Ottawa Sports News
A fight on the undercard of the Adonis Stevenson-Badou Jack boxing card at the Air Canada Centre was briefly interrupted Saturday night when a man tried to force his way into the ring.
Elina Svitolina faced little resistance from Simona Halep in a 6-0, 6-4 win Sunday to defend her Italian Open title. Just like in last year's final, Halep appeared bothered by an injury.
Canadian paddler Katie Vincent took a second medal at the Canoe Sprint World Cup in Hungary this weekend, scoring bronze on Sunday after taking gold with Laurence Vincent-Lapointe on Saturday.
Chiefs 3, Jr. Sens 2
Statistically speaking, the Ottawa Jr. Senators week at the RBC Cup could not have been closer. Emotionally it couldn’t have been harder.
The Jr. Sens played four round-robin games that need extra time to decide a winner at the Prospera Centre, home of the Chilliwack Chiefs.
Those same Chiefs ended the Jr. Sens hopes of a national championship Saturday with a 3-2 win in one of two games on semifinal Saturday. The Wellington Dukes were 2-1 winners over the favoured Wenatchee Wild in the other despite being outshot 51-14.
Kaden Pickering score the winner for the Chiefs, who will be playing in their first national championship final on Sunday, when he picked up a loose puck in front of the Ottawa net and beat Conner Hickes 11 minutes into the final period.
The Jr. Sens had opportunities after that, including nearly four minutes of power-play time in the dying minutes, to try and tie the game. Unfortunately, the power play that they feasted on during the CCHL regular season and playoffs was subdues against the countries’ best teams this week, and was 0-for-seven Saturday.
“Our power play didn’t get the job done,” coach Martin Dagenais said.
“We made a few mental mistakes, and it was all tournament long. Obviously the teams are better and it happens. It’s a short tournament, sometimes you’re on and sometimes you’re off. We got some good looks in the third period but just couldn’t finish.”
Anthony Vincent opened the scoring for the Chiefs at 9:21 of the first period when he swung around Hicks in the crease for a 1-0 lead.
Owen Guy tied the game at 18:09 when he basically swatted the puck off Pickering’s stick in front of the Chilliwack goal and through the legs of netminder Daniel Chenard, who made 26 saves in game, one less than Hicks.
The Chiefs regained their one-goal lead before the end of the period though as Skyler Brind’Amour batted a rebound out of the air past Hicks for a 2-1 lead.
Replayed showed that the puck was very close to having been hit with a high stick, but there is no video replay at this level and Dagenais wasn’t one to use it as an excuse.
“The replay made the referees call look bad, but it’s so fast on the ice and it was close. It is what it is and they called it a goal and we have to live with it,” Dagenais said.
Pierre-Luc Veillette drew the Jr. Sens even with his rebound goal at 19:10 of the second period. Chenard was just about to cover the puck with his glove but it was swiped away to the point by the stick of Chiefs forward Harrison Blaisdell right to the point where Isaac Anderson got a shot off that was stopped by Chenard.
“It does hurt thinking what could have been,” Dagenais said seconds after listing off names of players who were hurt and unable to play Saturday, including Chiwetin Blacksmith who was their leading scorer during the season.
“We had no injuries throughout the playoffs except for one guy. During the Fred Page Cup we were healthy, but we weren’t so lucky in Chilliwack.”
But they were oh so close.
Heron Gate residents will soon watch their homes torn down, making way for development.
They’re at the end of their lifespan, says Timbercreek Communities, which owns the buildings. Forty-five units are already vacant; another 105 households will be bulldozed.
Residents have until the end of September to find new places to live. (Heron Gate homes have moved from hand-to-hand among landlords for some time, and this isn’t the first time Timbercreek has forced folks out of the area, in order to build new developments.)
Timbercreek owns the properties, having bought them in 2012 and 2013. It has every right to evict tenants, knock down their homes and build something new — a 350-unit complex, planned to be open by June 2019.
The company is offering three months of rent, help with moving expenses and relocation, as required by law.
Still, the whole thing’s a bit sad for residents who live there. Dalal Ayoob and her husband, for example, have lived there since they arrived from Iraq a decade ago.
