Round 1 of Canada-U.S. hockey done, but women know ‘war is still to be played’

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SOCHI, Russia — How to find meaning in a so-called meaningless game – that was the challenge after Canada’s 3-2 victory over the United States Wednesday at Shayba Arena.

Because here’s the thing: barring a tremendous upset in Monday’s semifinals, to which both sides have advanced, the two women’s hockey powerhouses are still expected to meet in the gold-medal game on Feb. 20.

“Ultimately it’s a battle and the war is still to be played,” said Canada’s Hayley Wickenheiser,  who finished with a goal and an assist.

And that looming war is ultimately why none of the American players, nor coach Katey Stone, put up much of a fuss over Canada’s second goal, by Wickenheiser, that seemed to cross the line after the referee’s whistle blew.

“I did hear the whistle blow before the puck went in,” said Stone.

“But what are you going to do? That’s what happens. We had a lot of time left in that game. I’m not going to hang my hat on that one.”

The final score did mean one thing for sure. Canada has now won 18 straight games in the Olympics, its last loss coming to the United States in the gold-medal final of the 1998 Nagano Games.

Canadian coach Kevin Dineen was pleased with today’s victory, but was hesitant to attach much significance to the final score, given all the ways the result could have been different.

VIDEO: Watch the controversial goals

“We won tonight,” said Dineen. “I’d love to say we could win two in a row. A lot of bounces go in there, those things happen. I’m just hoping we can keep moving forward.”

Wickenheiser echoed her coach’s message about getting, or sometimes not getting, the breaks.

“We know it’s always going to come down to one or two bounces when we face [the U.S.],” she said.

Stone, meanwhile, was “indifferent” to the performance of her side, suggesting a couple of areas for improvement.

“Our defensive support today in our own end was not what it’s typically been in the last two months, and that’s an area that we can continue to work on,” she said.

“And then we’ve got to establish our forecheck. It wasn’t until we got a little bit more comfortable in the game that we really started to play on our toes versus on our heels.”

At the end of the day, perhaps there’s no need to unearth some key underlying factor, some predictive element from today’s game. Perhaps it’s enough that it was another typical U.S.-Canada clash that left the fans entertained and looking forward to the teams’ next meeting.

“Both teams would like to play each other,” said Canadian goalie Charline Labonte. “It would be a bonus playing them – there would be a lot of emotion on the ice.”

Anna van der Breggen is first cyclist to sweep road world titles in 25 years

Anna van der Breggen
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Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen added the road race crown to her time trial victory at the world road cycling championships, becoming the second rider in history to win both events at the same edition.

“This is, for me, pretty good so far,” she said.

Van der Breggen, the Rio Olympic road race champion, won after a solo attack with more than 25 miles left of an 89-mile course in Imola, Italy, on Saturday.

She prevailed after more than four hours of racing by 80 seconds over countrywoman Annemiek van Vleuten, the 2019 champion. Van Vleuten raced nine days after breaking her left wrist in a Giro Rosa crash.

Italian Elisa Longo Borghini took bronze in the same time as van Vleuten after losing a photo-finish sprint. Lauren Stephens was the top American in 11th.

Full results are here.

The race lacked American standout Chloé Dygert, who crashed out of the time trial while leading on Thursday and required leg surgery.

Van der Breggen joined Frenchwoman Jeannie Longo as the only male or female cyclists to sweep the time trial and road race at a single worlds. Longo did so in 1995 at age 36.

Van der Breggen, 30, said in May that she will retire after the 2021 Olympic season.

It will be the end of one of the great cycling careers. She is now a three-time world champion and nine-time world medalist to go along with her road race gold and time trial bronze in her Olympic debut in Rio.

Worlds conclude Sunday with the men’s road race. A TV and stream schedule is here.

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MORE: A more equal future for women’s cycling? Lizzie Deignan has high hopes

2020 French Open TV, live stream schedule

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Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams can each tie Grand Slam singles titles records at the French Open, with daily live coverage among NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel.

NBC coverage starts Sunday with first-round action at Roland Garros, its 38th straight year covering the event. Tennis Channel airs the majority of weekday coverage. Peacock, NBC Universal’s new streaming service, has middle weekend broadcasts.

All NBC TV coverage alo streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

Nadal is the primary men’s storyline, favored to tie Roger Federer‘s male record of 20 major titles and extend his own record of 12 French Open crowns. Federer is absent after knee operations earlier this year.

The Spaniard’s primary competition is top-ranked Novak Djokovic, the 2016 French Open champion whose only defeat in 2020 was a U.S. Open default for hitting a ball that struck a linesperson in the throat.

Williams bids again to match the overall Grand Slam singles mark of 24 held by Australian Margaret Court. Williams, a three-time French Open champion, lost in the third and fourth round the last two years and is coming off a U.S. Open semifinal exit.

The women’s field is led by 2018 champion Simona Halep but lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.

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MORE: How Jay-Z, Beyonce helped Naomi Osaka come out of her shell

French Open TV Schedule

Date Time (ET) Network Round
Sunday, Sept. 27 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
12-3 p.m. NBC
Monday, Sept. 28 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
Tuesday, Sept. 29 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
Wednesday, Sept. 30 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Thursday, Oct. 1 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Friday, Oct. 2 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
Saturday, Oct. 3 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Sunday, Oct. 4 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Monday, Oct. 5 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Tuesday, Oct. 6 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
Wednesday, Oct. 7 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
Thursday, Oct. 8 5 a.m.-2 p.m. Tennis Channel Women’s Semis
11 a.m. NBC, NBCSN
Friday, Oct. 9 5 a.m.-4 p.m. Tennis Channel Men’s Semis
11 a.m. NBC, NBCSN
Saturday, Oct. 10 9 a.m. NBC Women’s Final
Sunday, Oct. 11 9 a.m. NBC Men’s Final