Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s come-from-behind overtime win over the Winnipeg Jets, improving the Leafs’ record to 19-7-2 on the season.
On the team sticking with it despite Hellebuyck’s outstanding performance:
I would say it was just staying with it and continuing to work for our opportunities. We had talked about it. Once again, I didn’t hate our game. I thought we were playing pretty well. We gave them a couple of great opportunities to score, and they did. We don’t want to give them those opportunities, of course, but I really — aside from that — didn’t dislike much about our game.
The difference was we had missed a lot of chances, a lot of breakaways, and things like that. They hadn’t gone in for us. We just had to stay with it and have confidence that we were going to score enough to be able to win but not give them the next one, which was important.
Of course, we ended up giving up the goal to tie it towards the end there, but I thought — by and large — it was a good third period and we got what we wanted out of it.
On the amount of time the team has been spending in the Jets’ end:
It is a tough thing, right? We don’t get the result we wanted the other night. I thought we played a pretty good game. You can’t give them free goals. You can’t make mistakes at bad times and just give them free looks. I thought we did that for their first two goals tonight. I didn’t like that. But we were generating a lot. It just felt like a matter of time before it would go in for us. I thought the guys were really working.
I thought William Nylander had his best game of the season today. He was outstanding. It was great to see him get rewarded with a goal. He certainly earned it with how he was playing.
I have been really encouraged. At the same time, with the way the game went, we very easily could’ve been on the other side of this one here tonight. It would’ve been difficult for us. How do you frame it? How do you stay with it despite the fact that we aren’t getting results? To get the win certainly feels good.
We hope we can continue with a similar process to what we have without giving up the “freebie” looks at the net — the 2-on-1s. By and large, I think our team has done a pretty good job in both games. It’s good to get the two points today and disappointing to give them one.
On Auston Matthews’ finish on his OT winner on a night when his wrist isn’t 100%:
Elite talent. He is a star. That is what they do. The condition of his hand aside, he was quite tired there, too. It was a long shift in OT and OT shifts are difficult. Just to have the energy to get up the ice and put himself in that spot, amidst the chaos of the broken stick and all of that nonsense that was happening — that is big-time stuff.
On the switch to move Hyman with Matthews and Marner and Thornton with Tavares and Nylander:
Just trying to change things up. We know Hyman has had a great deal of success in that spot. We get down in a game again, and we just wanted to change some things. I had been wanting to try Jumbo with John and Will for some time. It gave me a chance to do that.
At the same time, it allowed me to play Kerfoot with Engvall and Mikheyev, which I thought was important just to have another skater with lots of speed. We were trying to get them out as much as we could against the Ehlers, Connor, and Dubois line. We wanted to have another guy with speed on that line. It worked out that way for us.
On what stood out about William Nylander’s game tonight:
He just looked determined — determined to score, determined to make a difference. He started the game with a blocked shot. He was right in the lane. At that time in the game, it’s what the game called for. That is what we have been asking the guys to do: At different times, step out of character a little bit and deliver on what the game calls for. Early in the game, he has to get in the lane and he has to do a good job of preventing that puck from getting to our net. He blocks it and gets away for a breakaway.
I thought there were a number of examples like that. He has been all over the net making plays. He has done a lot of good things with the puck. He’s had a ton of opportunities to score. The great individual effort by JT to find him — that’s a great shot. It is not an easy pass to take across the body as a righty to bury it like that. It is a big-time goal.
I thought he really worked away from the puck. A lot of times, he was getting back and stripping guys and creating turnovers in the neutral zone. Those are the kinds of things we need from him consistently. Today, I thought he was a real difference maker.
On the growth in Zach Hyman’s game with his puck skills:
He has a lot of confidence. He is holding onto pucks a lot more here now. If we look and reflect on the last season and coming back into this season, he has adjusted his game here. We are encouraging him to hold onto the puck a little bit more. We are encouraging him to look for linemates and make plays when he is there. We are encouraging him to challenge defensemen with his speed and how he protects the puck.
We know he is great at retrieving the puck and those kinds of things, and we still obviously need that from him, but I love the way he challenges defensemen and doesn’t let them off the hook. He doesn’t make it so they can go back for a puck all the time. Sometimes, he is just burying his head and challenging them to take it from them. That mindset — defensemen don’t like that and it opens up a lot of things for him.
