Leafs’ Matthews on shoulder injury: ‘It’s progressed quite well’

Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews returned to the ice to skate with his team Sunday, sporting a red non-contact jersey as he recovers from a shoulder injury.

The 21-year-old was initially knocked out of action on Oct. 27 after absorbing a hit from Winnipeg Jets defender Jacob Trouba. Back on the ice in the third week of his original four-week timeline, the pivot said he still needs some time to get back up to speed.

“It’s obviously going to be tough on the lungs, just kind of getting back to that pace of play and getting a feel for the puck in that kind of setting,” Matthews told reporters Sunday. “Obviously it’s nice to be back out there with the guys, and it beats skating by yourself all the time.”

As for the shoulder itself, the Scottsdale, Ari., native said he’s on the right track in his recovery, though not necessarily on the cusp of returning.

“[The shoulder] feels a lot better, I think it’s progressed quite well,” he said. “It’s still not all there, but hopefully it continues to progress and, [I can] get back out there as soon as possible.”

Matthews’ late-October injury cut short a torrid start to the 2018-19 campaign, which saw him reel off 10 goals and 16 points through his first 10 appearances this season. During his nine-game absence, the Leafs have gone 6-3, dropping the first two games without their star sniper before rolling along through a stretch that’s seen them lose just one of their past seven.

Despite Matthews remaining out, Toronto currently sits second in the Eastern Conference and third league-wide, with Mitch Marner’s 26 points leading the club at the moment.

…read more

Source:: Sportsnet.ca


Zverev upsets Djokovic to win ATP Finals title

LONDON — Alexander Zverev upset Novak Djokovic to claim the biggest title of his career with a 6-4, 6-3 victory at the ATP Finals on Sunday.

The 21-year-old Zverev became the youngest champion of the season-ending event since Djokovic claimed the first of his five titles a decade ago, and the first from Germany since 1995.

Top-ranked Djokovic was attempting to tie Roger Federer’s record of six titles but followed the same path as the Swiss great, who lost to Zverev in the semifinals at the O2 Arena.

Djokovic’s serve hadn’t been broken all tournament until the final. Zverev did it once in the first set and three times in the second, completing the victory with a spectacular backhand winner up the line.

Both players began the match in the same form that had seen them earn straight-sets semifinal victories a day earlier, with few points going against the server.

It was Djokovic, who had lost just two of his previous 37 matches, who began to feel the pressure as consecutive forehand errors gave Zverev a chance to serve out the opening set at 5-4.

Fans gave Zverev a huge ovation as he stepped up to serve, and it appeared to inspire him. Three straight aces brought up three set points, the second of which he took when Djokovic sent another forehand long.

Zverev even began to outlast Djokovic in longer rallies, an area of the game the 14-time Grand Slam champion usually dominates. A 26-shot duel brought up another break point in the opening game of the second set and, although Djokovic saved it, Zverev won another lengthy exchange moments later with a forehand winner to go 1-0 …read more

Source:: Sportsnet.ca


Canadiens quarter-mark report: Coach Julien deserves major credit

MONTREAL — We’re 20 games into the 2018-19 campaign and the Montreal Canadiens own the eighth-best record in the NHL (11-6-3), have the most even-strength goals in the league (49), and they’ve all but erased what was perhaps the ugliest season in their 109-year existence by executing the most exciting brand of hockey they’ve played in well over a decade.

The team that was shutout 12 times last season has managed to score at least three goals in all but five games this season. They were a team that retreated when the going got tough a year ago, but they’ve already collected four wins when trailing after a period and three when trailing after two this year.

Granted, the power-play has been a hot mess — it ranks 28th out of 31 teams and has only connected on 10 of 74 opportunities — and the defence has left much to be desired of late.

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But no one would have predicted the Canadiens would be sitting comfortably in a playoff position, just four points out of the Atlantic Division lead without Shea Weber at their disposal and without Carey Price on top of his game. Heck, no one would’ve predicted they’d be there with Weber logging close to 30 minutes a game and Price making another bid for the Hart Trophy.

Meanwhile, Weber appears poised to return earlier than expected from off-season knee surgery — the original prognosis had him missing games until mid-December — and Price has been otherworldly in his last two starts.

If Price can …read more

Source:: Sportsnet.ca


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