Tag Archives: suspension

Barcelona plans to appeal Messi 2-game suspension for incident vs. Athletic Bilbao

Lionel Messi avoided a tougher sanction and was suspended for only two matches on Tuesday after hitting an opponent in an incident away from the ball in the Spanish Super Cup final.

The Barcelona forward was facing a suspension of up to 12 matches for swinging his arm at an Athletic Bilbao player at the end of the team’s 3-2 loss on Sunday. The Spanish soccer federation’s competition committee did not deem the incident to be too serious and applied a less severe penalty. The committee also fined the club 700 euros ($ 845 US) and Messi 600 euros ($ 725).

Barcelona said it would appeal Messi’s suspension.

After passing the ball out to the left flank, Messi swung his right arm at the head of Athletic forward Asier Villalibre as they ran toward the box. Villalibre immediately fell to the ground and after a video review Messi was given his first red card in 753 appearances with Barcelona’s main squad.

Messi had been sent off twice while playing for Argentina’s national team, including a few seconds into his debut in a friendly against Hungary in 2005. The other time was in the 2019 Copa America in a match against Chile. He was also sent off once while playing for Barcelona’s “B” team.

Referee Gil Manzano said in his match report that Messi hit his opponent with “excessive force” while the ball was not near him.

Messi will miss Barcelona’s matches against third-division club Cornella in the Copa del Rey and against Elche in the Spanish league. He was already expected to miss the game against Cornella with coach Ronald Koeman trying to keep Messi’s minutes under control to avoid serious injury.

The 33-year-old Messi had been doubtful to play in the Spanish Super Cup final because of an unspecified fitness issue that had caused Koeman to leave him out of the semifinal match against Real Sociedad on Wednesday, when Barcelona prevailed in a penalty shootout.

Messi, who asked to leave the club in the off-season but had his request denied, is having an average season compared to previous years, having scored 14 goals in 22 matches. He was far from his best on Sunday despite helping set up the team’s first goal.

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CBC | Soccer News

Messi faces lengthy suspension for ‘excessive force’ against Athletic Bilbao opponent

After losing the Spanish Super Cup final, Barcelona is also in danger of losing Lionel Messi for an extended period after he hit an opponent toward the end of the match.

Messi could be suspended for up to 12 games for the red card he received in the final minutes of his team’s 3-2 loss to Athletic Bilbao in Seville on Sunday.

After passing the ball out to the left flank, Messi swung his right arm toward the head of Athletic forward Asier Villalibre as they ran forward toward the box. Villalibre immediately fell to the ground and Messi was given his first red card in 753 appearances for Barcelona.

Referee Gil Manzano said in his match report that Messi hit his opponent with “excessive force” while the ball was not near him.

The Spanish soccer federation’s competitions committee will decide on the charges against Messi, and the player’s eventual suspension could range from one to three matches or from four to 12 matches, depending on how severe the federation considers the incident.

Barcelona was already preparing its defence regardless of the charges that would be presented by the federation against its player.

If found guilty, Messi will be suspended for matches in the Spanish league or the Copa del Rey. Barcelona is in the round of 32 of the Copa del Rey and trails Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in the league.

Title drought

Messi was visibly frustrated as the match went on and Barcelona struggled to recover from its deficit against Athletic. The Catalan club twice relinquished leads, including conceding a 90th-minute equalizer scored by Villalibre. Antoine Griezmann scored both Barcelona goals, with Messi assisting in the first one.

The defeat cost Barcelona a chance to end a title drought that has lingered from last season, the club’s first without a title since 2007-08.

While it was Messi’s first red card for his club, he has been sent off twice while playing for Argentina’s national team, including a few seconds into his debut in a friendly against Hungary in 2005. The other time was in the 2019 Copa America in a match against Chile. He was also sent off once while playing for Barcelona’s “B” team.

Messi, who asked to leave the club in the off-season but had his request denied, is having an average season compared to previous years, having scored 14 goals in 22 matches with Barcelona. He was far from his best on Sunday despite helping set up the team’s first goal.

