Cam Tait’s voice can be difficult to understand because he lives with cerebral palsy. He wants to give you something to think about in the morning. So, Cam writes a message and uses Voicemaker.in to read every word except the … last one. He records that himself. Listen at 5 a.m. MST for The Last Word, First Thing in the Morning
Johnson dazzles, Canada tops Czechia 5-1 in world junior hockey championship
By Gemma Karstens-Smith in Edmonton
Kent Johnson has been working for years on a move that stuns goalies and hockey fans alike.
On Saturday, he executed it in a big way, scoring a highlight-reel-worthy goal that helped Canada to a 5-1 win over Czechia at the world junior hockey championship.
Johnson put away the dazzling game winner 19 minutes into the first period, scooping the puck on to his stick blade behind the net, picking it up as he glided forward and swirling it in over the Czech goalie’s shoulder for an elusive “Michigan” goal.
The move — also known as a lacrosse goal — is something the Columbus Blue Jackets prospect has been honing for about six years.
“I’ve been practising that move since I was like, 14, and doing it,” he said. “Now it’s just something that’s kind of in the tool box.”
Still, pulling it out to give the Canadians a 2-1 lead — one they never relinquished — was exciting.
“It’s a big goal, a really good one,” said Johnson, who added an assist in the third period. “I think it’s the period I was having, too. I think I would have been pretty pumped for it to go off my skate, too.”
The play drew wild cheers from the crowd of 5,135 at Rogers Place. On the ice, Johnson’s linemate Logan Stankoven held his gloved hands above his head and uttered “Oh my God!”
“That was probably one of the nicest Michigans I’ve seen, honestly,” said Canada’s captain, Mason McTavish. “He got it up so fast and at the end of the first period, the ice isn’t that great then. So that was something special to watch. I’ll definitely be watching that over and over again.”
McTavish scored twice for Canada (3-0-0) on Saturday, while Ridly Greig and Tyson Foerster each found the back of the net. Jack Thompson, Ronan Seeley and Stankoven each contributed a pair of assists.
Czechia (1-1-1) opened the scoring with a short-handed goal early in the first period.
Jaroslav Chmelar was sent to the box after running fellow New York Rangers prospect Brennan Othmann into the boards from behind and leaving the Canadian with a bloody nose.
The play was reviewed and Chmelar was ejected with a game misconduct. His team was left to kill a five-minute major penalty.
Rysavy gave the Czech’s some breathing room, putting a shot up under the crossbar 5:10 into the game. The puck bounced out of the net and the play continued, but a video review moments later showed the puck had crossed the goal line.
The way Canada rallied bodes well for the rest of the tournament, said Othmann.
“It’s just a little bit of adversity. And that’s OK in these games,” he said. “I think that builds more character for the important games, elimination games. And it just shows that we’re resilient. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we’re going to keep going.”
It was a busy night in net for Czech goalie Tomas Suchanek, who stopped 52 of 57 shots.
McTavish was first to beat the netminder, putting away the equalizer 16:44 into the opening frame by deflecting in Thompson’s long blast through traffic.
Seconds earlier, Suchanek made an eye-popping stop to preserve his team’s lead. Stationed at the side of the net, Johnson got a quick shot off on the out-of-position netminder but Suchanek slid over just in time to make a diving glove save.
“I was a little bit lucky,” the Czech goalie admitted. “The puck went into the slot and I saw he was going to pass it across and I just put my glove out and he just shot it in my glove. I was like ‘Oh my god, what just happened?’ I watched the replay and it was pretty fun. I just said to myself ‘Good job’ and I kept going.”
Canada’s head coach Dave Cameron said he was “nervous” early in the game about how well Suchanek was playing.
“This tournament, now as the games get better and the competition gets tougher, you have to stick with it,” he said. ” (Suchanek) was really good and we stuck with it and found a way.”
At the other end of the ice, Dylan Garand made 22 saves to collect his second win of the tournament for the Canadians.
Canada took a 3-1 lead 4:48 into the frame thanks to a power-play goal.
Czechia’s Gabriel Szturc was called for roughing and five seconds into the man advantage, Greig tipped in Seeley’s shot for his second goal of the tournament.
Canada was 1 for 3 on the power play Saturday while Czechia went 0 for 2.
Teen phenom Connor Bedard set up Canada’s fourth goal of the night, slicing a crisp pass to McTavish, who was alone at the top of the slot. He stickhandled his way in and put a shot through the goalie’s legs for his second goal of the game 11:05 into the second.
Foerster sealed the score 7:39 into the third period, collecting a pass from Johnson in the middle of the slot, winding up and blasting a massive shot past Suchanek to give the Canadians a 5-1 advantage.
