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TAMPA, Fla. Larry Johnson Jersey . - Antti Niemi provided some offence in addition to stopping the puck.Niemi made 32 saves and added an assist as the San Jose Sharks beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 on Thursday night.Joe Thornton and Tyler Kennedy scored for the Sharks, who are 2-2 on a seven-game road trip. Niemi improved to 5-0-1 against the Lightning.As far as complete games, it was one of our better ones of the season, San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. I thought there was real positive energy with all four lines. The pairs played well. Nemo made some big saves right off the bat.Tampa Bay got a goal from Steven Stamkos, and Ben Bishop stopped 37 shots. The Lightning are 0-1-1 since their six-game winning streak was snapped.Their goalie played well, Bishop said. If he doesnt play that well maybe we win that game.Shortly after Niemi made a nifty save on Ryan Callahan, Thornton put the Sharks up 1-0 at 5:23 of the second. Thornton tied Bobby Clarke for 42nd place all-time with his 1,210th point.Isnt that amazing? McLellan said. You talk about Joe Thornton and Bobby Clarke together. Theyre both tremendous players.Kennedy made it 2-0 on a breakaway with 9:23 left in the second. Brent Burns and Niemi assisted on Kennedys first goal in 30 games, dating to Jan. 14.Stamkos cut the Lightnings deficit to 2-1 on a redirection of Andrej Sustrs shot 9:35 into the third.Niemi had three saves on Callahan during a 5-on-3 power play that lasted just over a minute earlier in the third. Callahan finished with seven shots.You know theyre going to get shots, Niemi said. Youve got to be real patient not to play yourself out too far.San Jose outshot the Lightning 17-9 during a scoreless first period. San Jose had six shots during a power play on Bishop, who also stopped an in-close chance by Joe Pavelski.You make your own luck out there, Stamkos said. You have to deserve it and work hard, and we didnt deserve it for the first two periods. In the third we had some good chances because we played the right way and got rewarded.NOTES: Sharks G Alex Stalock, placed on injured reserve Wednesday, had minor surgery on his left knee. ... Stamkos, who broke his right leg one year ago, didnt take part in the morning skate. ... Thornton played in his 1,225th NHL game, which is one away from tying Ed Westfall for 90th place all-time. ... Thornton has 16 goals and 39 points in 35 games against the Lightning. ... Tampa Bay C Tyler Johnson, who left Tuesdays game at Chicago after being cross-checked in the ribs, played. ... Lightning C Alex Killorn returned after missing four games due to an upper body injury. ... Tampa Bay RW Brett Connolly missed his ninth game because of a lower body injury but could return in the next week. Tyrann Mathieu Womens Jersey . PETERSBURG, Fla. Anthony Sherman Womens Jersey . -- The Green Bay Packers have signed quarterback Graham Harrell to the active roster from the practice squad and placed tight end Andrew Quarless on injured reserve.Philadelphia, PA - The Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Jerome Williams on a one-year, $2.5 million contract, the team announced Tuesday. Williams was 4-2 with a 2.83 earned run average in nine starts for the Phillies after being claimed off waivers from Texas on Aug. 10.. Mecole Hardman Womens Jersey. The well-traveled veteran also pitched for Houston this past season and was 6-7 overall with a 4.77 ERA in 37 games, including 11 starts. He has compiled a 48-54 record with a 4.40 ERA over nine seasons with the Giants, Cubs, Nationals, Angels, Astros, Rangers and Phillies. ' ' '
VANCOUVER - Ryan Miller sat alone at his locker-room stall for a long time, pondering two lost points for the Vancouver Canucks. Patrick Beverley Clippers Jersey .Justin Williams and Jarret Stoll scored 53 seconds apart late in the third period Thursday as the Los Angeles Kings roared back from a 2-0 deficit midway through the game to stun the Canucks 3-2.The goals came on the Kings 39th and 40th shots of the night as Los Angeles took advantage of a sluggish Canucks team that was coming off a big 3-1 road victory over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.One of the more disappointing games in a while, said a downtrodden Miller. Just blew it at the end.Its frustrating to get to 57 minutes or so and blow it.Williams tied the game on the power play with 2:07 left in regulation with his ninth of the season and first in eight games on a great shot over Millers shoulder before Stoll buried the winner — his fourth of the campaign and first in 13 — with 1:14 to go.We gritted it out and sometimes at the end of the game you look and say All right, that was justice because I feel we dominated the game, said Williams. We had the better opportunities and we were able to show some resiliency, some resolve and not give up.Dwight King had the other goal for Los Angeles (19-12-8), which got 14 saves from Jonathan Quick.Losings disappointing, but we didnt play the way we wanted to. Thats more disappointing, said Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins, whose team was outshot 40-16. I think if you play the way you want to and you lose ... that happens sometimes. We didnt play the way we needed to play.Radim Vrbata, with a goal and an assist, and Alexandre Burrows scored for Vancouver (21-12-3), which was only in the game thanks to some key saves from Miller in a 37-save performance.We stopped playing. Being up 2-0, I dont know if we felt comfortable or what it was but it wasnt good enough, said Canucks captain Henrik Sedin. You cant expect to win when you get outshot 40 to something. Its not good enough. We know that.The Canucks have been outshot 103-51 in their last three, including that win in San Jose and a 2-1 overtime loss in Anaheim against the Ducks. Theres going to be stretches like that, Miller said of the lopsided shot margin. Well clean it up. Well get better. Its not always neat, tidy and clean during the season. Youre going to have disappointments. Unfortunately tonight we couldnt at least get a point out of it. Thats pretty frustrating.The Canucks carried a 2-1 lead into the third despite being outshot 30-10 through two periods, and Miller had to be sharp again five minutes into the final period on a shot off the stick of Stoll on a 3-on-2 rush.It looked like Vancouver was going to hold and get off to a winning start in 2015 before Williams and Stoll scored in quick succession to turn the game on its head as the Kings improved to 5-8-6 on the road and leapfrogged the Canucks in the Pacific Division standings.It was nice to get the two points and not give them any, said Stoll. Good road game by everybody and hopefully we can use this as a little springboard for road games and get our road record going. It feels good.The Canucks penalty killing unit had been lights out in recent weeks before defenceman Ryan Stanton took a hooking penalty with under four minutes to go that led to Williams goal.Its definitely tough. I dont think we had our best effort tonight, but to let it slip away at the end there definitely hurts, said Stanton. I dont think we moved our feet much tonight. Its quite the difference from the San Jose game the other night.Vancouver was up 1-0 after the first and doubled that lead at 3:39 of the second when Vrbata buried his 15th of the season and second in as many games over Quicks blocker on one of the Canucks two shots in the period.Los Angeles would direct 14 pucks on Miller in the middle period and finally got on the board when King chipped home his own rebound at 14:39 for his fifth goal of the season.Earlier in the period, the Kings hit their second post of the night when Anze Kopitar found iron on a Los Angeles power play.We got out to a lead but we sat back all game. I think they pretty much had control of that game for the most part, said Canucks forward Brad Richardson. In the end you still should have that win — pretty disappointing.In those games youve got to find a way to get a point. Thats what teams do. Thats a huge point, two we should have had and we lost them both.Vancouver was just 2-9-3 against California teams last season — one of the big reasons the club missed the playoffs for the first time in six years — and are 3-2-2 this campaign through eight games.Im sure theyre frustrated because they had a 2-0 lead, said Kings head coach Darryl Sutter. But thats how the division is.Its so close. It comes down to a big play, a bad goal or something almost every night.The Canucks opened the scoring at 12:18 of the first period on the power play when Burrows poked