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What Can We Expect From Canadian Gaming in 2021?

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The Canadian gaming market is making some interesting moves at the moment, and it could be worth following. Find out more here.

Though you might think that the world of gaming is something that does not shift and change too often, there are many changes happening that could cause a wider effect on the industry. Any Canadian who is interested in gaming as a whole would do well to focus on some of the changes happening here in addition to the bigger shifts we are seeing in the worldwide marketplace.

eSports

eSports as a genre is still continuing to grow, and we are not seeing an end to the bubble just yet. The great thing about this platform is that it can be played mostly online if needs be. We have seen many tournaments already shift from in-person meetings to being wholly digital events, and it is a trend that we are likely to see continue in the future.

On top of this, there are more and more games being released – and classics that are being reassessed – that could come under the bracket of eSports. Some of the biggest games of all time here sprung from nowhere, so it is important to remember that the next game that everyone can’t get enough of might already be on the market. For Canadian gamers, improvements in streaming and live broadcasting will make it easier for them to build an audience and hone their skills as gamers.

Casinos

In-person gambling at casinos is currently prohibited in Canada, but this might soon be changing. New laws and regulations have been introduced that could see the introduction of single-event sports betting. This would allow bettors to place wagers on the outcome of a sporting match.

Decriminalising and regulating this act could be the first step in allowing players in Canada to properly enjoy some form of sports betting. For now, players can head to one of the many Canadian casinos that allows them to enjoy some of the games available online.

It is important to remember that, just south of the border, many US states are working fast to regulate different types of gambling. In an attempt to minimise casino tourism and prevent Canadians from travelling to place their bets, it is likely that we will see the province governors and the wider Canadian government introduce some form of safe gambling at home. Regulating and updating existing laws will be a key part of this.

TTRPGs

The humble table top roleplaying game has gone mainstream in the past decade, with the 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons gaining widespread attention from many different sources in the media. While this is definitely the most famous and well-known TTRPG, there are many others that players are also trying and enjoying, including but not limited to Pathfinder, Paranoia, and Call of Cthulhu.

Though you might think that it would be quite hard to get into these games if your friends do not seem interested, this could actually not be further from the truth. There are gaming cafes popping up all over that are allowing people to go and play these games in-person with strangers. You can join an official organisation (such as D&D’s Adventurers League) or you could see if the café has its own games night where you could try to find a table.

Online gaming has also taken off in a massive way. There are several websites where you can advertise yourself as a player, or even a game master, and software such as Discord makes it easy for players to come together regardless of where they might live around the world. This is one avenue of gaming Canadians should definitely consider!

Though Canada might not be the first place many think about when they consider the world of gaming, that does not mean that there is not plenty on offer here for those willing to pursue various opportunities. If you are interested in throwing yourself into the world of gaming, the internet offers Canadians the chance to try new things and connect with other players all around the world. Try it out now, and find the area of gaming that interests you the most. This could end up being a lifetime hobby that you enjoy for many years to come.

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Oilers Alex Chiasson to have hearing over cross check on Maple Leafs Jimmy Vesey – Pension Plan Puppets

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At the 20:00 mark of the Monday, March 1 game between the Oilers and the Leafs, Alex Chiasson was assessed a 5-minute major for cross checking on Jimmy Vesey and a 10-minute game misconduct.

The start of the fracas began late in the third period, when each team bumped the goalie late after a whistle. There was a moment of irate Mike Smith, and then a retaliation bump on Hutchinson.

Which led to this:

And also Zach Bogosian thwarted from a fight with Darnell Nurse. And then there was another scrum at the end of the game. However the television broadcast did not show the incident with Chiasson and Vesey, only this:

We’ll update you with any more news.

That angle we didn’t have:

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NHL’s four most surprising teams of 2021 and what makes them tick – Sportsnet.ca

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In a 56-game season, everything is moving fast.

Like, can you believe by the time this week is out, the Vancouver Canucks will hit the halfway point of their season? They’ll get there first, but most other teams will follow in the week to come.

This season, 28 games marks the halfway point, which really drives home how important it is to avoid long stretches of losing hockey because just one of those could bury you.

For teams that had lukewarm aspirations this season, a good long run or two could change everything we think about them and put them in a position to surprise. With so many games still to come, there is lots of time to see which of these teams are real and which are a mirage behind a hot start.

Here are four teams who have surprised us this year, and how they’ve accomplished it so far.

Florida Panthers
The Panthers had some interesting things about them dating back to last season when they brought Sergei Bobrovsky and Joel Quenneville aboard. Florida finished with the sixth-best offence in the NHL last season, but were undone by a porous defence and really disappointing goaltending.

This year they still have a top-10 offence and control a considerable amount more of the shots being taken than they did last year.

But Florida hasn’t accomplished this by pouring more offence on the ice. The defence has been tougher in close to the net and at least one goalie has been steady from the start.


(All stats 5-on-5 from Natural Stat Trick)

Chris Driedger has been among the more unexpected stories of this season so far, with a .928 save percentage that ranks among the best in the league. While Bobrovsky has had some blowup starts along the way, Driedger has been pretty stable and allowed the Panthers to accumulate wins and start with a strong record.

The team is taking a hot hand approach to the position right now and between the two of them and this improved defence, the Panthers have the fifth-best 5-on-5 save percentage after ranking 29th there last season.

