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Trade grades: Pierre-Luc Dubois and Patrik Laine swap teams – ESPN

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We’ve got our first blockbuster trade of the 2021 NHL season, as the Columbus Blue Jackets have sent disgruntled center Pierre-Luc Dubois along with a 2022 third-round pick to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for disgruntled winger Patrik Laine and forward Jack Roslovic.

Laine and Dubois arrived on the NHL radar simultaneously, as the No. 2 and No. 3 picks, respectively, in the 2016 NHL draft. Heading into this season, there were murmurs that both were unhappy with their current situation. Now, they each get a fresh start where the other began his NHL career.

How did both GMs do in this swap of stars? Here are our grades for the deal.

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Olympics gymnastics coach with ties to Larry Nassar dies by suicide after charges – CBC.ca

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A former U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach with ties to disgraced sport doctor Larry Nassar died by suicide Thursday after being charged with two dozen crimes, including forms of human trafficking, the state attorney general said.

The announcement from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel came about three hours after a news conference where Nessel announced that John Geddert was charged with 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.

Nessel said at a news conference that it was her understanding Geddert had turned himself in to law enforcement and would appear at a court arraignment about an hour later. The arraignment never happened.

This is breaking news update, the previous story follows below

A former U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach with ties to disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar was charged Thursday with turning his Michigan gym into a years-long criminal enterprise by coercing girls to train under him and then verbally and physically abusing them.

John Geddert was charged with two dozen crimes, including forms of human trafficking, a step that prosecutors acknowledged was an uncommon use of Michigan law.

He was also accused of lying to investigators in 2016 when he denied ever hearing complaints about Nassar, who is serving decades in prison for sexually assaulting female athletes in a scandal that counted hundreds of victims and turned USA Gymnastics upside down.

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

Geddert is accused of recruiting minors for forced labour, a reference to the gymnasts he coached, according to documents filed in an Eaton County court.

Charges against Geddert ‘have very little to do’ with Nassar

A message seeking comment was left with Geddert’s attorney. Attorney General Dana Nessel said the coach used “force, fraud and coercion” for financial benefit.

“The victims suffer from disordered eating, “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,” Nessel said.

“Many of these victims still carry these scars from this behaviour to this day.”

The charges against Geddert include two counts of sexual assault against a teen in 2012.

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

Unflattering portrayal

“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.”

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

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 Lindsey Lemke, now a coach at the University of Arkansas. “You two sure do have a funny meaning of friendship. You, John Geddert, also deserve to sit behind bars right next to Larry.”

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Ducharme era begins in Montreal with show of faith in Carey Price – Sportsnet.ca

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The Dominique Ducharme Era as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens begins with a decision that will be carefully scrutinized beyond the next 24 hours: he’s giving Carey Price the start against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

Time will tell if it’s the right call.

The numbers lean heavily towards backup Jake Allen, who has a .932 save percentage through seven starts versus Price’s .893. Even the contrast between Allen’s last start (a 36-save masterpiece that gave the Canadiens a point they hadn’t earned in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators Sunday) and Price’s (a 35-saver on Tuesday, in which he made highlight-reel stops but allowed three crushing goals in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Senators) point to Allen being a safer pick for a team looking to bust a three-game winless streak.

As Allen was running through the starter’s routine with Montreal goaltending coach Stephane Waite at Thursday’s morning skate while Price was getting “maintenance” — Is “maintenance” a nap? A massage? An oil change? This remains as one of hockey’s great mysteries — it looked like Ducharme was leaning his way.

But no.

“Carey will be in net tonight,” the coach said, with his words curving towards the outside edge of home plate.

It’s a heck of a pitch to a versatile hitter — a high-powered Jets offence capable of producing against any goaltender, let alone who’s struggled recently. But Ducharme’s decision to throw it says much about his approach to turn around this 2-4-2 skid his Canadiens were on before Wednesday’s news that Claude Julien was removed as head coach and Kirk Muller as associate coach.

Of course, the 47-year-old Joliette, Que., native has tactical changes to implement, but he’s not performing reconstructive surgery in as limited a window as this. He’s had less than a day and not even a full practice to rejig strategies, so if you thought he and new assistant coach Alex Burrows had enough time to dismantle and reassemble the struggling special teams and reinvent the offensive strategy, you might want to adjust your expectations.

But what Ducharme is doing is wiping the slate clean.

“It’s a new start,” he said.

He’s right. It’s a new start for the Canadiens. All of them, not just Ducharme.

It’s a new start for Paul Byron, who went from waivers to the taxi squad to the left wing of the fourth line in the last week, to now taking Jake Evans’ place at centre against the Jets. It’s a new start for Artturi Lehkonen, who’s drawing back into the lineup after missing the last two games as a healthy scratch. It’s also a new start for Phillip Danault and Tomas Tatar, who have struggled immensely so far this season but are now being reunited with Brendan Gallagher.

And it’s a new start for a goaltender who desperately needs one.

“I’m not talking about the past,” Ducharme said. “I haven’t talked to the guys about the way we started the year or the way we played 10 days ago, five days ago. We’re starting right now and we’re gonna control what we can control. We’ve got to take care of the things that we can have an impact on, and after that, we believe that if we do that we’re going to be looking up at the scoreboard and the results are going to be good for us.”

The results being good would be a welcome change for the Canadiens — and for Price.

He hasn’t been given an opportunity to immediately undo a bad one until now. The plan in trading for Allen was to give Price rest over a more demanding and shortened season, and it’s been followed to the letter to this point in time. It’s not an excuse to suggest he hasn’t had the chance to gain anything resembling the regular rhythm he’s accustomed to, with Allen sharing the net and the Canadiens having several lags in their early schedule.

