Thursday, August 31, 2017

{allcanada} Sept. 1: Lemieux becomes Penguins owner



1999: The NHL Board of Governors approves Mario Lemieux's application for ownership of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Lemieux's move into ownership comes two years after he announces his retirement as a player in 1997. He is owed more than $32 million in deferred salary and converts much of that money into equity in the team, making him the first player in North American sports history to own the team he used to play for.

Lemieux assumes the posts of president, chairman and CEO of the Penguins, then adds the role of No. 1 center when he returns as a player on Dec. 27, 2000.



1883: Didier Pitre, a star for the Montreal Canadiens in the National Hockey Association and the NHL, is born in Valleyfield, Quebec. Pitre, nicknamed "Cannonball" because of his speed and hard shot, helps the Canadiens win the Stanley Cup for the first time in their history in 1916 and is the right wing on a line with Jack Laviolette and Newsy Lalonde that becomes known as the "Flying Frenchmen." The Canadiens join the NHL in 1917, and Pitre helps them advance to the Cup Final against Seattle two years later, though the series is abandoned because of an influenza epidemic. He moves to defense at age 38 and plays the final two of his 15 seasons with Montreal on the blue line before retiring in 1923. Pitre is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1926


1964: Brian Bellows is born in St. Catharines, Ontario. Bellows, a high-scoring forward, is described by some as the hottest prospect since Wayne Gretzky during his junior career with Kitchener of the Ontario Hockey League, and he's selected by the Minnesota North Stars with the second pick of the 1982 NHL Draft. He scores 30 or more goals seven times in 10 seasons with Minnesota, including an NHL career-high 55 in 1989-90. The North Stars trade him to the Montreal Canadiens in 1992, and he scores 40 goals for Montreal's Stanley Cup-winning team in 1992-93. Bellows plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and Washington Capitals before retiring in 1999 with 485 goals and 1,022 points in 1,188 NHL games. His son, Kieffer Bellows, is taken by the New York Islanders in the first round (No. 19) at the 2016 NHL Draft.

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{allcanada} Henderson one shot back in Portland


PORTLAND, Ore. — In Gee Chun shot a 6-under 66 on Thursday in the Cambia Portland Classic to take a one-stroke lead over two-time defending champion Brooke Henderson and five others.

Playing the event for the first time, the sixth-ranked Chun had seven birdies and a bogey at tree-lined Columbia Edgewater.

"Before coming here everyone said the course is really good," Chun said. "I agreed. I like big trees. It's amazing. And the greens are very consistent and really good condition."

The South Korean player tied for third last week in the Canadian Pacific Women's Open and has four runner-up finishes this season. Both of her LPGA Tour victories have come in majors — the 2015 U.S. Women's Open and the 2016 Evian Championship.

"I have not been able to win, but I think it was a strong finish," Chun said. "Sometimes I had small stress from that part. ... Just keep going, enjoying the process."

Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., had six birdies and a bogey to match Cheyenne Woods, Cindy LaCrosse, Moriya Jutanugarn, Nicole Broch Larsen and Nasa Hataoka at 67.

"I think it just suits my eye," Henderson said. "I love tree-lined courses and I love when it's so green everywhere you look. The grass is very lush, and I love that. Just playing here I have so many incredible memories from two years ago, last year, and I just try to feed of the energy and adrenaline that I felt over the past couple years."

After bogeying the par-4 eighth, the 19-year-old Canadian got up-and-down from a fairway bunker on the par-4 ninth, hitting a 7-iron from 157 yards to inches for a closing birdie.

"That bunker shot in the fairway on No. 9 really saved my whole round," Henderson said. "I would've liked to finish a little bit lower today. I was 4 under through the front nine and things were going really well. I tried to make a few more birdies on the back but they just didn't fall."

Henderson set the tournament 72-hole record of 21-under 267 in 2015. She had a hole-in-one Wednesday in the pro-am playing alongside Nancy Lopez, the only three-time winner in event history. Henderson has four LPGA Tour victories, also winning the major KPMG Women's PGA last year and the Meijer LPGA Classic in June.

Hamilton's Alena Sharp is 3 under after a 69 while Maude-Aimee Leblanc of Sherbrooke, Que., fired a 70. Calgary's Jennifer Ha is 3 over and Augusta James of Bath, Ont., is 7 over.

Lexi Thompson had an eagle and a double bogey in a 68. Also making her first start in the event, the second-ranked Thompson eagled the par-5 fifth to reach 4 under and was 5 under after a birdie on the par-4 11th, but dropped back with the double bogey after driving to right on the par-4 17th. She rebounded with a long birdie putt from the fringe on the par-4 18th.

"Definitely a ball-striker's golf course," Thompson said. "I have a good amount of wedges out there, but the greens get so firm. It's important to get the landing yardage right so it stays pin-high and not bounce over the green."

Ai Miyazato had a 69. Making her final start in the U.S., the Japanese star plans to retire after The Evian Championship in two weeks in France.

