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Thursday, June 30, 2016

{allcanada} Weber won't try to be Subban for Canadiens

 

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Shea Weber was captain of the Nashville Predators for six seasons, one of the most accomplished defensemen in the NHL and a perennial Norris Trophy contender who has somehow never won one.

Yet following the blockbuster trade that sent him to the Montreal Canadiens for defenseman P.K. Subban, it was not the massive void Weber would be leaving in Nashville that was a question.

It was how he would be able to replace one of the most popular players in Montreal.

"I'm not P.K. Subban, I'm not going to try to be," Weber said. "I'm going to bring my hard work and attitude and try to bring this team some wins. The biggest thing I want to do is win. I know that they've got a good base there, obviously one of the best goaltenders in the world, some top-end forwards, and I'm just excited to be joining that group."

Of course, the Canadiens don't want Weber to be Subban, otherwise they wouldn't have made the trade. General manager Marc Bergevin was happy to add the leadership, toughness, size and booming slap shot Weber brings to the Canadiens.

And although Canadiens fans were expressing their outrage over the trade on social media, they were the biggest reasons why Weber was excited to continue his career in Montreal.

"I'm looking forward to how passionate the fans are," he said. "When you go in [to Bell Centre], what everyone talks about when you look at the schedule is, 'When do we play in Montreal?' Guys look forward to going there because they know it's going to be loud, it's packed, and the fans are just very, very passionate."

Weber was the first Predators draft pick to become captain when he was named to the position after the 2009-10 season. Nashville entered the NHL in 1998, and Weber was drafted five years later, in the second round (No. 49) of the 2003 NHL Draft. He made his NHL debut Jan. 6, 2006, and it didn't take very long for Weber to become the face of the Predators in a non-traditional hockey market.

He went through many lean seasons in Nashville and is now leaving just as the Predators appear primed to be a contending team for years.

"It was emotional thinking about all I've been through," he said. "I really grew up there. It's been 11 years I spent there, so it would be not human of me to say I'm not going to miss it. But at the same time, it's in the past now and I've got to look at what's ahead of me and the situation I'm going to in Montreal. They're looking to win and they're looking to do all the right things to put a winning team together, so I'm excited to be a part of it."

In light of how much time Weber spent in Nashville, his final game in a Predators uniform was extremely disappointing. The Predators lost 5-0 to the San Jose Sharks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round, and Weber was on the ice for every San Jose goal.

"Of course you think about it, you look back," he said. "But that's one game, that doesn't sum up a career nor a year. It was a tough game, it was a tough game for a lot of people. It happens in every sport where it just happens that night is not your night. Things don't bounce, those split-second decisions you make out there are the wrong ones, and everything just seems to stockpile on you. Earlier on, it might have affected me a little bit more, but I think I've come to realize that you have to learn from it and hopefully improve and become better from it."

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{allcanada} Raonic into third round at Wimbledon with win over Seppi

 

LONDON — Canada's Milos Raonic moved into the men's third round at Wimbledon with a 7-5 (5), 6-4, 6-2 win over Italy's Andreas Seppi on Thursday.

The sixth seed from Thornhill, Ont., won a dogfight with Seppi in the first set before taking control of the match, taking his first match point opportunity with an ace.

Raonic, whose serve has been booming at the All England Club, fired 25 aces to Seppi's two. Raonic had 27 aces in his first-round win over Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta.

The Canadian, who has yet to drop a set at Wimbledon, will next face 27th-seeded American Jack Sock in the third round. Raonic has won seven straight matches against Sock, including a third-round victory at the Miami Open earlier this year.

Later Thursday, Montreal's Eugenie Bouchard faced 16th-seeded Briton Johanna Kolta at Centre Court in women's second-round action.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

{allcanada} TFC stun Whitecaps on late goal for Canadian Championship

 

VANCOUVER — Will Johnson scored a goal late in extra time as Toronto FC snatched the Voyageurs Cup out of the Vancouver Whitecaps' hands Wednesday night.

The game ended with Vancouver ahead 2-1. But the two-game, aggregate Amway Canadian Champion series ended in a 2-2 draw with Toronto winning the Voyageurs Cup due to its away goal.

The series was decided when Toronto's Tsubasa Endoh sent a ball into the box. Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted went to handle the ball but collided with defender Kendall Waston. The loose ball rolled to Johnson who put it in the end.

Defender Tim Parker, in the 68th minute, and midfielder Nicolas Mezquida, in the 47th minute had given Vancouver a 2-0 lead. The crowd of 19,376 at BC Place Stadium were on their feet convinced the Whitecaps would defend the title they won last year.

Toronto opened the final with a 1-0 win at BMO Field on June 21. Forward Sebastian Giovinco scored the goal in the 43rd minute.

Parker thrilled the crowd with a goal that started on an innocent looking play. Midfielder Matias Laba lofted a long ball into the box. A streaking Parker took the ball off his chest, then fired a left-footed shot past Toronto goalkeeper Alex Bono.

Mezquida put Vancouver on the board in the 47th minute. Just minutes after subbing in for the injured Russell Teibert, he took a cross from defender Jordan Harvey and headed the ball into the net past Bono's outstretched fingers.