There is measurable change to what’s going on in front of Florida’s goalies this season and it tightens up what was their biggest weakness last season without having the offence suffer.

They’re fighting atop this year’s Central Division, and not only by taking advantage of soft points on their schedule either — the Panthers are 7-2-2 against Dallas, Tampa, Carolina and Chicago (who, I suppose, we can no longer count among the weaker matchups on the schedule).

Winnipeg Jets
The Jets’ inclusion here may be a head-scratcher now, but don’t forget what the outlook was in the Canadian division before the puck dropped in January.

Toronto was one of the favourites. An improved Montreal was a dark horse pick by some, Calgary for others. Even those who had Vancouver taking a step back put them in the running for a playoff spot. And Edmonton, with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, was tough to push down anyone’s board. So it was hard to find a spot for Winnipeg, the fifth-best Canadian team last season, and they tended to slide down projections.

Today, they have the second-best points percentage in the group.

While the Panthers’ improvement can at least in part be directed at the better defence and goaltending, the same can’t be said for the Jets. The sixth-worst team in 5-on-5 shots against per 60 minutes, and the worst team in high danger chances against last season, Winnipeg is ranked exactly the same in both categories so far in 2021.

This team just does not let a bad start get to it, with a league-leading six wins when trailing after the first period.

In fact, the change between their offence and defence splits aren’t all that much between this year and last. They shoot about as often and allow about as much against, both inside and outside of the most desirable areas. They were even one of the better teams when trailing after one period a year ago.

Interestingly, the Jets may just have found a better fit for their style within the North Division. Five teams from this division rank in the bottom nine in shots against at 5-on-5, so they’re not giving a great advantage to any of their competitors by giving up lots there. On offence five North Division teams, including Winnipeg, rank in the top 11 for 5-on-5 goals per game.

But what really makes them stand out is Hellebuyck, who washes away any defensive issues anyway. He can be relied upon for a really heavy workload and, at 27, isn’t at an age where injury or fatigue becomes any more of a concern.

The Jets’ offence is dangerous and can hang with the best the North Division has to offer and, unlike the other top offences in this group, they also have an elite goalie who’s going to steal some games.

Chicago Blackhawks
The only team in this list that has been outscored at 5-on-5, the Blackhawks might be the surprise team of the season so far.

Finishing 23rd last year and only getting games beyond the regular season because of a unique playoff set up, Chicago was still charting towards a top draft pick and becoming a trade deadline seller this year. Jonathan Toews missed the start of the season and is still out with an unknown illness. After letting Corey Crawford walk, the goaltending appeared to be a mess.

And then Kevin Lankinen appeared and all was well.

Just like last year the Blackhawks allow a ton of shots, though they have somewhat cut down on the most dangerous ones. Lankinen, the undrafted 25-year-old rookie out of Finland, is in the running for the Calder Trophy this season — and we have to wonder if he might end in the Vezina discussion if he keeps this up.

Measuring goals saved above average in all situations from Natural Stat Trick, Lankinen ranks third in the league behind a couple notable names.

On top of this totally unexpected performance, the Hawks are getting others we knew were possible. Alex DeBrincat is back on a full season 40-goal pace after tallying just 19 a year ago, and Patrick Kane is second in league scoring, nine points clear of the next highest-scoring non-North Division player.

They make up for being outscored at 5-on-5 with the league’s best power play, which was 28th and converted just over 15 per cent of the time in 2019-20.

Minnesota Wild
It’s mostly about Kirill Kaprizov, a superstar rookie who, unlike Lankinen, arrived with plenty of fanfare and expectation. He has breathed new life into the Wild and, when he’s on the ice, they play at a pace and with a style we’re not used to in this uniform.

But it’s not just Kaprizov who is changing the face and outlook in Minnesota. For a team that looked to have gone stale in all aspects for some time, it’s refreshing to see a rookie leading them in scoring, and three other players under 25 slotting into the team’s top five scorers.

And now here comes Kaapo Kahkonen, a hyped fourth-round prospect who had a few NHL starts a year ago but spent most of it in the minors, where he won the AHL’s best goalie award. He’s taking over in Minnesota’s net, has strung five wins in a row and had a .923 save percentage in February.

The Wild are a fun story this season and lots is changing there, but it is still being turned over to a young group. We should anticipate some hiccups along the way. While they sit 12-6-1 and third in the West Division (second by points percentage), the Wild haven’t played St. Louis yet, and only saw Vegas for the first time on Tuesday, losing in extra time. So, bigger tests on Minnesota’s staying power are to come.

But the best news from Minnesota this year is a new core is starting to blow in and the early returns are encouraging.

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Oilers’ Chiasson to have hearing for cross-checking Maple Leafs’ Vesey – Sportsnet.ca

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Edmonton Oilers winger Alex Chiasson will have a hearing for cross-checking Toronto Maple Leafs winger Jimmy Vesey.

The incident occurred at the very end of Monday’s 3-0 Maple Leafs win, a game which ended with players on both sides fighting. After the final horn sounded, Chiasson and Vesey were seen talking near the Maple Leafs blue line. Chiasson then cross-checked Vesey in the head twice before officials separated them.

Chiasson was given a five-minute major and a 10 minute misconduct for cross-checking on the play.

The Oilers and Maple Leafs return to the ice Wednesday night for a third-straight meeting. You can watch that game on Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey on Sportsnet beginning at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT.

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