Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 5-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers that improved the Leafs’ record to 20-8-2 on the season.
On his team’s performance:
I thought our guys did a really good job of capitalizing on our chances and making good on them. I thought we played a really disciplined game defensively. At times, we defended more than we’d like. I thought we did a good job of doing the things we were looking to do before the game, which was to limit the space and speed of their best people.
It is a good win for our guys. I loved our response in the third period after giving up that goal and then getting it right back. We got the edge in special teams. Our goaltending was strong. We scored goals at five on five.
We defended a little bit too much and didn’t have the puck as much as we would like, but I thought other than the empty net that Draisaitl missed in the first period — which was a significant chance — we really didn’t give up much. And Jack was solid. Really good road effort by our team tonight.
On the team stepping up its defensive play after a tough few weeks in terms of goals against:
I think we defended well. We defended too much because we couldn’t break out of our zone. They kept getting pucks alive or keeping pucks alive and staying in our end. But I thought inside of that we defended well. On the shots that we did give up, Jack was solid.
I don’t think there was much there that was really egregious — no real rebounds or anything like that. Guys did a good job for him. As we have come to expect, Jack was real solid all throughout the game.
Our team, when it was time to defend, defended well. We defended with purpose. We scored timely and important goals at key times to build ourselves a lead. We responded well when we need to.
It is not a perfect game by any means, but it is a good effort by our team against a team on the other side that was pushing hard and looking for a win. We did a lot tonight to make sure we made it difficult for them.
On Auston Matthews hitting 20+ goals already for the sixth straight season:
He is in some pretty elite company in terms of his ability to score. Obviously, he is a pretty young player, but he is going to score lots throughout his career. He scores in different ways, as we have talked about a number of times through the season.
His first power-play goal there is a great effort by John, and Auston is in the right spot to capitalize on that. On the second one, Kase took one off the head there to keep the puck alive, but if you back that up a bit, Auston is in on the forecheck as F1, forces a turnover, and forces the puck up the wall. He ends up getting rewarded for it by getting the puck back to go downhill.
That is what you need to do at times: earn your chances. The puck comes back to him, and that shot that hasn’t gone in for him a lot this season — it was nice to see that one go in. He certainly made it count.
On whether Ondrej Kase is exceeding the expectations coming into the season:
I think he has exceeded it in some ways. You see that he is a very good player for us. The penalty killing part of it and the defensive utility was something we felt there was a great opportunity with because of how hard he plays and how hard he works. He is a smart player. We felt he could add a lot to our team in that area.
He hadn’t really been used in that role in terms of penalty killing and defensive play. We wanted to use him in that area. But he had scored in the league. He makes plays. He is a good, hard, honest player. He just takes what you give him and does what you ask him to do and doesn’t complain about it. He gives you everything he has.
You can’t have enough of those players. In Mitch Marner’s absence here and Jason Spezza’s absence, we have needed people to step up. He has been excellent.
On taking over first place in the NHL standings with the win:
We have come a long way from where we were, but there are a couple of things I would say to that.
A) There is a lot of hockey to be played.
B) We are not actually in first place. We have played a lot more games than most teams in the league.
We are not there yet. Let’s just continue to work.
On Morgan Rielly’s play this season:
Confident, reliable on both sides of the puck. I think he has more to offer us offensively, and it is on us as a team to just get him engaged in more and get more happening in the rush where he can get involved. But he has defended really well. He has grown in his role on the penalty kill and done a great job for us there.
I think that is a big part of his evolution. Today, they split up McDavid and Draisaitl, but Morgan is now in a position where a lot of nights he is getting the tough matchups. That is a big area of growth for his game to have that.
He is a huge driver of offense for us in terms of our defense. We don’t get a ton from our backend in terms of contribution offensively, but he is one guy who is a real driver for us and is really involved in our offensive chances. That has kind of always been his thing.
With the defensive ability he has added here both on the penalty kill and at five-on-five, he has come a long way and really embraced that. We are seeing a more complete version of Morgan.
On handing Rielly PK responsibilities this season:
He is an elite defenseman in the league. I just think elite defensemen should be contributing to your team in all facets. I just think that is a really important thing.
We need him to grow in that area. We also need to show confidence in him. That is something, with Dean coming in this season, that he felt really strongly about. I certainly supported that. I talked to Morgan about it a lot since the time that I have been here as coach. We have chatted just about growing in that area and taking that confidence to kill penalties to be able to take on tougher matchups at five-on-five.
