Monday, April 30, 2018

{allcanada} Smoak, Martin homer as Jays hold on to beat Twins


MINNEAPOLIS — Even with Josh Donaldson missing 16 games on the disabled list, Jose Bautista gone and Kendrys Morales off to a slow start, the Toronto Blue Jays are powering up again and supplying the offence they've become used to north of the border.

Justin Smoak and Russell Martin homered, Yangervis Solarte had three hits and Toronto edged the Minnesota Twins for a 7-5 win on Monday night.

Smoak hit a towering, two-run shot to cap a three-run fourth inning to stake the Blue Jays to a 5-0 lead. Martin added a solo homer to the second deck in left field an inning later as Toronto won its second game in a row.

"You're going to play many a game like that," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "It never feels good. They had the tying run at second, but we got our closer out there. Bottom line, we won that thing. We had a chance early on to really blow it open."

Minnesota has lost 10 of its past 11 games after a rally against closer Roberto Osuna fell short in the ninth.

The Twins stranded runners on second and third as Osuna secured his seventh save in eight chances.

"There were some positives, Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. "You kind of try to look for things when wins are hard to come by. Obviously, we've been facing a lot of deficits early in games."

Toronto slipped to last in the American League in scoring last season and was seventh in home runs in the AL. After hitting three home runs in Sunday's win, the Blue Jays entered the night tied for second in the majors in homers this season and were fifth in runs scored.

Aaron Sanchez (2-2) was the beneficiary of the run support. He pitched six innings and allowed four runs and six hits and three walks.

Minnesota's Lance Lynn (0-3) struggled with his command again and couldn't get past the fifth inning for the fourth time in five starts this season. Lynn gave up six runs in five innings. He allowed seven hits and walked five batters. He has an 8.37 ERA for the season.

At one point, he threw nine straight balls and he walked Curtis Granderson with the bases loaded in the second.

"I'm going to be all right," Lynn said. "I've just got to be me and attack hitters and make pitches. I've got the ability to do that. I've showed that over the course of my career. And now I've just got to go do it."

Eduardo Escobar hit his fourth homer of the season for Minnesota, a two-run blast to straightaway centre in the fifth.

Max Kepler had three hits, including an RBI double in the seventh, but Logan Morrison popped out with two runners on in the inning against reliever Danny Barnes.


Toronto has had an inconsistent start overall but ended April 16-12, their first winning opening month since 2012. The Jays started 12-3, then lost seven of 10 before the back-to-back wins.

"I like this team," Gibbons said. "It's only going to get better whenever Josh comes back. I think our rotation will pick it up. Once that happens, we got a chance to be really good."


Reliever John Curtiss made his season debut for the Twins after being recalled from Triple-A Rochester earlier in the day. Curtiss retired the only batter he faced.

The right-hander is just the latest in a series of pitching moves for Minnesota, which has had a transaction involving a pitcher each of the past five days and nine times since April 21 as the Twins try to piece together innings from the bullpen.

Another move is likely coming, as well, as Molitor announced Phil Hughes is being moved to the bullpen to work on his issues and right-hander Fernando Romero will be recalled to start Wednesday's series finale. Romero, 23, is considered the team's top pitching prospect and has pitched just four games above Double-A in six minor league seasons.


Blue Jays: OF Randal Grichuk was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right knee sprain, the result of an awkward, diving catch in Sunday's win against Texas. The team recalled IF Gift Ngoepe from Triple-A Buffalo.

Twins: 3B Miguel Sano missed his third straight game with left hamstring tightness. Molitor said Sano has not made much progress and could be looking at a stint on the disabled list if he doesn't show improvement soon. ... OF Byron Buxton, on the 10-day disabled list after a migraine first sidelined him, stood in while pitchers threw their bullpens on Monday but isn't ready to run because of a hairline fracture in his toe.


Right-hander Marco Estrada (2-2, 6.00 ERA) starts Tuesday for Toronto in the second game of the three-game series. Minnesota counters with right-hander Kyle Gibson (1-1, 3.33). Estrada has allowed five runs in back-to-back outings, totalling 10 innings pitched. Gibson pitched six scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts in a no-decision against the New York Yankees in his previous outing.

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{allcanada} TFC defender Moor could miss 2-3 months


Toronto FC has suffered another injury blow on defence with news that veteran centre back Drew Moor could be out two to three months with a quad tear.

The 14-year veteran was injured in training ahead of the return leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final last week in Guadalajara against Chivas.

With Justin Morrow (calf), Chris Mavinga (hamstring), Eriq Zavaleta (quad) and Nick Hagglund (hamstring) already hurting, Toronto has dropped captain Michael Bradley to centre back alongside Gregory van der Wiel with Canadian Ashtone Morgan and Brazil's Auro at fullback in recent games.

The MLS champions say striker Jozy Altidore, who left the Chivas game with a hamstring issue and did not see action in Saturday's 2-2 tie with Chicago, is also expected to be out a couple of weeks.

