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Round 1 Recap: Calgary, BC complete trade; Williams goes first – CFL.ca

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TORONTO — The 2020 CFL Draft started off with some excitement as a trade ensued before the first pick had even happened.

Calgary, who held the first overall pick in the draft, decided to swap picks with the BC Lions. GM and president John Hufnagel traded the first overall and the 15th overall pick to the BC Lions, in exchange for their third overall pick and their 12th overall pick.

With the first overall pick, the BC Lions selected linebacker Jordan Williams, who is the first regional combine participant to be taken first overall and the first linebacker to go No. 1 since Winnipeg took Henoc Muamba first in 2011.


» Draft Tracker: Each pick as they happen
»
Mock Draft 2.0: Ferguson weighs in on who will go first overall
»
Scouting Bureau: Final April Rankings
»
How to watch the 2020 CFL Draft live

Williams had an excellent showing a the Ontario Regional Combine in March, posting the best 40-yard dash (4.48 seconds) of the day and showed a 39-inch vertical while going for 20 reps on the bench press and recording a 10-foot, 8.5-inch broad jump. That helped his draft stock immensely, as CFL.ca’s Marshall Ferguson had Williams first overall in his second mock draft.

Next up, Mississauga native Dejon Brissett was selected by his hometown team, the Toronto Argonauts, second overall. The addition of Brissett adds another Canadian to the Argos’ receivers group, joining Juwan Brescacin and Natey Adjei, who also hail from the Toronto area. Brissett is the seventh receiver the Argos have drafted in the first round, joining Brian Jones, J.F. Tremblay, Matt Duboc, Jock Climie, Paul Fedor, and Ted Smale.

Calgary went with a defensive lineman with the third overall pick, selecting Southeastern Lousiana’s Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund.

Edmonton took the first offensive lineman of the 2020 Draft, selecting Buffalo’s Tomas Jack-Kurdyla. Hamilton followed suit, picking O-lineman Coulter Woodmansey out of Guelph with their fifth overall selection. Woodmansey became the highest Guelph player chosen since Rob Maver went 5th overall in 2010. Before that was Mike O’Shea, who was fourth overall in 1993.

Adam Auclair, who was selected sixth overall by Ottawa, became the 11th player from Laval to be drafted in the first round since 2005. Auclair’s selection is the highest for a defensive back since Chris Ackie went fourth overall in 2015.

The Riders then took a local product, offensive lineman Mattland Riley out of the University of Saskatchewan, with the seventh overall pick.

Hamilton went with a defensive end for their second pick of the first round, selecting North Dakota’s Mason Bennett eighth overall.

The Argos rounded out the opening nine picks with the selection of offensive lineman Theren Churchill out of Regina. Churchill is the first Regina player selected in Round 1 since OL Brendon LaBatte, selected sixth overall by Winnipeg in 2008.

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Trophy Tracker: Vezina – NHL.com

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To mark the end of the regular season, NHL.com is running its fifth and final installment in the Trophy Tracker series. Today, we look at the race for the Vezina Trophy, the award given annually to the goalie adjudged to be the best at his position as selected by the NHL general managers.

Tuukka Rask turned 33 on March 10, but the Boston Bruins goalie isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

Rask once again was among the best at his position this season, going 26-8-6 in 41 games. He led the NHL with a 2.12 goals-against average, was second with a .929 save percentage (minimum 20 games played), and was tied for second with five shutouts.

He also was second in even-strength save percentage (.939) and allowed the fewest goals (85) among the 22 goalies to play at least 40 games this season, 10 fewer than second-place Carter Hart of the Philadelphia Flyers.

A panel of 18 NHL.com writers voted for the winner of the Vezina Trophy at the end of the regular season. The consensus was Rask was the League’s top goalie by a large margin; he received 80 points and 10 first-place votes. Connor Hellebuyck (68 points) of the Winnipeg Jets and Andrei Vasilevskiy (56 points) of the Tampa Bay Lightning each received four first-place votes.

From Jan. 2 until the season was paused because of concerns surrounding the coronavirus on March 12, Rask went 11-4-1 with a 1.84 GAA and a .938 save percentage in 17 games. His play helped Boston win the Atlantic Division and the Presidents’ Trophy as the team with the best record in the League; the Bruins finished 44-14-12 with 100 points. It was the third time they won the award (1989-90, 2013-14).

Rask said he’s hoping to put an exclamation point on this season with a Stanley Cup championship. Rask was the backup to Tim Thomas when the Bruins won the Cup in 2011. He was the starter when Boston lost in the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013 and the St. Louis Blues in 2019.

“I just try to do my job as good as I can every night, give us a chance to win, and then what comes with that, it comes,” Rask said. “But maybe in the future after I retire and look back, you kind of appreciate yourself more, see what you did.

“This city is known for winning championships and your success is measured by winning championships, and I’ve gotten to the Finals with the team twice as a playing goalie. Didn’t win, but I think it’s still a great accomplishment to reach that point, to go to the Finals. Obviously it would be nice to be known as a champion in those years, but it didn’t happen. We just have to live with that. I think I’ve played a good career so far, and hopefully there’s some more years left and even maybe a championship in the future.”

The Bruins also won the Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals this season. Rask and Jaroslav Halak (18-6-6, 2.39 GAA, .919 save percentage in 31 games) combined for eight shutouts and helped Boston allow 167 goals, a League-low 2.39 per game. It’s the third time the Bruins have won the Jennings Trophy (1989-90, 2008-09) and the first time for Rask. Halak won it in 2011-12 with the St. Louis Blues.

“[Tuukka’s] proven that he’s one of the top goalies in the League,” Halak said. “He competes in every game, in every practice. He wants to win. That’s the ultimate goal. Obviously we are on the same team, he wants to play [and] if I said I didn’t want to play I would probably be lying. I also want to play, but at the same time we are a team and we want to win as a team.”