Not only is it simply sad, if understandable, but the search for new housing actually points to a serious issue in this city: affordable housing.
A city report on homelessness shows a 143 per cent increase in chronically homeless families since 2014, to cite just one worrisome statistic.
Or another: There are 10,000 households on the centralized waiting list for subsidized housing, the city says.
These two numbers point to a real problem. It’s a double-whammy problem, and it defies simple solutions: one of high housing costs and incomes that don’t cover the costs of rent.
What’s clear, though, is that more housing — more affordable housing — is needed in Ottawa. This is an issue that experts have been puzzling over for a very long time.
Solutions range from rent control, to no rent control, to more regulation of landlords to less regulation of landlords and property, to government administered subsidy to direct subsidy to renters — it’s not so easy to say what the best solution here is.
What is certainly a partial solution, though, is to ensure that future mega-developments have affordable and subsidized housing available. One such example is plans for affordable housing at LeBreton Flats — the right approach, for sure.
And there is a certain allure to glitzy new development. But real folks are affected by city planning and development. It never hurts, for developers and politicians — especially in a municipal election season — to remember the real people, and the little guys out there.
Doug Ford says he will lower the gas prices by 10 cents. He should bring it into effect on April 1st and have it referred to as April Fuels’ Day!
TAKING A CHANCE
Modern social conservatives will take a chance and elect a Conservative party, but won’t re-elect them if they will still “keep them in the wilderness” by not taking a stand against extremist socially liberal groups.
(Fascinating that more fringe conservative parties don’t get more support from some social conservatives.)
WHAT’S HE DOING?
Just what does the CEO of Hydro One do to earn his $6-million salary? What is his job description that requires that kind of salary? Is it listed somewhere? The average brain surgeon earns about a $400,000. I know what a brain surgeon does and well deserves a salary of $6 million. So, is Hydro One saying that the CEO is more worthy than a brain surgeon?
(Wouldn’t it be nice to have that sort of salary?)
ROYALS PAY THEIR DUES
The British royals bring substantial tourist funds to the United Kingdom.
The past year, they generated over 550 billion pounds to Britain.
It is part of our Canadian heritage as well, and even though they have little power, they can bring substantial tourist funds to Canada when they visit.
I cannot compare anybody else in the world that could generate this sort of grander, excitement and financial frenzy, during their wedding ceremony than the monarchy.
Many people dislike the British monarchy, but they do pay their way somewhat.
(And many find the pomp and circumstance fun.)
ISRAEL’S RESPONSE PROVOKED
Tarek Fatah quoted the UN High Commission for Human Rights chairman as saying “the mere fact of approaching a fence is not a lethal, life-threatening act, so does not warrant being shot.” I would hardly call protesters carrying petrol bombs, wire cutters and stones while using burning tire smoke for camouflage just approaching a fence.
The whole incident was regrettable, but the protesters were obviously trying to provoke the lethal response they received in order to become martyrs for their cause.
Regarding a recent letter, I’m sure if it was your child missing you wouldn’t want to bother to many people with an amber alert!
SETTLE IN THE NORTH
Quebec has said that large numbers of refugee claimants want to settle in Toronto.
North Bay Mayor Al McDonald, Thunder Bay’s Keith Hobbs, Timmins’ Steve Black, Sudbury’s Brian Bigger and Sault St. Marie’s Christian Provenzano don’t just want immigrants. Their cities desperately need them.
There’s no reason someone can’t find the right words to politely say, “The Toronto bus is a no go so, if you want to stay in Canada, pick a bus headed for any of the above cities located in Northern Ontario.”
(It’s tricky, in a free country, to force folks to live someplace.)
LeBron James had 27 points and 12 assists, Kevin Love added 14 rebounds and the Cleveland Cavaliers looked like a different team on their home floor, tightening the Eastern Conference finals with a 116-86 victory in Game 3 over the Boston Celtics on Saturday night.
Canadian Olympic medallist Penny Oleksiak posted two top-three finishes including a victory in the women's 200-metre butterfly on Saturday at the Atlanta Swim Classic.
Ryan Callahan did have 29 goals in one of his seasons as the captain of the Rangers, and 24 three years ago for the Lightning, but he’s not a scorer.
He is what he is – a well-paid fourth line penalty killer.
