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The Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup. Now what?
Sixty-five days after entering the bubble, 201 days after the NHL shut down, nearly a full year after the season started and almost a year and a half after suffering one of the most humiliating defeats in playoff history, the Tampa Bay Lightning finally finished the job. With last night’s 2-0 win over Dallas in Game 6 of the final, they became the Stanley Cup champions of the most bizarre NHL season ever.
Tampa had one of the best regular seasons of all time in 2018-19, winning a record-tying 62 games. But it won zero in the playoffs, getting swept by Columbus in one of the most shocking playoff defeats ever. The Lightning took it easier this season but still cruised to the league’s second-best record before the pandemic hit and the NHL closed shop for five months. Tampa kept its edge and exacted revenge on Columbus by beating them in five games in the first round. Then came an impressive five-game takedown of heavyweight Boston before six-game victories over the plucky Islanders and Stars. And they did it without injured captain Steven Stamkos, who played a grand total of less than three minutes in the playoffs — but did score a goal in Game 3 of the final and got to be the first to hoist the Cup last night.
It’s a great redemption story. And similar to Washington’s from 2018. Like Tampa, the Capitals had by far the NHL’s best regular-season record and were everyone’s pick to win the Cup before flaming out early in the playoffs, then bounced back the following year to become champions. Boston comes closest to fitting that bill for next year. The Bruins ran away with the NHL’s best regular-season record before becoming the fifth consecutive Presidents’ Trophy winner to lose in the second round of the playoffs or earlier.
A few other takeaways from Tampa being crowned champion of this very weird season:
The Lightning had so many good Conn Smythe choices. Victor Hedman won the playoff MVP award after scoring 10 goals — the third-most ever by a defenceman in the playoffs. But it just as easily could have gone to Brayden Point, who scored the opening goal last night for his league-leading 14th of the playoffs. Or Nikita Kucherov, who won the playoff scoring race and had more assists than anyone except Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux have ever recorded in a single post-season. You could even have built a case for Andrei Vasilevskiy, who made some big saves again last night and finished with a sparkling 1.90 goals-against average for the playoffs. He was the only goalie Tampa used after the restart, setting a new record for minutes played in a post-season.
The NHL pulled it off. Be honest: back in the spring, did you believe the Cup would be awarded this year? And even if you did, could you imagine it would go this smoothly? Zero players or other team personnel tested positive for COVID-19 in what the NHL said were more than 33,000 tests conducted since teams arrived in the Edmonton and Toronto bubbles on July 26. The quality of play was top-notch too. That’s not to say there weren’t some tough moments. Even the joyous Lightning were palpably relieved to be getting out of Dodge last night. And two days’ worth of games were postponed back in late August as part of the sports-wide walkouts in protest of racial injustice and police brutality started by the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. The NHL’s delayed reaction to that extraordinary moment drew criticism. But, from a playing-in-a-pandemic standpoint, this was a remarkable achievement by the NHL and its players.
So what’s next? After rushing to complete the playoffs, the NHL is cramming its big off-season events in before the Thanksgiving/Columbus Day weekend. The draft is next Tuesday and Wednesday, and the free-agent signing period opens Friday, Oct. 9 at noon ET. The NHL and the players’ union will meet soon to discuss scenarios for the 2020-21 season. The players have no desire to bubble up for the whole thing, but the NHL could follow the lead of baseball and the NFL and have teams play out of their home arenas with enhanced health protocols. That’ll be trickier for the NHL, though, because it has seven Canadian-based teams. The earliest possible start date for the new season is Dec. 1, but it’s more likely to be later than that, which could mean a shortened regular season. Read more about the possibilities for next season here.
WATCH | CBC Sports’ Rob Pizzo recaps the Lightning’s Stanley Cup win:
The NFL has its first outbreak out of the season. Eight members of the Tennessee Titans have tested positive for COVID-19 — including three players. The Titans played the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Both teams cancelled their in-person activities for today, though no one from the Vikings tested positive. Tennessee and Minnesota both play next on Sunday afternoon — the Titans host Pittsburgh while the Vikings visit Houston. As of now, those games are still a go. Read more about the Titans’ positive tests and the potential fallout here.
