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Primeau’s strong effort a lone positive in Canadiens’ loss to Rangers – Sportsnet.ca

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It’s was a 14th loss in 18 games, and it was fully earned by the Montreal Canadiens.

But at least there was one positive: a stellar performance by goaltender Cayden Primeau.

The former seventh-round pick in 2017 was the only reason the Canadiens weren’t blown out of Madison Square Garden by the New York Rangers.

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On this night, just seven miles from Harlem, they made their counterparts look like the Globetrotters. Sweet Georgia Brown should’ve been playing throughout the game — especially during the first period — as the visitors team just watched the Blueshirts skate circles around their zone and create enough quality scoring chances to win by more than a three-pointer.

Instead, the Rangers barely skated away with a 3-2 win because Primeau stood tall from start to finish.

“He was good,” said Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme. “He was solid.”

Primeau was forced to be much better than that by a Canadiens team that was loose with the puck and inattentive in its coverage.

In the first period, he made two highlight saves on Filip Chytil and made 13 stops on 14 more shots. On Kappo Kakko’s opening goal, like Chris Kreider’s and Julien Gauthier’s after it, Primeau didn’t have a prayer.

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But there were plenty of other shots in this game where that appeared to be the case — none better than the one Ryan Strome took from the apex of the slot in the third period, with the Rangers up 2-1 and Canadiens defenceman Brett Kulak swimming on his belly near the crease, when Primeau lifted his glove up and snatched a goal away — and the 22-year-old came up big.

“The whole game, he was awesome,” said Jake Evans, who, along with a handful of other Canadiens players not named Primeau, put in a commendable effort from start to finish.

The goaltender didn’t get the result he deserved, but he did his job.

The Canadiens can take positives from it, and perhaps even some confidence if Primeau gets the nod again on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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But what Primeau takes from it is more important. Every game of experience he gets at this level brings him closer to his goal of one day becoming the starting goaltender for this franchise.

It’s a role the Vorhees, N.J., native has been dreaming of since the day he was drafted, but he had be feeling very far from it when the Canadiens picked up 25-year-old Samuel Montembeault before the season started. With Carey Price suddenly electing to check into the NHL/NHLPA’s players assistance program, the door appeared open for Primeau to back up Jake Allen, but it was quickly shut with this move.

Had Primeau had a stronger showing in training camp and pre-season, he would’ve walked right through it. But the decision was made to bring in someone else because his confidence didn’t appear to be there.

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It hadn’t been at this level dating back to when he debuted in 2019. In four games with the Canadiens last season, Primeau went 1-2-1 and had an .849 save percentage. He was playing when they desperately needed wins, when Price was hurt and Allen was exhausted and the team was life and death to make the playoffs.

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But Primeau couldn’t deliver the type of performance he put in on Tuesday.

The result might have been the same for him in this one, but the process appeared to be a big improvement.

Primeau told reporters at MSG it was good to see some shots early and often, good to come in and play fresh off a game on Saturday with the AHL’s Laval Rocket — he had waited quite some time after being recalled last season and that certainly contributed to how things went for him — and that he was just trying to keep things simple and not overcomplicate them.

He succeeded, thanks in part to the work he had put into “tracking,” and “skating,” in his words.

We’d suggest Primeau’s mindset had something to do with it, too, because it’s clear he felt he had dropped down the depth chart going to Laval while Montembeault took up residence in Montreal, and he approached Tuesday’s game as an opportunity to show he can play just as well — if not much better — at this level.

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“I think there’s a battle amongst all the goalies in the organization,” Primeau said. “That’s across the board everywhere. Even down in Laval, Michael (McNiven) and I have a great friendly competition and competitive edge to our relationship.”

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As Price gets himself closer and closer to playing — it’s expected he’ll hit the ice sometime before the end of the week for some solo work in Brossard — and Allen recovers from a concussion that could see him return soon, it’s likely Primeau goes back to the Rocket to resume that competition with McNiven.

But this game was good for his confidence. It was another building block on top of the solid start Primeau has gotten off to with the Rocket, and there might be a couple of more to pile on before he goes back.

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On a night where not much else of note happened, with the exception of Michael Pezzetta taking on the NHL’s heavyweight champ, Ryan Reaves, and Christian Dvorak scoring a goal and adding an assist after putting up just one goal and five points in the first 17 games and going the last five without any, this was a positive.





