New Brunswick cyclist Ellen Watters dies after collision

last Friday when she was struck by a vehicle travelling in the same direction on Riverview Drive East in Lower Cove.A statement from Watters’ family posted on the Cycling Canada website says she no longer had any brain function after the collision. New Brunswick cyclist Ellen Watters has died after being hit by a vehicle while training near Sussex, N.B.The RCMP say the 28-year-old woman was cycling around 2:30 p.m. It says Watters, originally from Apohaqui, N.B., was an “awesome force” and shared joy with everyone around her.Cycling Canada says Watters had been rising up the ranks since joining the Ottawa-based The Cyclery racing program in 2014.Earlier this year, Watters won the Tour of the Battenkill and Tour of Somerville in the U.S., and won bronze in the criterium at the Canadian Road Championships.Cycling Canada says Watters had a sunny personality and her aggressive racing style became a fixture at events throughout Canada and the U.S.

Canada’s female swimmers voted Canadian Press team of the year

Another young talent, 16-year-old Taylor Ruck, swam in both.Winnipeg’s Chantal Van Landeghem, Sandrine Mainville of Boucherville, Que., Toronto’s Brittany MacLean, Michelle Williams and Kennedy Goss, Katerine Savard of Pont-Rouge, Que., and Emily Overholt of West Vancouver, B.C., all contributed to those medals, swimming in either finals or heats or both.The Canadian women finished 2016 with a flourish. “Without the female swimmers leading the way, Canada’s effort at the Rio Olympics is middling,” Medicine Hat News sports editor Sean Rooney said. Canada’s first gold of the Games came a few days later in the pool.Six swimming medals in the first eight days in Rio generated a wave of momentum for the entire Canadian Olympic team that brought home 22 in total.At the centre was Penny Oleksiak, a 16-year-old sensation from Toronto who won freestyle gold, butterfly silver and swam the anchor legs for a pair of freestyle relay bronze.Oleksiak was named the Canadian Press female athlete of the year Tuesday. “I think 1996 was the last time, so 20 years, and then we came home with six.“The fact that Canada is talking about us and getting excited about what we’re doing as a women’s team is really, really… Canada’s female swimmers soared to unexpected heights in 2016.Six Olympic medals followed by another seven in home water at the world short-course championship launched Canada as a world power in women’s swimming.Capping off a remarkable year, the Canadian women’s swim team was crowned the Canadian Press team of the year Wednesday. The Blue Jays were runaway winners last year. it’s a proud moment for me.”There was a wide range of opinions on the team award this year as the women’s Olympic soccer team, Ottawa Redblacks, men’s World Cup hockey team and Toronto FC ranged between five and seven votes each.The award has been dominated by men’s teams. The women also had a hand in an eighth medal in Windsor, a bronze in the mixed-gender relay.“That’s showing that we’re now one of the best women’s teams in the world in swimming, which you would not have been able to say a couple of years ago,” Caldwell said.Sprinter Andre De Grasse was voted the male athlete of they year on Monday. She wants Canada’s love affair with swimming to continue.“I’m just hoping that swimming kind of stays in the talk,” Oleksiak said. The world short-course championships — held in a 25-metre pool instead of a 50-metre pool — were hosted by Windsor, Ont., in early December.Seven medals — including a pair of relay gold — was their statement that Rio wasn’t a fluke. The Olympic men’s hockey team took it in 2014 and the Saskatchewan Roughriders were the team of the year in 2013.But when Canadians tuned in to watch the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, they saw the women’s freestyle relay team win their country’s first medal. “With them, it’s arguably the best we’ve ever done in a summer Olympiad.“The fact they weren’t expected to do nearly as well is a boon to both national pride and female athletics as a whole.”It’s only the third time in a half-century that a women’s team has earned the award. It’s really awesome to know that there’s a lot of people watching it and becoming more interested in it.”Caldwell, a 25-year-old from White Rock, B.C., and 20-year-old Kylie Masse of LaSalle, Ont., earned backstroke bronze medals in the 200 metres and 100 metres respectively.Canada’s depth in female freestylers surfaced with bronze medals in both the 100-metre and 200-metre relays. The women’s soccer team (2012) and the Sandra Schmirler curling rink (1998) were the others.In a survey of editors and broadcasters across the country, the women’s swim team received 15 votes (23 per cent) ahead of the runner-up Toronto Raptors with 11 votes (17 per cent) and the third-place Toronto Blue Jays with nine votes (14 per cent).“They may make more money than us, but man, we get to win this one,” joked Olympic backstroke bronze medallist Hilary Caldwell.“We had a very long drought in women’s swimming in Canada where we hadn’t won an Olympic medal,” she continued. “I haven’t really seen as much recognition as I’ve seen this year in swimming.

