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After back-and-forth week, Quebec signals willingness to play by new rules set by COVID variants

Just over one month ago, amid a lull in Quebec’s COVID-19 infection rates, the province’s leading public health official, Dr. Horacio Arruda, used a colourful metaphor to describe the threat posed by more contagious variants of the virus.

“We are right now in a period of calm seas,” he said. “But underneath there are sharks, and those sharks are the variants.”

Despite the warning, the government decided to authorize swimming in these shark-infested waters.

In the ensuing weeks, rules were relaxed across much of the province. The Quebec City area and the Outaouais were among the regions reclassified as orange zones. Restaurant dining rooms and gyms were reopened. There was hope in the air.

Even in Montreal — a perennial trouble spot — extracurricular school activities and large religious gatherings were permitted again. Older high-school students were told to go back to full-time, in-person classes.

But on Tuesday, Premier François Legault played the role of Chief Brody in the movie Jaws. Get out of the water, he told the province.

Quebec Director of Public Health Horacio Arruda responds to a question during Tuesday’s news conference in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

At a news conference in Montreal, he announced he was cancelling the small freedoms recently granted to residents of the greater Montreal area: gyms will close, extracurriculars will stop, religious services will be capped at 25 people max.

Last week, he announced a series of harsher measures for the Quebec City area and the Outaouais, where cases have grown at exponential rates.

Controlling the variants

Epidemiologists and other health experts had warned the government in March it was making a high-odds bet by lifting measures even though the variants were clearly gaining ground.

The normally staid public health research institute the INSPQ said bluntly on March 26 that the provincial measures in place “were insufficient to control the variants.”

But Arruda, Legault and Health Minister Christian Dubé — le trio, as the francophone press calls them — insisted the moves were justified because hospitalizations were continuing to decrease at the same time as elderly Quebecers were being vaccinated.

In an interview with La Presse last week, Arruda spelled out, with surprising candour, the province’s strategy to a younger journalist.

“If I have 2,000 [new] cases [a day] in Quebec, but we don’t have significant hospitalizations or deaths, we can live with that,” he said.

“Because older people are protected, we will, of course, have people your age who will find themselves in intensive care and die, which is horrible. But is it better if you close everything, and people break the rules in secret?”   

Avoiding Ontario’s fate

At the moment, Quebec is averaging 1,200 cases per day, and so far, hospitalizations haven’t returned to the critical levels seen around Christmas.

Legault said Tuesday he hoped by taking action now, before hospitalizations rise quickly, he can avoid the situation facing Ontario, where intensive care units are hitting capacity and many schools are set to close to in-person learning again.

“It’s a matter of days, or at most, weeks,” he said, before Quebec’s hospital numbers begin to tick upward.

The new measures announced Tuesday, along with those introduced last week, bring more coherence to the government’s message. The added restrictions reflect the danger of a virus that has been turbo-charged by variants.

“It was the right thing to do. We needed to be more proactive,” said Dr. Cécile Tremblay, an infectious disease specialist at the Université de Montréal health centre, following Legault’s announcement.

“The models showed we risked having an exponential growth in cases if we kept the measures as they were before.”

WATCH | Quebec being ‘proactive’ with new measures, says infectious diseases specialist:

Dr. Cécile Tremblay says by tightening measures and offering up AstraZeneca to people 55 and up, the province is trying to keep the third wave under control. 3:10

But the abrupt pivot — from downplaying the dangers of the third wave to re-imposing lockdown measures — has exposed the government to criticism that its public health approach is haphazard. And there are signs its credibility has been damaged.

On the one hand, the government faced protests last week in several Montreal-area schools where students and parents wanted more, not fewer, public health measures in place.

On the other hand, its flip-flop caused whiplash, bitterness and confusion in and around Quebec City. Over the weekend, police there received more than double their usual number of calls about illegal gatherings.

The new rules

Legault wouldn’t admit he had made a mistake by lifting measures last month. “We won’t stop ourselves from providing freedom when we’re able to do so, or closing things again when it’s necessary,” he said.

Throughout the pandemic, the premier has made clear the government’s priority is protecting the health-care network, as opposed to eliminating the virus outright (which was the stated goal of the Atlantic provinces, for example).

Arruda’s comments to La Presse last week only made it apparent what the trade-offs are.

It is a bargain the public has found reasonable to date. Freedom was maximized for the least vulnerable — school-aged children — and progressively reduced for the most vulnerable, especially the elderly.

