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Why Canadiens believe Stanley Cup Final is ‘a long way from being over’ – Sportsnet.ca

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Well before he pulled on the sweater, Eric Staal already had a good grasp of what this all means.

Way back in 2006 — the first and only other time Staal has enjoyed a playoff run this long — the budding star and his Carolina Hurricanes strode into Bell Centre and knocked off the home team, the first step towards a stunning journey toward silver and champagne.

From both an enemy’s and a Canadian’s point of view, Staal was all too familiar with the deafening passion that binds the city of Montreal to its hockey team. Not much surprises a player 17 years and 1,293 games deep in the league.

Yet ever since Staal was dealt back to his home country, from Buffalo and the deadline, the closet Habs supporters in his circle have been coming out of the woodwork.

“For me now, being a Canadien, it’s now hearing from so many people that maybe I didn’t realize were massive Montreal Canadiens fans,” Staal said Canada Day morning, before hopping on the charter.

“There’s so many people around Canada that follow this team and follow this organization — and it’s very special. I know my dad and my mom and my family have been getting a lot of messages from a lot of people that are following closely and supporting us and me. So, it’s been fun.”

Livestream every game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, blackout-free. Plus get the NHL Draft, Free Agency, Blue Jays & MLB, NBA Playoffs matchups and more.

Less fun? The results in Tampa Bay, where Lightning coach Jon Cooper leveraged last change, Blake Coleman wielded a magic wand instead of a hockey stick, and Andrei Vasilevskiy outduelled Carey Price something severe.

Staal echoes the chorus that Montreal “deserved a better fate” in Wednesday’s 3-1 Game 2 loss. The Habs outshot the defending champs 43-23 and generated 62.6 per cent of the expected goals, but the Lightning scored 75 per cent of the actual goals.

Like punishment, hockey can be cruel and unusual.

Strange will be the scene Friday at the first Canada-hosted Stanley Cup Final game in more than a decade and the first in Montreal in more than 28 years.

Despite a pitch from Canadiens executive VP and chief commercial officer France Margaret Bélanger to increase capacity to 50 per cent (10,500) for Games 3 and 4, the Quebec public health authorities will limit Bell Centre to 3,500.

“Bell Centre is always loud.” Canadien-turned-Lightning defenceman Mikhail Sergachev said. “Doesn’t matter how many fans they got there.”

Added young star Cole Caufield, who won world junior gold just six months ago: “This is a stage like no other. You can’t really compare this to anything. … Obviously wish we could have more people, but certain situations going on. They’ll still be loud and proud to be in there, so we’re really excited to get back home and play in front of our fans. I know outside will be pretty exciting too, so you know we’re just looking forward to Game 3 and having fans in the building.”

All that unseated anxiety and hope will be pushed to the streets. Fans will flood oversized screens outdoors, just as they did when the Canadiens punched their ticket against Vegas last week.

“Unfortunately, I think there’ll be a lot more people outside of the building than inside, which will be a little bit different, but we know that they’re there. We know that the support is there. And we know that everybody is as excited as we are to be in this position — in the final,” said Staal, viewing the emergence of head coach Dominique Ducharme from quarantine and home ice as a double jolt.

“We’ll use all that we can to have the energy to get the W.”

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Staal thought back to his Caufield-esque contributions to that defence-first 2006 Hurricanes squad, how the favoured Carolina leapt to a 2-0 lead in the final only to see the scrappy Oilers push the series to the limit.

“The series is still a long way from being over. Clearly, I remember that being on the other side,” Staal said. “Back in ’06, it got all the way to Game 7 — and anybody knows anything can happen in Game 7.”

Canadiens assistant coach Alex Burrows knows too well.

Burrows is the club’s link to the last Canadian franchise to make it this far.

Following Wednesday’s hard-luck loss, Burrows walked into the coach’s room and reminded Luke Richardson that the Vancouver Canucks were up 2-0 to the Boston Bruins in 2011… and we all know how that ended.

“You gotta be careful you don’t get overconfident, because they ended up losing that series,” Richardson said. “So, we got to keep that in mind.”

The Canadiens, led by Price and Shea Weber, will draw upon history and legacy and gold-medal spotlights, sure. But more so their recent rallying from 1-3 to stun Toronto in Round 1 and 0-1 to upset Vegas in the semis.

These are the stories competitors tell themselves standing in the shadows of a mountain.

Montreal must now win four of five games to steal the belt.

The last time the 2021 Lightning lost four of five games is no they haven’t.

The series now pits Knowing You Can versus Belief That You Can.

Starting Friday, Belief has home ice.

