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Canucks’ Demko focused on what he can control during schedule breaks

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The National Hockey League named Thatcher Demko its third star of the month. If he had played more than twice after Dec. 12, the Vancouver Canucks’ goalie might have earned an even shinier merit badge.

After the first of another series of practices on Monday while the Canucks wait for another game, Demko still led the NHL with 27 starts and 1,603 minutes of goaltending time. But his 5-2 win Saturday in Seattle was just Demko’s third game in 20 days due to a holiday schedule break that was extended by five games postponed due to COVID-19.

The Canucks are killing time again this week, hoping that Saturday’s home game against the Ottawa Senators will actually occur after Wednesday’s scheduled visit by the New York Islanders was postponed.

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For a goalie who is powerfully on top of his game — arguably the best in the NHL the last five weeks — Demko is being challenged by the lack of playing rhythm since his string of seven straight starts ended on Dec. 12.

Never has Demko been sharper as a starter, nor less busy.

“It’s fine,” Demko told reporters on Zoom. “I mean, if I’m speaking as a person and not a hockey player here, it’s a little frustrating for sure. Everyone’s kind of dealing with it. We’ve all been saying that for two years now. I don’t want to say too much about it. Just take it day by day, and if we’re lucky enough to play games this week — win.”

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The 26-year-old’s 15 wins are tied for fifth in the NHL, which is more impressive than it sounds because the Canucks have won only 16 games and on Saturday climbed above .500 for the first time since Oct. 26.

The American goalie’s save percentage is .920, but over his last 10 starts it is .948.

The current COVID-19 outbreak probably cost Demko the chance to go to the Olympics but, as a consolation prize, one reporter on Monday invited Demko into the Vezina Trophy discussion for this season.

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“It’s an honour to be in that discussion, but we haven’t even played half the games yet, so I guess we can just cool it on that a little bit,” he said. “We’ve got a lot more games to play and a lot more work to do to try to get in the playoffs here.”

With a degree in psychology from Boston College, Demko is a deep thinker. That can be a dangerous thing for professional athletes, depending on whose brain is doing the thinking and whose mouth is articulating those thoughts.

But the San Diegan’s mental strength, including his ability to focus amid the unprecedented NHL upheaval of the last two years, has helped move Demko over the last two years from a talented prospect to one of the best dozen or so goaltenders in the world.

He said earlier this season that his area for growth as an athlete is now largely mental.

“There’s a ceiling on our physical capacities,” Demko explained on Monday. “There’s a ton of guys that aren’t in this league that are really good goaltenders, good players. So it’s got to be someone else to separate these guys (and) I think the mental side of things is the thing that does that.

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“I think it’s something where there’s no ceiling on mental capacity. You can always just keep building in that regard. The guys that are great goalies in the league or have been great goalies in the league, that’s kind of what they’re always preaching. It’s all up top.”

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Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau said he isn’t smart enough to discuss Demko’s “human development,” but did say he is as good as any goalie he has coached.

Demko and defenceman Quinn Hughes have been the best Canucks this season. Boudreau, who joined the Canucks on Dec. 5, nearly two years after being fired by the Minnesota Wild, said he didn’t know how good Demko and Hughes were until the last four weeks.

“When I was in Anaheim, it was the same thing: people back East, they don’t know about these guys,” Boudreau said. “They just don’t know. They go to sleep before they play (on the West Coast). They don’t read about them or hear about them. So they don’t know how good these guys are.

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“I’ve been impressed by more than just those two guys. But those two guys have really, really impressed me. They’re great hockey players — as good as I’ve ever had that position.”

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Backup Jaroslav Halak started two of the Canucks’ last five games, and stole a point in Thursday’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Kings in Los Angeles, but Demko will start the next game — whenever it is.

The Canucks are expected to practise Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday this week, and Boudreau said his main objective is to upgrade players’ conditioning after so many recent postponements.

With four players still unavailable due to positive COVID-19 tests, the Canucks practised Monday with the same 11 forwards and seven defencemen who played in Seattle.

“We want to keep playing as much as we can,” defenceman Tyler Myers said. “We don’t want to keep losing guys (to COVID); that’s the downside of it. It’s certainly challenging. It’s been challenging, I think, for every team in the league with all the games being postponed. A lot of moving parts at the moment, and we just have to make sure we’re ready when the time comes.”

Boudreau offered no update on the players who are in COVID protocol. But five-day quarantines have expired for forwards Brock Boeser and Phil di Giuseppe, who tested positive before Wednesday’s game in Anaheim. If they have no health-related border issues, they should rejoin the Canucks this week.

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Canada’s Auger-Aliassime falls to Coric in Cincinnati quarterfinals

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Felix Auger-Aliassime’s run at his first Masters 1000 title ended in the quarterfinals for the second-straight week after a 6-4, 6-4 loss to Croatia’s Borna Coric at the Western and Southern Open on Friday in Mason, Ohio.

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The Canadian, seeded seventh at the Western and Southern Open, also reached the quarterfinals in Montreal last week at the National Bank Open.

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Coric, ranked No. 152 on the ATP Tour, is the second-lowest semifinalist in the history of the Cincinnati tournament. The Croatian could rise to as high as No. 29 if he wins the tournament.

Coric won a whopping 31 of 32 points when he got his first serve in and did not face a break point.

Auger-Aliassime saved two match points in his previous contest against Jannik Sinner, but couldn’t mount a comeback against Coric, who won his final two service games without giving up a point.

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How to watch Leicester City vs. Southampton: Live stream, TV channel, start time for Saturday’s Premier League game

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The Premier League is back in action on Saturday.