But it’s the offensive output of the busted up 33-year-old that is now the difference in an Eastern Conference final that Tampa is one win from stealing.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper matched Callahan-Cedric Paquette-Chris Kunitz against Washington’s big guns of Alex Oveckin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Tom Wilson in Game 5, and the fourth liners beat the first-liners like a rug.
Not only did they shut down them down, but they scored in the first minute of each of Period 1 and Period 2, as Callahan earned his first assist of the playoffs setting up Paquette 19 seconds into the game and he charged to the net himself to bang in his second goal of the post-season at 33 seconds of the second.
Kuznetsov scored Washington’s first goal in the second period, but it was against Tampa’s first line, not the fourth.
The only time Callahan and Paquette were really noticed in the first four games was when they were throwing themselves in front of Ovechkin’s blasts on the power play. On Saturday, Ovechkin didn’t even have a shot through two periods. He only attempted one, and it was blocked.
Oveckhin finally scored with the Caps net empty, and just 1:36 left on the clock, but again the Paquette line as on the bench.
Don’t you love the stories of the unlikely heroes at playoff time?
STARTS AND STOPS
You don’t always have to be a fortune-teller to be able to read the tea leaves. When Braden Holtby was dropped off at Amalie Arena on a wet Saturday afternoon in Tampa, he was handed an umbrella with a Lightning logo on it. Everybody knows that when it rains, it pours … Given the magnitude of the situation and their degree of difficulty, the goals by Paquette and Ondrej Palat may have been the two worst given up by Holtby in his career … Surely Paquette was not picked in even the deepest of playoff pools. He hasn’t had more than six in three seasons, and he now has four in 60 post-season games …
In telling a story about Teemu Selanne and their days together with the Anaheim Ducks, Brian Burke revealed another nickname the Finnish Flash had. “They called him 8-ball,” said Burke. Being a lawyer, Burke should know that stuff is illegal … Of the four shots by Capitals in the opening period, two were from Dmitry Orlov, one from John Carlson and one from T.J. Oshie. The Washington big boys were slow starting … Orlov was every bit worthy of his minus-2 in the first … He wasn’t pulling the trigger, but that was a nice pass Ovechkin made to set Carlson up alone. They said it was a great save by Andrei Vasilevskiy, but I thought it hit the crossbar.
Asked a question about Canada’s loss to the Swiss at the world hockey championship by TSN’s Ryan Rishaug, Connor McDavid looked off in the distance, in the another direction. His answer: “Not too sure. I don’t know. Whatever.” You could put it down to the sulking of a 21-year-old, except McDavid had about the same amount of enthusiasm during post-game interviews after wins. From a distance, it appears he’s not mature enough to be the captain of a team of men – and that could have been one of the problems in Edmonton this season … Just stop right there before going on that some NHL team should sign Swiss hero Leonardo Geoni. The guy had a day, but he’s 30 years old, 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds. Geoni has already had an NHLer as a teammate – Alexandre Daigle, when the former Senators first round pick was finishing his career in the Swiss-A league – and he’s not going to have another.
BACK TO THE POINT
After McDavid and Sidney Crosby – and there’s no reason I put them in that order – Evgeny Kuznetsov might be the most talented centre in the league. His most recent exploits include a goal in each of the last four games and six in his last eight … Ovechkin’s goal celebration was milder than it has ever been, which shows his excitement isn’t driven from selfishness. With 96 seconds left, was concerned with time running out on Washington’s chances … Interestingly, after the goal you could see Ovechkin looking at coach Barry Trotz, shaking his head and saying “no time out, not yet.” Trotz called time out anyway, and Ovechkin rolled his eyes. This from a guy who, as later stated by Elliotte Friedman, played 4:36 of the last 4:48 … Ovechkin wound up taking seven shots – three on goal, three blocked and one that went wide.
In two games back from the hand injury, Nicklas Backstrom really hasn’t done much at all. For what it’s worth, he did go 12-5 in the face-off circles on Saturday … Ryan McDonagh looks like a warrior with that left eye shiner that appears to be getting bigger as the playoffs go on. Is he getting hit in the same spot all the time, or what? … Would have loved to ear the very calm conversation McDonagh and Ovechkin had late in the third period … I’ll remember this playoff season for all the early goals and so few late goals. When was the last time we had overtime? … Now that the home team has finally won a game in this series, can the Capitals duplicate that feat on Monday? Remember, the Lightning are 7-0 all time in playoff games they’ve played in Washington
Sunday will be a good day to be Daniel Alfredsson.