a loose puck past Quick for his ninth of the season.Prior to that breakthrough there were a number of chances at both ends of the ice, with Tanner Pearson ringing a shot off the post behind Miller for Los Angeles less than two minutes in before Quick stoned Richardson moments later.Theyre a good hockey team. They played hard, said Desjardins. For whatever reason we didnt have our jump. Youve got to think if its one guy then maybe its a guy, but I think it was the team. Maybe we didnt prepare quite right but we werent good as a team.Notes: Los Angeles downed Vancouver 5-1 on Nov. 8 at Staples Center. The teams meet three more times this season. ... The Canucks continue their five-game homestand Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings, while the Kings open a season-high seven-game homestand against the Nashville Predators. Jerome Robinson Jersey . His Chicago Blackhawks teammates werent shocked when he found it. Kanes career has been defined by his brilliance in the Blackhawks biggest moments, and his tiebreaking goal with 3:45 to play in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals will rank among the best. Los Angeles Clippers Jerseys . Many of those eyes are in the United States of America, a country that the sport has wanted on its side for some time. On Sunday the football Gods delivered once again, only this time it was time for good old USA to experience as much heartache as joy.Eoin Morgan believes strength of character is carrying England through a dramatic World Twenty20 after his side held their nerve against Sri Lanka to claim a semi-final spot. England are likely to face New Zealand in the last four after their third win in a row but, like their victories over South Africa and Afghanistan, this one could easily have gone the other way.Having posted a target of 172 thanks to Jos Buttler (66no) and Jason Roy (42), England reduced their opponents to 15 for four only for Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews to hit a classy half-century that got his side to within a couple of strikes of a shock reversal. Athers: Buttler unstoppable Michael Atherton says Jos Buttler is one of the most destructive players in the game Yet when the game reached its closing moments in Delhi, it was England who showed their steel.Chris Jordan turned in two brilliant overs at the death, taking three wickets for just 13 runs - with Joe Root taking a stunning catch off Dasun Shanaka that may have been the pivotal contribution. Stokes says the England players hard work has paid off after they booked their place in the semi-finals of the World T20 Sri Lanka still needed 15 off the last over and Ben Stokes was magnificent in the heat of the moment, giving up just four to rubber stamp a 10-run run.This gives us a great deal of confidence. I think in three of our wins weve had to show an immense amount of character, he said.This was completely different in the way we were way ahead of the game, had them four down quite early and then Angelo got them back into the game.It asked a completely different question of us. But we showed quite a lot, both with the bat and the ball. We showed we are capable of playing both smart cricket and aggressive cricket. Nasser Hussain reviews Englands 10-run win over Sri Lanka, helping them to reach the semi-finals of the ICC World T20 I think weve struggled to do that in the last six to eight months or so and its an area we are constantly trying to improve, but today went a long way to doing that. Jerome Robinson Clippers Jersey. Morgan had no shortage of key moments to reflect on and was keen to spread the praise among all of those who stood tall at vital times.They were in the game right until the end so Stokes last over was as crucial as it gets, he said. The Verdict panel discuss bowling at the death after England advanced into semi-finals Rootys catch gave us a huge lift. Wickets are priceless at that stage of the game and given that it didnt allow the batsmen to cross was an even bigger benefit really.As well as Jos innings I thought Jason was outstanding as well. He showed great composure and when he wanted to take someone down he showed complete commitment.Well take a lot of confidence from the overall performance. We can give it a couple of days to let the dust settle, reflect on what happened and take the absolute beauties into the semi-final. Watch Australias crunch clash with India, in Mohali, on Sky Sports 2 HD from 1.30pm on Sunday. Also See: England reach World T20 semis Buttler thrilled to reach semi Athers: Buttler unstoppable Sky Cricket Podcast ' ' '
SOCHI, Russia -- The South Korean Olympic Committee has protested the results of the womens figure skating competition, although the sports international governing body has not yet received the letter. Matt Breida 49ers Jersey . Also, International Skating Union rules always have required such protests be filed immediately after the event. The Koreans believe the judging was biased and cost Yuna Kim a second gold medal. The 2010 champion finished with silver, behind Russian teenager Adelina Sotnikova. IOC spokesman Mark Adams says any figure skating protest is a matter for the ISU to handle. Much of the uproar over the womens free skate centres on what many perceived as a lack of artistry in Sotnikovas program. Yet her marks were comparable or better than those for the highly artistic Kim. Her technical marks were significantly better. Patrick Willis 49ers Jersey . -- So much for concern that running back Marshawn Lynch would be absent from the Seattle Seahawks minicamp. Y.A. Tittle 49ers Jersey . They were right in that they responded to coach Randy Carlyles goaltending switch to erase a two-goal deficit.ATLANTA -- Johnny Manziel threw four touchdown passes, and Toney Hurd Jr. returned an interception 55 yards for the go-ahead touchdown in Texas A&Ms 52-48 victory over Duke on Tuesday night in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Manziel, playing in what might be his final college game, completed 30 of 38 passes for 382 yards and ran for 73 yards and a touchdown. Hurds interception return gave the No. 20 Aggies (9-4) their first lead with 3:33 remaining. Manziel was asked about entering the NFL draft after the game. "I cant even talk about anything other than this game," Manziel said. "This was unreal." No. 22 Duke (10-4) led 38-17 at halftime and 41-31 entering the fourth quarter. The Blue Devils couldnt hold off the comeback and are still looking for their first bowl win since beating Arkansas 7-6 in the 1961 Cotton Bowl. Hurd stepped in front of receiver Johnell Barnes for the interception, the first turnover for either team. Texas A&M linebacker Nate Askew ended Dukes next possession with another interception. Duke quarterback Anthony Boone passed for 427 yards and three touchdowns with the two interceptions. Manziel was even better. Manziel, a third-year sophomore who won the Heisman Trophy as a freshman last season, is widely projected as a first-round pick if he decides to enter the NFL draft. Texas A&Ms defence opened the second half with its first stop of the game. The Blue Devils, successful on two fourth-down calls in the first half, were stopped on fourth down from the Texas A&M 35. That set the stage for Manziels magic. The elusive quarterback had runs of 12 and 14 yards before his highliight play of the game. Deebo Samuel Youth Jersey. On second down from the Duke 17, Manziel danced and shuffled in traffic before vaulting a defender and dumping a short pass to Travis Labhart, who scored easily for his third touchdown of the game. Josh Snead ran and caught passes for touchdowns and blocked a punt to set up a scoring run by Boone as Duke dominated the first half. Snead capped Dukes opening drive with an 11-yard touchdown catch. All the pregame focus on Manziel and his possible farewell game failed to address the Aggies weakness that made the 2013 season a disappointment. Texas A&M ranked last in the Southeastern Conference and 105th in the nation in total defence and 88th in the nation in scoring defence. Dukes offence, led by Boone, ripped through the vulnerable Texas A&M defence. The Blue Devils gained 365 yards with no punts in the first half while building a 38-17 lead. Manziel and the Aggies couldnt match Dukes relentless attack. Mistakes hurt the Aggies, including an unsportsmanlike conduct call against receiver Mike Evans which helped to stall their first possession. Evans drew a second personal foul call later in the first quarter and then had to hear about it on the sideline from Manziel. Duke attacked with go-for-broke play-calling. The Blue Devils were successful on two four-and-1 plays in a second-quarter drive that ended with Josh Sneads 25-yard touchdown run, his second score of the game. Duke then added even more pressure by recovering an onside kick following the touchdown. The recovery at midfield set up Ross Martins 18-yard field goal on the final play of the half for a 38-17 lead. ' ' '