Who’s Playing

  • Southampton @ Leicester City
  • Current Records: Southampton 0-1-1; Leicester City 0-1-1

Paramount+ is the only place to watch every minute of every Serie A match this season, not to mention select games in Italian. Sign up now with offer code ITALY to get a special one month free trial. A subscription also gives you access to other sports content including every UEFA Champions League and Europa League match, the NFL on CBS, and countless movies and shows. Get it all free for 1 month with promo code ITALY.

What to Know

Southampton and Leicester City are meeting up for their first leg of the season at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday at King Power Stadium. Southampton will be seeking to avenge the 4-1 loss they suffered the last time these two teams played May 22.

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This past Saturday, Southampton and Leeds United ended up with a point apiece after a 2-2 draw.

Meanwhile, Leicester came up short against Arsenal this past Saturday, falling 4-2.

After unsatisfying finishes in their previous games, both teams are out for the full three points in this fixture.

Craving even more coverage of the world’s game? Listen below and follow ¡Qué Golazo! A Daily CBS Soccer Podcast where we take you beyond the pitch and around the globe for commentary, previews, recaps and more.  

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How To Watch

  • Who: Leicester City vs. Southampton
  • When: Saturday at 10 a.m. ET
  • Where: King Power Stadium
  • Watch: USA Network
  • Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
  • Caesars Sportsbook odds: Leicester City -117; Draw +280; Southampton +300

Featured Game | Leicester City vs. Southampton

Series History

Leicester City have won five out of their last 12 games against Southampton.

  • May 22, 2022 – Leicester City 4 vs. Southampton 1
  • Dec 01, 2021 – Leicester City 2 vs. Southampton 2
  • Apr 30, 2021 – Leicester City 1 vs. Southampton 1
  • Jan 16, 2021 – Leicester City 2 vs. Southampton 0
  • Jan 11, 2020 – Southampton 2 vs. Leicester City 1
  • Oct 25, 2019 – Leicester City 9 vs. Southampton 0
  • Jan 12, 2019 – Southampton 2 vs. Leicester City 1
  • Aug 25, 2018 – Leicester City 2 vs. Southampton 1
  • Apr 19, 2018 – Southampton 0 vs. Leicester City 0
  • Dec 13, 2017 – Leicester City 4 vs. Southampton 1
  • Jan 22, 2017 – Southampton 3 vs. Leicester City 0
  • Oct 02, 2016 – Southampton 0 vs. Leicester City 0



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NFL preseason Week 2 scores, highlights, updates: Packers rookie Romeo Doubs continues to impress vs. Saints

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The NFL preseason has reached the midway point with Week 2, which serves as the de facto “dress rehearsal” for starters to prepare for the beginning of the regular season — which is just three weeks away. For teams that don’t have joint practices this week, Week 2 of the preseason is critical.

The Carolina Panthers won’t play Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold against the New England Patriots Friday, yet New England will play its starters after the joint practices this week. Jordan Love will start for the Green Bay Packers against the New Orleans Saints, who will be without Jameis Winston (foot). Capping off the night will be the Houston Texans at Los Angeles Rams

Below, we will track all the must-see highlights from Friday’s action, the appetizer for the main course of games this weekend. 

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Schedule

Thursday

Bears 27, Seahawks 11 (Takeaways)

Friday

Patriots 10, Panthers 10 (third quarter –  Live blog)
Packers 13, Saints 10 (second quarter – Gametracker)
Texans at Rams, 10 p.m. ET (Gametracker)

Saturday

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Broncos at Bills, 1 p.m. ET (Gametracker)
Lions at Colts, 1 p.m. ET (Gametracker)
Commanders at Chiefs, 4 p.m. ET (Gametracker)
Steelers at Jaguars, 7 p.m. ET (Gametracker)
Raiders at Dolphins, 7 p.m. ET (Gametracker)
49ers at Vikings, 7 p.m. ET (Gametracker)
Buccaneers at Titans, 7 p.m. ET (Gametracker)
Cowboys at Chargers, 10 p.m. ET (Gametracker)

Sunday

Eagles at Browns, 1 p.m. ET (Gametracker)
Bengals at Giants, 7 p.m. ET (Gametracker)
Ravens at Cardinals, 8 p.m. ET (Gametracker)

Monday

Falcons at Jets, 8 p.m. ET (Gametracker)

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Romeo Doubs touchdown

There’s a spot for Doubs to earn snaps with the first team this year, and this touchdown catch from Jordan Love demonstrates why. Doubs came up with this impressive four-yard touchdown reception over Brian Allen to put the Packers up, 10-3, over the Saints in the second quarter. Love is starting to show trust in the fourth-round rookie. 

59-yard field goal from Wil Lutz

Lutz missed all of 2021 with a core muscle injury, as the Saints missed his reliability in the kicking department. He certainly looked like his old self with this 59-yard field goal to close out the first quarter.

Just 13 of 23 on 50-plus yard field goals in his career, Lutz hitting this kick is very encouraging.

Romeo Doubs making his case to move up the depth chart

Doubs was one of the young wide receivers Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers criticized during the week, so he was in the spotlight with the second teamers participating in the majority of this one. A 17-yard catch on the opening drive on a Jordan Love throw makes a strong impression, even if Doubs failed to corral a third-down pass earlier. 

No longer a quarterback for the Saints, Hill has shifted his focus to tight end for the 2022 season. The No. 2 tight end in New Orleans, Hill made an early impact by catching a 10-yard pass from Ian Book. Hill adds an extra dimension to the Saints offense in his new role, and can still play wide receiver and running back in short-yardage situations. 

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The Patriots averaged just 1.9 yards per play in the first quarter with just 21 yards of offense, but Nelson Agholor changed that with this 45-yard catch on an impressive throw from Mac Jones. Going against a second-team defense or not, this is what Patriots fans want to see from their new-look offense.

New England scored a touchdown — a two-yard run from Ty Montgomery — three plays later.



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