WATCH | Youth who toil in grocery stores, cafés and restaurants feel the strain:

As the stress of the pandemic wears on, Quebec’s young adults do the essential work that is often overlooked. 3:54

Some in long-term care homes were effectively confined to their rooms for months on end as the virus circulated widely in the community. In turn, they were first up when vaccines became available.

But the more contagious variants of COVID-19 have upended the terms of the bargain. The old methods for containing transmission are no longer enough to prevent the virus from spreading like wildfire, and vaccines can’t be rolled out fast enough to prevent younger people from ending up in hospital.

With the measures announced over the last week, the Legault government signalled it is no longer just talking about these new realities of the pandemic — it has started to adjust to them as well.

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CBC | Health News

4 Canadians will play key roles in final fours this weekend

This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, which is CBC Sports’ daily email newsletter. Stay up to speed on what’s happening in sports by subscribing here.

Quick note before we get started: I’d like to mix in a few “mailbag” newsletters in the coming months. But first I’ll need more mail. So if you have a question about sports that you’ve always wanted to ask, or you want my #take on something, or whatever, send it to thebuzzer@cbc.ca and include your first name and where you’re from. I’ll pick a few of the better ones to answer in some upcoming newsletters.

Also, no newsletter on Good Friday or Easter Monday. Back Tuesday.

OK, here’s what to know for today:

Good things come in fours

Starting tonight, the Easter long weekend will feature four Canadian athletes playing a prominent role in a final four (or, for most of them, a Final Four). Here’s a bit about each:

Bianca Andreescu: She’s back, folks. After nearly a year and a half of injury-induced frustration, the Canadian tennis star has put together her most meaningful tournament run since she won the 2019 U.S. Open. Andreescu won a hard-fought match vs. Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo last night to reach the semifinals of the Miami Open. She also made the semis of the Phillip Island Trophy in Australia in February, but that was a low-stakes event with weak competition — players who’d either been eliminated quickly from the Australian Open or didn’t qualify. Miami is in the WTA 1000 tier — just a cut below the Grand Slams. Andreescu hasn’t made the semifinals at a tournament of this calibre or better since her historic Grand Slam title in New York in September 2019. That was also the last time she reached a final of any kind. Andreescu can end that drought tonight when she faces Maria Sakkari sometime after 8:30 p.m. ET. Sakkari is ranked 25th in the world (16 spots below Andreescu) but the powerful Greek just destroyed Naomi Osaka 6-0, 6-4 in the quarters, snapping the world No. 2’s 23-match win streak. The winner meets No. 1-ranked Ash Barty or No. 5 Elina Svitolina in the final on Saturday.

Aaliyah Edwards: The most impressive Canadian in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament helped UConn reach its 13th consecutive Final Four by averaging 14.5 points and 6.7 rebounds over the first four rounds. Edwards, a freshman forward, won the Big East Conference’s Sixth Woman of the Year award after coming off the bench for most of the regular season, but she’s started the last three games. With freshman sensation Paige Bueckers leading the way, UConn is heavily favoured to beat Arizona on Friday night and will likely meet top-ranked Stanford in Sunday’s final. Canadian Shaina Pellington is part of Arizona’s rotation and is averaging 4.5 points in the tournament.

Laeticia Amihere: The sophomore forward hopes to literally block Stanford’s path to the title game in Friday’s other Final Four matchup. Amihere swatted away nine shots and added 10 points and eight rebounds off the bench in South Carolina’s blowout of Texas in the last round. She’s averaging 11 points and eight boards in the tournament. Stanford has its own Canadian player, Alyssa Jerome, but she didn’t get on the court in their last game and has yet to score in the tournament. For more on the Final Four, check out the latest newsletter from our friends at The GIST, who cover women’s sports with a unique voice year-round.

Andrew Nembhard: Gonzaga is two wins away from becoming the first undefeated NCAA men’s basketball champion in 45 years, and a Canadian starts for them. Nembhard isn’t an elite scorer (8.7 points per game in the tournament) but he’s capable of big games like his 17-point, eight-assist outburst vs. Creighton in the third round. And apparently he doesn’t get tired: Nembhard played 110 of a possible 120 minutes in the last three rounds. Gonzaga is an absolute juggernaut that has blown out its four opponents by an average of 24 points. But if it ever gets tested — either in Saturday night’s Final Four matchup vs. Cinderella UCLA or in Monday’s championship game — there’s a good chance Nembhard is one of the guys coach Mark Few will count on in crunch time.