“There’s a determination. And you’re right, I think we can pull from some confidence from being down in series before and being confident in our style of play and just be a little bit more determined to finish,” Richardson said.

“Maybe score that first goal, play with the lead in the series, and see where it takes us.”

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Olympian Laurel Hubbard says not a transgender icon but an athlete, plans to retire – CTV News

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TOKYO —
The first openly transgender Olympian said on Tuesday she would retire from weightlifting and felt her landmark appearance at the Tokyo Games should be fast forgotten as sport takes greater strides to be more inclusive.

New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard, 43, said she had never sought publicity, nor regards herself a role model or trailblazer, but just wants to be treated like any other athlete on sport’s biggest stage.

“I don’t think it should be historic. I think as we move into a new and more understanding world, people are starting to realize that people like me are just people,” Hubbard said of her participation in Tokyo, which was among the most contentious issues ahead of the Olympics.

“We are human and, as such, I hope that just being here is enough,” she said in a rare interview with international media.

“All I have ever wanted as an athlete is to be regarded as an athlete.”

The soft-spoken, media-shy Hubbard made an unexpected early exit on Monday, eliminated 10 minutes into her +87kg contest after failures in her opening three lifts.

Hubbard, who was born male and transitioned eight years ago, competed in Tokyo under the rules of a 2015 International Olympic Committee (IOC) consensus on trans athletes. The IOC is currently reviewing those guidelines.

Her participation has stoked a huge debate on whether being more inclusive towards transgender women athletes means disadvantaging those born as women.

The IOC’s critics argue transgender athletes have an edge in skeletal and muscular development from being born male and say rules allowing trans athletes to contest women’s events could be abused by countries seeking to win more Olympic medals.

‘SMALL STEP’

Advocates for trans athletes dismiss that as extremely unlikely, saying hormone therapy during transition negates perceived performance advantages.

Hubbard, who was twice the age of her competitors, said she was considering retiring because age had caught up with her and weightlifting had taken a physical toll.

“What I hope is, if I am in a position to look back, that this will just be a small part of history, just a small step,” Hubbard said.

“I really hope that with time, any significance to this occasion is diminished by things to come.”

She said she was no icon for trans athletes.

“I hope that just by being here, I can provide some sense of encouragement,” she said.

“I just hope that different people who are undergoing any difficulty or struggle … that they can perhaps see that there are opportunities in the world. There are opportunities to live authentically, and as we are.”

Save Women’s Sport Australasia, which has urged more scientific study and regulations on transgender athletes, said the IOC had been rash in determining that biological males who identify as women could compete in women’s sports.

“It feels quite wrong that New Zealander Laurel Hubbard has borne the brunt of what is quite obviously a flawed policy,” it said in a statement.

Hubbard applauded the IOC for being courageous but agreed more conversation and studies were necessary.

She believes the negative attention on her was based on emotion rather than principles and that people were reacting out of fear.

“I tried not to dwell on negative coverage or perception because it makes a hard job even harder,” she said.

“It’s hard enough lifting a barbell. But if you’re putting more weight on it, it makes it an impossible task really.”

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Tokyo Olympics Day 11 Review: Andre De Grasse sets scorching pace in men's 200m – Yahoo Canada Sports

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The majority of action during the Tokyo Olympics happens when most Canadians are fast asleep. While you were cozy in your bed, however, members of Team Canada were making their push for the podium.

Here’s what you missed from Day 10 of the Summer Games:

Women’s K1 200m Canoe Sprint: Andreanne Langlois qualifies for Final A

Rowing to a time of 39.952 seconds, Langlois claimed third place in Semifinal 2 to earn a lane in Final A. Fellow Canadian Michelle Russell finished with a time of 40.224 seconds, but she placed seventh in Semifinal 2 and raced in Final B.

In Final A, Langlois finished ninth with a time of 40.473 seconds.

Men’s C2 1000m Canoe Sprint: Roland Varga and Connor Fitzpatrick secure lane in Final A

The Canadian duo of Varga and Fitzpatrick captured a spot in Final A after finishing third in Semifinal 2 with a time of 3:27.145. 

In Final A, Varga and Fitzpatrick placed sixth with a time of 3:30.157.

Women’s 400m: Kyra Constantine earns spot in semifinal

Finishing 21st overall in Round 1 with a time of 51.69 seconds, Constantine was the lone Canadian to advance to the semis. Country-mate Natassha McDonald placed 36th with a time of 53.54 seconds and did not advance.

