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Robin Lehner asks peers to support Kyle Beach: ‘I wish more people step up and fight’

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TORONTO – Robin Lehner won’t back down from an uncomfortable truth or a systematic tornado.

Honestly, the goaltender who has bipolar disorder says, it isn’t easy for him to be NHL players’ flagbearer for justice.

To step to a podium sweaty and exhausted and speak up for his and future generations after getting shelled 4-0 by a suddenly woke Toronto Maple Leafs offence.

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To answer two questions about a lopsided loss and eight more about sexual abuse and cultural change and player-union-league relations in the wake of Kyle Beach’s brave bombshell.

To be a vigilant voice in a culture that favours the safe cliché.

“You guys are asking me [questions], and honestly it’s not that comfortable for me because I’m trying to focus on winning the hockey games too,” Lehner exhaled Tuesday night.

“But some things are bigger than winning.”

Few players are bigger than Lehner.

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Literally, sure. The imposing Swede’s six-foot-four, 250-pound frame leaves little net to pick.

But we’re talking about the size of Lehner’s heart.

“Some things are bigger than winning.”

What other active player got on the horn with Beach shortly after seeing the former prospect put his real name to the lawsuit and spill his pain to the world?

“An emotional call. I commended him a lot. He’s changing people’s lives by the bravery of speaking out. I just want to be there for him and support him through this, and I think the majority of players I’ve talked to are all on the same page,” Lehner said.

“At the end of the day, people need to be held accountable that knew.… It’s part of healing, you know, getting some justice. And that’s what we all want.”

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Moments after enduring 60 high-danger minutes under the crosshairs of Auston Matthews & Co., Lehner pointed the sights at his fellow players.

Hockey players should know better than most: There’s strength in numbers.

Even prior to the public revelation of the Chicago Blackhawks’ scandal, Lehner, you may recall, had been meeting with the NHL and the Players’ Association to discuss how the league could better deal with mental health, prescription medicine and other sensitive issues.

Those talks, Lehner says, have been positive. He believes everyone’s heart is in the right place.

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And yet, Lehner doesn’t want his voice to be the only one.

Surely the goalie would be heartened to learn that, at the behest of captain Patrice Bergeron and head coach Bruce Cassidy, the entire Boston Bruins sat and watched Rick Westhead’s conversation with Beach together.

Maybe the goalie would be a touch disheartened, as we were, to find out that many NHLers still haven’t watched that interview.

“I encourage more teams to just talk about it and make sure that we’re a part of it, so that this doesn’t happen again. It’s not just on the NHLPA or NHL. All players need to take this seriously if you want change and culture change,” Lehner challenged.

“Honestly, it’s extremely tough for me to do [talk about] it. But, you know, sometimes my principles and how I feel take over. But at the end of the day, I just want more players to — whatever [the issue] is — take a stand. Because we, as players, can bring change as much as anyone else.

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“Again, it’s difficult for me, and I wish more people step up and fight. Because it’s for our kids, hopefully my kids, a lot of players’ kids. We want them to succeed in playing in this league. We want hockey and the NHL to be as good as possible.”

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A baby step toward that goal took place Monday, as about 80 active players (roughly 10 per cent of the union) hopped on a PA conference call to discuss how Beach’s complaint slipped through the cracks and how to make certain such abhorrent neglect never happens again.

Lehner declined to dive into specifics of the call. And with some in the industry calling for the heads of Gary Bettman and/or Donald Fehr, Lehner maintains he has no interest in finger-pointing or trying to get men fired.

“Everything I’m doing is for Kyle Beach. He hasn’t been given the benefit of the doubt for a long time,” Lehner said. “We got a guy that hasn’t been heard for 10 years. He needs to get the benefit of the doubt this time. We need to do that properly.”

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As difficult as these conversations are, Lehner always seems up for them.

The 12-year veteran (and onetime Blackhawk) understands that no two NHLers’ experiences are alike, though, and a class divide must be bridged if 800 or so players are to form a united front.

Lehner wants people to realize that, depending on the organization, fringe players live a much different life than the superstars. But that doesn’t mean we should rush to blame hockey’s silent stars, he clarifies.

“It’s unfair to put it on the star players, too, that they don’t speak up enough. Because to be quite honest, from what I’ve seen, they don’t see a lot of the things that need to change. So, they get different treatment,” Lehner said.

“I encourage everyone to talk to each other and have conversations. And we need to be a part of it. If we talk about culture, whatever, it needs to come from the players. Honestly, everyone needs to talk about it.”

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How to watch Appalachian State vs. James Madison: NCAA Football live stream info, TV channel, time, game odds

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Who’s Playing

James Madison @ Appalachian State

Current Records: James Madison 2-0; Appalachian State 2-1

What to Know

The James Madison Dukes watched the action from their couches last weekend, but are set to take to the field. James Madison and the Appalachian State Mountaineers will face off in a Sun Belt battle at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Kidd Brewer Stadium. The odds don’t look promising for the Dukes, but the bigger the opponent is, the harder they fall.

