Bruins beat Oilers 3-2 for seventh straight win, overshadow McDavid’s 50th
Boston Bruins’ Nick Foligno (17) and Charlie Coyle (13) celebrate a goal as Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) skates past during first period NHL action in Edmonton on Monday February 27, 2023.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
By Shane Jones in Edmonton
The Boston Bruins continue to set a record-threatening pace.
Pavel Zacha’s late second-period goal stood up as the game winner as the Bruins continued their spectacular season with a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night. With the victory they became the fastest team to record 46 wins in NHL history, needing just 59 games to do so.
“We have a lot of guys in our locker room that know how to play the right way and know how to end games,” said Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery, whose team improved to an impressive 32-0-2 record when leading after 40 minutes.
Tomas Nosek and Nick Foligno also scored for the Bruins (46-8-5), who extended their winning streak to seven games. It is the third time Boston has had a string of victories reach seven games this season.
“I think we’re proud of our process and what it’s allowed us to do and be, but I still think there’s room to grow,” Foligno said. “I still think there are little areas we can get better in. I’m not trying to sound tacky, it’s just the reality of our team.
“I don’t think anyone is satisfied here, I think we’re really excited about our group, but I think we all know there is more to do. That’s the mindset that’s allowed us to have the success we’ve had.”
Connor McDavid scored twice to reach 50 goals on the season for the Oilers (32-21-8), who have lost two straight, but have still managed to go 11-4-6 in their last 21 outings.
“It’s disappointing, obviously,” McDavid said. “They’re the best team in the league. I thought we played them hard and gave ourselves a chance to win.
“It’s good for our confidence to know that we can play with them. That’s the league’s best and we played with them. That’s a good sign.”
There was a quick start to the scoring in a spirited first period.
McDavid took a long stretch pass from Leon Draisaitl up the left boards before cutting in and beating Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman through the legs 2:17 into the opening frame for his league-leading 49th goal.
The Bruins responded just 13 seconds later as a defensive giveaway ended up with the puck being deflected in front to Nosek, who sent his fourth of the season past Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner.
Boston took the lead with just under five minutes to play in the first on a nice give-and-go play with Charlie Coyle making a deft feed to Foligno, who beat Skinner stick-side for his 10th.
Edmonton tied it at 12:20 of the second period with the teams playing four players aside as Klim Kostin came out of the box and hustled to feed the puck to McDavid who undressed Swayman with a deke to record his 50th goal in his 61st game of the season. Only Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri have hit the mark faster in Oilers’ history. It was also McDavid’s eighth goal in the last four games.
“He just drives our team,” said Oilers forward Zach Hyman. “He is the best player in the world. He is humble about it. He has really taken a step in regards to attacking the net more and taking it on himself and I think you see the results.”
Boston made it 3-2 with just 30 seconds to play in the second, as Zacha made a diving poke to beat Skinner’s own poke-check attempt and chip it over his shoulder and into the net for his 14th.
Kostin, who was assessed a major penalty for a hit on David Krejci before a review showed that it was the Boston forward’s own stick that hit him, negating any penalty, then took a double-minor for high-sticking Patrice Bergeron late in the third to prevent Edmonton from tying the game, as the third remained scoreless.
Oilers forward Klim Kostin returned to the lineup after missing the last five games due to an illness. To make room for him on the roster, the Oilers were forced to send Devin Shore to Bakersfield of the AHL. … Out for the Oilers were Ryan Murray (back) and Evander Kane (upper body). Kane’s health is reportedly improving, but he remains day-to-day. … Out with injuries for the Bruins were Vinni Lettieri (lower body) and Taylor Hall (lower body). Hall returned to Boston for evaluation, but it is believed the forward’s injury is not serious. … The game featured the league’s top two goal scorers this season in McDavid and Boston’s David Pastrnak. … McDavid has more games with four-plus points this season (10) than games with zero points (6). … Boston came into the game sporting an impressive 31-0-2 record when leading after 40 minutes.
The Bruins are right back at it on Tuesday, as they finish a four-game swing against Pacific Division teams in Calgary against the Flames.
The Oilers play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, the second game of a three-game homestand.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2023.
Saskatchewan entrepreneur says government thwarted his ag-plastics recycling business
Dallon Leger thought he was part of the solution.
The entrepreneur from Yorkton, Sask., about 190 kilometres northeast of Regina, says he collected more than 1.8 million kilograms of used grain bags over the past few years, helping his neighbours deal with their mounting plastic problem.
Leger’s business, EcoGenX, transported the grain bags to a company in the United States that would recycle them. The company would turn the bags into various agricultural plastic products, including new grain bags. EcoGenX would then sell the recycled product in Saskatchewan.
But he says the Saskatchewan government has stifled his business through rules he believes are unfair.
The province recently took Leger to court and won, fining him for not following the province’s grain bag regulations. It effectively forced him to close his business.
“I’m not perfect, no entrepreneur is, but my government was my biggest hurdle,” said Leger, a farm worker, in an interview earlier this month. “That should never have happened, not when climate change and environment as a whole is the hot topic right now.”
Leger pleaded guilty in late April for failing to comply with the government’s Agricultural Packaging Waste Stewardship Regulations, therefore violating a section of Saskatchewan’s Environment and Management Protection Act.
Court determined he did not operate a product stewardship program that was approved by the environment minister. He was fined $580 and must pay $10,604 to Cleanfarms, a regulated non-profit that also collects grain bags in the province.
Leger explained his lawyer advised him to plead guilty because it wouldn’t have been a winning fight.
However, he said the province’s position is still not right.
“How can you charge me under the environmental act, find me guilty of anything, when I did no harm to the environment? That says a lot,” he said. “I felt I did something good.”
