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After Senators clean house, who's left to lead — and who will stay?

In the days, hours and minutes leading up to the trade deadline last week, the dismantling of the Ottawa Senators was completed.

First Matt Duchene was out the door. Then it was Ryan Dzingel. Finally, Mark Stone left the building. Before that, it was Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman and Kyle Turris. Poof, gone.

The Senators were a team to be reckoned with after their trip to the East final 22-and-a-half months ago. They came within a whisker of advancing to the 2016-17 Stanley Cup championship series, that was until Pittsburgh Penguins clutch left wing Chris Kunitz scored in double overtime on that long Thursday evening in late May at the PPG Paints Arena.

Head coach Guy Boucher had worked his first-year magic once again, just like he did in steering the Tampa Bay Lightning to the East final in his first year with the club in 2010-11.

But now even Boucher has been jettisoned. In another puzzling act, Senators general manager Pierre Dorion Jr. fired Boucher the morning after a 4-2 loss at home to the Edmonton Oilers.

"Our play recently wasn't acceptable, no more excuses," said Dorion, who replaced Boucher with his associate coach Marc Crawford as interim head coach.

WATCH | Why was Guy Boucher fired now?

Rob Pizzo has three thoughts on the timing of Boucher getting his pink slip. 1:11

Dorion's "no more excuses" remark was laughable because of the roster he left behind. How did Dorion expect the Senators to carry on without their top three point producers?

Crawford, however, is a proud man, a capable coach. He won the 1995 Jack Adams Award as coach of the year with the Quebec Nordiques and celebrated a Stanley Cup championship when the franchise moved to Colorado the following year.

The 58-year-old Belleville, Ont., native has been itching to get another shot at being an NHL head coach since his last stop with the Dallas Stars in 2010-11. Despite his depleted lineup, he notched a win on the road against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, a shootout loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday after a predictable 5-1 defeat to the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning last Saturday.

Leadership gaps

The Senators fall from grace is easy to explain. This used to be a team with strong leadership with players like Daniel Alfredsson, Chris Phillips and even Chris Neil. Stone did his darnedest to keep the players together in the dressing room.

But you also need leadership at the top. There was no faith in owner Eugene Melnyk. There hasn't been for some time now. That's why Alfredsson made tracks to play his final season with the Detroit Red Wings five years ago.

Dorion's predecessor, the late Bryan Murray, was a strong leader. He had good relationships with the players and, for the most part, kept their spirits up despite the presence of Melnyk.

But a few months after their trip to the East final, Murray passed away after a courageous 37-month fight with Stage 4 colon cancer. Look at what has happened since his death:

  • Senators former assistant GM Randy Lee pleaded guilty to a second-degree harassment charge from an incident at the NHL's pre-draft scouting combine last May.
  • There was the Uber ride in Arizona in which several players were caught in a secretly recorded episode dissing assistant coach Martin Raymond among other remarks.
  • Melnyk's plan for a downtown rink fell through after an impasse and legal threats back and forth between the Senators owner and his business partner John Ruddy to redevelop the location of the new venue on LeBreton Flats.

Melnyk and Dorion cannot be blamed for Karlsson's left foot injury that required offseason surgery after their trip to the East final and slowed his play, nor the drop off in veteran goalie Craig Anderson last season. Both were so important in the Senators playoff run two years ago.

But Melnyk and Dorion also couldn't seem to keep anybody happy nor convince anybody to stay, whether it was Turris last year, Karlsson last summer or Duchene, Dzingel and Stone this season.

There are some key components left with teenager Brady Tkachuk, defencemen Thomas Chabot and Erik Brannstrom, the main asset acquired in the Stone trade with the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

Veteran forwards Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Zack Smith are solid citizens. Youngsters like forwards Colin White, Drake Batherson, Alex Formenton as well as defencemen Max Lajoie and Christian Wolanin may pan out.

But can the new head coach and those in the front office and owners' suite keep this talent around? That certainly hasn't been the story for the Senators lately.

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CBC | Sports News

Stars at the 2019 Super Bowl: See Who's Partying in Atlanta

Stars at the 2019 Super Bowl: See Who's Partying in Atlanta | Entertainment Tonight

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Who's rating doctors on RateMDs? The invisible hand of 'reputation management'

This is an excerpt from Second Opinion, a weekly roundup of eclectic and under-the-radar health and medical science news emailed to subscribers every Saturday morning. If you haven't subscribed yet, you can do that by clicking here.

