The best advice anybody can live by if they’re headed for Vegas is that you’ve got to know when to hold them and know when to fold them.
In the case of Vegas Golden Knights’ general manager Kelly McCrimmon, he decided Wednesday morning it was time to throw in the towel on coach Gerard Gallant. So less than 24 hours after the Knights lost their fourth straight in a 4-2 decision to the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday, Gallant was sent packing and replaced by former San Jose coach Peter DeBoer.
While McCrimmon was short on specifics, it sure sounds like he didn’t like the hand Gallant was dealing in the dressing room and so after 30 months or so with the NHL’s expansion team he’s finished. DeBoer, let go last month by the Sharks, was expected to arrive in Ottawa Wednesday night and will make his debut behind the bench against the Senators Thursday at the Canadian Tire Centre.
Assistant coach Mike Kelly was also fired with Gallant, who only weeks ago was named the head coach of the Pacific Division all-star team at the festivities set for Jan. 24-25 in St. Louis.
“Sometimes you have a feeling that something isn’t the way you need it to be or want it to be,” said McCrimmon in a hastily-called news conference at the Canadian Tire Centre before the club went on the ice. “We feel we’ve underperformed a little bit and certainly not to pile it on the feet of Mike and Gerard.
“But sometimes you feel a change is needed. That’s what went into the decision and like anything we do, we try to do what we genuinely believe is in the best interests of the Golden Knights’ organization and we believe that’s the case.”
The Knights are on the outside of the NHL’s playoff picture looking in but they’re tied in points with the Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets for the final wildcard spot, however, both teams have two games in hand. McCrimmon felt if this move was made now it would give the organization time to get back on track before it’s too late and the team is in a free-fall.
The Knights head into this game with a 4-6-0 record in their last 10 games.
“It wasn’t a specific block of games or a specific game. It’s hard to put into words unless you’ve done these jobs but it’s more just the feeling you have that a change might be needed,” he said. “I wish I could be more specific than that but that’s really how we felt.
“We thought about this a lot but it was certainly wasn’t something we did in haste or in the recent four games, it was a decision that was arrived at over time.”
Many will tell you Gallant has done a spectacular job with the Knights and that’s why this decision was so surprising. He has 213-118-75 record since arriving in Vegas and even captured the Jack Adams award after the club’s inaugural season in 2017-18 when the club went to the Stanley Cup final. The Knights lost in Round 1 last spring.
So, why did they turn to DeBoer?
“Peter’s a really good coach and he’s had a lot of success in the NHL,” McCrimmon added. “With him working most recently in the Pacific Division, we’ve had a chance to watch his teams play and that his teams are very well prepared and very well coached.
“We think he’ll do a very good job for us and he’s very respected coach in the industry.”‘
McCrimmon said they didn’t reach out to DeBoer until the last 24 hours.
“It came together very quickly and that’s why the announcement today,” McCrimmon said.
The Knights have been up and down which is why they’re frustrated with where they stand at the moment. They felt if they let it slip any further they’d be on the outside looking in without at least giving themselves the opportunity to get back on track.
“You’ve seen consistency issues and I can’t be more clear that’s not necessarily at the feet of the two guys that were relieved today,” said McCrimmon. “I think our team has more to give and that’s what went into the decision.”
The Knights management likes what DeBoer can bring to the table .
“He’s always been a coach that has a lot of respect from his players,” McCrimmon said. “He relates well with players and he’s an intelligent guy. His teams have always been strong on special teams and he’s been to the Stanley Cup final with two different teams (San Jose and New Jersey). He’s enjoyed a lot of success in the NHL as a coach.
“With this opportunity, I think he’ll continue to do that.”
In the end the Knights felt they couldn’t gamble any longer with Gallant behind the bench and nobody will find out until down the road if this bold move is going to pay dividends.
ALSO IN SPORTS
Sportsnet announces revised schedule for postponed NHL games – Sportsnet.ca
Sportsnet and the NHL have announced changes to the broadcast schedule for the 2021-22 NHL season. The changes account for a large number of games that were postponed in recent weeks due to a surge of COVID-19 cases across the league.
As a result, the following updates have been made to Sportsnet’s national and regional broadcast schedules. Please note that all times are Eastern.
For the most up-to-date broadcast schedule, please visit our TV Listings page.
For a complete list of every game rescheduled by the NHL on Wednesday, click here.
