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Canada vs. Finland: 5 keys to a quarter-final victory

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Fresh off Monday’s 2-1 setback to Russia — its toughest test at this year’s world junior hockey championship — Team Canada’s potential path to the gold-medal game doesn’t get any easier, starting Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET.

The 3-1-0 Canadians face elimination against Finland, which defeated the former 5-2 in pre-tournament action in Vancouver on Dec. 23 and went 2-2 in the preliminary round. Three years ago, the host Finns also downed Canada 6-5 in the quarter-finals.

« We’re going to come out hard, » Canada forward Morgan Frost, who with seven points shares the tournament scoring lead with American Ryan Poehling, told reporters. « We want revenge against them. I don’t think you’ve seen our best yet. »

Here are 5 keys to a Canadian victory at Rogers Arena:

Tippett’s lethal weapon

Possessing an NHL-level shot, Owen Tippett has had scoring chances of late but hasn’t found the back of the net for Canada since the second period of its tournament-opening 14-0 drubbing of Denmark, which was shut out in each of its four round-robin games.

A return to form by the 2017 Florida Panthers draft pick — he has 19 goals and 33 points in 23 games for the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads this season — would make Canada’s top forward line of Cody Glass between captain Max Comtois and Tippett even more potent.

More of the same from Mikey

Michael DiPietro, who stood out versus Russia with a 29-save performance, has turned aside 66 of 69 shots for a .957 save percentage in three games, one year after being a late cut at Canada’s selection camp.

Canada’s Michael DiPietro raised his save percentage at the 2019 world juniors to .957 with a 29-save performance against Russia on Monday night. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Tops in the Ontario Hockey League this season with a 2.20 goals-against average, DiPietro stopped 13 of 15 shots in the pre-tourney loss to Finland.

« He’s our rock back there. He’s always calm in high-pressure situations, » says Canadian left-winger Jaret Anderson-Dolan.

Special teams

Canada’s power-play and penalty-kill units continue to be a work in progress. Finland scored two power-play goals and a pair shorthanded tallies on Dec. 23, while the Canadians failed to convert three chances when up a man against Russia.

Canada ranks seventh among the eight quarter-final teams with a 20 per success rate with the man-advantage and fifth on the penalty kill (76.92 per cent).

Secondary scoring

Much of Canada’s goal production since its tournament opener has come from the top forward line of captain Max Comtois, Cody Glass and Owen Tippett, along with MacKenzie Entwistle.

Morgan Frost has yet to notch an even-strength goal since his hat trick against Denmark while Jaret Anderson-Dolan and 17-year-old Alexis Lafreniere have one goal for the tournament.

Canadian forward Morgan Frost, pictured here scoring one of his three goals versus Denmark on Dec. 26, is due for another outburst in Vancouver. (Rich Lam/Getty Images)

Ontario Hockey League standouts Barrett Hayton (15 goals in 20 games for Sault Ste. Marie) and Nick Suzuki (20 goals in 28 contests) for Owen Sound have yet to score at this year’s world juniors. Noah Dobson is the lone Canadian defenceman to find the back of the net.

Opening the scoring

Canada has scored the first goal in each of its four games at this year’s world juniors and won three times.

In the last seven meetings between Canada and Finland, the team that scored first prevailed six times. On Jan. 2, 2016, the Canadians scored first in Helsinki and dropped a 6-5 decision.

Recent Canada-Finland matchups

  • Dec. 26, 2017, Buffalo: Canada 4, Finland 2 (Taylor Raddysh, two points)
  • Jan. 2, 2016, Helsinki: Finland 6, Canada 5 (Mitch Marner, two goals; Brayden Point, two points)​
  • Dec. 29, 2014, Montreal: Canada 4, Finland 1 (Sam Reinhart, two goals)
  • Jan. 4, 2014, Sweden: Finland 5, Canada 1
  • Jan. 5, 2012, Calgary: Canada 4, Finland 0 (Quinton Howden, two goals)​
  • Dec. 26, 2011, Edmonton: Canada 8, Finland 1 (Jonathan Huberdeau, goal and five points; Mark Stone, three goals)

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Anglais

‘Business as usual’ for Dorel Industries after terminating go-private deal

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MONTREAL — Dorel Industries Inc. says it will continue to pursue its business strategy going forward after terminating an agreement to go private after discussions with shareholders.

« Moving ahead. Business as usual, » a spokesman for the company said in an email on Monday.

A group led by Cerberus Capital Management had previously agreed to buy outstanding shares of Dorel for $16 apiece, except for shares owned by the family that controls the company’s multiple-voting shares.