It has created a lot of space for him now. He is attacking middle ice and getting shots from the middle of the rink. There are a lot of things happening that are really good and really encouraging for our team no matter where we are playing him. He is just being himself. I think he is adding different layers to his game offensively.
Soccer-Manchester City go top as Chelsea suffer defeat at West Ham
Chelsea paid a heavy price for a 3-2 defeat at West Ham United as first Liverpool, then Manchester City, leapfrogged them in the Premier League title race on Saturday, with City ending the day on top for the first time this season.
Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea began the day with a narrow lead and twice went in front at the London Stadium, only to be stunned by a late goal from substitute defender Arthur Masuaku.
It looked as though Liverpool had let Chelsea off the hook as their later clash at Wolverhampton Wanderers went into stoppage time still goalless.
But Divock Origi, making his 100th appearance as a Liverpool substitute, latched on to a Mohamed Salah pass to smash a winner past Wolves keeper Jose Sa in the 94th minute.
In the day’s late kickoff, Manchester City outclassed Watford in a 3-1 victory at Vicarage Road with Raheem Sterling paving the way before Bernardo Silva struck twice.
Chelsea had seemed to be in control of their game after 28 minutes when Thiago Silva scored with a header from a Mason Mount corner but the European champions gifted the hosts a penalty in the 40th minute when Jorginho put his goalkeeper Edouard Mendy under pressure with a poor back pass.
Mendy brought down Jarrod Bowen for a penalty that was converted by Manuel Lanzini.
Mount restored Chelsea’s lead with a superb volley four minutes later only for West Ham to draw level early in the second half when Bowen fired in hard and low.
Masuaku clinched it for the fourth-placed hosts in the 87th minute with a cross that flew into the goal.
It meant Chelsea slipped to third spot with 33 points from 15 games, one point behind Liverpool and two behind Manchester City. West Ham have 27 points.
“We are not good enough in the details at the moment,” Tuchel told reporters. “We do too many big mistakes.”
Wolves had defended resolutely against a Liverpool side who have been in unstoppable goalscoring form.
But all their hard work came to nothing as Origi showed what a great impact substitute he can be, with his winner sparking wild celebrations on the Liverpool bench.
“It was clear: when you don’t score you just have to keep going and that’s what we did,” manager Juergen Klopp said.
“And then Divock Origi, the legend, came and finished it off for us. I love it.”
There was no such drama for City who racked up a fifth successive league win and a 31st in the calendar year, surpassing their previous club record.
“There are always things we have to improve but right now, the guys are playing at a really good level,” manager Pep Guardiola said. “We scored three beautiful goals and we could have scored more.”
Newcastle United’s wait for a first league victory of the season is over after Callum Wilson’s goal earned them a 1-0 victory against fellow relegation battlers Burnley.
The win lifted Newcastle off the bottom on goal difference, above Norwich City who play at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Brighton & Hove Albion drew for the eighth time this season as Neal Maupay rescued a point in a 1-1 draw at Southampton. Maupay struck in the eighth minute of stoppage time to deny Saints their fourth league win of the season after Armando Broja had give them a first-half lead.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Clare Fallon)
Soccer-Man City take top spot after comfortable win at Watford
Raheem Sterling’s early header paved the way to a comfortable win for Pep Guardiola’s side who made the most of morning leaders Chelsea’s earlier 3-2 defeat at West Ham United.
Silva fired in from a tight angle in the 31st minute and put City in cruise control just past the hour mark when he curled a delightful effort into the top corner.
In truth City’s winning margin should have been bigger against a struggling Watford side who were given some late hope when Cucho Hernandez pulled a goal back.
City’s fifth successive league win lifted them to 35 points from 15 games, one point ahead of Liverpool and two in front of Chelsea in what is shaping up to be a three-way title tussle.
The sight of Guardiola’s City hitting the top in the run-up to Christmas will send shivers through their rivals.
Once they climbed to the summit last season in January they marched off into the distance, although this time the form of Liverpool suggests they will not have things all their own way.
“It’s still the beginning, we are not even halfway through and there is a lot of hard work to do,” Silva, who is City’s surprise leading league scorer with seven goals, said.
“It’s always better to be top of the league than second, third or fourth, but it’s so close — Liverpool are just one point behind us, Chelsea are two points behind us.
“But we are in good form and we want to keep it that way.”