The score was 0-0 at half time but the Whitecaps had several good scoring chances.

The best came in the 40th minute when Laba found the ball at his feet in the box and blasted a shot. Bono made a diving stop.

In the 38th minute midfielder Kekuta Manneh put a ball into the box that Christian Bolanos tried to flick with his foot but the ball went wide. Manneh was alone in front of the net in the 25th minute but his hard shot sailed over the crossbar.

Giovinco had two good chances for the Reds.

Waston earned a yellow card for a hard foul on the Italian in the 33rd minute. Giovinco took the free kick and curved a ball that Ousted managed to stop.

In the 10th minute, Giovinco finished a long run with a low, hard shot that just missed the goal.

The Whitecaps advanced to the final with a 3-2 aggregate victory over the Ottawa Fury. The Whitecaps lost the opening game 2-0 in Ottawa but demolished the Fury at home at week later.

Toronto opened their semifinal series against Montreal with a 4-2 home victory, then settled for a 0-0 draw on the road.

Toronto played without goalkeeper Clint Irwin who will be out six weeks with a quadriceps strain suffered last weekend.

NOTES: Teibert, who was playing in his 17th Canadian championship game, more than any other player, left at halftime with a right quad strain. … Vancouver and Toronto have met twice before in the Canadian championship final, with the Reds winning in 2011 and 2012. … Backup goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi had played in both legs of Vancouver's semifinal victory over Ottawa. … Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson played three seasons in Toronto.

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{allcanada} Sanchez leads Blue Jays over Rockies

 

DENVER — Aaron Sanchez kept the Colorado Rockies' potent offence grounded Wednesday.

He induced 14 groundouts, a great idea in Coors Field.

Sanchez allowed one run in eight innings and Josh Donaldson homered to lead the Toronto Blue Jays to a 5-3 victory over the Rockies.

Sanchez (8-1) allowed six hits, struck out three and walked two in extending his unbeaten streak to 12 games.

"Any time you can keep the ball on the ground, especially here in Coors Field, that's big," Sanchez said. "I felt like I did have everything working today."

The Blue Jays won their first series ever in Denver and their first overall since June 13-16, against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Roberto Osuna gave up RBI doubles to Mark Reynolds and Daniel Descalso and put the tying run in scoring position with one out in the ninth. He hit Charlie Blackmon to load the bases before Cristhian Adames was called out on a controversial third strike to end the game.

"I can't tell if he swung or not," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He may have swung, but I still think with the game on the line, the third base umpire is down there for a reason."

Tyler Anderson (0-2) allowed the homer to Donaldson with two outs in the third inning and an RBI single to Troy Tulowitzki two batters later to give Toronto a 3-0 lead.

Junior Lake and Edwin Encarnacion also drove in runs for the Blue Jays. Ryan Goins scored on a wild pitch in the ninth to push the lead to 5-1.

Toronto finished its road trip 3-3.

"They say if you finish .500 on your road trip that's a pretty good road trip," Donaldson said. "Obviously we wanted to win more games, but we were able to kind of salvage the road trip today."

In the seventh, Sanchez allowed a single and two walks to load the bases, but left unscathed after inducing pinch-hitter Ryan Raburn into an inning-ending double play. He followed it with a hitless eighth.

"I think his command was the key for him," Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez said. "He threw some really good pitches. He trusted his fastball. It is live and it has movement."

Tulowitzki went 2 for 13 in his first trip back to Colorado since his trade to the Blue Jays. He played in front of a warmly receptive crowd over the three days at Coors Field. The former Rockies All-Star homered Tuesday, in a game that started nearly three hours late because of intense rain and hail and didn't end until 1:12 a.m.

TOP PITCHING PROSPECT CLOSE

RHP Jeff Hoffman may want to stay near a phone. A call-up could be near.

"I'm not sure when that would be," Weiss said, "but I think he's pretty close."

Hoffman was the Blue Jays' first pick in the 2014 draft before he was shipped to Colorado as part of the trade for Tulowitzki last July.

Hoffman is the Rockies' top pitching prospect and is ranked 47th among all prospects, according to MLB.com.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Blue Jays: Brett Cecil (triceps) will likely be activated off the 15-day DL on Thursday before the Blue Jays' four-game series against the Cleveland Indians.

Rockies: SS Trevor Story (finger) sat out Wednesday. He was hit in the middle finger by a ninth-inning pitch Sunday and re-aggravated it in a late at-bat Tuesday. ... 2B DJ LeMahieu (knee) appeared as a defensive replacement Tuesday, but the Rockies chose to give him a couple more days of rest with the team off Thursday. ... RHP Adam Ottavino (elbow), rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, pitched a clean inning for Colorado's Triple-A affiliate Albuquerque Isotopes on Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: RHP R.A. Dickey (5-8, 4.23 ERA) opens a four-game set against the surging Indians on Thursday. The veteran knuckleballer struggled in his last outing, allowing a season-high four home runs against the Chicago White Sox.

Rockies: LHP Jorge De La Rosa (5-4, 6.47 ERA) will take the mound against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday. De La Rosa seems to have found his groove since rejoining the rotation on June 14, allowing just four runs over 17 innings.

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