UConn freshman Aaliyah Edwards has been the most impressive Canadian in the NCAA women’s tournament. (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)


The police know what happened to Tiger Woods. But they’re not telling. Citing unspecified “privacy issues,” the sheriff of Los Angeles County said yesterday that he couldn’t reveal exactly what detectives determined caused the single-vehicle crash that seriously injured Woods last month. Sheriff Alex Villanueva has called the crash “purely an accident” and indicated there was no evidence of impairment. In yesterday’s update, he said his team has “reached out” to Woods and his camp about waiving the privacy concerns so that the investigation findings can be released to the public. Read more here.

The men’s curling world championship starts tomorrow in Calgary. First-time Brier winner Brendan Bottcher and his rink will try to capture Canada’s first world title since Brad Gushue’s team did it in 2017. Their opponents include Sweden’s Nik Edin, who’s going for a three-peat after beating Brad Gushue and Kevin Koe in the last two finals, and reigning Olympic champion John Shuster of the United States. Read more about Bottcher here and get a quick snippet on each of the 14 teams here. Also, That Curling Show is back. Join hosts Devin Heroux and Colleen Jones tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET on the CBC Sports YouTube channel as they preview the worlds and chat with Bottcher, Edin and Shuster (that’s right, they’re all on tonight’s show).

And finally…

The Sabres won a game! Their tragicomic 18-game losing streak (an unofficial NHL record) ended last night with a cathartic 6-1 blowout of the same Flyers team that prolonged their misery by rallying from a 3-0 third-period deficit two nights before. But Buffalo is hardly out of the woods. They’re last overall by nine points, they’ve been shut out as many times (seven) as they’ve won, and their two best players (Jack Eichel and Taylor Hall) have scored four goals this season. Combined. Nashville’s Rocco Grimaldi, who you’ve possibly never heard of, matched that output by himself in one game last week.

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CBC | Sports News

Canadian midfielder Desiree Scott itching to play after lengthy soccer hiatus

Desiree Scott has been waiting a long time for her next game.

The 33-year-old midfielder from Winnipeg didn’t play in the NWSL’s Challenge Cup last summer due to family commitments and opted out of the league’s Fall Series. Her last match with Canada was March 10, 2020 — a 2-2 tie with Brazil at a tournament in France.

Next week’s SheBelieves Cup can’t come soon enough.

“It’s really been a long time coming to get on a field with other people,” Scott told reporters Friday from Florida. “So the first [Canada] team meeting, we walked in and I just got teary-eyed because I’ve really missed being in the environment and in that team aspect of things.”

Scott, a tenacious ball-winner who has earned 157 caps, and the eighth-ranked Canadians open play next Thursday against the top-ranked U.S. at the four-country tournament in Orlando.

The Canadian women then play Brazil, tied for eighth in the world rankings, on Feb. 21 and No. 31 Argentina on Feb. 24.

‘What a way to start the year off’

Playing the powerful Americans is always a big ask. Doing it 345 days after your last outing only raises the degree of difficulty.

Canada’s record against the U.S. is 3-50-7. The Americans are riding a 34-game unbeaten streak and have scored two or more goals in 30 of those games. They are also unbeaten in their last 50 home matches (45-0-5) during which they have outscored their opponents 179-27.

The U.S. is coming off a pair of lopsided wins over Colombia last month.

Scott is unfazed, despite a personal 0-10-3 record against the Americans.

“What a way to start the year off after not being together for a year,” she said. “We can come into this camp and make a ton of excuses and look at it that way. But for us, it’s about the opportunity that we have ahead of us.

“You’re playing the No. 1 team. Any time we play them, it’s always a gritty battle. So we’re just looking forward to using that as a measuring stick to gauge where we’re at after not being together for a year. But also just looking at it as an opportunity to shine, see where we’re at, show what we’ve got and really build on that through the rest of the tournament.”

Scott paid tribute to Canadian strength and conditioning coach Cesar Meylan for helping her stay in shape during her time in Winnipeg.

“He’s given me a program that has adapted to the snow, being on my own in my basement. I invested in a treadmill and dumbbells and he’s kind of just adapted my program to that. I’ll work off a wall in my basement.

