curling-broadcasting-shutdown-forces-organizers,-media,-viewers-to-pivot

Curling broadcasting shutdown forces organizers, media, viewers to pivot

The unforeseen broadcast shutdown at this week’s world women’s curling championship in Calgary has forced a significant pivot in the delivery and quest for information. Viewers, fans and media members alike have been forced to scramble for unusual alternatives.

With television feeds and streams shut down, reporters have had to put stories together from federation social media feeds, shot-by-shot graphics, linescores, and even a raw overhead feed of the houses on the four sheets. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

The venerable supports of pandemic-era sports media coverage — television and streaming — have been critical lifelines for reporters tasked with remote filing in the absence of regular in-person access.

When those feeds are not available, viewers, fans and media members alike are forced to scramble for unusual alternatives. The unforeseen broadcast shutdown at this week’s world women’s curling championship in Calgary has forced a significant pivot in the delivery and quest for information.

With the WinSport Arena closed to media and the event no longer on TV, details have become scarce in the spectator-free curling bubble.

Reporters have been forced to cobble stories together from federation social media feeds, shot-by-shot graphics, linescores, and even a raw overhead feed of the houses on the four sheets.

“My eyes are blurry and my fingers, I think I have carpal tunnel,” said CBC Sports reporter Devin Heroux. “I have way too many webpages open at once and I’m toggling between all of it. It’s like a puzzle because you’re trying to piece together what’s going on.”

Potential return for Friday

Domestic and international feeds were shut down last Sunday after four positive COVID-19 cases were identified among event broadcast staff, who remain in isolation. That number increased to seven on Monday but hasn’t risen since.

WATCH | Calgary curling bubble sees COVID-19 cases amongst broadcast crew:

CBC Sports’ Devin Heroux joined CBC Morning Live host Heather Hiscox to discuss the COVID-19 cases among the broadcast crew that has shutdown television broadcasts of the women’s world curling championship in Calgary through until at least Wednesday. 3:44

With other broadcast staffers continuing to return negative PCR test results, the World Curling Federation hopes to use an “adapted TV production setup” for the final weekend. Alberta Health is expected to decide on the proposal later Thursday.

The earliest potential return of television/streaming coverage is Friday afternoon. TSN is the domestic rights-holder and World Curling TV is used for international feeds.

The two-day playoff schedule begins Saturday morning. Broadcast personnel aren’t housed in the same hotel as the teams.

In the meantime, media members are trying their best to make sense of what’s happening on the ice. Players are still made available for brief post-game video calls but generating quality in-game information can be heavier lifting.

“When you can’t see a curling game, it’s a challenge,” Heroux said.

Team statistics on the WCF website are refreshed every 30 seconds during game action. Shot by shot visuals of stone placements around the rings are displayed on whiteboard-style graphics.

Curling Canada’s Twitter feed has been an invaluable resource for fans and media alike with detailed shot descriptions mixed in with photos and video snippets.

“We’ve been trying not only to give as much information on the Team Canada games as possible, but also to give those who don’t understand about what’s going on with the broadcasting situation the context of why they’re not able to watch right now,” Curling Canada said in an emailed statement.

“We’re fortunate that our social media manager Danielle Inglis is not only a great communicator, but also knows the sport as a high-performance player, so we get the best of both worlds there. We know it’s not the same as watching, but we’re trying to make the best of an unfortunate situation.”

Alternatives set in place

TSN, meanwhile, would normally be broadcasting all of Canada’s games at the annual event. The network is instead offering a live curling blog on its website with recaps of each end accompanied by video links from Curling Canada.

“You just have to pivot and figure out a different way to do things,” said TSN web producer Ryan Horne, who staffs many of the network’s Season of Champions events. “It just comes down to that.”

Since bubble play began with the Canadian women’s championship last February, media members have been able to access a private static overhead feed of the houses on each sheet to help with coverage.

Heroux, also a CBC News and Olympics reporter, uses Twitter extensively — usually chiming in with dozens of tweets per game — to help boost his coverage.

Given the lack of broadcasting options, his unvarnished take on the action has been a welcome sight for curling fans yearning for up-to-the-second information.

“It felt very old timey following Devin last night and today,” Canadian curling fan Ron Wilk said on Twitter. “Canadians huddled around their phones, refreshing their feeds, kind of like listening to Seabiscuit beat War Admiral in the 1930s.”

Heroux said he has been inundated with similar feedback in recent days.

“To hear people around the world saying they’re huddled around their phones and their computer screens following my tweets as if they would be gathered around an old transistor radio — we have gone back to simpler times,” he said.