Messi had been doubtful to play in the final because of an unspecified fitness issue that had caused coach Ronald Koeman to leave him out of the semifinal against Real Sociedad on Wednesday, when Barcelona prevailed in a penalty shootout.

Barcelona’s next match is on Thursday at Cornella in the round of 32 of the Copa del Rey.

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CBC | Soccer News

AT&T, Comcast, Verizon Extend Data Cap Suspension

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AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon all announced extensions of some of the coronavirus policies they’ve enacted to-date, extending those guarantees out to June 30. The responses from each company are somewhat unique, so we’ll cover each below:

Comcast

Comcast will waive late fees if you contact them and tell them you cannot pay. It has pledged not to disconnect any Xfinity internet, mobile, or voice user, and it’s making Xfinity WiFi hot spots available for free across the United States.

All Comcast data caps have been waived through June 30 as well. If you do not have home internet but can receive a Comcast hookup, the company is offering 60 days of complimentary service for all new customers through June 30. The service typically costs $ 6.95 per month.

Verizon

Verizon will not terminate residential or small business service nor charge late fees on any customer, provided you notify them of your hardship. Last week the company announced it would give wireless customers an extra 15GB of data in May.

AT&T

AT&T has announced its own initiatives, and they largely mirror what Comcast and Verizon are doing. Once again, if you notify the company, it will waive all late fees and overage charges associated with wired or wireless usage.

The various bits of information in the coronavirus updates from AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast are all a little funnier if you think about them as attempts to respond to the pandemic. Verizon, for example, wants us to know it’ll be increasing its capital expenditures later this year. Don’t mistake me — that’s an important statement regarding future spending in a deeply uncertain time — but it’s also a little funny to think about a company saying: “We know there’s a deadly disease killing people, but we promise to keep investing.”

Does Anybody Think Wireline Data Caps Are Remotely Justifiable Now?

One thing that’s been common knowledge in the IT industry is that wireline data caps, like those of which Comcast imposes, are literally nothing but a way for companies to overcharge customers for service. It’s been admitted by engineers, industry CEOs, and leaked documents, none of which go to any trouble to hide this fact. Even as the cost of delivering traffic to you has cratered, ISPs have continued to charge overage fees for data caps that have no technical reason to exist, year after year. A huge percentage of workers in the United States have been sheltering in place for months. Network usage has surged. Bandwidth demands have grown significantly. The internet may have struggled for a few days, but the network has stood firm.

There was never an objective reason for Comcast and other companies to enforce bandwidth caps, beyond that they were legally allowed to fleece customers for additional overage fees and decided to do so. Now that they’re gone, they’ve got no business coming back.

Now read:

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Blackhawks extend Marc Crawford’s suspension into 2020, coach apologizes for ‘unacceptable behaviour’

The Chicago Blackhawks announced assistant coach Marc Crawford’s suspension will extend through Jan. 2., 2020 on Monday.

Crawford was put on leave by the team two weeks ago after allegations of physical abuse from former players such as Sean Avery and Brent Sopel surfaced in the media. He will resume his full duties as assistant coach once the suspension is over.

The Blackhawks said in a statement that a thorough review was conducted alongside independent legal counsel, and that Crawford’s prior behaviour was not condoned by the team.

“Through our review, we confirmed that Marc proactively sought professional counselling to work to improve and become a better communicator, person and coach. We learned that Marc began counselling in 2010 and he has continued therapy on a regular basis since. We believe that Marc has learned from his past actions and has committed to striving to reform himself and evolve personally and professionally over the last decade.”

The Blackhawks added that they found no such incidents had occurred with Crawford since he joined the team.

Crawford, in a statement, apologized for the past incidents and confirmed that he had “regularly engaged in counselling over the last decade where I have faced how traumatic my behaviour was towards others.”

