Monday, July 24, 2017

{allcanada} July 25: Neilson replaces Kelly as coach of Maple Leafs


1977: Roger Neilson gets his first job as an NHL coach when he's hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs to replace Red Kelly.

Neilson comes to Toronto after spending 10 seasons as coach of Peterborough of the Ontario Hockey League and one as an assistant with Dallas of the Central Hockey League. He leads the Maple Leafs to the Semifinals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in his first season, but is fired after Toronto goes 34-33-13 in 1978-79. Neilson goes on to coach seven other NHL teams and finishes his career in 2001-02. He coaches exactly 1,000 games and finishes 460-378-3 with 159 ties. Neilson's only trip to the Stanley Cup Final comes with the Vancouver Canucks in 1982; however, the New York Islanders sweep the series in four games.

Neilson earns the nickname "Captain Video" because he's one of the first coaches to use videotape to analyze opponents. He also pioneers the use of headsets with microphones to communicate with his assistant coaches. He dedicates his life to hockey and is regarded as one of the best teachers in the sport.

Neilson is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November 2002; he dies of cancer on June 21, 2003.



1975: Evgeni Nabokov, who holds many of the San Jose Sharks' goaltending records, is born in Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan, then a part of the Soviet Union. The Sharks take a flyer on Nabokov in the ninth round (No. 219) of the 1994 NHL Draft. He comes to North America in 1997 and spends most of the next three seasons in the minor leagues before being promoted to the NHL for 11 games in 1999-2000. Nabokov wins the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie in 2000-01 (32-21-7, 2.19 goals-against average, .915 save percentage, six shutouts), is named a First-Team All-Star in 2007-08, when he leads the NHL with 46 wins, and spends 10 seasons with the Sharks. Beginning in 2011, he plays three seasons with the Islanders, then joins the Tampa Bay Lightning for the 2014-15 season before announcing his retirement on Feb. 11, 2015. He has more wins (293), shutouts (50) and games played (563) than any goalie in Sharks history, and ends his NHL career with 353 wins, 59 shutouts and 2.44 GAA.


1990: Left wing Brian Propp, one of the NHL's most consistent scorers of the 1980s, signs as a free agent with the Minnesota North Stars after 11 seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers. Propp scores 73 points (26 goals, 47 assists) in his first season with Minnesota, then contributes 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in 23 games during the North Stars' run to the Stanley Cup Final. He retires after the 1993-94 season with 1,004 points (425 goals, 579 assists) in 1,016 NHL games, as well as 148 points (64 goals, 84 assists) in 160 playoff games.

Brian Propp of the Minnesota North Stars scores a goal on Andre Racicot of the Montreal Canadiens. 

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{allcanada} Liriano recovers early as Blue Jays top A's


TORONTO — Francisco Liriano shook off two straight rough starts to earn his first win since the all-star break and Russell Martin homered as the Toronto Blue Jays snapped a three-game slide with a 4-2 win over the lowly Oakland Athletics on Monday.

Both teams, last in their respective divisions, opened their four-game series 10 games below .500.

Liriano (6-5) allowed two runs on two hits while walking two and striking out five over five innings to help raise Toronto's disappointing record to 45-54.

Bouncing back from two short outings in a row, Liriano threw 86 pitches, 51 for strikes. The veteran lefty was chased from his last start in Boston after 1 2/3 innings and lasted just two innings in his start before that in Detroit.

Ryan Goins, Ezequiel Carrera and Justin Smoak also drove in runs for the Blue Jays and Roberto Osuna struck out the side in the ninth for his 25th save of the season.

Matt Chapman hit a home run for the Athletics (44-55) and Ryon Healy had an RBI single.

Chris Smith (0-1) went six innings, allowing three runs on six hits. He also walked three and struck out two.

Healy gave Oakland a 1-0 lead in the first inning, bringing in Marcus Semien from second base on a single. But Toronto replied in the bottom of the frame with Martin's 10th homer of the season, a solo shot to left-centre field to tie the game.

Toronto cashed in two runs in the fourth, the first on a one-out Carrera single and the second on a two-out base hit from Goins, both with the bases loaded. The Blue Jays looked poised to break the game open but Jose Bautista hit a weak ground ball to end the threat.

Chapman's solo homer cut the lead to 3-2 in the next inning. The homer, a no-doubter to deep centre-field with one out, snapped a streak of 12 straight retired batters for Liriano that started in the first inning.

Toronto doubled its lead to 4-2 in the seventh when reliever Josh Smith walked Smoak with the bases loaded. Canadian John Axford had started the inning for Oakland but was replaced after he loaded the bases with nobody out.

