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Campbell saves Maple Leafs from themselves as late-game heroics spur comeback



TORONTO — It was the captain who willed the Toronto Maple Leafs to the extra frame, grabbing the puck out of mid-air before roofing it behind Andrei Vasilevskiy for a last-minute lifeline. It was Toronto’s own No. 88 who sealed the deal, besting his numbered twin in overtime to snatch what was set to be an easy win from the defending champs’ clutches.

But before they got anywhere near those spectacular final moments, before his club managed to come alive and prove their mettle, it all came down to Jack Campbell.

Fresh off a shutout against the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday that earned his team its third straight victory, Campbell punched the clock and went back to work Thursday night at Scotiabank Arena, standing on his head to keep his Maple Leafs alive through 59 sluggish, uninspiring minutes.


He finished the night with just 24 saves to show for his work, but don’t get it twisted. Had it not been for No. 36, there would’ve been no last-minute heroics, no overtime clincher, no four-game win streak.

Head coach Sheldon Keefe pointed to a few particularly heart-stopping moments when heaping praise on his netminder following the game, Campbell putting in his best work late in the third.

The first came with roughly nine minutes left on the board.

“We’re really trying to push and trying to find our way through a very tight neutral zone, and they’re defending hard,” Keefe said. “Then they counter, and then all of a sudden, here come some of the best players in the world in alone on you. And the game essentially on the line.”


Unfortunately for Campbell and his Leafs, that grade-A chance from Brayden Point — the highest scorer not named ‘Nikita Kucherov’ during both of the Lightning’s recent Cup runs — wasn’t just a momentary breakdown, but the beginning of a wave.

Two minutes later, it was two-time Rocket Richard winner Steven Stamkos:

A minute after that, Point tried his hand again:

Soon after, it was Stamkos — again. With time and space to do some damage — again.

But the dam held.


The storm passed.

And Toronto, somehow, remained only a shot away. After seeing their netminder leave it all on the sheet to give them a chance at redeeming a woeful night, the Maple Leafs took the fight to the other end of the rink.

“That just speaks to Jack, in terms of his mindset of standing in there and keeping our team alive from that moment,” said Keefe. “I think that’s just a tremendous sign. We don’t want to put him in that position, obviously. But it’s great for him and his confidence, and just further instills the belief that we have in him, in terms of his ability to have our back and give us a chance.”

The cage opposite Campbell’s featured no fewer heroics, as Vasilevskiy managed a perfect 28 saves through 59 minutes of work before John Tavares whipped one by him in the final seconds of the third.

“It’s a hard-fought game by both teams,” Campbell said of the nail-biter. “Vasilevskiy’s amazing and played great tonight. … He makes it tough. And it’s fun — he sets the bar. It’s just fun to battle.”


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That battle level didn’t go unnoticed by his blue and white brethren, who’ve come to expect performances like this from the steady No. 36.


“I mean, he had like two breakaways, a couple back-door saves — it’s something that just keeps amazing you about how hard he works every single day,” Mitch Marner said of his netminder after the comeback win was in the books. “He’s a one-of-a-kind person, one-of-a-kind player, and it’s amazing watching him out there, just excelling and getting better every single day.”

With the win in tow, Toronto moves to 6-4-1 on the season, heading into a Saturday night tilt with the Boston Bruins sporting four straight W’s.

Getting the fourth was no picnic, with Marner taking an elbow up high from Mikhail Sergachev, Campbell nearly getting run over by his own defender Jake Muzzin as he allowed the only goal that did beat him Thursday night, and the Maple Leafs coming dangerously close to seeing Tuesday’s progress so quickly undone.

For now, though, they’re just focusing on the two points.

“Winning feels great,” said Campbell. “So we’ll take any bumps and bruises to get a win like that.”


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UEFA moves toward partially reintegrating Russian teams, match officials



NYON, Switzerland — UEFA made two moves toward partially reintegrating Russia into European soccer on Tuesday despite the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The European soccer governing body decided to try reintroducing Russian under-17 teams into its competitions this season. That’s an easing of a blanket ban on national and club teams from international play imposed within days of the Russian invasion starting in February 2022.

UEFA said it was “aware that children should not be punished for actions whose responsibility lies exclusively with adults and is firmly convinced that football should never give up sending messages of peace and hope.”