“Who could have ever imagined a women’s world curling championship that nobody saw?”

rangers-fined-$250k-us-for-calling-out-department-of-player-safety

Rangers fined $250K US for calling out department of player safety

The New York Rangers were fined an extraordinary $250,000 US by the NHL on Thursday for “demeaning” public comments about head of player safety George Parros.

The game between the Washington Capitals and the New York Rangers began with a line brawl one second into play at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday in New York City. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers were fined an extraordinary $250,000 US by the NHL on Thursday for “demeaning” public comments about head of player safety George Parros.

After the league’s department of player safety fined but did not suspend Washington’s Tom Wilson for his role in a scrum against the Rangers that left Artemi Panarin injured, the team released a statement calling the decision a dereliction of duty and saying Parros was unfit to remain in his job.

The Rangers were fined 50 times more than the $5,000 fine against Wilson for roughing Pavel Buchnevich. It’s believed to be the largest publicly announced fine of an NHL team by the league office for making critical comments.

“Public comments of the nature issued by the Rangers that were personal in nature and demeaning of a league executive will not be tolerated,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “While we don’t expect our clubs to agree with every decision rendered by the department of player safety, the extent to which the Rangers expressed their disagreement was unacceptable. It is terribly unfair to question George Parros’ professionalism and dedication to his role and the department of player safety.”

WATCH | Line brawl to start Rangers-Capitals game:

All 6 starting forwards fight to open up the Capitals/Rangers gameAt puck drop of the Capitals/Rangers game, the starting forwards for both teams drop their gloves and fight. This is the first time the teams have faced each other since Monday’s incident involving Washington forward Tom Wilson. 1:40

Wilson injures Panarin

The Rangers’ statement called Wilson’s behaviour a “horrifying act of violence.”

pic.twitter.com/M7tw4YOeDF

@NYRangers

Playing two nights after Wilson threw Panarin to the ice, which the team said knocked him out for the final three games of the season with a lower-body injury, the Rangers and Capitals racked up a combined 141 penalty minutes Wednesday night. Their six fights in the first five minutes were the most of any game in league history.

Buchnevich was thrown out of the game for cross-checking Capitals forward Anthony Mantha in the second period and has his own hearing with the department of player safety Thursday. He’s likely facing a suspension for the final two games of the season.

Owner James Dolan on Wednesday also abruptly fired team president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton and turned those jobs over to former assistant Chris Drury. It was not clear how much the team’s statement had to do with the Rangers dumping Davidson and Gorton.

WATCH | 9 controversial Tom Wilson hits in 90 seconds:

Wilson was in the spotlight Monday night for the wrong reasons, but as Rob Pizzo shows you, this is nothing new. 2:36

trans-weightlifter-laurel-hubbard-set-to-make-history-at-tokyo-olympics:-report

Trans weightlifter Laurel Hubbard set to make history at Tokyo Olympics: report

New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard is poised to become the first transgender athlete to compete at an Olympics due to rule changes put in place for the rescheduled Tokyo Games, as reported on Wednesday by Inside the Games.

New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard has not yet been named to the national women’s weightlifting team. (Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard is poised to become the first transgender athlete to compete at an Olympics due to rule changes put in place for the rescheduled Tokyo Games, as reported on Wednesday by Inside the Games.

Hubbard, 43, was essentially guaranteed a spot in the women’s super heavyweight category, according to the report, following the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) approval for an alteration to the rules because of the COVID-19 pandemic having forced the cancellation of many qualifying competitions.

She has not been named to the national women’s weightlifting team going to the Tokyo Olympic Games as of yet.

Hubbard’s presence at the Tokyo Olympics is expected to attract plenty of media attention as well as criticism from fellow lifters and coaches, with weightlifting having been at the centre of the debate as to the fairness of transgender athletes competing in women’s sports.

She has been eligible to compete in the Olympics since 2015, following the IOC’s new guidelines allowing transgender athletes to compete as a woman, provided their testosterone levels are below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months before their first competition.

Hubbard’s gold medal victories at the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa, where she bested Samoa’s Commonwealth Games champion Feagaiga Stowers, triggered outrage in the island nation.

Australia’s weightlifting federation sought to block Hubbard from competing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast but organizers rejected the move.