Toronto (1-4-1) hosts the Philadelphia Union (2-3-2) on Friday.

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{allcanada} OHL: Greyhounds beat Rangers in OT of Game 7


SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. — It'll be the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and the Hamilton Bulldogs facing off for the Ontario Hockey League championship.

Jack Kopacka scored four minutes into the second overtime as Sault Ste. Marie beat the Kitchener Rangers 4-3 on Monday in Game 7 of the Western Conference final.

Boris Katchouk had two goals and an assist for the top-ranked Greyhounds while Morgan Frost added a goal and two helpers.

Logan Stanley forced extra time for Kitchener when he scored at 19:08 of the third period to tie the game 3-3. Jonathan Yantsis and Rickard Hugg rounded out the Rangers offence.

Matthew Villalta made 33 saves for the win as Mario Culina stopped 37 shots in a losing cause.

Kitchener was without forward Givani Smith, who was handed a two-game suspension for an "inappropriate gesture" at the end of Game 6.

The Greyhounds went 0 for 3 on the power play while the Rangers scored once on three chances with the man advantage.

The Bulldogs beat the Kingston Frontenacs in five games in the Eastern Conference final.

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{allcanada} May 1: Beliveau becomes first Conn Smythe winner



1965: Jean Beliveau becomes the first winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to the most valuable player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Beliveau wins the brand-new trophy after scoring the first of the Montreal Canadiens' four first-period goals in a 4-0 win against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of the Final at the Forum.

Beliveau sets a record for the fastest Cup-winning goal when he beats Glenn Hall 14 seconds after the opening faceoff. He assists on a goal by Dick Duff less than five minutes later, and Yvan Cournoyer and Henri Richard score late in the period. Beliveau finishes the playoffs with 16 points (eight goals, eight assists). Gump Worsley makes 20 saves to become the second goaltender to have a shutout in Game 7 of the Final. The Canadiens win their first championship since 1960.



1980: The New York Islanders set a playoff record by winning their seventh consecutive road game when Bob Nystrom scores at 1:20 of double overtime for a 2-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres at Memorial Auditorium in Game 2 of the Semifinals. Billy Smith makes 41 saves before Nystrom scores the third of his four career overtime goals to give the Islanders a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.


1992: For the first time in their history, the New York Rangers win a Game 7. Adam Graves scores two goals and sets up two others in an 8-4 victory against the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden in their Patrick Division Semifinal series. The Rangers also get two goals and an assist from Mark Messier and 33 saves by John Vanbiesbrouck. It's the first time the Rangers play a Game 7 at home after going 0-4 as the road team.


1993: Nikolai Borschevsky scores at 2:35 of overtime to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 4-3 win against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 of the Norris Division Semifinals at Joe Louis Arena. The Maple Leafs trail 2-1 and 3-2, but force overtime when Doug Gilmour scores with 2:43 remaining in the third period. Borschevsky then beats Tim Cheveldae to become the second player in NHL history to score his first playoff goal in overtime of a Game 7.


1995: The Canadiens are assured of a non-playoff season for the first time in 25 years when they lose 2-0 to the Sabres at Memorial Auditorium. Goaltender Dominik Hasek makes 32 saves and Richard Smehlik and Alex Mogilny score goals to eliminate Montreal from the playoff race. It's the first time since 1970 that Montreal will not take part in the postseason.

8 Dec 1995: Goaltender Dominik Hasek of the Buffalo Sabres on the ice during a game against the Washington Capitals at Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo, New York. The game was a tie, 2-2. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart /Allsport


2008: Johan Franzen scores three goals in Detroit's 8-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center, giving him an NHL-record nine goals in a four-game series. Franzen also breaks the Red Wings record for goals in a series of any length, set by Gordie Howe in 1949 (eight goals in seven games). He matches Colorado's total goals in the Western Conference Quarterfinal series and becomes the first player with two hat tricks in a series since Jari Kurri of the Edmonton Oilers in 1985.


2009: The Red Wings make history in a 3-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks at Joe Louis Arena in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals. It's the 18th consecutive time the Red Wings have started a series at home, a playoff record. Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom has two assists before scoring the winning goal with 49.1 seconds remaining in the third period. Detroit becomes the first NHL team to win consecutive games in one playoff year by scoring tiebreaking, game-winning goals in the last minute of the third period.

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{allcanada} Myers thriving for Jets in playoffs after trying year


WINNIPEG - Tyler Myers had just been awarded the Winnipeg Jets' authentic fighter pilot helmet, signifying that he was that night's player of the game.

But the ceremony on Oct. 12, 2017 packed more emotion and meaning than the usual postgame ritual for the Jets defenseman.

"I can't remember what I said," Jets forward and award presenter Bryan Little said. "I just remember giving him the helmet and giving him a hug."

