Now sporting six wins in their last seven games and 12 goals in the last two games against Vancouver, the Toronto Maple Leafs, despite suffering another long-term injury, will look to complete a clean sweep in their third consecutive meeting with the fast-imploding Canucks (7 p.m. EST, Sportsnet Ontario).
Wayne Simmonds’ bad break — a clearance from Alex Edler that struck him on the wrist — during Saturday’s game seems to have concluded in the worst possible way, as the 31-year-old will be out approximately a month-and-a-half with a broken wrist. Although they both started skating on their own again today, Simmonds joins Joe Thornton and Nick Robertson as forwards dealing with injuries at the moment. Travis Dermott is still dealing with something minor as well, while Jack Campbell remains on IR and has yet to skate.
The only player who has been on the Leafs‘ roster all season but hasn’t played, Rasmus Sandin, will make his season debut tonight. It has no doubt been a tough few weeks for the former first-rounder, who remained out of the lineup multiple times even when Sheldon Keefe dressed 11 forwards and seven defensemen. Following that experiment, Pierre Engvall, Travis Boyd, and Nic Petan were all thrust into roles as the Leafs went back to 12 forwards. Tonight, after Simmonds’ injury, they will return to 11F/7D and will have both Mikko Lehtonen and Rasmus Sandin in the lineup.
Based on morning skate lines, it will be Alexander Barabanov who enters into the lineup tonight at forward, with Nic Petan sitting out. We can expect some experimentation with the second winger on the Tavares-Nylander line, while the Alex Kerfoot and Travis Boyd lines will be shuffling quite a bit in order for Keefe to observe more combinations now that three forwards who played on opening night are on the mend.
Canucks head coach Travis Green was somewhat tight-lipped in his pre-game availability, but he did mention that Olli Juolevi will make his season debut tonight. The 22-year-old has had a tough development curve after he was drafted fifth overall back in 2016. His first post-draft year was solid, but since then, he’s struggled to live up to expectations at the AHL level and become a consistent offensive threat. He has 38 points in 63 games with Utica (AHL) the last two seasons.
Without much in the way of adjustments to make, the Canucks will just simply have to be much more competitive tonight if they’re to keep the game close. Vancouver fans will be justifiably outraged if the team allows itself to be swept in two straight series (vs. MTL and TOR) without pride kicking in at some point. Given the Leafs‘ uneven lineup at forward, the Canucks will hope that their depth can match up with Toronto better than it has in the last two games.
Speaking of the last two games, here’s a simple rundown of the five-on-five stats from these two lopsided Leafs-Canucks matchups:
stats from evolving-hockey
- xG: 6.3 to 2.4
- Shot attempts: 96 to 57
- Shots on goal: 58 to 36
The goaltending matchup will be the same as it was Saturday — Frederik Andersen vs. Braden Holtby.
Game Day Quotes
Sheldon Keefe on the 11F/7D setup:
It gives us a chance to get [Sandin] in the lineup, but it also gives us a chance to move things around a little bit in Simmonds’ absence and to try different things with the lines and get other people opportunities. I expect we’ll have a rotation of people throughout the game filling in with the Tavares-Nylander pairing. Not just that, obviously — when you’ve got 11 people, the changes will be all throughout the lineup.
Keefe on the impact of Simmonds’ injury:
[He’s] obviously a big loss for us. We do think there’s progress here for both Thornton and Robertson. In Jumbo’s case, in particular, we know that he’ll bring a lot to us and will help insulate some of that loss from Simmonds in terms of his personality, voice, and experience on our bench and in our dressing room. But we’re expecting our team to adapt, and those that get the opportunity, you’re expecting them to take advantage and keep our team moving forward.
Keefe on Vesey’s quiet showings so far:
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get to know his game and trying to watch him very closely because he hasn’t jumped off the page really in any game. I take the time to go back and make sure that I’m sure about what I’m seeing or not seeing. I think, in doing so, there’s a lot of things he does that we value and don’t necessarily jump out in the game in terms of getting the puck back and being in good spots defensively.