Stacy Lewis shot 70. The Houston-area player is donating her earnings to hurricane relief.

"A lot of messages and texts and people wanting to know how they can help," Lewis said. "That's kind of the point behind it, to get more people involved and create some awareness."

Juli Inkster, the oldest player in the field at 57, had a 72 in the group with Chun.

Top-ranked So Yeon Ryu, playing alongside Thompson, opened with a 74.

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{allcanada} Shapovalov, Sharapova set to share Arthur Ashe spotlight


NEW YORK (Reuters) - Denis Shapovalov may not be old enough to drink in New York but is quickly becoming the toast of the Big Apple and the 18-year-old Canadian will again have a chance to light up the U.S. Open when he takes on Briton Kyle Edmund.

After knocking off eighth seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the Canadian giant killer returns to the Arthur Ashe Stadium court chasing a place in the fourth round.

Shapovalov's hit list includes back-to-back wins over U.S. Open champions Rafa Nadal and Juan Martin De Potro at the recent Rogers Cup in Montreal, and the Canadian will now try to add the 42nd ranked Edmund to his list of scalps.

Another of the tennis young guns in Croatia's Borna Coric, who took down fourth seed Alexander Zverev in the second round, finds 28th seeded South African Kevin Anderson standing between him and a fourth round berth.

Against some criticism, Maria Sharapova will be back on Arthur Ashe for the third straight match where she will face American wild card Sofia Kenin.

Playing her first grand slam since returning from a 15-month doping ban, Sharapova has enjoyed wild fan support every time she steps on to the court but not everyone is happy to see the five-time winner back in action.

Fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki ripped U.S. Open organizers for putting her on an outside court while Sharapova soaked up the applause on Arthur Ashe.

"When you look at center court, and I understand completely the business side of things, but someone who comes back from a drugs sentence, performance-enhancing drugs, and then all of a

sudden gets to play every single match on center court, I think that's a questionable thing to do," said Wozniacki. "It doesn't set a good example."

There will be no complaints from the home crowd about seeing ninth seed Venus Williams or 10th seed John Isner on the Arthur Ashe stage.

Williams, a twice U.S. Open champion, takes on Greece's Maria Sakkari before turning over the spotlight to the big-hitting Isner, who goes up against Germany's 23rd seed Mischa Zverev.

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{allcanada} Expectations for Matthews, Laine, Werenski in second NHL season


Calder Trophy winner Auston Matthews (Toronto Maple Leafs) and finalists Patrik Laine (Winnipeg Jets) and Zach Werenski (Columbus Blue Jackets) each had a superb rookie season. But how much more can be expected in their second NHL season?

History shows expectations of offensive improvement for elite players in their second NHL season should be modest, and that Matthews might be the only one of the three who improves his scoring numbers.

In general, significant improvements can be expected from players who are 19, like Laine, or 20, like Werenski and Matthews (who turns 20 on Sept. 17). Since the start of the 1967-68 season, among those who played in at least 50 games in back-to-back seasons, the average 19-year-old forward improved offensively by 22.4 percent (from 0.61 points per game to 0.74). The average 20-year-old forward improved by 17.0 percent (0.62 to 0.72), and the average 20-year-old defenseman improved by 16.5 percent (0.37 to 0.43).

Those numbers seem high but represent the natural rate of improvement for an average NHL player at age 19 or 20 because of increased ice time and continued development.

However, Laine, Matthews and Werenski are not average players. They are high-scoring players who already are playing big minutes. Laine, a forward, averaged 0.88 points per game in 2016-17, Matthews, a center, averaged 0.84, and Werenski, a defenseman, averaged 0.60. Those rates don't have as much room for improvement.

When limiting the comparison to just enough of the top players in each group to achieve the same number of points per game, the rate of improvement is far more modest than the average player. Laine's group improved by 4.5 percent, to 0.91 points per game, and Matthews' group improved by 9.6 percent, to 0.92. Werenski's group dropped by 2.5 percent, to 0.59.

These expectations become even more modest when considering only Calder Trophy winners and finalists. The 27 forwards who were Calder finalists from 2005-16 saw their average scoring rate drop by 2.2 percent (0.80 points per game to 0.78) in their second season, and the four defensemen dropped by 13.8 percent (0.60 to 0.52). In all, 13 of the 31 non-goalie Calder finalists improved their scoring rate the next season; the other 18 experienced a decline.

Why? Puck luck likely is one reason.

Calder finalists, by definition, had a strong season, one when their skill likely was aided by a few fortunate bounces. If their luck averages out during the following season, many see their scoring rate drop, some by more than their rate might be boosted by their natural development. Instead of having their scoring rate going up by around 20 percent, like the average player, these players may actually see it go down.