“I got into coaching to help people, and to think that my actions in any way caused harm to even one player fills me with tremendous regret and disappointment in myself. I used unacceptable language and conduct toward players in hopes of motivating them, and, sometimes went too far,” Crawford said. 

“As I deeply regret this behaviour, I have worked hard over the last decade to improve both myself and my coaching style.”

‘I am and will continue to be a part of the solution’

Avery said Crawford kicked him after he was whistled for a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty when he played for Crawford with the Los Angeles Kings during the 2006-07 season. Sopel said Crawford kicked him, choked him and grabbed the back of his jersey and pulled it back while with Vancouver.

The issues with Crawford emerged after Calgary Flames coach Bill Peters resigned following accusations he directed racial slurs at a Nigerian-born player with one of Chicago’s minor league teams a decade ago. Others claimed Peters kicked and punched players behind the bench during his recent time with Carolina.

The 58-year-old Crawford joined head coach Jeremy Colliton’s staff in June. Crawford was the interim head coach for Ottawa at the end of last season. He also has served as the head coach for Colorado, Vancouver, Los Angeles and Dallas, leading the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup title in 1996.

Crawford said he wants to make the game better and encourages anyone impacted by him to reach out to him.

“There is an important discussion happening in hockey right now,” Crawford said. “I am and will continue to be a part of the solution moving forward. These conversations will set the course for future generations. I commit to being sensitive to the process, and most of all, listening to individual perspectives and feelings.”

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CBC | Sports News

U.K. Supreme Court unanimously finds PM Johnson’s suspension of Parliament unlawful

In a major blow to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the U.K.’s highest court ruled Tuesday his decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks in the crucial countdown to the country’s Brexit deadline is “unlawful.”

The unanimous Supreme Court ruling declared the order to suspend Parliament “void and of no effect.”

Supreme Court President Brenda Hale said the suspension is “unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification.”

She said the court’s decision means Parliament was never legally suspended and is technically still sitting.

Watch Hale’s ruling against Johnson’s suspension of Parliament:
The U.K.’s top court ruled unanimously that PM Boris Johnson’s government had shut Parliament to squelch debate on its Brexit policy. 0:55

The lower house of Parliament, the House of Commons, will sit on Wednesday, House of Commons Speaker John Bercow said.

“I have instructed the House authorities to prepare not for the recall — the prorogation was unlawful and is void — to prepare for the resumption of the business of the House of Commons,” he told reporters.

“Specifically, I’ve instructed the House authorities to undertake such steps as are necessary to ensure that the House of Commons sits tomorrow,” at 11:30 a.m. local time (6:30 a.m. ET).

Watch Bercow announce the resumption of Parliament:

John Bercow says the U.K. House of Commons will resume business following the Supreme Court’s ruling that the suspension of Parliament was unlawful. 0:43

In this country without a written constitution, the case marked a rare confrontation between the prime minister, the courts and Parliament over their rights and responsibilities.

It revolved around whether Johnson acted lawfully when he advised the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks during a crucial time frame before the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline when the U.K. is scheduled to leave the European Union.

“This is an unprecedented judgment,” Joelle Grogan, a law lecturer at Middlesex University, told CBC News. “This is the strongest judgment that I certainly have ever seen as a statement from the Supreme Court  against a government here in the U.K.”

Watch Grogan discuss the potential impact of the Supreme Court’s decision:

Joelle Grogan, a law lecturer at Middlesex University, discusses what the U.K. Supreme Court’s ruling against the suspension of Parliament means for Boris Johnson and Brexit. 0:57

Johnson, who is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, says he “strongly disagrees” with the court’s ruling and won’t rule out suspending Parliament again. He has also refused to say whether he will resign.

Johnson said on Tuesday that the Supreme Court ruling against him had hindered his attempt to get a Brexit deal but that as the law currently stood, the U.K. would leave the EU on Oct. 31.

“Obviously getting a deal is not made much easier against this background, but we are going to get on and do it,” Johnson told reporters.

