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Demko channels ghost of Hasek with scorpion save, halting Canucks’ home crisis

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VANCOUVER – With the ghost of Bill LaForge looming over the Vancouver Canucks, goalie Thatcher Demko channelled a far less ghoulish apparition and played like Dominik Hasek.

In a stunning sequence late in Tuesday’s third period with the Canucks playing two men short and trying to avoid being the first Vancouver team since 1984 to lose its first four home games in regulation, Demko made a “scorpion” save, raising his heel while lying flat on his stomach to rob Artemi Panarin of a game-winning goal.

To follow this, Demko made another pad save on the New York Rangers’ superstar with literally one hand behind his back, as the goalie was not only without a stick but his blocker glove as well.

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Demko’s retro freestyle got the desperate Canucks to overtime so J.T. Miller, who was trying to play goal behind Demko when Panarin was trying to win it for the Rangers with three minutes left in regulation, collected the puck after he was stopped on a breakaway by Igor Shesterkin, then wrapped it into an open net to give Vancouver a 3-2 win and end their home losing streak (and crisis) at three games.

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But it’s even better than that: the Canucks trailed 2-0 going into the third period and, after scoring only four times in 220 minutes at Rogers Arena this season, tied the game on goals less than four minutes apart by Miller and rookie Vasily Podkolzin, both of them set up beautifully by sparkplug Conor Garland.

“That five-on-three was pretty awesome,” Miller said of the decisive penalty kill that began at 16:20 of the third period. “That was the loudest I’ve heard this place — by far, probably. Obviously, Thatcher made some unbelievable saves. A lot of scramble by the guys just to get to overtime.

“You can sit in (the dressing room) and pout and feel bad for ourselves because we’re not getting any breaks. But the only way (to) turn the tide and get through this little scoring slump by a lot of guys is to keep playing the same way and add a little more.

“You’ve got to have faith that it’s going to turn at some point and we’re going to start getting the uglier goals. It’s nice to see them go in when we really needed them.”

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For those whose National Hockey League history is mostly this century, LaForge authored a brief and infamous chapter in Vancouver as the worst coach in Canucks history.

His 1984 team was outscored 27-12 in its first four games at the Pacific Coliseum and he was fired after 20 games and 119 goals against. Those Canucks players were never much impressed by LaForge’s PHD – his rhetoric about pride, hustle and desire – after he had the losing team in training-camp scrimmages run in full hockey gear.

Nearly every time LaForge’s name has been mentioned since then it has been as a cautionary tale about the Canucks. Travis Green is no Bill LaForge, but the Canucks coach was a period away from becoming the first in 37 years to have his team lose its first four home games in regulation time.

Defending, however, hasn’t been this team’s problem. And neither has been goaltending.

Tuesday’s third-period carnival chaos was one of Demko’s finest moments. It was the loudest a Canucks crowd has roared in nearly two years.

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“Guys battling,” Demko summarized for reporters. “It’s ugly, you know? Guys made a couple big plays. I mean, it’s just great to see that third period from our group. Obviously, a lot a lot of ups and downs this game emotionally. I thought we carried the play and got some rotten luck on both sides of the red line, but we stuck with it and came out and found a way in the third.”

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On his scorpion save against Panarin, when Demko had neither a stick, blocker nor much hope, he said: “I don’t know if I’ve ever done that before. I got my eyes on the puck and I was trying to get a piece of it.”

Seconds earlier during the scramble, Canucks defenceman Tucker Poolman saved a goal, too.

“I’m just glad that those pucks didn’t hit me and they hit him,” Miller said of Demko. “It felt like he didn’t have any of his gear on for a second. It was a full scramble and panic. You’re doing whatever you can just to keep the puck out of the net. He was like laying on his stomach when he threw his leg up, so that was nuts.

“That seemed like it could be a little turning point for us. We needed that.”

A turning point not only for Tuesday’s game, Miller meant, but for the Canucks’ homestand. Their start to the season. They have three more games at Rogers Arena, starting Friday against the Nashville Predators.

