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World Junior Championship roundup: Kemell leads Finland past Slovakia

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Day 2 games

Finland 5, Slovakia 2 — Joakim Kemell (Nashville Predators) and Oliver Kapanen (Montreal Canadiens) each had a goal and an assist for Finland in a Group B game at Avenir Centre.

Sami Paivarinta (2023 draft eligible), Jani Nyman (Seattle Kraken) and Brad Lambert (Winnipeg Jets) scored, and Jani Lampinen (2023 draft eligible) made 22 saves for Finland (1-0-1-0), which rebounded from a 3-2 overtime loss to Switzerland on Monday.

“Today we had a fresh start,” Finland coach Tomi Lamsa said. “And I’m satisfied with how we played, the kind of energy we had. Tactically I think we did good decisions. And of course, in the second period we had three goals. That was a big, big 20 minutes for us.”

Peter Repcik (2023 draft eligible) scored two power-play goals for Slovakia (0-0-0-1). Patrik Andrisik (2023 draft eligible) allowed four goals on 15 shots before being replaced in the second period by Matej Marinov (2023 draft eligible), who made seven saves.

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Paivarinta made it 1-0 at 8:54 of the first period with a shot from the right face-off dot.

Repcik scored on the rebound of a shot by Dalibor Dvorsky (2023 draft eligible) to tie it 1-1 at 19:49.

Kemell gave Finland a 2-1 lead at 3:34 of the second period before Kapanen made it 3-1 on a wraparound at 7:45.

Nyman extended the lead to 4-1 with a power-play goal at 13:56.

Tweet from @TSN_Sports: Joakim Kemell finishes off the one-timer to give Finland an early 2nd period lead.#WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/kX0fYak1Hw

Repcik’s second goal cut it to 4-2 at 3:22 of the third period, but Lambert scored on an end-to-end rush at 5:01 for the 5-2 final.

Slovakia next plays the United States on Wednesday (4 p.m. ET). Finland plays Latvia on Thursday (11 a.m. ET).

“I think we are really good players, and I think we can make a surprise,” Repcik said of playing the United States.

Sweden 1, Germany 0 — Carl Lindbom (Vegas Golden Knights) made 28 saves for his second consecutive shutout in a Group A game at Scotiabank Centre.

Lindbom made 13 saves in an 11-0 win against Austria on Monday.

Adam Engstrom (Montreal Canadiens) scored for Sweden (2-0-0-0), which went 0-for-4 on the power play.

“We didn’t play good,” Sweden forward Isak Rosen (Buffalo Sabres) said. “We’re not doing anything wrong really, but we don’t use our skill enough. We don’t go hard to the net to score goals. We could score some more goals, but (we’re) not getting there, so that’s got to be better. But a win is a win.”

Nikita Quapp (Carolina Hurricanes) made 43 saves for Germany (0-0-0-1).

“I think we played a good game,” Germany coach Tobias Abstreiter said. “I think it was the best first game that we played the last couple of years, and against a good hockey nation. We had a chance to win the game.”

Engstrom scored at 19:38 of the first period. Filip Bystedt (San Jose Sharks) won an offensive-zone face-off back to Engstrom, who shot the rolling puck through traffic past Quapp.

Tweet from @TSN_Sports: Sweden is on the board with 21 seconds to go in the 1st period 🚨#WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/suwsZRv8f0

Fabian Lysell (Boston Bruins) had a chance to extend Sweden’s lead, but he was stopped on a penalty shot at 11:23 of the second period.

Lindbom made 13 saves in the third period to preserve the win.

Germany next plays Canada on Wednesday (6:30 p.m. ET). Sweden plays Czechia on Thursday (1:30 p.m. ET).

Switzerland 3, Latvia 2 (SO) — Liekit Reichle (2023 draft eligible) scored in the seventh round of the shootout for Switzerland, which rallied in a Group B game at Avenir Centre.

Louis Robin (2023 draft eligible) and Rodwin Dionicio (2023 draft eligible) scored for Switzerland (0-2-0-0). Kevin Pasche (2023 draft eligible) made 16 saves.