You lose sight of the fact that he’s scored two even-strength goals for us here, which is significant. It paces out basically to be 10 even-strength goals for us in a 56-game season — we would take that. We think he’s bringing value, but he certainly expects more from himself.
Keefe on Sandin’s first game:
I just want him to go out and have fun, enjoy every shift, every minute that he gets. It’s not going to be a lot for him out there today. We think Mikko [Lehtonen] is coming off his best game. Mikko will be part of the regular rotation and [Sandin] will get shifts here and there and fill in as Dave Hakstol sees fit. We definitely want to get him some shifts and get him going. We’ve moved a lot of forwards in and out to give them an opportunity, but he hasn’t had that quite yet.
Travis Green on his team’s busy schedule thus far and lack of practice:
I almost feel like, even though we’re [fifteen] games into the year, we’ve been doing things in practice that you might almost do right before a season starts. We’ve had so little time to work on parts of our game that I think have not been sharp enough. We’ve been relying on video to work on that, but sometimes you really need to get on the ice and do the work.
Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lines
#11 Zach Hyman – #34 Auston Matthews – #16 Mitch Marner
#88 William Nylander – #91 John Tavares – #65 Ilya Mikheyev
#26 Jimmy Vesey – #15 Alex Kerfoot – #19 Jason Spezza
#94 Alexander Barabanov – #72 Travis Boyd
#44 Morgan Rielly – #78 T.J Brodie
#8 Jake Muzzin – #3 Justin Holl
#46 Mikko Lehtonen – #22 Zach Bogosian
#38 Rasmus Sandin
#31 Frederik Andersen (starter)
#30 Michael Hutchinson
Extras: Pierre Engvall, Adam Brooks
Injured: Nick Robertson, Joe Thornton, Jack Campbell, Travis Dermott, Wayne Simmonds
Vancouver Canucks Projected Lines
#9 JT Miller – #40 Elias Pettersson – #6 Brock Boeser
#70 Tanner Pearson – #53 Bo Horvat – #35 Louis Eriksson
#35 Justin Bailey – #20 Brandon Sutter – #36 Nils Hoglander
#64 Tyler Motte – #83 Jay Beagle – #26 Antoine Roussel
#43 Quinn Hughes – #4 Jordie Benn
#88 Nate Schmidt – #57 Tyler Myers
#23 Alexander Edler – #48 Olli Juolevi
#49 Braden Holtby (starter)
#35 Thatcher Demko
Injured: Micheal Ferland, Jayce Hawyrluk, Travis Hamonic
Quick Reaction: Pistons 129, Raptors 105 – Raptors Republic
Plenty of teams have dealt with goofy lineups this season because of protocols. Unfortunately, it was the Raptors turn.
Sorry, had to go manual style. The grade generator is having some technical difficulties. Fred Vanvleet, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Matt Flynn and Patrick McCaw missed the game due to health and safety protocols. Jalen Harris and Donta Hall were available but did not play.
Chris Boucher (Grade: B)
25 min, 18 pts (5-11 FG, 1-5 3pt), 8 reb, 2 blk
Boucher was the lone bright spot off the bench, no surprise there. Took advantage rolling on passes from Lowry and one beauty pass from Powell in the 4th quarter.
Kyle Lowry (Grade: A-)
35 min, 21 pts (5-11 FG, 3-5 3PT, 8-9 FT), 4 reb, 6 ast
Lowry is used to playing minutes with the second unit. So essentially this game was an extension of that. Continued his hot shooting as of late with 12 points and 4 assists in the first quarter. But the team predictably fell apart when he had to take a breather. Reserves missed plenty of open shots that would have been assists for Lowry. Cloning Kyle would have been nice. One Lowry can only do so much.
Norman Powell (Grade: A)
38 min, 36 pts (14-20 FG, 5-8 3PT), 5 reb, 4 TO
Once again, starter Norm ignited the offence early with 23 first half points, 8-10 shooting and making all four of his threes. Predictably had to do even more on offence than he has been lately. Resulted in four turnovers but that was to be expected. Second straight 30-plus scoring game. Powell finished one point shy of tying his career-high.