For Myers, the award meant more than being recognized for his game-winning, shorthanded goal against the Vancouver Canucks. It was a sign that the 28-year-old defenseman was back following a grueling year - both mentally and physically.

Myers has three points (two goals, one assist) in six Stanley Cup Playoff games for the Jets, who are tied 1-1 with the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference Second Round. Game 3 of the best-of-7 series is at Winnipeg's Bell MTS Place on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET;  CNBC, CBC, TVAS).

Back in October, not only was Myers playing after missing 71 games the previous season because of a hip injury sustained Nov. 11, 2016 that required surgery on Feb. 6, 2017, Myers and his wife, Michela, had gotten through a trying time because of complications from the premature birth of their son, Tristan.

"The injury was one thing; it was obviously very tough going through that, not being able to get on the ice to help the guys," said Myers said. "But in terms of the other stuff, our little guy, we're very happy with how far he's come."

With Myers on a road trip with the Jets, Michela, pregnant at the time, wasn't feeling right and decided to go to the hospital on Jan. 5, 2017. After an ultrasound, it was determined she needed an emergency cesarean section.

Tristan Myers was born five weeks premature and without 80 percent of his blood, the result of a fetal maternal hemorrhage.

Further complications, including a stroke, kept Tristan in the hospital for nearly six weeks. Tyler and Michela had to wait 12 days before they were allowed to hold him.

Sixteen months later, Tristan is doing well.

"I would almost say it's made me a little more laid back," Myers said. "I don't let things get to me too much. I start thinking about him and how hard he had to fight to get through what he did and it allows me to constantly remind myself and keep getting back to what's important. It really comes down to family first. As much as I love this game and love being part of this room, it really puts things into perspective."

Myers (6-foot-8, 229 pounds), is part of Winnipeg's deep right side on defense that includes Dustin Byfuglien and Jacob Trouba.

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - APRIL 13: Tyler Myers #57 of the Winnipeg Jets celebrates scoring against the Minnesota Wild in Game Two of the Western Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 13, 2018 at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Jason Halstead /Getty Images)

Averaging 21:26 of ice time per game this season, Myers had 36 points (six goals, 30 assists) in 82 games, including three game-winners, in addition to his three postseason points.

One of those points came on a spectacular goal in Game 2 of the Jets' Western Conference First Round victory against the Minnesota Wild.

In the second period of a scoreless game, Myers took a pass at the blue line, went around Wild forward Jason Zucker and cut to the net, beating Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk with a blocker-side wrist shot. The Jets won the game, 4-1.

"He has so much poise with the puck," Little said of Myers. "You saw that goal he scored last series, when he walked along the blue line, that takes guts, too, and he does that and he's calm and you can see that poise, carrying the puck up the ice. It's nice to watch.

"He's a great guy to have in the room, great sense of humor."

Even with his world spinning in many directions over the past 18 months, Myers has remained grounded and focused. He said he appreciates even more all that he has.

"Ever since I came into the League, and when I was younger, I've always been extremely hard on myself," Myers said. "I've let things weigh on me maybe a little more than they should. But I've learned over the years to become much more even-keeled.

"With as hard as some of the things were last year, now that things are good, it's allowed me to just take a step back and realize not to worry about things so much. Less stress. Enjoy the things around me and have fun with the guys and have fun with the little guy and my wife at home and basically just enjoy the moment."

His family-first priority is stronger now, he said, and that includes his teammates and the Jets organization.

"The way the Jets treated our family during a tough time, I'll always be linked to this place no matter what happens," Myers said. "And when I say family first, they're included in that. So it's not just being related to somebody.

"They've really created a family atmosphere in this organization. It's been a real nice thing to be a part of and it's really nice to come back this year and be at a point where everything is moving forward."

Little said that family is the key piece to how Myers fits with the Jets and how they fit him.

"I had so much time myself the last two seasons with injuries so I know how frustrated and down you can get being in that position," Little said. "Plus all the stuff off the ice he had to go through.

Tyler Myers #57 of the Winnipeg Jets gets set for a second period face-off against the Dallas Stars at the MTS Centre

"To add that on top of it, that's a stressful situation he was in. That's what makes this team special, that we're there for each other. We're really good family. And it's different. I've played on teams when I was younger that weren't like that. And they didn't have that kind of bond and closeness as a team and this team really has that. We really care about each other and you want to see each other do well.

"To see him back now, doing well and playing a full season, that's awesome."

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{allcanada} Jimmy Kimmel Joins ABC’s ‘Man Of The House’ Comedy Pilot


Jimmy Kimmel will be adding his voice to Man of the House, ABC's multi-camera hybrid family comedy pilot from Gail Berman's The Jackal Group, ABC Studios and Scandal star Kerry Washington's studio-based Simpson Street. Kimmel joins previously announced Alyson Hannigan, Leslie Bibb, Jake Short, Jenna Ortega and Reece Caddell.

