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Trade Buzz: Tatar trying to ignore rumors, help Canadiens – NHL.com

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Welcome to the NHL Trade Buzz. There are four days remaining until the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline on Monday at 3 p.m. ET, and NHL.com has all the important news, rumblings and analysis heading toward the deadline.

Here’s a look around the League at the latest deadline doings:

 
Montreal Canadiens

Tomas Tatar is trying to focus on helping the Montreal Canadiens win, and the forward and isn’t worrying about trade rumors involving him.

“I’m trying to block these things out, but obviously we wanted to be in a better spot than we are,” Tatar said after the Canadiens morning skate at Capital One Arena, where they will play the Washington Capitals on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NBCSWA, TSN2, RDS, NHL.TV). “But you just have to go out and play and battle, battle for the logo.”

The 29-year-old is signed through the 2020-21 season, but with the Canadiens eight points behind the Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs for third place in the Atlantic Division, they appear to be looking toward the future. Montreal traded defenseman Marco Scandella to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday for a second-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.

Tatar leads the Canadiens with 54 points (21 goals, 33 assists) in 62 games and would be a valuable addition for a contender looking for more than a rental player.

“To be honest, I don’t really want [Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin] to come down and talk to me,” Tatar said. “I’m trying to play my game and focus on my team, and if something happens, that’s just the way the business works.”

Tatar has been in this situation before, getting traded by the Detroit Red Wings to the Vegas Golden Knights prior to the 2018 trade deadline.

“I kind of gained experience from that first trade,” he said. “I’m not too worried now. It’s just part of the business. The first one kind of teaches you how things are. Now I’m just thinking it would be part of the business. Anything can happen obviously. No one’s really safe, I want to say, and it always depends on the offer and what the GM or the organization decides to do in a certain moment.”
 

Colorado Avalanche

General manager Joe Sakic said he’s known for about a month what players the Avalanche would like to add to their roster and is taking a practical, open-minded approach to the deadline.

“We know the guys we think would be a good fit to our team,” Sakic said Wednesday. “If it works out, great. There’s obviously things we’re not willing to move, but if there’s a deal that makes sense for us we’d like to do it.

“I’d rather not [trade a first-round pick], but I won’t rule anything out. It all depends on what packages are out there. To be honest with you, I prefer a hockey trade rather than going in the rental market. We’re going to be open to the rental market as well. What’s the cost going to be? I’m not here just looking short term; I’m paid to look after the big picture.”

One area the Avalanche would like to upgrade is their goalie depth. Philipp Grubauer is out indefinitely because of a lower-body injury sustained during the third period of the 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series game against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. Hunter Miska, who has one game of NHL experience, was recalled from Colorado of the American Hockey League on Sunday to back up Pavel Francouz, who is in his first full NHL season. 

“We’re going to pursue, see if we can add a depth goalie for us,” Sakic said. “We’ll see where that goes. We’ve had injuries in that department, not only here but with [AHL Colorado], so ultimately we’d like to see if we can add a depth goalie just for protection.”

New Jersey Devils

Goalie Louis Domingue won’t play against the San Jose Sharks at Prudential Center on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, NBCSCA, NHL.TV) for precautionary reasons that aren’t connected to an injury.

“Precautionary reasons and for potentially a roster move,” coach Alain Nasreddine said. 

The Devils did the same thing with forward Blake Coleman prior to trading him to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday. 

Domingue is 3-8-2 with a 3.79 goals-against average and .882 save percentage in 16 games this season but has 138 games of NHL experience and was the backup to Andrei Vasilevskiy when the Tampa Bay Lightning reached the Eastern Conference Final in 2018.

Veteran goalie Cory Schneider was recalled from Binghamton of the American Hockey League to back up Mackenzie Blackwood on Thursday.

Calgary Flames

How active the Flames are before the deadline could be determined by the health of defensemen Mark Giordano and Travis Hamonic.

Giordano has been out since Feb. 4 with a hamstring injury but could play during the Flames’ five-game road trip, which starts Sunday. Hamonic is week to week with an upper-body injury sustained Feb. 8 but is expected to play again this season.