SAN ANTONIO -- Tony Parker plans to play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Sammy Sosa Jersey . The San Antonio Spurs open their rematch with the Miami Heat on Thursday, and their star point guard is nursing a balky left ankle. "Hes getting better every day, and I expect him to play," coach Gregg Popovich said Tuesday. Parker aggravated the injury Saturday, missing the second half of San Antonios series-clinching victory over Oklahoma City in the Western Conference finals. Parker didnt practice Tuesday, but said he expects to be back Wednesday. Parker is averaging a team-leading 17.2 points and 4.9 assists this post-season but has been bothered by injuries the past two rounds. "I always try to be honest with Pop," Parker said. "He knows, but if Im 50 per cent Ill try to play. If Im under 50 per cent, we can argue." Parker conceded the ankle has bothered him since San Antonios second-round series against Portland, although he did not divulge it at the time. "I dont like to talk about when Im hurt," he said. "I played on it for the whole series against Portland. Thats why I think my hamstring got hurt because I was playing on a bad ankle." Parker had tightness in his left hamstring midway through the second quarter of Game 5 against the Trail Blazers, forcing him to miss the rest of the Spurs series-clinching victory. He did not miss any of the Western Conference finals because of his hamstring. But he aggravated the ankle injury in Game 4 against Oklahoma City. "I twisted it again, but didnt say anything," Parker said. "Played on it, and then Game 6 I think my body is like, Thats enough. Its perfect timing to get five days and to get better and to be ready for Game 1." San Antonio was still able to clinch the series without Parker, holding off Oklahoma City for a 112-107 overtime victory to advance to its sixth finals appearance. Parker said he wanted to return for the second half, but was overruled by Popovich and the teams medical staff. "I wanted to play. I wanted to play," Parker said. "Pop was like, No, we never know for Game 7. So I understand where he was coming from, but it was hard to watch from the locker room. At the same time, I was very proud of my teammates. They stepped up big. It was huge for us because I think those five days (off) are big for us to prepare for the finals." Asked whether he would possibly hold Parker out if he was less than 50 per cent, Popovich smirked and alluded to the calf injury that was supposed to keep the Thunders Serge Ibaka out of the Western Conference finals -- but didnt. "Its too early -- hes either 50 per cent or out for the rest of the playoffs," Popovich said. "One of the two . I had to do it. Ill never do it again, I promise. Were done with that joke." Ernie Banks Jersey .FIFA said its appeals panel ruled the case not admissible.The former U.S. Attorney had objected to ethics judge Joachim Eckerts summary of the World Cup bid investigation, claiming numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of his work. Brad Brach Cubs Jersey . His big 2-minute outburst in the fourth quarter Tuesday night is all that really mattered for the Dallas Mavericks.KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia -- Alexander Zubkov has driven Russia to victory in four-man bobsled, making him the sixth pilot to sweep the mens bobsled races at an Olympics. Oskars Melbardis of Latvia drove to the silver medal on Sunday, and 2010 champion Steven Holcomb of Park City, Utah, piloted USA-1 to bronze. The U.S. won seven sliding medals at the Sochi Games, more than any other nation. Lyndon Rushs Canada-2 sled of Lascelles Brown, David Bissett and Neville Wright placed ninth in 3:41. Javier Baez Cubs Jersey. 76. Chris Spring and his Canada-1 crew were 13th in 3:42.84. The 39-year-old Zubkov predicted the third run of the competition would decide everything and he was right. He padded his lead considerably in that heat, and no one could keep pace. Not long afterward, he enjoyed what was a golden final joyride down the track, clinching the title by 0.09 seconds. ' ' '
BARCELONA, Spain -- Barcelonas title defence took a blow when it stumbled to a 1-0 defeat at Valladolid, missing the chance to move top of the Spanish standings on Saturday ahead of its Champions League clash with Manchester City at Camp Nou. Hydro Flask Rose . Atletico Madrid took advantage of Barcelonas latest slip by winning 2-0 at Celta Vigo courtesy of David Villas two goals in a three-minute span to move ahead of Barcelona and level on points with Real Madrid at the top of the standings. Once the league pacesetter, Barcelona has won just two of its last seven away league games and trails its title rivals by one point before Madrid hosts Levante on Sunday. Lionel Messi was the only Barcelona player who looked sharp, while his teammates were plagued by uncharacteristic passing errors and again proved brittle at the back. Valladolid outplayed the defending champions early and midfielder Fausto Rossi netted the winner in the 17th minute. The relegation-threatened side then did well to protect three points against the star-studded visitors for the remainder. After its strong start this season under first-year coach Gerardo Martino, Barcelona has dropped points in five of the last nine rounds. "As long as it is mathematically possible we will keep fighting," said Martino, whose team visits Madrid in two weeks. "We are not in our best form, and we have to rediscover it within 15 days. We are worried because the league title is being decided right now." Before the clasico, however, Martino will have to regroup his team against City on Wednesday. Barcelona will be looking to protect its 2-0 lead in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie. Valladolid started the round in the drop zone, but the big win -- only its fifth in 27 rounds -- provisionally pulled it out of danger. "Its an incredible result," said Rossi, who was at Valladolid on loan from Juventus. "All together we can save this team." Also, last-place Real Betis gave a boost to its slim hopes of staying up by beating Getafe 2-0 in Seville, while Villarreal lost 2-0 at Granada to falter in the race for fourth place. After Barcelona lost 3-1 at Real Sociedad in its last league away match, Martino aligned his best 11 available without Andres Iniesta, who didnt travel with the team for undisclosed personal reasons. Even so, Barcelona lacked its regular cool composure from the start and failed to dominate possession until it was trailing in the score. Holding midfielder Sergio Busquets, usually so sure with the ball, erred on three passes before the 25-minute mark. By that time Valladolid had threatened Barcelonas area and taken the lead when Rossi finished off a rebound after both his first attempt and Javi Guerras follow-up had hit defenders. Messis solo effort saved by goalkeeper Diego Marino in the 10th was all the visitors could muster in the first half hour. Messi, who showed no signs of his apparent vomiting from Argentinas 0-0 draw against Romania this week, used a burst of speed to break free in the 48th, only to be denied again by Marino. Messi got little help. Neymar had a quiet match and sailed his only scoring chance over the bar before he was substituted. Atletico was without suspended leading scorer Diego Costa. That meant Villa, who was dropped from Spains squad for its friendly with Italy, got the nod up front. And after a dull first half, the former Barcelona striker notched his 12th and 13th league goals of the campaign. Villa first pounced on a poor pass by Celtas Jonathan Castro, dodged Andreu Fontas last-ditch tackle, and drilled the ball beyond goalkeeper Yoel Rodriguez in the 62nd. He slotted in his second goal to seal the victory two minutes later. "Every point is important and we have to go forward game by game," said Villa. "Each game is a final and we have to win them all." Atletico hosts AC Milan on Tuesday in the last-16 of the Champions League after winning their first meeting 1-0. Betis won thanks to first-half goals from forwards Leo Baptistao and Ruben Castro to keep the hapless Getafe winless in 12 consecutive rounds and only one point from relegation. Bouteille dEau Hydro Flask . The traditional pre-Masters event was halted early due to inclement weather. Harrington, who tied for first in 2003 