But Dorel chief executive Martin Schwartz said the Montreal-based maker of car seats, strollers, bicycles and home furniture pulled the plug on a deal on the eve of Tuesday’s special meeting after reviewing votes from shareholders.

“Independent shareholders have clearly expressed their confidence in Dorel’s future and the greater potential for Dorel as a public entity, » he said in a news release.

Dorel’s board of directors, with Martin Schwartz, Alan Schwartz, Jeffrey Schwartz and Jeff Segel recused, unanimously approved the deal’s termination upon the recommendation of a special committee.

The transaction required approval by two-thirds of the votes cast, and more than 50 per cent of the votes cast by non-family shareholders.

Schwartz said enhancing shareholder value remains a top priority while it stays focused on growing its brands, which include Schwinn and Mongoose bikes, Safety 1st-brand car seats and DHP Furniture.

Dorel said the move to end the go-private deal was mutual, despite the funds’ increased purchase price offer earlier this year.

It said there is no break fee applicable in this case.

Montreal-based investment firm Letko, Brosseau & Associates Inc. and San Diego’s Brandes Investment Partners LP, which together control more than 19 per cent of Dorel’s outstanding class B subordinate shares voiced their opposition to the amended offer, which was increased from the initial Nov. 2 offer of $14.50 per share.

« We believe that several minority shareholders shared our opinion, » said Letko vice-president Stephane Lebrun, during a phone interview.

« We are confident of the long-term potential of the company and we have confidence in the managers in place.”

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Anglais

Pandemic funds helping Montreal businesses build for a better tomorrow

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Many entrepreneurs have had to tap into government loans during the pandemic, at first just to survive, but now some are using the money to better prepare their businesses for the post-COVID future.

One of those businesses is Del Friscos, a popular family restaurant in Dollard-des-Ormeaux that, like many Montreal-area restaurants, has had to adapt from a sit-down establishment to one that takes orders online for takeout or delivery.

“It was hard going from totally in-house seating,” said Del Friscos co-owner Terry Konstas. “We didn’t have an in-house delivery system, which we quickly added. There were so many of our employees that were laid off that wanted to work so we adapted to a delivery system and added platforms like Uber and DoorDash.”

Helping them through the transition were emergency grants and low-interest loans from the federal and provincial governments, some of which are directly administered by PME MTL, a non-profit business-development organization established to assist the island’s small and medium-sized businesses.

Konstas said he had never even heard of PME MTL until a customer told him about them and when he got in touch, he discovered there were many government programs available to help his business get through the downturn and build for the future. “They’ve been very helpful right from day one,” said Konstas.

“We used some of the funds to catch up on our suppliers and our rents, the part that wasn’t covered from the federal side, and we used some of it for our new virtual concepts,” he said, referring to a virtual kitchen model which the restaurant has since adopted.

The virtual kitchen lets them create completely different menu items from the casual American Italian dishes that Del Friscos is known for and market them under different restaurant brand names. Under the Prasinó Soup & Salad banner, they sell healthy Greek options and their Stallone’s Sub Shop brand offers hearty sandwiches, yet the food from both is created in the same Del Friscos kitchen.

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Anglais

Downtown Montreal office, retail vacancies continue to rise

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Some of downtown Montreal’s key economic indicators are heading in the wrong direction.

Office and retail vacancies in the city’s central core continued to climb in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a quarterly report released Thursday by the Urban Development Institute of Quebec and the Montréal Centre-Ville merchants association. The report, whose first edition was published in October, aims to paint a socio-economic picture of the downtown area.

The survey also found office space available for sublet had increased during the fourth quarter, which may foreshadow even more vacancies when leases expire. On the residential front, condo sales fell as new listings soared — a sign that the downtown area may be losing some of its appeal to homeowners.

“It’s impossible not to be preoccupied by the rapid increase in office vacancies,” Jean-Marc Fournier, the former Quebec politician who now heads the UDI, said Thursday in an interview.

Still, with COVID-19 vaccinations set to accelerate in the coming months, “the economic picture is bound to improve,” he said. “People will start returning downtown. It’s much too early to say the office market is going to disappear.”

Public health measures implemented since the start of the pandemic almost a year ago — such as caps on office capacity — have deprived downtown Montreal of more than 500,000 workers and students. A mere 4,163 university and CEGEP students attended in-person classes in the second quarter, the most recent period for which figures are available. Border closures and travel restrictions have also brought tourism to a standstill, hurting hotels and thousands of local businesses.

Seventy per cent of downtown workers carried out their professional activities at home more than three days a week during the fourth quarter, the report said, citing an online survey of 1,000 Montreal-area residents conducted last month.

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