Russia’s anti-doping body denies admitting to sports doping scheme

She said top officials had not been involved.That appeared to chime with the final part of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s independent report into doping which this month provided evidence of an elaborate doping scheme.The report found more than 1,000 Russian competitors in more than 30 sports were involved in a conspiracy to conceal positive drug tests over a period of five years.But RUSADA said in a statement on Wednesday that Antseliovich’s words, as reported in the New York Times, had been “distorted” and “taken out of context.”“We want to underline that RUSADA does not have and could not have the authority to admit or deny such a fact (of an institutional conspiracy),” RUSADA said.“The Russian Federation’s Investigative Committee is looking into the matter (of doping). It cited Anna Antseliovich, the acting director general of RUSADA, as making the admission in an interview.“It was an institutional conspiracy,” it cited her as saying. Russia’s anti-doping agency RUSADA said on Wednesday it had not admitted to mass doping in the country’s sports system and that a report in the New York Times which suggested it had was a distortion of its position.The U.S. Every accused sports person has the indisputable right to object to the accusations.”Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Russian authorities had always denied that the Russian state had been involved in doping.Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week there were some problems with sports doping in Russia, but that there was no state-sponsored doping system as critics have alleged.Sports should not be politicised, said Putin.More than 100 Russian athletes were barred from competing at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this year after the International Olympic Committee set criteria for Russian athletes to meet, including a clean doping past and sufficient testing at international events. newspaper reported earlier on Wednesday that RUSADA officials had for the first time admitted there had been an organised conspiracy to dope in Russia.

Wheeler, Scheifele and Stafford lead Jets past Blackhawks

Crawford reacted quickly to stop Little’s tip of Trouba’s drive from the point off a faceoff but couldn’t reset in time for Wheeler’s shot.Scheifele made it 2-0 with 5:12 left in the first with his 15th goal when he parked in front and deflected Trouba’s screened drive from the right point.Anisimov, who jumped right back onto his regular line with Patrick Kane and Panarin, clicked perfectly with Kane at 7:37 of the second to cut it to 2-1.Anisimov slipped down the slot and took Kane’s pinpoint pass from the right circle. He tucked in a shot with a quick forehand-to-backhand-to-forehand move just inches beyond Hellebuyck’s reach.Crawford stopped former Blackhawk Dustin Byfuglien on a breakaway with 4:38 left in the second to keep the Jets’ lead at one goal.Stafford scored at 2:27 of the third to make it 3-1 and end a 12-game drought. 20. Artem Anisimov scored his 15th goal in his return from missing three games with an upper-body injury, but Chicago lost its third straight for the first time since last March.Chicago’s Corey Crawford blocked 31 shots in his second start since returning from an appendectomy that cost him 10 games.With an assist, the Blackhawks’ Artemi Panarin stretched his career-best points streak to eight games. Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele and Drew Stafford scored and Connor Hellebuyck made 34 saves to help the Winnipeg Jets beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1 on Tuesday night.Jacob Trouba added two assists, and Winnipeg won its second straight and fourth in five games. While the Blackhawks shot wide several times, the Jets cashed in on two opportunities to build a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.Wheeler opened the scoring 8:27 in when he cut across the crease and popped in a rebound of Bryan Little’s deflection. He has five goals and 14 points during the run.Right wing Marian Hossa missed his second straight game after being placed on injured reserve retroactive to Dec. The 37-year-old forward, who leads the Blackhawks with 16 goals, has been out since getting an upper-body injury early in a loss to Ottawa a week ago.Both teams had several prime chances in the first period. The Jets beat Central Division-leading Chicago for the third time in three tries this season, outscoring the Blackhawks 9-2 over those games. Following a turnover by rookie defenceman Gustav Forsling, Stafford took a long pass from Nic Petan, got past the defence and slid a shot under Crawford.