and won in 2004, became the first three-time champion of the event. Hydro Flask France . Today, well look at five frontcourt players today, here from the Bay Area. 1. AMIR JOHNSON (Raptors): I cant figure out what the issue or problem is, but based upon what Im seeing, hes not right.ALAMEDA, Calif. - For a general manager who preaches building through the draft, Reggie McKenzie has struggled to find impact players his first two years in Oakland. With all of his picks on the first two days for the first time in three drafts with the Raiders, McKenzie is looking to add players who can be part of the foundation of the rebuilding project in Oakland. "Its my goal and the Raiders goal to hit on my picks, and to be right in everything we do," he said. "This year, Im more excited. I cant call it pressure. Im more excited because of the foundation that weve built this off-season." The Raiders enter the draft with the fifth overall pick and also have choices near the top of the second, third and fourth rounds. Oakland has traded its fifth- and sixth-round picks away but does have three selections in the seventh round. The Raiders didnt pick until 95th overall in 2012 because of previous deals. But McKenzie was unable to find any hidden gems as none of the six players selected started a single game last season. Oakland had premium picks a year ago, but first-round cornerback D.J. Hayden was hampered as he recovered from heart surgery and struggled in his limited playing time. Second-round offensive lineman Menelik Watson barely made it on the field because of injuries. "I want to get it right every year, with every pick," McKenzie said. "Will you be 100 per cent right? Absolutely not." Here are five things to watch with the Raiders when the draft starts Thursday night: QUARTERBACK QUANDARY: The Raiders entered the off-season in need of finding a starting quarterback. After trading a sixth-round pick for Matt Schaub in March, McKenzie no longer needs to fill that hole through the draft. "Thats still a position that well look at, but I think what it does is, you dont feel that pressure that you have to go out there and try and draft a quarterback," coach Dennis Allen said. "You kind of let everything fall to you now." WIN NOW: The Raiders have spent the first two years under the leadership of McKenzie and Allen tearing down the franchise after years of poor management under late owner Al Davis. Bouchon Hydro Flask. . Now they are in the rebuild mode, but owner Mark Davis is losing patience after consecutive four-win seasons. McKenzie said that does not put pressure on him to find players who can contribute immediately. "You draft for the future," McKenzie said. "You dont draft for right now. Thats not the way I do it." GOING DEEP: One of the deepest positions in this draft is receiver, where more than a dozen players are projected to go in the first three rounds. Even after adding veteran James Jones in free agency, the Raiders could look for a playmaker in the draft. Clemsons Sammy Watkins is considered the best of the group, but the Raiders also could wait to get a quality receiver in the second or third round. "If I feel like this guy is an impact player, Im not going to bypass him just because theres some other good, solid receivers," McKenzie said. "When youre comparing great to good, Id rather have great." DRAFT DEALINGS: McKenzie has not been shy about making draft-day trades. He has moved down in the draft four times in his first two years to add additional picks, including dropping nine spots in the first round last year to take Hayden 12th overall and add the pick for Watson in the second round. "Thats what makes it fun — the uncertainty," he said. "But I cannot plan that at all. I can just be hardheaded and stubborn and say, Im not moving. But thats not my style." UNDRAFTED GEMS: A GMs work is not done once Mr. Irrelevant is picked. McKenzie has done a good job finding some gems in the undrafted free agent market with receiver Rod Streater, quarterback Matt McGloin, punter Marquette King and offensive lineman Lucas Nix all making contributions the past two years after joining Oakland as undrafted free agents. ' ' '
MIAMI -- When Henderson Alvarez closed out his shutout with a strikeout, the right-hander spun on the mound and threw a celebratory uppercut that landed on his left shoulder. Houston Texans Jerseys . That was as hard as he was hit all night. Alvarez pitched a six-hitter for his second shutout this season, and the Miami Marlins won again at home, beating the New York Mets 3-0 Tuesday night. Relying mostly on his sinker and changeup, Alvarez struck out seven, walked none and threw 111 pitches. "I just concentrated on keeping my breaking ball down and letting the batter swing," he said. Miami improved to a major league-best 16-5 at Marlins Park, and is 7-1 on the current homestand with one game left. The Marlins clinched the series and have won seven of their eight home series, but theyre 2-10 on the road. "Were playing with a lot of confidence right now," manager Mike Redmond said. "Hopefully we can finish it off Wednesday and go on the road and start winning some games out of our suitcase. Thats big right now in our development process." Alvarez (2-2) completed the victory by striking out Curtis Granderson on three pitches with a runner on third. He retired the side in order only three times but was helped by two double plays and a fine play by third baseman Casey McGehee, who threw out a batter from foul territory. Alvarezs quick tempo helped the defence, McGehee said. "When stuff is happening and you dont get flatfooted out there, it makes it easier," McGehee said. "You feel like youre in the flow of the game." The victory took only 2:08. "Nice to be able to get a little extra sleep for the 12:40 game Wednesday," Redmond said. Alvarezs only other victory this year was a complete-game 7-0 victory over Seattle on April 19 -- at home, of course. He now has four career shutouts, including a no-hitter against Detroit on the final day of last season. He has the most shutouts of any active pitcher with 65 career starts or less. "When you see nights like this, you realize this guy has a chance to be really, really good," Redmond said. "It just comes down to consistency for him." The Mets, who went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position, were shut out for the third time. "Youve got to get the big hit, as they got," manager Terry Collins said. "We didnt get any." McGehee had a pair of RBI singles and is now batting .441 with runners in scoring position. Hitting mostly cleanup, he has no homers but 23 RBIs. Bartolo Colon (2-5) allowed three runs in seven innings. He also went 0 for 2, striking out both times, leaving Mets pitchers at 0 for 56 this season with 30 strikeouts. Alvarez allowed a leadoff double in the fourth but retired the next three batters, including David Wright and Granderson on lineouts. Wright grounded out to end the sixth with runners at second and third. "When Alvarez has his A stuff like tonight, and you have a good at-bat and hit a ball hard, its pretty frustrating," Wright said, "because you know theres not going to be too many opportunities when hes throwing the ball like he is." The Marlins won with seven hits. NL home run leader Giancarlo Stanton missed one by inches when he hit an RBI double that caromed off the wall near the 418-foot sign in centre field in the first inning. He scored on a single by McGehee. The Marlins put together three consecutive two-out singles in the fifth, the last by McGehee to make it 3-0. "These guys are red hot here," Collins said. "Were going to get hot, too." NOTES: The Marlins released INF Greg Dobbs. ... Marlins INF Rafael Furcal, who has endured repeated setbacks trying to recover from hamstring and groin injuries, returned to extended spring training in Jupiter, and theres no timetable for his next rehabilitation assignment. ... The retractable roof was open on a 79-degree night. ... Marlins LF Christian Yelich visited a class of sixth-graders Tuesday and took questions. "My favourite one was, Do your parents still love you now that youre in the big leagues?" Yelich said. ... Mets RHP Zack Wheeler (1-3, 5.13) is scheduled to pitch against RHP Tom Koehler (3-2, 2.41) in the series finale Wednesday afternoon. Andre Johnson Womens Jersey . -- Novak Djokovic benefited from an erroneous call and claimed he didnt realize he had broken the rules. Kahale Warring Jersey .Inter Milan and Napoli also advanced to ensure there will be at least three Italian clubs in the last 32 of Europes secondary competition.Spurs victory, secured by Benjamin Stamboulis 49th-minute winner, was overshadowed by a succession of pitch invasions that forced the referee to halt the game after 41 minutes.NEW YORK, N.Y. - The Tampa Bay Rays have put shortstop Yunel Escobar on the 15-day disabled list because of a sore right shoulder and called up left-handed reliever Jeff Beliveau from the minors. The Rays made the moves before Tuesday nights game at Yankee Stadium against New York. Escobars move was retroactive to June 25, making him eligible to come back on Julyy 11. Deshaun Watson Jersey. Ben Zobrist started at shortstop in his place against the Yankees. Beliveau was recalled from Triple-A Durham for his third tour with Tampa Bay this season. He retired all six batters he faced in the majors. Beliveau is making his seventh stint with the Rays in the past two seasons. He has a 1.10 ERA and 10 saves at Durham this year. ' ' '