“I don’t think that it’s right, but we will go ahead, and of course Parliament will come back.”

Watch Johnson’s reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision:

The U.K. prime minister defended his prorogation of Parliament despite the country’s top court ruling that it was unlawful. 0:56

The Prime Minister’s Office said he won’t resign as prime minister. 

He’s set to take a flight from New York overnight, earlier than planned, which would bring him back to London by the time Parliament resumes on Wednesday, according to his office.

The ruling followed three days of hearings last week before a panel of 11 judges.

The court rejected the government’s assertions the decision to suspend Parliament until Oct. 14 was routine and not related to Brexit. It claimed that under Britain’s unwritten constitution, it is a matter for politicians, not courts, to decide.

Watch as the U.S. and U.K. leaders talk about the ruling at the United Nations:

U.S. President Donald Trump and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson take questions from reporters about Johnson’s decision to shut down Parliament in the crucial countdown to Brexit, and a high court decision today saying Johnson’s move is unlawful. 2:01

U.S. President Donald Trump, who met with Johnson at the UN, said he had “no reaction” when he heard about the ruling, but he thinks the U.K. prime minister “is going to get it done,” referring to Brexit.

“I just asked Boris, and to him, it’s another day in the office. He’s a professional. It’s just another day in the office,” Trump told reporters.

The U.K. government’s opponents argue Johnson illegally shut down Parliament just weeks before the country is due to leave the 28-nation bloc for the “improper purpose” of dodging legislators’ scrutiny of his Brexit plans.

They also accused Johnson of misleading the Queen, whose formal approval was needed to suspend the legislature.

Johnson and Parliament have been at odds since he took power in July with the determination to take Britain out of the EU on Oct. 31 with or without a divorce deal with Europe.

Calls for Johnson’s resignation

The landmark decision immediately prompted demands that Johnson quit.

British Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn called on Johnson on Tuesday to consider his position and call a new election.

Watch Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn demand Johnson’s resignation:
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn says U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson should resign after the Supreme Court ruled that his suspension of Parliament was illegal. 0:47

To huge cheers and chants of “Johnson out!” Corbyn said the prime minister should become the shortest-ever serving leader and Labour is ready to form a government.

“I invite Boris Johnson, in the historic words, to ‘consider his position,'” Corbyn told delegates at the Labour Party’s annual conference in Brighton.

Scottish National Party legislator Joanna Cherry said Johnson should resign because of the Supreme Court ruling.

Cherry is one of the people who brought the legal case against the prime minister.

“His position is untenable and he should have the guts for once to do the decent thing and resign,” she said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the EU Parliament’s chief Brexit official Guy Verhofstadt says he is relieved that at least one key pillar of British life has survived: Parliamentary democracy.


Transparency campaigner Gina Miller called the ruling “a win for parliamentary sovereignty, the separation of powers and independence of our British courts.”

Miller, one of the people who brought the case against the government, said Johnson advised the Queen to shut down Parliament “to silence our democratically elected MPs at one of the most critical times in our country’s modern history.”

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CBC | World News

Leafs move past Kadri suspension, beat Bruins to grab 2-1 series lead

Auston Matthews had a lot of fingers pointing in his direction following Toronto’s first-round exit last spring.

Monday represented a big step towards making sure there’s no repeat.

Matthews scored his first goal of the playoffs and set up another as the Maple Leafs defeated the Boston Bruins 3-2 to grab a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal.

Heavily criticized for his performance in Boston’s seven-game victory 12 months ago — he registered just two points, while Boston’s top line of Brad Marchand, PatriceBergeron and David Pastrnak combined for 30 — Matthews put Toronto ahead for good on the power play midway through the second period.

WATCH | Highlights from Toronto’s win:

Auston Matthews recorded a goal and an assist, while Mitch Marner provided some timely defence as Toronto beat Boston 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead. 2:06

The 21-year-old centre had a team-high 17 shots attempts in Games 1 and 2, including one off the post, and was relieved to finally find the back of Boston’s net.

