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Who to watch at World Juniors – IIHF

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Canada

Connor Bedard, C, 16:
He’s made it. Just being on this roster is an insanely outstanding achievement for a 16-year-old, even a phenomenon, at this stage and in light of the roster competition. What role he gets is almost secondary, but you’ll want to see every shift as Bedard is “the future” and perhaps the most highly touted Canadian prospect since another Connor, namely McDavid. And don’t forget – Bedard had 14 points in seven games at the U18 Worlds in Texas as a 15-year-old.

Sebastian Cossa, G, 19:
One of the best and most successful starters in the WHL, Cossa has done a lot of winning the past three years. It’s basically all he does. Uncertain whether he’ll even be Canada’s starter, if Cossa gets the call, he brings a whole heck of a lot to the table for a nation that has racked up a lot of medals the past 30 years.

Kent Johnson, LW, 19:
23 points in 17 NCAA games for Michigan is a scoring clip seldom seen from a sophomore at the college level, but the fifth overall draft pick in last summer’s draft is a special offensive talent and can make opponents look like amateurs almost at will. With the talent he’ll be surrounded by at this tournament, there could be quite a few fireworks when Johnson is on the ice.

Jake Neighbours, LW, 19:
Almost making the St. Louis Blues for good this season with an impressive nine-game introduction, Neighbours has continued to produce in a dominant manner since returning to the WHL, much like his Canadian teammate Mason McTavish in the OHL. Still, Neighbours is known for leadership and Canada has him here to deliver that in spades. There’s little reason to believe he won’t.

Cole Perfetti, C, 19:
With 15 points in 17 AHL games, the Winnipeg Jets draft pick is one of the more accomplished pro players performing in this tournament and can play the game any way you want it, although it’s his habit of producing offence that makes him looking like one of the biggest names in Edmonton this winter. He’ll be getting a big role and chances are, he’s up for the challenge in a big way.

Owen Power, D, 19:
Last summer’s number one overall draft pick, Power surprised many in the hockey world by returning to Michigan for a sophomore season before turning pro. After being a top line player for Canada in winning gold at the men’s world championships, Power is basically an NHL-ready everyday player ready to will his country to its next gold medal. All eyes will be on one of the world’s top defensive prospects. Yours should be too!

Shane Wright, C, 17:
It’s uncertain how much ice time Wright will have at this tournament, seeing as how he’s playing for a team that is loaded with talent, but don’t be surprised if he scores well despite less ice time than many of his compatriots. After all, Wright is the odds-on favourite to go first overall in next summer’s draft. Despite modest production with “just” 30 points in 22 OHL games this season, he was unstoppable for Canada at the U18 Worlds with 14 points and a +12 rating in five games.

Olen Zellweger, D, 18:
A below-average sized defenceman, Zellweger is staring at a top pairing role in this tournament thanks to a smooth, confident game that he’s been putting on display for two straight seasons. His 27 points and +24 rating in 22 WHL games this year have him on pace for one of the best PPG averages of a defenceman in that league this century. He also was a key piece to Canada’s U18 gold medal last spring in Texas. Watch this guy continue to excel, turning just about everything he touches into gold.

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Olympics-Canadian snowboarder Parrot eyes Beijing gold after cancer battle

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Canadian snowboarder Max Parrot said on Friday that the mental toughness he gained during his battle with cancer carried over to the slopes where the slopestyle Pyeongchang silver medallist now hopes to go one better and win gold at the Beijing Olympics.

Parrot’s career was put on hold when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in December 2018. Two months after being declared cancer free in mid-2019, Parrot won an X Games big air gold medal in his return to competition.

Showing no signs of rust, Parrot also won a World Cup gold later that year and started off 2020 with another big air gold at the X Games in Aspen.

“Every year I become better and better physically and mentally, and especially going through such a big challenge as cancer you get really more mentally tough,” Parrot told a virtual news conference.

“If you look back at my season right after my cancer … It was pretty much my best year ever.”

Parrot finished fifth in his Olympic debut at the 2014 Sochi Games before a runner-up showing at Pyeongchang.

The 27-year-old Canadian pre-qualified for the slopestyle/big air team headed to Beijing based on his results from the 2020-21 winter season and is not shy about his intentions.

“Of course my goal is to go for the gold, that’s for sure,” said Parrot, whose cancer battle is chronicled in a documentary called “MAX – Life as a Gold Medal” that was released this week on his website.

“But I am really happy as well that if I don’t get the gold I won’t have any regrets because I did everything in my power over the past couple months and that was something important for me as well, just to not have any regrets.”

While there were some days during Parrot’s cancer battle where he wondered if he would ever return to the sport he loves, he said he never let those thoughts take over.

“When I had cancer it was ‘OK, I’m going to do treatments, I am going to do them as best as possible’ and even if I didn’t know if the treatments would work or not, in my mind cancer had no chance against me,” said Parrot.

“I had a lot of determination and motivation and the whole time I just wanted to get back to my passion as soon as possible. But never getting back to it was not really an option in my head.”

 

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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Canada's Denis Shapovalov is on to the fourth round of the Australian Open – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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The Canadian Press


Published Friday, January 21, 2022 7:28AM EST


Last Updated Friday, January 21, 2022 6:40PM EST

MELBOURNE, Australia — Canada’s Denis Shapovalov has a spot in the fourth round of the Australian Open for the first time in his career.

He beat Reilly Opelka 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Friday to set up a showdown with third-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany.

The Canadian has been pushed hard at Melbourne Park, averaging three hours 37 minutes of court time per win so far.

“I’ve gotten very familiar with the ice baths the last week,” Shapovalov said with a smile in an on-court interview. “We’ve become very good friends.”

At six foot 11 and 225 pounds, Opelka is an imposing force on the court. He had a 17-10 edge in aces on the 14th-seeded Shapovalov but made 46 unforced errors.

“Early on I actually found a rhythm on his serve,” Shapovalov said. “I was able to chip quite a lot back, so I was happy with that. I think I did a really good of just taking the chances today.

“Obviously it’s really tough to get the rhythm against a guy like that so I’m super happy.”

It was the first career meeting between Shapovalov and the 23rd-seeded American. Zverev, meanwhile, has a 4-2 edge in head-to-head matchups against the Canadian.

“Hopefully I can win,” Zverev said. “It’s going to be a great match.”

Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ont., previously reached the third round at Melbourne Park in 2019 and 2021. The 22-year-old’s best Grand Slam performance was a semifinal showing last year at Wimbledon.

Zverev defeated Maldova’s Radu Albot 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in third-round play.

“Radu is in great form right now … 1/8I’m 3/8 happy to be through in three sets,” Zverev said.

Ninth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal was scheduled to play Britain’s Daniel Evans in third-round play Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2022.

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Defense trade targets for the Maple Leafs, Sheldon Keefe's "soft" comment, and how many games should Petr Mrazek start the rest of the way? – MLHS Podcast Episode 38 – Maple Leafs Hot Stove

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Founded in 2008, Maple Leafs Hotstove (MLHS) has grown to be the most visited independent team-focused hockey website online (Quantcast).
Independently owned and operated, MLHS provides thorough and wide-ranging content, varying from news, opinion and analysis, to pre-game and long-form game reviews, and a weekly feature piece entitled “Leafs Notebook.”
MLHS has been cited by: ESPN, Sports Illustrated, CBC News, USA Today, Fox Sports, Yahoo! Sports, NBC Sports, TSN, Sportsnet, Grantland, CTV News, CBSSports, The Globe & Mail, The National Post, The Toronto Star, The Toronto Sun, Global News, Huffington Post, and many more.

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