Backlund, Gaudreau score two each as Flames top Avalanche

Mikael Backlund scored two of Calgary’s four goals in the second period and also had an assist, and the Flames beat the Colorado Avalanche 6-3 on Tuesday night.Johnny Gaudreau also had two goals and an assist for the Flames. 15. All of Calgary’s second-period goals deflected off Colorado players.Brian Elliott had 25 saves for the Flames, who have won nine of 12. The Avalanche are 0-8-1 at Pepsi Center since beating the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on Nov. Gabriel Landeskog had two goals and Jarome Iginla scored for Colorado, which has now lost nine straight at home for the first time since moving to Denver.

Holden, Rangers rally to down Senators

Defenceman Nick Holden scored the go-ahead goal less than 7 minutes into the third period, lifting the New York Rangers to a comeback 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.Holden’s second goal of the game and sixth of the season came at 6:31 as he wedged the puck past Senators goaltender Mike Condon just 4 seconds after a Rangers’ power play had expired. 20. Karlsson leads the Senators with 32 points, including 25 assists. He leads the Rangers with 21 assists.The Rangers were particularly shaky in their last two games between the three-day Christmas break, losing 7-4 at home last Friday to Minnesota and 7-2 at Pittsburgh on Dec. He also stopped former Ranger Derick Brassard in the waning seconds.The Senators (20-12-3) saw their four-game winning streak end even though they had a 2-0 lead just over 3 minutes into the game.Defenceman Mark Borowiecki scored his first goal of the season at 2:02 on a shot from the left point that eluded Raanta, who allowed seven goals in his last start at Pittsburgh.Ottawa forward Zack Smith followed with his eighth of the season at 3:08 with assists to Erik Karlsson and Mark Stone. Raanta also allowed two goals on seven shots in relief of Lundqvist in the loss to Minnesota.Condon, who fell to 8-4-2 this season, has started eight of the last nine games for the Senators in place of the injured Andrew Hammond and starter Craig Anderson, who has been away from the team to be with his wife who is undergoing cancer treatment. 27, outshot the Rangers 12-7 in the first and had a 14-10 advantage in the second.But it was the Rangers who scored twice in the middle period while the Senators were held scoreless.Just 2 seconds after a penalty to Ottawa’s Ryan Dzingel expired, Stepan again made it a one-goal game at 2:45 with assists to McDonagh and Chris Kreider.Stepan then tied the game with a power-play goal at 14:55 of the second, tipping a shot by Mats Zuccarello past Condon for his ninth goal of the season. McDonagh and Kevin Hayes assisted.Defenceman Cody Ceci made it 3-1 for the visitors at 16:56 with his first goal of the season on a shot from the right point that found its way through traffic into the net.The Senators, who beat the Rangers 2-0 at Madison Square Garden on Nov. Derek Stepan had two goals and defenceman Ryan McDonagh had three assists as the Rangers (24-12-1) overcame a 3-1 deficit and snapped a two-game losing streak.Antti Raanta, who allowed goals on the first two shots he faced from the Senators, recovered to make 33 saves for the win, improving to 9-4-0 this season.Raanta started in place of Henrik Lundqvist, who didn’t dress because of the flu.Raanta made several strong saves with the Senators on the power play late in the third to seal the victory, his best a denial of Mike Hoffman from point blank range. McDonagh added his third assist of the game. Smith has four goals in his last five games.Holden, a key addition on defence for the Rangers this season, scored at 11:37 to narrow the deficit to 2-1 when he beat Condon from the right circle with a high snap shot.