His partnership with TJ Brodie has really helped in all of this. We can’t take away from the fact that Morgan has really committed himself to growing in all areas of his game.
On the play of Mikheyev and Seney in their first games of the season:
Mikheyev has a lot better to offer than he showed today. You kind of expected that. He is jumping on a moving bus here in terms of the season and how quickly things are moving. It has been a long time since he played a game.
I liked the fact that we were able to get him out there. You can see his speed makes us a much deeper team. It gives me the ability and confidence… in a third line, if they end up out there against McDavid and Draisaitl, I am not worried about that at all. That is really good and healthy for our bench.
Especially now that we have had to move Kase up, it took away from that line. We put Engvall back up there tonight. Having Mikheyev there gave us three lines we have a lot of confidence in. He is going to continue to get better. He is an important player for us.
In regards to Seney, I thought he played a good, hard, simple game. He had a great scoring chance there in the third period. He skated and put the puck in good spots. He got banged up there in the third period and got a pretty nasty cut on his finger. It looks like there is a bit of a fracture in there as well, so we will have to see how that settles. But I liked what he did.
Clifford now — that is two really strong games we have gotten from Kyle Clifford. And Simmer — huge goal for us from that line. Those guys are working together. Clifford and Simmer went hard to the net and got that goal for us. They just gave us good efforts all the way through.
Good, sound team effort from us tonight against a very dangerous team that was looking to break out. We didn’t give them those opportunities.
On the Covid situations in the league:
I have learned about a couple of things since our game started. Your attention is raised given what is going on around the league, but for us, we just have to continue to focus on what we can and control what we can.
We will stay here tonight. Our plan right now is to fly to Vancouver tomorrow. It will be an off day for our team tomorrow, but as the schedule is right now, we are going to practice for two days in a row leading into the weekend. Unless I am mistaken, it is the first time we have had two practice days in a row since training camp ended. That is significant for us as a team.
We have to recharge here over the next little bit and take advantage of those days.
Soccer-USMNT embrace the cold as World Cup qualifying heats up
Bone chilling conditions are forecast for the next three U.S. men’s national team World Cup qualifying matches and the players on Wednesday said they were excited to battle the elements and their opponents.
Snow, frigid wind and sub-zero temperatures will likely greet the USMNT when they host El Salvador in Columbus, Ohio on Jan. 27, take on Canada in Ontario three days later, and close out the window against Honduras in Saint Paul, Minnesota on Feb. 2.
Defender Walker Zimmerman said the prospect of cold weather brought back memories of the USMNT’s 1-0 win over Costa Rica in March 2013’s Snow Clasico in Colorado.
“I’m really excited,” Zimmerman told reporters on a call.
“I was talking to my wife over the break and I was saying, I want it to be freezing, I want it to be cold, I want it to snow. I want to be part of something so iconic, something like that game that I really remember seeing when I was growing up.
“And I think the guys are ready to embrace it.”
Forward Paul Arriola said he and his team mates have played in cold weather before and trust in their support staff to help them get ready.
“The staff on the national team do a tremendous job, and we have full confidence in them to prepare us,” he said.
“And we have our own duties as professional players and players on the national team to be ready for every possible condition.
“We’ll embrace the cold, and it will be a really good environment for the fans as well.”
The U.S. are second in the standings for the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers with 15 points, a point behind Canada and one ahead of rivals Mexico.
The top three in the eight-team group qualify automatically for Qatar 2022 with the fourth-placed finisher going into an intercontinental playoff for another spot.
The team are eager to put behind them the humiliating loss they suffered at the hands of Trinidad and Tobago in 2017, which prevented them reaching the World Cup in Russia and led to a complete rebuild.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Toby Davis)
Sportsnet announces revised schedule for postponed NHL games – Sportsnet.ca
Sportsnet and the NHL have announced changes to the broadcast schedule for the 2021-22 NHL season. The changes account for a large number of games that were postponed in recent weeks due to a surge of COVID-19 cases across the league.
As a result, the following updates have been made to Sportsnet’s national and regional broadcast schedules. Please note that all times are Eastern.
For the most up-to-date broadcast schedule, please visit our TV Listings page.
For a complete list of every game rescheduled by the NHL on Wednesday, click here.