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A well-balanced attack led James Madison over the Norfolk State Spartans every single quarter on their way to victory two weeks ago. James Madison claimed a resounding 63-7 win over Norfolk State at home. The game was pretty much decided by the half, when the score had already reached 35 to nothing.

Meanwhile, Appalachian State didn’t have too much breathing room in their contest with the Troy Trojans last week, but they still walked away with a 32-28 victory. Appalachian State QB Chase Brice was slinging it as he passed for two TDs and 279 yards on 34 attempts. Near the top of the highlight reel was Brice’s 53-yard TD bomb to WR Christan Horn in the fourth quarter.

Their wins bumped the Dukes to 2-0 and the Mountaineers to 2-1. Watch the matchup and check back on CBS Sports to find out who keeps up the positive energy and who hits a stumbling block.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Kidd Brewer Stadium — Boone, North Carolina
  • TV: ESPN Plus
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $40.99

Odds

The Mountaineers are a solid 6.5-point favorite against the Dukes, according to the latest college football odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Mountaineers as a 7.5-point favorite.

Over/Under: -111

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See college football picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

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



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UTSA vs. Texas Southern: How to watch NCAA Football online, TV channel, live stream info, game time

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Who’s Playing

Texas Southern @ UTSA

Current Records: Texas Southern 1-2; UTSA 1-2

What to Know

The Texas Southern Tigers will take on the UTSA Roadrunners at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Alamodome. Texas Southern isn’t favored, but they just beat the odds in their last game, so don’t count them out.

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The Tigers kept a clean sheet against the Southern University Jaguars last week and took the matchup 24 to nothing. The squad ran away with 21 points in the first half and mostly just sat on those in the second to pick up the victory.

Meanwhile, it was all tied up 17-17 at halftime, but UTSA was not quite the Texas Longhorns’ equal in the second half when they met last week. The Roadrunners suffered a grim 41-20 defeat to the Longhorns. This contest was a close 17-17 at the break, but unfortunately for UTSA it sure didn’t stay that way. A silver lining for them was the play of RB Brenden Brady, who threw one touchdown in addition to punching in one rushing touchdown.

Texas Southern’s win lifted them to 1-2 while UTSA’s loss dropped them down to 1-2. We’ll find out if the Tigers can add another positive mark to their record or if UTSA can shake off the defeat and take the spring out of Texas Southern’s step.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Alamodome — San Antonio, Texas
  • TV: STADIUM
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $69.00

Odds

The Roadrunners are a big 42-point favorite against the Tigers, according to the latest college football odds.

Bettors have moved against the Roadrunners slightly, as the game opened with the Roadrunners as a 44-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

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Series History

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



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North Carolina vs. Notre Dame live stream info, TV channel: How to watch NCAA Football on TV, stream online

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Who’s Playing

Notre Dame @ North Carolina

Current Records: Notre Dame 1-2; North Carolina 3-0

What to Know

The North Carolina Tar Heels will be returning home after a two-game road trip. They will take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Kenan Memorial Stadium after a week off. UNC is expected to win — but not by much — so they will need to come into the game prepared for a fight.

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The Tar Heels beat the Georgia State Panthers 35-28 two weeks ago. Among those leading the charge for UNC was RB Omarion Hampton, who rushed for two TDs and 110 yards on 16 carries. Hampton put himself on the highlight reel with a 58-yard TD scramble in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame netted a 24-17 victory over the California Golden Bears last week. RB Audric Estime and RB Chris Tyree were among the main playmakers for Notre Dame as the former punched in one rushing touchdown and the latter snatched one receiving TD.

Notre Dame’s defense was a presence as well, as it embarrassed California’s offensive line to sack QB Jack Plummer six times for a total loss of 47 yards. It was a group effort with four guys contributing.

The wins brought the Tar Heels up to 3-0 and the Fighting Irish to 1-2. A pair of stats to keep an eye on: UNC enters the matchup with 310 passing yards per game on average, good for 21st best in the nation. But Notre Dame comes into the contest boasting the 34th fewest passing yards allowed per game in the nation at 184. These opposing strengths should make for an exciting matchup.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Kenan Memorial Stadium — Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • TV: ABC
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $110.00

Odds

The Tar Heels are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Fighting Irish, according to the latest college football odds.

The line on this game has moved quite a bit since it opened, as it started out with the Fighting Irish as a 1.5-point favorite.

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Over/Under: -110

See college football picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Notre Dame have won all of the games they’ve played against North Carolina in the last eight years.

  • Oct 30, 2021 – Notre Dame 44 vs. North Carolina 34
  • Nov 27, 2020 – Notre Dame 31 vs. North Carolina 17
  • Oct 07, 2017 – Notre Dame 33 vs. North Carolina 10



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