Canada cruises to win against Slovakia team that only musters six shots

“Pretournament went well. All three could have been stopped, as they came from long range and he was only partially screened on one.This probably played a role in the decision to start Connor Ingram against Slovakia. The world junior hockey championship is unfolding the way it should for Canada.The Canadians acquitted themselves fairly well in a tough test against Russia in the opening game, then cruised to a 5-0 win Tuesday night against Slovakia in a considerably easier challenge at Air Canada Centre. The Canadians came at him in waves, and he brushed them aside for the first 25 minutes of the game.Then again, Huska does have some credentials other than being a late-round draft pick of the Rangers. In 10 games with UConn this season, he has a 2.54 GAA and .924 save percentage.But it was only a matter of time before Canada broke through Huska’s fancy stats and Jeremy Lauzon scored the first goal of the game 51/2 minutes into the second period. More than reasonable, actually, although somehow he was not selected as the team’s player of the game. He took a nice drop pass from Tyson Jost and beat Huska to the top corner on the stick side from the high slot.Three more goals followed over the rest of the second period, two of them on the power play, as the Canadians built a 4-0 lead heading into the third. The 1.82 GAA was the best in the USHL’s Tier 1 history, which goes back to 2002.After two years with the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers, Huska moved on to the NCAA. The problem here is making a judgment on his play, considering Slovakia could only muster six shots over the entire game.Ingram, a 19-year-old Tampa Bay Lightning prospect, should be given full marks simply for staying awake. Adam Huska, selected in the seventh round of the 2015 NHL entry draft by the New York Rangers, looked more like an immediate successor to Henrik Lundqvist than the 184th player taken over all.By the end of the first period, the shots were 14-2 for Canada, and Huska was the only person on the Slovakia team doing a reasonable impersonation of a hockey player. This is a lot more production than the power play showed in pretournament games, although the members of the unit said they were not concerned.“We were working really well the last couple of practices,” centre Dylan Strome said after the 5-3 win over Russia. We kept saying: If we get the opportunities, they’re going to go in eventually. The Canadians dominated on shots for the second night in succession. By the end of the second period, the Canadians held a 31-3 lead in shots, with the Slovakians unable to muster as many shots as the Canadians had goals. The final shots on goal were 44-6 for Canada, with the juniors moving into first place in Group B of the tournament with a 2-0 record. We didn’t get as many goals as we wanted, but the opportunities were there. Michael McLeod scored early in the third period to extend Canada’s lead to 5-0.The power play continued to click for Canada, and after 40 minutes the unit accounted for a total of five goals once the three against Russia in Monday’s win were counted. The 18-year-old native of Sherwood Park, Alta., who was drafted in the second round this year by the Philadelphia Flyers, gave up three goals on 17 shots. Winning battles [for the puck], that was huge.”The question now for Canadian head coach Dominique Ducharme and his staff is just which goaltender to use for the bulk of the tournament.Carter Hart started for Canada against the Russians and did not play up to the standard needed to win this tournament. Taylor Raddysh, Anthony Cirelli (on a double deflection) and Thomas Chabot did the scoring. The problem is that if he starts again in Canada’s next game, it may still be difficult to make a decisionbetween Ingram and Hart: Canada plays Latvia on Thursday, and if Tuesday’s 9-1 win by Russia over the Latvians is any indication, seeing double figures in shots in that game may be a long shot. But a 19-year-old freshman from the University of Connecticut had everyone wondering if a second major upset, one to rival Denmark’s afternoon win over defending champion Finland, was in the cards. He was voted 2015-16 goaltender of the year in the United States Hockey League by the junior circuit’s general managers after posting a 1.82 goals-against average and .931 save percentage.