“I was a bit nervous coming into camp to see where I’m at. Nothing can replicate being on the field. But I’ve been good so far. I’m still standing.”

New era under Priestman

The tournament marks the first outing for new coach Bev Priestman, who spent 2013 to 2018 with Canada Soccer as an assistant coach with the senior side and youth head coach before returning to her native England to take up a similar role with the Lionesses.

Scott says Priestman has her own style and is building off her experience both in England and Canada.

“I don’t think she’s going to come in and overhaul everything. But she just given us new ways to think about some of the small tactical things that we’ve already been doing. Allowing us to get a lot of more competitiveness within training sessions. Nothing is given. You’ve got to earn that and I think she’s really pushing that aspect in training.”

The 34-year-old Priestman took over the Canadian team in November after Kenneth Heiner-Moller accepted a coaching job in his native Denmark.

Scott started her NWSL career in Kansas City and will be back there this season as a member of the expansion Kansas City NWSL side after time with the now-defunct Utah Royals.

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CBC | Soccer News

Pandemic may force Canadian men to play home World Cup qualifiers at neutral sites

CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani says Canada will likely have to play its first home World Cup qualifying matches at a neutral site due to pandemic-related restrictions.

Border issues and the need for quarantine complicate a qualifying schedule that has already been pushed back several times due to COVID-19. The Canadian men are slated to pay their first home qualifying match in late March.

“Listen, it’s not going to be as easy as it was before, when you just got on a plane and you play or you play at home,” Montagliani told reporters Wednesday. “Obviously no fans for probably the vast majority of these games, if not all of them. There’ll be neutral venues for some of them. Canada, I would think, would be a neutral venue. Although it would be a home game, it would still be a neutral venue.

“It’s World Cup qualifying so it’s the responsibility of each federation to sort their things out. It’s not really a CONCACAF event. However, having said that, we’re helping and facilitating as much as possible to help our federations from a logistical standpoint to ensure that March goes off as smoothly as possible.”

Montagliani doubles as a FIFA vice-president and is a former president of the Canadian Soccer Association.

Canada Soccer said it “continues to work with the PHAC (Public Health Agency of Canada) and provincial medical authorities to establish the best venue and safest environment for upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers.”

Montagliani says CONCACAF can use intel gained from the experiences of other confederations to help with the staging of the games. Canada has also just held a national team camp in a bubble in Bradenton, Fla.

Must win group to advance

The top five sides in the region, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean, skip the first two qualifying rounds and go directly to the final round-robin stage.

The other 30, including 72nd-ranked Canada, will battle it out to see which three join No. 9 Mexico, the 22nd-ranked Americans, No. 47 Jamaica, No. 51 Costa Rica and No. 64 Honduras.

Canada is scheduled to open its qualifying campaign March 25 in Group B play at home to No. 169 Bermuda, the first of a possible 20 matches the Canadian men will have to play if they are to book their ticket to Qatar in 2022.

The Canadians then play March 28 at the 193rd-ranked Cayman Islands and June 5 at No. 200 Aruba before wrapping up first-round play June 8 at home to No. 141 Suriname.

Canada needs to win its group to advance to the second round of qualifying.

Should Canada survive the first round, it will open the second round June 12 at the Group E winner before hosting the rematch on June 15.

The Canadian men, who are co-hosting the 2026 World Cup along with Mexico and the U.S., have only ever qualified for one World Cup — 1986 in Mexico where they exited after failing to score in losses to France, Hungary and the Soviet Union.

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CBC | Soccer News

Canadian Cyle Larin continues scoring tear in Turkish league play

Canadian forward Cyle Larin added to his goals total in the Turkish Super Lig on Thursday scoring in league-leading Besiktas’ 4-1 win at Fatih Karagumruk.

The 25-year-old from Brampton, Ont., made it 3-0 for the Black Eagles in the 66th minute, sliding to knock a cross from left back Ridvan Yilmaz into the corner of the goal.

Larin kissed the club crest on his jersey and pounded his chest in celebration after the goal

Larin who came into the game having scored six times in his previous four outings, is second in the Turkish Super Lig scoring race with 12 goals. He also has three goals in other competitions.

Veteran Canadian midfielder Atiba Hutchinson also started for Besiktas, which tops the Turkish table at 13-4-2.