“We’re going to get both guys back, it’s just when,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving said Wednesday. “Does it affect what we’re doing the next couple days? Yes and no would be the best way to describe it. We’re looking to see if there’s ways we can help ourselves in a way that makes sense. Chasing it with high prices for rental players, I don’t know if that’s a direction that we’re in favor of. But if there’s ways to help us we want to do it. Next few days will determine that.”

In addition to adding on defense, right wing has been an issue of need. With Derek Ryan injured, the Flames’ only right-shot forwards are Elias Lindholm and Buddy Robinson, who has played five games this season.

“When Elias Lindholm plays right wing you have more depth there than when he plays center,” Treliving said. “You focus on the last 25 games you have left but you’re looking long term and it’s a position we need to upgrade moving forward. Whether we’re able to do that between now and Monday, we’ll see. 

“But we’ll do what we always do, which is always try to be real aggressive in seeing what’s available, seeing what those prices are and if they make sense. And if we can get something done that makes sense we will, and if we can’t then we won’t.”

Chicago Blackhawks

Erik Gustafsson would like to remain with the Blackhawks but the defenseman is prepared for anything that may happen.

“I don’t know if it’s nerve-wracking or something like that,” he said Thursday. “Whatever happens, happens. I want to stay here. But we’ll see what happens.

“I kind of try not to look at the phone or hear anything on the TV or radio or anything, but it’s hard. … It’s something I can’t control. Like I said before, I want to stay in Chicago. I like it here.”

Gustafsson leads Blackhawks defensemen with 26 points (six goals, 20 assists) in 59 games and can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

NHL.com staff writers Tom Gulitti and Tracey Myers and independent correspondent Rick Sadowski contributed to this report

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Latvia in QF, Slovakia out – IIHF

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The teams had met only three times previously in World Junior play, most recently in 2012, and Czechia won all three by a combined score of 19-5.

Both goalies were playing in their third of four games for their respective teams, Jan Bednar having the better GAA than Bruveris – 3.36 to 3.84 – but it was Bruveris who made the difference today.

“We believed we could win,” Darels Dukurs said. “We just played one game at a time and gave it our best. We played like a team and fought for each other. We stayed focus the whole time.”

The Latvians got just the start they needed, jumping into a 2-0 lead by the halfway point of the period. Martins Lavins got the opener on a fine rush by Harijs Brants. He drove down the left wing and got the puck in front to Lavins, who quickly re-directed the puck between the open pads of Jan Bednar at 4:30.

They made it 2-0 at 12:21 off another great pass from behind the goal line. This time it was Raimonds Vitolins who fed Rainers Rullers in front. Rullers lifted a high shot over the shoulder of Bednar.

Latvia then took two successive penalties. The PK was letter perfect on the first and dodged a bullet on the second before finally succumbing. Michal Gut took a back-door pass that left him with nothing but net to shoot at, but he shot wide and looked heavenward for answers that could be more easily found on his stick tape.

But moments later he was given another opportunity through a hard pass cross crease from captain Jan Mysak, and this one he didn’t miss.

The Vitolins-Rullers combo had another sensational chance early in the second to make it a 3-1 game, but this time Bednar came across and made a great save on Rullers. Latvia had two power plays soon after but couldn’t capitalize, and it started to feel as though they had squandered chances to take control of the game.

Indeed, Czechia tied the score at 9:33 on a broken play. Captain Ralfs Bergmanis blocked a shot in front, but it landed with Stanislav Svozil. He moved in and roofed a backhand over Bruveris, and that feeling of lost opportunities care to the fore.

But credit to Latvia, and to Bergmanis in particular. He put his team ahead at 11:15 after David Jiricek made a poor clearing. Bergmanis’s quick point shot fooled Bednar and gave the underdogs another lead. Bruveris scored again six minutes later on a similar shot during a power play when his long wrister beat Bednar high.

Bednar was replaced by Tomas Suchanek to start the third, but he faced only three shots as his teammates fired 17 on Brumanis without scoring. Czechia had a golden chance to cut the lead midway through the period when Lavins closed his hand on the puck in the crease, resulting in a penalty shot. But Mysak was stoned by Bruveris and kept it a 4-2 game.