DeAndre Bembry (Grade: C-)
27 min, 0 pts (0-1 FG), 5 ast
Bembry deservedly has been playing much more as of late, but was guilty of trying to do too much. Drove into traffic without a plan a couple times. Bembry did have five assists.
Yuta Watanabe (Grade: F)
11 min, 0 pts (0-3 FG, 0-2 3PT), 4 reb
Yuta started for the first time in his 55-game career but was barely noticeable. Only played seven minutes in the first half. Second half wasn’t any better, air balling an open three and missing a transition layup. Unfortunately Watanabe simply wasn’t ready to provide production in a starting role.
Terence Davis (Grade: F)
21 min, 6 pts (2-11 FG, 0-5 3PT), 3 reb, 2 stl, 3 TO
Davis made his third start of the season but was a negative across the board with untimely turnovers, missed open shots and silly fouls. The most brutal foul was on Dennis Smith Jr. at half court with the Pistons in the bonus. Tipped in his own miss early third for his only made basket before garbage time. In my opinion, this was his worst performance of the season.
Aron Baynes (Grade: B-)
24 min, 13 pts (4-7 FG, 1-3 3PT), 4 reb
Good energy from Baynes against one of his former teams. Set screens to free Powell, grabbed offensive boards, and finished inside a little better than he has been this season. Solid game.
Stanley Johnson (Grade: D+)
18 min, 0 pts (0-3 FG, 0-2 3PT), 1 reb, 1 ast
Stanley got an extended look because of Davis and Watanabe’s struggles. But he couldn’t find his corner three shot, going 0-3, including an air ball.
Matt Thomas (Grade: C)
22 min, 11 pts (4-7 FG, 2-4 3PT)
Thomas is simply in a funk. He came in shooting 3-16 since January 31 and missed both of his three point attempts in the first half. Was also beat off the bounce by Rodney McGruder for a and-1 and was subbed out right after. Did manage to make a couple of threes in the fourth. Hopefully that’s a turning point because Thomas needs to make shots to stay on the court.
Paul Watson (Grade: C-)
19 min, 0 pts (0-3 FG, 0-3 3PT), 4 reb, 1 ast
Watson got 19 minutes of run. Did one of the better jobs of closing out on Detroit’s surprisingly potent shooters. But like almost every other Raptor reserve, he couldn’t make an open three.
Sergio Scariolo (Grade: C-)
Scariolo was acting head coach for the second straight game. It’s asking a lot to be on the same page defensively without three of your best defenders in Siakam, Anunoby and VanVleet. Detroit put up 43 first quarter points, tied for the most the Raptors have given up this season. Had to play a box-and-one on Wayne Ellington at one point to temporarily slow him down. Key word: temporarily. As for the offence, the Raptors got plenty of open looks but couldn’t make them. One can argue that Scariolo should have taken out Davis earlier, but for who? Mama said there would be days like this.
Things we saw:
- Only four Raptors made a field goal in the first half, even though the Raptors did manage 60 points. Lowry tried to get some of his struggling teammates involved, but his efforts were in vain. Overall, Raptors not named Powell, Lowry, Boucher, Baynes or Thomas shot 2-21.
- Wayne Ellington shot only 26% from three in February. Safe to say that slump is over. Despite that, he was still at 41% from deep this season. Ellington tied a career-high with eight threes in this game, so that percentage is about to go back up.
