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Sheldon Keefe on the incident that injured Noel Acciari in the Leafs’ win over Carolina: "It should be a penalty… It is tough to lose a player on a play like that"

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Sheldon Keefe, Toronto Maple Leafs post game

Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes which improved the Leafs’ record to 41-18-9.


On the team’s success against a team that is so hard to play against at both nets:

I thought the guys boxed out well. There were a few tips that they got their sticks on for sure and Sammy was really strong on. I thought the guys defended well. We blocked some shots and discouraged a few. We did enough to keep them away from the net.

They got two goals off of some breakdowns in our coverage that we need to do a better job on. For the most part, I thought we did a really good job defensively.

I thought we moved the puck really well coming out of our end tonight, which has been an issue for us in recent games. Tonight, we are playing against a team that is maybe the hardest in the league to come out of the zone against.

It was certainly an area of focus in yesterday’s practice and coming into today. I thought the D responded very, very well with how they moved. I thought they just got us moving up the rink very nicely against a team that is normally quite difficult to do so against.

On the team responding well despite some tough calls from the officials:

The penalty kill responded really, really well. Whether it was coming out to start the second period or in the third period, obviously, if the PK doesn’t do a job, it changes the game significantly.

Our power play got one opportunity and made good on it. Special teams were a major factor in the game tonight. I thought we just played a really smart game against a very good team.

On the incident that knocked Noel Acciari out of the game and Acciari’s current status:

It should be a penalty. It is tough to lose a player like that on a play like that. The refs saw it differently.

In terms of an update, he is not going to travel with us. He won’t be available tomorrow. In terms of what happens going forward, we will have to see. He was in the room. He handed off the belt tonight to the other guys — to Reeser.

He seems like he is doing alright, but clearly, he couldn’t come back in the game. That is concerning.

On the bottom six coming through with a couple of goals from Zach Aston-Reese:

Huge goals. That first goal — first of all, Gustafsson makes an excellent play to be able to get to a spot and clear the lane to get it there. Reeser gets a stick on it. That is a huge goal to get us started.

At a time when they had scored and now the game is in the balance a little bit in terms of momentum, Lafferty takes a puck, and you can see his separation speed to get into good ice. Reeser really worked to get to the back post. Those guys connected. It is a big goal for us.

Mitch scored a huge goal on the power play. The goal that Auston gets for us is a big goal. Seeing Morgan shoot it in the net like that again tonight is really good. Great initiative by him to jump into that good ice and get to that spot.

On Luke Schenn’s reception from the crowd after a big hit in the third period:

It was great. He hasn’t played, and it is his first game at home. There is a lot going on for him, right? It was his first game at home, and I am sure there are a lot of emotions attached to that as he has spoken about. He made it very clear how much it means to him to be back here.

He also hasn’t played. He has had one practice with us. There has been a lot going on here. He is going to continue to get better.

That was a great moment. He had some good moments in the game. Certainly, to bring the physicality there at an important time with the penalty kill and such… It was great to see the crowd react and give him that.

On the lineup decisions for tomorrow after finishing the game with just 10 forwards:

As we talked about, we are going with 12 and 6. We are going to stay with that. Even with losing Acciari, that is our plan. We will look and see what we have for tomorrow, how guys wake up, manage it, and see if we have to adjust our plan at all.

This morning, I told Holl he was playing tomorrow. I told Simmonds he was playing tomorrow. Those guys are definitely going in. It just so happens we have an injury. We would’ve brought Simmer in anyway.

Those guys will be ready. We will make any adjustments we need to once we see where we are at exactly.

On using both goalies down the stretch:

We want two goalies to be ready, push each other, and feel good. We want a team playing well in front of them. It is a back-to-back. Our team has done well in back-to-backs this season for the most part.

We have a very hungry Ottawa team that gave it to us pretty good in here the last time we saw them. It is going to be a challenging game tomorrow. Our team is going to need to be really good in front of Matt.

It is a great opportunity for Matt to go in and keep his game going. As I talked about before, I think he has played well since coming back. He hasn’t had the results the way he would like them to show up on the stat sheet, but I have liked his game and his process. Tomorrow is another chance for him to put it on display.

 

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Tiger Woods had a tough opening round at The 152nd Open Championship

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Tiger Woods encountered difficulties during the opening round of The 152nd Open Championship at Royal Troon, finishing with an 8-over-par 79. Despite a promising beginning, including a birdie on the third hole, Woods struggled to find consistency throughout the round. His iron play and putting were particularly problematic, contributing to a series of bogeys and double bogeys.

Woods’ performance saw him slightly above average off the tee and around the green. However, he lost over two strokes to the field in both approach play and putting, ranking near the bottom in these categories. This marks a significant challenge for the 15-time major champion, especially considering the competitive field and the demanding conditions at Royal Troon.