Based on shooting percentages, Laine is at the greatest risk of this kind of drop. He played 73 games, averaged 17:54 of ice time and scored on 17.6 percent of his shots on goal, the highest rate among all players who had at least 200 shots last season and 11th among those who had at least 50. The Jets scored on 12.6 percent of their shots with Laine on the ice at 5-on-5. Among all players who played at least 20 games, that ranked second to Stephen Gionta of the New York Islanders (13.2 percent in 26 games and at an average of 11:12 of ice time per game).

Unless Laine and the Jets can sustain these abnormally high percentages, his scoring rate may cool in 2017-18.

One final technique is to search for players with similar scoring rates at a specific age, regardless of whether they were rookies, and base expectations on the average performance of that peer group in the following season. Because goal-scoring rates in the NHL have changed over the years, players' scoring totals are adjusted to the modern era by being divided by the League average for that season and then multiplied by the average in 2016-17.

In Laine's case, there aren't enough comparable players to base expectations. The closest match is Dale Hawerchuk, who went from the modern equivalent of 0.83 points per game at age 18 to 0.82 at age 19. Ilya Kovalchuk is the only other player whose adjusted scoring was within 10 percent of Laine's at age 18. It's not possible to do a peer group comparison for a player with so few peers.

However, this technique can be applied to Matthews; there were 14 forwards with an era-adjusted scoring rate within 10 percent of his at age 19. As a group, they improved by 4.5 percent, from 0.83 points per game to 0.87. Among active players, the group includes Marian Gaborik and Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks, and Jaromir Jagr, who remains an unrestricted free agent. The closest match is Kovalchuk, who improved from 0.84 to 1.13 at age 20.

Werenski's closest match was Hockey Hall of Famer Ray Bourque, whose scoring rate dropped from a modern equivalent of 0.61 points per game at age 19 to 0.57 at age 20. As a group, the seven closest matches dropped from 0.59 to 0.54. Most recently, these matches include Cam Fowler of the Anaheim Ducks, whose scoring rate dropped from 0.53 to 0.36 at age 20, and Tyler Myers, who won the Calder with the Buffalo Sabres in 2009-10 but had his scoring rate slip from 0.59 to 0.46.

There are a lot of factors that can influence a player's offensive numbers, including injury, ice time, zone deployment, linemates, opponents, on-ice shooting percentages and luck. But history suggests that these three players would do well to simply maintain their success from last season in 2017-18.

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{allcanada} Harris throws three TDs, Redblacks rout Alouettes


MONTREAL — Trevor Harris threw three touchdown passes as the visiting Ottawa Redblacks embarrassed the Montreal Alouettes 32-4 on Thursday to extend their winning streak to three games.

Harris went 32-for-41 passing for 343 yards and connected with Diontae Spencer, Josh Stangby and Greg Ellingson for the TDs.

Kicker Brett Maher added two field goals as Ottawa (4-6-1) took top spot in the Canadian Football League's East Division.

The Alouettes (3-7), third in the East, have now lost three games in a row.

Darian Durant threw for 140 yards and an interception for Montreal before being replaced in the third quarter by backup quarterback Drew Willy. The move came after Durant threw his league-leading 11th interception.

Willy, seeing his first real playing minutes of the season, went 5 of 8 for 68 passing yards.

After an early single, Maher kicked his first field goal of the game at 12:34 of the first quarter to put Ottawa up 4-0.

Harris connected with Spencer for a two-yard touchdown catch at 4:16 of the second quarter. Mossis Madu added a two-point convert to give the Redblacks a 12-0 lead. Montreal took five penalties on Ottawa's 101-yard scoring drive, including a costly 32-yard pass interference penalty on Greg Henderson.

Montreal ended the game with 138 penalty yards.

The teams traded singles before the end of the first half.

In the third quarter, Harris found Stangby in the end zone from seven yards out at 2:50. Another two-point convert put the visitors in front 21-1.

Following a 53-yard field goal by Montreal's Boris Bede, his longest of the season, Ellingson put the game to bed with a 43-yard touchdown catch at 2:50 of the final quarter. Ellingson took advantage of missed coverage by Tyree Hollins for his seventh TD catch of the season.

Notes: Attendance at Percival Molson Stadium was 18,325. ... Als offensive tackle Jovan Olafioye (back) was a late scratch. … Receiver Nik Lewis has at least one reception in 55 consecutive games.

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{allcanada} Shapovalov is the real deal, says Wilander


NEW YORK (Reuters) - Several young players have caught the eye lately, but one of them has been standing out at the U.S. Open -- Canadian Denis Shapovalov, nothing less than a mix of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, according to former world number one Mats Wilander.

The 18-year-old Shapovalov, who claimed the juniors' title at Wimbledon in 2016, defeated eighth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in straight sets in the second round of the U.S. Open on Wednesday.

"He is a serious talent. To be 100 percent honest, you cannot compare Shapovalov to any other youngster," said Wilander, at the U.S. Open as an analyst for Eurosport.

"He is a completely different level. It's like watching a combination of Nadal and Federer at 18 years old. He has the fire of Nadal and the speed around the court of Nadal and he has the grace of Federer - it's unbelievable.