Darels Dukurs (2023 draft eligible) and Dans Locmelis (Boston Bruins) scored for Latvia (0-0-1-1). Patriks Berzins (2023 draft eligible) made 27 saves.

Dionicio tied it 2-2 with 1:56 remaining in the third period on a point shot through traffic with Pasche pulled for an extra attacker.

Tweet from @TSN_Sports: DIONICIO TIES THE GAME WITH 2 MINUTES REMAINING 🇨🇭#WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/LciH60z1vc

Robin put Switzerland ahead 1-0 at 8:20 of the first period, scoring on the rebound of a shot by Brian Zanetti (Philadelphia Flyers).

Locmelis tied it 1-1 at 13:03 when he scored off his own rebound, and Dukurs gave Latvia a 2-1 lead at 17:50 of the second period on a rebound on the power play.

Latvia next plays Finland on Thursday (11 a.m. ET), when Switzerland will play the United States (4 p.m. ET).

Czechia 9, Austria 0 — Jiri Kulich (Buffalo Sabres) had a hat trick for Czechia in a Group A game at Scotiabank Centre.

Gabriel Szturc (2023 draft eligible) scored twice, David Spacek (Minnesota Wild) had a goal and an assist, Matyas Sapovaliv (Vegas Golden Knights) had four assists, Stanislav Svozil (Columbus Blue Jackets) had three assists, and Tomas Suchanek (2023 draft eligible) made eight saves and had two assists for Czechia (2-0-0-0), which defeated Canada 5-2 on Monday.

“We won and got three points, which is great, but we have to stay grounded and be ready for our next game,” Svozil said. “We played the same way the whole game, which is important. We knew Austria isn’t Canada, but they’re still a good team and we had to be ready, and we were.”

Michael Sicher (2023 draft eligible) made 38 saves for Austria (0-0-0-2), which lost 11-0 to Sweden on Monday.

“We always say in the locker room you’ve got to focus on the positive things, but obviously if you lose games 11-0, 9-0 it’s hard to just focus on the good stuff,” Austria forward Vinzenz Rohrer (Montreal Canadiens) said. “For sure our third period is something we can hang on. … The emotions went up, the guys were blocking shots. So I think that’s one of the things that we got to keep up.”

Jakub Brabenec (Vegas Golden Knights) made it 1-0 at 3:50 of the first period with a power-play goal.

Kulich extended the lead to 2-0 at 16:26 when he scored from the right face-off circle after receiving a seam pass from the left point by Svozil.

Tweet from @TSN_Sports: Jiri Kulich rips it shortside, giving Czechia a 2-0 lead! #WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/lBll8kmH9y

Petr Hauser (New Jersey Devils) jammed in a loose puck in the crease to make it 3-0 at 18:39.

Szturc made it 4-0 at 1:05 of the second period, and Ales Cech (2023 draft eligible) pushed it to 5-0 at 2:56 with a point shot that squeezed between Sicher’s pads.

Kulich scored on a power play to make it 6-0 at 8:16. Szturc then made it 7-0 at 10:02 when he finished a give-and-go with Jaroslav Chmelar (New York Rangers).

Kulich completed the hat trick on a breakaway eight seconds into the third period to make it 8-0, and Spacek scored at 14:13 for the 9-0 final.

Czechia next plays Sweden on Thursday (1:30 p.m. ET), when Austria will play Canada (6:30 p.m. ET).

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Leafs may have lucked out with timing of Auston Matthews and Matt Murray injuries

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and goaltender Matt Murray celebrate after defeating the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena in Denver on Dec. 31, 2022.Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

Not that it is ever good to have key players injured, but the Maple Leafs may have caught a break with Auston Matthews and Matt Murray.

With the NHL’s all-star weekend just ahead, both will have more time to nurse what ails them while also possibly missing less action.

Matthews suffered a knee sprain in an overtime victory against the New York Rangers on Jan. 25 and the team’s star centre is expected to be sidelined at least three weeks. It will cause him to miss Saturday’s all-star spectacle in Sunrise, Fla.

