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PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 08:  Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against Matt Niskanen #2 of the Washington Capitals in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 8, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Penguins lose Game 6, but Crosby’s health of more concern

Sportsnet | posted Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

Just about everyone has had to wait for the test results to come back from the medical lab.

Many among us filled the wait thinking about the worst possible outcomes: What’s life like if it’s really bad news?

So it was Monday night when the Pittsburgh Penguins hosted the Washington Capitals in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Don’t think that the really bad news home fans were dreading was a defeat.

Yeah, Game 6 was 60 one-sided minutes of hockey and the local heroes lost to the Capitals by the deceptively close score of 5-2, which sends the teams back to Washington for a seventh and deciding game. Disappointment? Sure. The Penguins had led this series 3-1 and also held a one-goal lead going into the third period of Game 5. Since then, it has been all Washington, perhaps not entirely unexpected given that the Capitals rolled to the Presidents’ Trophy during the season.

And as bad as all that was, Pittsburgh fans, players and management can take the not-altogether hollow consolation that it could have been worse. Hard to imagine when the home team generated but one (real) shot on net in the first period and really nary a legit scoring chance in the nine shots the Pens were credited with through 40 minutes.

The relatively good news is that the Penguins got out of the game with the franchise intact. The franchise of course being Sidney Crosby, the captain, the Hart Trophy finalist, and all the rest.

It looked bad five minutes into the first period when Crosby was chasing a puck behind the Capitals net and he got tangled up with Matt Niskanen. If you’ve been following this series then you already know that the blackhearted defenceman got in a cross-check upside the franchise’s head in Game 3 and left him in a pile on the ice.

And you already know that Niskanen managed to escape suspension and Crosby missed the balance of Game 3 and all of Game 4 with what was billed as a concussion.

So when Crosby’s head snapped back after being hit with an errant stick it looked bad as bad can be. Crosby was clearly stunned and made his way up to his feet and off the ice very slowly. On the bench he was in obvious distress and the PPG Paints Arena turned into the world’s largest waiting room, 18,000-plus waiting to see if Crosby would take that long walk down to the dressing room for examination by the medical staff. He did not. A collective sigh of relief.

It looked far worse, though a few minutes later when Crosby skated straight up the middle of the ice to chase a puck that went behind the Washington net. This time his left skate appeared to clip the post as he cut through the crease and Washington defenceman John Carlson appeared to lean lightly on the 8 and the 7. Crosby’s linemate Patric Hornqvist appeared to brush Carlson just enough that all three crashed into the boards, landing in a pile. This time Crosby was even slower to get back up and to the bench.

Crosby stayed in the game but his frustration was plain. At different points he seemed to boil over. He jousted with Jay Beagle for what seemed like an entire shift. He even gave defenceman Dmitry Orlov a forceful facewash, a jab Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. could have found useful Saturday night, but I digress. These were the highlights of Crosby’s game until he picked up an assist on Jake Guentzel’s goal with less than four minutes left to snap Braden Holtby’s shutout. And if you were looking for anything else positive from Crosby’s game, then perhaps it would be his ice time: He rolled out there three ticks short of 20 minutes, not missing a shift, even when Washington ran out to a 5-0 lead in the third period.

Crosby was OK if you interpret that as good enough to play. OKish, maybe. Certainly not playing at the level he did during the regular season, not remotely like he did in Pittsburgh’s wins in Games 1 and 2 in Washington. The prognosis for a full recovery: well, if it’s not by 7:30 p.m. ET Wednesday night, he’ll have until the fall.

The Penguins as a team are looking far worse than he is though. For the last four periods in this series, the Capitals have owned all of the play. In fact, even in Game 4, the Pens’ 3-2 win sans Sid, Washington just came at the defending Stanley Cup champions in waves. Caps coach Barry Trotz pushed all the right buttons in this series after the Game 4 loss. He shuffled Alex Ovechkin off the first line and threw out young Andre Burakovsky to skate beside Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie — the Penguins had no answer for the line Monday night, Burakovsky getting a pair of goals, Backstrom getting a goal and an assist and Oshie getting a power-play goal to open the scoring. Oshie’s goal came with Crosby watching from the penalty box, off for hooking the ever-irritating Tom Wilson.

After the game, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan was asked if he was concerned about the health of his star.

“No,” he said and nothing more.

If Sullivan’s on the square with that, he would have been alone in that opinion in waiting room.

