Tag Archives: Oilers

Tyson Barrie is the elite playmaker the Oilers have yearned for

Edmonton Oilers fans of a certain age will always compare the modern-day version of their favourite hockey team to the dynasty years of the 1980s.

For Connor McDavid is a generational player who legitimately belongs in the same conversation as Wayne Gretzky. The sublime Leon Draisaitl can impose his will on a game in a manner reminiscent of Mark Messier.

But for many years, the historical role played by the freewheeling Paul Coffey has remained vacant on the Edmonton blue-line. McDavid and Draisaitl simply lacked an offensive powerhouse to feed them the puck from the point.

Enter defenceman Tyson Barrie. Signing in Edmonton after a forgettable season in Toronto, the 29-year-old is establishing himself as the elite playmaker the Oilers yearned for.

“He’s been huge for us,” Draisaitl says. “I think he brings a lot of patience back there. Obviously, he loves being in the offensive zone. He can create. I think he’s made our game a lot faster. And he has that extra second in his game that creates lanes.

“Obviously, he’s skilled enough to find guys or get into positions to score.”

Indeed. After 33 games, Barrie leads all National Hockey League defencemen in scoring with 30 points (four goals, 26 assists). He’s settled in on the No. 1 pairing in Edmonton with Darnell Nurse.

WATCH | McDavid, Barrie lead Oilers’ rout of Flames:

Connor McDavid scored a goal and added two assists in Edmonton’s 7-3 win over Calgary. 0:48

‘Pretty incredible’

And yes, the 5-foot-11, 197-pound Barrie realizes he’s blessed to have two superstars to play give-and-go with. McDavid leads the NHL in scoring with 58 points (20 goals, 38 assists). Right behind him is Draisaitl with 49 points (17 goals, 32 assists.)

“It’s pretty incredible, the skill we have on this team,” says Barrie, a 2009 third-round pick of the Colorado Avalanche. “It’s world-class, as good as it gets.”

In a show of his own skill, Barrie collected four points Wednesday in a 7-3 victory over Calgary. Less than 24 hours later, he assisted on both McDavid markers Thursday as Edmonton squeaked out a 2-1 win over Winnipeg.

 With the victory, the Oilers (20-13) vault into a tie with the Toronto Maple Leafs (19-9-2) for first place in the North Division.

“The points are nice, but the wins are the important thing,” says Barrie, a Victoria, B.C. product. “With team success comes personal success and I think that’s a big part of it. We’re looking to keep it going.”

WATCH | Rob Pizzo’s North Division Roundup:

In our weekly segment, Rob Pizzo catches you up on the week that was in the all-Canadian division in the NHL. 3:29

In his ninth NHL season, Barrie took time introducing himself to his new work colleagues after signing a one-year deal with the Oilers worth $ 3.75 million US.

“He didn’t want to push his way in, he got a feel for what was going on, got a feel for our team,” says Oilers head coach Dave Tippett. “He’s an elite puck mover and offensive player.

“He’s got offensive instincts. We’ve had solid defenders, but no one with the instincts with the puck that he has.”

Those instincts mean the Oilers are breaking out of their own zone with ease. He’s a right-handed shot and playing with the defensively sound Nurse allows him to jump up into the play.

No wonder Draisaitl and McDavid seem so happy.

“The top offensive players, they love it when they’ve got a defenceman who can make creative plays to find you with the puck,” Tippett says. “He’s fit in very well with our team.”

The fit is so good, Oilers fans are already fretting over Barrie’s contract expiring in the summer. (Both the player and general manager Ken Holland say they have yet to talk about a possible extension.)

“I’m kind of focused on the task at hand,” Barrie says. “There’s plenty of time for that.

“First job, we’ve got to get in the playoffs here, and then we go from there.”

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Hockey Night in Canada: Maple Leafs vs. Oilers

Watch live on television and online on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET as the Toronto Maple Leafs battle the Edmonton Oilers on Hockey Night in Canada.

Please note that this stream is optimized for desktop or mobile web. If you prefer viewing this on the CBC Sports app, please open or download to watch this program.