The Blue Jays had a solid chance to tack on some insurance in the sixth but failed to execute a safety squeeze. Smith snagged a bunt from Kevin Pillar and fired it to catcher Josh Phegley, beating a running Steve Pearce to the plate by a mile.

Goins made a nice defensive play in the fourth, running at full speed from the infield to the right-field foul line to catch a fly ball while sliding on his knees. Pillar followed that up with a nice catch at the centre-field wall for the next out.

NOTES: Goins is now 9 for 12 with the bases loaded this season. ... Attendance was 39,613. ... Right-hander Cesar Valdez (0-0, 2.70 earned-run average) will make his first start for Toronto in Tuesday night's game.

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{allcanada} Canucks, F Boucher avoid salary arbitration

The Vancouver Canucks and forward Reid Boucher have avoided salary arbitration on a new one-year deal that pays $687,500.

Boucher and the club had their arbitration hearing scheduled for Aug. 1.

The 23-year-old started the 2016-17 season with New Jersey and then was claimed three times on waivers. He was taken in January by Nashville and New Jersey again, and finally by the Canucks. In 39 games spread between the three teams, Boucher scored six goals and four assists.

In 112 NHL contests, the native of Lansing, Michigan has tallied 17 goals and 20 assists.

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{allcanada} Hajrullahu field goal helps Argos capture wild victory over Redblacks


TORONTO — Lirim Hajrullahu's 34-yard field goal gave the Toronto Argonauts a wild 27-24 home win over the Ottawa Redblacks on Monday night.

Hajrullahu's field goal on the game's final play capped an eight-play, 52-yard drive after Ottawa rallied to tie the score 24-24 on Trevor Harris's 31-yard TD strike with 2:17 remaining. It came after Toronto's Cody Fajardo was stopped on a third-down gamble, to the dismay of the season-high BMO Field gathering of 15,801.

Toronto quarterback Ricky Ray, who completed 40-of-55 passes for 367 yards, hit Anthony Coombs on a nine-yard TD strike at 6:56 of the fourth to snap a 17-17 tie. It was set up by Marcus Ball's interception.

But the win was a costly one as Toronto (3-2) played the second half without linebacker Bear Woods and defensive linemen Victor Butler and Cleyong Laing.


Butler suffered an apparent knee injury while Woods reportedly underwent concussion protocol and Laing left the field on a cart with a left leg injury.

And that's certainly a concern moving forward as Toronto begins a stretch of four games in 19 days. The Argos visit the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday night.

The Redblacks (1-4-1) know all about that. They played their third game in 11 nights and fourth in 18 on Monday. But the defending Grey Cup champions showed tremendous grit by rallying to tie the score 17-17 on Josh Stangby's 15-yard run and Mossis Madu's two-point convert in the fourth.

The season-high gathering came on a night when the Argos offered a promotion of two tickets for $19.97 in commemoration of their 1996-97 Grey Cup-winning teams.

Before the game, the Argos added former quarterback Doug Flutie to its all-time team. Flutie played his final two CFL seasons in Toronto, leading the franchise to their Grey Cup titles in 1996-97 before joining the NFL's Buffalo Bills.

Flutie topped the list of former Argos attending the game. Also taking it in were receiver Brandon Marshall of the NFL's New York Giants and Canadian tennis star Eugenie Bouchard.

Declan Cross had a touchdown for Toronto. Hajrullahu booted two converts, two singles and three field goals. The other points came on a safety.

Brad Sinopoli had a touchdown and two-point convert for Ottawa. Brett Maher added a single and convert.

Harris hit Sinopoli on a four-yard TD strike, then for the two-point convert to pull Ottawa to within 12-9 with 50 seconds left in the opening half. Harris fumbled on the half's final play and was slow to get up with an apparent eye injury while Laing was injured while recovering the loose ball.

Both Butler and Woods were hurt earlier in the second and on the bench when Sinopoli registered his scoring grabs.

After Hajrullahu opened the scoring with a 47-yard field goal at 1:52 of the second, Cross hauled in Ray's four-yard touchdown pass to put Toronto ahead 10-0. It capped a smart 11-play, 100-yard drive.

Maher cut Toronto's lead to 10-1 with a missed 54-yard field goal try before surrendering a safety to put the Argos ahead 12-1 at 4:58 of the second.

Hajrullahu accounted for all of the third-quarter scoring with a field goal and two singles that boosted Toronto's lead to 17-9.

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