The Blue Jays open their playoff series vs. Tampa Bay today. First pitch is at 5 p.m. ET. Toronto is sending so-so starter Matt Shoemaker to the mound, even though ace Hyun-Jin Ryu has had the regular four days of rest. Ryu felt “a little sore” after his last regular-season start, according to manager Charlie Montoyo, so the team wanted to buy him more time. It’s a best-of-three series with games on back-to-back-to-back days, so Ryu would only be able to make one start anyway. But saving him for Game 2 probably removes the possibility of using him in relief in a potential Game 3. Shoemaker’s start is likely to be a short one, so the Jays may have to lean on their questionable bullpen early and often. An x-factor there is top pitching prospect Nate Pearson, who just returned from an arm injury and will work out of the pen. Read more about the Jays’ key players and their outlook for the playoffs in this piece by CBC Sports’ Myles Dichter. If you missed yesterday’s newsletter, brush up on how baseball`s new playoff format works here.
Canadian women have flipped the script at the French Open. Heading into the final Grand Slam of the year, Canada looked a lot stronger on the men’s side, where it had four players (two of them seeded) compared to just two in the women’s event (neither ranked higher than 100th in the world). But Canada is already down to its final men’s player after 19th-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime and qualifier Steven Diez lost their first-round matches yesterday, and unseeded Vasek Pospisil got smoked in straight sets today by No. 7 Matteo Berrettini. That leaves only ninth-seeded Denis Shapovalov, who advanced to the second round today by beating Frenchman Gilles Simon in four sets. But both Canadian women are still alive. Yesterday, 100th-ranked Leylah Annie Fernandez upset the No. 31 seed in her first-ever appearance in the main draw of the French Open. She and 168th-ranked Genie Bouchard both play their second-round matches tomorrow.
Doc Rivers took the fall for the Clippers’ collapse. He’s one of the most respected coaches in basketball, and he guided L.A. to the fourth-best record in the NBA this season. But the Clippers brought in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George (and mortgaged their future to do so) to win championships, and the supposed title contenders got upset in the second round by Denver. Worse, they choked away the final three games of the series and seemed to just straight-up quit in the second half of Game 7. Tough to blame Doc for that. But this is pro sports, so nine times out of 10 the axe falls on the coach. The team said Rivers and owner Steve Ballmer arrived at the decision jointly. Believe that if you choose. Read more about what went wrong for Doc and the Clippers here.
Patrick Mahomes is still the king. By his lofty standards, the Super Bowl MVP had a so-so start to the season, averaging only 256 yards passing in wins over the mediocre Texans and Chargers (and barely escaping an upset in the latter). But Mahomes and Kansas City showed last night that they’re still the ones to beat. They steamrolled the NFL’s consensus other-best team, the Baltimore Ravens, 34-20 on Monday Night Football. Mahomes threw for four TDs, ran in another and executed coach Andy Reid’s brilliant play designs to perfection. Mahomes also outplayed reigning regular-season MVP Lamar Jackson, who threw for only 97 yards. Jackson ran for 83 but was also sacked four times. Meanwhile, Baltimore’s vaunted defence failed to sack Mahomes at all despite blitzing him all night (might want to rethink that strategy). Read more about K.C.’s convincing win in the marquee matchup here.
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Dodgers can win elusive World Series title if Roberts pulls right strings – Sportsnet.ca
Now the Dodgers are just one victory away from slaying their past playoff demons and finally capturing that elusive title.
Will the Dodgers close it out or will the Rays force a Game 7? Tune in to Sportsnet or SN Now at 8 p.m. ET to find out. In the meantime, here’s what to watch for prior to first pitch.
Watch every game of the 2020 World Series between the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers on Sportsnet and SN Now.
Roberts gets another chance to pull the right strings
The last time Tony Gonsolin started in this series, he lasted just 1.1 innings in what ended up as a bullpen day for the Dodgers in Game 2.
Manager Dave Roberts claims things will be different in Game 6, declaring Gonsolin a “starter” as opposed to an “opener.” Roberts did couch it a little, though.
“I’m going to watch him pitch and then we’ll see what we do after that,” Roberts told reporters Monday. “… I want to go as long as he possibly can, that’d be great.”
Considering Roberts pulled Clayton Kershaw after 85 pitches in Game 5 when he appeared to be cruising, it’s hard to imagine the 25-year-old Gonsolin having a long leash. The bullpen is fully rested after Monday’s off day, giving Roberts his full complement of weapons.
Game 2 didn’t go so well for Roberts as he watched a number of decisions backfire en route to a 6-4 Rays victory. Now the ever-unconventional manager has another chance to flex his strategic muscles and deliver the franchise’s first title since 1988.
Snell must be sharp from the jump
Los Angeles was aggressive from the opening pitch over the weekend, striking for at least one first-inning run in each of the past three games. It will be crucial for Snell to come out of the gate and put a zero on the board to prevent his opponents from building any quick momentum.