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Oilers’ 3rd-period comeback makes up for sleepy start in win over Canucks

Dominik Kahun scored twice Tuesday as the Edmonton Oilers clawed out a 4-3 come-from-behind win over the Vancouver Canucks.

Vancouver (8-13-2) had a 3-0 lead late in the first period, thanks to goals from Bo Horvat, Tyler Myers and Elias Pettersson.

Kahun sparked the comeback for Edmonton (13-8-0) with goals late in the first and early in the third. Connor McDavid buried a power-play tally to tie the game, and Tyler Ennis scored to seal the win. Leon Draisaitl registered three assists.

Edmonton’s Mike Smith had 30 saves, while Thatcher Demko stopped 25-of-29 shots for Vancouver (8-13-2).

The victory extends Edmonton’s win streak to four games. It was another disappointing result for the Canucks, who have just two wins in their last 12 games.

Ennis broke a 3-3 deadlock 13:25 into the third period. Stationed at the side of the net, he took a puck that had bounced off his shin and tipped it in behind Demko.

WATCH | Ennis nets winner for Oilers:

Tyler Ennis completes the comeback in Edmonton’s 4-3 victory over Vancouver. 0:54

McDavid knotted the score with a power-play tally 4:23 into the third.

Vancouver defenceman Alex Edler had been sent to the box for tripping just nine seconds earlier. When Demko dove to make a stop, McDavid was quick to capitalize, popping a shot in over the sprawled-out netminder from the side of the net.

Edmonton had already cut Vancouver’s lead to a single goal less than a minute into the third when Kahun’s shot from the face-off dot sailed in over Demko’s glove.

It was the Czech forward’s second goal of the night and fourth of the season.

After a slow start to the game, the Oilers came close to whittling away the Canucks lead in the second frame.

Draisaitl unleashed a blast that tested Demko mightily four minutes in. The goalie hugged his post tightly to ensure an errant puck didn’t sneak through, not letting up until the whistle sounded.

Near the end of the frame, McDavid fired a shot off the cross bar. Play continued for a few moments before officials decided to check the play to see whether the puck had, in fact, gone into the Vancouver net before bouncing back out. A video review confirmed there was no goal.

Quick start for Canucks

Vancouver started the scoring race just 1:06 into Tuesday’s game.

Horvat sprinted down the boards and fired a sharp-angle shot from near the goal line. The puck slid under Smith’s pads and into the net to the goaltender’s apparent disbelief.

Myers extended Vancouver’s lead seven minutes later with a blast from the top of the face-off circle. His shot ticked off the stick of Edmonton’s Tyler Ennis and sailed in over Smith’s shoulder to put the Canucks up 2-0.

A scramble in front of the Oilers net ended with another Vancouver goal midway through the first.

Canucks defenceman Jordie Benn sent the puck to the front of the net and, through a crowd of sticks, Miller was able to deflect it back to Pettersson at the top of the crease. Falling to the ice, the Swedish centre batted a backhanded shot past Smith.

It was Vancouver’s third goal, coming on its ninth shot of the night.

Edmonton responded just before the first intermission.

Kahun got a shot off from low in the face-off circle and Demko appeared to make the stop. But the Canucks netminder couldn’t hold on to the puck, which dribbled out from under his arm and into the net.

The Oilers and Canucks will face each other again in Vancouver on Thursday.

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Flames facing ‘make-or-break road trip’ after dismal loss to McDavid, Oilers

Calgary Flames alternate captain Matthew Tkachuk delivered an impassioned soliloquy on the Saturday afternoon of a Hockey Night in Canada clash with the Edmonton Oilers.

“It’s time for us to get going. Enough is enough,” Tkachuk told a Zoom call with reporters. “This is a huge, huge moment in our season, this game tonight. We have to be ready right now. I think we will be.”

Turns out, the Flames were not ready for a game that could very well define their season and for all the wrong reasons. Connor McDavid collected a natural hat trick and two assists in a 7-1 show of dominance by the Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton fans savoured the latest installment of the Battle of Alberta while disillusioned Flames fans hit social media to demand general manager Brad Treliving take drastic action after such embarrassment.