Along with watching his fellow Swedes take on the underdog Swiss in the 2018 world hockey championship gold medal game, the former Ottawa Senators’ captain will be inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame.
Three other former NHLers — Chris Chelios, Rob Blake and Jere Lehtinen — will be among the group of eight entering the IIHF shrine in Copenhagen.
Alfredsson, who is already in the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame, also deserves a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame after a career in the NHL that covered 18 seasons (17 with the Senators) and included 1,246 games and 1,157 points. He is the second highest scoring Swede to play in the NHL after Mats Sundin, a first ballot hall of famer. He played in one Stanley Cup final and six all-star games, and won the King Clancy Trophy (2012) and Mark Messier Leadership Award (2013).
As for his international hockey accomplishments, Alfredsson represented Sweden in five Olympics, winning a gold in 2006 and a silver in 2014. He also helped Sweden to four medals in world championship play — a silver in 1995 and 2004 and a bronze in 1999 and 2001.
He is currently without a paying job in hockey, although he was named “Volunteer of the Year” for an Ottawa team on which one of his children plays.
It’s strongly believed Alfredsson will return to a position in the NHL at some point in the future. He mentioned that he’d like to be an owner when he was in attendance for the Senators’ two-game series with the Avalanche in Sweden earlier this season, and unless he was joking (I don’t think he was) it would be no surprise to see him as a front man of an ownership group when Eugene Melnyk sells the Senators.
Oh, I mean if Melnyk sells the Senators.
BY: DON CAMPBELL
Soccer doesn’t make a big deal about a keeper’s goals-against average. In fact, they never mention such a statistic.
Maybe, just maybe, in the case of Ottawa Fury FC back-stopper Maxime Crepeau, the GA should become the way to measure his importance to the team.
Crepeau, on loan to the Fury from the Montreal Impact, ran his strictly ‘unofficial’ goals-against to a scintillating 0.71 and was at his finest in the 50th minute Saturday night at MUSC Health Stadium in Charleston, S.C., making two spectacular saves to help the Fury earn a 0-0 draw with the Charleston Battery in what may later become a statement game in the Fury’s 2018 regular season.
The 50th minute was easily the difference between a loss or a draw as United Soccer League sniper Ataulla Guerra was awarded a penalty kick after a Fury defender was tagged for a hand-ball.
Not only did Crepeau make a spectacular diving stop on the penalty, but he righted himself just in time to make another big save on the rebound and the quick back-to-back saves kept the sheet clean.
The huge saves also helped the Fury to extend their unbeaten streak to four games, with two wins and a draw and eight key points in the Eastern Conference table.
The shutout extended Crepeau’s run of no goals against to four consecutive games and 360 minutes-plus as the Fury have not permitted a goal by an opponent since way back on April 28.
It has been an amazing run for Crepeau since taking over for Fury fixture Callum Irving in Week 3 on April 14 after the Fury had surrendered a season-high five goals to the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
In that time, Crepeau has given up just five goals in his seven starts. Take away the three goals-against versus Cincinnati April 28 in a game that might have been the Fury’s worst effort of the season, Crepeau has allowed just two goals in his other six starts.
And now the Fury get to return home to TD Place for a much-anticipated three-game homestand beginning Friday night against Bethlehem Steel FC, then continuing against Toronto FC II and the Charlotte Independence.
The Fury will consider all three match ups as winnable and the stretch may provide some indication if the Fury are capable of contending for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. It’s the second longest run of home games all season.
“It was a very good performance,” Fury head coach Nikola Popovic said. “We have to remember that we played a team that is second in the league right now, one of the best performing teams in the league, a team that was coming in with four wins in a row, a very confident team, and we were able to come here and stop them. Their only chances came from set plays and the penalty.
“Our team had a very confident play, controlling the rhythm of the game, and when we felt confident we could create some chances, we went and we got a few balls on the posts, for an overall very good performance.