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CBC | Soccer News

In 2020, athletes around the world refused to shut up and just play

Normally when we reflect on a year in sports, athletes hoisting shiny trophies are the lasting memories — overtime goals, buzzer-beaters and breathtaking photo finishes.

Sometimes etched in our minds, too, are images of heartbreak. 

Sports is for many an anchor, a place where unscripted joy and disappointment play out and fans collectively revel in it. A sweet escape. A distraction. 

But 2020 was anything but normal. 

The notion that athletes should just shut up and stick to sports and leave politics out of it has for too long seemed outdated. But the show does always have to go on and often, athletes do in fact just have to shut up. Because money. 

This year, though, in the uncertainty of the chaos and the tedium of the pandemic, the pendulum swung and sporting heroes found their voices and used their platform in an unparalleled way.

WATCH | Devin Heroux on the year that was:

Athletes around the world raised a collective voice in an unprecedented show of power. 5:03

It has changed the games forever. 

Halting the Olympics

It began during those turbulent 48 hours in mid-March, when, almost simultaneously, the world and sports shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The seriousness of what was unfolding was clearly articulated in March by Canadian hockey superstar Hayley Wickenheiser, who sent out a post on social media that was heard around the world.

With the Summer Olympics looming in Tokyo in July, Wickenheiser provided the reality check the sports world so badly needed.

“I think the IOC insisting this will move ahead, with such conviction, is insensitive and irresponsible given the state of humanity. We don’t know what’s happening in the next 24 hours, let alone the next three months,” she wrote. 

The IOC wasn’t happy with Wickenheiser. But not long after, in an unforgettable move, the Canadian Olympic Committee said it would not be attending Tokyo if the Games went on.

Shortly after, the Olympics were postponed. 

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, wearing a face mask, visits an empty National Stadium, main venue for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, in November. (Getty Images)

Anti-racism statements

In those waiting and wondering months of April and May, words like “bubble” and “hub city” became part of everyday sports lingo. But in the background, leagues were plotting their triumphant return. And many did. 

The pandemic put sports on pause and athletes at all levels were suddenly in the same place as everyone else. 

But the atmosphere became charged in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police in the first half of the year. Protests rose up across North America night after night in the spring, and many sports superstars showed they had had enough. 

In August, in another unforgettable 48 hours, the NBA again shut down, this time after players refused to play in continued protest, while WNBA players walked onto the court wearing T-shirts with bullet holes in them — and then left. 

Benfica supporters wear face masks and keep a social distance before a UEFA Europa League match in October in one of the few sporting events around the world that even permitted fans. (AFP via Getty Images)

A united front for a social cause like never before.

Coaches and players cried at podiums, their pain spilling over in a way we’ve never seen.

“We’re the ones getting killed. We’re the ones getting shot. We’re the ones … denied to live in certain communities. We’ve been hung. We’ve been shot. And all you do is keep hearing about fear,” L.A. Clippers coach Doc Rivers said, tears rolling from his eyes in late August. 

In the same way the pandemic swiftly and simultaneously halted sports, athletes shut down the game together. 

It made sports commentators and casual fans pause. Reflect. And, in a lot of cases, sit in the discomfort of challenging social issue conversations

The concern going into all of these bubbles and resuming play for many athletes was that their voices would get lost in nightly game highlights. And on many nights, they did. And so they stopped. 

It forced powerful, mostly white sport owners to have conversations that for too long just weren’t being had. 

Stadiums and arenas became voting stations. Players put pressure on politicians. 

Doc Rivers, centre, then head coach of the L.A. Clippers, gave a heart-felt plea for social justice in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. (Getty Images)

Ademola Lookman of Fulham takes a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement prior to his team’s Premier League match in October. (Getty Images)

2020 triumphs

But even in our mourning, sports found a way to make us smile.

The Houston Dash of the National Women’s Soccer League captured the first championship in a bubble setting. 

Soccer prodigy Alphonso Davies became the first Canadian men’s player to win a Champions League title. 

Lightning struck in the form of a Stanley Cup win in a hockey bubble. And a Zamboni driver helped lead the Hurricanes to a victory over the Leafs. 

The Lakers and LeBron added another title. The Dodgers are baseball champions.

Canadian tennis continues to surge, with Denis Shapovalov, Leylah Annie Fernandez, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Vasek Pospisil leading the way — all while Bianca Andreescu works in the background, plotting her return. 