"He really captivates the crowd. Last night it was like 'Oh my god, where does this kid come from?' He flies. I'm really really impressed. The best players in the world better watch out for him now."

Shapovalov, who next faces Britain's Kyle Edmund, reached the semi-finals at the Rogers Cup in Montreal earlier this month after beating Nadal in the third round.

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{allcanada} Hutchinson returns as Canada hosts Jamaica


ALLISTON, Ont. — Atiba Hutchinson's reason for ending a one-year hiatus from the Canadian national team is simple.

"I kind of missed it," he said. "It's nice to be back."

Hutchinson, who last played for Canada in its final World Cup qualifier last September, is due to earn cap No. 78 — tying Mark Watson for No. 5 on Canada's most capped list — on Saturday when the Canadian men host Jamaica in a friendly at BMO Field.

You can watch the action on TSN1, TSN4 and TSN GO at 7pm et/4pm pt.

Some 16,000 tickets have already been sold for Saturday's game. Jamaica was a surprise finalist at the Gold Cup, dispatching Canada 2-1 in the quarter-finals and Mexico 1-0 in the semifinals before losing 2-1 to the U.S. in the championship game

Both countries rose in the rankings after the Gold Cup with Jamaica jumping 19 spots to No. 57 while Canada moved up five places to No. 95.

The 34-year-old Hutchinson is arguably Canada's finest soccer export. Since 2013, the midfielder has plied his trade in Turkey, winning back-to-back championships with Besiktas while rubbing shoulders with the sport's elite in the Champions League.

The six-foot-one Hutchinson is a sight to behold on the field, even if his spindly pipe-cleaner legs deceive at first notice. He is like a soccer Hoover, vacuuming up balls then holding off opponents before finding a teammate.

Besiktas fans call him Octopus for his long legs and long reach.

When it comes to Canada, his longevity is remarkable. Hutchinson, who made his Canadian senior debut in 2003 in a 4-0 loss to the U.S. in Fort Lauderdale, has played for nine Canadian managers.

Octavio Zambrano is the latest to value Hutchinson. Benito Floro, Zambrano's predecessor, was also a fan.

"Atiba is our best player," Floro said in 2014. "He is the best player in Besiktas."

Zambrano, named Canada coach in March when Hutchinson was still on hiatus, essentially told the player he was always welcome.

"I'm just very glad that he left the door open and he's here now," Zambrano said in an interview at his team's training base north of Toronto. "We'll see what happens in the future."

How long Hutchinson plays for Canada remains to be seen. Games that matter are few and far between — the next round of World Cup qualifying is in the distance — and the 10-hour hour trip home from Istanbul is daunting.

"I thought now is a good time," he said of his national team participation. "I don't really know how it will go in the future. Obviously I'm a bit older and it's a new generation. These guys need time to develop and find their way here with the program, the national team.

"But in any way I can be involved or help out, I'll try to do that ... Whether it's one game or a few games at a time. I'm just taking it one step at a time."

On the plus side, Hutchinson is clearly intrigued to see Zambrano and his young talent at work after watching some of the Gold Cup games this summer.

"There's a lot of talent in this group," he said. "You can see the level has gotten a lot higher from when I started off here. The flow of the game, the vision of the players. It looks very good."

He was 19 when he debuted for Canada. Now he is the eminence grise on a roster that features 13 players aged 24 or younger.

Hutchinson worked his way up the ranks and through Europe, building his career carefully starting in Scandinavia with Osters and Helsingborg in Sweden and FC Copenhagen in Denmark.

He joined Dutch side PSV Eindhoven in 2010 before moving to Turkey in 2013.

Under president Fikret Orman, Besiktas has grown on and off the field. Hutchinson now plays in the sparkling 41,900-capacity Vodafone Arena.

"Amazing stadium. State of the art. Amazing atmosphere," said Hutchinson, who draws attention when he walks the streets in Istanbul.

Hutchinson, who is married with a third child on the way, has seen first-hand the political turmoil that has rocked Turkey in recent months.

"Obviously it's not easy to deal with," he said. "But I'm there and it's home for me at the moment. You kind of try to block out, stay away from a lot of places, crowded places."

He's happy to report the situation is a lot calmer.

"Luckily things are going in the right direction right now," he said.

Playing in England has always been a dream and there have been offers, with former Besiktas manager Slaven Bilic eager to bring him to West Ham.

But the Brampton, Ont., native opted to repay his Turkish club's loyalty to him by signing a contract extension.

"I've been comfortable in Turkey and they've done a lot for me," he said. "The fans have been great. I've taken so much from them. It's always been in my head that I'd like to stay there and maybe end my career there."

As for coming home and Major League Soccer — he was recently linked to Vancouver — Hutchinson says it's always an option.

"But for now, I'm just kind of focused on Turkey," he said.

He wants to stay healthy and help Besiktas prosper this season.

"Then we'll see what happens after that," he said.

While Hutchinson is in the last year of his contract, he does not see retirement on the horizon yet.