It was only a fortnight ago that Claudio Ranieri’s side put Manchester United to the sword at Vicarage Road.
But they barely got a kick in the first half against City.
Once Sterling was given the freedom of the penalty area to head in Phil Foden’s cross after four minutes it always looked like being a long night for the hosts.
Jack Grealish could have had a hat-trick before halftime as he wasted several glorious chances but Silva soon showed him how to find the back of the net.
The Portuguese playmaker’s astute pass set up a chance for Ilkay Gundogan whose shot was saved by Daniel Bachmann but as the ball came out Silva was alert to drill a low shot into the net from an acute angle.
His second was a thing of beauty. Taking a pass from Kyle Walker on the right, Silva cut inside Danny Rose and curled a shot into the top corner with almost nonchalant ease.
City switched off slightly to allow Hernandez to score after his shot came back off the post, but it was a minor hiccup on a thoroughly satisfying day.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)
Why Aaron Rodgers got away with a fine and three Buccaneers got banned – The Globe and Mail
Aaron Rodgers flaunts the NFL/NFLPA coronavirus protocols and gets a fine that barely shows up in his paycheque.
Antonio Brown and two others do the same and get three-game suspensions.
It’s complicated, but in some ways it’s also pretty simple why the Packers quarterback was fined US$14,650, a sum negotiated between the league and the players’ union while developing the COVID-19 protocols. And why Brown, teammate Mike Edwards and former Buccaneers player John Franklin III took a much bigger hit for falsifying vaccination documents.
Rodgers was fined for not wearing a mask in some instances, at a Halloween party and during press conferences. A joint investigation by the NFL and union revealed that he was wearing a mask at other points and complied with the protocols.
Rodgers did mislead the public and the media, but he informed the club – which told the NFL – and his teammates of his status. Indeed, everyone in his ecosystem was aware he was not vaccinated, and he was testing for COVID-19 daily, and social distancing at the team facility. It was those exceptions when he did not do so that led to the fine.
The Packers were nailed for US$300,000 for their lack of oversight in the Rodgers case. Whether that indicates complicity by the organization is a matter of debate.
Tampa Bay was not fined, though it loses an important defensive back in Edwards for part of the stretch run, and doesn’t have Brown, who has missed the past five games with an ankle injury. He also sat out the Bucs’ Week 3 loss to the Los Angeles Rams after testing positive for COVID-19.
The actions of Brown, Edwards and Franklin began during the summer and, according to a person familiar with the case, “were acting like they were vaccinated when they were not.” The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the players’ specific violations have not been announced.
“The league wanted to make an example of these three,” the person said, “and wanted to suspend them six to eight games and they settled on three.”
The agreement was the players would take the three-game suspensions for repeated protocol violations, not appeal, and there would be no public statements about the fake vaccination cards.
Another person with direct knowledge of the case told The Associated Press that all three players now are vaccinated.
“These players put all of their people at risk, and themselves and family members, their teammates and team personnel,” the person said, also speaking on condition of anonymity. “They were not wearing masks when they [needed to] and were not tested every day, acting as if they were vaccinated.”
All 32 NFL teams were visited during training camp last summer and advised of the updated COVID-19 protocols. As early as July 22 the league made a presentation to the clubs to be on the lookout for fake vaccination cards, and noted to the teams the potential for that to happen based on media reports of people buying fake cards. The NFL even placed within the slide presentation the logo of the FBI, stressing that acquiring and using a fake vaccination card is a law enforcement issue that could lead to jail time.
And the players’ association made sure all of its members were aware that they actually falsified a federal document if they had a bogus vaccination document.
However, the protocols do not outline discipline for such a violation. Thus, the negotiations between the league and union that led to the three-game dockings.
There has been speculation that Brown’s history of misconduct, which includes an eight-game suspension in 2020 for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, led to stiffer discipline. Both the league and union have insisted that is not the case.
The Brown/Edwards/Franklin case is the first disciplinary action with suspensions, and was announced through a joint statement by the NFL and NFLPA, reflecting the seriousness both take with the protocols.
Will there be more such scenarios? With about 95 per cent of NFL players vaccinated – and providing valid and verified proof – the numbers say that’s not likely. By handing down relatively major penalties for such violations, both the league and union hope a loud message has been sent.
Still, imagine if that message has not been heard or heeded, and one or more star players receive suspensions when playoff time rolls around in six weeks.
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