Drouin hits pace, finds place on Tampa Bay Lightning

Regardless, Drouin’s future with the Lightning would appear secure, quite the turnaround from one year ago.Meet the Jackets’ leading scorerEasily the least known leading scorer of the NHL’s most surprising team this season, Cam Atkinson was the 157th overall pick of the 2008 draft, a smallish winger plucked out of Avon Old Farms high school in Connecticut. 1 goaltenders have yet to get on track.Jake Allen, who signed a four-year extension worth $17.4-million (U.S.) last summer (which starts next season), has a .905 over all save percentage and a .907 mark at even strength which ranks as the worst among goalies with at least 20 starts.John Gibson, who inherited Anaheim’s top gig following Andersen’s departure, has a .907 save percentage, including an .897 mark in December.Petr Mrázek has a .899 save percentage after resigning in Detroit for two years and $8-million while Connor Hellebuyck has given up three goals or more 13 times in 26 appearances, much of the damage coming when the Jets, the league’s third-worst penalty kill, are shorthanded.Only Mrázek’s job has been threatened with Jimmy Howard re-emerging before a recent injury (.934 save percentage).Andersen, meanwhile, has the NHL’s second-best save percentage (.938) since the start of November, registering his first shutout with the Leafs in their second-last game before the break, a 38-stop blanking of the Colorado Avalanche.Early returnsOne of the more intriguing trades last summer saw 23-year-old Mika Zibanejad shipped from Ottawa to New York for 29-year-old Derick Brassard. He’s not expected back until after the New Year.Brassard, the former Blue Jackets first rounder is well off the near-60-point pace he managed in each of the previous two seasons, totalling only seven goals and 15 points in 34 games (a 36-point pace) for the Senators. 29 trade deadline and by playoff time, Drouin had emerged as a crucial element in the Bolts’ attack, totalling 14 points in 17 games en route to the club’s second straight Eastern Conference final.After a sluggish start offensively this season (seven points in 17 games), the 21-year-old is flying again.Drouin has seven goals and 13 points in 10 games this month, including a combined five points in back-to-back wins last week. Atkinson, who leads the sizzling Blue Jackets with 35 points in 32 games, has quietly scored at least 20 goals in each of his three full NHL seasons, including a career-best 27 goals and 53 points last year. 1 goaltender Ben Bishop because of injury.The Ste-Agathe, Que.-native may soon join that group after exiting Tampa’s final game before the holiday break with an undisclosed injury. Brassard did score in three straight games last week and boasts a strong 54-per-cent puck possession mark, tops among Ottawa regulars.The Associated Press For the Senators it was an injection of veteran stability, the Rangers an infusion of youth.How’s it worked for both sides so far? Jonathan Drouin’s future with the Tampa Bay Lightning looked particularly bleak at this point last year.The third overall pick of the 2013 draft was unhappy in Tampa then amid inconsistent opportunities under head coach Jon Cooper and had requested a trade from the club in November. The Lightning ultimately opted against dealing their frustrated winger ahead of the Feb. It’s probably too early to say. He was demoted to the American Hockey League by January and later suspended indefinitely without pay as trade speculation swirled. 1sFrederik Andersen has found his way for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but a few other new No. Zibanejad was living up to last season’s career-best production (21 goals, 51 points) before breaking his fibula last month, totalling five goals, 15 points, a 52-per-cent possession and 53.7-per-cent success rate in the face-off circle in 19 games. The 27-year-old trails only Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby with 15 points in December, tied for sixth in NHL scoring on the season.The five-foot-eight, 182-pound Atkinson has done the majority of his damage on the league’s top power play, currently tops among all NHL players with 17 power-play points this year, already a career high.No. His offensive emergence has been timely for Tampa, which has been without Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat, Ryan Callahan, Vladislav Namestnikov and No.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby ruled hockey in 2016

