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Canucks start the new year with meaningful wins, both on and off the ice

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The Vancouver Canucks are way ahead of everyone on the new year. Way ahead on the happy part, too.

The National Hockey League team changed calendars on Dec. 5 when coach Bruce Boudreau took over the struggling Canucks, who were 8-15-2 and nine points out of a playoff spot.

The team couldn’t possibly be as bad as it showed in the first quarter. But nobody in their right mind, including anyone inside the organization, envisioned the Canucks could be as good as they’ve looked since.

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Saturday’s 5-2 road win against the Seattle Kraken lifted Vancouver’s record to 8-0-1 under Boudreau – 17 out of 18 points – and brought the Canucks within two points of the Western Conference’s final playoff spot, albeit with fewer games remaining than their rivals.

Their performance at Climate Pledge Arena, and especially a dominant first period in which the Canucks built a 2-0 lead and were never much threatened after that, was significant because it followed Vancouver’s poorest game under Boudreau: Thursday’s 2-1 shootout loss when the team needed backup goalie Jaroslav Halak to steal a point against the Los Angeles Kings.

Against the Kraken, the Canucks got goals from throughout their Covid-weakened lineup. Rookie Vasily Podkolzin and sophomore Nils Hogander scored in the opening period, and Tyler Motte and Conor Garland scored in the third before Tanner Pearson capped the win with an empty-netter.

“When you can get all four lines scoring, that’s music to a coach’s ears,” Boudreau told reporters during his post-game Zoom availability. “It makes it difficult for other teams to play against you when everybody’s scoring.”

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Covid update

Forward Jason Dickinson on Saturday became the fourth Canuck in COVID-19 protocol, joining teammates Justin Dowling, Brock Boeser and Phil di Giuseppe.

Having decided to fly home from L.A. and then travel to Seattle on game day, Boudreau dressed a lineup of 11 forwards and seven defencemen. But he said after the game that at one point as many as five players and staff were expected to go into protocol before a series of negative tests erased all the positives except Dickinson’s.

“It’s a little new to me,” Boudreau said of the pre-game uncertainty. “The whole day was a little crazy. When you have so many changes potentially to make, it gets a little wild out there.”

Gordie Howe hat trick

Pearson doesn’t fight much, but he is an old-school kind of player and on Saturday manufactured an old-school kind of hat trick by having a goal, assist and fight against the Kraken. Those achievements came in reverse order.

Pearson stepped up to fight Carson Soucy at 5:12 of the opening period after the six-foot-five defenceman dangerously hit the five-foot-eight Garland along the boards a second after the puck left the area. Pearson, who has had only five fights in nine NHL seasons, drew a second assist on Garland’s goal that made it 4-2 at 11:29 of the third period, before scoring his empty-netter with 2:17 remaining.

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“Starting my career off, I’d probably have put more money on myself to get a hat trick before a Gordie Howe,” Pearson said. “But at the end of the day, to be able to say you did it, it’s pretty cool.”

The 29-year-old winger, whom critics felt enjoyed privileged status under previous coach Travis Green, is earning 17:22 of nightly ice time under Boudreau and has seven points in nine games since the coaching change.

Sportsnet’s Bold Predictions for 2022
With the new year on the horizon, we’re putting our boldest predictions for 2022 on the record. Find the latest as they’re published right here.

The new mighty Quinn

We get it. Coaches will do everything they can to support their top players, trying to pump up their confidence and make them believe the boss has their back. But even amid this culture, what Boudreau said about Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes after the morning skate was noteworthy.

The 22-year-old has been playing at a Norris-calibre clip for most of this season, and especially since Boudreau took over, by filling out his game and proving he is more than just an undersized offensive defenceman.

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“First, he’s extremely competitive; he wants to be the best,” Boudreau said when asked for his four-week assessment on Hughes. “That’s a great trait and all stars have it. They want to be No. 1; they look around the league and see what other guys are doing (and) they want to be better than them. Second thing I noticed is how much poise he has in all situations. Third, he could be the best passer this side of Nic Backstrom that I’ve seen. Some of the passes that he’s put on the tape, I have to shake my head. He is such a good passer.

“Everything you heard about him, I think he’s been better than advertised. I think the sky’s the limit. He’s still young, he’s going to get better.”

After being embarrassed last season to finish minus-24, Hughes vowed to be better defensively and so far this season has jacked up his shots-for percentage to 54.4 while playing so well at five-on-five that Vancouver has outscored opponents 25-18 with Hughes on the ice. And he’s still pouring in points, amassing 28 in 33 games.