The host of ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live will provide the voice-over/narration of the grownup version of Jake Short's character Bradley. Kimmel's voice-over provides the point of view of Bradley looking back fondly at the women who made him the man he is today.

Written by Vijal Patel and Frank Pines inspired by Pines' life and directed by Richie Keen, the family comedy revolves around two recently divorced, very different sisters who, against their better judgment, move in together to raise their collective kids. Jessie (Hannigan) is a sensitive social worker and overprotective mom to teen football star Bradley (Short) and preteen Blair (Caddell). Her sister Lexi (Bibb) is an overly confident, take-no-prisoners mom who gets her way with everyone, except maybe her teenage mini-me of a daughter, Elena (Ortega). While Bradley oscillates between the hyper-male world of high school football and the hyper-female world at home, this group of women is going to teach him how to be a better man, whether he likes it or not.

When offered the part, ABC says Kimmel responded, "I've often thought of myself as an 'Older Bradley,' so that works out well."

Pines and Patel executive produce alongside Berman and Joe Earley of The Jackal Group as well as Washington and Pilar Savone via Simpson Street.

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{allcanada} ‘Unspeakable’: Levi Meaden, Brian Markinson, Aaron Douglas & David Lewis Round Out Cast Of CBC/Sundance Miniseries

Production is underway in Vancouver, BC, on CBC and SundanceTV's eight-part drama miniseries Unspeakable, which chronicles the tainted blood scandal beginning in the 80's. Rounding out the cast are Levi Meaden (Pacific Rim: Uprising, Aftermath), Brian Markinson (The Crossing, Salvation), Aaron Douglas (Dirk Gentley's Holistic Detective Agency, Imposters) and David Lewis (The Magicians, Altered Carbon). Details of their roles are being kept under wraps.

Created by Robert C. Cooper (Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis) and based on first-person experience and non-fiction books, Bad Blood by Vic Parsons and The Gift of Death by Andre Picard, Unspeakable chronicles the emergence of HIV and Hepatitis C in Canada in the early 1980s and the tragedy that resulted after thousands of people were infected by tainted blood. One of the largest medical disasters in Canadian history, the blood scandal triggered a federal inquiry and precedent-setting lawsuit resulting in billions of dollars in compensation to victims.

The project is produced by Mezo Entertainment and will be broadcast on CBC in Canada and SundanceTV in the U.S., with AMC Studios managing worldwide distribution outside of Canada.

Meaden starred opposite Joan Allen in the final season of The Killing, and has had guest starring roles on such shows as Almost Human and The 100. He's coming off a supporting role in Universal's Pacific Rim: Uprising and and will next be seen in Breaking-In opposite Gabrielle Union. He's repped by Bernard Kira of BMK-ENT and Carrie Wheeler Entertainment.

Markinson most recently guest-starred in The Crossing and recurred on Salvation. He's repped by The Characters Talent Agency.

Douglas recently recurred on Imposters and iZombie and played Gordon Rimmer on Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. He's repped by Pacific Artists Management and Gersh.

Lewis most recently recurred on The Magicians and appeared on Altered Carbon. He's repped by Van Gogh Talent.

"It's so gratifying to see this project get going," said creator and executive producer Cooper. "Across the board, the cast is truly amazing."

A CBC and SundanceTV original series, Unspeakable is produced by Mezo Entertainment, with Cooper and Meridian Artists' Glenn Cockburn serving as executive producers.

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{allcanada} Shania Twain to Host Country Music Competition Series for USA Network


Reality TV apparently does impress Shania Twain much: The singer has been tapped to headline a country music competition series for USA Network.

Titled Real Country, the project — which finds the former Voice advisor co-hosting alongside fellow country music star Jake Owen — emerging solo artists, duos and groups will perform in showcases that spotlight "the rich traditions, songs and themes of specific country genres," per USA. The best artists from each showcase will perform in a grand finale, for the chance to be named one of country music's next breakout acts.

The news comes just weeks after Twain found herself in the headlines after saying she would have voted for President Trump given the opportunity. "I would have voted for him because, even though he was offensive, he seemed honest," she told The Guardian. "Do you want straight or polite? Not that you shouldn't be able to have both. If I were voting, I just don't want bulls–t. I would have voted for a feeling that it was transparent. And politics has a reputation of not being that, right?"

Twain later walked back those comments, saying in a statement, "I would like to apologize to anybody I have offended in a recent interview with the Guardian relating to the American President. The question caught me off guard. As a Canadian, I regret answering this unexpected question without giving my response more context."

Regarding Real Country, Twain said, "It's been an incredible year for me, releasing my new album and coming back to country music. I feel it's time for me to add my own support in finding our greatest undiscovered talent. It's beyond thrilling to be leading the charge with Real Country, and I'm on a mission to find artists who will keep country music diverse and dynamic. The kind of diversity that inspired all of us."

Real Country is slated to bow this fall.