Quieter, at least in terms of tangible production against the Capitals in the second round — underlying numbers remained strong — Crosby surged again in the Eastern Conference final against Tampa.Set up nicely in the slot by Bryan Rust, Crosby scored the overtime winner from one knee in Game 2, following that up with two more game-winning goals in Games 3 and 6. It didn’t matter. 1.“He might be at the highest level he’s ever been,” Mike Babcock, the head coach of the Maple Leafs and Team Canada, said recently. All this despite the late start. He scored in each of his first three games, four of the first five, and 11 of the first 17. “It’s fun just to be able to watch him every day.”A concussion forced Crosby to start his season almost two weeks late. He tops the league with a bullet in regular season goals (51) and points (96) since Jan. 1 until the end of the regular season, his 45 even-strength points nine up on the next closest challenger.Crosby didn’t stop when the playoffs began.He scored a goal and set up two others in Game 1 against the New York Rangers, adding five more points (for eight total) in a clinical first round win. Perhaps most memorable though was the reverence he instilled from even the top players in the sport.“He really is the best player in the world,” Logan Couture said at the time. Even the puck possession numbers looked askew.For one of those rare times in his hockey life, Crosby was struggling to make a difference and unable to find answers.“You’d go through times where it wouldn’t go in and that’s one thing, but I hadn’t really gone through something where you weren’t really feeling like you had much of an impact on the game,” said Crosby in late March.By late November he was back and come the start of 2016, he was blowing past all comers.He led the league with 27 goals and 58 points in 44 games from Jan. The 29-year-old raced to 20 goals faster than he ever had before, needing just 22 games to do so.Crosby entered Tuesday’s game against New Jersey with 38 points in 29 games, including an NHL-leading 24 goals which had him on pace to break the career-high 51 goals he managed in 2009-10. Statistically speaking, 2016 was not the most dominant calendar year in Sidney Crosby’s storied career.There was 2010, in which Crosby scored the “golden goal” for Team Canada at the Vancouver Olympics and amassed an astounding 60 goals and 126 points in 80 regular season games. Even-strength shot attempts were 117-85 for Pittsburgh when he was on the ice against the Lightning (58 per cent possession); scoring chances one-sided at 50-33.In the Stanley Cup final San Jose’s Crosby containment tool, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, actually managed to hold his own, but the Penguins captain still made a huge dent on the series. There was also 2009 when the Pittsburgh Penguins captain posted 41 goals and 101 points in 80 games, before tallying another 15 goals and 31 points in the playoffs en route to his first Stanley Cup. In fact, on a points per-game basis (regular season only), 2016 wasn’t even in Crosby’s top-five:2010: 1.582006: 1.51 (37 goals, 118 points in 78 games)2013: 1.48 (37, 114 in 77)2007: 1.37 (35, 114 in 83)2008: 1.35 (23, 70 in 52)The year was remarkable no less for Crosby, who has accumulated 60 goals and 125 points across 103 games (entering Tuesday’s play) spanning the regular season and playoffs as well as the recently revived World Cup of Hockey.At every point Crosby was just another a notch or two better than the rest, his place atop the sport cemented once more.Crosby was actually lost in the waning months of 2015.He got off to the worst start of his NHL career, point-less in the first five games of the regular season and held without a point in eight of the first nine. Never before had the Cole Harbour, N.S., native had so few points (five) in the season’s first month. He was rightly named tournament MVP. He set up goals in Games 1 and 2, the latter a perfectly executed design of Conor Sheary’s game-winner.If not finding the scoreboard, Crosby was still a wrecking ball in a Game 5 loss (shot attempts were 25-8) and then in Game 6 he set up Kris Letang’s go-ahead goal and game-winner as well as well as Patric Hornqvist’s empty-net Cup clincher.Pittsburgh had an incredible 67 per cent of even-strength scoring chances when Crosby was on the ice in the final, also winning the possession battle handily.Crosby drew his second Stanley Cup for those efforts and first Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP.Crosby once again asserted himself as better than the rest at the (near) best-on-best of the World Cup.Team Canada’s captain led the tourney with three goals and 10 points in six games, the engine of a mostly unstoppable top line that also included Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.