Meanwhile, USA Weightlifting said it had no issue with Hubbard competing in the Games, with spokesman Kevin Farley telling Reuters, “We respect the rules established by the International Weightlifting Federation and the International Olympic Committee for qualification and will be focusing on assisting our athletes to compete against all those who are qualified for the Tokyo Games.”

rugby-canada-says-some-members-of-women’s-7s-team-have-tested-positive-for-covid-19

Rugby Canada says some members of women’s 7s team have tested positive for COVID-19

Rugby Canada says some members of the women’s seven program have tested positive for COVID-19 while completing quarantine after returning from competing in Dubai.

Rugby Canada says members of the women’s sevens team have tested positive for COVID-19 following a competition in Dubai. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press )

Rugby Canada says some members of the women’s seven program have tested positive for COVID-19 while completing quarantine after returning from competing in Dubai.

“Most are currently asymptomatic, and all athletes and staff are in good health,” Rugby Canada said in a statement. “The team is being closely monitored by Rugby Canada’s chief medical officer and has been provided medical support to ensure the best care possible.”

The team has cancelled all upcoming training so it can undergo “additional quarantine and isolation protocols.”

The women’s sevens squad has made headlines recently after filing a complaint under Rugby Canada’s bullying and harassment policy.

An independent review subsequently concluded that while the conduct described in the complaint reflected the experiences of the athletes, it did not fall within the policy’s definition of harassment or bullying.

Head coach John Tait, while maintaining he had done nothing wrong, subsequently stepped down. He has since said he supports release of the review. Rugby Canada, however, says its policy does not allow making it public.

3-canadian-teams-set-to-play-in-pwhpa’s-dream-gap-tour-in-calgary

3 Canadian teams set to play in PWHPA’s Dream Gap Tour in Calgary

The Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association (PWHPA) is holding Canada’s first Dream Gap Tour event in over a year May 24-30 at a Calgary venue yet to be announced. Sixty players from the PWHPA’s three Canadian hubs in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary will play to determine the Canadian Secret Cup champion.

The last real games many Canadian national team members played came in a PWHPA tournament March 6-8, 2020 in Arizona. The last PWHPA event in Canada was Jan. 11-12, 2020 in Toronto. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Canada’s top players in women’s hockey will finally get to play real games later this month in Calgary.

The Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association (PWHPA) is holding Canada’s first Dream Gap Tour event in over a year May 24-30 at a Calgary venue yet to be announced.

Sixty players from the PWHPA’s three Canadian hubs in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary will play to determine the Canadian Secret Cup champion.

‘There will be no interaction with the public’

Similar COVID-19 quarantine and testing protocols established by Hockey Canada for the world junior men’s hockey championship and national women’s and para hockey camps in Alberta will be incorporated.

Alberta tightened restrictions this week in the face of rising COVID cases, but Alberta Health has approved plans for the women’s tournament, PWHPA operations consultant Jayna Hefford said.

“They believe the protocols, the quote-unquote bubble that’s been put in place, will secure the safety of our group and Albertans,” the Hockey Hall of Famer told The Canadian Press. “There will be no interaction with the public.”

Challenges presented by health regulations

While the PWHPA’s Calgary plans were in the works before Nova Scotia’s premier pulled the plug on this month’s women’s world championship, the Dream Gap Tour now offers an oasis in what’s been a pandemic hockey desert for the majority of players in the national women’s team pool.

WATCH | IIHF women’s world championships cancelled, yet again:

For the second year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IIHF women’s world championships have been cancelled in Halifax. Anastasia Bucsis is joined by Olympic champion Cheryl Pounder to discuss how this will affect the Olympics, and the future of women’s hockey. 4:48

The last real games many of them played came in a PWHPA tournament March 6-8, 2020 in Arizona. The last PWHPA event in Canada was Jan. 11-12, 2020 in Toronto.

The PWHPA’s American chapter has played a handful of games in the United States in recent weeks, although a two-day tournament in St. Louis was postponed from early April to May 16-17.

Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine upon return from outside the country kept Canadian players from participating in the U.S. games.

Stricter health regulations across Canada also made skating together in groups impossible at times and planning actual games in the country a non-starter.

“It’s been so challenging,” Hefford said. “We had to try to encourage our players to be patient early on in the season, and even in early 2021 we continued to reiterate we would only host events if we could feel really comfortable about the safety of everyone involved.”

The PWHPA, which includes Canadian and U.S. national team players, rose from the ashes of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League that folded in 2019.

The goal of the roughly 150 players is a sustainable league that offers the competitive supports and training environments the male pros get, and wages that allow them to be professional athletes.

They’ve so far refused to join the six-team National Women’s Hockey League, which recently announced a doubling of each team’s salary cap to US$300,000 for next season. The Toronto Six is the lone Canadian club in that league.