"I don't think I'm ready to call it quits after this season," he said.

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{allcanada} Player contract key to CHL minimum-wage case, lawyer says


A lawyer for the Canadian Hockey League players suing for minimum wage says newly obtained evidence shows at least one of Canada's three major junior leagues has considered players to be team employees, not amateur student athletes.

Plaintiff lawyer Ted Charney said in an interview Wednesday that he has obtained through discovery a copy of a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League standard player contract from before the 2013 season.

The undated contract was provided to the plaintiffs on Aug. 25 after a Montreal judge ordered the QMJHL to provide copies of all standard player contracts from 2008 to 2013. The contract states that players are employees of their team who receive salaries.

Under the heading, "Employment and duties of player," the contract says "the player agrees to provide his services and to play hockey, to the best of his abilities, in all games, under the supervision and control of the club..."

The description of a player as an employee is critical to the case because the CHL claims its players are amateur student athletes and teams are exempt from minimum-wage legislation. Several provinces and U.S. states have agreed with the CHL's assessment.

The two-page contract also details how a player might suffer "loss of salary during a suspension by the club or by the league." The contract says players should receive their salaries on a weekly basis.

"In the case of a suspension, at the option of the club, the salary of the player shall cease to be paid during said period of the suspension," the contract says.

There are minimum-wage lawsuits proceeding in Montreal against the QMJHL, in Toronto against the Ontario Hockey League, and in Calgary against the Western Hockey League.
Charney said he plans to file the player agreement in court as evidence in all of the cases.

"There can now be no question that for many years the QMJHL legally classified major junior hockey players as employees while failing to pay minimum wage in direct violation of Quebec labour laws," Charney said in an interview.

"Throughout the course of this litigation the commissioners of the QMJHL, the OHL, the WHL and the CHL have repeatedly denied that major junior hockey players are employees...," Charney said. "These statements were made in circumstances where the commissioners must have known that [the QMJHL] approved a standard player agreement where until 2013 players are characterized as employees."

According to Charney, after class-action lawsuits were filed in 2014 against the CHL and its leagues, all three leagues cancelled existing standard player agreements and replaced them with new agreements where players are described as being amateur athletes. Before player contracts were changed in 2014, the OHL and WHL described players as independent contractors.

CHL president David Branch said he wouldn't discuss the QMJHL standard player contract.

"It is not our practice to litigate the class action lawsuit through the media, nor to speculate on evidence not yet filed with the courts," Branch wrote in an emailed statement.

"As you know, we believe the players are not employees but amateur athletes and that the player experience and benefits offered by our league and teams, which were developed with the input of players and hockey families, far exceed the employment standards benefits sought in the claim."

Class actions in Alberta and Ontario against the WHL and the OHL have been certified, while a certification hearing for the Quebec class action is expected to take place this fall.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs have said 593 current and former CHL players, who may become members of the class action if it is certified, have registered with their law firm after it established a social media campaign to build awareness.

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{allcanada} Report: Mike Ribeiro retiring, ‘nobody hears from him’


It appears as though Mike Ribeiro has played his last professional hockey game.

Ribeiro's agent, Bob Perno, spoke to La Presse in Montreal, expressing concerns over the forward's well-being. Ribeiro has battled alcoholism throughout his NHL career.

"All I know, is that Mike hasn't laced up the skates once since the end of the season," said Perno, whose quotes were translated by NBCSports. "He doesn't train anymore and he doesn't go out on the ice anymore. He's going to retire.

"There's not one NHL team or a team in Europe that has reached out to me to ask about him. The way his career is going to end is really disappointing."

The Nashville Predators waived Ribeiro in February, after the forward put up four goals and 25 points in 46 games. He joined the Predators in July of 2014 after being bought out of a four-year contract by the Arizona Coyotes due to behavioural issues.

"No one knows what he's up to these days," said Perno. "The problem, is that Mike doesn't believe he's sick. In his head, everything is fine. He left the rehab program offered by the NHL last winter. We're really worried, but we can't do anything.

"Every time my phone rings, I hope it's him calling me."

The Montreal native was drafted in 1998 by his hometown team and he played 276 games with the Canadiens before being traded to the Dallas Stars – with whom Ribeiro reached career highs in goals (27) and points (83) in 2007-08.

The 37-year-old has also spent time with Washington in his 17-year NHL career, which has seen him total 228 goals and 793 points in 1,074 games.

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{allcanada} Piatti named MLS player of the month


NEW YORK — Montreal Impact midfielder Ignacio Piatti has been named Major League Soccer's player of the month for August.

Piatti scored seven goals, including two game-winning goals, and added an assist in five games in August, which included a four-game winning streak for the Impact.

The Argentine recorded back-to-back braces in a 3-0 win against Chicago on Aug. 16 and a 3-1 victory over Real Salt Lake on Aug. 19 and is tied for second in MLS with four multi-goal games.

