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The Montreal Canadiens depth is about to be tested – Habs Eyes on the Prize

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The Montreal Canadiens have had a very straight forward season thus far. They have used 18 skaters and two goaltenders. The only transactions they have made have been to save cap room on off days.

Even Victor Mete, who is the only extra player on the active roster, has yet to play a game this season.

That will very likely change on Saturday when the team plays their third straight game against the Vancouver Canucks. The Canadiens depth has been the strength of their team through five games. From every line scoring, to minutes being distributed evenly, the team has proven that they have effective depth.

The other prong to that depth is having internal replacements. It was the reason the team added Corey Perry and Michael Frolik before training camp opened even though the lineup appeared set. A team with playoff aspirations — especially in the reality of the current season — needs to have players come in and perform.

With Joel Armia suffering from a concussion and Paul Byron leaving early after taking a shot off of his foot, there is a good chance someone will have to come into the lineup. Canadiens coach Claude Julien has no issue going to his taxi squad, especially for the two veteran forwards.

“Those two players have been a great example to our young players,” Julien said after Thursday’s 7-3 win against the Canucks. “They are leading the way right now. What we like about that is their experience and what they are showing to young players who want to become good professionals. They have a great attitude. That’s why [general manager Marc Bergevin] went out to get them: If things happen along the way, we have depth. They are players who can play, who can help us. We’ll see what our injury situation is and how we can react with any changes.”

The situation to bring both into the lineup isn’t as simple as changing the lineup card. Between the team’s cap situation and waiver situation, there will need to be some maneuvering. The Canadiens may have enough cap space to bring one player up without needing anyone to go on long-term injury reserve (LTIR). LTIR would require a player to miss a minimum 24 days or 10 games which is a lot of time for what could be a short-term injury just to get around the cap. LTIR would allow a team to replace the salary of the player. Regular injured reserve is only a minimum of a week but provides zero cap relief.

There is the chance, if both Armia and Byron — who Julien said would be evaluated day-to day — are out that the Canadiens may have to play with 11 forwards and seven defencemen since Mete is on the active roster.

Another possible option would be to send down Alexander Romanov for Saturday’s game, and play Mete in his spot on defence. That would allow both Perry and Frolik to be called up even if no one is placed on LTIR. It’s not ideal for the rookie defenceman, but it wouldn’t need to be a long-term solution either.

Bergevin knew he would have to pull off some cap gymnastics this season. He did his stretching during the off-season to prepare for the inevitability of injuries. Now we’ll have to see what happens now that those gymnastics, and the depth, is being tested.

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Senators chase Rittich, rout Flames for third-straight win – Sportsnet.ca

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OTTAWA — Matt Murray and the Ottawa Senators have their longest win streak of the season.

Murray stopped 29 shots while Drake Batherson extended his goal streak to four games as Ottawa earned a 6-1 decision over the Calgary Flames on Thursday. The win was the Senators’ third straight as they improved to 5-2-0 in the last seven contests.

“I think we’re starting to build, I think we’re recognizing what it takes to win on any given night and how difficult it really is,” Murray said. “I think we’re starting to do the little things right the majority of the time and that’s huge in this league.

“If we start getting into a run-and-gun style game then we’re probably not going to have as good a chance to win. I think tonight was a good example of what it takes to win on any given night and now difficult it is. I love the direction we’re headed.”

Colin White scored twice for Ottawa (7-14-1). Erik Gudbranson, Connor Brown and Erik Brannstrom had the others.

“You know what? You never critique a win,” Ottawa head coach D.J. Smith said. “We found a way to score early and took the pressure off us.

“But there’s probably been four or five games of late that we’ve played better and didn’t get that result. It was just one of those games where everything went our way.”

Milan Lucic replied for Calgary (9-10-2), which was playing for the third time in four nights. And while the Flames came in having won three of the previous four meetings with Ottawa, they’re 1-4-1 in their last six games overall.

“It’s on us, it’s on the players. We’ve got to be better,” said Lucic.

It was the first of three straight games between the two teams in Ottawa. They meet again Saturday afternoon before finishing up Monday night.

“I thought that was Matt Murray’s best game this year,” said Smith. “He looked really calm back there.

“We hung him out to dry in the third period and gave them some Grade-A chances that we shouldn’t have given but he made the saves and he looked really good doing it.”