The PWHPA held a series of Dream Gap Tour tournaments and events across North America in 2019-20 before the global pandemic brought the sporting world to its knees.

‘We represent the players and we want to see them out there’

The pandemic continued to impede women’s hockey internationally and domestically.

The women’s world championship in Nova Scotia was cancelled a second straight year, although Hockey Canada is committed to hosting the tournament in August in a location yet to be named.

The men’s world under-18 championship in Texas concludes Thursday. The men’s world championship is scheduled to open in just over two weeks on May 21 in Riga, Latvia.

The NHL, men’s minor pro leagues and major junior’s Western Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League all operated in some form this winter.

Calgary’s Scotiabank, Toronto’s Sonnet and Montreal’s Bauer squaring off for a trophy and prize money can help revive the visibility of women’s hockey in Canada, Hefford said.

“We represent the players and we want to see them out there,” she stated.

“We have partners that have been so loyal and committed, so helpful in this process to move this forward, get the women back on the ice.

“It seems like men’s hockey has gone on and we continue to hit these hurdles.

“I hope this is a great opportunity for the women to play, but also for people to see the best of women’s hockey on the ice again.”

petition-calling-for-cancellation-of-tokyo-olympics-gains-thousands-of-signatures

Petition calling for cancellation of Tokyo Olympics gains thousands of signatures

An online petition calling for the Tokyo Olympics to be cancelled has gained tens of thousands of signatures since being launched in Japan only days ago.

Despite 70-80 per cent of Japanese citizens in polls saying they want the Olympics cancelled or postponed, there is no indication of that happening with organizers and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga insisting on the Games happening. (Stephen Wade/The Associated Press)

An online petition calling for the Tokyo Olympics to be cancelled has gained tens of thousands of signatures since being launched in Japan only days ago.

The rollout of the petition comes with Tokyo, Osaka and several other areas under a state of emergency with coronavirus infections rising — particularly new variants. The state of emergency is to expire on May 11, but some reports in Japan say it is likely to be extended.

The postponed Olympics are to open in just under three months on July 23.

Issues with plans to keep it ‘safe and secure’

Although 70-80 per cent of Japanese citizens in polls say they want the Olympics cancelled or postponed, there is no indication this will happen. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Tokyo organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto, and Bach have repeatedly said the games will go on as scheduled.

Organizers and the IOC unveiled so-called Playbooks last week, explaining rules for athletes and others to show how the Olympics can be held in the middle of a pandemic. Several test events have been conducted in the last few days, and organizers have reported few problems.

The Olympic torch relay has been crisscrossing Japan for a month. Organizers say that eight people working on the relay have tested positive for the virus.

The Tokyo Olympics have become a face-saving exercise for Japan, which has officially spent $15.4 billion to prepare them. For the IOC, the Tokyo Olympics are critical since 73 per cent of its income comes from selling television rights.

Organizers say the Olympics will be “safe and secure,” though his has been challenged by local medial specialists, and in an editorial last month in the British Medical Journal. It said mass events like the Olympics are “neither safe nor secure.”

‘Cancel the Olympics to protect our lives’

Organizers say they will need 10,000 health workers to support the Olympics. They have also requested 500 additional nurses — a nurses’ federation balked at the request — and 200 sports medicine specialists.

The petition was organized by Kenji Utsunomiya, a lawyer who has run several times for Tokyo governor. It registered about 50,000 signatures in the first 24 hours after being launched.

The headline in English over the petition reads: “Cancel the Tokyo Olympics to protect our lives.”

The petition suggests the Olympics cannot be held safely and says the games have drained finances away for other needs such as the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine. Only 2 per cent of the Japanese public have been vaccinated. Japan has attributed 10,500 deaths to the virus, good by global standards but not as good as many Asian neighbours.

“In order to host the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in July, we must devote a large number of medical professionals, valuable resources such as medical facilities and medical equipment, and various other resources,” the petition says.

In a survey conducted by the nationally circulated Mainichi newspaper, nine prefectural governors said they wanted the games cancelled or postponed again. Most of the 47 governors declined to answer, saying they had no decision-making power.

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Jets punch ticket to playoffs in shutout of Flames on milestone night

Adam Lowry and Blake Wheeler had two goals each as Winnipeg defeated the Calgary Flames 4-0 on Thursday to snap an ugly seven-game losing streak and clinch a playoff spot.

Winnipeg’s Mason Appleton, left, runs into Calgary’s Rasmus Andersson during the second period of the Jets’ 4-0 win over the Flames on Wednesday. (Larry MacDougal/The Canadian Press)

The Jets hadn’t tasted victory in so long, they almost forgot how to celebrate.