The UEFA executive committee decision was announced during a Women’s Nations League game in Armenia that was the first European game handled by Russian match officials during the war.

Russian referees were not specifically banned by UEFA from its games but none were chosen until Vera Opeykina and three assistants were picked this month for the Armenia-Kazakhstan game. Kazkahstan won 2-1 in Armavir.

Travel issues around Europe for Russian citizens — facing difficulties on visas and with limited flight options — have been a factor in UEFA not appointing referees, and it was not immediately clear Tuesday where Russian youth teams could now play.

UEFA said it would now try to draft rules for including, and adding, Russian youth national teams for boys and girls — even if competitions draws already were made.

“It is particularly aggrieving that, due to the enduring conflict, a generation of minors is deprived of its right to compete in international football,” UEFA said, adding all games involving Russian teams “shall be played without the country flag, anthem, national playing kit and not on the Russian territory.”


“At the same time, the executive committee reiterated its condemnation of Russia’s illegal war and confirmed that the suspension of all other teams of Russia (clubs and national teams) will remain in force until the end of the conflict in Ukraine,” UEFA said.

UEFA last year also terminated a long-time Champions League sponsorship deal with Russia state energy firm Gazprom. The 2022 Champions League final also was moved from the Gazprom-owned stadium in St. Petersburg to Paris at three months’ notice.

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Bucks Star Reveals His Retirement Plans



(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)


The Milwaukee Bucks were the No. 1 seed in the 2022-23 NBA season.

Sure, they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in five games against the Miami Heat, but it doesn’t take away the fact that the Bucks are still one of the best teams in the league.


Outside the dynamic duo of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday is an integral part of the Bucks roster.

Speaking of Holiday, the 33-year-old recently shared his retirement plans, via NBACentral on Twitter.

“I don’t want to play for any other team,” Holiday said.

Holiday says he wants to spend his entire career with the Bucks.

A crucial reason behind his decision is the fact that he believes the current Bucks team can still achieve great things in the NBA.

Holiday joined the Bucks ahead of the 2020-21 season, and the Bucks ended up being NBA champions that very season.

Moreover, Holiday is aging like fine wine.


In the 2022-23 season, he averaged 19.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game.

Holiday was named an NBA All-Star as well, his second career selection.

On top of being a reliable scorer and playmaker, his defense is his strongest suit.

The Bucks need a defensive anchor like him on the roster to lock down the best scorers on opposing teams.

All things considered, Holiday remains a key figure in the Bucks organization, and there’s a very good chance that he will spend the remainder of his career with the team.


Holiday signed a four-year, $134.9 million contract in 2021 and can remain with the Bucks until the summer of 2025 if he opts into his player option for the final year of his deal.

The post Bucks Star Reveals His Retirement Plans appeared first on The Cold Wire.

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Video Shows Jimmy Butler Engaged In Intense Game



(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)


The summer is winding down for Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat and he is using the remainder of his time staying competitive.

No, he’s not being competitive on the basketball court.


Instead, a video released by Butler on Instagram, and shared by ClutchPoints on Twitter, shows Butler playing some intense games of dominoes with others in London.

Throughout the video, Butler and his buddies are seen to be laughing, enthusiastically winning (and losing), and generally having a good time.

Butler has had a very busy summer.


He sat out of the FIBA Basketball World Cup but did enjoy a lot of other sports.

Over the last few years, Butler has become a very big tennis fan and he was globe-trotting to catch some major games throughout the summer.

But he has remained relatively low-key aside from a few public outings.

Of course, he has been preparing for the new season in private, which is very important.

He was a key part of the Heat’s roster last season and his leadership was one of the reasons why they got so far in the postseason.


Now the Heat are hoping to have a similar season in 2023-24.

However, there is one massive question mark floating above that team: Will Damian Lillard be a part of it?

Lillard wants to play for the Heat and the team would be very happy to welcome him.

But as training camp quickly approaches, it sounds like a deal between the Portland Trail Blazers and Heat might not happen.

If that is the case, Butler will remain the team’s leader when the season starts in October.


It’s a good thing Butler is enjoying his summer and relaxing – he is going to need it.

The post Video Shows Jimmy Butler Engaged In Intense Game appeared first on The Cold Wire.

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