Bayern Munich’s Canadian midfielder Alphonso Davies celebrates with Champions League trophy after his team defeated Paris Saint-Germain in August. Davies is the first Canadian to play on a UEFA championship team. (Getty Images)

We the North went south, and took the lead on social issues, rolling up to the Florida bubble in buses with Black Lives Matter plastered on the side

The Blue Jays flew south, too — a young and exciting team that surprised many by making the playoffs, even if it was a short-lived run. 

Fledgling sports leagues Canadian Elite Basketball League and the Canadian Premier League successfully took to the court and pitch and cemented themselves in the country’s sporting landscape. 

The Canadian Football League did not play — and the Grey Cup was not awarded for the first time since 1919. 

A Masters in November without fans making for majestic views. And The Last Dance, a documentary series about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, that, for a week weeks at least, entertained us. 

Canada’s Christine Sinclair, front left, celebrates with teammates after scoring against St. Kitts and Nevis during a CONCACAF women’s Olympic qualifying game on Jan. 29, 2020, setting the international record for goals scored. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Before the shutdown, Canadian soccer star Christine Sinclair broke the record for the most international goals scored by any player ever to take to the pitch. 

Curlers Kerri Einarson and Brad Gushue won the Scotties and Brier, respectively, only to have their opportunity to represent Canada at the world championships taken away due to the pandemic. 

The world and sports will discover its new normal. And the Olympic Games will eventually go on.

We endure. But 2020 has changed us. 

Too much and too many lost.

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CBC | Sports News

NHL says it has agreement with provinces on conditions for Canadian teams to play season on home rinks

The NHL says it believes it has an agreement with provincial governments on the conditions for its Canadian teams to play out the 2021 season from their home markets.

“On the basis of our discussions in the past week, as well as our exchange of correspondence over the last 24 hours, we believe we are aligned and in agreement on the conditions on which each of our Canadian franchises can begin play in their own buildings for the start of the 2020-21 NHL season,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said on Thursday.

CBC News has confirmed the statement, as first reported by Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic.

The seven Canadian teams will be grouped in one division and only play each other for the duration of the 56-game schedule, which is slated to begin Jan. 13.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are scheduled to host the Montreal Canadiens, while the Edmonton Oilers are slated to face the visiting Vancouver Canucks as part of a five-game schedule on opening night.

The Winnipeg Jets open Jan. 14 against the visiting Calgary Flames, while the Oilers and Canucks meet again in Edmonton.

The Ottawa Senators start their season Jan. 15 against visiting Toronto, the first of two games in as many days between the Ontario rivals in the nation’s capital.

Baseball-style series are common under the revised scheduele as the league attempts to reduce travel. For example, the Canadiens and Senators each are scheduled to play three straight games in Vancouver in January.

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CBC | Sports News

DOSBox Pure Launches to Make Classic Games Easier to Play

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There are a lot of amazing games these days, but they sometimes take years to develop, and they might still launch in a sorry state at release — looking at you, Cyberpunk 2077. If you want to return to a simpler time, the games of yesteryear are now easier to play thanks to the new DOSBox Pure. This software makes playing DOS games a snap, even for those who didn’t grow up messing around with command lines. 

About 20 years ago, Windows XP removed the DOS layer that Microsoft’s previous Windows interfaces ran atop. The DOSBox emulator launched soon after, allowing gamers to run classic games that don’t work on modern operating systems. It’s been long enough that there are grown adults today who might want to play a game like Duke Nukem 3D or Quake but have never touched a DOS command line. That’s where DOSBox Pure comes in. It has all the DOS emulation capabilities of the main release, but it can run games directly from ZIP files or images. And that’s just the start. 

DOSBox Pure is a new fork built for RetroArch/Libretro, and it’s technically only a test version at this time. However, it seems surprisingly solid after just six months of development. However, it does not come with any games — you’ll have to provide your own. There are many games from that era that are available freely online, but distributing others is a legal gray area. 

To start playing a game in DOSBox Pure, simply point the software at your game directory. If there’s a disc image inside, DOSBox Pure will automatically mount the first found disk image as the A: or D: drive. If a game has multiple executables, DOSBox Pure will provide a list (gamepad-compatible, even) that allows you to select the correct EXE. It can even automatically detect and map your controller based on the game. For games that support mice, you can emulate mouse cursor control with your controller. 