Winnipeg can now exhale, and focus on building off Wednesday’s complete effort with an eye towards bigger moments just over the horizon.

Adam Lowry and Blake Wheeler had two goals each as the Jets defeated the Calgary Flames 4-0 to snap an ugly seven-game losing streak and clinch a playoff spot.

“It gets hard to answer the same questions,” Wheeler, who now has 800 points in the NHL, said of the frustrating slide. “Clearly you don’t have the answer, so it’s nice not to have to answer those questions anymore.

“But I think more than that, it was a good wake-up call for our team. Our game slipped a little bit.”

WATCH | Jets silence Flames to reach playoffs:

Winnipeg defeats Calgary 4-0, Blake Wheeler records 800th career point and Mark Scheifele collects 500th point. 1:27

Connor Hellebuyck made 32 saves for his third shutout of the season and Andrew Copp added two assists for the Jets (28-21-3), whose longest losing stretch since the franchise relocated from Atlanta to Winnipeg a decade ago has seen the club go from battling for first place in the North Division three weeks ago to fighting to hang onto third.

“We were a little confused at first,” Lowry said with a grin when asked about the feeling in the locker room following the final buzzer. “Facing a little adversity, it’s not the worst thing. You’ve got to find ways to get through it.

“There’s a bit of a relief there that it’s behind us.”

Paul Maurice picked up his 300th win as Jets head coach as Winnipeg wrapped up its season series against Calgary with a record of 6-2-1.

“When you have the stretch that we’ve just had, you lose sight of your starting point,” he said of securing a post-season berth for the fourth year running. “We had a lot of things that we had to get right to get into the playoffs. We got off to a real good start and maintained that, and of course it’s well-documented what we just went through.

“Now you can take a step back and look at the bigger picture.”

WATCH | Line brawl to begin Rangers-Capitals game:

All 6 starting forwards fight to open up the Capitals/Rangers gameAt puck drop of the Capitals/Rangers game, the starting forwards for both teams drop their gloves and fight. This is the first time the teams have faced each other since Monday’s incident involving Washington forward Tom Wilson. 1:40

Maurice added he never lost faith that his group would find its way back.

“They care about each other,” he said. “You’re in the room as a coach and you try to get around and gauge temperature all the time, but you don’t really know the dynamic in the room until you see it under duress.

“You can tell they care about each other because they got more connected, not less.”

Jacob Markstrom stopped 15 shots for Calgary (22-26-3), which was all but eliminated from playoff contention before Wednesday, and now faces an even more dire situation.

“We were coming into this game with pretty much a must-win mentality,” Flames captain Mark Giordano said. “You lose 5 on 5 and special teams, you’re not going to win most nights.”

The Jets got a boost earlier Wednesday when the Montreal Canadiens, who sat tied with Winnipeg on points for third in the division entering play, fell 5-1 to the Ottawa Senators in the nation’s capital to halt their three-game winning streak.

The Jets and Canadiens both have four games left on the schedule.

Winnipeg was just three points back of Toronto for top spot in the North after picking up a 5-2 road victory over the Maple Leafs on April 15. But coming into Wednesday, the Jets were 15 points back of the Leafs, had conceded 28 goals against during their losing streak, and had found the back of the opposition net just 10 times.

Desperate for something positive out of the gate, Winnipeg jumped in front of Calgary just 69 seconds into the first period. Playing his second game back since missing four straight with a head injury, the grinding Lowry moved in on a 3-on-1 and fired the first shot of the night past Markstrom his ninth goal of the season.

WATCH | 9 ridiculous McDavid moments from this season… in 90 seconds:

With the shortened season almost over, Rob Pizzo has already run out of spots for jaw-dropping McDavid plays. 2:24

The Jets’ power play — 1 for 19 during the losing run, including 0 for 6 in Monday’s 2-1 loss in Ottawa — got a chance later in the period, but was unable to connect.

Hellebuyck then had to be sharp in a tight-checking first, picking Elias Lindholm’s effort out of the air with his glove.

Lowry made it 2-0 at 5:33 of the second with the Jets killing a penalty on a nice breakaway move to the backhand through Markstrom five-hole for his fourth-career shorthanded goal.

“If you draw up a perfect game, this is pretty dang close,” Hellebuyck said after recording the 23rd shutout of his career. “Every single guy chipped in.

“There’s a lot of character.”