Murray, who had already surrendered the starting job in Toronto’s net to Ilya Samsonov, is now plagued by an ankle affliction and it is anybody’s guess when he will return.

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The 28-year-old, whose acquisition was seen as risky owing to his history of injuries, has already missed more than a month with an adductor strain. He has not played 40 games in a season since 2018-19.

“There’s something there that’s going to require time for sure,” Sheldon Keefe, the Maple Leafs’ head coach, said. “We won’t quite know, really, until we come back from the break.”

Toronto has a contest against Boston at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday before its eight-day recess begins. Its next game after that will be at Columbus on Feb. 10.

Despite a lengthy list of injuries, the Maple Leafs have done well over the first two-thirds of the season. They are 31-12-8, second in the NHL’s Atlantic Division and a shoe-in to reach the playoffs even if 11 points behind the Bruins.

Boston is an almost incomprehensible 38-7-5 but arrives in town with three consecutive losses. A win will boost the Maple Leafs’ faint hopes of catching up.

“You want to go into the break feeling good,” Keefe said Monday after a team meeting and an optional workout for players at the Ford Performance Centre. “We expect a tough game for sure.

“Our job is to keep pace and apply pressure a little more, just like the teams behind us are trying to do to us. It is a great way to go into the all-star break. There is a lot of excitement.”

After an uninspired effort in a loss to Ottawa on Friday, Toronto rebounded to dismantle the Washington Capitals 5-1 on Sunday.

John Tavares recorded two assists in the 1,000th game of his NHL career, Morgan Rielly scored for the first time this campaign and Samsonov recorded 23 saves as he ran his record on home ice to 15-1-1.

“We played today more for John,” Samsonov said after improving his record to 17-5-2 overall. He did not realize Tavares was about to reach a milestone until a pre-game ceremony.

“One thousand games,” Samonov said, pausing, “That’s amazing.”

Rielly, who is respected as an offensively skilled defenceman, had gone without a goal in 35 previous games this season. In the best year of his career, he had 20 goals.

“Mostly, I just feel relief,” Rielly said. “We wanted to respond after a bad game against Ottawa. We weren’t very proud of ourselves when we went home from here on Friday.”

Joseph Woll, who is 12-1 with a .928 save percentage for the Toronto Marlies, has been called up from the American Hockey League as Samsonov’s backup.

With any luck at all, Woll will not be pressed to play thanks to the upcoming prolonged break.

But first the Bruins come to town.

“Every game against Boston is special,” Alexander Kerfoot, the Maple Leafs’ forward, said.

William Nylander had an assist on Sunday and on Monday was named the league’s second star of the week. He leads Toronto with 28 goals and is tied with Mitch Marner for the team lead with 59 points.

“We are just trying to carve our way back to Boston,” Nylander said. “We have to keeping winning games and see what happens.

“The Bruins are on an incredible pace and will be hard to catch but we are going to try our best to do that.”

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Cult figure Bobby Hull was a hockey wild man in a bygone NHL era – The Globe and Mail

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Chicago Blackhawks legend Bobby Hull is introduced to fans during a convention in Chicago on July 26, 2019.Amr Alfiky/The Associated Press

Before Bobby Hull showed up, the NHL was long on workmanlike effort and short on rock ’n’ roll erraticism. Now that he’s gone, it’s returned to its former state.

But for a while there, Hull played hockey the way Led Zeppelin played arenas – the most interesting stories didn’t happen in public view, and few of them were the sort you’d want to hear in decent company.

One of the great pure goal scorers in the game’s history and its most notable off-season farmer, Hull bridged the gap between the NHL’s working-class roots and its jet-set aspirations. His career was full of ‘what ifs’ – what if he’d stayed in the NHL past his early 30s?; what if he’d been allowed to play in the Summit Series? The best testament to Hull’s athletic greatness was that despite often working against his own best interests, he still managed to be remembered as great.

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Hull, 84, died on Monday.

Like many of his contemporaries, Hull was the sort they grew big on the farm. Born in rural Ontario, he came up through the provincial ranks and joined the Chicago Black Hawks in 1957. He was only 18, but already fully formed as a player.