Andre De Grasse raced into the men's 200m final with a Canadian-record time, and everything else you missed from Day 11 in Tokyo. (Getty)

Andre De Grasse raced into the men’s 200m final with a Canadian-record time, and everything else you missed from Day 11 in Tokyo. (Getty)

Men’s 200m: Andre De Grasse and Aaron Brown will race for gold

After both Canadians advanced from Round 1, De Grasse and Brown finished first (19.73 seconds) and third (19.99 seconds), respectively, in the semifinal to earn a lane in the final with an opportunity to win the gold medal.

The men’s 200m final is set to take place on Wednesday, August 4 at 8:55 AM EDT.

Women’s Team Pursuit Cycling: Canada finishes fourth in bronze final

Racing with the United States, Canada timed in at 4:10.552, which just put them off the podium with a fourth-place finish.

The U.S. won bronze, Great Britain secured silver, and Germany captured gold.

Women’s Beam Gymnastics: Elsabeth Black narrowly misses podium

Totalling 13.866 in the final, Black finished fourth in the event.

Simone Biles of the U.S. earned bronze with a score of 14.000. Tang Xijing of China won silver with a score of 14.233, and China’s Guan Chenchen claimed gold with a score of 14.633.

Men’s 5000m: Justyn Knight and Mohammed Ahmed advance from Round 1

Knight finished with a time of 13:30.22 to place third while Ahmed raced to a time of 13:38.96 to finish 13th. Both competitors advanced to the next race.

Fellow Canadian Lucas Bruchet finished 27th with a time of 13:44.08, but he did not qualify.

Women’s Duet Artistic Swimming: Claudia Holzner and Jacqueline Simoneau qualify for final

Earning a combined score of 182.7131 in the duet free routine and technical routine, Holzner and Simoneau finished fifth in the preliminary round to advance to the duet free routine final.

Women’s Hammer Throw: Camryn Rogers finishes fifth in final

Throwing an impressive distance of 74.35m, Rogers finished fifth in the final.

Poland’s Malwina Kopron captured bronze with a distance of 75.49m, China’s Wang Zheng nabbed silver with a distance of 77.03m, while Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland scored gold with a distance of 78.48m.

Women’s Beach Volleyball: Both Canadian squads ousted in quarterfinals 

The defending world champions, Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes, were upset in the quarters in three sets by Australia’s Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar. The Canadian pair settles for fifth place in Tokyo.

Canada’s Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson were also eliminated from medal contention on Tuesday, falling to Latvia’s Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka in three sets.

When it comes to athletic accomplishments at the Olympics, none may be better than what we saw from Warholm on Day 11.

The Norwegian star completed the 400m hurdles in 45.94 seconds, absolutely demolishing his own previous world record of 46.70 seconds.

It’s truly an incredible accomplishment, especially when you consider the fastest time of any runner in the 400m semifinal with no hurdles was 43.88 seconds at these Olympics.

Equally impressive to his race was his celebration, as Warholm was absolutely wired.

That’s a gold medal celebration.

How many medals has Canada won in the Summer Olympics?

Canada has 14 medals in Tokyo heading into Day 12.

Gold: Margaret Mac Neil (women’s 100m butterfly), Maude Charron (weightlifting, women’s 64kg), Women’s Eight Rowing

Silver: Women’s 4x100m freestyle relay, Jennifer Abel and Melissa Citrini-Beaulieu (women’s 3m synchronized springboard), Kylie Masse (women’s 100m backstroke), Kylie Masse (women’s 200m backstroke)

Bronze: Jessica Klimkait (judo, women’s under-57 kg), Softball, Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (judo, women’s 63kg), Penny Oleksiak (women’s 200m freestyle), Caileigh Filmer and Hillary Janssens (women’s pair rowing), Women’s 4×100 medley relay, Andre De Grasse (men’s 100m)

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Olympic wake-up call: Simone Biles, Ellie Black inspire on beam, kayaker wins 2 gold in 1 hour – CBC.ca

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In a highly anticipated balance beam final, gymnast Simone Biles of the United States won a bronze medal Tuesday, while Canada’s Ellie Black finished just off the podium in fourth place. 

Both women were inspiring on the beam and throughout the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Biles was returning to Olympic competition after withdrawing from events to look after her mental health. Black had reinjured her ankle in training and dropped from the individual all-around for a shot at the beam. 

Biles earned a score of 14.000 for a seventh Olympic medal, and Black delivered a powerful performance for 13.866. The 25-year-old from Halifax was tearful and embraced her coach after her performance. 

Ellie Black competes to a fourth-place finish at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre. (Lisi Niesner/Reuters)

China finally reached the podium in women’s artistic gymnastics in Tokyo. Guan Chenchen won gold and Tang Xijing earned silver.  