The Jets goaltender stopped Matthew Tkachuk’s shot up high with Calgary still on the power play before the Flames winger rang another attempt off the crossbar.

The home side thought they had scored late in the second to cut the deficit in half, but Winnipeg defenceman Neal Pionk cleared the loose puck out of Hellebuyck’s crease following a desperation save. The puck bounced over the stick of Calgary’s Juuso Valimaki at the offensive blue line, and Wheeler raced in alone before fooling Markstrom with a backhand upstairs for his 12th of the campaign.

Winnipeg’s captain then put the game out of reach with his milestone moment on a power play at 3:02 of the third for the Jets’ first four-goal showing since their last win.

“It doesn’t mean anything,” Wheeler, 34, said of his 800th point. “This night belongs to our team and the fact that we’re going back to the playoffs. That’s all I play for, especially this part of my career is just having opportunities to achieve the ultimate goal.

“That’s what makes this night special.”

streaking-senators-display-offensive-prowess,-cruise-past-canadiens

Streaking Senators display offensive prowess, cruise past Canadiens

Erik Brannstrom had three assists for his first career multi-point game, Shane Pinto scored his first NHL goal and the Ottawa Senators stalled Montreal’s playoff charge with a 5-1 win Wednesday.

Ottawa Senators forward Brady Tkachuk celebrates his goal during the team’s 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. (Matt Zambonin/Getty Images)

With blue-line leader Thomas Chabot and veteran defenceman Josh Brown out for the rest of the season, Ottawa Senators head coach D.J. Smith said it will be a “trial by fire” as his young defence corps try to fill the void.

On Wednesday, that defence was a major part of a dominating win over Montreal that stalled the Canadiens’ furious charge toward the post-season.

Defenceman Erik Brannstrom had three assists for his first career multi-point game and forward Shane Pinto scored his first NHL goal as the streaking Senators downed the Canadiens 5-1.

“I think we committed to coming back as a group of five to try to limit the chances against, and I thought we did a good job of that,” Smith said. “We blocked the shots when we had to, and we tracked and didn’t give up a lot of odd-man rushes, and when you do that you have a chance to stay in the game.”

The Canadiens entered the contest looking for their first four-game winning streak of the season after reeling off three straight come-from-behind victories.

WATCH | Sens scorers come alive in win over Habs:

Alex Formenton displays his speed and skill for a nice goal as Ottawa defeats Montreal 5-1. 1:05

Montreal’s penchant for playing with fire bit the club this time, however, as the speedy and determined Senators controlled much of the play and put the Habs away in the third period.

Brady Tkachuk, Nick Paul, Connor Brown and Alex Formenton also scored for the Senators (21-27-5), who improved to 8-2-1 over their last 11 games.

Joel Edmundson had the goal for the Canadiens (24-19-9), who entered the game tied on points with third-place Winnipeg in the North Division. The Jets, who played Calgary later Wednesday, were ahead in the standings with one more regulation win.

“Overall, I don’t think that was a very good game for us,” Canadiens defenceman Jeff Petry said. “The start, the middle and the finish.”

Anton Forsberg, who signed a one-year, $900,000 US extension earlier Wednesday, made 30 saves for the Senators.

Forsberg was playing in his first game since April 12 due to a lower-body injury but didn’t appear rusty in his return.

“Forsberg was outstanding,” Smith said. He just looked so confident. He worked to get pucks for us back there wire-to-wire.”

Jake Allen made 29 saves for the Canadiens.

It was the last meeting of the season between the rivals, with Ottawa finishing 6-3-1 against the Habs.

WATCH | NHL under fire after Caps’ Wilson avoids suspension:

The NHL is being criticized for levelling a $5,000 fine, but no suspension, against the Washington Capitals’ Tom Wilson after an on-ice fight that included punching the back of the head of a helmetless New York Rangers player. 2:02

Pinto opened the scoring at 11:35 of the first period. The Senators were rewarded for some strong forechecking by getting possession of the puck, and Pinto was in a great position to collect the rebound of a Zub shot and put the puck past Allen.

“I wasn’t gripping the stick too tight but I definitely wanted to get my first one pretty soon,” Pinto said. “I’m happy it came and hopefully I can just keep building from there.”

The Senators almost doubled their lead shortly after when Allen was caught way out of position after an aggressive move to catch the puck went wrong, but he was able to recover an dive into the path of Chris Tierney’s shot.

Ottawa went back in front at 3:44 of the second period on Tkachuk’s 17th goal of the year. Josh Norris set Tkachuk up with a pass from behind the Canadiens goal.