Report: Raptors’ COVID-19 outbreak caused by coaches’ improper mask-wearing – Yahoo Canada Sports
The Canadian Press
Legislators in more than 20 states have introduced bills this year that would ban transgender girls from competing on girls’ sports teams in public high schools. Yet in almost every case, sponsors cannot cite a single instance in their own state or region where such participation has caused problems. The Associated Press reached out to two dozen state lawmakers sponsoring such measures around the country as well as the conservative groups supporting them and found only a few times it’s been an issue among the hundreds of thousands of American teenagers who play high school sports. In South Carolina, for example, Rep. Ashley Trantham said she knew of no transgender athletes competing in the state and was proposing a ban to prevent possible problems in the future. Otherwise, she said during a recent hearing, “the next generation of female athletes in South Carolina may not have a chance to excel.” In Tennessee, House Speaker Cameron Sexton conceded there may not actually be transgender students now participating in middle and high school sports; he said a bill was necessary so the state could be “proactive.” Some lawmakers didn’t respond to AP’s queries. Others in places like Mississippi and Montana largely brushed aside the question or pointed to a pair of runners in Connecticut. Between 2017 and 2019, transgender sprinters Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood combined to win 15 championship races, prompting a lawsuit. Supporters of transgender rights say the Connecticut case gets so much attention from conservatives because it’s the only example of its kind. “It’s their Exhibit A, and there’s no Exhibit B — absolutely none,” said Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and a prominent trans-rights attorney. The multiple sports bills, he says, address a threat that doesn’t exist. There’s no authoritative count of how many trans athletes have competed recently in high school or college sports. Neither the NCAA nor most state high school athletic associations collect that data; in the states that do collect it, the numbers are minimal: No more than five students currently in Kansas, nine in Ohio over five years. Transgender adults make up a small portion of the U.S. population, about 1.3 million as of 2016, according to the Williams Institute, a think-tank at the UCLA School of Law that specializes in research on LGBTQ issues. The two dozen bills making their way through state legislatures this year could be devastating for transgender teens who usually get little attention as they compete. In Utah, a 12-year-old transgender girl cried when she heard about the proposal, which would separate her from her friends. She’s far from the tallest girl on her club team and has worked hard to improve her times but is not a dominant swimmer in her age group, her coach said. “Other than body parts, I’ve been a girl my whole life,” she said. The girl and her family spoke with The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to avoid outing her publicly. Those who object to the growing visibility and rights for transgender people, though, argue new laws are needed to keep the playing field fair for cisgender girls. “When the law does not recognize differences between men and women, we’ve seen that women lose,” said Christiana Holcomb, an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which filed the Connecticut lawsuit on behalf of four cisgender girls. One of those girls, Chelsea Mitchell, defeated Terry Miller — the faster of the two trans sprinters — in their final two races in February 2020. The ADF and others like it are the behind-the-scenes backers of the campaign, offering model legislation and a playbook to promote the bills, most of them with common features and even titles, like the Save Women’s Sports Act. When asked for other examples of complaints about middle or high school transgender athletes, ADF and the Family Policy Alliance, cited two: One involved a Hawaii woman who coaches track and filed a complaint last year over a trans girl competing in girls’ volleyball and track. The other involved a cisgender girl in Alaska who defeated a trans sprinter in 2016, then appeared in a Family Policy Alliance video saying the trans girl’s third-place finish was unfair to runners who were further behind. Only one state, Idaho, has enacted a law curtailing trans students’ sports participation, and that 2020 measure is blocked by a court ruling. Chase Strangio, a transgender-rights attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, notes that in several states with proposed sports bans, lawmakers also are seeking to ban certain gender affirming health care for transgender young people. “This is not about sports,” he said. “It’s a way to attack trans people.” Some states’ school athletic organizations already have rules about trans participation in sports: 19 states allow full inclusion of trans athletes; 16 have no clear-cut statewide policy; seven emulate the NCAA’s rule by requiring hormone therapy for trans girls; and eight effectively ban trans girls from girls’ teams, according to attorney Asaf Orr of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Texas is among those with a ban, limiting transgender athletes to teams conforming with the gender on their birth certificate. That policy came under criticism in 2017 and 2018, when