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{allcanada} Home is where the 'L' is? Home teams struggling in playoffs


PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Having home ice is supposed to be an advantage in the NHL. So far in the 2018 playoffs, the only guarantee to playing at home is a monochrome backdrop provided by fans in team-specific T-shirts.

Consider the following:

- The Pittsburgh Penguins finished with the second-worst road record among the 16 playoff teams. Then the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions ripped off three wins in Philadelphia to kickstart their pursuit of a three-peat and backed it up with another victory in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series in Washington.

- The Capitals dropped Games 1 and 2 at home in overtime against Columbus in the opening round only to beat the Blue Jackets three times in Columbus on their way to advancing to the NHL's final eight for the fourth consecutive year.

- Winnipeg posted an NHL-high 32 wins on home ice. One of their seven regulation home losses, however, was a wild 6-5 setback at the hands of Nashville in February. The Predators' triumph helped them win the Presidents Trophy and guarantee home ice through the playoffs. The Jets, of course, won the series opener in Nashville to steal that advantage.

Home teams are just 25-25 so far in the playoffs heading into Tuesday, when Pittsburgh hosts Washington (7:30 p.m. Eastern, NBCSN) and Winnipeg welcomes the Predators (8 p.m., CNBC). Both series are tied after the visitors claimed their respective openers on the road.

Asked why the games have become a coin flip regardless of venue, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan - whose team was outplayed at PPG Paints Arena by Philadelphia in Game 2 and Game 5 in the opening round - admits he can't really come up with a reason.

''I don't know if I have answer for you that makes sense,'' Sullivan said Monday. ''Sometimes when teams go on the road, they have tendency to simplify their game ... I know our team historically has been very good at home and I believe we will continue to do that.''

If Pittsburgh wants to become the first franchise in 35 years to win three straight titles, it doesn't really have much of a choice. Though Sullivan is right in that the Penguins are pretty good at PPG Paints Arena, they've only been so-so when facing the Capitals. Washington won Game 3 and Game 6 in Pittsburgh during the 2017 postseason and wrapped up its third straight Metropolitan Division title with a 3-1 win there on April 1.

''You've got to create your own momentum, but it gives you good memories,'' Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. ''If you have to go back into the memory bank, at least we have one. Those are things that you can bank on maybe for some positive feeling going forward.''

Predators forward Nick Bonino couldn't offer up any specifics about Nashville's victory in Winnipeg even though it happened all of two months ago, saying only ''I'm sure we played a solid road game.''

The road does offer the visiting team a sense of routine. There aren't as many friends or family around. No kids waking up in the middle of the night. No traffic to deal with in most places. Just wake up, suit up and go play.

''You go out to dinner, there's not really any distractions,'' Bonino said. ''You're there for hockey.''

And the hockey in both series has been spectacular. Nashville avoided heading to Canada in an 0-2 hole with a thrilling double-overtime escape in Game 2. Washington responded after blowing a two-goal, third-period lead in Game 1 by winning a predictably chippy Game 2.

That chippiness included a questionable hit by Washington's Tom Wilson to Pittsburgh defenseman Brian Dumolin's head in the second period that sent Dumolin into the concussion protocol. Dumolin skated with his teammates on Monday and his status - much like the status of star center Evgeni Malkin (lower body) and Carl Hagelin (upper body) - won't be determined until Tuesday.

Wilson was not penalized for the hit and received a pass from the league when it opted not to schedule a disciplinary hearing to review the play. While Dumolin said he didn't see Wilson coming because he was bracing for a hit by Alex Ovechkin, Wilson claimed Dumolin turned his head just before impact leaving Wilson with no time to react.

''He stops and turns and I'm kind of right there as (Ovechkin) is coming in pretty aggressively,'' Wilson said. ''It's a collision.''

Pittsburgh star Kris Letang wasn't surprised Wilson's hit wasn't deemed illegal. Why?

''Because we don't know anymore (what's legal and illegal),'' he said.

And we don't know what a given night is going to bring anymore either. Home teams get to sleep in their beds. They get the luxury of the last line change before faceoffs, allowing them to get the matchups they want. And so far it has made zero difference in the result.

''It doesn't have to be pretty always on the road,'' Predators defenseman Matt Irwin said. ''I think we embrace that.''

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{allcanada} McDavid named captain for Canada at Worlds


Connor McDavid was named captain of Canada for the 2018 IIHF World Championship on Monday.

The tournament will be held May 4-20 in Copenhagen and Herning, Denmark. Canada won the silver medal at the 2017 tournament, losing 2-1 in a shootout against Sweden in the championship game.

"It's very special to be able to wear the C but there's a lot of guys in the room that can wear it," McDavid told TSN. "We have a great mix of guys that have a lot of experience, a lot of experience playing this tournament, and a good amount of youth as well."

McDavid, who led the NHL scoring for the second straight season with 108 points (41 goals, 67 assists), has been captain of the Edmonton Oilers since the start of the 2016-17 season.