Paul put Ottawa up 3-1 with just eight seconds left in the second period when he tipped Brannstrom’s shot past Allen.

Brown added to Ottawa’s lead with his 19th goal of the season when he one-timed Zub’s pass past Allen at 4:40 of the third period.

Formenton, who left in the second period favouring his arm before returning in the third, made it 5-1 at 10:19 of the third when he raced down the right wing, then cut inside and beat Allen.

Defenceman Olle Alsing made his NHL debut. His defensive partner, Jacob Bernard-Docker, played in just his second career game.

Linesman Steve Barton left the game in this third period after being hit in the face with the puck.

The Senators were 0-for-2 on the power play, while the Canadiens failed to convert on their lone chance with the man advantage. The mild-mannered game featured a total of 10 minutes in penalties, a far cry from the 141 penalty minutes amassed in the Washington versus New York Rangers game that took place at the same time.

WATCH | Capitals-Rangers game begins with line brawl:

All 6 starting forwards fight to open up the Capitals/Rangers gameAt puck drop of the Capitals/Rangers game, the starting forwards for both teams drop their gloves and fight. This is the first time the teams have faced each other since Monday’s incident involving Washington forward Tom Wilson. 1:40

departure-of-canadian-rugby-7s-coach-a-‘symptom-of-a-bigger-issue,’-says-player-buisa

Departure of Canadian rugby 7s coach a ‘symptom of a bigger issue,’ says player Buisa

Canadian rugby sevens player Pamphinette Buisa says the recent resignation of head coach John Tait is merely a reflection of a rotten organizational culture. Buisa, 24, was among 37 current and former players who filed a complaint to Rugby Canada in January, which ultimately led to Tait’s departure.

Canadian rugby player Pamphinette Buisa, left, says the decision to file a group complaint in January was to highlight larger organizational issues within Rugby Canada. (@RugbyCanada/Twitter)

Canadian rugby sevens player Pamphinette Buisa says the recent resignation of head coach John Tait is merely a reflection of a rotten organizational culture.

Buisa, 24, was among 37 current and former players who filed a complaint to Rugby Canada in January, which ultimately led to Tait’s departure. An independent review found that the complaint did not fall within the organization’s bullying and harassment policy.

“The reason why we came forward was not to just have someone leave. That would miss the entire point. The point was to stand up and to show that this is a bigger issue. That someone leaving is a symptom of a bigger issue,” Buisa said in an interview with CBC Sports on Wednesday.

“It’s understanding that when one person says something and when two people said something and more and more of us come together and stand together, then things happen.”

Buisa says it wasn’t just one incident that led to the complaint, but instead a series of smaller instances amid an overly competitive environment that made the team speak out.

Buisa has been a member of the centralized sevens program since 2014, where the team is based out of the Lekwungen Territory in Langford, B.C. In that time, she’s progressed from a developmental player to a staple of Canadian teams on the World Rugby Sevens Series.

As such, she’s witnessed firsthand how an athlete can evolve from being unwilling to come forward with issues in fear of being denied a place on the team to being unwilling to come forward in fear of losing her place.

“As I made my way on the team, I became more and more, maybe even complicit to that silence and not saying something when things were happening. … If you’re benefiting of the system of a culture, then it’s sometimes hard to realize how you play a role,” Buisa said.

Following an independent review, former Canadian women’s rugby sevens head coach John Tait released a statement denying any abusive behaviour on part of he or Rugby Canada. (Kevin Light/CBC Sports/File)

Tait recently released a statement denying any abusive behaviour on his part.

“It is shameful and beyond misleading for these athletes to be portraying themselves as victims in regards to how I or the program treated them,” he said.

The independent review, conducted by Win Win HR Solutions Inc., acknowledged that the complaint reflected the experience of the athletes.

In a statement to CBC Sports on Wednesday, Rugby Canada said the independent review, set to begin after the Olympics, will help the organization understand the voice of its members.

“We are committed to supporting the athletes both in their preparations for the Summer Olympics and in undertaking an independent review of our performance rugby programs to help us understand the journey and experiences of our athletes and staff involved with our National Teams,” the statement said.

Tait also called for the review to be made public.

“My question to that is what would that do?” Buisa said. “Would that then overthrow the idea that safe sport shouldn’t be a conversation? Would that then further undermine the importance of bullying and harassment?”

Reflection amid pandemic pause

When sports came to a halt and the Olympics were postponed amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, it was the first time the sevens team was able to assess its experience from a distance.

The result it found was that many of its current players, as well as some retired ones, were not happy.