What you need in your Emergency Preparedness Kit

Winston Sih | posted Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

home-emergency-preparedness-kit

Basic emergency kit checklist:

Consider these additional emergency kit supplies:

Courtesy Government of Canada

Caring for aging parents costs Canadians $33B a year in expenses and lost income

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, May 8th, 2017

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File. DIGITAL VISION/Getty Images/Keith Brofsky

Caring for aging parents costs Canadians $33 billion a year in direct out-of-pocket expenses and time off work, a new study by CIBC says.

The report also says that number will only increase over the next decade, as the share of Canadians aged 65 and older grows from its current level of 17 per cent to roughly 22 per cent.

Findings from the poll suggest close to two million Canadians, or 14 per cent of those with parents over the age of 65, incur care-related out-of pocket costs of $3,300 per year – translating into an annual cost of just over $6 billion.

But direct costs pale in comparison to labour-related costs, in which close to 30 per cent of workers with parents over the age of 65 sacrifice about 450 working hours annually – accounting for roughly $27 billion of lost income or foregone vacation time.

CIBC’s online survey was conducted from March 16-20 among Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panellists.

The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.

“An aging population combined with longer life spans and strained social services has in recent years seen more and more Canadians taking on the role of caregiver for their aging parents, and in the coming years, that tendency is only likely to intensify,” said CIBC deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal in a statement.

“Add in the fact that costs associated with the elderly are already rising faster than the pace of inflation because of the high demand for such goods and services, and you can see that this will be a major concern for a growing number of Canadians in the years to come.”

Overnight work on York/Bay/Yonge ramp demolition to cease

NEWS STAFF | posted Monday, May 8th, 2017

york-bay-yonge-ramp-demolition

Overnight work on York/Bay/Yonge ramp demolition to cease

Some relief for residents who live near Lower Simcoe, where demolition of a Gardiner Expressway off-ramp has been going round-the-clock.

Mayor John Tory says this weekend’s work on the York/Bay/Yonge ramp is ahead of schedule and as such, the contractor will be suspending overnight operations.

Tory tweeted out, the work will commence again at 7 a.m. Sunday morning and he’s hopeful the work done this weekend will limit how much late night and evening work takes place during the week.

Typically, construction work is limited to between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays.

Residents in the area were not happy with the all-night noise, taking to twitter to voice their displeasure.

“Between noise, vibrations through walls + floor, and a scared puppy, #nosleep was had in our household. Thx for nothing @JohnTory”

“Residents complaining about noise, commuters dealing with chaos. Only developers are happy with @JohnTory”

Downsview Station officially renamed Sheppard West Station

NEWS STAFF | posted Monday, May 8th, 2017

Downsview-no-more
Downsview Station will officially be called Sheppard West Station starting May 7, 2017. Photo via Twitter/@TTCnotices
Get used to saying ‘Sheppard West Station’ starting Sunday.

The TTC has officially renamed Downsview station as of May 7 and the subway stop’s new moniker will be seen on signs and maps over the course of the next few weeks.

The name change is being made ahead of the opening of the Line 1 subway extension to York Region later this year.

The change is necessary to avoid confusion with the new and accurately named Downsview Park Station, located inside Downsview Park. Several other stations are named after streets with the epithet “West”, making the change consistent with the TTC’s current naming conventions.

Changes also need to be made to passenger information systems and train announcements as well as the TTC’s back end planning systems and the transit control centre.

The name change comes with an $800,000 price tag, the bulk of which will go towards the reprogramming of Bombardier’s proprietary announcement system on the Toronto Rocket subways. This will include the name change as well as the addition of the six new stations that will be needed when the full extension to Vaughan Metropolitan Centre opens.

Items being revised due to the name change, by the numbers:

30 – Sings in and around Downsview Station

123 – Destination signs in other TTC stations

161 – ‘You Are Here’ maps on station platforms

3,184 – Maps on subway trains

4,000 – Maps in transit shelters

250,000 – Ride Guides

Pride Toronto says police welcome without ‘uniform, weapons or vehicles’

NEWS STAFF | posted Monday, May 8th, 2017

police-pride

Members of the Toronto Police Service dance to the Village People’s song “YMCA” during the annual Pride Parade at Yonge and Dundas streets in Toronto on July 3, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Hudson

Pride Toronto officials have further clarified their position when it comes to police officers marching in this year’s parade.

In a statement issued Sunday night, executive director Olivia Nuamah says police are not banned from the event, adding LGBTQ+ officers and their allies can participate provided they don’t bring their “uniform, weapons or vehicles.”

“We welcome and encourage their participation to add to Pride this year as members of our community,” read the brief statement. “LGBTQ+ police officers and their allies can march in the Parade with community groups, with the City of Toronto, or even create their own group.”

Nuamah added the Toronto Police Service has been involved in the festival planning to ensure the event and weekend are “secure and successful.”