“This is our fourth consecutive clean sheet and that is very important for us.”
The Fury travelled south cautious against a team that had won five straight games overall to hold a share of top spot in the conference.
Realistic expectations were that the Fury might be fortunate to steal a point on the road, though Popovic insisted all week he was more interested in gauging his team’s performance than the actual game result.
Through the opening 45 minutes, the Fury certainly held its own against a Battery team 13 spots higher in the table and nine points ahead.
Ottawa didn’t really threaten much in the first 45 and the Fury’s best scoring chance didn’t occur until the 54th minute on a penalty kick to Carl Haworth only to have the ball sail high and wide.
The Tampa Bay Lightning survived a furious late-game comeback from the Washington Capitals in Game 5 to win 3-2 and take a 3-2 series lead in the Eastern Conference final.
James Hinchcliffe made one thing perfectly clear Saturday. Only he and his team are to blame for missing the Indianapolis 500. Two rain delays, poor timing and a loose tire pressure sensor late in the afternoon didn't help, either.
Paul Maurice wants the Winnipeg Jets to focus on fun, not the magnitude of Sunday's game against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Marian Hossa has finally come out and said what everybody suspected.
“I’m done playing hockey,” Hossa told the Slovak newspaper Novy Cos on Saturday. “I have a contract with Chicago for the next three years, but I have to watch my health and my body says the comeback is not possible.”
One of the great two-way players of our era and quite simply one of the finest men you’d ever meet, the 39-year old Hossa sat out all season with a progressive skin disorder he treated with a medication that had side effects which made it impossible to wear equipment.
In 2009, Hossa signed a 12-year deal worth $63.3 million with Chicago. If he announces his retirement before it expires at the end of 2020-21 season, the Blackhawks would face recapture penalties affecting their salary cap.
It’s expected they’ll either keep him on long-term injury reserve or trade him.
In 19 NHL seasons, Hossa played 1,309 games and racked up 1,134 points to currently sit 54th among all-time leading scorers. Eight times he scored 30 goals in a season and on three occasions he passed the 40-goal plateau.
He was drafted 12th overall by the Senators in the 1997 entry draft, and after seven seasons as the most skilled forward in franchise history, Ottawa made the great mistake of trading Hossa to the Atlanta Thrashers for Dany Heatley.
Three years later the rebuilding Thrashers dealt Hossa to Pittsburgh, kick-starting his realistic pursuit of a Stanley Cup. After failing to win with the Penguins and a one-year stay in Detroit, Hossa signed with Chicago, where he ultimately lifted the coveted chalice three times.
Hossa told the newspaper he and his family will return home to Slovakia.
Speaking on behalf of a countless number on this side of the ocean who have watched or worked with him over the years, cheers to a happy post-playing career for one of the NHL’s true class acts.
Just saying the Vegas Golden Knights are one win away from advancing to the Stanley Cup Final has a magical ring to it. But what's even more mystical is thinking the Knights are a mere five wins from hoisting Lord Stanley's Cup in its inaugural season.
Kei Kamara scored from the spot in the 10th minute of second-half stoppage time and the Vancouver Whitecaps tied FC Dallas 2-2 on Saturday.
Justify and Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith have won the Preakness. The three-yearold horse will have a shot to give trainer Bob Baffert another Triple Crown victory next month at the Belmont Stakes.
Jason Holowach never could have known all those years ago that climbing things for a living would become such an integral part of his life. The 33-year-old from Saskatoon is still holding out hope for the Olympics in 2020, but is also focused on sport climbing's next generation.
Trevor Harris’ first year as a starting quarterback was his sixth year in the CFL.
He thought it would be just like the previous five, only with more playing time.
He was wrong.
“It is different when you’re the guy,” Harris said Friday at TD Place, where the Redblacks main camp opens Sunday morning. “There’s a lot more that’s expected. Expectations are higher. It was a trial by fire year for me. I learned a lot.”
Statistically, Harris didn’t have a terrible season. He tossed 30 touchdown passes, tying him for the league lead with Mike Reilly. He threw 11 interceptions, which was fifth most but also the same number as the two QBs who played in the Grey Cup — Bo Levi Mitchell and Ricky Ray.