“I think it was through the pandemic, through realizing that when we talk about social distancing and bridging the gap, that there was too much distance, we were in isolation and there wasn’t enough opportunities and time to be relational with one another,” Buisa said.

By coming together and asking simple questions like ‘Are you OK?’, Buisa said teammates could share their experiences more freely, eventually leading to the formal complaint.

“This is not about blaming something on one person. It’s understanding that safe sport is about how we can feel safe, how we can show up and play. And even if it’s a competitive environment and even if it’s high performance, that it shouldn’t be about putting ourselves through tremendous amounts of harm,” Buisa said.

Players seek improved culture

Buisa said she’s hoping policies are changed to make it easier for athletes to come forward, while adding a level of accountability for those in power. Tait previously held the roles of head coach and high-performance director, meaning he technically reported to himself.

She added that any changes made should be trauma-informed. That approach takes into account a person’s entire life when handling a situation in order to formulate the most effective solution.

The Canadian women’s rugby sevens team won bronze at the 2016 Olympics and is currently ranked third worldwide.

But even with the Tokyo Games less than three months away, the goal for Buisa’s team is much greater than the top of the podium.

“It’s about how we can create safe sport, not about what do we do from here and the controversy around that. It’s really clear. It’s really simple. Let’s just be better for each other so that we can play sports, excel and do well.”

misogyny,-racism-and-bullying-prevalent-across-canadian-youth-hockey,-survey-finds

Misogyny, racism and bullying prevalent across Canadian youth hockey, survey finds

Canada’s game continues to grapple with a culture of misogyny, racism and bullying, according to a survey of former youth hockey coaches and players.

A new Angus Reid poll suggests youth players and coaches are concerned about negative hockey culture. (PhotoStock10/Shutterstock)

Canada’s game continues to grapple with a culture of misogyny, racism and bullying, according to a survey of former youth hockey coaches and players.

More than half (56 per cent) of team alumni polled in a survey by the Angus Reid Institute say they perceive the treatment of women and girls by young male hockey players as misogynistic or disrespectful.

That number climbs to 63 per cent when including people who did not play but identified as being close to the game by cheering on a family member, friend or partner.

More than 1,600 people were surveyed online. More than 400 respondents were former players, coaches, managers or referees.

“What’s very notable is that those who have lived experience either on the ice or around the rink … are much more likely to say that racism is a significant problem, or misogyny or disrespect to women or girls is a problem,” said Shachi Kurl, president of the Angus Reid Institute.

“When you talk about culture, there can sometimes be some pushback that ‘those who have really lived the game are the ones to ask,’ and in this case, we did ask — and this is what they told us.”

WATCH | CBC reporter Jamie Strashin unpacks the findings of the survey:

Canada’s game continues to grapple with a culture of misogyny, racism and bullying, according to an Angus Reid survey of former youth hockey coaches and players. 3:43

Issues with bullying

Among the report’s other key findings, 64 per cent of people involved with youth hockey say there is an issue with players bullying kids outside the rink.

As well, half of respondents who say they were close to the game reported concerns about racism, and the vast majority of respondents overall believe participation in the sport is too expensive for lower-income families.

Hockey researcher and Thompson Rivers University professor Taylor McKee says the price point is a big reason why the sport often draws people from the same socioeconomic background and reinforces the negative aspects of hockey culture.

“It comes down to the notion of where these kids are coming from,” he told CBC News. “A lot of these kids are from the same backgrounds, they’re from the same neighbourhoods.”

McKee says the lack of diversity in the locker room can yield a culture of xenophobia.

“Until hockey can do something about that level of expense, you’re going to deal with a lot of these environments,” he said.

Growing the game

Both professional and minor leagues have organized campaigns encouraging diversity and inclusion, including the NHL’s Hockey Is for Everyone movement. A Hockey Diversity Alliance — consisting of current and players — is among the groups fighting systemic racism within the game.

Hockey Canada has launched a campaign called Hockey Is Hers to encourage more women and girls to play.

Coach Liz Montroy says women’s hockey has been growing over the years and has received more coverage in the media. (Liam Richards/Canadian Press)

For Liz Montroy, a coach with the Vancouver Female Ice Hockey Association, the movement is a step toward a more inclusive game, but there is still work to do.

“It is concerning to hear there are certain groups still acting disrespectfully, but at the same time, I’m comforted to hear that there are people who are working to counteract that and educate and move things in a different direction,” she said.

One way to shift the culture is by putting more people from diverse backgrounds and genders into leadership roles.

“Having more women in those areas will, at the end of the day, help move the sport forward in general.”