“That sucked,” Tkachuk said, running a hand through his mop of curls in exasperation. “Let’s call a spade a spade here. That was probably one of the toughest moments since I’ve been here. Just the way that it went, the way things are going.

“Things snowballed. They got out of hand pretty quickly.”

Did they ever for a Flames team that started the season with designs on one of the top spots in the NHL’s North Division.

Optimism abounds in the Alberta capital where the second-place Oilers are 9-2 in the last 11 games. Criticized for allegedly lacking offensive depth, Edmonton’s third and fourth lines are chipping in with timely goals.

WATCH | McDavid powers Oilers past Flames with 5 points:

Connor Mcdavid recorded three goals and two assists in Edmonton’s 7-1 blowout win over Calgary. 0:59

At age 26, defenceman Darnell Nurse has matured into a minute-munching stalwart on the back end. New addition Tyson Barrie gives the Oilers an exceptional power-play quarterback. And Jesse Puljujarvi, the fourth-overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, finally looks like a legitimate top-six forward on a line with McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

“It’s still early on in the year,” McDavid said. “There’s lots of hockey left. We’re playing well and we need to keep winning games.”

The Flames are riding a three-game losing streak, and they’re off to Toronto to play Monday and Wednesday against the league-leading Maple Leafs.


“We need to get back to playing the way we know we can,” said Flames captain Mark Giordano. “It starts individually. You have to look at yourself and get your game going, and then the team will get going as well.”

WATCH | Rob Pizzo recaps Week 5 in the NHL’s North Division:

Rob Pizzo catches you up on the week that was in the all-Canadian division in the NHL. 3:48

Jacob Markstrom concealed many of the Flames’ flaws through the first quarter season. Now, the veteran goaltender looks tired and discombobulated.

Calgary’s prize free-agent signing surrendered five goals on 15 shots Saturday before receiving the mercy hook in favour of David Rittich.

“I guess my one thought is I feel terrible for our goalies,” Tkachuk said. “They come in and they battle every practice, every game.

“If it wasn’t for them right now, who knows where we’d be in the standings. We’d be pretty close to the bottom.”

They’re closer to the bottom than the top, sitting in fifth at 8-9-1. With their next five games on the road, the Flames could return to Calgary on March 3 with their playoff hopes in tatters.

“Realistically, it’s a make-or-break road trip for our team the way things are going and not a whole lot of games left,” Tkachuk said. “You get behind the eight ball it’s hard to make up ground with less than 40 games left.”

On Saturday, the Flames outshot the Oilers 44-24. Tkachuk led the way with an assist on Calgary’s lone goal by Andrew Mangiapane, six hits and seven shots.

But the Flames simply can’t seem to overcome untimely miscues, maddening inconsistency and shaky starts. Case in point: they’ve surrendered the first goal this season in 12-of-18 games.

“The gaffes we give up are big ones and come at inopportune times,” said Calgary head coach Geoff Ward. “It’s fixable. It’s all fixable. but we’ve got to put our minds to it and get going here.”

Time is running out.

Toronto, and Auston Matthews, await.

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Hockey Night in Canada: Flames vs. Oilers

Watch live on television and online on Saturday at 10 p.m. ET as the Calgary Flames battle the Edmonton Oilers on Hockey Night in Canada.

Please note that this stream is optimized for desktop or mobile web. If you prefer viewing this on the CBC Sports app, please open or download to watch this program.

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McDavid hat trick propels Oilers to bounceback victory against Canucks

Connor McDavid and the rest of the Edmonton Oilers big guns, embarrassed in their home opener, feasted Thursday on the Vancouver Canucks.

McDavid scored a hat trick and added an assist as the Oilers beat the Canucks 5-2 for their first win of the NHL season.

Leon Draisaitl, the NHL’s top scorer last season, added four assists. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice and added a helper, taking the sting out of a 5-3 loss to the Canucks Wednesday.

McDavid said all phases of the game were working, adding that high scores and defensive lapses may be a feature of the truncated 56-game season.

“The power play was good. The [penalty kill] was good,” said McDavid

“I think the hockey games have gone the way I kind of expected, a little bit more high scoring than they might be at this time of year if it was a normal year, and that’s across the league.”