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Trent Dilfer Has A Strong Opinion About Today’s NFL Game

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(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

 

Today’s NFL boasts many outstanding quarterbacks, including some who are just getting started, as well as more exciting high-powered offenses than it had a generation ago.

However, some people aren’t impressed, as all they can see is a league that has gotten softer due to rule changes.

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One of those people who doesn’t seem to like the modern-day game is former quarterback Trent Dilfer, who made those feelings known to a wide audience.

Over the last decade or so, the NFL has made changes to numerous rules, such as pass interference penalties and rules having to do with protecting quarterbacks, and it has resulted in a game that is faster and more crowd-pleasing.

The downside is that the game is a little less physical than it used to be.

As a result, there are more quarterbacks putting up 4,000 yards in a season than there were decades ago.

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Something similar has taken place in the NBA, where scoring is higher than it has been in about 50 years, thanks in part to rule changes on defense, and it has caused many fans to complain about the perceived lack of defense nowadays.

Oftentimes, people cannot have it both ways, as pro football can be tougher and more physical, but it would have to come at the expense of crowd-pleasing play.

Then there is the safety issue, which has been a big topic of discussion in recent years due to studies that have revealed the extent of CTE and other types of brain trauma among former NFL players.

Some of the rule changes Commissioner Roger Goodell has enacted have attempted to reduce the risk of brain trauma, but of course, players from past eras will lament that it has made the game, as well as today’s players, too soft.

The post Trent Dilfer Has A Strong Opinion About Today’s NFL Game appeared first on The Cold Wire.

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PFF Reveals Their Franchise Tag Candidate For Chiefs

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Whether they win the Super Bowl or not this Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs will have some roster roles to plug this offseason.

One decision they will have to make is what to do with offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr., who will be a free agent this offseason.

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Pro Football Focus feels he is their best candidate for their franchise tag.

Brown is one of the NFL’s best tackles, and the proof is in the pudding, as he was named to the Pro Bowl for the fourth straight year this season.

At age 26, he should have at least a few more good years left in him, which aligns perfectly with the relative youth of the Kansas City roster.

Brown is also a durable player, as he has appeared in almost every single game over the past four years despite playing one of the most grueling positions in football.

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The Philadelphia Eagles possess a fearsome defense that was tops in passing yards allowed during the regular season, and Brown will have a big task in keeping that pass-rush attack at bay while protecting quarterback Patrick Mahomes and giving him time to work his magic.

Philly seems to be slightly favored in the Super Bowl, but Mahomes is always a singular threat, even though he has been dealing with a sprained ankle he suffered in the Chiefs’ Divisional round win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Even without star wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who was sent to the Miami Dolphins last offseason, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if Mahomes overcomes Philly’s defense to claim his second Vince Lombardi Trophy in four years.

The post PFF Reveals Their Franchise Tag Candidate For Chiefs appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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Throwback Video Shows A Clutch Scott Rolen Moment

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(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

 

With two weeks having passed since Scott Rolen became the newest member of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, the baseball world is mostly ecstatic to see the longtime third baseman earn his spot.

Fans of the St. Louis Cardinals are especially pleased to see one of their favorites elected to Cooperstown.

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Rolen’s career was full of great moments.

He could come through in key spots with both his offense and his defense, especially in moments during the postseason.

On Twitter, a fan posted a video of Rolen’s first career World Series home run back in 2006.

St. Louis had fallen into an early 1-0 hole against the Detroit Tigers in the opening game, but Rolen took Justin Verlander deep to tie the game.

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Though David Eckstein was ultimately named the MVP of that World Series, Rolen did not disappoint.

In fact, Rolen hit .421 in the series after having only reached base once in the 2004 series.

This home run snapped Rolen’s 0-for-15 World Series slump.

The Cardinals would go on to win the World Series over the Tigers in five games, with Adam Wainwright closing out the final game, and Rolen officially earning his first World Series ring.

But it all started with this home run.

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The Cardinals bats got going, and Rolen never looked back, posting some elite World Series stats.

17 years later, the star third baseman is headed to Cooperstown after an extremely successful career in which he won eight Gold Gloves, a Rookie of the Year Award, and earned seven All-Star selections.

The post Throwback Video Shows A Clutch Scott Rolen Moment appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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