Did that doctor pay to hide some bad reviews on RateMDs, the online physician rating system? You wouldn't know.

Nor would you know if a doctor hired a reputation management service to boost the volume of positive reviews.

Online reputation management is an emerging industry with companies offering a variety of services to professionals who find themselves ranked on rating sites with no ability to opt out and with no control over the anonymous comments that can affect their reputation.

I feel this is akin to  cyberbullying .– Dr. Sukhbir  Singh, gynecologist, The Ottawa Hospital

The fact that those reputation management tools exist came as a shock to Dr. Sukhbir Singh, a gynecologist at The Ottawa Hospital.

Singh was already grappling with a negative review posted on his RateMDs page — a posting he discovered last weekend after an anonymous person claimed he had harmed them with a procedure that he doesn't do.

He quickly responded on the site, advising the person to speak to the hospital about their concerns,

Then, just as suddenly, the posting vanished.

"This is crazy. None of this makes sense to me," he said. "I feel this is akin to cyberbullying."

In the middle of all of that a sales representative from RateMDs contacted him offering "reputation management tools" for a fee. The service includes the ability to keep up to three comments hidden from public view.

"That just made me sick to my stomach," he said. "It doesn't seem that in a public health-care system that I should be marketing myself, that I should be protecting my reputation and paying an independent private company to do that work."

RateMDs offers doctors two special plans to enhance their presence on the site. The "Promoted" package costs $ 179 US per month and includes banner ads that will appear on competing doctor's pages.

RateMDs online physician rating site sells advertising packages to doctors which allows them to pay a fee and hide some unfavourable comments. (Daniel Rofusz/CBC News)

And for $ 359 US per month the doctor can buy the "Promoted plus" option. Both packages allow doctors to hide up to three unfavourable comments — a feature called "Ratings Manager."

But if a doctor stops paying, those unfavourable ratings will reappear.

"The reviews a provider designates with the Ratings Manager are not permanently removed and their numerical scores remain as part of the calculation of a provider's overall rating," said Chris Goodridge, chief investment officer of VerticalScope Inc., the parent company of Toronto-based RateMDs. (Torstar Corp, publisher of the Toronto Star, purchased a 56 per cent ownership in VerticalScope in 2015.)

"If a user unsubscribes from the Promoted or Promoted Plus plans, he or she will no longer receive the benefits associated with that subscription," Goodridge said via email. 

"You're held a little bit to ransom because the second you stop paying that $ 200 per month, those hidden reviews come back online," said Ryan Forman, who runs a company called GlowingMDs that helps doctors manage their RateMDs profiles.

Reclaiming reputations

Forman's company advertises its service to doctors with the line: "Reclaim your reputation."

For a monthly fee of $ 229 plus HST the company provides a ratings template that doctors offer to patients to complete after an appointment.

"We then take all of those reviews, good or bad, from the doctor, and we then post it to RateMDs in effect on the doctor's behalf."

A reputation management company advertises service to physicians to boost positive patient testimonials on RateMDs online doctor rating site. (Daniel Rofusz/CBC News)

"We're not able to remove any negative reviews but what we can do is post legitimate reviews that come through the doctor and hopefully improve their RateMDs profile," said Forman.

Over at RateMDs, Goodridge said he knows that companies are selling reputation management services that target the online site.

"We're certainly aware that there are a number of companies that support health care providers in soliciting patient reviews and in assisting with posting those reviews," wrote Goodridge, adding that RateMDs has a system to disallow testimonials from suspicious sources.  

"RateMDs.com utilizes a variety of proprietary methods to identify and remove programmatically-generated reviews or reviews originating from suspicious sources."

Software circumvents filters

But Forman said RateMDs filters have not prevented his company from posting multiple patient testimonials for a single doctor.

"We have had experience where they have picked up where we are putting more than one review for a doctor from the same location but the truth is our software circumvents that," said Forman, adding he simply tweaks his software to get around the RateMDs filters.

So could anyone get the software and start posting whatever they wanted as many times as they wanted?