Snell was able to limit the Dodgers to two runs over 4.2 innings in Game 2 while striking out nine, but those numbers don’t tell the full story. The left-hander walked four batters and gave up plenty of hard contact. Five of the seven balls put in play against him came off Dodger bats at 95 m.p.h. or harder.
The 2018 Cy Young winner will need to be extra careful this time around, as it’ll be the Dodgers’ second look at him in six days.
If the Dodgers do indeed take care of business in Game 6, three players stand out for World Series MVP honours, each with a different storyline attached.
The rejuvenated young star: Corey Seager
It wasn’t too long ago that Seager was considered one of the game’s rising superstars. His 2018 season was limited to just 26 games due to Tommy John surgery but his 2020 campaign has put him back in the mix with baseball’s elite.
His regular season was phenomenal — he posted a .943 OPS — and he’s been even better in the playoffs. After winning NLCS MVP, he’s still raking in the World Series with a .471/.609/.842 slash line. If not for the bizarre Rays win in Game 4, Seager would likely have already earned his second MVP trophy of the post-season. The race is Seager’s to lose at this point.
The franchise icon: Justin Turner
Turner has set a number of franchise records during this playoff run and stands as the Dodgers’ post-season leader in games played, hits, walks, RBIs and home runs. He’s been a hit machine during this World Series, as evidenced by his .364/.391/.818 batting line.
An 0-for-4 Game 6 from Seager and another big performance from Turner could easily tip the scales in the third baseman’s favour. He’s a free agent at the end of the year and winning World Series MVP in what could be his final game in a Dodger uniform would be extremely poetic.
The late-bloomer who became a hero: Max Muncy
Muncy was released by the Oakland Athletics at the end of spring training in 2017, prompting the Dodgers to sign him as a minor-league free agent. He’s become a star at the MLB level since his promotion in 2018 and finds himself entrenched in the heart of one of baseball’s best lineups.
Like Seager and Turner, Muncy has been on fire during the World Series, slashing .389/.522/.611. If he provides a clutch hit or two in Game 6 to clinch the title, it would be easy to make the case he deserves MVP.
Friends and former Oilers remember beloved local sports figure Joey Moss – CBC.ca
Reaction from across Edmonton and the hockey world is pouring in for beloved local sports figure Joey Moss.
Moss, 57, died on Monday afternoon. He was a locker room attendant for the Edmonton Oilers and Edmonton Football Team for decades and was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.
Moss, who was born with Down syndrome, got his start with the Oilers during the 1984-85 season after Wayne Gretzky noticed him catching a bus in the winter and convinced the team’s general manager, Glen Sather, to find a role for him in the locker room.
Gretzky told CBC Edmonton Tuesday he has heard from many other former Oilers talk about how much the longtime local sports presence did for all of them.
“He’s a special young man,” Gretzky.
“He was a close friend and he made me smile each day and those are things I won’t forget.”
Edmonton AM8:10Remembering Joey Moss
Today I’m saddened to say I lost a good friend!! I have some great memories with Joey during my time <a href=”https://twitter.com/EdmontonOilers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@edmontonoilers</a> You made me smile everyday I was with you. You will be missed!! RIP <a href=”https://t.co/octqhvAD3k”>pic.twitter.com/octqhvAD3k</a>
Gretzky quickly developed a bond with Moss, partly because he had an aunt in his family who also had Down syndrome. The two lived together for a year and a half while Gretzky played for the Oilers. But his memories of Moss don’t just revolve around what he did for the Oilers, Gretzky said, adding that Moss was an inspiration for parents of children with disabilities.
With the greatest of all-time… and #99. Oil Country sure won’t be the same without you, Joey. Thanks for always brightening up any day and may you rest easy my friend. <a href=”https://t.co/p7yGRqTdbk”>pic.twitter.com/p7yGRqTdbk</a>
Moss was also remembered by former members of the Oilers’ training staff who shared their condolences and memories of him on Tuesday.
“I really feel like he made everyone in that room a better person when he left that room,” said former equipment manager Lyle ‘Sparky’ Kulchisky, who said he was thankful to see Moss in hospital on Sunday to say goodbye.
We loss a legend in the <a href=”https://twitter.com/EdmontonOilers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@EdmontonOilers</a> family! Joey I will miss you and will never forget the precious years we spent together, our wrestling matches, when you sang La Bamba and many more memories! Rest In Peace my friend! <a href=”https://t.co/YecYfMxfSp”>pic.twitter.com/YecYfMxfSp</a>
“He wasn’t afraid to bark back at any player, it didn’t matter who they were whether it was the coach or Wayne or whoever,” Stafford said.