Murray was sharp in the third as Calgary outshot Ottawa 15-8 in the period. Overall, the Senators held a 31-30 advantage in shots on goal.

But Murray said his teammates performed solidly in front of him.

“We did the best job we could’ve staying above them trying to keep their chances to a minimum,” he said. “That’s a really, really dangerous team.

“The way we played in the (defensive) zone, we just kind of kept them to the outside. A lot of really good things to build off of moving forward until the next one.”

Batherson opened the scoring at 7:45 of the first period. David Rittich made the save on Tim Stutzle’s shot but Batherson fired the rebound past the Flames goaltender for his sixth of the season.

Gudbranson made it 2-0 with his first of the year at 9:27 as Ottawa outshot Calgary 13-5.

Lucic pulled Calgary to within 2-1 with his fifth 1:41 into the second. But Brown restored Ottawa’s two-goal lead at 4:39, intercepting a pass deep in the Flames zone and beating Rittich on the backhand unassisted for his fifth.

“I thought we did a really good job and responded well after that (Lucic) goal,” Murray said. “I like how we really didn’t sit back.

“We kept going and got a few more goals coming out in that third period I think that was huge.”

Brannstrom put Ottawa up 4-1 at 7:24. He blasted a rolling puck from outside the blue-line past Rittich, his second of the year and second in as many games. Shortly afterwards, Calgary made the goaltending change as Artyom Zagidulin got into his first NHL game replacing Rittich, who allowed four goals on 20 shots.

White slid the puck under Zagidulin at 4:55 of the third, for his third. He added his fourth at 14:46.

“He (White) was dinged up there . . . the last little bit and that affected him,” Smith said. “When pucks go in for guys all of a sudden . . . they start skating and they start making plays.

“He’s been really competitive, he’s been a great teammate throughout this. He’s playing well.”

While admitting Thursday’s victory was far from a complete performance, Ottawa defenceman Thomas Chabot said there are many benefits to winning.

“It’s good for everyone,” he said. “Everyone gets more confidence, everybody makes more plays, everybody is happy coming to the rink, everybody’s in a good mood.

“It’s just great for the team overall.”

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U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach kills himself after being charged – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Anna Liz Nichols And Ed White, The Associated Press


Published Thursday, February 25, 2021 5:17PM EST

LANSING, Mich. – A former U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach with ties to disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar killed himself Thursday, hours after being charged with turning his Michigan gym into a hub of human trafficking by coercing girls to train and then abusing them.

John Geddert faced 24 charges that could have carried years in prison had he been convicted. He was supposed to appear in an Eaton County court, near Lansing, but his body was found at a rest area along Interstate 96, according to state police.

“This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

Nessel earlier announced that Geddert was charged with a bushel of crimes, including sexual assault, human trafficking and running a criminal enterprise. The charges were the latest fallout from the sexual abuse scandal involving Nassar, a former Michigan State University sports doctor now in prison.

Geddert, 63, wasn’t arrested and transported to court. Rather, Nessel’s office allowed him to show up on his own.

“We had no indication that Geddert intended to flee or hurt himself or others. We had been in contact with his attorney and were assured of his co-operation,” Nessel spokeswoman Kelly Rossman-McKinney said.

Calls seeking comment from attorney Chris Bergstrom weren’t immediately returned.

Geddert was head coach of the 2012 U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team, which won a gold medal. He was long associated with Nassar, who was the Olympic team’s doctor and also treated injured gymnasts at Twistars, Geddert’s Lansing-area gym.

Among the charges, Geddert was accused of lying to investigators in 2016 when he denied ever hearing complaints about Nassar. But the bulk of the case against him involved his gym in Dimondale and how he treated the young athletes whose families paid to have them train under him.

The charges against Geddert had “very little to do” with Nassar, said Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark.

Geddert was charged with using his strong reputation in gymnastics to commit a form of human trafficking by making money through the forced labour of young athletes.

“The victims suffer from disordered eating,” Nessel said, “including bulimia and anorexia, suicide attempts and attempts at self harm, excessive physical conditioning, repeatedly being forced to perform even when injured, extreme emotional abuse and physical abuse, including sexual assault.

“Many of these victims still carry these scars from this behaviour to this day,” the attorney general said.

Nessel acknowledged that the case might not fit the common understanding of human trafficking.