Monday, Jan. 31
New Jersey at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., Sportsnet
Monday, Feb. 7
Carolina at Toronto, 7 p.m., Sportsnet (Rogers Hometown Hockey)
New Jersey at Ottawa, 7 p.m., Sportsnet ONE (Rogers Hometown Hockey)
Wednesday, Feb. 9
Chicago at Edmonton, 8 p.m., Sportsnet (Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey)
Vegas at Calgary, 9:30 p.m., Sportsnet ONE
Saturday, Feb. 12
Columbus at Montreal, 12:30 p.m., Sportsnet (Hometown Hockey)
Boston at Ottawa, 12:30 p.m., Sportsnet ONE (Hometown Hockey)
Toronto at Vancouver, 7 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada and Hockey Night in Canada: Punjabi)
Winnipeg at Nashville, 7 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada)
NY Islanders at Calgary, 10 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada)
Sunday, Feb. 13
Buffalo at Montreal, 12:30 p.m., Sportsnet (Hometown Hockey)
Ottawa at Washington, 12:30 p.m., Sportsnet ONE (Hometown Hockey)
Monday, Feb. 14
Toronto at Seattle, 9 p.m., Sportsnet
Chicago at Winnipeg, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West
Edmonton at San Jose, 10:30 p.m., Sportsnet ONE
Tuesday, Feb. 15
Edmonton at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 16
Minnesota at Winnipeg, 7 p.m., Sportsnet (Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey)
Anaheim at Calgary, 9:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 17
Anaheim at Edmonton, 9 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 19
St. Louis at Toronto, 7 p.m., Sportsnet and CityTV (Hockey Night in Canada and Hockey Night in Canada: Punjabi)
Boston at Ottawa, 7 p.m., Sportsnet ONE (Hockey Night in Canada)
Seattle at Calgary, 10 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada)
Anaheim at Vancouver, 10 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada)
Sunday, Feb. 20
Minnesota at Edmonton, 8 p.m., Sportsnet ONE
Monday, Feb. 21
Toronto at Montreal, 7 p.m., Sportsnet
Seattle at Vancouver, 10 p.m., Sportsnet
Wednesday, Feb. 23
Buffalo at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Monday, March 7
Toronto at Columbus, 7 p.m., Sportsnet
Edmonton at Calgary, 9:30 p.m., Sportsnet
Monday, April 4
Toronto at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m., Sportsnet
Monday, April 18
Calgary at Chicago, 8 p.m., Sportsnet (Hometown Hockey)
Dallas at Vancouver, 10:30 p.m., Sportsnet (Hometown Hockey)
Wednesday, April 27
Montreal at NY Rangers, 7:30 p.m. (Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey)
Tuesday, Feb. 8
Vegas at Edmonton, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West (Oilers region)
Arizona at Vancouver, 10 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific (Canucks region)
Wednesday, Feb. 9
NY Islanders at Vancouver, 10:30 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific (Canucks region)
Thursday, Feb. 10
Toronto at Calgary, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West (Flames region)
Friday, Feb. 11
NY Islanders at Edmonton, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West (Oilers region)
Tuesday, Feb. 15
Columbus at Calgary, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West (Flames region)
Thursday, Feb. 17
Pittsburgh at Toronto, 7 p.m., Sportsnet Ontario (Maple Leafs region)
Vancouver at San Jose, 10:30 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific (Canucks region)
Saturday, Feb. 19
Edmonton at Winnipeg, 4 p.m., Sportsnet West (Oilers region)
Monday, Feb. 21
Winnipeg at Calgary, 4 p.m., Sportsnet West (Flames region)
Tuesday, Feb. 22
Toronto at Columbus, 7 p.m., Sportsnet Ontario (Maple Leafs region)
Tuesday, April 19
Calgary at Nashville, 8 p.m., Sportsnet West (Flames region)
Ottawa at Vancouver, 10 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific (Canucks region)
'Strongest team in all of snowboarding': Canadian squad named for Beijing Olympics – CBC Sports
Canadian snowboarders brought home four medals at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
The team looking to build on that number was announced by Canada Snowboard on Wednesday, including all four previous medallists — Sébastien Toutant (the lone gold medallist), Max Parrot, Mark McMorris and Laurie Blouin.
Joining them in slopestyle and big air are Darcy Sharpe, Brooke Voigt and Jasmine Baird. Meanwhile, the halfpipe team features Derek Livingston, Brooke D’Hondt and Elizabeth Hosking.
Missing from that list is Liam Brearley, the emerging 18-year-old who won a medal in all three disciplines at the 2020 Youth Olympics. Brearley, of Gravenhurst, Ont., was victim of a roster crunch, as Canada earned the maximum four quota spots in slopestyle and big air.
Megan Farrell and Arnaud Gaudet will compete in parallel giant slalom, while the snowboard cross squad includes Zoe Bergermann, Tess Critchlow, Meryeta O’Dine, Audrey McManiman, Eliot Grondin, Kevin Hill and Liam Moffatt.
CBC snowboard analyst Craig McMorris, the older brother of Mark McMorris, said the Canadians should be a force.
“I think it is the strongest team in all of snowboarding, especially in male slopestyle and big air with Max Parrot, Sebastien Toutant and Mark McMorris all returning for their third Games. The skill is there. And the veteran wisdom and experience is there as well,” he said.
The omission of Brearley reveals the overwhelming strength of the men’s slopestyle and big air squad. Toutant and McMorris both sit in the top five of World Snowboard’s slopestyle ranking, while Parrot is ranked first and McMorris fifth in big air.
Parrot pre-qualified for the Olympic team before the season began in October, with the stipulation that he remain in the top-30 of rankings. He has since not competed in World Cup races, freezing his ranking in place.
The final decision may have come down to Sharpe vs. Brearley, with each similarly ranked in the two disciplines.
