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Roster positions finalized for Leafs’ opening night

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Fans gather outside the Scotiabank Arena before the start of the NHL pre-season game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings in Toronto, on Oct. 8.Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press

It is always a difficult day throughout the NHL when rosters have to be finalized for opening night. Worthy players sometimes take a gut punch and are sent packing or to the minor leagues. For the Maple Leafs, it meant placing veteran forwards Wayne Simmonds and Kyle Clifford on waivers, along with centre Adam Gaudette and defenceman Victor Mete. It meant sending the promising winger Nicholas Robertson back to the Toronto Marlies on Monday even though he had an excellent training camp.

Simmonds, Clifford and the others went unclaimed and will likely report to the American Hockey League’s Marlies as well. Robertson was more a victim of numbers, the salary cup and manoeuvrability.

“You are going to have players you otherwise would have in the NHL that are going to have to start in the American League,” Sheldon Keefe, the Maple Leafs head coach, said after practice. “With Nick, it was a tough decision.

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“We have seen tremendous growth in Nick throughout this training camp. We are encouraged with where his game is at and have all the confidence he will be back here when needed.”

Toronto will begin the season in Montreal on Wednesday with 12 forwards, six defenceman and goalies Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov.

Denis Malgin won the roster position over Robertson with an equally strong showing in training camp, plus the fact that the club feared it would lose him if placed on waivers. Robertson could be sent back to the AHL without being waived.

Malgin, 25, will play on the second line with John Tavares and William Nylander. Malgin had four goals and a team-high eight points during the preseason; Robertson had three goals and also eight points.

Malgin’s parents are Russian but he was born in Switzerland. He has already played nearly 200 games in the NHL, mostly with the Panthers, although he spent the last two years with clubs in the Swiss National League.

He also had a brief stint with the Maple Leafs in 2020.

“I knew I could play here and I think I showed it, too,” he said. “I am happy to be here.”

Said Tavares on his linemate: “This time around he seems really comfortable with himself and his game and his confidence is really growing.”

The team captain, who suffered an oblique injury on Sept. 27, returned to practice on Monday. The injury was expected to cause him to miss the beginning of the season but the 32-year-old is ahead of schedule.

“So far I am really happy with where I am,” Tavares said. “It is good to be back out there with the group regardless of what my status is. Physically I felt pretty good.

“My thought today was to go out there like a normal practice. I did not want to be measured and feel my way through things.”

Tavares said he will be reassessed on Tuesday by the team’s medical staff.

“Chances only probably grow every day that I will be in the lineup on Wednesday if I continue to make progress,” he said. “I want to be a part [of opening day] more than anybody but I also understand the big picture and want to be smart about it for the team as well.

“You understand the long grind of the year and you try to make the best decision possible with all of the variables in play, but everything has been trending in the right direction.”

Keefe named Murray, who stopped 63 of the 65 shots he faced during preseason, to start in net against the Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Samsonov will start on Thursday in the club’s home opener against his former team, the Washington Capitals.

The Maple Leafs will practise in Etobicoke on Tuesday before they board a flight to Montreal. Monday’s practice was a lively session that included Jake Muzzin taking an accidental elbow in the face from Alexander Kerfoot but the burly defenceman seemed none the worse for wear.

Fellow blueliners Timothy Liljegren and Jordie Benn have both been placed on long-term injured reserve but the team otherwise looks as healthy as it has been and ready to start another long campaign.

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The Most Famous Online Slots for Canadian Players

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The Most Famous Online Slots for Canadian Players

It has been over 130 years since the first slot machine was introduced to the world.  The poker-themed slot became a novelty in bars where patrons would play and be rewarded either with drinks or cigarettes based on the spun poker hand. Through the years slots have evolved a great deal.

Currently, in Canada, provinces are responsible for all gambling activities within their jurisdictions as solidified by the article in sumsub.com/blog/gambling-in-canada/. In the past years, Ontario has been able to generate the largest gambling revenue at $3.8 billion, Quebeck at $2.73 billion and British Columbia at $1.2 billion. Slot games accounted for approximately 11% of betting activities, with the lottery accounting for 65%.