Reflecting on his round, Woods admitted, “I didn’t do a lot of things right today. I didn’t hit my irons very close, and I didn’t give myself a whole lot of looks today. I need to shoot something in the mid-60s tomorrow to get something going on the weekend.” He emphasized the need for a strong performance on Friday to make the cut and remain in contention.

Woods, 48, has shown determination and resilience, competing in all four majors this year for the first time since his serious car accident in 2021. Despite physical limitations, he believes he can still contend for major titles under the right conditions. His performance on Thursday puts him in a challenging position, requiring a significant turnaround in the second round to stay in the tournament.

As Woods prepares for Friday’s round, his focus remains on improving his game and making the cut. Fans and analysts alike will be watching to see if he can achieve the remarkable recovery needed to advance and compete over the weekend. Woods’ journey at The 152nd Open Championship continues to be a testament to his enduring skill and competitive spirit.

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NBA Returns to Montreal with Raptors vs. Wizards Pre-Season Game

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Montreal, QC – The NBA is set to make an exciting return to Montreal. The league announced on Thursday that the Toronto Raptors will face off against the Washington Wizards at the Bell Centre on October 6, marking the 10th edition of the NBA Canada Series.

This annual series has featured 15 teams playing 18 pre-season games across six Canadian cities. Notably, this will be the eighth NBA Canada Series game in Montreal, the highest for any city outside the Raptors’ usual home in Toronto.

Last year, Montreal fans witnessed the Detroit Pistons take on the Oklahoma City Thunder, featuring Canadians Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luguentz Dort. The Raptors’ previous game in Montreal was in 2022.

This year’s game will be particularly special as it will showcase several Canadian players. Montreal natives Chris Boucher and Quincy Guerrier are both on the Raptors’ training camp roster. Additionally, Kelly Olynyk and RJ Barrett, who are set to represent Canada at the upcoming Summer Olympics, are also expected to play for the Raptors.

The Wizards bring their own Canadian connection with Kyshawn George, selected in this year’s NBA Draft. George, born in Switzerland, is the son of Montreal’s Deon George, a former member of Canada’s men’s basketball team.

The October 6 game will cap off the Raptors’ Montreal-based training camp, promising an exciting end to their preparations.

For more updates and coverage on the NBA Canada Series, visit Canada News Media

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Fafa Picault Leads Vancouver Whitecaps to Victory Over Sporting Kansas City

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Vancouver, BCFafa Picault emerged as the hero off the bench, scoring in the second half to secure a 2-1 victory for the Vancouver Whitecaps against Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday.

The Whitecaps (11-7-5) dominated the first half, with two goals being disallowed due to offside calls. Vancouver’s breakthrough came in the 34th minute when Kansas City defender Robert Valoder accidentally scored an own goal, giving the ‘Caps a 1-0 lead.

Sporting Kansas City (6-14-5) showed more vigor in the second half, equalizing in the 69th minute with a goal from Willy Agada. However, Picault’s decisive goal in the 76th minute ensured the Whitecaps extended their unbeaten streak in Major League Soccer (MLS) to five games (4-0-1).

Yohei Takaoka delivered an outstanding performance with 16 saves for Vancouver, while Tim Melia made 12 stops for Kansas City, whose three-game winning streak came to an end.

First Half Dominance

The Whitecaps were aggressive from the start, creating several early scoring opportunities. Brian White nearly scored with a header in the seventh minute, but Valoder cleared it off the goal line.

Ali Ahmed had a notable moment in the 27th minute, maneuvering past defenders to set up White for a goal that was disallowed due to offside. The Whitecaps’ pressure paid off in the 34th minute when Valoder deflected the ball into his own net, attempting to intercept a pass from Ryan Gauld to White.

Ahmed seemed poised to increase Vancouver’s lead eight minutes later, but his goal was also ruled offside. Despite these setbacks, Vancouver outshot Kansas City 9-2 in the first half.

Kansas City’s Resurgence

Sporting Kansas City made three substitutions at halftime, revitalizing their performance. Stefan Afrifa, substituting for Alenis Vargas, struck the crossbar in the 63rd minute, and Daniel Salloi’s follow-up shot was expertly saved by Takaoka.

Kansas City equalized six minutes later when Agada capitalized on a rebound after Takaoka’s save, slotting the ball into an open net.

Picault’s Winning Goal

The Whitecaps regained the lead in the 76th minute through Picault’s sixth goal of the season. Sebastian Berhalter, who replaced Ryan Raposo in the 67th minute, delivered a perfect cross to Picault, who headed it past Melia to make it 2-1.

Kansas City had a chance to level the score in injury time, but Erik Thommy’s free kick went over the bar following a foul by Mathias Laborda.

The victory solidifies the Whitecaps’ position as a formidable team in the MLS, with Picault’s performance highlighting their depth and resilience.

Stay tuned for more updates and coverage on the Vancouver Whitecaps at Canada News Media.

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