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World Juniors assistant coach Andre Tourigny turns to Canada's penalty kill after The Catch – TSN

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — Team Canada’s save of the game on Boxing Day didn’t come from goaltender Nico Daws, but from assistant coach Andre Tourigny on the bench.

With less than two minutes to play in a one-goal game, Tourigny reached up and snagged a clearing attempt from Ty Dellandrea that appeared to be heading out of play, saving Team Canada a penalty against a Team USA that was already 3-for-5 on the power play.

Hockey already has ‘The Goal’ from Bobby Orr, but this was hockey’s version of ‘The Catch.’

“He looked like Odell Beckham Jr., there,” defenceman Kevin Bahl said.

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Tourigny even had the showmanship to match the moment. 

Since the IIHF rulebook doesn’t account for the trajectory of the puck, only where it ended up, Tourigny held up the puck to show the officials – who were huddled to debate the call – indicating that it never left the rink.

He then handed it to a fan.

“He should’ve been the MVP,” Bahl said.

He may not have another chance to make a big save, but Tourigny could remain in the spotlight as Team Canada’s assistant coach in charge of the penalty kill. Giving up multiple power-play goals again against a desperate Russian team on Saturday (12 p.m. ET on TSN 1/4/5) will be a recipe for disaster.

“We need to do a lot better,” Bahl said. “If our PK is bad, we don’t have a shot.”

Team Canada fell into an early, two-goal hole to start the tournament by allowing two goals on the kill in the first period.

They spent nearly a half hour working on both special teams in Friday’s practice. There was a lot less urgency for the power play, which went 3-for-5 against Team USA, already matching last year’s production over five games.

“We lost a few battles and that made the difference,” Tourigny said of the penalty kill. “I think our PK has been really, really good [in the pretournament games] against the U Sports, the Swedes, and the Swiss, so no worry about our PK. I think we just had bad luck and a bad day at the office, so I’m not worried about that.”

Pinto opens the scoring for USA with pretty deflection on the power play

With the Americans on the power play, Zac Jones fires one from the point and Shane Pinto gets enough of it on the deflection to beat Nico Daws, giving the USA an early 1-0 lead.

Centre Joe Veleno was on the ice for all three power-play goals against, while Bahl, Jacob Bernard-Docker and Aidan Dudas were all the ice for two of them.

Tourigny said Thursday’s miscues against the Americans were not a matter of structure, but lost battles. The focus on Friday was on the details.

“There is tons of room for improvement. All of the little things, urgency, awareness, taking care of the middle guy [in the high slot],” Bahl explained. “We can’t let tips go in from the hash mark, top of the circle. [It’s] playing your two-on-ones, taking away the most dangerous guy and giving them the least probably scoring chance.”

Of course, the easiest solution for Team Canada’s penalty kill would be to limit the number of penalties taken.

Tourigny said discipline has been stressed by head coach Dale Hunter – who finished his playing career second all-time in NHL history with 3,565 PIM – since this team first began to come together at the Summer Showcase.

“He’s huge on puck management and discipline,” Tourigny said. “For a guy who was a fan of the Nordiques, that doesn’t sound right.”

Team Canada was penalized five times – once each for tripping, hooking, high-sticking, roughing and interference – on Boxing Day.

Pinto’s second of game ties it for USA

Late in the third, Team USA is on the power play, Nick Robertson feeds Shane Pinto cross-crease for the tap in to tie the game at four.

“That’s not good enough, that’s for sure,” Tourigny said. “The players know that. I think we have to use our sticks in a better way. I think we had way too many stick penalties. We need to be smarter in our battles.

“In the long run, we will pay for it if we give too much opportunity to the best players in the world to go play a five-on-four. We have to be smarter.”

Some teams tend to struggle in the early going of the World Juniors in adapting to the different officiating standards employed at IIHF-sanctioned tournaments.

“It’s a lot different than back home,” Dellandrea said. “Everything is a bit different, cross-checks, hooks, even riding guys [into the boards].”

But Tourigny said that shouldn’t be an excuse because Team Canada has attempted to apply that same standard for the last three weeks in the run up to the main event.

“It’s not like we were not prepared,” Tourigny said.

Tourigny said Team Canada will be ready for Russia on Saturday, too, already keying in on their power play, which has a different look and is run largely below the hash marks and behind the net.

“We haven’t been together a long time,” Bahl said. “But you know what? We could have had more urgency taking guys away. We will be better.”

Contact Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @frank_seravalli​

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Penny Oleksiak back to lead Canada in Tokyo pool

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Penny Oleksiak, the first Canadian to win four medals at a Summer Olympics, will lead a Canadian swimming team eager to build on their efforts in Rio de Janeiro at next month’s Tokyo Games.

Swimming Canada unveiled a 26-member squad (16 women, 10 men) on Thursday that is a mix of experience and youth that officials hope is capable of improving on the six medals won in Rio, the country’s best haul in the pool since the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

“I think the mix of veteran leaders and new faces is awesome,” said Kylie Masse, a bronze medallist in the 100 metres backstroke in Rio and one of 10 returning Olympians. “That’s kind of how sport works, there are always older and younger athletes, and it’s a great dynamic to have.”

Leading the charge at the 2016 Rio Games was Oleksiak, who became Canada’s youngest Olympic champion winning gold in the 100m freestyle as a 16-year-old, while also grabbing silver in the 100m butterfly and two relay bronze.

The stage is set for a new star to emerge in Tokyo in 14-year-old Summer McIntosh, who edged Oleksiak in the 200m freestyle at the trials and breezed to victory in the 800m free.

At the other end of the experience and age spectrum is 37-year-old Brent Hayden, who came out of retirement to earn a spot on his fourth Olympic team, becoming the oldest Canadian Olympic swimmer in history.

Bronze medallist in the 100m freestyle at the 2012 London Olympics, Hayden clinched his spot with a win in the 50m freestyle at the Canadian trials that wrapped up on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Toby Davis)

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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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