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Rory MacDonald announces retirement after 2022 PFL Playoffs exit – MMA Fighting

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Rory MacDonald is stepping away from competition after a devastating loss.

The former Bellator welterweight champion and longtime UFC contender announced his retirement on Sunday, one day after losing by first-round TKO to Dilano Taylor in the 2022 PFL semifinals.

MacDonald, 33, broke the news via Instagram.

“My time has come to put the gloves down for good,” MacDonald wrote. “I’m so thankful for this sport and every person I’ve been able to meet along the way.

“I started this sport as a 14-year-old kid, I still remember my first day and knowing this is what I want to spend my life doing. The passion for martial arts and becoming a pro MMA fighter gave me hope and a way to a better life! And I’m so thankful to God for putting that gym Toshido MMA in kelowna in my path. It truly changed the direction of my life and saved me!

“What an adventure this career has been, 17 years of professional fighting. It all came and went so fast! So many painful trainings that are etched into my being, travelling to all parts of the planet and meeting so many people.

“I’ve learned so much about myself through this career, not all of it good. And I’ve made so many mistakes along the way, but here I am 33 years old a better man because of those mistakes, to which I’m very grateful I’ve grown up.”

MacDonald went on to thank fans for their support, as well as the UFC, Bellator, and the PFL.

Debuting in 2005, MacDonald quickly emerged as one of the hottest prospects in his native Canada, beginning his career 10-0. He eventually took his talents to Montreal’s Tristar Gym, where he trained alongside UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. MacDonald joined the UFC in 2010, where he won eight of his first 10 fights, including a dominant decision win over future welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.

“The Red King” had his shot at the UFC’s 170-pound title at UFC 189 in July 2015, where he lost by fifth-round TKO to Robbie Lawler in one of the greatest fights in MMA history.

In 2017, MacDonald signed with Bellator and captured a welterweight title by beating Douglas Lima in just his second bout for the promotion. He successfully defended his belt twice before ceding it back to Lima in the finals of a grand prix tournament. MacDonald also unsuccessfully challenged Gegard Mousasi for the Bellator middleweight championship.

The last leg of MacDonald’s career came with the PFL. He signed with the league in 2019, but failed to recapture his previous success, going just 2-4 including the stunning loss to Taylor that was the final fight of his career.

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Near lead, Cameron Smith penalized a day after playing ball from 'wrong place' – Golf Channel

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – As if his week hasn’t been eventful enough, Cameron Smith began the final round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship four shots off the lead after being assessed a two-stroke penalty for “playing [his] ball from the wrong place” at No. 4 on Saturday. 

After starting the day at 11 under and two shots off the lead held by J.J. Spaun, Smith was informed by PGA Tour rules officials that he was now 9 under and four back after it was determined he violated Rule 14.7.

Officials discovered the violation after reviewing footage from Round 3 of Smith’s drop at the fourth hole, a par 3. The footage shows Smith dropping and playing his next shot from the hazard line, which is a violation of Rule 17.1 (when ball is in penalty area), turning his bogey-4 on the hole into a triple-bogey 6.

Full-field scores from FedEx St. Jude Championship


“When I asked him the question [if his golf ball was on the hazard line], unfortunately, he said to me, ‘No, the ball was definitely touching the line,’” said Gary Young, the PGA Tour’s chief referee. “At that point there’s no turning back. That was a moment where I know that the player has knowledge that the ball was touching the line, he just simply didn’t understand the rule that it requires the entire ball to be outside of the penalty area and in his relief area.”

The ruling took on added significance given Smith’s position on the FedExCup points list, No. 2, and his quest to overtake Scottie Scheffler atop the world ranking. The Australian will move to No. 1 on both lists with a victory Sunday at TPC Southwind.

“His answer to me is, ‘The rules are the rules,’” Young said. “He just accepted the two-stroke penalty … he very calmly left the office and he’s just going about his business for the day.”

It was yet another headline for Smith who has dominated them this week. According to Australian golfer Cam Percy and a report in The Telegraph, Smith is poised to jump to LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed rival league. Smith has repeatedly declined to address the reports.

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