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Wheel of Discipline lands on Robby Fabbri after Wings-Leafs game – Pension Plan Puppets

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The Leafs played the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday in a game that was dull until the very end when many things happened.

  • Anthony Mantha jumped Jake Muzzin after a clean hit, punched him and had him in a headlock.
  • Muzzin took Mantha down bodily, and Mantha hit his head on the ice. Muzzin was given the extra minor penalty for an unexplained unsportsmanlike conduct (that’s usually for something you say or do that the refs take offence to but isn’t covered under the rules specifically).
  • Travis Dermott was ejected for banging his stick on the ice after the Red Wings scored on the resulting power play.
  • Andreas Athanasiou took a run at Alexander Kerfoot and tried a knee-on-knee that failed only due to Kerfoot’s evasive manoeuvres.
  • Justin Holl fought Athanasiou, and they both got the gate.

So naturally, the Wheel of Discipline fell on… Robby Fabbri for a really obvious spearing that was called a slash midway through the second period:

Kerfoot, who apparently the Red Wings don’t like (possibly the red haze of hatred for Colorado players that still infects Detroit after all these years), and Fabbri were given slashing minors at the time, which is odd, since the referee and the linesman say it up close.

Here’s why:

Rule 62 – Spearing

62.1 Spearing – Spearing shall mean stabbing an opponent with the point of the stick blade, whether contact is made or not.

62.2 Double-minor Penalty – A double-minor penalty will be imposed on a player who spears an opponent and does not make contact.

62.3 Major Penalty – A major penalty shall be imposed on a player who spears an opponent (see 62.5).

62.4 Match Penalty – A match penalty shall be imposed on a player who injures an opponent as a result of a spear.

62.5 Game Misconduct Penalty – Whenever a major penalty is assessed for spearing, a game misconduct penalty must also be imposed.

62.6 Fines and Suspensions – There are no specified fines or suspensions for spearing, however, supplementary discipline can be applied by the Commissioner at his discretion (refer to Rule 28).

In a classic case of assigning penalties for the outcome they wanted, not according to the rules, the referee wanted two minors and four-on-four hockey, so he transformed the spearing into a slash to avoid having to hand out a major penalty and a game misconduct.

Technically the Commissioner does have the right to fine players as stated in the rule, and that right has been passed onto the Department of Player Safety. They’re fond of fines under the new regime run by George Parros. The criteria for the fine amount is capped at 50% of one day’s salary for the player, up to $10,000 on a first offence. Fines are not the same as the salary forfeited from a suspension.

Player Safety has issued nine fines so far this year and 10 suspensions for on-ice behaviour.

The NHL has created a system of on-ice referees enforcing a set rule book, while their supplementary discipline has near absolute discretion and exists outside the entire chain of authority of the on-ice officials. They all ultimately work for the NHL, but the streams don’t cross until you get to the very top. It’s inevitable, then, that the league will, with one arm, second guess or overrule the decisions of the on-ice officials.

Fabbri should have been assessed a major penalty under the rules. But penalties are used to manage gameflow, emotions and to appear to be impartial and fair in some way. All fans expect the contradiction of fairness (to their team) and even distribution of penalty minutes, which is impossible to achieve. The NHL has long held with the idea that penalties should be assessed in a traditional way that appears like they’ve achieved both competing goals of the fans, leaving all of us confused most of the time about why they do what they do, and opening the door to conspiracy theorists and the grievance-prone.

And now, after a game with several dangerous actions, several outrageous actions and a lot of penalties given in a flurry, this one choice of a referee from long before any of that boiled over gets special attention. Whether intentional or not, the message here is that the league doesn’t think the referees are doing their job correctly. This is an odd way to make that point.

If DoPS plans on spinning the wheel again for any of the other events of that game, we’ll let you know. I don’t try to guess anymore.

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Sinclair to lead Canadian women’s team in her fourth Olympics

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Christine Sinclair, the all-time international goal-scoring record holder, was named to her fourth Olympic squad on Wednesday and will headline a Canadian roster at the Tokyo Games that features a mix of veterans and youth.

Led by Sinclair, whose 186 goals for her country are the most by a female or male soccer player worldwide, Canada won medals at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and was the only nation to make the podium in both competitions.

“I am looking forward to doing whatever I can to help take this team back to the podium and make history again,” said Canadian captain Sinclair. “Our team is in a good spot, we are excited, we are hungry and we are ready to go.”

The 18-player roster features 12 members of the squad that competed at the 2016 Rio Games while a quintet including Vanessa Gilles, Jayde Riviere, Julia Grosso, Adriana Leon, and Evelyne Viens will be making their Olympic debuts.

Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan travelled to Rio in 2016 as an alternate.

Canada will kick off their Tokyo 2020 journey when they face Japan on July 21 and continue Group E play against Chile on July 24 and Britain on July 27.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)

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Which of the Canadians Picked in the 2021 NFL Draft Will Thrive This Season?

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It was a good NFL Draft for Canadian players in 2021.

Some four stars from north of the border were selected by NFL franchises in the free agency pick ‘em, and that is tied as the highest number of Canadians drafted in the 85-year history of the event.

Of course, the hope is that these young talents are more than just filler and roster depth, but can any of the quartet make the breakthrough into the big time?

Here’s a look at which of the NFL’s newest Canadian additions can shine in 2021/22.

Jevon Holland

The defensive back was the number 36 pick in the Draft by the Miami Dolphins, who beat off a number of rivals in the hunt for the Coquitlam native.

A versatile defender, Holland is a former Jim Thorpe Award semi-finalist thanks to his exploits in the NCAA back in 2019 with the University of Oregon.

He sat out the 2020 campaign, but representatives from dozens of NFL teams were in town to watch Holland go through his paces at the Oregon Pro Day.

The 21-year-old is following in the footsteps of his father Robert, who turned out for the Detroit Lions, and he is expected to force his way into the starting line-up at the Dolphins. And, who knows, maybe Holland could go all the way in his first season, with Miami priced at +2500 in the Super Bowl 2022 American football odds.

Benjamin St-Juste

When you’re six foot three, 205 pounds and still able to run 40 yards in 4.51 seconds, it goes without saying that you have the physical credentials to succeed in the NFL.

Benjamin St-Juste is the man that can, and he will bolster the roster at a Washington Football Team that will be looking to improve upon their playoff showing in 2020.

The 23-year-old may only have been a third-round pick, but he comes with a burgeoning reputation thanks to a successful time at the University of Minnesota. An All-Big Ten special mention in 2019, more than 50 NFL recruitment personnel attended the college’s pro day – largely to catch a glimpse of St-Juste going through his paces.

Both Brian Gutekunst and Jon Robinson made the trip but, in the end, it was Washington who snapped up the powerhouse from the Draft.

Chuba Hubbard

The third Canadian to be drafted in 2021 was Chuba Hubbard, who became the first Canadian running back to be selected from the Draft in 25 years.

It’s the Carolina Panthers who have taken a chance on the 22-year-old and with his credentials, you can see why. Hubbard finished eighth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy in 2019 after a stellar campaign – he served up 2,094 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns, an NCAA best. He was named the Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

While running backs are not the hottest of properties in the Draft, Hubbard provably has the talent to cross into the end zone with regularity – the Panthers might just have got their hands on an unheralded gem here.

With these three Canadians taking the step up to the NFL, the future of the sport north of the border looks in safe hands.

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Berrettini ends Murray’s comeback at Queen’s

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Andy Murray‘s grasscourt return was cut short in brutal fashion at Queen’s Club as Italian top seed Matteo Berrettini dished out a 6-3 6-3 defeat to the former world number one on Thursday.

The 34-year-old two-time Wimbledon champion, playing in his first singles tournament on grass for three years, could not handle the ferocious pace of Berrettini as he slid to defeat.

Murray eased past Benoit Paire in his opening match on Tuesday but world number nine Berrettini was too big a step up.

Berrettini’s huge first serve and forehand did most of the damage but the Italian also showed plenty of silky touch on the slick lawns to register his first career win over Murray.

Berrettini, 25, finished the match off with a powerful hold of serve, banging down four massive first serves before sealing victory with a clubbing forehand winner.

He faces British number one Dan Evans in the quarter-final after Evans beat Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.

Murray, a five-time winner of the traditional warm-up event but now ranked 124 after long battles with hip injuries including resurfacing surgery in 2019, has been handed a wildcard for the Wimbledon championships.

Apart from a slight groin niggle, Murray said he was reasonably happy with his condition, considering this was only his third Tour-level tournament of the year.

“I think obviously I need to improve,” Murray told reporters. “I actually felt my movement was actually quite good for both of the matches. My tennis today was not very good today. That’s the thing that I’ll need to improve the most.

“I felt like today that that sort of showed my lack of matches.”

Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez, who won the singles title in 2019 and the doubles alongside Murray, was beaten 6-2 6-3 by Canada‘s Denis Shapovalov.

(Reporting by Martyn HermanEditing by Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar)

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