Monthly Archives:August 2019

Duncan Keith scored with 3:48 left and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Nashville Predators 4-3 on Saturday night to win the first-round playoff series 4-2.

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Keith beat a screened Pekka Rinne with a laser from the left point. The defenseman, who had the winning goal in a 4-3 double-overtime victory in Game 1, also had two assists.

Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp also scored for Chicago, and Corey Crawford stopped 13 shots after replacing Scott Darling in the first period after the rookie gave up three goals.

Chicago will face St. Louis or Minnesota in the Western Conference semifinals.

In New York, Nikolay Kulemin scored the go-ahead goal with 9:27 left and the New York Islanders beat the Washington Capitals 3-1 to force Game 7 in the Eastern Conference series.

Islanders captain John Tavares had a goal and assist, and Nick Leddy had two assists in what could still be the franchise’s final game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Cal Clutterbuck then got the loud crowd on its feet to seal the win with an empty-net goal with 53 seconds remaining.

John Carlson scored for the Capitals, who will host the deciding game Monday night. The series winner advances to face the Presidents’ Trophy-winning New York Rangers.

Jaroslav Halak made 38 saves to bounce back from a 5-1 loss in Game 5 on Thursday night.

In Florida, Petr Mrazek stopped 28 shots and the Detroit Red Wings rebounded from a disappointing loss to shut down Tampa Bay 4-0 and take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference series.

Riley Sheahan, Drew Miller, Pavel Datsyuk and Danny DeKeyser scored for the Red Wings. They can close out the Eastern Conference matchup by winning Game 6 at home Monday night.

The shutout was the second of the series for the young Mrazek, who had no previous NHL playoff experience before being named Detroit’s starter over veteran Jimmy Howard. The 23-year-old goalie blanked the Lightning 3-0 in Game 3 at home and also had the only shutout against the league’s highest-scoring team during the regular season.

Australians have done the nation’s servicemen and women proud by honouring their sacrifices in record numbers, the Australian War Memorial director says.

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Australians didn’t let a foiled terror plot to attack Melbourne’s Anzac Day services deter them from attending events to mark the centenary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli.

War memorial director Brendan Nelson said there had been a “palpable determination” among Australians to attend Saturday’s commemorations to honour the sacrifices made by servicemen and women in times of war and peace around the world.

“Australia and Australians have done these men and women proud,” he said.

Dr Nelson said despite the focus on the centenary of the Gallipoli landing, it was also important to remember the commitment and sacrifices of all the servicemen and women in conflicts since World War I and those who continued to serve today.

The record 151,000-strong crowd attending national services at the Australian War Memorial included some of those who missed out on the ballot for services at Anzac Cove.

Among them was Barbra Graeme from Dubbo, who wore the medals her grandfather was awarded fighting at Gallipoli.

She had entered the ballot to attend the centenary service at Anzac Cove but, having missed out, decided the dawn and national services in Canberra were the next best thing.

Moving services in Turkey were conducted amid a huge security operation incorporating more than 5000 Turkish security personnel across the Gallipoli peninsula as 10,500 Australian and New Zealand pilgrims, heads of state and British royals marked the 100th anniversary of the landings.

Brian and Rhonda Engert, from Sydney, had nothing but praise for the organisers, despite pre-service predictions of potential traffic chaos.

“It was absolutely flawless,” Mrs Engert said after a sleepless night awaiting the dawn service.

There was a highly visible police presence back home, with police numbers trebled in Melbourne where Anzac parade officers were armed in a move that Victoria Police acting Chief Commissioner Tim Cartwright said was likely to become the norm going forward.

New Zealand police also put extra security measures in place after a Kiwi posted a video online trying to incite Anzac Day violence.

But commemorations in both countries went off without a hitch.

For many marchers and flag-wavers, it only stiffened their resolve.

“It just shows who we are, and we’ve rocked out regardless of these threats,” former naval marine technician Richard Lawson, 25, said in Brisbane.

“We have just proven ourselves to be the good, right sort of people.”

Firmly in Trent Robinson’s corner, rugby league greats Peter Sterling, Brad Fittler and Darren Lockyer believe video referees are killing the game.

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Sydney Roosters coach Robinson continued his crusade against players feigning injury and diving to win penalties by accusing St George Illawarra centre Euan Aitken of staying down too long after being tackled by Dylan Napa in the Roosters’ extraordinary Anzac Day clash.

Napa was placed on report for dangerous contact – having already been sanctioned for a crusher tackle on Josh Dugan – a decision that led to a second-half penalty goal that ultimately won the game 14-12 for the Dragons.

But Robinson has been campaigning against the gamesmanship for weeks and even St George Illawarra playmaker Benji Marshall this month confessed to the Dragons staying down 10 or 12 times this season in the hope of hoodwinking referees into granting his side a penalty.

“It’s not an isolated incident. Players say they do it because it’s being allowed to happen,” Robinson said.

Sterling on Sunday said he agreed 100 per cent with the Roosters coach.

“I said four or five weeks ago, if we take the video referee out of this situation, we don’t have a problem,” Sterling said on the Nine Network’s Footy Show.

“I hate seeing our game (going this way). I heard during a game last year through the microphones a teammate yelling to his player `stay down, stay down’.