Montreal's successful August has seen the Impact climb back into the MLS Eastern Conference playoff race. The club sits tied on points with sixth-place Atlanta United, though Atlanta sits in the conference's final playoff spot with one less game played.

The Impact return to action Saturday against visiting Chicago.

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{allcanada} Bombers RB Harris on pace for historic milestone


Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Andrew Harris is having another stellar season, one that could end up making significant CFL history.

The three-time All-Star has run for 570 yards and racked up 490 receiving yards over nine games for the 7-2 Blue Bombers this season.

Why is this significant?

It's significant because Harris has a chance to become the first CFL player in history to reach rushing and receiving totals of 1,000 yards or more in the same season.

According to TSN's Kevin Gibson, Harris is on pace to finish with 1,140 yards on the ground and 980 yards through the air, just 20 yards short of the record-breaking mark. If the 30-year-old can stay healthy and continue to put up solid numbers, Harris has a real shot at the milestone.

Only one CFL player has ever reached 800 rushing and receiving yards in the same season. Toronto Argonauts running back Robert Drummond ran for 1,134 yards and had 840 receiving yards in 1997.

When it comes to the NFL, only eight players have reached the 1,000 rush yards and 800 receiving yards mark in a season.

Player                          Season             Rush    Rec

Marshall Faulk            1999 (STL)         1381    1048

Roger Craig                1985 (SF)           1050    1016

Marshall Faulk            1998 (IND)         1319    908

David Johnson           2016 (ARI)          1239    879

Le'Veon Bell               2014 (PIT)          1361    854

Marshall Faulk           2000 (STL)         1359     830

Matt Forte                  2014 (CHI)          1038    808

Steven Jackson         2006 (STL)         1528     806

Harris can move closer to that milestone this weekend when his Blue Bombers travel to Regina to face the Saskatchewan Roughriders Sunday afternoon at 4pm ET/1pm PT on TSN 1/3/4.


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{allcanada} Alouettes, Redblacks meet in key CFL East matchup


MONTREAL — Looking to turn the page on the first nine games of their season, the Montreal Alouettes start the second half of the year with a crucial divisional matchup.

The Alouettes host the Ottawa Redblacks at Percival Molson Stadium on Thursday. A victory for either team would see them climb one spot in the standings.

The Alouettes (3-6) are third in the East Division, just one point behind the Redblacks (3-6-1), who have won two games in a row. Ottawa is one point behind the inactive Toronto Argonauts, who play Monday.

"It's the second half of the season now, so whatever happened (before) doesn't matter," Als running back Tyrell Sutton said at practice on Tuesday. "We just have to go out there and execute and put up these wins and secure a playoff spot.

"The last few years we've struggled out the gate a little bit but then we find a way to make that big push at the end. We're in that situation right now."

The Alouettes have lost two games in a row and four of their last five — many by very small margins. Five of Montreal's six losses this season have been by one touchdown or less.

That's because Jacques Chapdelaine's men have made a bad habit of losing in the game's final minutes this season.

Last week in Winnipeg, quarterback Darian Durant threw an interception in overtime that led to a game-winning field goal for the Blue Bombers.

Winnipeg also got the better of Montreal in Week 6, overcoming a 12-point deficit in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter to eke out a 41-40 victory.

In Week 5 against Ottawa, the last time these two teams met, the Alouettes were stopped on third-and-one at the eight-yard line with just over one minute left in the game. After the turnover on downs, the Redblacks held on for a 24-19 victory.

Durant, confident the Alouettes are a better team than their record suggests, blamed his side's inconsistency for the mediocre results in the first half of the season.

"At times we show that we can beat anyone, we can play against anyone, we can score against anyone," said Durant, who leads the league with 10 interceptions. "On the other hand, we shoot ourselves in the foot, I turn the ball over, we have mental breakdowns, you name it.

"If we can get some consistency going, I see us being one of the best teams in the league. If we can cut out the mistakes, I really feel like we can win every game we play."

Despite Montreal's troubles in the first half of the season, a weak East Division means a playoff spot is still up for grabs down the stretch.

All four teams in the East have a losing record and just two points separate first-place Toronto from third-place Montreal. Only the winless Hamilton Tiger-Cats are unlikely to challenge for a playoff position.

"We control our destiny right now," said Sutton, who missed last game with a minor knee injury. "At any point in time, the league can change. We saw it. We went from first place to third. It's very competitive right now. We have to make sure to stay in the mix."

Shutting down Ottawa's Trevor Harris will be key for Montreal. The Redblacks quarterback leads the league in touchdowns (19) and passing yards (3,188).

For the Redblacks, winners of their last two games, a victory on Thursday would propel them into top spot in the East Division.

"Just because we've won two games doesn't mean we've accomplished what we've wanted to accomplish," Harris told the team's website this week. "They (Alouettes) play physical football. There's no secret how physical Montreal is. They're a group that will let you know about it as well.

"We feel that if we execute our game plan, we'll be just fine."

