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Canucks’ impressive performance does little to change their bleak environment

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After players Conor Garland and Tyler Motte trudged away from the Zoom room following yet another loss for the Vancouver Canucks, there was a slight delay before Travis Green appeared as the final guest in the post-game media conference.

Normally, the delay would have been nothing. But under these dire circumstances, in which it feels any game could be his last as the National Hockey League team’s coach, it was natural to wonder if Green would appear. Or was he already heading for the arena exit in Columbus, looking for a cab while the Canucks headed to the airport and Sunday’s game in Boston?

Green did show up. On Friday, so did his team.

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But the Canucks’ performance against the Columbus Blue Jackets, impressive in every way for Vancouver except the 4-2 score, did little to change the desperately bleak environment around a team that is now, incredibly, 6-13-2.

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Yes, the players showed how much they care, dramatically outplaying the strong Blue Jackets through two periods and outshooting them 41-21 overall.

That display of will was important coming off another disillusioning loss on Wednesday — 4-1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

But Friday didn’t change anything. The Canucks lost in regulation for the seventh time in eight games, lost more distance in the standings, lost more hope in what was supposed to be a playoff race for them this season. And isn’t effort and combativeness and determination the least anyone should expect from the Canucks?

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They delivered that again Friday, but nothing more.

“They played a helluva game,” Green said of his team. “I feel bad for our group tonight. That was one of our better games of the year. “Our details were sharp. I give our group a lot of credit; they played a strong game and they’re going to have to bounce back. It’s tough to lose when you play well, especially when things are going the way they are.”

The way they are.

Since opening the season with a solid 3-2-1 road trip, the Canucks have lost 12 of their last 15 games. They’ve lost five straight on the road and been outscored 27-9. They’ve scored two or fewer goals in 11 of the last 15 games, and more than four goals only once. And the Vancouver power play, which surrendered a key shorthanded goal Friday to Gustav Nyquist on a turnover by Tanner Pearson, has been blanked in 12 of 14 games.

But they did badly outshoot Columbus while losing 4-2, just like they badly outshot the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday while losing 1-0.

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Green said then that he would take that game (but not the score) from his team every night if the Canucks could offer it, and if they did they’d probably win “eight or nine” times out of 10.

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It must be eight, because the Canucks are 0-2 this week when dominating the shot clock.

“It’s hard,” Motte said. “There’s no way around it. The only way is through. No one’s going to feel sorry for us. No one’s going to help us out. Guys in that room have got to figure it out. We’ve got to find a way to get better and win hockey games. Like I said, that’s the bottom line.

“We played some good hockey at times. They capitalized on their opportunities more than we did. The bottom line, you’ve got to win games. That’s just the bottom line.”

Motte’s deflection tied the game 2-2 late in the second period before Jack Roslovic won it for Columbus with a shot from distance through traffic that Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko never saw at 6:06 of the third period.

Blue Jacket goalie Elvis Merzlikins made 39 saves, including a stop against Garland on a partial breakaway in the third period. He also benefited from some errant shooting, like when Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat missed the target from excellent positions late in regulation time.

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After games like this and the one against Chicago, after 13 losses in the first quarter of the season, how does Green keep his team believing?

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“You worry about it, for sure,” the coach said. “This is an easier game to have them believe and not get too down; they know they played a good hockey game tonight. I thought throughout our lineup that everyone was buying in to play the right way. We had a lot of good energy on the bench. They’re going to be disappointed, though, for sure. I don’t blame them.”

The belief of the coach has never been in doubt. If Friday turns out to be Green’s final night in charge after four-and-a-half years as coach, he’ll leave having fiercely defended his players.

In his pre-game media availability, Green vociferously refuted a podcast report that his locker room was divided, players siding either with captain Horvat or veteran leader J.T. Miller.

“Players obviously will hear things that come out in the media,” Green said. “And I think with our market, sometimes you hear things that are flat out not true. And we’ve heard a lot of things lately that are going on inside our locker room that are fabricated. They’re made up. Whoever is saying them are lies. We’ve got a close group in there.

“There was something about Horvat and Miller yesterday, which is ridiculous. These two guys sit in the room (next to each other). They’re good friends. They get along, they care for each other. There’s zero rift at all between anyone of our team. They’re a close-knit team. They want to win. They don’t like losing.”

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But they’ve just done it too often.



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Jacoby Brissett shares funny story about Eagles’ Nick Sirianni trying to fight fans when two were with Colts

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Nick Sirianni has showcased himself as a passionate head coach since being hired by the Philadelphia Eagles a year ago. Sirianni demonstrated how passionate he can be toward his team when a bouquet of flowers was thrown at him after a November loss to the Los Angeles Chargers last year, a moment he doesn’t like to reminiscence about. 

Turns out, Sirianni has unleashed his passion towards his team prior to his days in Philadelphia. Cleveland Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who was the signal-caller for the Indianapolis Colts when Sirianni was the offensive coordinator, shared a good story regarding his former coach and his encounters with fans ahead of the Browns-Eagles preseason matchup Saturday night.

“Remember he was trying to fight fans one time they were booing us,” Brissett said with many laughs from the media in attendance. “A lot of good memories. A great friend. A great coach obviously. I am extremely happy for him and the opportunity that he has been presented. I think he did a great job last year. Excited to see where he goes. I am a big fan of him.”

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Sirianni’s second year as the offensive coordinator in Indianapolis was the year Andrew Luck shockingly retired (2019), forcing Brissett into the starting role. Brissett started 15 games for the Colts that season, going 7-8 in his starts while completing 60.2% of his passes for 2,942 yards, 18 touchdowns and six interceptions for an 88.0 passer rating. Brissett didn’t throw a touchdown pass, nor did he throw for more than 200 yards in his last three games played in 2019, finishing with a passer rating lower than 70 on all three occurrences. 