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A New Year’s gift

There has been so much mental stress and fear, physical loss and personal sacrifice during the pandemic that everyone hopes 2022 will be better. To start the year, Canucks trainer Brian (Red) Hamilton shared an incredible story about a random act of kindness that he says may have saved his life.

During the team’s first visit to Seattle, for the Kraken’s inaugural home game on Oct. 23, a Seattle fan knocked on the glass behind the Canucks’ bench to get his attention, and showed the assistant equipment trainer a message on her phone: “The mole on the back of your neck is cancer.”

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Seattle Kraken fan Nadia Popovici poses for a photo before an NHL hockey game between the Kraken and the Vancouver Canucks, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)



Hamilton later checked with Canucks’ medical staff, who also were concerned, and it was determined that the mole was a Phase 2 malignant melanoma. Hamilton had it removed.

“She saved my life,” Hamilton told reporters on Saturday. “She didn’t take me out of a burning car. . . but she took me out of a slow fire. The words out of the doctor’s mouth were if I ‘ignored that for four or five years, I wouldn’t be here.’”

He wanted to thank the fan on Saturday when the Canucks returned to Seattle, but had little idea who she was. So, through the Canucks’ social media channels, Hamilton sent out a message before the game telling his story and asking for help locating the woman. The message eventually reached the fan, a 22-year-old aspiring medical student named Nadia Popovici.

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Hamilton thanked her with a hug before the game, and it was announced inside Climate Pledge Arena during a television timeout that the Canucks and Kraken were jointly contributing $10,000 US towards medical school for Popovici.

“I’m so in shock,” Popovici said. “They have no idea what this money means to me.

“I’m just so happy that he has gotten it removed. Hopefully, he lives a very, very long life.”

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Happy New Year, everyone.





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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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Packers’ Aaron Rodgers sets up QB Danny Etling’s long rushing TD during mid-game interview in preseason win

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Quarterback Danny Etling scored a 51-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter of Friday’s preseason victory over the New Orleans Saints, yet the highlight of the play wasn’t the touchdown run itself — but who was on air when the play occurred. Etling took the snap and ran to his right untouched for the touchdown with Aaron Rodgers being interviewed mid-game. 

Needless to say, Rodgers was pretty excited when Etling — the third-string quarterback — had the big play for the score. 

“What did I tell ya. What did I tell ya. What did I tell ya,” Rodgers said as he clapped his hands and smiled. “Yeah baby, I love it. I love it.” 

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This isn’t the first time Etling ran a naked bootleg and scored on a long touchdown run. Etling scored on an 86-yard touchdown run on a naked bootleg to his right during his time with the New England Patriots in 2018 — and this touchdown looked eerily similar. In fact, Rodgers was complimenting Etling’s athleticism and reminiscing about that very run minutes before he took off for the score Friday night.

Etling has bounced around the league, being waived and signed by the Patriots, Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks several times. Etling also was on the Minnesota Vikings practice squad, the Denver Broncos practice squad, the Packers practice squad and the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad. He actually was assigned to the Packers practice squad and later signed by the Jaguars and assigned to their practice squad last December.

Overall, Etling has been involved in 27 transactions since entering the league in 2018 — yet has never played a regular season snap in the NFL

For one night, the former seventh-round quarterback from LSU recaptured his rookie year magic. No one at Lambeau Field may have been happier than Rodgers. 

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Watch Everton vs. Nottingham Forest: How to live stream, TV channel, Saturday’s Premier League start time

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The Premier League is back in action on Saturday.

Who’s Playing

  • Nottingham Forest @ Everton
  • Current Records: Nottingham Forest 1-1; Everton 0-2

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What to Know

Everton will look to defend their home turf on Saturday against Nottingham Forest at 10 a.m. ET.

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This past Saturday, Everton fell a goal shy of Aston Villa, losing 2-1. That was Everton’s second consecutive one-goal defeat against Villa.

Speaking of close games: Nottingham Forest won by a goal, slipping past West Ham United 1-0. The Nottingham Forest offense checked out after the first half but had enough goals banked to take the contest anyway.

Nottingham Forest’s victory lifted them to 1-1 (10th place with three points) while Everton’s loss dropped them down to 0-2 (18th place with zero points). We’ll see if Nottingham Forest can repeat their recent success or if Everton bounces back and reverse their fortune.

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: Everton vs. Nottingham Forest
  • When: Saturday at 10 a.m. ET
  • Where: Goodison Park
  • Online streaming: Peacock
  • Caesars Sportsbook odds: Everton -111; Draw +245; Forest +325

Featured Game | Everton vs. Nottingham Forest

Series History

This is the first time these teams have played each other within the last six years.

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