Notes: Both Ottawa and Montreal have 16 turnovers this season. … The Redblacks face the Alouettes again in two weeks, in Montreal. … The Als released defensive tackle Ray Drew on Monday.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

{allcanada} Moreland drives in four; Red Sox sweep Jays


TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays had one solid chance to get to Rick Porcello on Wednesday night.

But a fluke play worked out in the Boston starter's favour and the Red Sox went on to win 7-1 for a three-game sweep over the struggling Blue Jays.

With the bases loaded and one out in the fourth inning, Porcello snared a hard-hit line drive from Darwin Barney, then struck out Raffy Lopez to end the threat.

Asked if Barney's line drive could have been a turning point had it snuck through, manager John Gibbons replied: "There's no doubt about it.

"Who knows what difference that might have made."

Instead, Porcello continued to shut Toronto's hitters down, retiring nine straight after Barney's liner before issuing a two-out walk to Lopez in the seventh.

"That was a momentum-stopper," Porcello said. "It was a big inning for us."

The loss, Toronto's fourth straight and 10th in 12 games, put them 11 games under .500 at 61-72, tying a season-low.

The Blue Jays, who showed flashes of playoff potential just weeks ago, opened Wednesday 7 1/2 games back of a wild-card spot.

"Obviously it's been real tough," Gibbons said of the ugly losing stretch. "But we haven't played good enough baseball lately. So deal with it, what else are you going to do, right?"

Porcello (9-15), last year's AL Cy Young winner, went 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball with six hits, two walks and seven strikeouts. The 28-year-old right-hander has gone at least six innings in 25 straight road starts, the longest active streak in the majors.

Pinch-hitter Mitch Moreland led the way offensively with four RBI's.

Moreland, in to pinch hit for designated hitter Chris Young in the seventh, followed a Hanley Ramirez double by drilling a fastball from reliever Tom Koehler (1-7) into the second deck in right field to give the visitors a 3-1 lead.

He was at it again in Boston's four-run eighth inning, lacing a soft line drive to centre off Aaron Loup to plate two more.

Ramirez also homered for the AL East-leading Red Sox (76-57), going deep for the second time in as many nights. Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts added RBI doubles.

"It seems like they keep coming at you, for sure. It's a tough lineup, 1 through 9," said Toronto starter J.A. Happ, who went six innings in the no-decision, allowing one run and four hits while striking out two and walking four.

"They're in first place for a reason right now. They were tough this series, for sure."

Raffy Lopez hit a solo homer for the Blue Jays, who have won just one of nine against the Red Sox at Rogers Centre this season, being outscored 57-23 in that span.

Ramirez followed the Toronto's missed fourth-inning opportunity with a leadoff solo homer in the fifth to tie the game 1-1 and snap Happ's streak of 39 2/3 innings without allowing a home run.

"Those are the plays that are the difference in games, especially lately for us," Happ said of the bases-loaded chance. "To break it open would have been nice but we just couldn't hold on there."

Betts and Bogaerts started Boston's four-run eighth with back-to-back RBI doubles off Tim Mayza. Mayza did not record an out and was charged with all four runs in the inning.

Toronto begins a four-game road series on Thursday night against a Baltimore Orioles team that's won seven straight.

"We're going to go into Baltimore to face a team that's hot right now as well," Happ said. "So we're hoping to bounce back."

NOTES: Justin Smoak sat out the game with a tight calf. Manager John Gibbons believed it to be a minor injury. Gibbons also said that second baseman Devon Travis had a setback in his rehab and will likely not play again this season. Josh Donaldson was given the night off. ... Attendance was 37,693. ... Ryan Goins singled in the fourth inning to extend his hit streak to nine games.

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{allcanada} Aug. 31: Canadiens great Beliveau born in Quebec


1931: Jean Beliveau, a member of 17 Stanley Cup-winning teams with the Montreal Canadiens and a hockey immortal on and off the ice, is born in Trois Rivieres, Quebec.

Beliveau spurns several contract offers from the Canadiens in order to stay with the Quebec Aces of the amateur Quebec Senior Hockey League; the Canadiens finally buy the QSHL in 1953 and turn it into a pro league to secure his rights. Beliveau plays on 10 Cup-winning teams with the Canadiens; the final one is in 1971, after which he retires following 18 NHL seasons. He finishes with 1,219 points (507 goals, 712 assists) in 1,125 games and is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972 after the Hall waives its mandatory three-year waiting period.

Following his retirement, Beliveau joins Montreal's front office and is a member of seven more Cup-winning teams. He is a hero to many Canadians and beloved throughout hockey during his post-playing career before his death on Dec. 2, 2014.



1973: Hall of Fame defenseman Scott Niedermayer is born in Edmonton. The New Jersey Devils select Niedermayer with the third pick in the 1991 NHL Draft; he becomes a regular in 1992 and plays on three Stanley Cup-winning teams with New Jersey and another with the Anaheim Ducks before his retirement in 2010. Niedermayer is a member of the Triple Gold club, having won a World Championship and an Olympic gold medal to go along with his four Stanley Cup championships. He is also a member of teams that win the World Junior Championship, the Memorial Cup and the 2004 Canada Cup. Niedermayer finishes his career with 172 goals and 740 points in 1,263 NHL games; he wins the Norris Trophy in 2004 and the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2007.