Last month, the union representing Toronto’s police officers delivered a letter on behalf of a committee representing LGBTQ officers in the force asking Mayor John Tory to cut the $260,000 grant for the parade.

The committee said officers would feel completely devalued and unsupported by the city if the funding continued.

“When any city employee, regardless of their job function, is disinvited from an event hosted in the city of Toronto, we feel it is simply a conflict of interest and unacceptable that the City of Toronto remain a sponsor,” the letter read in part.

“We can think of no example in Canada where either a public or private employer has been a lead sponsor for an event their employees were asked not to participate in.”

Nuamah plans to appear before the Economic Development Committee on Monday to talk about continued city funding of the Pride parade.

In January, Pride Toronto adopted a list of demands issued by the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter, including banning police floats from the parade.

Members of the anti-racism group held a sit-in part way through the parade last July, stopping it from moving forward for about a half hour, until Pride organizers signed the list of demands.

Black Lives Matter said it opposed police presence in the parade because it could discourage marginalized communities from participating.

Montreal declares state of emergency due to flooding

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, May 8th, 2017

Two men carry some belonings along a flooded street in the town of Rigaud west of Montreal, Sunday, May 7, 2017, following flooding in the region. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Two men carry some belonings along a flooded street in the town of Rigaud west of Montreal, Sunday, May 7, 2017, following flooding in the region. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Thousands of Canadians across the country spent the weekend in a desperate struggle with rising floodwaters caused by unusually persistent rainfall.

Minden Hills, about two hours northeast of Toronto, is the latest city to declare a state of emergency. Residents are being told to stay off water-covered streets, and to be ready to evacuate. Both the Gull and Burnt river systems are at the top of their banks.

Montreal declared a state of emergency on Sunday, as Quebec, the hardest-hit province, saw nearly 1,900 flooded homes in roughly 130 municipalities. The damage stretched from the Ontario border in the west, to the Gaspe peninsula.

National Defence said in a release that approximately 800 additional troops were deployed in Quebec on Sunday, joining more than 400 Canadian Armed Forces members already assisting with the flood effort in the province.

The troops, along with aircraft and 12 boats from the Naval Reserve, were being positioned to aid communities across Quebec, several of which are under a state of emergency, it said in a release.

On Sunday, Montreal became the latest Quebec city to declare a state of emergency after three dikes gave way in the Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough, in the north end of the city by the Rivieres des Prairies.

Canadian Forces Capt. Frederick Lavoie was overseeing 35 army reservists bagging sand and helping to save houses along the river in Pierrefonds.

His men, all from the Montreal area, took over from a regular forces unit Sunday morning and “couldn’t wait to get their hands dirty and feet wet,” Lavoie said.

There should be up to 100 reservists helping in the borough by Tuesday, he added.

“We are here to serve the civilian power,” Lavoie said. “The main thing we can do is save houses from being flooded. And it’s always good to have people on the ground to reassure the population.”

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said about 220 people in the city had been evacuated from their homes.

He said officials were prepared to remove people if they refused to comply with evacuation orders.

“I understand that morally or psychologically, physically, mentally, people are very, very tired. We’re talking 24 hours in a row of people helping each other,” Coderre told reporters. “But sometimes we need to protect people from themselves.”

Coderre said officials are warning water levels could rise another 20 centimetres in the next 24 hours.

Donald McElligott was standing outside his home near the Rivieres des Prairies in Pierrefonds, where a steady stream of water was leaking out of his garage.

A few feet away, several large, white bags of sand were acting as a dam, blocking off what used to be the entrance to the shore of the river.

“Right now I’m worried,” he said. “My wife was born in this house.”

West of Montreal, the small town of Rigaud issued a mandatory evacuation order Sunday and a state of emergency has been in place for several days.

Mayor Hans Gruenwald Jr. told reporters at a town hall that firefighters will be going door to door to make sure people in the affected areas leave their homes.

“We will follow the fire department and actually remove the people if need be,” Gruenwald said. “Because it is either that or services will be stuck to remove those people under a state of emergency at two o’clock in the morning on a stretcher – I’m sorry but we are not going to go there.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited a flood-affected area in Terrasse-Vaudreuil, just west of Montreal.

“Friends & neighbours, civilians & soldiers coming together to help those affected by floods. Inspiring to see it,” Trudeau tweeted Sunday night along with pictures showing him talking to residents and helping fill a bag with sand.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweet on Quebec flooding

Lt.-Col. Pascal Larose said about 400 members of the Canadian Forces were deployed between Gatineau and Rigaud, and another 550 in the Montreal area including its northern suburb of Laval.