The Saskatchewan government regulates the industry, requiring grain bag sellers to participate in an approved product stewardship program.
EcoGenX didn’t operate under an approved program.
Environment Minister Dana Skoropad said the legislation is meant to ensure agricultural plastics recycling is sustainable in Saskatchewan.
“The community of sellers of these products is quite small in Saskatchewan, so it’s certainly important that all first sellers be compliant with the regulations and a level playing field be existent,” Skoropad said. “And that ensures the financial stability and sustainability of the program.”
Cleanfarms is the only approved product stewardship program in Saskatchewan, which means grain bag sellers must work with Cleanfarms or get their own program rubber-stamped if they want to participate.
Under the Cleanfarms program, farmers can deliver bags to more than 40 collection points set up by the organization.
Sellers collect an environment handling fee when they sell the bags. The sellers then remit those fees to Cleanfarms so the organization can operate its collection sites.
Leger didn’t remit environmental handling fees to Cleanfarms when he sold bags, arguing he didn’t need to because his company did all the work in partnership with the American recycler.
“I would travel anywhere in the province, roll up their bags. I would do all the work,” he said. “I had the best answer for this fairly large problem — like it’s a significant amount of plastic.”
The $10,604 Leger is required to pay to Cleanfarms represents the environmental handling fees he was supposed to pay to the organization.
Skoropad said he’s open to working with anyone who would meet the requirements in the legislation.
He said Leger did not submit a proposal.
However, Leger said he tried to work with the provincial government but was told the province was not interested in another operator.
“I’m told, ‘We have to focus on the sustainability of the current approved program,'” he said. “Well, I’m sorry I’m a threat to this non-profit organization. That’s kind of what a business is meant to do, is grow and succeed.”
Leger accused the government of siding with Cleanfarms, pointing to past lobbying by CropLife Canada, a sister organization of Cleanfarms.
In 2016, CropLife representatives lobbied Saskatchewan ministers about “promoting the benefits of industry stewardship programs.” It noted Cleanfarms had been active in the province.
CropLife, which is based in Ontario, lobbied former environment minister Scott Moe, who’s now premier, and former agriculture minister Lyle Stewart. Ted Menzies, CropLife’s former president, was among those lobbying. Menzies had previously served as a Conservative MP and cabinet minister before moving to CropLife.
In 2018, the province’s Agricultural Packaging Waste Stewardship Regulations came into effect.
“I believe this created a monopoly and gives an out-of-province organization 100 per cent of the money that Saskatchewan farmers pay,” Leger said.
Skorpopad denied the accusations.
“Cleanfarms submitted an application to be a product stewardship operator and that would be the extent of my knowledge of that,” he said. “As I said before, we’re open to working with anyone who would meet the requirements of the regulations on this program.”
Skoropad said he doesn’t know if there have been previous applications to become an operator. He said there are 14 regulated grain bag sellers in Saskatchewan.
Leger said he has plans to continue fighting his case.
“I was demonized, so to me that’s worth continuing to fight for and why I didn’t give up.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2023.
Jeremy Simes, The Canadian Press
Drying conditions return in Alberta, crews see more intense fire activity
A burnt metal sign hangs from a tree, damaged by recent wildfires, in Drayton Valley Alta., on Wednesday, May 17, 2023. As more wildfire evacuees are being allowed to return home in Alberta, provincial officials warn that warm, dry conditions are returning this weekend in some areas.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
As more wildfire evacuees are being allowed to return home in Alberta, provincial officials warn that warm, dry conditions are returning this weekend in some areas.
Melissa Story with Alberta Wildfire says the elevated fire conditions were anticipated and that crews on the ground are seeing more intense fire activity on the perimeters of wildfires.
But she says most fires haven’t grown substantially and she doesn’t believe any have jumped their containment lines.
The number of evacuees as of Saturday afternoon stood at 5,257, down from over 7,200 on Wednesday, following cooler and wetter conditions in the last week.
Nearly 50 wildfires in Alberta’s forest protection area are burning, with 14 of those listed as out-of-control.
Cyndee Evans, executive director of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency, says the situation remains serious despite recent positive news.
“While we can take heart that more Albertans are starting to return home, we cannot afford to drop our guard. Now is not the time for complacency. Please continue to do your part and help prevent the spread of wildfires and further damage from occurring,” Evans told a news conference Saturday.
Story noted that showers were forecast for some parts of Alberta later Saturday, reducing fire danger, but also cautioned they bring the risk of lightning.
Federal Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said in a tweet Saturday that an extension for the deployment of Canadian Armed Forces personnel to assist in firefighting efforts has been approved.
Story said firefighters from New Zealand were welcomed to the province Friday and that nearly 200 firefighters and support staff from Australia would be arriving this weekend.
Alberta remains under a provincewide state of emergency, although some bans on fires, ATVs and off-highway vehicles have been relaxed in recent days.
Parkland County west of Edmonton lifted a state of local emergency on Friday that had been in place since April 29, and downgraded a fire ban to a fire restriction. It said that meant “safe fires in approved fire pits with a screen are allowed and do not require a permit.”
Fires without screens still required permits, however, and open fires in the county are still banned.
The High Level Forest Area wildfire update noted the Pasqua fire located in the community of Fox Lake saw an increase in fire activity after warm and dry weather on Friday, and that temperatures and fire behaviour was expected to pick up on Saturday.
Fox Lake remains evacuated, but residents are being permitted to sign up for tours of the community on Monday to view damage. A statement from the Little Red River Cree Nation said priority will be given to people who have lost their homes.
“Tours will be visual only, as it is still not safe for members to walk around the community or house sites due to hot spots as well as possible toxins and hazards in the areas that have been burned,” said a statement posted online by the First Nation on Friday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 27, 2023.
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