"Yes, I think if they were tech-savvy they probably could," Forman said." It's not software that we developed, it's software that's out there on the internet so, yeah, they could definitely do it on their own."

RateMDs is a free and open forum. That means anyone can say anything about any doctor. Just write a comment, click on each of the four rating stars and hit "Rate this doctor." The site does not ask for a name, email address or phone number.

The doctor has no control over whether he or she appears on the site and there is no way to remove their page once it's been posted.

A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that more than half of Canada's physicians have been rated on the site.

"Overall, physicians are rated positively," said study author Dr. Jessica Lui, a clinical investigator at the University of Toronto. "We did find there were differences in the likelihood of receiving a positive rating depending on what type of medicine you practiced."

Misconduct decisions not visible 

But how useful are those ratings for patients especially if there are ways for doctors to boost their positive ratings?

And right now RateMDs does not post any warnings about physicians who have been disciplined by the medical regulatory colleges.

"If a provider has active or past disciplinary actions on their file they are not visible on their RateMDs.com profiles," Goodridge wrote.

The remedies do not entirely correspond to the challenge.– Chantal Bernier, privacy and cybersecurity counsel, Dentons Canada LLP

The result? Doctors who have committed professional misconduct including sexual abuse of patients can still have glowing reviews on RateMDs.

"Providing transparency on disciplinary actions is a feature we continue to pursue on behalf of our audience," wrote Goodridge. "At the moment, the limited availability of this data from the disparate colleges does not make this practical. RateMDs.com hopes to add this information in the near future by partnering with regulatory colleges if they are willing."

There is also little transparency when it comes to anonymous accusations posted on RateMDs. Several doctors told CBC News about bad experiences including malicious postings from disgruntled employees.

And when patients do post negative reviews, the doctors pointed out that they can't tell their side of the story without breaking patient confidentiality.

Forman started GlowingMDs after seeing some of those problems emerge in the medical clinics he manages.

"There's definitely a need for the service," Forman said. "Their hands are tied in terms of what they can say and do on RateMDs"

Thorny issues

Being rated without your consent can now happen to anyone. Doctors, lawyers, dog walkers — there is nothing preventing a company from setting up an online rating site and publishing anonymous reviews in any field — comments that will circulate on the internet forever.

"There is, I think, a very real issue that has, in a way, run away on us because we do not have the laws that specifically address these situations," said Chantal Bernier, former federal privacy commissioner, now a privacy and cybersecurity counsel at Dentons Canada LLP.

"The thorny issues it presents is the reconciliation between the right to information, the obligation of accountability on one side and privacy and reputation on the other."

Bernier said there is a need to examine the legislative tools that will be required to manage those competing ethical issues.

"Right now the remedies do not entirely correspond to the challenge."

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'Scandal': A Proper Fitz and Olivia Reunion Finally Happened — But Who's Threatening to Mess It All Up?

This pairing can get a little complicated. Scandal has seemed to be setting this one in motion since the season started, but the potential costs have certainly been raised. “I have feelings for him, President Rashad. He means something to me,” Mellie told Olivia, asking her to give him safe haven in the US while his country is in turmoil. “This time, I want it to be my call. Just one time.” 

Yes, Mellie and Rashad are both presidents, but as Olivia pointed out, she is the leader of the free world, he is not, and things can get sticky real fast. 

Now, for the one we’ve all been waiting for…. 

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World Cup qualifying: Who's in, who's out?

After nearly three years of matches, qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup is drawing to a close and there’s still plenty at stake for countries hoping to compete for soccer’s top prize.

Thus far, only eight countries have secured a spot in the 32-team tournament: host Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Iran, South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Belgium.

With only two games left for most confederations, the opening weeks of October promise to deliver plenty of excitement… and heartache.

Here’s a look at where things stand in each region.

North & Central America & Caribbean  

  • Teams: 35
  • Spots:
  • Qualified: Mexico

Following a multi-phase qualification process, the 35 teams in the region known as CONCACAF — which includes Canada — were narrowed to six: Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, the United States, Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago (three).

The final stage of qualification (known as “The Hex”) has these teams competing in a home-and-away round robin. The top three teams qualify directly for the World Cup, while the fourth-place team enters an intercontinental playoff against the fifth-place team in Asia (hence the half spot).