Last weekend, I was at the NHL Scouting Combine, an event which NHL prospects are put through the paces doing exercises and interviewing with teams, though its debatable how much value is gained through this process. Nike Just Do It Pas Cher Home . Here are some observations: - One of the bigger stories to come out of the event was that Sam Bennett, the Kingston Frontenacs centre considered to be one of the top prospects, couldnt do a pull-up. A little surprising. Most of the guys I watched were around a half dozen, though some did more and, obviously, some did less. To his credit, Bennett didnt appear fazed by his goose-egg. "Games arent won or lost based on pull-ups," he said afterwards. Also, in The Hockey News Future Watch issue, published months before, a scout was raving about Bennetts strength on the ice, so this probably isnt a reason for concern. This also goes to a larger question about whether these tests have any relevance for a players NHL future. If there isnt some correlation with future success as a hockey player, what is the point? They might as well write a paper discussing theoretical physics, macroeconomics or something similarly correlated to hockey-playing success. This is the part where I annually plead for some kind on-ice testing to be part of the NHL Combine process. Nothing subtitutes for what a player does while competing in their actual sport, but knowing a players skating speed, for instance, could inform decisions more than how many times they can bench press 150 pounds. Consider the NFL Combine, for example. There are all kinds of flaws with 40-yard dash as a measure for a players football ability, not least of all because players rarely run 40 yards on a given play, but it has become a measure that affects a prospects value. A cornerback who locks down receivers in college isnt going to have the same success in the NFL if he runs a 4.7 40, or a running back who runs a 4.7 40 is going to get caught a whole lot more than a guy who runs a 4.2 and player value is adjusted based on that knowledge. Its not always right (Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden has infamously performed at a high level despite a subpar 40 time), but were talking about odds and probability. Even with all the flaws in the 40-yard dash time, the uniformity of the test offers some value to teams because there isnt a circumstance in which a team prefers a slower player (you know, fast guys can always slow down if need be; it doesnt worth the other way). Former Colts GM Bill Polian, at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference a couple of years ago, talked about how the Colts, when seeking a new middle linebacker, had set parameters for how quick the player needed to be in order to fulfill the demands that their defensive scheme required. For the Colts, that meant a linebacker that could run a 4.76 40-yard dash. Wouldnt it be worthwhile to know whether that kid who is dominating a lower level of hockey is doing so because he plays at NHL speed? The long-standing argument against having on-ice testing for NHL prospects as part of the Combine process is that players have their seasons end at different times. A prospect in Minnesota high school might finish in early March, compared to players in the Memorial Cup, which finished in late May. Thats obviously a sizeable gap, but I submit that any teenager considered to be an NHL prospect would have access to ice somewhere in order to continue training. Its not like these guys pack up their equipment at the end of the season and bring it out again in September. Those days are long gone. Moving on... - There is such a variance in body type from one player to the next, such is the nature of 17-year-olds. Some still look like kids and others might as well be full-grown men (or close to it). One of the latter is top prospect Aaron Ekblad, who goes 6-foot-4, 216 pounds. He carries himself with the confidence of someone who expects to be a top pick and, while hes sure to get stronger as he matures, its easy enough to see that Ekblad could handle himself on an NHL blueline next season. One of the challenges scouts face, when it comes to evaluating players with superior physical stature, is trying to determine how much of their relative success in junior is due to playing against smaller, weaker players, something that wont happen nearly as much in the NHL, a proverbial mans league. Its completely fair to have those concerns about Ekblad, but he can play. Ekblad scored 23 goals last season; Ryan Murphy (12th overall to Carolina in 2011) is the only first-round defenceman in the past 10 drafts (2004-2013) to score more goals in his draft year. - By contrast, Vladimir Tkachev has a tiny frame -- listed at 5-foot-9, 141 pounds -- and surely wouldnt have great physical testing numbers, yet after joining Moncton of the QMJHL late in the year, he put up 17 goals and 39 points in 26 (regular season plus playoff) games. How much should teams care about his physical stature and fitness as an 18-year-old? At past Combines, I recall seeing the likes of Toni Rajala or Mike Reilly, who both looked way too small to be pro hockey players. Rajala was nearly a point-per-game scorer in the AHL (61 points in 63 regular season plus playoff games) before heading to Sweden this past season, where he scored 30 points in 37 games. Reilly isnt big, but he has grown since and was an All-American as a sophomore at the University of Minnesota last season. Not every player will fill out ideally for pro hockey, but some of them fill out at 19 and 20 instead of 17. - If Ekblad, as the top defence prospect, looks NHL-ready, the second-ranked defenceman, Haydn Fleury, doesnt look too far behind, physically. Hes not as imposing as Ekblad, but Fleury was listed at 6-foot-3, 201 pounds, enough size that it wouldnt necessarily prevent him from playing in the NHL next season. There may be a whole host of other reasons not to play an 18-year-old defenceman, but Fleury has the build of a solid defenceman. - Headed to Boston College in the fall, Sonny Milano probably drew more attention for his stick and puck tricks than anything else he did at the Combine. He was the second-leading scorer on the U.S. Under-18 Team, witt 39 points in 25 games, behind only 2015 top prospect Jack Eichel. - One of the most fascinating prospects in this years draft is Josh Ho-Sang, a very talented forward who played for Windsor in the OHL. Universally, Ho-Sang is described as a talented hockey player -- no one disputes his skill -- but, theres always a "but". In interviews, Ho-Sang is described as engaging and intelligent, an independent thinker.. Uh-oh. NHL teams (and pro sports teams in general) are not known for their acceptance of independent thinkers; they tend to prefer the players that follow the script. I recall, a couple of years ago, again at the Sloan Conference, former NBA head coach Jeff Van Gundy talking about how, as a coach, he wasnt seeking well-rounded individuals. He wanted players who were obsessed with basketball. My impression is that NHL teams have similar ideals -- hockey comes first, everything else can be a distant second, third, fourth in the pecking order. So, there may be some teams that dont want to deal with Ho-Sang and it could cost him spots in the draft as a result, but there will be teams that recognize that the vast majority of 18-year-olds have a lot of growing up to do and they might not want to let Ho-Sangs talent pass just because he talks a different game than others. A stats note on Ho-Sang: he scored 61 points (23 G, 38 A) at even-strength, tying Nikolaj Ehlers (30 G, 31 A) , not far behind late-birthday prospects Nikolay Goldobin (28 G, 37 A) and Sam Reinhart (22 G, 41 A) for even-strength scoring among first-year draft-eligible CHL