“It’s just another level when you score a goal in the playoffs, especially at home,” Matthews said. “It feels like an earthquake under you.

“The atmosphere tonight was unbelievable and we just want to continue what we built off tonight here on Wednesday [in Game 4].”

Andreas Johnsson, also with a goal and an assist, and Trevor Moore provided the rest of the offence for Toronto, which got 34 saves from Frederik Andersen.

The Leafs downed the Bruins 4-1 in the series opener at TD Garden before falling by the same score in Game 2 on a night where Boston dominated, especially on the physical side.

“We played much harder and we forechecked hard,” Johnsson said. “We were heavier on the puck.”

David Krejci and Charlie Coyle replied for Boston. TuukkaRask stopped 31 shots for visitors in front of a crowd of 19,611 at Scotiabank Arena.

Maple Leafs centre John Tavares collides with Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask in Game 3 on Monday. Rask appeared shaken up but stayed in the game. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

“They upped their compete level,” Marchand said. “Ours wasn’t as good as it needed to be. But we’re right there, we had some opportunities to tie it up.”

The Leafs learned less than an hour before puck drop that Nazem Kadri has been suspended for the rest of the series for the centre’s vicious cross-check to the head of Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk in the third period of Game 2.

“It’s unfortunate that he’s not available,” Toronto defenceman Morgan Rielly said. “We can’t worry about it. We’ve got to move on, we’ve got to play.”

With the Bruins pressing late, Leafs winger Mitch Marner, who scored twice in Game 1, sacrificed his body on two Pastrnak shots — including one that hit him in the shoulder as he lay on the ice — to preserve the victory.

“That’s what you’ve got to do to win,” head coach Mike Babcock said. “Ideally, all those things are contagious. When you see your teammate do something like that, you’re more likely to do it yourself.”

Scoreless following a spirited first period, the offensive floodgates opened in the second.

WATCH | All hugs for Marner after 2 brutal blocked shots secure Leafs victory:

Leafs’ Mitch Marner sacrifices his body in the dying seconds of the team’s first round matchup against Boston. 0:49

Toronto took a 1-0 lead at 2:38 when Moore poked a loose puck home for the rookie’s first career playoff goal as the fourth line that also included Frederik Gauthier and Tyler Ennis were rewarded for their hard work.

“It was amazing,” Moore said. “It was just kind of surreal out there to see the puck go in.”

Boston replied just 52 seconds later when Krejci chipped a bouncing puck past Andersen, but Matthews restored Toronto’s lead 12 seconds after David Backes was whistled for high-sticking, taking a feed from Johnsson and burying a shot beyond Rask to send Scotiabank Arena into a frenzy at 10:12.

Matthews was immediately serenaded by chants of “Aus-ton! Matth-ews!” by the crowd.

“He’s a proud guy who wants to be good every night and wants to score, loves to score,” Babcock said. “Probably relieves a lot of pressure off him.”

Promoted to the first power-play unit because of Kadri’s suspension, Johnsson made it 3-1 with his first-career playoff goal with 2:48 left in the period when he roofed a backhand over Rask after a nice feed from John Tavares as Toronto connected for a second time on the man advantage after going 0 for 4 in the first two games.

Toronto goaltender Frederik Andersen gets some help from his defence to clear the puck in Game 3 against Boston on Monday. (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

“They were coming with more speed,” DeBrusk said. “We brought the speed in Game 2 and they brought the speed in [Games] 1 and 3.

“Those are the results.”

Boston responded on a power play of its own with 37.3 seconds left in the period when Coyle collected a puck off the end boards to score his second of the series.

After both Matthews and Johnsson had chances to put the Leafs up 4-2 in the third, Andersen made a diving stop with the knob of his stick on Krejci to keep his team ahead.

“Doing whatever it takes to try to save it,” Andersen said. “He waited me out a little bit and had a nice move, but you just try to do whatever you can to get something on it.”