It was possible to just plain lose games from the DOS era when you ran out of lives, but DOSBox Pure has a plethora of emulator features that will make those classic games slightly less imposing. You can create multiple save states for a game, and there’s a handy rewind feature in case you screw up and don’t want to burn a life. It also supports RetroArch cheat code searching. 

If you want to give it a shot, the DOSBox Pure installer and documentation are available on the GitHub page. It’s currently compatible with Windows, Linux, and Raspberry Pi (Arm7).

Now read:

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ExtremeTechGaming – ExtremeTech

NHL, NHLPA tentatively agree to terms on return to play: reports

The National Hockey League and its players’ association reportedly agreed to terms Friday on holding the 2021 campaign.

Each side must hold a vote among its constituents to put the final stamp of approval on the deal, Sportsnet and TSN reported.

The sides agreed to a 56-game schedule with hopes of starting Jan. 13, according to multiple outlets.

CBC Sports has not independently confirmed the reports.

Deputy NHL commissioner Bill Daly confirmed to The Associated Press the sides have an agreement, pending the approval of various executive boards.

The NHL Players’ Association’s board is meeting Friday night to discuss the deal, while the league’s board of governors could vote on the plan soon. Approval from health officials in the five Canadian provinces that have teams is still needed before the NHL can go ahead with the season.

Training camps for the seven non-playoff teams would open Dec. 31, followed by Jan. 3 for the other 24 teams. It’s unclear whether teams would play in their home arenas or in “hub” cities, although an all-divisional schedule is expected.

The NHL was reportedly planning to realign its divisions for the 2020-21 campaign with a seven-team, all-Canadian division that would play domestically in Canada with no cross-border travel. However, reports Thursday night suggested that every Canadian team may have to head south instead to adhere to provincial guidelines around COVID-19.

Exhibition games aren’t expected to be included in the leadup to the new season.

The NHL, like the NBA, finished its previous season in two quarantined bubbles — in Toronto and Edmonton. Commissioner Gary Bettman awarded the Stanley Cup to the Tampa Bay Lightning in late September.

Owners and players agreed to a long-term extension of the collective bargaining agreement before the 2019-20 season resumed, bracing for financial ramifications of the pandemic. They agreed recently to stick to that deal, which includes players deferring 10 per cent of salaries, a cap on money paid into escrow and a flat $ 81.5 million US cap.

The NHL follows the NBA in moving toward another regular season. The basketball season opens Tuesday.

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CBC | Sports News

Henrik Lundqvist won’t play with Washington Capitals this season due to heart condition

Star goalie Henrik Lundqvist will sit out the upcoming NHL season because of a heart condition, he said Thursday, about two months after he joined the Washington Capitals following 15 years with the New York Rangers.

Calling it “a pretty tough and emotional day” in a video posted on social media by the Capitals, Lundqvist said he has been taking various tests on his heart “for several weeks.”

“And after lots of discussions with doctors around the country, and finally receiving the last results earlier this week, I unfortunately won’t be able to join the team this year,” Lundqvist said.

“It’s still very hard for me to process all of this,” Lundqvist said. “And kind of shocking, to be honest.”

The 38-year-old from Sweden was bought out by the Rangers and signed a $ 1.5 million, one-year deal with Washington in October to try to earn his first Stanley Cup — and try to help Alex Ovechkin win a second.

“The Washington Capitals are supportive of Henrik’s decision to step away from hockey at this time due to his heart condition. Our players’ health is of the utmost importance, and we stand behind Henrik’s decision,” the club said in a statement. “We want to wish him and his family all the best moving forward.”

The plan had been for the longtime face of the Rangers to share goaltending duties for Washington with 23-year-old Ilya Samsonov. Washington added Lundqvist to take the spot of 2016 Vezina Trophy and 2018 Stanley Cup winner Braden Holtby, who left to sign an $ 8.6 million, two-year deal with the Vancouver Canucks.

Lundqvist has appeared in 887 NHL regular-season games, plus another 130 in the playoffs, and he came close to a championship in 2014, leading the Rangers to the Cup Final. He lost post-season series to the Capitals in 2009 and 2011, then eliminated them in 2012, 2013 and 2015.

But he hadn’t participated in the playoffs with New York since 2017 until two games in the qualifying round of the expanded, 24-team playoffs this past summer.

“The risk of playing without remedying my condition is too high,” Lundqvist wrote Thursday on Twitter, “so I will spend the coming months figuring out the best course of action.”

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CBC | Sports News