Several valuable lessons for fans and other followers of the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers in the most recent doubleheader televised as part of the NHL’s revamped, and surprisingly attractive, playoff package.
The New York Islanders gave the Philadelphia Flyers a lesson in the early-evening effort and the Dallas Stars followed with an impressive victory over the Colorado Avalanche.
In the Islanders triumph, the lesson was the value of discipline and patience.
In the later test, believe it or not, the lesson was the value of discipline and patience.
Both Calgary and Edmonton showed a distinct lack of those virtues as they were ushered out of the playoffs. Calgary blew a chance to take a stranglehold on its series with Dallas by failing to hold a lead for all of 12 seconds; Edmonto frittered away leads in all four of their losses to Chicago in a previous round.
Edmonton’s flaws were much more obvious, largely because they showed more often. Had they seen a preview of New York’s winning effort Monday night, they would not have chased scoring opportunities so rashly when they had a lead to protect. Coach Barry Trotz’s disciplined team scored the only first-period goal and then spent incredible energy barricading every attempt by the talented Flyers until Jean-Gabriel Pageau stretched the margin late in the second period.
Afterwards in what became a 4-0 shutout, there was no real threat that Philadelphia could come back, or even could end Semyon Varlamov’s shutout.
There was some brief temptation to criticize Sherwood Park product Carter Hart’s performance in goal for the Flyers. He was deep in the net on Andy Greene’s goal in the first period and on his knees when Pageau clinched the decision. But the young Alberta kid was brilliant at other times. He did not lose the game; the Flyers lost it as a team that lacked the discipline and patience of its conquerors.
The Dallas victory was marked by Colorado’s lack of those vital qualities, but the Avalanche added a flaw that may have been even more devastating: they showed an immense lack of confidence as soon as their sound 2-0 lead disappeared on a pair of shocking 5-on-3 Stars power-plays.
Granted, Dallas got some good breaks — one on Esa LIndell’s goalmouth shove at a loose puck that was not clearly shown to be over the line, the other on an Alex Radulov tally that deflected twice before hopping over the head of goaltender Pavel Francouz.
The Lindell goal was the ultimate winner. If it did not steal all of the Colorado confidence, it certainly came close — and the fluke that bounced off Radulov grabbed the rest.
Philadelphia’s win came in the best-of-seven series opener, leaving the Flyers some time to develop a scheme that might humanize the machine-like Islanders.
Avalanche veteran Gabriel Landeskog downplayed his team’s shaky position after its second consecutive shaky performance.
“We’ll be all right,” he told a post-game questioner. “That’s why these series are seven games.”
British Columbia won't take COVID-19 patients from Alberta: Dix
VICTORIA — British Columbia’s health minister says the province won’t be taking COVID-19 patients from Alberta due to current demands on its own health-care system.
Adrian Dix says the B.C. Health Ministry told its Alberta counterpart Thursday that the province will help in other ways if it can and may be able to take patients in the future.
Alberta is facing a COVID-19 crisis that is threatening to collapse its health system, with 269 patients in an intensive care system set up for 173.
British Columbia reported 706 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday along with four new deaths linked to the illness, bringing the death toll to 1,877.
The ministry says in a statement there were 5,844 active infections across the province with 291 people in hospital, including 134 in intensive care.
It says close to 79 per cent of eligible B.C. residents aged 12 and up have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 86.3 per cent have received at least one shot.
“We are in a global pandemic, and our thoughts are with Albertans as they respond to COVID-19 in their province,” Dix says in a statement.
“We salute Alberta’s health-care workers, and all health-care workers who are working tirelessly to care for patients and protect people and communities in the face of great challenge.”
About 30 per cent of active cases in B.C. are located in the Fraser Health region, followed by nearly 26 per cent in Interior Health, 18 per cent in Vancouver Coastal Health, close to 15 per cent in the north and 11 per cent in Island Health.
There were 23 active outbreaks in health-care settings, including three hospitals.
The Health Ministry says people who have not received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine made up 81.5 per cent of hospitalizations due to the illness in the first two weeks of September, while partially vaccinated people represented 4.9 per cent.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 16, 2021.
The Canadian Press
Alberta business groups want more clarity around new COVID-19 restrictions
Alberta businessgroups say a new program the province has launched to fight COVID-19 has been short on details while giving business owners little notice to make dramatic changes to their operations.
The Calgary Chamber of Commerce and Canadian Federation of Independent Business said Thursday that their members have uncovered plenty of confusion as they scramble to make sense of the restriction exemption program Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced Wednesday.
“Yesterday’s announcement prompted more questions than answers for our business community,” said Deborah Yedlin, the chamber’s president and chief executive, in a statement.
“Answers and clarity are needed urgently.”
The program Yedlin was referring to is meant to force people in Alberta to show proof of vaccination to enter non-essential businesses, including select stores, restaurants, nightclubs, casinos, concerts and libraries as of Sept. 20.
Businesses can opt out of the program but must operate at reduced capacity and with distancing rules or restrictions including no more than six people at a table in a restaurant.
Just after the program was announced, Annie Dormuth, the CFIB’s provincial affairs director for Alberta, was already hearing from owners confused about if they will have to apply to use the program or to opt out of it.
Others were concerned the government didn’t offer guidance or training to staff around how to check if vaccination proof is fraudulent or deal with unruly patrons who disagree with the measures.
Some even lamented a lack of time to reorient their businesses and retrain staff for the new policies because the program has more exemptions than initiatives in other provinces and was announced roughly four days before it will go into effect.
“In the province of B.C., they were given a week and they were given support in the form of posters and guidance documents and here, we are three-and-a-half days away from this now and there’s not a whole lot of guidance being provided to business owners right now,” said Dormuth.
The lack of details is the latest challenge for small business owners who have spent much of the pandemic dealing with lower sales and fewer patrons.
CFIB estimates that small businesses in Canada now have debt totalling $139 billion due to COVID-19, a slight increase from the estimated $135 billion in February of this year.
Three quarters of small businesses that took on debt believe it will take more than a year to repay. In the hospitality sector alone, 87 per cent believe it will take longer than two years to deal with their debts.
As business owners have struggled to deal with those debts, a wave of new COVID-19 cases has overwhelmed hospitals.
Seeing droves of unvaccinated patients, health-care workers intensified their calls for more stringent safety measures amid polls showing support for vaccination passports, but Kenney refused to heed their advice until this week.
“Jason Kenney has demonstrated himself to be a skilled contortionist, bending himself virtually into a pretzel in order to appease a small fringe but vocal group of individuals who are opposed to vaccination,” University of Alberta assistant professor of infectious diseases, Dr. Ilan Schwartz, said at a Wednesday press conference held by Protect Our Province.
The organization comprised of health-care workers has long urged the government to take the pandemic and the fourth wave more seriously by retaining basic measures like isolation for people who test positive for COVID-19.
Despite Kenney finally edging toward more measures, the group remains disappointed with his new program and its lack of clarity, and fears it will do little to quell the virus.
Dr. Schwatz said, “We’re left with a hodgepodge of measures that are confusing, and consequently, they’re likely ineffectual.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 16, 2021.
Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press
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