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“We weren’t panicking or anything; it was calm room,” Garland said of the second intermission. “There’s a ton of leaders in that room. It’s not just one or two, there’s a bunch. It’s just hard to score goals in this league. I’ve had plenty go off my foot, off my face. It’s just sometimes they go in in odd ways, and we need that.”

Demko said: “It’s easy to kind of stray away. . . when things aren’t going your way. But it was actually quite the opposite in the third there. I thought guys were picking each other up and working hard for each other and it ended up paying off.”



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NBA Insider Makes Big Claim About Kevin Durant

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The departure of Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets has substantially changed the team.

Obviously, Irving was a major part of the team and its offensive output, meaning they will have to play a lot harder in order to keep winning.

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There has been some speculation that Irving’s exit means the team could make even more huge changes.

Numerous people even wonder if the team will end up shipping away Kevin Durant.

Stephen A. Smith thinks that’s possible.

The NBA insider was on ESPN and said he’s hearing that Durant may be on the move.

“I’m hearing he’s on the verge of potentially being moved, I’m hearing Boston is making some calls, keep your eye on that. Jaylen Brown,” Smith said.

The idea of Durant leaving the Nets seems crazy on the surface but it makes sense in some ways too.

Durant is one of the biggest basketball players alive right now and is a future Hall of Famer.

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That means that he would only be traded for a positively huge haul.

If the Nets decide now is the time to blow the team up and start from scratch, they would get a good start in that process by trading Durant.

As for the Celtics, would they really be willing to part ways with Brown?

The team is currently the best in the entire NBA so why would they take a chance and possibly ruin such a good thing?

Is the allure of Durant that strong?

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There have been rumors of Durant for Brown before and they never amounted to anything so this could again end without any changes to either team.

We will know within the next few days.

The post NBA Insider Makes Big Claim About Kevin Durant appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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Aaron Rodgers to Raiders 'would be a dream scenario' according to Davante Adams | FIRST THINGS FIRST

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Nick Wright, Greg Jennings, Kevin Wildes and Chris Broussard discuss Las Vegas WR Davante Adams’ latest pitch to Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. Adams stated that reuniting with his former teammate in Las Vegas “would be a dream scenario” for the star WR.



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Zack Greinke Gets A Key Clause In New Deal

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On January 30, it was reported that the Kansas City Royals had agreed to a one-year deal with veteran MLB starter Zack Greinke.

He signed his agreement four days later, and gives the Royals a solid innings eater with a relatively high floor and someone to mentor their young pitchers.

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MLB insider Jon Heyman published some more details of his deal and one notable inclusion: a no-trade clause.

“Zack Greinke gets full no trade on Royals deal. Here’s the rest: $8.5M guarantee. Plus: $450,000 each for 90ip; 95ip; 100ip; 105ip; 110ip; 115ip; 120ip; 125ip; 130ip; 135ip. $300,000 each for 140ip; 145ip; 150ip; 155ip; 160ip; 165ip; 170ip; 175ip; 180ip; 185ip,” he tweeted.

Greinke’s base salary will be $8.5 million, which is not bad for a 39-year-old pitcher nearing his retirement.

However, he will have a chance to make an additional $7.5 million in incentives, all tied to the number of innings he pitches.

If he surpasses 185 frames, he will be making around $16 million.

The last time he pitched that many innings was in 2018.

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He was at 137 last year and at 171 in 2021, so he still has a chance to score some nice bonuses provided he stays healthy.

Despite his advanced age and diminishing fastball velocity, Greinke’s ability to place the ball where he wants to gives him impeccable command and a foundation to succeed while limiting hard contact.

He had a solid 3.68 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP, although his 73 strikeouts weren’t particularly impressive.

Still, the Royals aren’t paying him to pitch like a 100-mph fireballer.

Greinke will try to remain a steady rotation stabilizer and help some of the Royals’ young arms such as Brady Singer, Daniel Lynch, Jackson Kowar, Kris Bubic and Carlos Hernandez find some consistency.

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The post Zack Greinke Gets A Key Clause In New Deal appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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