Overwhelmed Canucks can’t keep up with Golden Knights’ magic act

LAS VEGAS – The greatest show in Vegas is the Golden Knights hockey team. They’re more popular than Wayne Newton and better than any expansion team in National Hockey League history.

The Vancouver Canucks were comped front-row seats Tuesday, where they watched the Knights’ act – speed, directness, relentlessness – and were beaten 4-1 on the Las Vegas strip.

But the NHL, anywhere, is a pretty good act. Not many players get this stage. It’s too bad that many Canucks seem ambivalent about keeping their place in the spotlight.

Yes, it’s tough mentally to rouse yourself to play games in garbage time that are meaningless to everything but the draft lottery, which is what bad teams like the Canucks are doing in March.

But this also might be the best chance some of their players get to making the NHL or staying in the league.

Young players like Derrick Pouliot, Brendan Leipsic, Jake Virtanen, Nikolay Goldobin, Tyler Motte and Reid Boucher are trying to prove they belong. Other guys like Jussi Jokinen, Sam Gagner, Nic Dowd and Troy Stecher are trying to show they deserve to stay.

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In that context, these final games for the Canucks, who have lost seven straight, may as well be the playoffs.

“It’s super tough,” Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said of the mental challenge. “But again, there’s no excuses for anyone to give up or give in. Frustrated is when you see guys who should be battling for spots, who should be excited to play in this league because it’s a really tough league to play in. We can’t take …read more

Source:: Sportsnet.ca

High school boys soccer: Skyline locks down Brighton, soars to 3-0 victory

SALT LAKE CITY — According to head coach Shawn Kennedy, as well as his team’s semi-official roster, the Skyline Eagles boys soccer team is quite young.

Including junior varsity, the Eagles boast just eight seniors, compared to 10 juniors, 16 sophomores and six freshmen.

Nowhere on the roster is that youth more evident than at defensive back.

“Our back four are still pretty young,” said Kennedy. “We only have one senior, and the rest are juniors and sophomores.”

If their performance against the Brighton Bengals Tuesday afternoon at Skyline High School is any indication, the youthful Eagles are much better than their age, or lack thereof, would suggest.

Led by a stout back four, as well as the goal scoring of senior Jake Jensen and sophomore Ellis Spikner, the Eagles soundly defeated the visiting Bengals 3-0.

Jensen finished with two goals, including a second-half volley from well outside the box that drifted just over the outstretched hands of Brighton goalkeeper Harrison Nuttall.

Spikner’s score, notched in the first half, was no less impressive, as he weaved his way through the Brighton defense and then drilled the ball off the underside of the crossbar, beating goalie Thomas Jensen (the Bengals swapped goalkeepers at halftime).

The story of the game, however, was the play of the Eagles fullbacks.

From the outset, Brighton appeared the stronger side. The Bengals’ midfield in particular looked dominant, and as such, the visitors maintained possession for much of the opening half.

Despite possessing the ball an inordinate amount, Brighton could not muster a shot on goal for the first 37 minutes of the game. With just three minutes remaining in the first half, Bengals junior Alex Fankhauser finally got a shot off, only to have it blocked by Skyline keeper Tommy Jensen.

The credit for such an impressive defensive performance fell squarely on the shoulders of the Skyline …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

Brad Rock: Jazz’s streak is over, but Quin Snyder’s worthiness for coaching award is obvious

SALT LAKE CITY — Like classical music and Betty White, the Jazz’s win streak seemed destined to continue in perpetuity. But two months after it began, it finally ended on Tuesday, in the same place it started: at the feet of the Atlanta Hawks.

In January, the Jazz lost to the Hawks, dropping their record to 19-28, the low point of the season. Tuesday, Atlanta shocked the Jazz 99-94.

Still two games above the playoff waterline, and a game out of sixth place, the Jazz are hoping to avoid a first round playoff pairing with Houston or Golden State. Which raises the question: How did they get from one Atlanta game to the next with only two losses and 21 wins in between?

Blame Quin Snyder, the smartest guy in the room — even when the room seats 18,300.

The Jazz are down to 11 remaining games, and darned if they aren’t still in serious playoff contention, sans-Gordon Hayward. They’re without any All-Stars. Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell are headed that direction, but still.

When Gobert went down with a sprained knee in December for a month-long absence — which followed a previous month-long injury absence — it would have been easy to write off the Jazz. Which I actually did.

After his first injury, Nov. 13, my column ran under this headline: “Jazz’s ‘Rudy moment’ makes playoffs a wish.”

How was I to know Joe Ingles would become Joe Cool? He missed a shot in the final ticks on Tuesday, but for most of the year he’s been cash in the bank.

“With Gobert in the lineup, the Jazz are a fair team with an excellent coach. Without him they’re a collection of spare parts,” I wrote. “That’s not good enough to make the playoffs.”

I was right about Gobert’s value. Since his return the second time, the …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

Rockets win to snap Blazers’ 13-game winning streak

PORTLAND, Ore. — James Harden scored 42 points and the Houston Rockets snapped the Portland Trail Blazers‘ 13-game winning streak with a 115-111 victory on Tuesday night.

Portland’s winning streak was tied for the second-longest in franchise history. The team also won 13 consecutive games in 2007.

Chris Paul added 22 points for the Rockets, who have won six straight and 23 of their last 24 and have the best record in the NBA.

Al-Farouq Aminu had 22 points, including six 3-pointers, for Portland. The Blazers had also won nine straight at the Moda Center.

Harden and Trevor Ariza each hit 3-pointers to stretch Houston’s lead to 110-102. Harden added another 3-pointer with 1:55 left and it seemed Portland was out of it.

But the Blazers rallied with a 9-0 run, capped by CJ McCollum’s floater with 28 seconds left to pull within 113-111.

Paul went to the line with 1.3 seconds left and made both shots. After a timeout, Lillard tried a 3-pointer but it missed.

Jusuf Nurkic finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds for Portland, while Lillard had 20 points. Neither Lillard nor backcourt mate McCollum hit a 3-pointer in the game.

Aminu had four 3-pointers in the opening quarter and finished with 16 points to lead all scorers. Harden had 14 for the Rockets, who trailed 31-27 going into the second.

Evan Turner put back his own layup to cap an 11-2 Portland run and put the Blazers up 42-38. Turner had to leave the game later in the period after he sustained a cut that appeared …read more

Source:: Sportsnet.ca