Monday, Jan. 31
New Jersey at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., Sportsnet
Monday, Feb. 7
Carolina at Toronto, 7 p.m., Sportsnet (Rogers Hometown Hockey)
New Jersey at Ottawa, 7 p.m., Sportsnet ONE (Rogers Hometown Hockey)
Wednesday, Feb. 9
Chicago at Edmonton, 8 p.m., Sportsnet (Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey)
Vegas at Calgary, 9:30 p.m., Sportsnet ONE
Saturday, Feb. 12
Columbus at Montreal, 12:30 p.m., Sportsnet (Hometown Hockey)
Boston at Ottawa, 12:30 p.m., Sportsnet ONE (Hometown Hockey)
Toronto at Vancouver, 7 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada and Hockey Night in Canada: Punjabi)
Winnipeg at Nashville, 7 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada)
NY Islanders at Calgary, 10 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada)
Sunday, Feb. 13
Buffalo at Montreal, 12:30 p.m., Sportsnet (Hometown Hockey)
Ottawa at Washington, 12:30 p.m., Sportsnet ONE (Hometown Hockey)
Monday, Feb. 14
Toronto at Seattle, 9 p.m., Sportsnet
Chicago at Winnipeg, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West
Edmonton at San Jose, 10:30 p.m., Sportsnet ONE
Tuesday, Feb. 15
Edmonton at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 16
Minnesota at Winnipeg, 7 p.m., Sportsnet (Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey)
Anaheim at Calgary, 9:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 17
Anaheim at Edmonton, 9 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 19
St. Louis at Toronto, 7 p.m., Sportsnet and CityTV (Hockey Night in Canada and Hockey Night in Canada: Punjabi)
Boston at Ottawa, 7 p.m., Sportsnet ONE (Hockey Night in Canada)
Seattle at Calgary, 10 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada)
Anaheim at Vancouver, 10 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada)
Sunday, Feb. 20
Minnesota at Edmonton, 8 p.m., Sportsnet ONE
Monday, Feb. 21
Toronto at Montreal, 7 p.m., Sportsnet
Seattle at Vancouver, 10 p.m., Sportsnet
Wednesday, Feb. 23
Buffalo at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Monday, March 7
Toronto at Columbus, 7 p.m., Sportsnet
Edmonton at Calgary, 9:30 p.m., Sportsnet
Monday, April 4
Toronto at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m., Sportsnet
Monday, April 18
Calgary at Chicago, 8 p.m., Sportsnet (Hometown Hockey)
Dallas at Vancouver, 10:30 p.m., Sportsnet (Hometown Hockey)
Wednesday, April 27
Montreal at NY Rangers, 7:30 p.m. (Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey)
Tuesday, Feb. 8
Vegas at Edmonton, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West (Oilers region)
Arizona at Vancouver, 10 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific (Canucks region)
Wednesday, Feb. 9
NY Islanders at Vancouver, 10:30 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific (Canucks region)
Thursday, Feb. 10
Toronto at Calgary, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West (Flames region)
Friday, Feb. 11
NY Islanders at Edmonton, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West (Oilers region)
Tuesday, Feb. 15
Columbus at Calgary, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West (Flames region)
Thursday, Feb. 17
Pittsburgh at Toronto, 7 p.m., Sportsnet Ontario (Maple Leafs region)
Vancouver at San Jose, 10:30 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific (Canucks region)
Saturday, Feb. 19
Edmonton at Winnipeg, 4 p.m., Sportsnet West (Oilers region)
Monday, Feb. 21
Winnipeg at Calgary, 4 p.m., Sportsnet West (Flames region)
Tuesday, Feb. 22
Toronto at Columbus, 7 p.m., Sportsnet Ontario (Maple Leafs region)
Tuesday, April 19
Calgary at Nashville, 8 p.m., Sportsnet West (Flames region)
Ottawa at Vancouver, 10 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific (Canucks region)
'Strongest team in all of snowboarding': Canadian squad named for Beijing Olympics – CBC Sports
Canadian snowboarders brought home four medals at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
The team looking to build on that number was announced by Canada Snowboard on Wednesday, including all four previous medallists — Sébastien Toutant (the lone gold medallist), Max Parrot, Mark McMorris and Laurie Blouin.
Joining them in slopestyle and big air are Darcy Sharpe, Brooke Voigt and Jasmine Baird. Meanwhile, the halfpipe team features Derek Livingston, Brooke D’Hondt and Elizabeth Hosking.
Missing from that list is Liam Brearley, the emerging 18-year-old who won a medal in all three disciplines at the 2020 Youth Olympics. Brearley, of Gravenhurst, Ont., was victim of a roster crunch, as Canada earned the maximum four quota spots in slopestyle and big air.
