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Marner nets OT winner, extends point streak to 22 games as Maple Leafs top Flames 5-4


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By Tim Wharnsby in Toronto

Although Mitch Marner was the hero on Saturday, he shared the spotlight with William Nylander.

Marner scored the game-winning goal 43 seconds into overtime to push the Toronto Maple Leafs past the Calgary Flames 5-4 and extend his franchise-record point streak to 22 games. Nylander, meanwhile, enjoyed a five-point night, including two goals and an assist on Marner’s winner.

Only 29 games old into the season, the 26-year-old Nylander has scored 17 times, halfway to his career-high 34 goals from just a season ago.

“Obviously, tonight he carries our team and is basically the reason we get two points,” said Maple Leafs goaltender Matt Murray, who made 22 saves.

“He’s just a stud. He’s incredibly gifted. He works hard. I’ve said this a bunch of times, but he just seems to win a ton of 50/50 battles. That goes to his strength and his dedication to win those battles.”

Nylander pinned his solid play on his skating.

“That’s the most important thing for me and helping me create space and get chances out there,” he said.

The win was the Maple Leafs’ (18-5-6) eighth in nine outings but only their second in eight overtime games this season. Meanwhile, the Flames (13-11-4) have dropped two straight.

With Nylander playing alongside Auston Matthews, who had a goal and an assist, and Marner moving to a line with captain John Tavares, Toronto has piled up victories in the last month.

They have gone 11-0-3 and haven’t lost in regulation time since a 4-2 defeat to the Pittsburgh Penguins at home on Nov. 11.

“[Nylander] still has a long way to go in terms of fulfilling his potential,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “I think he can and will be in that top-tier of players.”

Marner, who picked up an assist on Nylander’s first goal, has 10 goals and 20 assists in his 22-game run. His winner came on the power play after Calgary’s Jonathan Huberdeau took a high-sticking penalty on the opening faceoff of the extra period.

Early in the first period, Murray made a shoulder save on a Blake Coleman short-handed breakaway. Toronto then went the other way at 5:04 of the frame for the game’s opening goal from Matthews on an early power play.

It was his sixth goal in seven games.

However, a Matthews turnover inside the Flames’ blue line led to a tying goal from Calgary defenceman Noah Hanifin 9:13 into the first period.

It was the first goal allowed by the Maple Leafs in 129:13 after Murray and backup Ilya Samsonov posted back-to-back shutouts earlier this week.

Marner failed to close in time on a trailing Nazem Kadri before the former Toronto centre put Calgary in front 2-1 at 12:52 of the first.

Toronto drew even with another power-play goal at 17:10 of the frame. This time, Nylander’s wrist shot beat goaltender Dan Vladar, who made 29 saves on the night. Marner made a short pass to Rasmus Sandin, who found his fellow Swede for his second assist of the first period.

The Flames snatched the lead for the second time 11:11 into the middle frame. Mikael Backlund hit the post, but fourth-liner Trevor Lewis lassoed the rebound to score.

Calgary was the better team in the second period, but Matthews bailed out the Leafs late in the frame. He forced a turnover behind the Flames goal, and the puck squirted out to a wide-open Nylander for his second of the night.

A harmless shot from Hanifin was bobbled by Murray and snuck through his pads for a power-play goal, giving Calgary a 4-3 lead at 3:31 of the third period.

But Michael Bunting knocked in a rebound off the end boards to tie the game for a fourth time less than three minutes later, and eventually send it to overtime.


The Maple Leafs announced Nick Robertson would miss the next six to eight weeks with a shoulder injury suffered against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. To take his place, Joey Anderson was recalled from the AHL’s Toronto Marlies for his season debut with the Maple Leafs.


Calgary concludes its three-game road trip with a visit to Montreal to play the Canadiens on Monday.

The Maple Leafs finish their three-game homestand against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 10, 2022.

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Saskatchewan entrepreneur says government thwarted his ag-plastics recycling business

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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

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Drying conditions return in Alberta, crews see more intense fire activity

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