The Boston Bruins hoisted the Stanley Cup championship banner to the rafters on Thursday, but their National Hockey League season opener fell flat with a 2-1 defeat to the Philadelphia Flyers.
In other opening night games, the Vancouver Canucks, who lost to the Bruins in Game 7 of last season’s Stanley Cup finals, went down 4-3 in a shootout to Pittsburgh, while the Toronto Maple Leafs blanked the Montreal Canadiens 2-0 in an “Original Six” matchup.
The Bruins savored the sight of the bright yellow banner being raised to the roof of the TD Garden, where it will hang next to five others won by the Bruins.
Boston kept the party going by drawing first blood on a first-period power-play goal from Brad Marchand, but the Flyers hit back with a pair of goals 47 seconds apart from Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek.
The contest then turned into a goaltending duel between Flyers prized free agent signing Ilya Bryzgalov and Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, who was coming off a season where he won the Vezina Trophy as top goalie and Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player in the playoffs.
Netminders were also in the spotlight in Toronto where James Reimer stopped 32 shots to notch the shutout as the Maple Leafs launched their season with a satisfying victory over their Original Six rivals from Montreal.
The Maple Leafs, wearing 1967 throwback jerseys to mark the last time they won a Stanley Cup, are under immense pressure to end a record playoff drought and are counting on Reimer to lead them back to the postseason for the first time since 2004.
After just 37 career appearances, the Maple Leafs felt they had seen enough to tab Reimer as their starting netminder and signed him to a three-year US$5.8 million contract extension.
On opening night, at least, the decision looked like a sound investment.
A shorthanded goal from newcomer Matthew Lombardi and another from captain Dion Phaneuf provided all the offense the Leafs needed as Reimer shut the door the rest of the way, even though Montreal outshot Toronto 32-18.
Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin both beat Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo in a shootout to earn the Penguins a season opening win.
Matt Cooke scored twice for the Penguins, once on the power play and another shorthanded, while James Neal also found the back of the net during regulation.
Daniel Sedin, last season’s scoring champion, had the third period’s only goal to force overtime, while Maxim Lapierre and Keith Ballard had Vancouver’s other tallies.
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Coming from the business world, New York Liberty owner Joe Tsai (蔡崇信) did not understand why his WNBA franchise did not have a chief executive officer similar to the team’s NBA counterpart the Brooklyn Nets, which Tsai also owns. For Tsai, it was about equality, so he did something about it. The 56-year-old Taipei-born billionaire businessman and philanthropist promoted Keia Clarke to the position last week — making her the first chief executive officer in the team’s history. The WNBA veteran became the third black woman to currently be in charge of a franchise in the league, joining Los Angeles Sparks president
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
MONEY MATTERS: While COVID-19 played a major role in the decision, the CTBA also found it hard to secure sponsorship, and ticket sales would have been affected The Yonex Taipei Open badminton tournament has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a funding shortfall, the CTBA said yesterday. This was the first time that the tournament, a Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour Super 300-level competition, has been canceled since it began in 1980. The Taipei Open has been held annually since 1980. The tournament was to be played at the Taipei Arena from Sept. 1 to Sept. 6, with total prize money of US$500,000. The CTBA said that it was deeply concerned about whether the Taipei Open would proceed as scheduled after the BWF announced changes