forwards. Another Combine note for Ho-Sang: hes not big (5-foot-11, 175 pounds), but is very fit. He did more pull-ups than any other prospect, rattling off 13, the first 10 or so with easy fluidity. No idea if that makes him a better or worse prospect. - Leon Draisaitl is a big-bodied (6-foot-2, 204 pounds) that would be easy enough to project into an NHL lineup next season. In addition to having the frame, Draisaitl came across as mature and thoughtful in interviews. - There is an interesting group of second-generation NHL hopefuls. The most notable of which is Sam Reinhart, whose father Paul played 648 NHL games after he was drafted 12th overall in 1979, and has brothers Griffin Reinhart and Max Reinhart already in the prospect pipeline. That NHL exposure may help explain why Reinhart doesnt appear fazed at all by the attention. Some others: Kasperi Kapanen (father Sami played 831 NHL games), William Nylander (father Michael played 920 NHL games), Ryan MacInnis (father Al played 1416 NHL games), Dominic Turgeon (father Pierre played 1294 NHL games), Brendan Lemieux (father Claude played 1215 NHL games), Daniel Audette (father Donald played 735 NHL games), Ryan Donato (father Ted played 796 NHL games), Josh Wesley (father Glen played 1457 NHL games), Ryan Mantha (uncle Moe played 656 NHL games) and Luc Snuggerud (uncle Dave played 265 NHL games). - Oshawa Generals winger Hunter Smith, nephew of "Motor City Smitty" Brad Smith, is a tall one. Hes 6-foot-6 and will need time to fill out, but he emerged as a prospect this year scoring 40 points in 64 games for Oshawa. Thats not amazing production, but he had two points in 45 OHL games previously, so its progress and teams are always intrigued by the big guys. Its easy to see the appeal of players like Nick Ritchie, Brendan Perlini and Alex Tuch; they have huge frames and while its one thing to be a refrigerator on skates, its another to be able to put up numbers like those players and have the size that wont present questions about whether they can handle the physical play at the next level. The challenge for player evaluators is not to overvalue that size. - While there havent been any in-depth combine analytics, to my knowledge, going back over past results, there do seem to be some pretty good prospects finishing near the top of the VO2 Max test duration. Last year, the top 10 included the likes of Mirco Mueller, Chris Bigras, Rasmus Ristolainen, Samuel Morin, Bo Horvat, Sean Monahan and Anthony Mantha. The year before, it was Hampus Lindholm, Ryan Murray, Henrik Samuelsson, Tom Wilson and Nail Yakupov. In 2011, Adam Larsson, Brandon Saad, Dougie Hamilton and Jamie Oleksiak were among the leaders. This year, the leader was Clark Bishop, a centre for Cape Breton, but some other top prospects fit in the Top 10, including Sonny Milano, Sam Reinhart and Hunter Smith. What does all this mean? Maybe nothing. We dont know because we dont see the Bottom 10 (or all the results) so that we can find out of if there is any real correlation between having a good VO2 Max test and having an NHL career. Some other notable showings in the Combine exercises: - William Nylander had the best Anaerobic Fitness, both Peak Power Output and Mean Power Output on the Wingate Cycle Test. Tkachev fared well on the Mean Power Output, perhaps in part because the calculation is based on the participants weight. - Robby Fabbri (6.1%) had the lowest body-fat percentage. Sonny Milano and Nikolaj Ehlers were other top prospects in the Top 10. - Shane Gersich, who plays for the U.S. National Under-18 Team, has springs. He had the best scores in standing long jump and all the vertical jumps, his top vertical jump was 36 inches. - Alex Peters, a 6-foot-4 defenceman for Plymouth, had the strongest grip strength, in both hands. Aaron Ekblad was among the Top 10 in both too. Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. Nike Presto Just Do It Noir . -- Creighton apparently has Villanovas number. Air Force One Just Do It Noir Pas Cher . Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.Former Rangers player and manager Graeme Souness believes the clubs return to the Scottish Premiership will offer a boost to the whole of Scottish football. The Gers defeated Dumbarton 1-0 on Tuesday night to secure their return to the top-flight after they were demoted to the fourth-tier in 2012.Rangers and rivals Celtic go head-to-head in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup on April 17 - live on Sky Sports -  but the fixture will once again be a regular occurrence from next season, something Souness feels can only benefit the domestic game. Graeme Souness says its great news Rangers have been promoted back to the Scottish Premiership No one can argue its not been bad for Scottish football for Rangers not to be in the Premier League, said Sky Sports football expert and columnist Souness.If the shoe had been on the other foot, I am sure Rangers supporters would have celebrated Celtic having the same problems.But thats the short-term outlook because Celtic, since Rangers went down, have not really had a challenge. Rangers fans talk about their delight as their team were promoted back to the Scottish Premiership Theres been a bit of a challenge from Aberdeen but its not been sustained. Just Do It Chaussure Nike Pas Cher. [Virgil] van Dijk, [Victor] Wanyama, [Fraser] Forster, three of Celtics better players, have gone. Do Celtic sell them if Rangers are still a challenge? No. That means the quality of football that Celtic fans are watching has diminished. Dont take my word for it, take a look at the gates at Celtic Park since Rangers have not been in the big league. Rangers Harry Forrester celebrates promotion The profile of the Premier League in Scotland has been diminished, its not as interesting to people outside of Scotland as it was when Rangers were there.Theres not the same interest from television companies and other media outlets. Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ, Rangers manager Mark Warburton insists his side wont become complacent following their promotion back to the Premiership As much as people have enjoyed the demise of Rangers and the damage to Rangers, they are shooting themselves in the foot and if they are thinking any differently, they are kidding themselves on.Watch Rangers v Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final. Coverage begins on Sky Sports 2 HD at 11 am on April 17. Also See: Warburton: Job not done Rangers must challenge Celtic Lennon: Rangers rise is a plus McCann: Exciting times ahead Wholeslae Jerseys NFL Jerseys Cheap Wholesale NBA Jerseys Cheap NHL Jerseys Cheap MLB Jerseys Wholesale Soccer Jerseys Cheap College Jerseys Cheap Football Jerseys Cheap Basketball Jerseys Cheap Baseball Jerseys ' ' '
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Hydro Flask Billig . -- San Francisco Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro says he will begin the season on the disabled list. Scutaro has been sidelined for most of the spring with back problems. The Giants didnt make an official announcement before their game against Colorado on Wednesday. But the 38-year-old Scutaro says he is likely to remain in Arizona for more treatment when the team breaks camp. Scutaro was plagued by back stiffness for most of the 2013 season. He had a couple of epidural injections earlier this spring and recently had a cortisone injection. Scutaros situation likely will leave Joaquin Arias as the starting second baseman. Arias started at third base on Wednesday, with Pablo Sandoval nursing a small cut in his hand. Hydro Flask Flasche . The mood in Seattle was electrified as the parade featuring the NFL champions began near the Space Needle and made its way to CenturyLink Field, the home of the team. At a ceremony inside the stadium, the team thanked its loyal followers -- the 12th Man -- capping a day of boisterous celebration that drew an estimated 700,000 revelers to Seattle. Hydro Flask Günstig Kaufen . Six years of waiting are finally over for the Dallas defenceman. Daley had a goal and an assist, Kari Lehtonen recorded his fifth shutout of the season, and the Stars clinched their first playoff berth since 2008 with a 3-0 victory against the St.Cincinnati, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green did not participate in practice Wednesday due to bruised biceps, but hes hoping to play in Sundays big game in Pittsburgh. The primetime contest at Heinz Field will determine the AFC North champion, although both the Bengals and Steelers are already assured of playoff spots. I think A.J. Greens arm is coming along fine, Bengals coach Marvin LLewis said. Hydro Flask Kinder. Lewis added that Green has a shot at playing Sunday night. Green had a career-best 224 receiving yards on 11 catches and a touchdown in Cincinnatis 42-21 loss to the Steelers on Dec. 7. Lewis also revealed quarterback Andy Dalton didnt practice Wednesday due to the flu. Tight end Jermaine Gresham, safety Reggie Nelson, and cornerback Terence Newman also didnt practice due to illness. Wholeslae Jerseys NFL Jerseys Cheap Wholesale NBA Jerseys Cheap NHL Jerseys Cheap MLB Jerseys Wholesale Soccer Jerseys Cheap College Jerseys Cheap Football Jerseys Cheap Basketball Jerseys Cheap Baseball Jerseys ' ' '