Buffalo Sabres forward Ryan O'Reilly and St. Louis Blues forward Brayden Schenn were named alternate captains.

"We have a mix of youth and veterans on our team, and the three players chosen to wear a letter know what it takes to be successful in international competition and that will help us be successful in our ultimate goal," coach Bill Peters said.

Canada is in Group B for the preliminary round, along with Finland, the United States, Germany, Norway, Latvia, Denmark and Korea. Canada's first game is against the U.S. on Friday. Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane was named captain of the U.S. on April 9.

Group A consists of Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belarus, Slovakia, France and Austria.

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{allcanada} Lamoriello out as general manager of Maple Leafs


TORONTO -- Lou Lamoriello will not return as general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs but will remain with the organization in the role of senior adviser.

When Lamoriello, 75, was hired July 23, 2105, the plan was for him to be GM for three years before transitioning to senior adviser for the following four years. Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said Monday he decided it was best to adhere to the original plan.

"Lou and I, when we first met, discussed this challenge," Shanahan said. "We talked about a timetable and I guess I came to the conclusion that that was the right time timetable, and it was time to make a change."

Shanahan said there is no timetable to name a successor and that candidates, internal and external, will be considered.

He said his attention was on the Maple Leafs, who had their season end April 25 when they were defeated in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round by the Boston Bruins. 

"First and foremost, we were playing hockey a week ago so our focus was on hockey, on the games," Shanahan said. "I felt what was best for the organization was if I were to make a decision, to make one early, so I haven't begun that process yet and that's why nobody has been named. My focus was on Lou and making a decision, and taking a little bit of time right after the season ended to really reflect on that."

Lamoriello does not know if will remain as senior adviser for the full four years.

  CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 24: Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello speaks to the media after the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

"I've never been in a situation like that. So like everything else in life, you'll learn as you go and make the best of it. I wish I could give you that answer," Lamoriello said. "I haven't even given it any thought. It would be my intention, if your health is good, you feel good, you enjoy the people around you, you do something. That would be the intent."

The Maple Leafs went 118-95-33 in Lamoriello's three seasons and improved each season. They went 29-42-11 in 2015-16, missing the playoffs, but won the 2016 Draft Lottery and used the No. 1 pick on center Auston Matthews, who won the Calder Trophy, awarded to the League's top rookie, after finishing with 69 points (40 goals, 29 assists) in the 2016-17 season.

Last season, the Maple Leafs finished 40-27-15 to reach the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 season. They were defeated in the first round by the Washington Capitals in six games.

This season, Toronto went 49-26-7, setting team records for wins and points (105) to finish third in the Atlantic Division, but were defeated by the Bruins in the first round. They reached the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2002-03 and 2003-04.

"Probably the proudest moment is seeing how the franchise has grown as far as winning," Lamoriello said. "The first year, we went through a transition where we went through some 50 players to find out exactly who wanted to be a part of the group that Brendan put together and seeing the people who did remain, the success they'd had since then. The proudest moment would be seeing the team go from [30th place] to 14th to 7th."

Lamoriello resigned as president of the New Jersey Devils to become the 16th general manager of the Maple Leafs on the same day in 2015. He won the Stanley Cup three times (1995, 2000, 2003) with the Devils and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009.

Shanahan was the first player Lamoriello selected as an NHL GM in the 1987 NHL Draft (No. 2) with New Jersey.

"When I approached Lou and we discussed coming to Toronto, I can certainly say I was hopeful he would take that challenge on and he has delivered," Shanahan said. "My relationship and respect that I have for him has only grown over time."

Two possible internal candidates could be Mark Hunter and Kyle Dubas, who were Lamoriello's assistants. Though Hunter, Dubas and coach Mike Babcock were hired prior to Lamoriello's arrival, Shanahan gave Lamoriello credit for working well with a staff in place and said the culture Lamoriello established left him without any concerns that his departure would cause disruption within the front office.

"I think that is one of the things that Lou has to get credit for," Shanahan said. "He worked in an environment which when he came here, there was a team of people already assembled and he fit in as their leader seamlessly. Lou's mentorship these past three years with the entire management group, coaching staff and even office staff, that's just how he works. I don't think people understand how collaborative he actually is and how many people that he's brought alongside to teach as he's gone along. Lou Lamoriello's influence on everyone here will be felt for a long time."

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{allcanada} Knevel, Cibasu among Canadians attending NFL mini-camps


A number of Canadians have signed undrafted free agent deals or will attend mini-camps on a tryout basis in the NFL, potentially affecting this week's CFL Draft.

As previously reported, offensive linemen Ryan Hunter and Dakoda Shepley signed as UDFAs with the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets respectively. Hunter was ranked first and Shepley third in the final CFL Scouting Bureau rankings ahead of Thursday's CFL Draft, but will likely fall now that they will likely be in the NFL until at least September.