Here’s what else you may have missed on Tuesday in Tokyo: 

Bring on the cheers

Find live streams, must-watch video highlights, breaking news and more in one perfect Olympic Games package. Following Team Canada has never been easier or more exciting.

More from Tokyo 2020

Upcoming men’s 200-metre semis

Canada’s Andre De Grasse and Aaron Brown have both qualified to race in the men’s 200-metre semifinals. 

You can watch them compete in that race, scheduled to start at 7:50 a.m. ET here.

De Grasse ran 20.56 seconds to finish third in his qualifying heat, while Brown won his own with a time of 20.38 seconds.

De Grasse took the silver in Rio 2016, with Jamaica’s Usain Bolt speeding to his third consecutive gold medal in the event. Brown raced to 16th place.

Canada’s Andre De Grasse competes in men’s 200-metre heats during the Tokyo Olympic Games on Tuesday. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

It was that semifinal that gave the world the iconic photo of the pair, with De Grasse and Bolt sharing smiles as the Canadian tried to push past him at the finish. 

Sport climbing debut

It was a special moment for Canadian sport climber Sean McColl, who is among the first Olympians in the sport. 

The 33-year-old from North Vancouver had advocated for sport climbing to be included in the Games, and saw his dream become a reality with its debut in Tokyo. 

Sean McColl of Canada competes in the speed event of sport climbing at the Tokyo Olympic Games. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

“I am incredibly honoured to be part of this historical group, to be forever written into the history books of [the International Federation of Sport Climbing’s] first Olympics,” he wrote on Instagram. 

Fellow Canadian and family friend Alannah Yip, also from North Vancouver, will make her debut on Wednesday.

New Zealander wins 2 gold, 1 hour apart

It only took just over an hour for Lisa Carrington of New Zealand to paddle her way to two Olympic gold medals. 

For a third straight time, the 32-year-old claimed Olympic gold in the single kayak 200-metre race. Afterward, Carrington and partner Caitlin Regal won gold in the doubles 500-metre event. 

  • Have a weird or random question about the Tokyo Olympic Games? We want to hear from you for an upcoming story: Email us: Ask@cbc.ca

Carrington set Olympic records in both.  

Lisa Carrington of Team New Zealand reacts after winning her gold medal in the women’s K1 200-metre final at Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

She flew to the finish in a time of 38.120 seconds in the individual round. Then with teammate Regal, she broke the doubles time in one minute 35.785 seconds. 

Women’s team pursuit finishes 4th

The Canadian women’s team pursuit squad came fourth after losing their bronze medal race to the United States.

The Americans were silver medallists in Rio 2016 and London 2012, while Canada was looking to repeat its back-to-back bronzes.

Team Canada races in the women’s team pursuit event at the Izu Velodrome in Shizuoka, Japan. (Matthew Childs/Reuters)

The Canadian team of Allison Beveridge, Annie Foreman-Mackey, Ariane Bonhomme and Georgia Simmerling couldn’t quite catch up to their opponent and finished in a time of four minutes 10.552 seconds.

The United States were ahead in a time of four minutes 08.040 seconds. 

Canadian squads bounced from medal contention

The Canadian men’s volleyball team and women’s water polo team won’t be bringing home medals from Tokyo. Both fell in their quarter-final matches on Tuesday. 

The men went down in straight sets on the court (21-25, 28-30, 22-25) to the Russian Olympic Committee. While the Canadians were hoping to compete for a medal, their match ended in a repeat of their fate in Rio 2016

The Canadian women took on the two-time consecutive gold medallists U.S. in the pool, and lost 16-5. It was their first appearance in the Olympic tournament since Athens 2004, where the women finished seventh and didn’t reach the quarter-final stages. 

Smashing a world record

Norweigan hurdler Karsten Warholm destroyed his previous world record in the intense heat and humidity of Tokyo. 

It had only been a month and two days since he broke it the first time, shattering a record held by American Kevin Young that stood since the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. 

Karsten Warholm of Norway celebrates after winning gold Tuesday and setting a new world record in the men’s 400-metre hurdles. (Phil Noble/Reuters)

Warholm had an incredible performance in the 400-metre hurdles final, winning gold in a time of 45.94 seconds. The 25-year-old’s jaw dropped when he saw his time. He grabbed his jersey, ripping it open across his chest in celebration. 

American Rai Benjamin broke the record, too, but came close behind in second. 

  • Have a weird or random question about the Olympic Games? We want to hear from you for an upcoming story: Email us: Ask@cbc.ca

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