“He was just a ball of joy and happiness and he passed that on all the time.”
Mayor Don Iveson was emotional when talking about Moss’ death on Tuesday, calling it heartbreaking news for the city.
“As mayor, I got to meet him a number of times and (he’s) just a delightful human being, and it’s sad,” Iveson said.
“He was a great guy, so the loss is deeply felt in our city today.”
During his life, Moss was honoured with the NHL Alumni Association’s “Seventh Man Award” for behind-the-scene efforts in the lives of others, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and a mural in Edmonton for his work with both of the city’s major sports teams.
Twitter users shared their own memories of Moss on Tuesday, both as an inspirational and motivating figure, and as a community member in Edmonton.
<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/joeymoss?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#joeymoss</a> was a fixture in our neighbourhood street hockey games. Here’s a picture from Feb 1982 when Joey brought his friend Wayne to play with us for 4 hours. Joey was just really cool and we all loved him.<br>Godspeed Joey we won’t forget you. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Legend?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Legend</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/ASHOF?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#ASHOF</a> <a href=”https://t.co/hvcNDKjo8M”>pic.twitter.com/hvcNDKjo8M</a>
His pure joy singing the anthem. Made your heart burst – for hockey, Edmonton, being Canadian…
Joey Moss bled Edmonton sports and taught a generation about vulnerability – Sportsnet.ca
EDMONTON — The players and coaches, so many of whom have been tribute tweeting over the past day, saw one side of Joey Moss. The behind closed doors, “Once an Oiler/Edmonton Football Team player, always an Oiler/Edmonton Football Team player,” view.
Us sportswriters, dressing room visitors for a select few hours of the week, we saw another. And the fans here in Edmonton — and across Canada — they saw some part of it all as well, from yet another angle.
But the people who really knew Joseph Neil Moss, who picked him up in the morning, shared a traditional game-day hot tub, or moved him in with their families for weeks at a time during training camps or road trips, were the training staff. People like Lyle “Sparky” Kulchisky, Dwayne Mandrusiak, Ken Lowe and Barrie Stafford — the equipment and medical staff who are the inner workings of the pro sports wristwatch — never rotated in and out the way coaches and players always do.
They saw it every day for a few decades, the impact Moss — who hailed from a local, musically-inclined family — had on 35 years of hockey and football players who passed through this city.
“We saw a side of Joe that was compassionate, but serious at times,” said 49-year Edmonton Football Team equipment man Mandrusiak. “Joe knew when things were not going well and you didn’t joke around. Whether it was vacuuming, doing the laundry or whatever it was, when it was time to go, he took his job seriously.
“But he’d also come up to you when you were having a bad day, put his arm around you and say ‘You’re OK with me.’ You had to smile.’”
The #Oilers organization is extremely saddened by the passing of our dear friend & colleague, the legendary Joey Moss.Once an Oiler, always an Oiler.RIP, Joey. pic.twitter.com/KJSkN9oO9W
The entire EE Football Team organization is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Joey Moss.Edmonton lost a hero today. Joey’s bravery, humor, strength, work ethic & perseverance in our dressing room & in our community left indelible impressions that will live with us all. pic.twitter.com/8ATs8ckQMS
At the time he was brought into the Oilers dressing room, Moss was better known to the organization as the 21-year-old younger brother of Wayne Gretzky’s then-girlfriend, singer Vikki Moss. It was an act of inclusion on the part of Gretzky, Glen Sather and the Oilers organization — giving a chance to the 12th of 13 kids born to Lloyd and Sophie Moss in a small home on Edmonton’s east side.
In the end, it was Joey who did all the giving, migrating over to the Edmonton Football Team dressing room and leaving behind a legacy that had Stafford’s phone alight since news of Joey’s passing broke on Monday night.
“Ryan Smyth, Ales Hemsky, Eric Brewer, Steve Staios, Ethan Moreau, Gretz, of course… I have over 200 text messages,” said Stafford. “Anyone in the inner circle has a feeling for the impact Joey had on people lives. How can such a small person have such a large impact? The sports community, the disability community… Is there a person with Down syndrome who has had this kind of an impact in our country? In any country?
“I do believe he’s an iconic Canadian.”
In the heartless world that pro sports can be, Joey became the goat in the horse barn, putting an arm around a player that had just been released, assuring him better days lie ahead, and leaving an impression that no coach, GM or teammate possibly could.