Brissett and Sirianni were together in Indianapolis for three years before the Eagles hired Sirianni and Brissett signed with the Miami Dolphins in 2021. Sirianni was flattered Brissett shared those fan stories, going into detail why he’s ultra passionate toward his players. 

“He’s teasing and making that up a little bit,” Sirianni said with a laugh. “I think one thing that, to a fault, maybe, even with me is — and I’ve been this way since I was a little kid with my brothers, we’re a family. My brothers and my dad and my mom were a family and I’m the youngest. One brother is nine years older than me and one is six years older than me. When they would have a bad game or say something bad about them or talk bad about them, I was quick to be defensive of them because I love them.

“Now as a coach, I feel like I have that. I was like that as a teammate I would like to think. As a coach, I definitely know I have that, like, protective (instinct) — like I know these guys are the biggest, strongest men in the world and they can protect themselves, but I love these guys. 

“That’s just an instinct that you have. That’s how I was raised, and I was like, this is our family, and I just have that protective instinct to defend them, and that’s been like that with every team I’ve ever coached.”

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Packers’ Matt LaFleur says Jordan Love ‘light years ahead’ of last year: ‘The game has slowed down for him’

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Jordan Love certainly showed the progress the Green Bay Packers wanted from the first preseason game to the second, using the deep ball to give Green Bay optimism in a post-Aaron Rodgers world. Love was accurate on his deep passes that didn’t reflect his overall performance in the box score. 

Packers head coach Matt LaFleur liked what he saw from the former first-round pick, saying he’s “light years ahead” of where he was last year.

“I think the game has slowed down for him,” LaFleur said after Friday’s 20-10 win over the New Orleans Saints (via ESPN). “I see a much more decisive player. I think that’s going to lead to a much more effective player.”

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Love finished 12 of 24 for 113 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions, yet his performance was highlighted by several drops that affected his night. Love threw a deep pass to seventh-round rookie Samori Toure that wasn’t a completion, and fourth-round rookie Romeo Doubs also misread a pass that led to a drop. LaFleur admitted Toure’s ball needed to be caught. 

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The Packers are liking what they’re seeing from Love, throwing accurate deep passes and showcasing his arm strength. The five drops certainly affected Love’s performance — as was the case in his three-interception game last week — yet the Packers have seen enough to be confident in Love if he had to play this year.





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Combate Global picks, live stream, how to watch, fight card: Tena vs. Romero predictions, channel, time

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The Combate Global schedule will continue Friday on Paramount+ with five fights from La Jaula in Miami. Ivan Tena is a 23-year-old featherweight who looks like one of the best prospects in the promotion after earning three knockout victories and one submission win in his first four fights. He’ll take on Mexican fighter Roberto Romero in a USA vs. Mexico showdown in the 145-pound division. You can stream the action live on Paramount+.

The co-main event will feature Chile’s Valentina Escobar (1-0) against Mexico’s Yazmin Najera in a fight at 120 pounds. Another bout on the Combate Global fight card will feature a pair of veteran featherweights as Carlos Rivera (14-6) takes on Landry Ward (5-1). The Combate Global fight card begins at 10:30 p.m. ET and you can catch all the action live on Paramount+.

Paramount+ now has two levels of membership so you can watch Combate and much more. The Premium Plan is $9.99 per month and you can watch your local CBS live stream, including plenty of sports like Champions League, Italian Serie A, college hoops, and the PGA Tour, with no ads, on-demand and the ability to download episodes for offline viewing. Plus, watch the highly-anticipated series Halo, Picard, 1883, and more. Both plans come with a free week to start. Paramount+ will even give you a free week to start, so sign up now here.

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How to watch Combate Global 

  • Date: Friday, August 19
  • Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
  • Streaming: Paramount+

Top Combate Global picks for Aug. 19 fight card

Before tuning in to Friday’s Combate Global fight card, you need to see the picks from SportsLine’s MMA insider Andrew Gombas. With more than 1,400 selections tracked by the third-party monitoring service Bet MMA, he has shown a 6 percent return on investment for his followers. Over the past two years, his followers have netted a profit of more than $10,000. 

For Friday’s card, Gombas is picking Tena to defeat Romero to stay unbeaten and continue his rise up the featherweight ranks. Tena is a recent Arizona State graduate who trains out of MMA Lab and has finished all four of his professional fights in the first or second round. Romero is coming off a draw against Zed Montanez in his last fight.

“This is a fantastic main event for the Combate USA vs. Mexico card. Ivan Tena is one of the prospects in Combate who I hold in high regard. Roberto Romero is known for an exciting fighting style and has a bright future as well. I have to side with Tena. He is a slick finisher who punishes his opponents for making mistakes. I think he gets another finish,” Gombas told SportsLine. Stream the card on Paramount+ now.

How to watch Combate Global in Miami

Now that you know who to pick, get ready to watch Combate Global. Visit Paramount+ now to see the Combate Global, your live local CBS sporting events, some of the world’s top soccer matchups and much more.

August 19 Combate Global fight card

Stream the entire Combate Global fight card here

  • Ivan Tena vs. Roberto Romero
  • Valentina Escobar vs. Yazmin Najera
  • Carlos Rivera vs. Landry Ward
  • Jaret Betancourt vs. Rodrigo Garcia
  • Katie Perez vs. Andrea Meneses Garcia



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