Hes back. Robin Lopez Bulls Jersey . Kobe Bryant will make his season debut Sunday night, eight months after he underwent surgery to repair a torn left Achilles tendon. Bryant announced he would return at home against the Toronto Raptors Sunday on his Facebook account. He was practicing harder and concedes there are things that need to improve, but Black Mamba is back. Catch the game on TSN2 starting at 9:30pm et/6:30pm pt. "Getting a rhythm under my legs, as far as stopping on a dime, raising up and shooting," Bryant said. "And getting your game legs underneath you where you can shoot a jump shot comfortably." Head coach Mike DAntoni will ease Bryant, 35, back into the lineup. "We wont know until we see him. But he can play any way," DAntoni told NBA.com. "He can play below the rim, above the rim, beside the rim. Hell figure out how he will be effective, and then hell come at you with everything hes got. Thats been his M.O. and I think thats what hell do." Bryant was hurt in the fourth quarter of an April 12 game against Golden State when he tried to drive to the basket and collapsed to the floor in pain. He had surgery the following morning and was given a 6-to-9 month recovery window. Bryant averaged 27.3 points, 6.0 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game in 78 tilts a year ago. The Lakers have managed pretty well without one of the best in the history of the game. They improved to 10-9 with a 106-100 victory Friday night in Sacramento. L.A. closed with 13 straight points for its sixth win in the last eight. Pau Gasol and Jodie Meeks, who buried a pair of late 3s to squash the Kings chances, led the way with 19 points apiece. Nick Young had 14 off the bench, while Wesley Johnson and Steve Blake scored 13 points each. Blake also handed out 10 assists. Robert Sacre, the Lakers new starting center, had 11 points. Also on the injury front for the Lakers, Steve Nash, another future Hall of Famer, could return next week from a nerve root irritation issue in his back. The Raptors, who have taken footnote status for Sundays game, have dropped five straight, including the first two on this three-game western trip. They blew a 27-point second-half lead against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, then lost 106-97 Friday in Phoenix. It was a two-point game at the half, but the Suns took the third by five to lead by seven, then held on in the fourth quarter. "Its been tough all year. I dont know what else to say. Its kind of sounding like a broken record," said Rudy Gay. "It starts with the third quarter." Amir Johnson led the way with 22 points off the bench, followed by 21 from Kyle Lowry. Gay had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Jonas Valanciunas also had a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards. DeMar DeRozan only managed 13 points. Tyler Hansbrough left the game with a sprained left shoulder in the first quarter. He is listed as day-to-day. The teams split last seasons two meetings, but the Lakers have won five of the last six and nine of the last 11. The Lakers have taken 10 straight at home against the Raptors and Torontos last road victory in this series came on Dec. 28, 2001. The Raptors are 2-14 all-time as the visitors against the Lakers. Scottie Pippen Jersey . He was still a kid, going into his senior year of high school. Thursday, the point guard stood in front of a couple dozen members of the media and spoke with poise about how much hed grown since then, and how hes ready for the next level. Robin Lopez Jersey .com) - Even on the day his New Hampshire football team became the nations top-ranked team two weeks ago, coach Sean McDonnell conceded something about the team they replaced at No. MONTREAL -- Troy Smith is ready to hear Anthony Calvillos name mentioned every time he lines up at quarterback for the Montreal Alouettes. The Heisman Trophy-winning pivot, who joined the Alouettes midway through last season, will be the clubs first opening-game starter other than Calvillo in 15 years when Montreal plays its first game of the 2014 CFL regular season at Calgary on Saturday. They are massive shoes to fill, with Calvillo having retired in the off-season as the leagues all-time passing leader. "Ill never stop hearing those references," Smith said this week. "I think its great to be mentioned with a great name like that. "I havent done nearly the things he has, and just holding onto his coattails a bit has been fun so far. But as a man, I definitely want to make my own path. Thats why Im here." Smith takes over the key position on a team that was a powerhouse for most of Calvillos time behind centre, but which has been sliding in recent seasons. And even though they remain well-stocked with top talent at many positions, the Alouettes are perceived as a team in decline. Last season was a disaster, with the inexperienced Dan Hawkins fired as head coach only five games into the season, followed shortly by a season-ending, and career-ending, injury to Calvillo. They finished 8-10, tying their worst record since they returned to Montreal after a 10-year gap in 1996, and lost to Hamilton in the East Division semifinal. This season hasnt started well either, with team architect Jim Popps bid to keep the head coaching as well as general managing job turned down. Tom Higgins, who was out of coaching since 2007, was named the new head coach, but the offensive co-ordinator he hired, Rick Worman, was fired midway through training camp. Then the club lost both its pre-season games, including a 26-10 setback at home against expansion Ottawa in which they failed to score a touchdown with new OC Ryan Dinwiddie calling the plays. Smith was not sharp while playing just over half of that game, but neither were backups Tanner Marsh and Alex Brink. All three got starts last season, with Smith emerging as the most promising to take over the top job. Now he has to play well enough to keep it. "I dont look at it as a transition year," said Popp. "That was last year. "Theres going to be a transition, but we were faced with this starting in Game 6, and we played two thirds of the year without Anthony Calvillo, knowing he probably wasnt coming back. "We had four different quarterbacks that won games and the team realized they could win without Anthony. That was a big hurdle. Its a little nerve-wracking, but like with all great players you lose, you just have to march on. Its not so much to replace that guy, but to find someone you can win with. How great theyll be, well find out." There were two main positives to come out of the off-season. One was the return of Larry Taylor, who gives them a kick return threat they havent had in recent seaasons. Wendell Carter Jr. Jersey. Another was the signing of former NFL star receiver Chad (Ochocinco) Johnson, who so far looks to have a positive influence on and off the field. The 36-year-old Johnson has been out of football for two years, but Popp said he showed up in shape and has been a "great fit." "I think he can do great things for us," Popp said. "Every time we play somebody, their attention is on him, and not on S.J. Green and Duran Carter. So if hes an attention grabber and everyones talking about him, great. Chads used to that. And Chad, with each game and experience he has in this league, is only going to get better as the season goes along." Smith will have an impressive set of receivers with Green, Carter, Johnson, Taylor, Brandon London, Eric Deslauriers and the repatriated Dave Stala. Gone are Jamel Richardson, who had a knee injury and was cut, and veteran Arland Bruce. "Weve got the best receiving corps in the league," said Popp, who is particularly high on Carter, the son of former NFL great Cris Carter, who gained 909 yards in only 12 games after making his CFL debut in August. "All I say is CFL, enjoy what youre watching because youll be watching him in the NFL next season, Hell have the majority of NFL teams after him, and were not talking about as a third or fourth receiver. He can go in and have an impact