Megan Farrell and Arnaud Gaudet will compete in parallel giant slalom, while the snowboard cross squad includes Zoe Bergermann, Tess Critchlow, Meryeta O’Dine, Audrey McManiman, Eliot Grondin, Kevin Hill and Liam Moffatt.
CBC snowboard analyst Craig McMorris, the older brother of Mark McMorris, said the Canadians should be a force.
“I think it is the strongest team in all of snowboarding, especially in male slopestyle and big air with Max Parrot, Sebastien Toutant and Mark McMorris all returning for their third Games. The skill is there. And the veteran wisdom and experience is there as well,” he said.
The omission of Brearley reveals the overwhelming strength of the men’s slopestyle and big air squad. Toutant and McMorris both sit in the top five of World Snowboard’s slopestyle ranking, while Parrot is ranked first and McMorris fifth in big air.
Parrot pre-qualified for the Olympic team before the season began in October, with the stipulation that he remain in the top-30 of rankings. He has since not competed in World Cup races, freezing his ranking in place.
The final decision may have come down to Sharpe vs. Brearley, with each similarly ranked in the two disciplines.
“[Sharpe] was out for a long time and his points freeze, then he comes back and his points unfreeze but then he gets COVID so he can’t compete, and that was crucial in deciding the team. So I feel like it was an extremely, extremely tough job,” McMorris said.
WATCH | Mark McMorris discusses difficulties of qualifying in pandemic:
Parrot, the Bromont, Que., native who won slopestyle silver in 2018, is a recent cancer survivor.
The 27-year-old was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma about 10 months after the Olympics but returned to competition less than a year later, winning X Games big air gold in the process.
Mark McMorris, the 28-year-old from Regina, enters his third Games looking to upgrade on the bronze he won each of the past two times — this time free of a near-fatal crash directly in his rearview mirror.
Toutant, 29, of L’Assomption, Que., experienced an eventful Pyeongchang Olympics as he recovered from a last-place finish in slopestyle to become the big air champion.
WATCH | CBC Sports’ Returning Champions series features Sébastien Toutant:
Blouin back for more
On the women’s side, Blouin, 25, overcame some adversity in Pyeongchang herself after a crash in training left her participation in the Games at all in question.
But the Quebec City native bounced back in a big way en route to earning slopestyle silver.
“I’m really happy, it seems like 2018 was yesterday and now it’s crazy that we’re already looking ahead to the next Olympics,” Blouin said.
Along with McMorris and Sharpe, Blouin is set to compete at the winter X Games beginning Friday in Aspen, Colo., as part of her Olympic tuneup.
WATCH | Blouin takes slopestyle bronze at Calgary World Cup:
D’Hondt, 16, is projected to be the youngest Canadian athlete in Beijing.
“It doesn’t feel real yet. I’m so grateful for this opportunity, and couldn’t be more excited to represent my country in Beijing,” D’Hondt said.
Meanwhile, Craig McMorris suggested that Baird, the 22-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., could be an emerging star for Canada.
“I don’t think she has the tricks to be on the podium yet, but she’s still super young. So I think after these Games, if she still keeps going and training at the rate she is and learning, I think she’ll definitely be a threat in 2026,” he said.
- Brooke D’Hondt — Calgary (halfpipe)
- Elizabeth Hosking — Longueuil, Que. (halfpipe)
- Megan Farrell — Richmond Hill, Ont. (parallel giant slalom)
- Jasmine Baird — Georgetown, Ont. (slopestyle/big air)
- Laurie Blouin— Québec City (slopestyle/big air)
- Brooke Voigt — Fort McMurray, Alta. (slopestyle/big air)
- Zoe Bergermann — Erin, Ont. (snowboard cross)
- Tess Critchlow — Big White, B.C. (snowboard cross)
- Meryeta O’Dine — Prince George, B.C. (snowboard cross)
- Audrey McManiman — St-Ambroise-de-Kildare, Que. (snowboard cross)
- Derek Livingston — Aurora, Ont. (halfpipe)
- Arnaud Gaudet — Montcalm, Que. (parallel giant slalom)
- Mark McMorris — Regina (slopestyle/big air)
- Max Parrot — Bromont, Que. (slopestyle/big air)
- Darcy Sharpe — Comox, B.C. (slopestyle/big air)
- Sébastien Toutant — L’Assomption, Que. (slopestyle/big air)
- Eliot Grondin — Sainte-Marie, Que. (snowboard cross)
- Kevin Hill — Vernon, B.C. (snowboard cross)
- Liam Moffatt — Truro, N.S. (snowboard cross)
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