In a league full of big, tough men, Hull was bigger and tougher, but also remarkably skilled. His slap shot is still remembered as a weapon of NHL mass destruction.

Teammate Glenn Hall once said of it: “The idea was not to stop that thing, but to avoid getting killed.”

Defending Hull was a special challenge because he didn’t have to find a way around you. He could just go through you.

He remains the only hockey player who is more recognizable with a pitchfork in his hands, bailing hay, than he was in uniform on the ice. Up until the chemists got involved, Hull may have had the most imposing physique in sports history. He put it to brutal use on the ice.

He was the first player to score more than 50 goals in a campaign. He scored more points than anyone ever had in a season. He won a single Stanley Cup, giving him access to the best-ever conversation.

In a two-fisted league, Hull and his Chicago teammates played a particularly exuberant brand of hockey. It made them famous outside the game’s usual strongholds.

Like a lot of other famous people in the sixties, Hull took full advantage of the social perks.

I spent an hour with him in a hotel room a decade ago. He was releasing a book and in high spirits, clearly enjoying the attention. But there was a hook of resentment in every story he told.

“We had guys who liked to have fun. But when they dropped the puck at 7:30, we played guilty,” Hull said. I remember him titled forward, waving his hands around. They were enormous.

Guilty?

“We used to say to each other, ‘C’mon, guys. We were pissed up last night. So now we gotta play guilty.’ And there are a lot of guys who don’t understand that – these coaches, I mean. Don’t bother us, cause we’re the guys who know how to play. I never listened to a coach in my life.”

This sort of approach worked for Hull, until it didn’t.

When he publicly mused that he would consider leaving the NHL to join the upstart World Hockey Association for a million dollars – a ridiculous amount at the time – guess what? They gave him a million dollars. That was 1972.

Having got what he wanted, Hull found out it wasn’t what he needed. Once the biggest deal in the biggest league, Hull became the richest guy in an outfit no one cared about.

He continued to score goals in the WHA through the seventies, but his star dimmed. His turncoat status meant he wasn’t invited to join Team Canada for the Summit Series. Just like that, Hull was cut out of Canadian history.

Eventually, he’d find his way back to the national team and the NHL, but the damage had been done. Hull became a cautionary tale about valuing the wrong things.

Post-career, shorn of the protection that teams and the journalists who cover them offer to active stars, Hull went from colourful to objectionable. In the late nineties, it was reported that Hull had given an interview to an English-language Russian newspaper in which he praised Hitler and denigrated Black people.

Once back home, Hull denied it all. The paper stuck to its version of the story and the issue was left unresolved. Whatever the truth of it, Hull was pushed down to the second tier of NHL legends. He still worked the autograph circuit, but no one was anxious to have him make appearances on behalf of the game.

Hull leaned into his reputation as a hockey wild man rather than a legend of the sport. By that point, he was most familiar to contemporary fans as the father of Brett Hull. That seemed to bother him as well.

Where does Hull figure in the pantheon? As a cult figure.

The NHL’s golden age is chock-a-block with team-first guys who played the game the right way – Howe, Beliveau, Richard, Orr, et al. The hard thing is finding a guy in there that anyone had a bad word to say about.

Hull was the wild card in that pack. He played like a virtuoso and lived like a roadie. He made terrible decisions, but kept emerging from them, diminished but intact. He was hockey’s fallen star, and one who kept falling.

It doesn’t make him heroic, but it does make him interesting.

That time I met him he was going through his own book, looking at pictures of himself and pointing out the other people in them.

“He’s dead. He’s dead. He’s dead,” Hull said, quiet and contemplative for the first time that afternoon. “I hate it when I’m the only one alive in these things.”

Now he’s gone, and an era with him. If it can be said that the NHL had a wild, uncontrollable period in its adolescence, Hull embodied it. Then, like a lot of precocious teens, he never quite get over it.

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Canucks left searching for off-ice leadership in wake of Horvat trade – Sportsnet.ca

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