WATCH | McDavid, Draisaitl team to lift Oilers over Canucks:

Edmonton captain Connor McDavid scores the 7th hat trick of his career as Edmonton defeats Vancouver 5-2. 1:07

Draisaitl said, “I thought it was a very solid game.

“Yesterday was not the way that we want to show up and we want to play. I thought it was a great response tonight.”

The game was held in front of no fans and empty stands at Rogers Place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Mikko Koskinen, making his second start in two nights, turned back 38 shots for the win. Mike Smith was supposed to start but was declared inactive, forcing Koskinen into back-to-back starts.

Nate Schmidt and Tyler Motte replied for Vancouver and Thatcher Demko stopped 41 shots in the loss.

Both teams now have one win and one loss in what will be an abbreviated regular season, with all seven Canadian teams playing each other exclusively in the North Division, often on back-to-back nights.

“I thought they came out a lot harder than we did to start the game, put us back on our toes early,” said Schmidt.

“We’ve got to get used to this. This is going to happen.

“You play the same team on back to back nights in their own building, it’s going to happen. You know you’re going to get a better effort out of them after we come in and win game one of these mini-series we’re going to be having all year.”

WATCH | NHL returns to ice amid pandemic:

The NHL season returned to the ice on Wednesday with many questioning if it was the right decision amid rising COVID-19 cases. The league is hoping the season will go off without a hitch, as businesses that rely on the games are looking for ways to save their bottom line. 2:01

Vancouver defenceman Quinn Hughes had an assist and now has three on the season.

Draisaitl now has five points on the year — all assists.

The Oilers also got their power play back on track. They scored twice with the man advantage after going 0 for 4 on Wednesday. Edmonton had the top power play in the NHL last season at 29.5 per cent effectiveness.

The game saw Edmonton hold the edge in play, but the Canucks refuse to go away.

Nugent-Hopkins opened the scoring on the power play at 7:59 of the first period. He jumped on the rebound when a Draisaitl wrist shot clanged off the post, backhanding the puck over the goal-line.

McDavid made it 2-0 on an extraordinary goal with less than one second to go in the period. Draisaitl won the faceoff to Demko’s left, drew the puck back to Kailer Yamamoto, who fired the puck off Demko’s pad. McDavid drove to the net and, with Schmidt draped all over him, flipped the puck up and under the crossbar.

There were four goals in the second period. Schmidt made it 2-1 when he blasted a low slapshot from the point through traffic that bounded in and out of the net so fast it wasn’t immediately clear it had gone in.

McDavid then restored the two-goal lead, on the power play, racing at full speed into the Canuck zone, catching Vancouver defender Alex Edler flat footed, cutting inside and delivering a no-look blazing wrist shot stick side and in.

Motte brought Vancouver back to within one, deflecting a low blue-line slapshot from Travis Hamonic past Koskinen.

Then McDavid again, jumping in front of Demko, taking a seeing-eye pass from Draisaitl and jamming the puck in on the rebound for his seventh NHL regular season hat trick.

The last time he got a hat trick was also in front of no fans, in early August against Chicago in the so-called bubble play-in round to determine the 2019-20 season playoff seeding.

After he scored in August, arena staff hustled down the stairs and honoured hockey tradition by tossing ball caps over the glass and onto the ice to mark the hat trick. McDavid later said he found the lid toss an unnecessary distraction.

This time, no hat toss.

Edmonton made it 5-2 with just over eight minutes left in the game. Nugent-Hopkins drove to the net through traffic and redirected a Yamamoto pass past Demko.

WATCH | 9 NHL storylines… in 90 seconds:

Rob Pizzo identifies the key things to watch as the season begins. 1:54

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Brock Boeser cashes in pair to help Canucks spoil Oilers’ home opener

Brock Boeser scored twice, including the winner, as the Vancouver Canucks downed the Edmonton Oilers 5-3 on Wednesday in the 2020-21 NHL season opener for both teams.

Bo Horvat, Adam Gaudette, and rookie Nils Hoglander also scored for Vancouver. Braden Holtby made 28 saves for his first win as a Canuck.