Online gambling game developers have worked on ensuring that slot games are as diverse as they are plentiful. their online look and experiences are like watching a video game being played. Slots’ technological advancements have allowed for computerised graphic reels which have moved from your three-reel offering and can now include up to 7 reels.

Types of Slots

There has been a steady decline in patrons in bricks and mortar casinos, with preference being given to the convenience of online casino sites. Slots are a favourite for online players as they have shown higher returns to players of 96%.

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Not only this, there is a better selection of online slot games accessible through multiple devices at any time of the day. This is further reflected by the number of operators reviewed on gambleonline.co/en-ca/casino/games/slots/, which house the selections in their gaming libraries.

 

The multiple variations of slot games also mean there will be a lot more types that would be offered. The built-in features not only provide for a better experience and entertainment but provide more play options as well.

Progressive Jackpots Slots

The slot game is connected to a network which connects all players who play the game. For each spin made no win is recorded, as a portion of their wager is added towards the jackpot. Therefore, the jackpot will gradually accumulate or progress.

Playing a progressive jackpot, the player will have to make the maximum wager on the spins. Though the jackpot could grow into the millions, the chances of winning are similar to those found in lottery tickets. Either than the increasing jackpot, progressive slots typically have a particular theme and spin with three or five reels.

Penny Slots

As the name suggests, a player makes use of pennies to play the slots. Since it’s not realistic to play with a penny, these are converted into tokens which are in turn converted into credits. With these credits, you would be able to play and meet wagering requirements.

On an online platform, it’s the name that no longer retains the actual function. With the advancements made in slot games, the pay line is the determinant of gains. These are the multiple winning combinations possibly generated which typically carry wagering requirements.

3D Slots

These slot games are available in multiple designs, with a common 3-dimensional element to them. They have a combination of features like having multiple pay lines and mini-games within the game. Due to their 3D graphic nature, they are also presented in popular culture themes or movies.

 

Features of the slots are typically no different than your normal slot game. The difference is the animated video graphics of the game which make for visual candy. The added experience is a bombardment to the senses through which the enhanced experience and feel when winning a game for the player is accentuated. It is an additional part of the broader RNG slot technology that is clearly explained in howtogeek.com/183051/htg-explains-how-computers-generate-random-numbers/.

VR Slots

Another aspect is the adoption of gaming into slots. The development of Virtual Reality VR-enabled slot games makes it possible for slot players to enter into an augmented space and play.

 

The offerings of VR technology make it conceivable to enter a virtual casino and play slots. No longer just the feeling of looking at your screen and pressing the buttons. Slot games still offer the same feature, but VR technology provides the experience of being in a virtual space while still in the comfort of your home.

Interactive Slots (i-Slots)

Rather than expecting to spin the reels for hours on end, interactive slots or i-slots provide a twist to the game. Interactive slots’ two main components are that they offer a mini-game within the game as well as a storyline. So each time the player spins is engaging and interactive while accessing bonus features and wins.

The player would typically play through a storyline which has obstacles and challenges. The game challenges in return would unlock bonus features intended to assist advance the player. Though the games may provide low volatility, RTP is typically high, which makes the play all the more worth it.

5 of The Most Played Slot Games

Slots are not games merely for fun and entertainment thus the player expects a return. A  slot game whether online or not will need to meet this particular requirement for the player to feel it has been worth it to place a wager. That is why great care has been taken to deliver games which cater to the players’ expectations.

Factors like how often the game payout, wagering conditions, availability to bonus features and RTP are considerations to take into account. Features that make the game easy to play and understand, yet entertaining, make for an all-rounder in a gaming experience.

1 – Megah Moolah

This highly popular slot game has been developed by Microgaming who have an impressive record for offering great games. The slot game has been responsible for the highest slot machine win in the history of $23 million Canadian. Mega Moolah is an interactive game with a progressive jackpot of four jackpots within the game.

The slot game has a high RTP of 94%, though the volatility is low.  Catering for all budgets, the player can make a spin for as little as 25 cents, with which they are eligible to enter one of 4 game jackpots and possibly earn some bonus features.

 

2 – Thor: The Trials of Asgard

One of the latest offerings with a Norse mythology theme following the trials of legendary comic hero Thor. The Asgardian leads players to spin in a slot with 5 reels with 3 lines, expanding to an impressive 1024 pay lines. So prepare yourself to play in castles, walk with dragons and immerse yourself in mystic Nordic lore.