Voting totals (points awarded on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis): Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins, 80 points (10 first-place votes); Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets, 68 points (four first-place votes); Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning, 56 points (four first-place votes); Ben Bishop, Dallas Stars, 26 points; Jordan Binnington, St. Louis Blues, 15 points; Elvis Merzlikins, Columbus Blue Jackets, 8 points; Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh Penguins, 7 points; Jacob Markstrom, Vancouver Canucks, 5 points; Frederik Andersen, Toronto Maple Leafs, 3 points; Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers, 1 point; Pavel Francouz, Colorado Avalanche, 1 point.

NHL.com staff writers Amalie Benjamin and Rob Reese contributed to this story

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Maple Leafs' Tavares sees camp with Keefe as 'added bonus' of NHL's plan – Sportsnet.ca

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As the calendar creeps closer towards June and the tally nears four months without live hockey in North America, silver linings for Canada’s favourite game on ice have been hard to come by.

The NHL offered one earlier this week, with commissioner Gary Bettman unveiling the framework of the league’s four-phase plan to resume amid the COVID-19 pandemic if it becomes safe to do so. But the multitudes contained in that “if” are still daunting. The novel coronavirus does not care when the NHL would like to come back, after all.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares knows how many hurdles remain, how many hairpin turns could send the league back to square one, but still believes there’s a “really good chance” hockey is played this summer. So leave it to Tavares, that even-keeled, blue-and-white wearing optimist, to look deeper into hockey’s foggy future and find another light hiding within, too.

“We’ve got to be looking forward to what’s ahead, an opportunity to kind of reset here,” Tavares told Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman during Sportsnet’s #Ask31 Live on Thursday. “[It will be] a good opportunity to get a training camp under [head coach Sheldon Keefe], which we never really got.

“So kind of a little almost added bonus is, with a new coach, you get to really implement a lot more things …and really get those true reps that you need. Which you really can’t get in the season, especially as the season goes on, and the wear and tear, and the rest becomes very valuable. I think that’s definitely a benefit we’re going to get.”

Coaching a team with Stanley Cup aspirations is never easy, and assuming the role mid-season as Keefe did adds another layer of complexities to the mix — implementing redesigned lineups and systems on the fly, all while knowing there’s less room for error because there are fewer games left to be played.

In the 39 games he’s spent guiding the Maple Leafs’ on-ice performance, Keefe has gone 27-15 while ushering in a more free-wheeling — albeit not always consistent — offence that made use of Toronto’s wealth of offensive talent and saw them score the fourth-most goals in the league during his tenure, while posting the second-best power-play success rate.

If that’s what he could cook up in half a season on short notice, there’s at least the chance the time off to examine the ingredients in Toronto’s cupboard and a mini-camp to sample how they mix together could yield a more enticing final product.

Earlier Thursday, Friedman reported that players were informed Phase 3 of the NHL’s Return to Play Plan — the phase which includes training camps — won’t start before July 10. So that “added bonus” and any of its potential benefits is still a ways away for Tavares, Keefe and the rest of the Maple Leafs.

And if Tavares’ optimism is well-placed, if camps can be held, hockey can return and a Stanley Cup can be played for, there will be at least one more new face potentially joining him on the Maple Leafs: OHL standout Nick Robertson.

“I can imagine being in Nick’s shoes and just your hair standing up on end, getting an opportunity to be part of the team in a unique situation like this — an opportunity to help us win a Stanley Cup,” Tavares said.

Expectations accompany opportunities like that, certainly. And nerves, probably. Putting on a Maple Leafs jersey means wearing the hopes of a championship-starved fan base too — not a simple experience for an 18-year-old, to say the least.

Tavares is no stranger to shouldering that weight. He chose it, after all, deciding to sign with Toronto as a free agent, and with that familiarity comes advice for how to navigate it.

“You’re here for a reason,” Tavares said. “You shouldn’t feel that you need to walk on egg shells. You need to be yourself, you need to play like yourself. Never take anything for granted, you gotta go out there and work and earn it — that’s what playing at this level [means].

“…There’s a reason why you’re here and what brought you here, so don’t forget those things. And be yourself. You’re a part of the team, you’re a part of our group, and you mean as much to our team and our success as any one of our core guys.”

Watch Thursday’s edition of #Ask31 Live with John Tavares in its entirety below:

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NHL.com writers vote Leon Draisaitl as Hart Trophy winner – Oilers Nation

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Leon Draisaitl is the winner of the 2019-20 Hart Trophy — at least, that’s what the writers for NHL.com think.

In a survey conducted by 18 NHL.com writers, Draisaitl was given 19 more voting points than his next closest competitor, Nathan MacKinnon.

Draisaitl won the Art Ross Trophy this year as the NHL’s top scorer after posting 43 goals and 67 assists in 71 games.

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Not only that, but he was first in points per game (1.55), assists, and power-play points, with 44. Draisaitl led all forwards in time on ice per game playing 22:37 a night.

The actual vote to determine the Hart Trophy winner will be conducted in a poll completed by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Here’s a look at how the voting broke down:

Voting totals (points awarded on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis): Leon Draisaitl, Oilers, 83 points (12 first-place votes); Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche, 64 points (four first-place votes); David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins, 45 points (one first-place vote); Connor McDavid, Oilers, 34 points (one first-place vote); Artemi Panarin, New York Rangers, 30 points; Roman Josi, Nashville Predators, 6 points; Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning, 2 points; Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets, 2 points; John Carlson, Washington Capitals, 1 point; Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres, 1 point; Brad Marchand, Bruins, 1 point

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On Twitter: @zjlaing

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