Now Price is getting it, and he must take advantage.

Ducharme putting the puck in the Anahim Lake, B.C., native’s glove for Thursday’s game could play huge in the big picture. It’s the riskier call at this juncture, but one being made with the calculation it will raise the goaltender’s confidence.

And Gallagher says that’s what the coach is trying to give the team immediately in the absence of having the appropriate amount of time to drastically adjust the tactics.

“He’s very confident in what he has to say, and when a coach has confidence in himself it instills confidence in the players,” said Gallagher. “He creates a belief and it’s going to work, and I think that’s huge for us. I think it helps players buy into what he’s saying, and then when you buy in and you see results and you see it continue to happen over and over again, that’s where that process comes from.”

Ducharme said he addressed his players and stressed to them that he believes in them. Whether he had a personal conversation with Price to re-affirm that point is inconsequential, because giving him the net speaks louder.

“(He’s) like everyone else,” said Ducharme. “We want to have a strong start, we want to have a strong game, and for everyone I think it’s the same. I don’t see him being different than the others from that side.”

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So… Now what? – Thoughts on Wednesday’s changes – Habs Eyes on the Prize

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Scott

The Montreal Canadiens made the decision to move on from Claude Julien and Kirk Muller, the proper choice, but one with ramifications down the entire organizational ladder. Alex Burrows was plucked from Laval to move on up to the NHL bench with Dominique Ducharme and Luke Richardson.

Burrows was running the Laval power play for the last two seasons, and quite successfully as a first-time coach. In the 2019-2020 season the Rocket finished 8th in the AHL in PP% and are sitting 13th at the time of Burrows’ promotion. The Rocket man advantage functions far differently than the Canadiens, allowing more free-flowing in the offensive zone to create open shooting lanes. In his first year the team could run shots through Charles Hudon, or Xavier Ouellet, but neither player stayed tethered to one spot on the ice, opting to find soft areas to operate in.

In Montreal the big shooting pieces, aka Shea Weber, plant themselves and almost stubbornly refuse to leave. Ironically when Weber did move his shooting lanes against Ottawa he found the back of the net twice, but going forward it will be Burrows job to try and find ways to utilize the Habs best shooter.

The creativity shouldn’t just stop at revitalizing the power play either, if Chantal Machabée is to be believed (and there’s no reason she shouldn’t be) it was Dominique Ducharme’s offensive mind that drove the Canadiens earlier in the season. We saw a Canadiens team that played with pace, drove hard to dangerous areas, and played unafraid hockey. Whether it was Claude Julien overruling Ducharme or the players overthinking during the losing streak, putting the guy who had them playing exciting hockey back in charge seems like the right play.

I guess my final thought is that the onus for Claude Julien getting fired being on Carey Price’s shoulder feels extremely unfair. At five on five, Price has been more than fine with a .920 SV% (Jake Allen clocks in at .945), but his overall numbers take a massive hit when you factor in the penalty kill. While killing just five on four penalties, Price has a .841 SV% (Allen drops to .900), and before we go and fully blame Price let’s add context.

Somehow, the Canadiens in equal amounts of shorthanded time, have just left Carey Price out to dry, while providing Allen far better coverage in front of him. It’s a bizarre circumstance, but the team across the board isn’t doing what it needs to on the penalty kill. Price can be better on the penalty kill, this is absolutely true, but with the current system he’s being forced to guess where he needs to be or second-guess where his teammates might be in their coverage.

The team is good enough that they don’t need Carey Price to be otherworldly, but if Price is giving you a .920 type of season and you can’t kill any of the penalties you’re taking it’s more than just his fault right now.

For me personally, I’m excited to see a non-retread coach hired. Ducharme was someone I wanted to coach the AHL club during Sylvain Lefebvre’s reign of errors. I think he’s got the pedigree at lower levels to make this a successful next step, and it’s very interesting to see how highly the organization thinks of Alex Burrows as well.

To quote a WWE theme song: It’s a New Day, Yes it is.


Jared

My first reaction is that this is a fresh start for a lot of players. There is a lot of competition for spots in the lineup, both at forward and at defence. I am not expecting insane changes when he doesn’t have a full practice under his belt before the team’s first game, at least not in terms of lineup. What I am expecting to see, however, is a difference in mindset. There will be some changes there for sure.

A fresh start is always exciting because of the hope it brings. Anything is possible.

I am looking forward to seeing how Ducharme settles into the role. Head coach of the Montreal Canadiens is a hard job to jump into, but so is coaching the Canadian World Junior team at home… Which is something he did as well. He coached the 2017 team to a silver medal in Montreal, and then won gold the next year.

I don’t think he’ll wait long to put his stamp on the team. It won’t happen overnight (literally) but the team has two games in Winnipeg before coming back home. By the time the Canadiens host the Senators on March 2, I would expect it to be a different looking team than the one that played the two previous games.

I am curious what the players will say after a few days with Ducharme in charge. This is a guy the players know well. He’s been on the staff for a few years. That may make it easier for him to implement some of his adjustments. He also knows the players well, which is an easier transition than if he was a complete outsider.

Marc Bergevin talked a lot about communication. It’s something that stands out when I watch Joël Bouchard. Bouchard and Ducharme have worked a lot together, from the Montreal Junior, to the Canadian World Junior team. The two are also very similar. I recently re-read this story from when both were hired, and you can see the similarities.

I think there will be some changes that will happen quickly, but I also think some of the benefits to Ducharme taking over will be felt longer-term as well. That’s what Marc Bergevin is counting on and there’s a reason why he was chosen for this role, and all the other roles before this one where he had success.

The NHL is a different ball game, sure, but I always saw Ducharme as a future NHL coach, and I am looking forward to seeing what he does with the opportunity.

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