Kailer Yamamoto, Darnell Nurse and Adam Larsson replied for Edmonton. Mikko Koskinen stopped 30-of-35 shots for the loss.

It was a back and forth game in front of no fans and canned crowd noise at Rogers Place.

The Canucks won despite not having winger J.T. Miller in the lineup. Miller, their top scorer from last season, and depth defenceman Jordie Benn had to sit out as per COVID-19 protocol.

WATCH | Boeser’s pair lifts Canucks over Oilers:

Brock Boeser records 2 goals in Vancouver’s 5-3 win over Edmonton. 0:56

Oiler captain McDavid, playing on his 24th birthday, was held scoreless but buzzed around the net, driving on Holtby relentlessly and drawing multiple penalties.

Oiler centre Leon Draisaitl, the reigning Art Ross Trophy winner as the league’s top point getter last season, registered one assist.

Boeser scored twice in the third period to seal the win as the Canucks took advantage of numerous Oiler defensive breakdowns.

Vancouver opened the scoring with less than five minutes to play in the first period. Tanner Pearson, racing with the puck up the right wing, managed, just before getting hit by Oiler Zack Kassian at Edmonton’s blue line, to spin and put the puck on the tape of Horvat in the slot. Horvat skated in alone and shot the puck low stick side past Koskinen.

The Oilers tied the game early in the second. Draisaitl, off a turnover, fed the puck to Yamamoto who one-timed the puck from the slot into the top corner of the net.

WATCH | NHL returns with cautious optimism:

The NHL season returned to the ice on Wednesday with many questioning if it was the right decision amid rising COVID-19 cases. The league is hoping the season will go off without a hitch, as businesses that rely on the games are looking for ways to save their bottom line. 2:01

Hoglander, the Swedish rookie, put Vancouver up 2-1 with less than three minutes to go in the second, on a rebound after Edmonton failed to clear the puck out of its own end.

The goals came in bunches in the third period, starting with Nurse’s wrist shot from the face-off circle just 10 seconds in.

Gaudette then scored on a cross-ice feed from Antoine Roussel to make it 3-2.

Less than two minutes later, Quinn Hughes, down on the ice near the blue line managed to backhand the puck to an open Boeser in the slot, who fired low and in for a 4-2 lead.

Then Larsson fired a slapshot from the top of the face-off circle through traffic and in to cut the lead to 4-3.

Boeser then took a pass off the wall from Elias Pettersson to steam in on the right wing and fire the puck shortside over Koskinen’s shoulder.

WATCH | 9 NHL storylines… in 90 seconds:

Rob Pizzo identifies the key things to watch as the season begins. 1:54

The two teams play again in Edmonton Thursday night in what will be a 56-game regular-season sprint over 115 days. Due to cross-border COVID travel restrictions, the seven Canadian teams will play each other in the North Division.

Edmonton and Vancouver will play 10 times.

It was a return to familiar surroundings for both teams.

Edmonton hosted the NHL’s Western Conference playoffs and league’s final two playoff rounds last summer in the so-called playoff “bubble.”

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Oilers sign former Leafs defenceman Tyson Barrie

The Edmonton Oilers added to their blue line and brought back a familiar face on the second day of NHL free agency.

The club inked a one-year, US$ 3.75-million contract with defenceman Tyson Barrie before re-signing veteran goalie Mike Smith for $ 2 million at the same term on Saturday.

Barrie has registered 80 goals and 346 points in 554 career NHL games with the Colorado Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs to go along with 14 points (one goal, 13 assists) in 26 post-season contests.

The Victoria native was acquired by Toronto in July 2019 as part of the trade with Colorado for centre Nazem Kadri, but had a rough start under former Leafs head coach Mike Babcock and never really got going with his new team. Things improved after Babcock was fired and replaced with Sheldon Keefe, but Barrie still finished with just five goals and 39 points in 70 games.

That was far below the 59- and 57-point campaigns he produced during his final two seasons with the Avalanche.

