room. This game was one of those times. But maybe a fight forgives all sins?

Michael Hutchinson did his job, and eventually, so did the rest of the team. Let’s call this a teaching moment, I suppose as well as two necessary points in the books.

Please thank Omar for making this recap tell you a meaningful story with his gifs, and follow him on Twitter.

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Tennis legend Serena Williams to retire after U.S. Open in September – CBC Sports

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Serena Williams’ appearance at the National Bank Open in Toronto will be the final one of her career.

The tennis legend said earlier Tuesday she is planning to retire from tennis sometime following the U.S. Open, which begins later this month.

Williams, who won her opening match at the National Bank Open on Monday, made the announcement in an essay released by Vogue magazine.

“I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give,” Williams wrote in an essay released Tuesday by Vogue magazine.

She said she wasn’t sure she’d be able to look at the magazine when the issue hit newstands, “knowing that this is it, the end of a story that started in Compton, California, with a little Black girl who just wanted to play tennis.”

Williams, one of the greatest and most accomplished athletes in the history of her — or any other — sport, said she does not like the word retirement and prefers to think of this stage of her life as “evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.”

Williams is playing this week in Toronto, at a hard-court tournament that leads into the U.S. Open, the year’s last Grand Slam event, which begins in New York on Aug. 29.

WATCH | Williams advances to 2nd round:

Serena Williams advances to the 2nd round of the National Bank Open

1 day ago

Duration 0:33

Serena Williams defeated Nuria Parrizas-Diaz in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, her first singles win since the 2021 French Open.

The American has won more Grand Slam singles titles in the professional era than any other woman or man. Only one player, Margaret Court, collected more, 24, although she won a portion of hers in the amateur era.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record. Obviously I do. But day to day, I’m really not thinking about her. If I’m in a Grand Slam final, then yes, I am thinking about that record,” Williams said. “Maybe I thought about it too much, and that didn’t help. The way I see it, I should have had 30-plus Grand Slams.”

I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair.— American tennis player Serena Williams

But, Williams went on to write, “These days, if I have to choose between building my tennis resume and building my family, I choose the latter.”

Off tour for a year

She and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, have a daughter, Olympia, who turns 5 on Sept. 1.

“Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair,” said Williams, who was pregnant when she won the 2017 Australian Open for her last Grand Slam trophy. “If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labour of expanding our family.”

Williams was off the tour for about a year after getting injured during her first-round match at Wimbledon in 2021. She returned to singles competition at the All England Club this June and lost in the first round.

After that defeat, Williams was asked whether she would compete again.

“That’s a question I can’t answer,” she said at the time. “I don’t know. … Who knows? Who knows where I’ll pop up?”

Williams hints in the essay that the U.S. Open will be her last tournament but does not say so explicitly.

“I’m not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment,” Williams wrote. “I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst.”

Plans to celebrate in Toronto

The announcement has already set off plans to celebrate Williams, along with ticket sales having skyrocketed according to tournament director Karl Hale.

“Tremendously (impacts everything with the tournament). Ticket sales have gone through the roof, we’ll be sold out by (6 p.m.) today, which doesn’t happen on a Wednesday, typically,” he said. “The media requests have been significant to say the least, everybody wants to see Serena and talk to her. Even the players in the players lounge, everybody’s talking about Serena.”

“Tomorrow night, we’ll celebrate her for sure.”

The American has won more Grand Slam singles titles in the professional era than any other woman or man. Only one player, Margaret Court, collected more, 24, although she won a portion of hers in the amateur era.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record. Obviously I do. But day to day, I’m really not thinking about her. If I’m in a Grand Slam final, then yes, I am thinking about that record,” Williams said. “Maybe I thought about it too much, and that didn’t help. The way I see it, I should have had 30-plus Grand Slams.”

But, Williams went on to write, “These days, if I have to choose between building my tennis resume and building my family, I choose the latter.”

She and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, have a daughter, Olympia, who turns 5 on Sept. 1.

News saddening to younger players

Despite Williams’ announcement being considered imminent, for younger players like American Coco Gauff, the news is still saddening.

“A little bit sad because I’ve always wanted to play her so I’m hoping my draw in Cincinnati or the U.S. Open or even here, can work out so we could play each other because that’s one of my goals,” the 18-year-old said.

Her legacy has been one to behold and one that Gauff believes may be untouchable.

“I think the legacy she’s left on the world just through her tennis career is something that I don’t think any other player could touch. I think the legacy she’ll continue to leave throughout her life is something that can inspire many more generations,” she said.

When asked about her impact on her being young Black tennis player, Gauff made sure to point out it wasn’t just Williams who made an impact, it was also her dad Richard Williams.