Boston kept up the pressure with Rask on the bench for the extra attacker, but Toronto held on despite some tense moments — including Marner’s blocks — to take a 2-1 series lead.

“It was great. I love it,” Rielly said. “There was never a question of the character of our team, but that was just a good display of it.

“That can be good to see and we’ll feed off it.”

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CBC | Sports News

NHL extends Slava Voynov suspension through 2020 for domestic violence

The NHL has suspended defenceman Slava Voynov for the 2019-20 season and 2020 playoffs after determining he committed acts of domestic violence.

Commissioner Gary Bettman suspended Voynov on Tuesday for what the league called unacceptable off-ice conduct. The 29-year-old Russian could have his eligibility restored on July 1, 2020, based on good behaviour.

Voynov was suspended indefinitely in October 2014 after being arrested for domestic abuse. He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanour, left the United States to go back to Russia and in July had the conviction dismissed by a judge in Los Angeles county.

Bettman said he determined after a league investigation and a March 21 hearing that Voynov engaged in acts of domestic violence against his wife. Bettman said the ruling is “consistent with the NHL’s strongly-held policy that it cannot and will not tolerate this and similar types of conduct, particularly as directed at a spouse, domestic partner or family member.”

The Kings, who terminated Voynov’s $ 25 million US contract in 2015, said they are reviewing the NHL’s decision and that “it is premature for us to comment until we understand what today’s decision, which can be appealed, means in its entirety.”

Voynov’s agent, Rolland Hedges, did not immediately return a voicemail and text message seeking comment.

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Olympic champ Donovan Bailey supports suspension of former coach

Canadian Olympic sprint champion Donovan Bailey supports the action taken by Athletics Canada in suspending his former national team coach in a sexual harassment investigation, and says the organization and the Canadian Olympic Committee need to implement a reporting mechanism for athletes to prevent the possibility of abuse.

Andy McInnis, who was head coach of Canada's Olympic track team when Bailey won gold in both the 100 metres and 4×100 relay at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, was suspended as head coach at the Ottawa Track and Field club on Monday along with Ken Porter, the club's chairman.

"I'm very happy the governing bodies are taking action," Bailey, a CBC Sports track analyst, said Tuesday. "There definitely needs to be attention put on some of these coaches that are [allegedly] abusing their power."

According to a notice of suspension signed by Athletics Canada commissioner Frank Fowlie, McInnis was reprimanded twice before by the club and by the University of Ottawa, where McInnis also coached, over allegations made against him in 2016.

Ottawa Lions Club Track and Field coach Andy McInnis has been suspended by Athletics Canada over reports of sexual harassment at the club. (CBC)

Porter has been suspended for not taking "adequate remedial action" against McInnis when he had knowledge that he would be coaching club athletes, according to the notice. McInnis was banned from coaching or having contact with any athletes or members of the club.

Bailey, who retired in 2001, believes the COC and Athletics Canada need to do more to create a safer environment for athletes. The federal government recently announced initiatives to better prevent such abuses, including a national hotline for victims and witnesses of abuse.

"They have to understand they're responsible for hiring these coaches or keeping these coaches in the system," Bailey said, "so they're also responsible for the health and well-being of some of these victims.

"For a lot of these kids that strive to get a scholarship and earn their way to the Olympic Games, it's very important they're protected. I'm very certain none of them want to be distracted by someone trying to get to them while having their own personal agenda."

Bailey said he has heard rumours about various coaches over the years, but nothing that was ever substantiated. He said he was never shy about approaching coaches about specific incidents involving a teammate while a member of the national team.

A recent investigation by CBC News and Sports found that at least 222 coaches who were involved in amateur sports in Canada have been convicted of sexual offences in the past 20 years involving more than 600 victims under the age of 18.

"I've been talking to people who say [concerns from parents about their kids' safety] is more prevalent than you think," Bailey said. "Every parent that drops their kid off at school or at their field of play [does so] with the expectation the kid is going to be better or will have learned so much by the time they pick them up at the end of the day. Unfortunately, that's not the agenda of some people when they see children."