“He changed my life immensely,” Kulchisky said on Tuesday, the morning after Moss passed at an Edmonton hospital. “I was ignorant to Down syndrome – I didn’t understand it and I didn’t want to. He made me become a more patient, sensitive person.
“He made all of us — you included – better people. More understanding.”
As the rosters became fluid, as the once-mighty Oilers and the Edmonton Football Team took their turns at the bottom of the standings, their rosters churning through forgettable name after forgettable name, Moss was a rare constant.
You could look down on the Edmonton Football Team sidelines and ask, ‘Who is No. 76? He’s standing next to Joey.’ Or walking out of what seemed like a decade-long string of Oilers losses, you could think of Joey on the scoreboard belting out the anthem before the game, and there was at least one smile your team gave you that night.
Moss bled blue and orange by winter, green and gold by summer, teaching a generation of Edmonton sports fans about vulnerability, and putting it all out there even when you’re a bit off-key some of the time. Or all of the time.
Janet & I are saddened to learn about the passing of Joey Moss. Not only was Joey a fixture in the Edmonton dressing room, he was someone I truly considered a friend. We will miss you Joey and you will always live on through our memories. Our thoughts are with Joey’s loved ones.
With the greatest of all-time… and #99. Oil Country sure won’t be the same without you, Joey. Thanks for always brightening up any day and may you rest easy my friend. pic.twitter.com/p7yGRqTdbk
Someone who could brighten your day with just a smile or a wink. May you rest in peace Joey, you will be missed by so many. pic.twitter.com/ecuxIBiWPU
It’s OK to blindly love your team, win, lose or draw. And if you’re going to sing “O Canada” in front of 18,000 people and a national TV audience, you’d better not leave anything in the bag. His anthems were legendary, sung from a seat a few rows above the Oilers bench.
“He loved to sing and he loved to dance,” Stafford said. “My wife and her mother took tap dancing lessons. He went in one of their recitals and was the star performer, the hit of the recital. The thing that Joey did was, he gave pure joy to people. He made everyone smile… His two loves were dancing and singing, and they came naturally through his family.”
Along the way, he became a cornerstone of the teams, sent down the hall to the visitor’s dressing room to wish Mathieu Schneider a “Happy Hanukkah!” or to deliver the organizational handshake to a new husband or father. He was as welcome in the dressing rooms of every visiting CFL or NHL team as he was in Edmonton’s.
Part of that was due to his ability to fit in seamlessly.
In sports, if they’re not kidding around with you or pulling your leg, it’s because you haven’t been accepted yet. If they treat you with kid gloves it’s because you are seen to be on the outside, and the closer you get to the heart of a team the sharper your wits had better become.
“If they don’t mess with you, don’t tease you, they don’t like you,” said Mandrusiak.
“What struck me about Joey,” began long-time Edmonton sports columnist Cam Cole, “was how no one treated him like a ‘special needs’ guy. He was just a completely integrated part of the dressing room culture, going about his business, giving and taking chirps from the players. Like the time he was vacuuming the rug, in between reporters’ feet while John Muckler was doing a stand-up interview. Muck interrupted himself to say, ‘—- off, Joey,’ then continued his comments, and Joey simply kept vacuuming, a few feet away.
“He was a part of the scenery, a part of the mood, often happy, sometimes crabby like everyone else. One of the boys.”
Moss’ dancing, bellowing version of La Bamba was legendary inside those rooms, as Moss blasted out a brand of Karaoke that most of those elite athletes, with their muscles and macho, would never have the courage to attempt.
It was while he was dancing a few months back that his hip gave out. “He was dancing by the lunch table,” said Kulchisky. “His body just gave way.”
A broken hip, advancing Alzheimer’s and the pox that is this COVID-19 era combined to hand Joey a final few weeks he surely did not deserve, distanced in palliative care from those loved ones who would have loved to put an arm around him the way he did so many others, so many times.
By the time closed his eyes at age 57, Moss had lived perhaps 30 years longer than doctors would have predicted back in 1963.
“The football club and the Oilers kept him alive that long,” Kulchisky reckoned. “A lot of time, as Down syndrome people age, they just put them in front of a TV in the morning and call them for dinner. Joe woke up every day to a challenge. With the Oilers, at least 40 people a day were counting on him. He had a purpose, Joe.
“That’s what kept him alive, kept him going.”
Until Monday, when the song finally ended for Joseph Moss, Edmonton legend.
They come and they go, in this sports world where the speed of change seems to have quadrupled as my career passes the 30-year mark. There was, for me, no comparable for Joey Moss.
They broke the mould, either before or after they made Joey.
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