“[Sharpe] was out for a long time and his points freeze, then he comes back and his points unfreeze but then he gets COVID so he can’t compete, and that was crucial in deciding the team. So I feel like it was an extremely, extremely tough job,” McMorris said.
WATCH | Mark McMorris discusses difficulties of qualifying in pandemic:
Parrot, the Bromont, Que., native who won slopestyle silver in 2018, is a recent cancer survivor.
The 27-year-old was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma about 10 months after the Olympics but returned to competition less than a year later, winning X Games big air gold in the process.
Mark McMorris, the 28-year-old from Regina, enters his third Games looking to upgrade on the bronze he won each of the past two times — this time free of a near-fatal crash directly in his rearview mirror.
Toutant, 29, of L’Assomption, Que., experienced an eventful Pyeongchang Olympics as he recovered from a last-place finish in slopestyle to become the big air champion.
WATCH | CBC Sports’ Returning Champions series features Sébastien Toutant:
Blouin back for more
On the women’s side, Blouin, 25, overcame some adversity in Pyeongchang herself after a crash in training left her participation in the Games at all in question.
But the Quebec City native bounced back in a big way en route to earning slopestyle silver.
“I’m really happy, it seems like 2018 was yesterday and now it’s crazy that we’re already looking ahead to the next Olympics,” Blouin said.
Along with McMorris and Sharpe, Blouin is set to compete at the winter X Games beginning Friday in Aspen, Colo., as part of her Olympic tuneup.
WATCH | Blouin takes slopestyle bronze at Calgary World Cup:
D’Hondt, 16, is projected to be the youngest Canadian athlete in Beijing.
“It doesn’t feel real yet. I’m so grateful for this opportunity, and couldn’t be more excited to represent my country in Beijing,” D’Hondt said.
Meanwhile, Craig McMorris suggested that Baird, the 22-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., could be an emerging star for Canada.
“I don’t think she has the tricks to be on the podium yet, but she’s still super young. So I think after these Games, if she still keeps going and training at the rate she is and learning, I think she’ll definitely be a threat in 2026,” he said.
- Brooke D’Hondt — Calgary (halfpipe)
- Elizabeth Hosking — Longueuil, Que. (halfpipe)
- Megan Farrell — Richmond Hill, Ont. (parallel giant slalom)
- Jasmine Baird — Georgetown, Ont. (slopestyle/big air)
- Laurie Blouin— Québec City (slopestyle/big air)
- Brooke Voigt — Fort McMurray, Alta. (slopestyle/big air)
- Zoe Bergermann — Erin, Ont. (snowboard cross)
- Tess Critchlow — Big White, B.C. (snowboard cross)
- Meryeta O’Dine — Prince George, B.C. (snowboard cross)
- Audrey McManiman — St-Ambroise-de-Kildare, Que. (snowboard cross)
- Derek Livingston — Aurora, Ont. (halfpipe)
- Arnaud Gaudet — Montcalm, Que. (parallel giant slalom)
- Mark McMorris — Regina (slopestyle/big air)
- Max Parrot — Bromont, Que. (slopestyle/big air)
- Darcy Sharpe — Comox, B.C. (slopestyle/big air)
- Sébastien Toutant — L’Assomption, Que. (slopestyle/big air)
- Eliot Grondin — Sainte-Marie, Que. (snowboard cross)
- Kevin Hill — Vernon, B.C. (snowboard cross)
- Liam Moffatt — Truro, N.S. (snowboard cross)
Shapovalov rallies to win second-round match at Australian Open – Sportsnet.ca
Canada’s Denis Shapovalov is heading to the third round of the Australian Open for the third time in the past four years after notching a come-from-behind victory on Wednesday.
Shapovalov survives in five
@denis_shapo prevails in an epic 7-6(6) 6-7(3) 6-7(6) 7-5 6-2 battle with Soonwoo Kwon after four hours and 25 minutes!#AusOpen #AO2022
: @wwos • @espn @eurosport @wowowtennis pic.twitter.com/OvOtSIOMdh
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2022
The No. 14 seed, from Richmond Hill, Ont., rallied for a 7-6 (6), 6-7 (3), 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-2 win over world No. 54 Kwon Soon-woo of South Korea.
The match lasted four hours 25 minutes.
After failing to convert on two set points in the third set, Shapovalov broke his opponent in the final game of the fourth set and did so again to take a 2-0 lead in the decider.
“It was difficult getting over the second and third set because I had a lot of chances in both sets,” Shapovalov said. “Lot of opportunities that just weren’t going my way. But I did a good job of flipping the script, kept fighting and I was really happy to get away with it.”
Shapovalov had 29 aces, 26 more than Kwon. The Canadian had 81 winners, but also made 77 unforced errors.
Shapovalov will face No. 23 seed Reilly Opelka of the United States in the third round. Shapovalov never has advanced past the third round at the first Grand Slam of the season.
No. 9 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal plays his second-round match on Thursday against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain.
No Canadian women are left in the singles draw after Leylah Fernandez and Rebecca Marino lost in the first round on Tuesday.
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