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CBC | Sports News

Leafs expect fired up McDavid in Oilers captain's return from suspension

Leaning up against a screen in the locker room at the Maple Leafs' practice facility, Auston Matthews looked slightly annoyed by one particular query.

"What, for you, stands out about (Connor) McDavid?" Toronto's star centre was asked.

"I don't think I need to answer that question," Matthews responded, rubbing the side of his face and forehead. "You guys all know."

And so do the Leafs.

WATCH | Leafs' 2nd-period outburst paves way:

Toronto scored 4 goals in the 2nd period on the way to beating the Buffalo Sabres 5-3 on Monday night in Toronto. 1:55

The Edmonton Oilers are expected to have their all-world captain back in the lineup Wednesday following a two-game suspension for an illegal check to the head on New York Islanders defenceman Nick Leddy when they visit Toronto.

So how do you try to slow down the fastest, arguably most skilled player on the planet?

"That's a great question," Leafs centre John Tavares said with a smile following Tuesday's on-ice session. "You've just got to make it as difficult as possible for him. It's a lot easier said than done.

"He's missed the last couple games. We expect him to be shot out of a cannon."

The 22-year-old McDavid, who cheered for the Leafs as a kid growing up in nearby Richmond Hill, Ont., sits third in the NHL with 85 points (32 goals, 53 assists).

Put another way, he's been in on exactly half of the Oilers' 170 goals this season.

WATCH | Oilers lose in shootout

Despite a 2-goal effort from Leon Draisaitl, the Edmonton Oilers fell 3-2 to the Nashville Predators on Monday night in Tennessee. 2:03

Tavares, who like McDavid was granted exceptional status to play junior in the Ontario Hockey League at age 15, said Edmonton's superstar is more than just blinding speed — it's his awareness and vision coupled with those wheels that separates him.

"His ability to read the play, anticipate is arguably the best in the league," said Tavares, who has a team-high 35 goals. "And then his ability to keep his speed and maintain it for as long as he can, and doing it with the puck and then being able to make plays at that top-end speed and really be able to see the play two, three steps ahead."

Toronto will be looking for a better first period against Edmonton after falling behind 3-0 to Montreal on Saturday and 1-0 to Buffalo before flicking a switch and storming back for consecutive come-from-behind wins.

"We never really lost our cool," Matthews said. "Everybody had faith in one another.

"We should be able to take control of the game early on instead of letting the other team dictate."

The Leafs sat a point back of Boston for second in the Atlantic Division heading into Tuesday's action, while the Oilers, who have two of the NHL's top seven scorers in McDavid and Leo Draisaitl (38 goals, 38 assists) were seven adrift of the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Edmonton has registered six of a possible eight points in its last four games, but is just 3-8-4 over its last 15.

"Connor, being from this area, is going to be fresh," said Toronto head coach Mike Babcock, whose team visits Edmonton on March 9. "McDavid's got that higher octane of speed. It's going to be a challenge for us.

"We'll have to be above the puck and try not to turn it over when he's on the ice."

With Toronto's Nazem Kadri out with injury, teammate Auston Matthews can expect to find more head-to-head time against Edmonton's Connor McDavid. (Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

Nazem Kadri has been assigned to frustrate McDavid in the past — he still has eight points in five career games against Toronto — but the Leafs centre is out with a concussion, meaning that responsibility will fall to either Matthews or Tavares.

"You're playing against stars every night," said Matthews, who scored his 30th goal of the season Monday. "You could be against Sidney Crosby, the next night Patrice Bergeron.

"There's good players on every team. There's superstars on pretty much every team."

But only one Connor McDavid.

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CBC | Sports News

John Coughlin, U.S. Figure Skating Champion, Dies of Apparent Suicide One Day After Suspension From Sport

John Coughlin, U.S. Figure Skating Champion, Dies of Apparent Suicide One Day After Suspension From Sport | Entertainment Tonight

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