1995: The New York Rangers acquire left wing Luc Robitaille and defenseman Ulf Samuelsson from the Pittsburgh Penguins for center Petr Nedved and defenseman Sergei Zubov. Robitaille scores 23 and 24 goals in two seasons with the Rangers before being traded back to the Los Angeles Kings, his first NHL team. He retires in 2006 and is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame three years later.

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{allcanada} Top prospects for Winnipeg Jets


The Winnipeg Jets have established a solid prospect pipeline since relocating from Atlanta in 2011, essential to their draft-and-develop model.

The Jets were the NHL's youngest team (average age 26.1) at the end of last season, according to, and the organization still has multiple blue-chip prospects on the cusp of making the League.

Here are the Jets' top five prospects, according to


1. Kyle Connor, LW

How acquired: Selected with No. 17 pick in 2015 NHL Draft

Last season: Winnipeg: 20 GP, 2-3-5; Manitoba (AHL): 52 GP, 25-19-44

Connor's scoring ability was apparent at the University of Michigan in 2015-16, when he had 71 points (35 goals, 36 assists) in 38 games in his one NCAA season.

The 6-foot-1, 182-pound left wing began last season with the Jets but only found a foothold in the pro game after being sent to Manitoba of the American Hockey League on Dec. 9.

In the AHL, the 20-year-old scored 25 goals in 52 games, trending back toward the dynamic, playmaking forward with great offensive instincts.

If a stronger Connor does stick in the League this season, he'd be the sixth player chosen first by the Jets in the NHL Draft on their roster (Mark Scheifele, 2011; Jacob Trouba, 2012; Josh Morrissey, 2013; Nikolaj Ehlers, 2014; Connor, 2015; Patrik Laine, 2016).

Projected NHL arrival: This season

Winnipeg Jets top prospect Kyle Connor


2. Jack Roslovic, C

How acquired: Selected with No. 25 pick in 2015 NHL Draft

Last season: Winnipeg: 1 GP, 0-0-0; Manitoba (AHL): 65 GP, 13-35-48

After one season at Miami of Ohio, where he showed promise but was not dominant (10-16-26 in 36 games), Roslovic, 20, surprised some by choosing to turn pro.

Hindsight shows that move last season was wise for Roslovic's development. The 6-foot-1, 187-pound center showed improvement in the AHL, with 48 points (13 goals, 35 assists) in 65 games. His creativity and hockey IQ are above average, and he was rewarded with a recall for his first NHL game in his hometown of Columbus on April 6.

Projected NHL arrival: Next season


3. Eric Comrie, G

How acquired: Selected with No. 59 pick in 2013 NHL Draft

Last season: Winnipeg: 1 GP, 1-0-0, 4.05 goals-against average, .897 save percentage; Manitoba (AHL): 51 GP, 19-26-2, 2.96 GAA, .906 save percentage

Comrie, 22, appeared in 97 AHL games over two seasons. His development may not be as apparent compared to other prospects, but he may be the most technically sound goalie in the Jets system. The organization has been patient with him, an essential part of the foundation he's building.

Comrie (6-1, 175) won his NHL debut against the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 6. He may push for NHL time this season but the Jets' signing of veteran Steve Mason to a two-year, $8.2 million contract (average annual value $4.1 million) may hint at the long-term timetable that has been established.

Projected NHL arrival: 2019-20


4. Brendan Lemieux, LW

How acquired: Trade from Buffalo Sabres, Feb. 11, 2015

Last season: Manitoba (AHL): 61 GP, 12-7-19

An antagonistic, physical style has been Lemieux's calling card through his developing years in junior and last season as a rookie in Manitoba.

Lemieux (6-1, 210) plays with an edge and an abrasiveness that he has worked to control. The 21-year-old son of former NHL forward Claude Lemieux made strides in that area last season, and given his good hands and tough-to-play-against style, chances are the Jets will be able to find a spot for him soon in their bottom six.

Projected NHL arrival: Next season


5. Tucker Poolman, D

How acquired: Selected with No. 127 pick in 2013 NHL Draft

Last season: University of North Dakota (NCAA): 38 GP, 7-23-30

Agile and mobile with a good shot that always seems to get through, Poolman (6-2, 199) excelled in college at both ends of the ice.

A late bloomer, the 24-year-old was North Dakota's most valuable player last season and signed his first pro contract on March 30.

Poolman has spent the summer rehabilitating after bi-lateral shoulder surgery. It wouldn't be surprising if he spent some time in the AHL this season but a defenseman with his abilities, and someone who also can run a power play, figures to push for NHL time soon.

Projected NHL arrival: This season

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