Canadians that will attend NFL mini-camps on a tryout basis include offensive linemen David Knevel and Mark Korte, receiver Regis Cibasu, defensive back Jackson Bennett, and kicker/punter TJ Morton.

Knevel, ranked fifth in the final CFL Scouting Bureau rankings, will attend the Oakland Raiders mini-camp on a tryout basis, according to Nebraska Cornhuskers writer Sean Callahan.

Former #Huskers OL David Knevel confirmed to me that he's accepted an invite to the @RAIDERS rookie mini camp next weekend. The @CFL draft is Thursday, and he's expected to be a high pick in that as well.

— Sean Callahan (@Sean_Callahan) April 29, 2018

Korte, ranked sixth by the CFL Scouting Bureau, will attend mini-camps with the New York Jets and Giants on back-to-back weekends, while Cibasu, 15th in the rankings, has accepted a mini-camp invite with the Chicago Bears.

Bennett and Morton did not appear in the final Scouting Bureau rankings but will attend mini-camps with the Giants in two weeks' time.

UConn offensive lineman Trey Rutherford meanwhile, has declined mini-camp invites to focus on the CFL Draft. Rutherford, ranked fourth by the Scouting Bureau, is expected to be selected in the top two in the CFL Draft with Hunter and Shepley signing in the NFL.

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{allcanada} Als considering Rutherford, Chapman, others at No. 1


Montreal Alouettes general manager Kavis Reed said Monday the team has narrowed the choices for the first overall pick in Thursday's draft to four or five prospects. Among them, Reed admitted, are UConn offensive lineman Trey Rutherford and Central Michigan wide receiver Mark Chapman.

Chapman is ranked second on the CFL Scouting Bureau's final list while Rutherford, who has turned down opportunites to participate in NFL mini-camps on a tryout basis to focus on the CFL Draft, is ranked fourth. With Ryan Hunter, ranked first, and Dakoda Shepley, ranked third, signing undrafted free agent contracts in the NFL over the weekend, Chapman and Rutherford are the two highest-ranked prospects that aren't affiliated with an NFL team.

Reed would also not rule out trading the first overall pick, saying he was open to anything that made the Alouettes better.

Chapman finished his senior season with the Chippewas with 59 receptions for 875 yards and five touchdowns. Rutherford.

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

{allcanada} Jays use solo homers in rout of Rangers


TORONTO — On a day when the Blue Jays bullpen needed a break, J.A. Happ tossed seven innings, allowing just two earned runs as Toronto snapped a four game skid with a 7-2 win over the Texas Rangers.

Yangervis Solarte, Teoscar Hernandez and Kevin Pillar each hit solo home runs as the Blue Jays avoided a sweep at the hands of the Rangers.

"I take pride in that and trying to do that over the last couple years," said Happ on giving the bullpen a day off. "You're definitely aware of kind of where we're at with the bullpen — a little bit thin there, but just trying to go out, obviously you want quick outs whenever you can, but you can't really change the gameplay too much to accommodate for that."

Happ (4-1) surrendered five hits while striking out nine. The left-hander now has back-to-back starts with nine-plus strikeouts and no walks — the only other Blue Jays pitcher to accomplish that feat was Roger Clemens.

"I'm just trying to change speeds when I need to and trying not to let them see the same pitch too many times in a row, trying to change it up on them," said Happ. "I think me being aggressive, getting strike one is usually a good thing for me."

Ryan Tepera and Aaron Loup each pitched a scoreless inning of relief.

The loss halted the Rangers' (11-18) season-high three-game win streak.

Randal Grichuk showed off his defensive prowess in the first inning, diving and cradling the ball between his body and glove to rob Isiah Kiner-Falefa of extra bases and then doubled up Delino DeShields at second for the inning-ending double play.

The Blue Jays right-fielder then contributed offensively, scoring Pillar from third on a sacrifice fly in the second to give Toronto a 2-1 lead. Grichuk, who entered Sunday's game mired in a 0-for-18 slump, went 2 for 3 at the plate.

Pillar is no stranger to making highlight-reel catches, but feels he's perfected the art of the dive.

"Mine are much more graceful," he joked. "It's exciting to see, he hasn't been playing much lately, been struggling with the bat and to come out there and make a big play in the first inning, its huge for him, it's huge for our team, it got us out of a jam early.

"When you're struggling with the bat, you've got to separate the bat from playing defence, go out there, make plays and help your pitchers out and he ended up having a good day at the plate too."

Hernandez took Martin Perez's 0-1 pitch over the wall in right for his fourth homer of the season in the third and Pillar led off the next inning with a solo shot, his fourth, giving Toronto a 4-1 lead.

Perez (2-3) went four innings, allowing four earned on five hits while striking out two and walking four.

The Rangers got to within two in the sixth when Kiner-Falefa's ground out scored DeShields from third, but that's as close as they'd get. Russell Martin restored the Blue Jays' three-run lead in the bottom half, reaching on an error and then he later scored.