The slot has a high RTP of 96%  where players can win 10 free spins when if they can land on 3 scatters. Wild spins can offer small, medium or really big wins allowing the player to increase their chances of earnings and bonus features.

3 – Book of Dead

Book of Dead is an Egyptian-themed slot game developed by Play n Go which presents a 5 reel and 3 rows spin. The minimum wager is 10 cents whereas the maximum is 50 cents. The game takes the player into an adventurous storyline where symbols gained along the way bring rewards of almost 150x for your wager.

The game may not have a progressive jackpot, but it holds some impressive features for the player which increase its volatility. The combination of symbols could see a player win 200x to 5000x their wager. This does not include the free spins they unlock.

4 – Wheel of Wishes

Wheel of Wishes is a Microgaming offering from the Alchemy studio. This slot game has an RTP of 93%, with minimum bets from 20 cents and a 4x progressive jackpot to boot. The slot offers a 5×3 reel with 10 pay lines which could see the player gain 500x on their bet with 5 symbols anywhere on the reel.

One of the game’s features is the Power Mode where the player can increase the value of their bet 10x, which in turn could activate the Power Spin. This feature activates for the player 2 or more symbols allowing for increased chances of winning.

5 – 9 Masks of Fire Hyper Spins

This slot game is an old game from the developer Gameburger Studios and Microgaming. It can offer players a 5×3 reel grip, which is common. The game has been revived with new features offered as bonuses in the form of extra spins, which are played at the players’ discretion.

With a progressive jackpot in play, the 96% RTP is accompanied by medium volatility. The minimum bet that can be made is 60 credits on a spin, able to access any online and mobile device platform. Masks on the reels provide the player with different prize offerings, with different payout values.

Conclusion

Though the thrill of making a wager may be exciting, it is prudent to review some of the game choices you make. Understanding the different features in each slot game also helps the player not only fulfil their wagering requirements but also work to gain the most out of the gaming experience.

 

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Deshaun Watson returns from ban, declines to express remorse

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Deshaun Watson #4 of the Cleveland Browns looks onward from the sideline during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on Dec. 4, 2022 in Houston.Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Deshaun Watson signed autographs, posed for selfies, ignored the boos and earned a sloppy win.

Again, he declined to express remorse for behaviour that earned him an 11-game suspension.

Back in his old home to play his first game in 700 days, Watson showed plenty of rust debuting with Cleveland, but the Browns didn’t need him to do much in a 27-14 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday.

After signing jerseys for Texans and Browns fans and taking pictures with a few more before the game, Watson was overwhelmed with boos once it started. He heard jeers before each snap in the first half and for much of the afternoon.

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“They’re supposed to boo. I’m a Cleveland Brown now,” Watson said.

Watson has been accused by more than two dozen women of sexual harassment and assault during massage sessions. He has settled 23 civil lawsuits brought by the women, while two others, including one filed in October, are pending.

Asked if he felt remorseful for his actions in his return to Houston, Watson said his legal team told him not to address questions about his suspension.

“Of course, it was a tough situation,” he said. “The suspension was tough but, at the same time, my main focus was just to try to be 1-0 as a football player today.”

Pressed further, Watson said: “I was just excited to be back on the field today. I did everything I was asked, was required to do. I did all that.”

Watson had several supporters in the stands before the game, while a group of the women who accused him of sexual misconduct also planned to attend. Attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the women, didn’t respond to a text message seeking to confirm their attendance. He said earlier in the week about 10 women wanted to attend “to kind of make the statement, ‘Hey we’re still here. We matter.”’

One fan walked into NRG Stadium wearing a derogatory shirt in Browns colours that includes text saying “I need a massage.” He was joined by a fan wearing Watson’s No. 4 Browns jersey.

Fans in the parking lot set up a fake massage table with a mannequin wearing a red Texans jersey and a towel.

The few fans in their seats when Watson and the Browns jogged onto the field about an hour before kickoff booed.

“It is what it is,” Watson said of the boos. “I can’t control what the fans do. My job is to go out there and execute.”

He didn’t do that too well.