trans male Mack Beggs won state titles in girls’ wrestling competitions after he was told he could not compete as a boy. While Beggs, Miller and Yearwood were the focus of news coverage and controversy, trans athletes more commonly compete without any furor — and with broad acceptance from teammates and competitors. In New Jersey’s Camden County, trans 14-year-old Rebekah Bruesehoff competes on her middle school field hockey team and hopes to keep playing in high school. “It’s all been positive,” she said. “The coaches have been really helpful.” While New Jersey has a trans-inclusive sports policy, Rebekah is distressed by the proposed bans elsewhere — notably measures that might require girls to verify their gender. “I know what it’s like to have my gender questioned,” Rebekah said. “It’s invasive, embarrassing. I don’t want others to go through that.” The possibility that any athlete could have to undergo tests or examinations to prove their gender was among the reasons that Truman Hamburger, a 17-year-old high school student in North Dakota, showed up at the statehouse to protest a proposed ban. “Once you open up that door on gender policing, that’s not a door you can easily shut,” he said. Sarah Huckman, a 20-year-old sophomore at the University of New Hampshire, ran track and cross country for three years at Kingswood Regional High School in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, after coming out as trans in seventh grade. Huckman showed great talent in the sprints and hurdles but was not dominant on a statewide level. In her senior year, she won several events in small and mid-size meets, and had sixth place and 10th place finishes in the Division II indoor state championships. The proposed bans appall her. “It’s so demeaning toward my group of people,” she said. “We’re all human beings. We do sports for the love of it.” ___ Associated Press reporters covering statehouses across the U.S. contributed to this report. ___ This story has been corrected to show that the Bruesehoff family lives in New Jersey’s Camden County, not Sussex County. David Crary And Lindsay Whitehurst, The Associated Press
Canadiens’ Bergevin fired goalie coach midgame Tuesday
Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin revamped his coaching staff last week, firing head coach Claude Julien and associate Kirk Muller while promoting assistant Dominique Ducharme to interim bench boss. Goalie coach Stephane Waite initially appeared to be safe, but Bergevin wasn’t done tinkering.
Waite was informed during the second intermission of Tuesday’s game against the Ottawa Senators that he was being let go, Bergevin said Wednesday, according to The Athletic’s Arpon Basu.
“This decision was not based only on this season,” Bergevin said. “I had seen a bit of a pattern.”
Starting netminder Carey Price has struggled this season. Even after stopping 26 of 27 shots Tuesday night, his .893 save percentage and 2.96 goals-against average are both worse than the league average. Price’s $10.5-million cap hit makes him the NHL’s highest-paid goalie, and there’s still an additional five years left on his contract.
Bergevin insisted the 33-year-old remains elite and might just need a different voice in the form of new director of goaltending Sean Burke.
“Carey is still an excellent goalie, one of the best in the league, but he needs help,” Bergevin said.
The Canadiens hired Burke as a scout in 2016, but he’ll need to quarantine for 14 days before he can join the team. Bergevin believes Burke’s experience going through the “ups and downs” through his 18 years as an NHL goaltender will help Price.
Bergevin added he did not consult Price before making the change.
“The day I decide to do that, it will mean I’m not the right guy for the job,” he said.
Bergevin didn’t dive into what Burke’s role will entail or whether there will be a goaltending department in the future similar to the Florida Panthers’ recent innovative approach. Burke’s contract still expires at the end of the season.
Waite had been Montreal’s goalie coach since 2013-14, meaning he oversaw Price’s career year in 2014-15 when he won the Vezina and Hart trophies.
Source: – theScore
Quick Reaction: Pistons 129, Raptors 105 – Raptors Republic
‘Third Time’s The Charm!’ – SpaceX Launches And Lands Starship Mars Prototype In Major First, Before It Explodes Again – Forbes
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in BC – Trail Daily Times – Trail Times
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Galaxy M31 July 2020 security update brings Glance, a content-driven lockscreen wallpaper service
Media23 hours ago
Online hate a regular occurrence for women, visible minorities in media – Montreal Gazette
Health4 hours ago
Here's who will get the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario – CTV Toronto
Real eState21 hours ago
Canada’s mortgage rates edging higher in first rise since before COVID crisis
Media19 hours ago
InvestorChannel's Media Watchlist Update for Tuesday, March, 02, 2021, 16:00 EST – InvestorIntel
Sports20 hours ago
Snapshots: Maple Leafs, Granlund, DeAngelo, Draft – prohockeyrumors.com
Sports14 hours ago
5 Raptors ruled out for rescheduled game vs. Pistons due to COVID-19 protocols – CBC.ca
Health2 hours ago
COVID-19 vaccine pilot project coming to some Ontario pharmacies – CTV Toronto
Health23 hours ago
BC may not need second doses of COVID-19 vaccine to lift some restrictions: Dr. Henry | News – Daily Hive