“For me, it was a no brainer,” Barrie, who got a call from Edmonton captain Connor McDavid this week about a potential fit, said of joining the Oilers. “It wasn’t about money this year, (but) coming in to re-establish myself and show the league that I’m still a pretty good player.”

WATCH | What’s next for NHL?:

The NHL had zero cases in the bubble during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but what’s next for the league? Andi Petrillo speaks with NHL analyst Dave Poulin. 6:03

Barrie, who is coming off a four-year deal that carried an annual-average value of $ 5.5 million, was also held off the scoresheet in Toronto’s five-game loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the qualifying round of the NHL’s restart before hitting unrestricted free agency.

“I was the top guy in Colorado as far as power play went and played a lot of minutes,” he said. “Going in and trying to adjust to not being in that role and not being that guy, it got off to a bit of a rocky start.

“It’s hard to reel things in when they’re spiraling. Hockey is a big confidence game.”

Smith signs 1-year deal

The Oilers are also bringing Smith back to tandem with Mikko Koskinen for a second season despite there being a plethora of options on the goalie market when free agency opened. The 38-year-old from Kingston, Ont., finished 2019-20 with 19-13-6 record, a .902 save percentage and a 2.95 goals-against average, but was pulled after stopping just 18 of 23 shots in Game 1 of the qualifying round against Chicago this summer.

Chicago would go on to take the best-of-five series 3-1.

Set to enter a 15th NHL season on his fifth team, Smith owns a career record of 262-248-74, a .911 save percentage and a 2.71 GAA.

The 29-year-old Barrie, meanwhile, looked to be 12 months from a massive payday after the trade to Toronto’s talent-rich lineup that includes Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, but his sub-par performance coupled with the economic realities brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic scuttled those plans.

He will, however, get another shot to line up alongside some elite scorers in Edmonton after inking a short-term deal that should see him play big minutes with McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Barrie’s addition and Smith’s return on the second day of free agency came after the Oilers signed centre Kyle Turris to a two-year, $ 3.3-million contract and winger Tyler Ennis to a one-year, $ 1-million pact on Friday.

“I think we’ve got a pretty great team,” Barrie said. “I’m looking forward to getting involved.”

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Oilers’ Connor McDavid tests positive for COVID-19

The Edmonton Oilers say Connor McDavid has tested positive for COVID-19.

The NHL team made the announcement on Twitter on Monday night.

The Oilers say their team captain is self-quarantining at home and experiencing mild symptoms. The team added that McDavid is feeling well.

The NHL made it through its post-season in so-called bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton without one positive test in August and September. McDavid’s Oilers were eliminated in the opening round of the post-season in Edmonton in early August.

The league did have players test positive before the post-season. The NHL said 30 players tested positive during voluntary training in Phase 2 of its return-to-play plan earlier in the summer, while another 13 had the virus outside the Phase 2 protocol.

Two more positive tests were reported during training camp, which was considered Phase 3.

Six members of the Ottawa Senators organization tested positive for COVID-19 after the team made a trip through hard-hit California just before the league suspended its season in March.

The NHL stopped releasing the identities of names or teams for positive tests earlier this year. However, Toronto Maple Leafs star forward Auston Matthews confirmed he had COVID-19 in the aftermath of published reports.

McDavid, 23, who lives in Newmarket, Ont., was second in NHL scoring last season with 97 points.

The four-time all-star won the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player in 2017.

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Edmonton Oilers defenceman Caleb Jones says he tested positive for COVID-19

Edmonton Oilers defenceman Caleb Jones has acknowledged he tested positive for COVID-19 before training camp.

Jones says he tested positive when he returned to Edmonton from his home in Dallas.

Jones opened his media session on Friday by revealing his positive test. He said he was asymptomatic.

The NHL is not releasing the names of players who test positive for COVID-19, and the league also is no longer revealing the teams in updates on positive tests.

Jones, 23, becomes the second NHL player to acknowledge a positive test in a media interview. Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews also told reporters he tested positive on the first day of training camp on Monday, weeks after a report in The Toronto Sun on the star’s diagnosis.

Jones said he did his 14 days of isolation before camp started, but was held out of main sessions for the first three days as he tried to get himself back up to speed.

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