Sunaya Sapurji

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Sunaya Sapurji is the junior hockey columnist for Yahoo! Sports Canada. Sunaya previously worked at the Toronto Star for 10 years as a copy editor and writer covering the Ontario Hockey League.

  • Report: IIHF could axe shootouts for gold medal games

    Canada loses WJC final to Team USA 5-4 in a shootout.
    Canada loses WJC final to Team USA 5-4 in a shootout.

     

    No one likes to lose in a shootout. It’s widely derided as a skills competition and in many cases fans – particularly ones on the losing side – feel cheated by the outcome.

    And it’s even worse when national pride is on the line in a gold medal game. At the recent world junior championships, there were two pivotal games decided by shootouts – one that sent the Russia to the bronze medal match (Team USA won that semifinal) and, of course, the gold medal game that gave the U.S. a 5-4 victory over Canada in 60-plus minutes of thrilling hockey.

    Not everyone was pumped about the way the game ended, regardless of who won.

    Former NHLer and one of USA Hockey’s greatest players – Mike Modano – might get his wish. According to TSN reporter Darren Dreger, IIHF officials from both Canada and the U.S. are investigating some potential

    Read More »from Report: IIHF could axe shootouts for gold medal games
  • Former Flyers star Brian Propp to skate in alumni game months after stroke

    Former Philadelphia Flyers forward Brian Propp.
    Former Philadelphia Flyers forward Brian Propp.

     

    It has been a long, arduous haul for former Philadelphia Flyers star Brian Propp.

    Some 16 months ago the 57-year-old suffered a debilitating stroke which left him unable to speak. Even today, Propp told WPVI-TV that he still has trouble dressing and feeding himself.

    It’s a little awe inspiring, then, to find out Propp will be one of the stars skating in Saturday’s alumni game for the Flyers against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s part of the Flyers’ 50th anniversary celebrations.

    “I have to take it slowly. Mentally, I’m not there yet. My brain doesn’t work that well yet. I have trouble with numbers, days of the week, and things like that. So it’s just going to take me a little time,” Propp told reporter Jamie Apody.

    Propp suffered his stroke in September of 2015 and has been on the mend ever since, telling the TV station:

    “I remember falling out of bed in the middle of the night,” he recalls.

    Propp’s right side was motionless and his

    Read More »from Former Flyers star Brian Propp to skate in alumni game months after stroke
  • Former Flyers star Brian Propp to skate in alumni game months after stroke

    Former Philadelphia Flyers forward Brian Propp.
    Former Philadelphia Flyers forward Brian Propp.

     

    It has been a long, arduous haul for former Philadelphia Flyers star Brian Propp.

    Some 16 months ago the 57-year-old suffered a debilitating stroke which left him unable to speak. Even today, Propp told WPVI-TV that he still has trouble dressing and feeding himself.

    It’s a little awe inspiring, then, to find out Propp will be one of the stars skating in Saturday’s alumni game for the Flyers against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s part of the Flyers’ 50th anniversary celebrations.

    “I have to take it slowly. Mentally, I’m not there yet. My brain doesn’t work that well yet. I have trouble with numbers, days of the week, and things like that. So it’s just going to take me a little time,” Propp told reporter Jamie Apody.

    Propp suffered his stroke in September of 2015 and has been on the mend ever since, telling the TV station:

    “I remember falling out of bed in the middle of the night,” he recalls.

    Propp’s right side was motionless and his

    Read More »from Former Flyers star Brian Propp to skate in alumni game months after stroke
  • Timeless Jaromir Jagr thinks he could play until 55

    Jaromir Jagr of the Florida Panthers
    Jaromir Jagr of the Florida Panthers says he wants to play another 10 years. (Photo from Getty Images)

     

    After moving into second place on the NHL’s all-time scoring list, 44-year-old Jaromir Jagr says he’s got more left in the tank.  Previously, the Florida Panthers star had said he would play until 50, but now he’s apparently adding another five years to his timeline.

    “I go to 55,” Jagr told northjersey.com. “I just changed. Fifty-five. I feel good so I go to 55.”

    Wait, was he serious?

    From NJ.Com:

    We think Jagr was kidding, but you never know about this freak of nature. His production is down a little from last season, but his 25 points in 41 games are tied for second on an offensively challenged club that is struggling … and he’s been hot of late with nine points in nine games heading into Monday night’s game against the Devils.

    “I feel good,” Jagr said. “No problems.”

    As usual, Jagr doesn’t look his age. Not even close.

    Jagr, who turns 45 on Feb. 15, has seven goals and 18

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  • Canada sinks Sweden to set up gold medal showdown with USA

    MONTREAL, QC - JANUARY 04: Dylan Strome #19 of Team Canada celebrates his third period goal during the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship semifinal game against Team Sweden at the Bell Centre on January 4, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
    MONTREAL, QC – JANUARY 04: Dylan Strome #19 of Team Canada celebrates his third period goal during the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship semifinal game against Team Sweden at the Bell Centre on January 4, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

    Canada will play for gold once again.

    In their best game of the 2017 world junior championship, the Canadians dispatched the favoured Swedes 5-2 in a semifinal showdown on Wednesday night. The victory sets up a rematch with Team USA on Thursday night in the gold medal game.

    “We played them and we learned a lot through the tournament,” head coach Dominique Ducharme told TSN in the post-game. “We learned a lot from them.’