“I grew up watching her. That’s the reason why I played tennis. Tennis being a predominantly white sport, it definitely helped a lot because I saw somebody look like me dominating the game and it made me believe that I could dominate too.

“Mr. Williams and all that he’s done for both (Venus and Serena) of them, inspired my dad to continue to coach me and help me even though he didn’t (have much) tennis experience. He was like, ‘if Mr. Williams could do it, then I can.’ It’s not so much just what Serena and Venus have left, it’s also the whole Williams family in general.”

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Kevin Durant Didn't Previously Express Wish For Nets To Fire Steve Nash, Sean Marks – RealGM.com

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Kevin Durant met with Joe Tsai recently in London and it was revealed he expressed a lack of faith in the direction of the Brooklyn Nets. Durant reportedly issued an ultimatum that he is not interested in continuing with the Nets if Steve Nash remains as head coach and Sean Marks continues running the front office.

“The timing of it is also unusual,” said Brian Windhorst on Tuesday. “While star players have gotten coaches fired for decades and will get them fired for decades, he didn’t express this, as far as I’m aware to the Nets at the end of the season. And he didn’t express this to the Nets when he made his trade demand. So doing it now is a maneuver. A maneuver that I don’t think worked. 

“Because as I talk to teams out there, they don’t think his increased his trade value, they think this hurt his trade value.”

Windhorst also noted that Tsai statement of support for Nash and Marks also includes a sentence the league paid strong attention to stating “We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.”

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Thousands of tickets still available for world junior hockey tournament in Edmonton – CBC Sports

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Odd summer timing and an ongoing sexual assault scandal at Hockey Canada could be the reason thousands of tickets to the world junior championship are still available on the eve of the tournament, says an Edmonton professor.

Prof. Dan Mason, who teaches in the faculty of kinesiology, sport, and recreation at the University of Alberta, said when Canada hosts, there are usually so many fans who want to see the home team take the ice that they are willing to buy Hockey Canada’s packaged games that include teams that are not Canadian.

“So Latvia vs. Slovakia, for example, those games will be sold out as well because in order to get the tickets to watch Canada play, you have to buy a package that includes some of the other games,” he said on Friday.

“The fact that there are still Team Canada tickets available, that tells you the demand is much lower than it usually is for this kind of event.”

WATCH l World junior tournament to go ahead amidst Hockey Canada controversy:

World junior hockey tournament to go ahead amidst Hockey Canada controversy

7 hours ago

Duration 2:07

Ticket sales for the World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton are below expectations as the tournament kicks of this week in the shadow of an ongoing sexual assault scandal at Hockey Canada.

The tournament runs from Aug. 9-20 at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

The initial 2022 championship in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta., was called off Dec. 29 after just four days because of rising COVID-19 cases among players and officials, which forced game forfeitures.

The 10-country tournament will be minus Russia, barred from participating by the International Ice Hockey Federation because of that country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Holiday tradition

Around 1,500 tickets are still available for purchase on Ticketmaster to the first game between Czech Republic and Slovakia on Tuesday. About 1,300 tickets are available for the next day when Canada takes on Latvia. About 1,500 seats for the final game are also available with hundreds of other tickets to watch the 11-day tournament.

This time of year, you probably already had plans to go to the lake … or do something summer-related.— Edmonton professor Dan Mason on poor ticket sales for an August world juniors

Mason said the timing of the games could be why interest is so low. The tournament typically runs over the Christmas holidays.

“Over the past 30 years or so, TSN has built the world juniors into this holiday event that people partake in,” he said.

“I watch it with my family over the [Christmas] break though so it’s kind of become part of our holiday tradition.

“This time of year, you probably already had plans to go to the lake, go to the mountains or do something summer-related. I don’t think we’re willing to give up those plans to watch hockey.”

Many people could also be waiting for a former judge on the Supreme Court of Canada to begin independently reviewing Hockey Canada’s governance amid calls for a change of leadership.

The review comes after members of the 2018 world junior team were accused of a group sexual assault after a gala event, and after Hockey Canada reached a settlement.

“I think there’s people who weren’t sure if they would go or not, and maybe deciding not to go because of that,” Mason said.

The CEO of Explore Edmonton, which promotes tourism in the Alberta capital, said in an email the marketing organization paused its promotion of the games in response to the allegations.

“As the host city for the upcoming tournament, we continue to have discussions with Hockey Canada officials about their plans to address the need for change,” said Traci Bednard.

Mason said inflation and less disposable income could be other factors working against the tournament.

“Canada may be more focused on that player development piece than trying to sort of make money off of a tournament being held in the summer,” he said.

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