Entering the final two games (Oct. 6 and Oct. 10), Mexico has 18 points and has already clinched a berth in the World Cup. Next in the standings are Costa Rica (15 points), Panama (10), the United States (nine), Honduras (nine) and Trinidad and Tobago (three).

Costa Rica can punch its ticket to Russia with a win over Honduras. But the game to watch is the United States vs. Panama on Oct. 6.

If the U.S. wishes to retain control of its destiny, it must defeat Panama. If it loses, it surrenders any hope of automatic qualification, requiring it, at best, to play Syria or Australia in the intercontinental playoff for a World Cup spot. 

This scenario, however, assumes that Honduras doesn’t defeat Costa Rica. Should Honduras win, in tandem with a U.S. loss, then the Americans may be at the mercy of their archrival, Mexico. El Tri face Honduras on the final day of this round and, with a World Cup berth already secured and nothing to play for, they could field a weak side in order to help eliminate the U.S.

USA-Costa-Rica

Michael Bradley, left and Tim Howard of the United States react after being defeated by Costa Rica 2-0 at home during World Cup qualifying in September. (Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

Europe

  • Teams: 54
  • Spots: 13 plus host
  • Qualified: Russia (host), Belgium

With the largest contingent of spots, Europe’s qualification process breaks its 54 teams into nine groups of six. The nine group winners automatically qualify, while the top eight runners-up are paired into a home-and-away playoff (to take place in November) to determine the final four qualifiers.

  • Group A: France, Sweden, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Belarus
  • Group B: Switzerland, Portugal, Hungary, Faroe Islands, Andorra, Latvia
  • Group C: Germany, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Norway, San Marino
  • Group D: Serbia, Wales, Ireland, Austria, Georgia, Moldova
  • Group E: Poland, Montenegro, Denmark, Romania, Armenia, Kazakhstan
  • Group F: England, Slovakia, Slovenia, Scotland, Lithuania, Malta
  • Group G: Spain, Italy, Albania, Israel, Macedonia, Liechtenstein
  • Group H: Belgium (qualified), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Cyprus, Estonia, Gibraltar
  • Group I: Croatia, Iceland, Turkey, Ukraine, Finland, Kosovo

European teams will play their final two games of the current stage between Oct. 5 and Oct. 10. While continental powers Germany, Spain, France and England look likely to top their groups, others haven’t been so fortunate.

The biggest surprise is the Netherlands, which is currently third in Group A. De Oranje will need maximum points in their remaining games, including a Oct. 10 showdown with second-place Sweden, if they are to have a prayer of qualifying.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal are slightly better off — even if they don’t defeat Switzerland on Oct. 10, to potentially move into first place, they are assured a second chance as runners-up.

Those looking for a return of the “Viking Thunder-Clap” will want to keep an eye on Iceland’s Oct. 6 match against Turkey — this contest will likely determine the top two spots in Group I.


South America

  • Teams: 10
  • Spots:
  • Qualified: Brazil

One of the most competitive regions, South America sees 10 teams vying in a single home-and-away round robin. The top four teams qualify directly, while the fifth-place team enters an intercontinental playoff vs. New Zealand (the winner of Oceania).

Here’s how the standings look:

  • Brazil: 37 points
  • Uruguay: 27
  • Colombia: 26
  • Peru: 24
  • Argentina: 24
  • Chile: 23
  • Paraguay: 21
  • Ecuador: 20
  • Bolivia: 13
  • Venezuela: 8

Can you imagine a World Cup without Lionel Messi? It could happen if Argentina fails to secure maximum points in its remaining two games. Sitting just outside of direct classification and with three teams challenging it for the fifth and final spot, fans of the Albiceleste will want to watch both of their matches (Oct. 5 vs. Peru and Oct. 10 vs. Ecuador) with fingers crossed.

The deciding game, however, may very well be Brazil (which has already qualified) vs. Chile on Oct. 10. Should Argentina slip, its only hope will lie with its eternal rival, Brazil, which will likely not field a strong team against Chile —adding salt to a growing wound following two consecutive Copa America final losses to its Andean neighbours.