His 4,679 yards was behind only Reilly (who played three more games) and Ray and Mitchell, both of whom played two more.
But under Harris’ leadership, the defending Grey Cup champions got off to a 1-6-1 start before finally straightening out. Only Ottawa and Calgary had as many as seven wins in their final 10 games, but both had their seasons end in disappointing losses at TD Place — the Redblacks to the Roughriders in the east semifinal and the Stampeders to the Argos in the Grey Cup game.
Harris says he dedicated himself to improving in the off-season.
“I was very diligent in terms of changing my diet, changing the way I work out, changing my workouts, changing my mental training, my brain training,” said Harris, who turns 32 at the end of the month. “It’s always trying to turn over any stone you can to see how good you can get, because if you stay stagnant as a pro, they’re always looking to replace you. So I wanted to make sure I did everything I could to improve as a player, as a person, as a leader, as a football player, as anything I can. I just tried to make sure I worked every single day. Punched the clock. Didn’t want to let my guys down.”
Anxious to get started, Harris attended both the mini camp in April and the rookie camp last week. Coaches noted that he’s in great shape.
“The thing that’s great about Trevor is he genuinely loves the game,” said head coach Rick Campbell. “He’s such a hard worker. Great example for everybody because he shows up all the time and comes to work.
“He also seems very comfortable to me. I know even for myself, or anybody, as you grow into a role you keep developing. You can tell there’s a comfort level there and a confidence level there. I think he’s going to be really good for us this year.”
Harris now has high expectations of himself and his team heading into the 2018 season.
“We were trending in the right direction and I think we have some continuity offensively,” he said. “I think we’ve had a great defensive overhaul. I think we’ll be better. It will be exciting to see how high we can push the ceiling for this team.
“Realistically, I really think we have the makings of a Grey Cup championship calibre team. We have the leadership of it. We have the personnel for it. We have obviously the backing of our fans, and the organization. So I don’t think this is a year we can say it’s a building year or anything. I think we’re going to go at it.”
DUBOIS HAS POTENTIAL TO BE SPECIAL
Other than being big and fast, Marco Dubois is just a hard worker.
It looks like the Redblacks used the 13th pick in the draft wisely.
“He’s another guy you can tell loves the game,” Rick Campbell said at the conclusion of rookie camp. “He’s been out here and just works hard, taking everything in. We’re going to let him grow every day and see how he goes.”
Dubois, a 6-foot-4, 217-pounder who was groomed at the Laval Rouge et Or, clocked the fastest 40 yard dash (4.56) at the Eastern Regional combine. A wide receiver at school, he was lined up at Brad Sinopoli’s inside spot during rookie camp. It’s his abilities as a special teams player that got him drafted early in the second round.
“I think that’s the thing that got me on the map, my 40 and then people got to see my special teams tape so they got interested in me,” said Dubois, a 23-year old who gets his speed from his mother Sylvie, a former track star and basketball player. “It tells you a lot about how the game is played here in Canada.
While he lives in Montreal and would have been happy to get drafted by the Alouettes, Dubois loves everything about being a Redblack and calls Ottawa a “perfect fit” for him.
“My goal is to come in camp every year and to compete for a spot at receiver,” he said. “No matter what happens I’ll do my best to help the team. If it’s on special teams or at receiver.”
Camp practices at TD Place run Sunday through to next Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:55 a.m. (except for Tuesday and Friday, when they end at 11 a.m.), with the first week culminating May 27 in a Fan Fest (from noon to 4 p.m.) and a scrimmage from 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. All practices are open to the public … The Redblacks first pre-season game is May 31, when they play host to the Montreal Alouettes. They open their season June 21 at TD Place against Saskatchewan … Redblacks defensive lineman Connor Williams shaved his head and donated the hair to the Canadian Cancer Society through Pantene Beautiful Lengths, where it be made into wigs for cancer patients. Eight inches of hair is required to make such a donation. Williams had no problem hitting that mark.
The Redblacks announced Saturday they have re-signed Canadian DB Dan West, who spent the past two years with Ottawa, and import linebacker Ezekiel Bigger. Released were two Canadians — DL Cameron Walker and OL Daniel Hayes, and import DL Tony Washington.