“If we get to that situation, the game’s in trouble.

“It’s not our game. It is not what rugby league is about.”

Sterling says the NRL needs to remove the video referee from all decision-making except for in-goal plays.

“We’re saving time left, right and centre,” he said.

Fittler agrees, saying the tactic is not only poor sportsmanship but also ruining rugby league as a spectacle.

“I want to know why do you stay down?” he said.

“If you’re not concussed, why would you lie on the ground with your eyes closed?

“I understand what they’re doing … but then come off.

“It slows the game down that much that it becomes un-entertaining.

“I’ve sat there and watched footy since I was four years old and I’m telling you at the moment where there’s a situation of a lot of players are lying down, we’re going to the video ref all the time.

“It’s taking away what makes our game great is that flow, non-stop, end-to-end stuff happening all the time.

“And that’s what’s killing it.”

Melbourne coach Tony McGahan lauded Jack Debreczeni and Nic Stirzaker as Wallabies in waiting after the young Rebels almost orchestrated one of the great Super Rugby boilovers.

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Debreczeni, 21, and Stirzaker, 24, proved more than a match for Australia’s incumbent halves pair Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps as the Rebels fell 18-16 to the NSW Waratahs in a thriller at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

After slotting three huge penalty goals, including one from well inside his own half, Debreczeni’s straight running, skill and vision set up a late try for Bryce Hegarty that left Waratahs fans with hearts in their mouths in the desperately tense final moments.

Stirzaker has been drawing rave reviews all season and again showcased his talents against the titleholders.

But it was the poise and mighty boot of Debreczeni that caught the eye of the Waratahs’ Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.

“I’d say he could have kicked one from 60 (metres) out the way he was kicking,” said Cheika, adding that the performance of the “great young halves” was even more impressive given the Rebels lost experienced playmaker Mike Harris early on to a cork.

“It’s very clear that he (Debreczeni) has a good temperament because he took every opportunity that was available to him, both with his foot and also in hand.”

McGahan was bitterly disappointed with the loss, especially after NSW’s last try to winger Rob Horne came in the play after a refereeing sideline blunder denied the Rebels a lineout throw.

But he was buzzing about the Rebels’ two young shining lights.

“Both Nick and Jack, we’ve got a lot of confidence in them,” he said.

“We backed them all the way through the pre-season. It’s evident in the way that they’re playing together how much of a contribution they make to the Rebels side and certainly to the improvement of where we’re going.”

McGahan believes it’s inevitable Debreczeni and Stirzaker will scale the heights to Test rugby.

“Absolutely they will get there at some point in time,” he said.

“Whether that’s now or that’s in the future, there’s no doubt within the coaching staff and there’s certainly no doubt within the playing group about where Jack and Nick will end up.”

Showing the fine line in Super Rugby, the Rebels’ two-point defeat leaves the fledgling franchise with a mountain to climb to make the finals for the first time.

But had they won, the Rebels would have been ahead of, or level with, the Waratahs in the Australian conference and breathing down the neck of the Brumbies with a game in hand.

“I think we showed what a good side we are in the second half and what a great spirit we have,” McGahan said.

“To be able to be able to come back and win the second half 13-5, I think is a fair effort.”

Returning to the United States and the Garden for the first time in seven years, the 39-year-old Ukrainian regretted not being able to overpower the American challenger as he outboxed his opponent in an 18th consecutive successful title defence.

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The pro-Klitschko crowd, which numbered more than 17,000, lavished cheers and chants on the champion and his older brother, former champion and now Kiev mayor Vitali Klitschko, who helped warm up the winner prior to the bout.

“Bryant Jennings was really mobile and really tough to hit,” said Klitschko, sounding apologetic for not supplying a knockout finish to a bout in which he was defending five versions of the world title.

“I couldn’t find the key to land punches I wanted to land, punches landed on his arms. Unfortunately, I didn’t defend as impressively as I usually do.”

Two judges scored it 116-111 and the third judge made it 118-109 for Klitschko, despite the champion being docked one point in the 10th for holding.

Klitschko, who tied the heavyweight record set by Joe Louis in contesting his 27th heavyweight title fight, improved to 64-3 as Jennings fell to 19-1.

“There were more exciting and less exciting wins,” he said. “This one belongs to ones that were not as exciting.”

The challenger and his camp felt they belonged in the world title class despite a relative lack of experience, with Jennings boxing for just six years.

Jennings, 30, said he proved detractors wrong. “This fight does not penetrate my confidence. I’m hoping I gained some respect and I know I gained some fans,” he said.

Klitschko piled up points with his jab, while Jennings scored with rights to the ribs when the champion clinched and caught him a few times with leaping left-hand leads.

The champion threw a massive 383 jabs according to CompuBox statistics, scoring on 92 of them. Jennings connected on 16 jabs.

Jennings fought defensively for the first third of the bout with his gloves held high over his face, only occasionally springing into action.

In the middle third of the 12-rounder, the American turned more aggressive and by the ninth had caused a cut under Klitschko’s left eye.

Klitschko responded with more combinations, following up his jab with a dangerous right.

Jennings was unmarked and neither fighter appeared in trouble at any point, though Klitschko finished strong with a big right hand in the final seconds.

(Editing by Ian Ransom/John O’Brien)