Messi-Lionel-05092017

Lionel Messi and Argentina are barely hanging on to the final South American World Cup qualifying spot heading into the final two games. (Juan Ignacio Roncoroni/EPA-EFE)

Africa

  • Teams: 53
  • Spots: 5
  • Qualified: None

Africa’s qualification process has three rounds. In the final round, the top 20 are broken into five groups of four. Following round-robin play, where teams meet home and away, only the five group winners advance to the World Cup.

  • Group A: Tunisia, Congo, Guinea, Libya
  • Group B: Nigeria, Zambia, Cameroon, Algeria
  • Group C: Ivory Coast, Morocco, Gabon, Mali
  • Group D: Burkina Faso, Cape Verde Islands, Senegal, South Africa
  • Group E: Egypt, Uganda, Ghana, Congo

While teams have only two games left, Africa’s qualifiers run until Nov. 6, with games also being played on Oct. 6 and 7. Nigeria will likely be the first to clinch, with Tunisia and Egypt also looking strong.

The big surprise lies with traditional African powers Cameroon, Algeria and Ghana, who have a slim to zero chance of qualifying this time around.

The group to watch, however, is definitely D, where one point separates all four teams, with two games remaining.

Nigeria-Cameroon-01092017

Nigeria’s Mikel John Obi, centre, celebrates with teammates William Ekong, left, and Odion Ighalo after scoring against Cameroon in World Cup qualifying in September. (Pius Utomi Ekpei/Getty Images)

Asia

  • Teams: 46
  • Spots:
  • Qualified: Iran, Japan, Korea Republic, Saudi Arabia

As the first confederation to start the qualification process, it’s no surprise that the bulk of Asia’s competition has already wrapped. What remains is to determine whether Syria or Australiawill advance to the intercontinental playoff vs. the fourth-place CONCACAF team.

The home-and-away series between Syria and Australia will take place on Oct. 5 and Oct. 10. The playoff vs. the CONCACAF team, which is also a home-and-away, will take place in November.

Australia-WorldCup-Qualifying

Australia’s Massimo Luongo, right, vies for the ball against Hotaru Yamaguchi of Japan during a World Cup qualifying match in August. (Franck Robichon/EPA-EFE)

Oceania

  • Teams: 11
  • Spots: ½
  • Qualified: None

Having weathered a multi-stage qualification process, New Zealand defeated the Solomon Islands in the regional final to become Oceania’s representative in the next round. It will meet the fifth-place team from South America in an intercontinental playoff for the right to compete in the World Cup.

While it’s opponent won’t be known until South America’s qualifiers wrap on Oct. 10, as things stand New Zealand is looking at a November home-and-away series against Argentina.

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​'Grey's Anatomy' Casts DeLuca's Sister for Season 14 — See Who's Playing Her!

Meet DeLuca’s sister.

Grey’s Anatomy has cast Sicilian-born actress Stefania Spampinato as Dr. Andrew DeLuca’s sibling, Carina DeLuca, for the upcoming 14th season, ET confirms.

As was previously reported by ET, Spampinato will have a multi-episode arc on ABC’s hit medical drama as a new doctor at Seattle’s Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. Details on Carina’s medical profession and the reason for her arrival in Seattle, Washington, is being kept under wraps.

RELATED: ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ to Introduce DeLuca’s Sister in Season 14

Giacomo Gianniotti, who plays Andrew, told ET on Sunday that Carina’s presence at Grey Sloan will be problematic for his character.

“She is going to be a new presence at the hospital,” Gianniotti said. “She comes from Italy, as my character is Italian, and you get to see us exchanging some blows in Italian, which will be very interesting.”

“Her profession, although we can’t disclose it, is a very interesting one,” he hinted. “It’s going to keep a lot of the doctors on their toes, make some doctors uncomfortable [and] some people will be glad about [her coming on]. She’ll stir things up with a European background and take on medicine.”

Gianniotti was excited for the addition of Spampinato to the Grey’s ensemble.

RELATED: Matthew Morrison Says He’s Returning to ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ for ‘Big’ Season 14 Arc

“I can’t wait for you guys to meet her. She’s lovely. She’s going to be a great new addition to the show,” he said.

Entertainment Weekly first reported Spampinato’s casting.

Grey’s Anatomy kicks off with a two-hour premiere on Thursday, Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

For more, watch the video below.

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