About 75 members were deployed around Trois-Rivieres, located about halfway up the St. Lawrence River between Montreal and Quebec City, and roughly 200 members were aiding relief efforts south of Montreal.

In Gatineau, Que., near the border with Ontario, 380 residences were evacuated and officials want to evacuate another 900 homes Sunday.

Some federal employees were being advised not to go to work on Monday because of the flooding.

Officials said federal buildings in Gatineau would be closed, and employees who normally get to their offices via the interprovincial bridges in the National Capital Region were being asked not to go to their offices.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said no other province had so far requested military help, but forces personnel, including reserves, are on stand-by across the country.

The situation in Ontario seems to be “generally stabilizing,” although there are many unstable local circumstances, he said.

In the eastern Ontario village of Cumberland, Christina Hajjar said she and her family likely won’t be returning to live in their two homes that were destroyed by the flood.

“They are quite old,” she said Sunday. “I don’t think they’ll be salvageable after sitting in a foot of water for goodness knows how long.”

For the moment Hajjar is staying in an inn in the nearby town of Clarence-Rockland, where she said she’s receiving a lot of community support.

“At this point, we just really are hoping that the faith we’re putting in the government is put in the right place and they’ll come through for us in the end.”

Goodale said the Ontario government had requested “additional flood mitigation resources” to help in its battle against the flooding and that support would be provided.

“This Ontario request does not involve the deployment of Canadian Armed Forces personnel,” he said.

Rob Kuhn, an Environment Canada meteorologist based in Toronto, said Sunday that eastern Ontario saw the most rainfall in the province. He added that upward of 80 millimetres of rain fell between Friday and Sunday morning in the Trenton area.

In Atlantic Canada, some parts of New Brunswick recorded more than 150 millimetres of rain after a nearly 36 hour non-stop downpour.

A weather station northeast of Saint John, N.B., measured 155 millimetres of precipitation from late Friday to early Sunday.

While the deluge tapered off in the province early Sunday, New Brunswick’s St. John River has spilled its banks, prompting several road closures.

“It’s above flood stage in several areas from Fredericton down south,” said Robert Duguay, a spokesman with the province’s emergency measures organization. “Water levels are going to stay high probably for the rest of the week.”

In British Columbia, searchers looked for two men missing as flooding continued to plague province’s Interior, and the possibility of further rain and snowmelt had residents bracing for more.

RCMP spokesman Dan Moskaluk said Cassidy Clayton, a fire chief in Cache Creek, remained unaccounted for two days after he was believed to have been swept away by a swollen waterway west of Kamloops. Clayton is presumed dead and the search had turned into a recovery effort, the Mounties said.

And a statement from the Columbia Shuswap Regional District said an urban search and rescue team from Vancouver was searching for a 76-year-old man whose home north of Salmon Arm was “completely enveloped” in a mudslide Saturday.

DVP, island ferries, at risk due to persistent rainfall and flooding

CityNews | posted Friday, May 5th, 2017

rain-on-roadway

The City of Toronto is warning a possible full closure of the Don Valley Parkway could happen Friday afternoon due to the continuing rain.

Officials are concerned about flooding on the highway and could shut the roadway down as early as 3 p.m., according to a press release Thursday night. They are asking commuters coming into the downtown to consider taking public transit.

Ferries to and from the Toronto islands are cancelled, except for the ferry to Ward’s Island, and that one is only for essential travellers.

Toronto and the GTA are under a rainfall warning and Environment Canada has updated the expected rainfall totals for the region to between 50 and 90 millimetres of rain through Saturday.

As of 4 a.m. Friday, the city of Toronto had already received 25 millimetres of rain while Hamilton had received 38.3 millimetres.

City of Toronto officials are also preparing for an evacuation of the islands if there is major flooding, the Toronto Star reports. A ferry is stationed on Hanlan Point for any of the 700 residents on the island that need to evacuate.

The Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) has issued a flood watch for areas around rivers and streams. A paddling excursion on the Don River has also been cancelled.

Anne Marie Aikins with Metrolinx said they have a diversion plan in place for the Richmond Hill GO train corridor should it flood.

“We have been out there monitoring the corridor. We also monitor Lakeshore East and anything else that is susceptible to flooding,” Aikins said.

In 2013, hundreds of commuters had to be rescued from GO trains by police using boats after the tracks flooded.

The precipitation will stick around over the weekend. Another 5-10 millimetres of rain could accumulate on Saturday and flurries are possible north and west of the GTA on Sunday.

The anticipated rainfall comes with the rising waters of Lake Ontario already at unprecedented levels this season. The TRCA said the damage has been done to the shores and it will take years for it to return to its original state.

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