“We think of it predominantly as affecting people of colour or those without means to protect themselves … but honestly it can happen to anyone, anywhere,” she said. “Young impressionable women may at times be vulnerable and open to trafficking crimes, regardless of their stature in the community or the financial well-being of their families.”

Geddert was suspended by Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics during the Nassar scandal. He told families in 2018 that he was retiring.

USA Gymnastics said in a statement late Thursday that news about the charges against Geddert would “lead to justice through the legal process.”

“With the news of his death by suicide, we share the feelings of shock, and our thoughts are with the gymnastics community as they grapple with the complex emotions of today’s events,” the organization said.

On his LinkedIn page, Geddert described himself as the “most decorated women’s gymnastics coach in Michigan gymnastics history.” He said his Twistars teams won 130 club championships.

But Geddert was often portrayed in unflattering ways when Nassar’s victims spoke during court hearings in 2018. Some insisted he was aware of the doctor’s abuse.

Sarah Klein, a gymnast who trained under Geddert for more than 10 years and was assaulted by Nassar, said the coach’s death was an “escape from justice” and “traumatizing beyond words.”

“His suicide is an admission of guilt that the entire world can now see,” said Klein, a lawyer.

Rachael Denhollander, the first gymnast to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual abuse in 2016, said she was proud of the women who stepped forward against Geddert.

“So much pain and grief for everyone,” she said on Twitter after his death. “To the survivors, you have been heard and believed, and we stand with you.”

White reported from Detroit.

Nichols is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues

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AG: U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach dies by suicide after charges – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Anna Liz Nichols And Ed White, The Associated Press


Published Thursday, February 25, 2021 5:17PM EST

LANSING, Mich. – A former U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach with ties to disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar killed himself Thursday, hours after being charged with turning his Michigan gym into a hub of human trafficking by coercing girls to train and then abusing them, authorities said.

John Geddert was supposed to appear in an Eaton County court, near Lansing. His body was found at a rest area along Interstate 96, according to state police. No other details were immediately released.

“This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

Nessel earlier announced that Geddert was charged with two dozen crimes, including sexual assault, human trafficking and running a criminal enterprise. The charges were the latest fallout from the sexual abuse scandal involving Nassar, a former Michigan State University sports doctor now in prison.

Geddert, 63, was head coach of the 2012 U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team, which won a gold medal. He was long associated with Nassar, who was the Olympic team’s doctor and also treated injured gymnasts at Twistars, Geddert’s Lansing-area gym.

Among the charges, Geddert was accused of lying to investigators in 2016 when he denied ever hearing complaints about Nassar. But the bulk of the case against him involved his gym in Dimondale and how he treated the young athletes whose families paid to have them train under him.

The charges against Geddert had “very little to do” with Nassar, said Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark.

Geddert was charged with using his strong reputation in gymnastics to commit a form of human trafficking by making money through the forced labour of young athletes.

“The victims suffer from disordered eating,” Nessel said, “including bulimia and anorexia, suicide attempts and attempts at self harm, excessive physical conditioning, repeatedly being forced to perform even when injured, extreme emotional abuse and physical abuse, including sexual assault.

“Many of these victims still carry these scars from this behaviour to this day,” the attorney general said.

Nessel acknowledged that the case might not fit the common understanding of human trafficking.

“We think of it predominantly as affecting people of colour or those without means to protect themselves … but honestly it can happen to anyone, anywhere,” she said. “Young impressionable women may at times be vulnerable and open to trafficking crimes, regardless of their stature in the community or the financial well-being of their families.”

Geddert was suspended by Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics during the Nassar scandal. He told families in 2018 that he was retiring.

On his LinkedIn page, Geddert described himself as the “most decorated women’s gymnastics coach in Michigan gymnastics history.” He said his Twistars teams won 130 club championships.

But Geddert was often portrayed in unflattering ways when Nassar’s victims spoke during court hearings in 2018.

“What a great best friend John was to Larry for giving him an entire world where he was able to abuse so easily,” said gymnast Lindsey Lemke. “You two sure do have a funny meaning of friendship. You, John Geddert, also deserve to sit behind bars right next to Larry.”

Rachael Denhollander, the first gymnast to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual abuse in 2016, said she was proud of the women who stepped forward against Geddert.

“So much pain and grief for everyone,” she said on Twitter after Geddert’s death. “To the survivors, you have been heard and believed, and we stand with you.”

White reported from Detroit.

Nichols is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues

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