    The Americans beat Canada 3-1 in the round robin portion of the tournament to win Group B. The Americans defeated Russia in their semifinal to play for gold.

    Canada last won gold in 2015 on home ice when the tournament was split again between Toronto and Montreal.

    The biggest surprise against

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  • Watch: Defenceman Fabbro helps make goal line save for Canada

    (Photo from Pete Blackburn/Twitter via TSN)
    (Photo from Pete Blackburn/Twitter via TSN)

    Canada’s goaltending at the world juniors, in the last few years at least, has needed all the help it can get.

    In the second period of Canada’s semifinal with Sweden, defenceman Dante Fabbro came through with one of the biggest saves on the night, helping goaltender Carter Hart preserve Canada’s 3-2 lead.

    Fabbro, a first-round pick of the Nashville Predators, got his stick on the puck just before the goal line, allowing Hart to corral the puck before crossing and giving the Swedes a tie game.

    Honestly, you can’t get any closer than this.

    It was so close the play was reviewed, but as you can see by the overhead view, the puck never crosses the line. Good teamwork for a great save.

    Read More »from Watch: Defenceman Fabbro helps make goal line save for Canada
  • Plenty of empty seats despite reduced prices for Canada's semifinal

    (Photo from Uffe Bodin/Twitter)
    (Photo from Uffe Bodin/Twitter)

    Much has been written about the Hockey Canada and the attendance problem at the 2017 world junior championship in Toronto and Montreal.

    The empty seats have become a story, particularly in Montreal, where fans haven’t been willing to pay NHL prices for junior hockey. There were reports that Hockey Canada had cut prices for Canada’s semifinal against Sweden on Wednesday night at the Bell Centre, but if they did, it didn’t seem to help early in the game.

     

    By the second period however, the crowd started to fill out a little more.

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  • Canada in tough against Sweden in world junior semifinals

     

    Defenceman Thomas Chabot of Team Canada.
    Defenceman Thomas Chabot of Team Canada. (Getty Images)

     

    Canada will have to bring its ‘A’ Game on Wednesday if they want to play for gold. To make it to Thursday’s gold medal game, they’ll have to knock off undefeated Sweden.

    Unlike Canada, who have dealt with injuries to top line forward Mitchell Stephens and top pair defenceman Philippe Myers (still questionable for the semis), the Swedes (5-0) have played relatively unscathed through the tournament.

    Sweden also has the luxury of playing with a powerhouse lineup, with defenceman Oliver Kylington (Calgary Flames) and forward Alex Nylander (Buffalo Sabres) on loan from the American Hockey League. The best players Sweden has to offer for the under-20 tournament are in Montreal. It’s no surprise then, to see Nylander leading the tournament in scoring with five goals and six assists in five games.

    Looking at the tournament to date, Sweden has looked like the team to beat. One good thing for Canada entering their semifinal, is that

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  • Poor world junior attendance sends Hockey Canada back to the drawing board

    Empty seats are seen as fans pass around a giant Canadian flag before the quarter-final IIHF World Junior Championships hockey game between Czech Republic and Canada Monday, January 2, 2017 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
    Empty seats are seen as fans pass around a giant Canadian flag before the World Junior Championship quarterfinal between the Czech Republic and Canada on January 2, 2017, in Montreal. (CP)

     

    The empty seats are cause for concern. For the second time in three years, Hockey Canada has had to answer for poor attendance at the world junior championships in Toronto and Montreal.

    Two years ago, the 2015 tournament was held in the same two cities. At that time, the Toronto portion of the tournament — which included the medal round — was able to draw fans, even for games in which Canada was not playing.

    Montreal was a different story. The Bell Centre was relatively empty with large swaths of seats — particularly in the upper bowl — left empty. The problem was that tickets were priced far too high for junior hockey. As a result, Hockey Canada and the organizing committee re-evaluated the pricing for the 2017 tournament, focusing on boosting the Montreal market.

    “We attempted to adjust our ticket

    Read More »from Poor world junior attendance sends Hockey Canada back to the drawing board
  • 3 storylines for Canada-USA showdown on New Year's Eve

     

    Canada's Rourke Chartier (14) takes a shot from a teammate as the United States' Nick Schmaltz (9) tries to check him away from the crease during the 2016 world junior championship in Helsinki, Finland. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
    Canada’s Rourke Chartier (14) takes a shot from a teammate as the United States’ Nick Schmaltz (9) tries to check him away from the crease during the 2016 world junior championship in Helsinki, Finland. (The Canadian Press)

     

    The 1972 Summit Series cemented Canada’s rivalry with Russia for all eternity. Since then there have been many games – Olympics, world championships and world juniors – that have only added to the lore.

    The only rivals that might come close – at least from the WJC perspective – is Canada vs. the U.S., which over the years has become a traditional New Year’s Eve mainstay.

    Historically, Canada has dominated the U.S. in head-to-head battles since 1977, but more recently, the U.S. drawn much closer. Their last meeting, at the 2016 tournament in Helsinki, was a 4-2 victory for the eventual bronze medalists from America.

    Canada and the U.S. will meet again on Saturday to decide the winner of Group B and close out the round-robin portion of the tournament in Toronto,

    Read More »from 3 storylines for Canada-USA showdown on New Year's Eve

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