Watson finished 12-of-22 passing for 131 yards and one interception. The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback posted the worst passer rating of his NFL career at 53.4. The Browns (5-7) got two defensive touchdowns and a special teams score to beat the Texans (1-10-1).

After an interception gave the Browns their first possession at their 43, Watson threw two incomplete passes. He spun away from a sack on third down, and fans cheered when his throw to David Bell hit the ground.

Watson’s first completed pass on his third attempt resulted in a turnover when Anthony Schwartz fumbled after a 12-yard gain. Watson later drove the Browns to Houston’s 11 before throwing a pick in the end zone.

“We don’t expect him to be Superman after he hasn’t played in two years,” All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett said.

Watson sat out the 2021 season after demanding a trade from Houston. After two grand juries in Texas declined to indict him over allegations of sexual harassment and assault, the Browns traded several draft picks to get Watson and then signed him to a fully guaranteed $235 million contract.

During warm-ups, Watson signed jerseys for fans behind the end zone. An 18-year-old man from East Texas got Watson’s autograph on his Browns jersey. A couple from Houston wearing Texans jerseys also got Watson’s signature on their jerseys.

“We don’t really know what happened and everyone deserves a second chance,” said Sherry Holden, explaining her support.

Several Browns fans said they were uncomfortable rooting for Watson.

“I’m cheering for the jersey and the team but it’s hard to accept him as my quarterback,” said Brandon Collins, who travelled from Ohio for the game.

The NFL wanted to suspend Watson for at least one season but settled for 11 games after an independent arbiter initially gave him a six-game ban. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell pointed to former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson calling Watson’s behaviour “egregious” and “predatory” in seeking the full suspension.

Watson also was fined $5 million and required to undergo professional counselling and therapy. Watson has maintained his innocence but also apologized to the women he impacted and

The Browns went 4-7 with veteran Jacoby Brissett filling in for Watson.

Coach Kevin Stefanski committed to starting Watson next week and emphasized him getting his first game out of the way.

“He looked very sharp in practice and he’s excited for the next one so he understood this one was going to be different,” Stefanski said.

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Kylian Mbappé continues record-setting pace in France’s World Cup round of 16 victory

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It was a successful afternoon all-round for France on Sunday.

The team booked its ticket to the quarterfinals of the 2022 World Cup with a 3-1 victory over Poland.

And members of the team hit a raft of momentous marks.

France’s goalkeeper Hugo Lloris made his 142nd appearance, coming level with Lilian Thuram as his country’s most-capped player.

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Up front, Olivier Giroud became France’s leading men’s scorer with his 52nd goal for Les Bleus, breaking Thierry Henry’s record.

But, the star of the show on Sunday was Kylian Mbappé, who continued his record-setting pace with an emphatic double.

At just 23 years of age, Mbappé is one of the most exciting talents in world football, and consistently delivers on the biggest stage for France.

Having helped secure the nation’s second World Cup title in 2018 as a 19-year-old, he is continuing his domination four years later.

His double against Poland means he has scored five goals at this year’s tournament, as he leads the race for the Golden Boot award, two goals ahead of Lionel Messi, Giroud and a host of other players.

However, more significantly, Mbappé has scored nine goals in World Cups, becoming the first player to reach that mark before his 24th birthday.

Mbappé passed two footballing legends with his double. Both Diego Maradona and Cristiano Ronaldo have eight World Cup goals to their names.

And Mbappé’s all-round performance was the source of praise from pundits and commentators alike.

Former England and Manchester United defender compared the Paris St-Germain star’s match-winning display to Saturday’s masterpiece from Messi during Argentina’s 2-1 victory over Australia.

‘Yesterday, I spoke about Messi as the best performance,” Ferdinand told the BBC Sunday. “Today Mbappé was the most explosive performance, devastating in all areas.”

Mbappé runs wiht the ball against Poland.

Former England striker Chris Sutton said Mbappé was the match-defining player.

“Eventually it came down to Kylian Mbappe and a couple of wonderful finishes from him,” he told the BBC.

“This was a strong performance from France. There are tougher tests to come but it was a display of French swagger and a statement that we are still the team to beat.”

The all-time World Cup top goal scorer is Miroslav Klose with 16 goals. Who’s to say that Mbappé couldn’t challenge the Germany legend’s record?

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