Columbus Blue Jackets pile up wins to lead the NHL

They have the league’s largest goal differential (plus-45) and haven’t lost in regulation since Nov. He’s back to his old self following a disappointing 2015-16 in which he had just 37 points – he led the team with 73 the season before.“I think the biggest thing is that we have an identity,” Foligno said. The previous night, Scott Hartnell was the star, getting a hat trick in a 7-1 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins to take over first place in the league’s toughest division.The Blue Jackets are off to their best start ever at 23-5-4. “When you’re winning hockey games, everyone is coming in excited and with confidence and we’re playing well as a team. 23.Columbus is hunting its first ever division title and third post-season appearance after limping to a 34-40-8 record last season, a shocking feat since the core of the roster largely returned.So what’s the difference?“Mental,” said Tortorella, who replaced Todd Richards after the Blue Jackets started 0-7 last season. I’ve enjoyed being on a team like this.”Columbus hasn’t made the postseason since 2013-14, when it lost in the first round. “Coming to the game and knowing your role and what’s expected of you, and knowing there’s a good possibility of winning the game, that’s exciting. Last year, the way things were going, it was tough coming to the rink.”Another reason for the turnaround is the resurgence of captain Nick Foligno, one of four players with 10 or more goals. “We have to concentrate every day on what we’re trying to do, and that’s where I think we made the biggest improvement.” It seems primed to compete for the Stanley Cup.Just don’t expect to hear that coming from the locker room.“We have to stay so focused on what we have to do each day because we simply are not good enough to think we’re okay here now,” Tortorella said. We’re a depth team, good defence, we play fast, obviously great goaltending, and we really believe in ourselves right now, which was maybe lacking last year.”Columbus has also gotten a jolt – and some big minutes – from some emerging young stars. “It’s something we didn’t have. Just a season removed from a last-place finish in the Metropolitan Division – coach John Tortorella called 2015-16 “embarrassing” – the Blue Jackets have hockey’s best record fuelled by a roster light on stars but deep in key contributors.Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky led the way against the Canadiens on Friday, stopping 36 shots in a 2-1 victory, including two acrobatic blocks using the toe of his skate. More businesslike.”“The energy,” said left wing Brandon Saad, who led the team last year with 31 goals and 53 points. When the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Montreal Canadiens two days before Christmas for the team’s 12th consecutive win, the sell-out crowd at Nationwide Arena stayed put and cheered long past the final horn.Understandable, given that the fans here haven’t had much to celebrate in the team’s 16-year history. Every team needs to have that to be successful. This improbable team doesn’t just look like a rare playoff-worthy squad, though. Defenceman Zach Werenski is pulling over 21 minutes a game and showing surprising maturity for a 19-year-old rookie. The 27-year-old journeyman signed a one-year, $650,000 free agent contract over the summer and has 14 goals already after scoring eight in 53 games with the Flyers last season.“Being on a winning team helps,” Gagner said. “We’re a much better mentally equipped team, in handling things, in understanding what it is to be a pro. Werenski is paired with 22-year-old Seth Jones, another fast, aggressive defender and top-notch passer.Sam Gagner has also been a pleasant surprise.