like Cam Wake. Hes at that level." There is a first-rate running back in Brandon Whitaker and a solid offensive line anchored by left tackle Josh Bourke, despite the retirements of Scott Flory and Andrew Woodruff and the departure of Michael Ola to the NFL. The defence lost starting middle linebacker Shea Emry to Toronto, but should remain among the leagues best under defensive co-ordinator Noel Thorpe with veterans like rush end John Bowman and linebacker Chip Cox leading the unit. The Alouettes kick teams have been weak for the last three seasons, including when Marc Trestman was head coach and didnt name a full-time special teams co-ordinator. But they looked good both on returns and kick coverage in the pre-season and they may be a key area of improvement. Taylors ability to avoid the first wave to pick up extra yardage should be a bonus. It will likely take some time for the offence to jell. And if it turns out that Smith doesnt have what it takes to be a regular CFL starter, it could be a long season indeed. Starting the campaign against Calgary, followed by a home game against B.C., should give Higgins and idea of what it will take to re-establish Montreals reputation as a Grey Cup contender. "Every indication is that Troy Smiths going to be our guy, but sometimes there are growing pains," said Higgins. "If you look at Anthonys career, at the start it wasnt as stellar as it was at the end. "All that being said, (Smith) comes with good intangibles. Hes from a good program. Hes got the system down. Practices are going good. So lets see him get measured up against the best."Wholeslae Jerseys NFL Jerseys Cheap Wholesale NBA Jerseys Cheap NHL Jerseys Cheap MLB Jerseys Wholesale Soccer Jerseys Cheap College Jerseys Cheap Football Jerseys Cheap Basketball Jerseys Cheap Baseball Jerseys ' ' '
NEWARK, N. Sheldrick Redwine Youth Jersey .J. -- Renan Barao was on a tear, trying to put away Urijah Faber with a series of fists to the head. Faber attempted to flash a thumbs up -- a sign he could still fight. Barao and an early stoppage didnt let him get that chance. Barao made quick work of Faber in his latest title defence, dropping the challenger with a right and pummeling him with a series of shots to the head while retaining his 135-pound championship in the main event of UFC 169 on Saturday night. Referee Herb Dean stopped the fight once Barao pounced on Faber and pounded away on The California Kid. Barao won by TKO at 3:22 in the first round and had Faber in all kinds of trouble from the start. But Faber said he could have kept fighting and wanted the chance to continue in the five-round bout. "Its my time," Barao said. "I never thought the referee could stop the fight early because Urijah looked like he could keep fighting. I landed a great punch, the one good enough (to) keep this belt tight around my waist." Jose Aldo retained his 145-pound championship by unanimous decision over Ricardo Lamas in the co-main event. Alistair Overeem beat Frank Mir by UD in a battle of former MMA heavyweight champions at the sold-out Prudential Center for UFCs Super Bowl weekend show. Faber dropped to 0 for 6 as the challenger in title bouts since 2008. He choked out Michael McDonald just six weeks ago on a UFC on Fox card, and was pressed into service Saturday night when injury-prone Dominick Cruz pulled out with a torn groin. Barao rocked him with big rights and never allowed Faber a chance to recover. Barao has defeated Faber twice. "You get caught with punches, man," Faber said. "I just wish I had more of a chance." UFC President Dana White said Dean shouldnt have stopped the fight. "Rarely does he make a mistake," White said. "He made a mistake tonight. But hes the best in the business." Aldo ran his UFC record to 6-0 on the strength of a series of leg kicks from the opening round. He was only in trouble once, late in the fifth when Lamas finally landed a series of strikes and elbows to the champ. Lamas couldnt finish him, and his flurry came too late in the bout. Aldo has won 14 in a row in both UFC and World Extreme Cage Fighting. The two smaller weight-class fights headlined a card that featured a heavyweight bout that could have been the main event of a PPV five years ago. Overeem, the former Strikeforce heavyweight champion, stayed away from the ground game and toyed with Mir for three rounds. He bloodied the former UFC heavyweight champion early in the three-round bout and connected with a hard right in the third. Overeems corner yelled at him to "take your time," and he tried to play it safe with so much on the line. Overeem snapped a two-fight losing streak and won for the first time since he beat former heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar at UFC 141. "I proved to everybody Im back tonight," Overeem said. "Frank is a very experienced fighter, his game plan was to take me down, but Im a well-rounded fighter, too, so I dominated him. This victory has motivated me a lot to go back to the gym and get ready for fighting again." With rumours swirling that Lesnar, now with the WWE, might want a UFC return, Overeem stood inside the cage and told the crowd hed welcome the challenge. "Ill be here waiting for him," Overeem said. It might be a long wait. White said there is no deal with Lesnar. At 34, Mir may have fought inside the UFC octagon for the last time. Mir has dropped four straight bouts and this match was considered a deciding factor for the UFC to keep either fighter. Mir put up almost no fight and was on his back for a good chunk of the bout. White refused this week to proclaim Mir-Overeem a "loser leaves town" bout, but said both fighters needed a great fight to stick around. Mir failed to deliver. White said he could make a decision this week. The UFC ditched Las Vegas for the Prudential Center for its traditional Super Bowl weekend show. The UFC went to the New York-New Jersey area and piggybacked on Super Bowl week with rousing success. The main event fighters were invited to the NFLs media day, and the UFC even hit Madison Square Garden for its own media day -- staging it at a venue the promotion cant use because of New Yorks MMA ban. With New York closed to MMA, UFC 169 is already the fifth card the Las Vegas-based promotion has run in the Prudential Center since it opened in 2007. The UFC switched its traditional Super Bowl show from Las Vegas to New Jersey at the request of its broadcast partner, Fox. The Prudential Center is less than 10 miles from MetLife Stadium, the site of Sundays Super Bowl. There were a few fans in Broncos jerseys and one fan near the cage held up a neon Seahawks sign that brightened his part of the darkened arena. Abel Trujilo opened the PPV card with a crushing right hand that knocked Jamie Varner out cold at 2:32 of the second round. Varner went down in face-first heap that had the crowd going wild. Ali Bagautinov used some late-fight theatrics in his unanimous decision win over John Lineker. Bagautinov flexed and gave Lineker the thumbs down sign as he turned him over and flattened him on the mat. Sione Takitaki Jersey . -- Aaron Rodgers looked fine on the practice field Thursday. Jim Brown Browns Jersey . - The Denver Broncos kept rookie wide receiver Tavarres King from joining the Green Bay Packers by promoting him to their active roster Tuesday.Arlington, TX - Texas Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder underwent neck surgery Tuesday to repair a pair of herniated discs. Fielder, who was diagnosed the injury last week and was placed on the disabled list last Friday, is expected to miss the rest of the season as he recovers and eventually begins rehab. The procedure on Tuesday fused the C5 and C6 discs. Acquired from the Detroit Tigers in the offseason in exchange for second baseman Ian Kinsler, Fielder last played May 16 because of the injury. The 2007 Nationall League home run champion first had an injection in his neck in an attempt to alleviate the pain, which proved unsuccessful and led to the operation. Sione Takitaki Browns Jersey. Fielder had participated in 547 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the majors at the time, prior to sitting out the May 17 game against Toronto. The veteran sluggers first season in Texas ends with a .247 average and just three home runs and 16 RBI in 42 games. Fielder had knocked in 100 runs or more in six of the previous seven campaigns. Wholeslae Jerseys NFL Jerseys Cheap Wholesale NBA Jerseys Cheap NHL Jerseys Cheap MLB Jerseys Wholesale Soccer Jerseys Cheap College Jerseys Cheap Football Jerseys Cheap Basketball Jerseys Cheap Baseball Jerseys ' ' '
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