Toronto added to its lead in the seventh as Justin Smoak scored a run on a sac fly and Solarte delivered an RBI single giving Toronto a 7-2 cushion.

Renato Nunez got Texas on the board in the second putting Happ's first pitch into the second deck for his first home run of the season. Solarte responded for the Blue Jays in the bottom half of the inning taking Perez's change-up deep for his seventh home run of the season.

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{allcanada} April 30: Kings complete rally from 3-0 series deficit, stun Sharks



2014: The Los Angeles Kings highlight a historic night when they defeat the San Jose Sharks 5-1 in Game 7 of their Western Conference First Round series at SAP Center, becoming the fourth team in NHL history to win a Stanley Cup Playoff series after losing the first three games. Two members of the Kings, forwards Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, become the first players to do it twice, having played on the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers, who overcame a 3-0 series deficit against the Boston Bruins. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick makes 39 saves and yields five goals in the four wins after allowing 16 in the three losses.

A couple of hours earlier, Nino Niederreiter scores at 5:02 of overtime to give the Minnesota Wild a 5-4 victory against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center, moving them into the Western Conference Second Round. The Avalanche lead 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 and 4-3, only to have the Wild tie the score each time, the last on a goal by Jared Spurgeon with 2:27 remaining in the third period. Minnesota becomes the first team in NHL history to score four game-tying goals in the seventh game of a playoff series.

The New York Rangers start the night by becoming the first NHL team to win a Game 7 in three consecutive years when they hold off the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 at Madison Square Garden to win their Eastern Conference First Round series. Henrik Lundqvist makes 26 saves for the Rangers. The win against the Flyers comes after the Rangers defeat the Ottawa Senators in seven games in 2012 and the Washington Capitals in 2013.



1970: The St. Louis Blues defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 at the Civic Arena in Game 6 of their semifinal series, advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in their three-year NHL history. Bill McCreary leads the scoring with a goal and two assists.


1972: Ken Hodge gets the only playoff hat trick of his career and Garnet "Ace" Bailey scores the winner with 2:16 remaining in the third period to give the Bruins a 6-5 victory against the Rangers at Boston Garden in Game 1 of the Final. Hodge's three goals help the Bruins build a 5-1 lead; Bailey's shot beats Ed Giacomin for the win after the Rangers score four consecutive goals to tie the game 5-5. It's the first time in 43 years that Boston and New York play in the Final.

Ken Hodge #8 of the Boston Bruins skates on the ice during an NHL game against the New York Rangers


1986: The Edmonton Oilers' dreams of winning the Stanley Cup for a third straight year ends when defenseman Steve Smith accidentally scores into his own net at 5:14 of the third period and the Calgary Flames win 3-2 at Northlands Coliseum in Game 7 of the Smythe Division Final. Smith, playing on his 23rd birthday, tries to throw a cross-ice pass but inadvertently banks the puck off Oilers goaltender Grant Fuhr and into the net to break a 2-2 tie. The goal is credited to Calgary forward Perry Berezin, the player whose dump-in that Smith picks up behind the net. Edmonton won the Cup in 1984 and '85, and would win it again in 1987 and '88.


1994: San Jose, playing in its first Stanley Cup Playoff series, stuns the top-seeded Detroit Red Wings with a 3-2 victory at Joe Louis Arena in Game 7 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. The game is tied in the third period when Detroit goaltender Chris Osgood comes out of the net and tries to throw a backhand pass up the right side; Sharks forward Jamie Baker picks it off and shoots the puck into the net before Osgood can get back to his crease. Baker's goal with 6:35 remaining helps the Sharks become the first team since the 1975 New York Islanders to advance to the second round in their playoff debut.

On the same night, Pavel Bure scores at 2:20 of the second overtime to give the Vancouver Canucks a 4-3 win against the Calgary Flames at the Saddledome in Game 7 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.


2008: Patrick Marleau becomes the first player in playoff history to score shorthanded goals on consecutive days. His unassisted goal 9:19 into the second period also proves to be the game-winner when the visiting Sharks defeat the Dallas Stars 2-1 in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal.


2013: Alexander Steen scores a shorthanded goal at 12:36 of overtime to give the St. Louis Blues a 2-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals at Scottrade Center. Steen steals the puck from Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick and puts in into the vacant net to become the seventh player in Stanley Cup history to score an overtime goal while his team is shorthanded.


2015: Joel Ward scores with 1.3 seconds left in the third period to give the Capitals a 2-1 victory against the Rangers in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series at Madison Square Garden. Ward, unchecked in the slot with time running out, takes a pass from Alex Ovechkin and shoots through Lundqvist's legs for the win.

Joel Ward #42 of the Washington Capitals celebrates with Brooks Orpik #44 after scoring in the final seconds of the third period to help defeat the New York Rangers 2-1 in Game One 

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