Earlier on Saturday, the reigning champion Americans (3-0-0) remained undefeated with a lopsided 7-0 victory over Austria (0-3-0).
Austrian goalie Leon Sommer stopped 49 of the 56 shots he faced.
“I love those kind of games,” he said with a smile. “Lots of shots.”
Saturday’s workload wasn’t the largest Sommer has shouldered in world juniors action — he faced 64 shots in a 11-2 loss to Canada before COVID-19 scrubbed the original 2022 tournament in December.
“I guess I get the tough ones,” the goalie said. “But I love those.”
In Saturday’s final game, Germany recorded its second win by outlasting winless Switzerland 3-2. Germany is now 2-1-0, while Switzerland slips to 0-3-0.
Canada will wrap up round robin play against Finland (2-0-0) on Monday.
The preliminary round continues through Monday, with the quarterfinals set for Wednesday. The semifinals are scheduled for Friday and the medal games will be played next Saturday.
NOTES: McTavish leads the tournament with 10 points (six goals, four assists). … Canada has outscored its opponents 21-4 across its first three games of the tournament. … Both sides were coming off a rest day after Canada routed Slovakia 11-1 on Thursday while the Czechs fell 4-3 in a shootout to Finland the same day.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 13, 2022.
Edmonton Oilers legend Kevin Lowe retires from team’s front office
By Gemma Karstens-Smith in Edmonton
Kevin Lowe’s post-hockey to-do list has been growing for years.
The Edmonton Oilers’ legend sat down with his wife at the end of the NHL season and wrote out all the places they want to go, the things they want to do.
Looking at the results, Lowe realized it was time to step away from the Oilers’ front office. On Tuesday, he retired from his role as vice chair and alternate governor.
“It’s exciting,” Lowe told The Canadian Press. “I’m 63 now. I wanted to spend a little bit more time with family and grandkids and maybe see a little bit more of the world that I haven’t seen. So I figured I’d better get started now. You never know what lays ahead.”
He’ll stay on with the team as an ambassador, and with travel plans, five kids and two grandkids (so far), the Hall of Fame defenceman expects to keep busy.
“I’m still going to be involved in the game as an ambassador, I’d like to get out on the speaking tour, I’d like to write a book. So lots to do ahead,” Lowe said. “But to not be on an expected schedule, being employed by the organization, frees me up to stick my finger in the wind and see what’s out there.”
His retirement marks the end of more than 40 years with the Oilers.
Lowe was the team’s first ever NHL draft pick in 1979. He won five Stanley Cups with Edmonton and helped the New York Rangers to a championship title in 1994.
The native of Lachute, Que., retired from playing in 1998 after amassing 431 points (84 goals, 347 assists) and 1,498 penalty minutes across 1,254 regular-season NHL games with the Oilers and Rangers.
“We had a wonderful group, especially in the early days. I’ve been fortunate to work with so many good people,” he said. “Winning that first Cup always probably sticks out as the biggest moment.”
He served as Edmonton’s head coach during the 1999-2000 season and as the club’s general manager from 2000 to 2008.
Hockey has changed drastically during Lowe’s time in the NHL and the longtime executive said he’s proud of his role in helping shape how the game is played.
Lowe was part of the competition committee that introduced a number of changes aimed at increasing scoring chances in 2005. The new rules rejigged the lines on the ice, reduced the size of goalie equipment and introduced the shootout for games that remain tied after five minutes of overtime.
“The game has changed a lot, all for the good,” Lowe said of the league’s current on-ice product.
In 2002, Lowe was part of the management group for the Canadian men’s hockey team that won Olympic gold in Salt Lake City. He was also a manager for the Canadian squad that took top spot in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.
Lowe was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2020 and received the Order of Hockey in Canada in 2021. The Oilers retired his No. 4 in November 2021.
“Very few have had the impact that Kevin has had, both on and off the ice,” Oilers chairman Bob Nicholson said in a statement Tuesday. “He exemplifies leadership and has done so much to help connect the organization with our fans, while supporting so many worthwhile causes in our community.
“He is a teammate, leader and friend to so many in the organization and we congratulate him on an amazing career and are excited for this next chapter of his career.”
After more than four decades with the Oilers, Lowe said what sticks out is how important the team is to Edmonton and to fans.
“I can still go anywhere pretty much in the country and people will cite the ’80s Oilers or a specific moment they remember,” he said. “Across the country, it’s like living in a small town. That speaks to me about just how important the game of hockey is to Canadians.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 2, 2022.
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