Former NHL player Jim Kyte moves from hockey career to academic life

The world is not going to stop for anybody. [and]with the directional-microphone technology – and so many different settings – it’s greatly improved.”Kyte has a laundry list of aches and pains that he can trace to his playing career: He fractured his fifth lumbar vertebrae; he’s broken his wrist, his thumb and many of his fingers; he’s had shoulder surgery. There wasn’t one photo up; all my jerseys were put away in a closet. My car flipped three times I’m told; I don’t remember anything. We deal with some students who barely scraped by in high school and others who really excelled. James Kelly, told him he would never play again. You could walk into my home and never knew I played. “Basically, it was an e-mail device for me. I didn’t really appreciate that until I was the victim in a car accident. According to Kyte, it was far better to get the bad news from a doctor than from 30 NHL general managers and their 30 minor-league peers.Determining he needed to make a clean break after his career ended, Kyte returned to his hometown of Ottawa to ponder his second act.One of his first decisions was to stash away all his memorabilia, anything that reminded him of his playing days. He is now dean of the school of hospitality and tourism at Algonquin College in Ottawa and pondering the idea of pursuing a doctorate.So many stories about ex-NHLers, who played a hard physical game and paid a physical price, ended tragically. So basically, I’m thankful I’m still here.”But Kyte did more than just survive the accident. Kyte was a 6-foot-5, 210-pound defenceman, drafted 12th overall in 1982 by the Winnipeg Jets, the first legally deaf player in NHL history. He’d never had a knee problem until the fall of 2015, when he was on a goodwill tour on behalf of the military and tore a knee ligament in a ball-hockey game against the troops in Kuwait.After Kyte had his accident, doctors advised him to keep a diary to track his recovery. I really like working with the people I’m working with. His first entry came on Oct. 28 – until Sept. Eventually, Kyte was asked to develop a business plan and when that was accepted, he was invited to run the program.“I saw a window, a very small window of opportunity that may never come again in my lifetime – and I recognized that,” he said. Kyte developed tricks – such as using the reflection from the glass of the boards – to see players bearing down on him. It was a good lesson for me. It came as a result of an automobile accident – in 1997 his car was smashed by another vehicle in Kansas City, where he was playing for the San Jose Sharks’ minor-league affiliate, and hoping to make his way back to the NHL.It took Kyte almost a full year to recover from those injuries, but here’s where his story takes an unusual detour.Once the fog cleared, Kyte forged a second career in academia, earning an MBA from Royal Roads University in 2007. 6 of 1998, Kyte said he had a headache “for every waking moment of my life – from an intense migraine to a dull headache, all the time. “So I worked 60 to 80 hours a week to make sure I built a successful program. Kyte is the opposite of that – and proof that as debilitating as post-concussion syndrome can be, for some, there is a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.“Life isn’t easy,” said Kyte, 52. “There are jerseys up, trophies, almost a shrine to their careers. It’s wonderful to see.”When former Calgary Flames’ teammate Theo Fleury spoke at Algonquin College about his experiences as a sexual-abuse survivor, it was Kyte who made the introductions.“He wasn’t a one-dimensional jock,” Fleury said. He played 598 NHL regular-season games and accumulated 1,342 penalty minutes before his career ended at the age of 33, as a result of post-concussion syndrome.Unlike some of his peers, however, Kyte’s playing days didn’t end on the ice. He is, for example, able to conduct a lengthy interview, completely over the telephone from his office.“My first cellphone, I never spoke on it,” he said. On one level, he said, it was an easy decision to walk away from professional hockey because the renowned concussion specialist, Chicago-based Dr. A guy ran a stop sign, an uninsured motorist. “I love it when guys leave the game and are successful in other areas.”Kyte started in the NHL as a 20-year-old and remarkably found ways of playing, despite his hearing loss. Then I ended up getting some new hearing aids with a Bluetooth device attached, and it changed everything for me. It’s amazing when they come in in the first semester, and then you see the changes in them after four years, or even two – when they’re walking across the stage, graduating, and they’re different people, more confident. I enjoy intrinsically working with young people.’ They show up at our door, with a dream and a hope for what they want to do – and we’re there to help them achieve their dream, and support them along the way.“As a community college, we’re an open-access institution. Improvements in hearing-aid technology have demonstrably improved the quality of his life. To me, it was, ‘Okay, my career is over, I need to move forward, and I can’t be stuck in the past.’”Kyte went back to school as a mature student and earned a living as a motivational speaker, while he was studying for his MBA. My teammates came around for the first couple of weeks, but they don’t have time to put their life on hold for me – nobody does except family.“Life keeps going on without you. 27, 1997. It was important, symbolically, to put the past behind him.“You can go into some guys’ homes, some of my former teammates, and you’d think you were walking into a Hall of Fame,” Kyte said. It’s a very dynamic classroom. It turned into, not just a job, but a career.”Life as an academic suits Kyte.“My kids ask: ‘How come you spend so much time at work?’ and my answer is: ‘I really like going to work. We deal with special-needs students, and first-generation immigrants. The first part of Jim Kyte’s life story may sound discouragingly familiar to anyone following the trials and tribulations of the NHL’s ongoing concussion debate. 6 was the first day I woke up without it.“When you’re in that kind of discomfort, you can’t help but be a little ornery. I woke up with the fire department, cutting me out of the car. My ability to speak on the phone has greatly improved because of technology.“The hearing aids are now smaller … He thrived in its aftermath. His academic career began with a chance meeting – the dean at Algonquin College heard him on the speaking circuit and asked him to put an advisory committee together to develop a sport-management program. I wasn’t a nice person to be around for a while. “Life is hard. But you learn, the sun is going to come up the next day – and you better be ready for it.” That Sept. From the next day – Oct. But every morning I wake up, I say to myself: ‘Today’s going to be a good day.’“My dad used to cite the 90-10 rule – life is 10 per cent what happens to you and 90 per cent how you react to it.

Swansea manager Bob Bradley fired after less than three months

He felt he’d earned his shot at a big job after a number of setbacks and rejections, and was proud to be the first American coach to manage in the Premier League.Turning around Swansea’s fortunes was always going to be a difficult task, though, especially for a man with no experience with British soccer. “I knew exactly what I was getting into when I came to Swansea,” Bradley said by text message, “and realized the hardest part was always going to be getting points in the short run.“But I believe in myself and I believe in going for it.”Swansea is above only Hull on goal differential after 18 games of the 38-game season. He didn’t even make it to the Bournemouth game on Saturday, with the board taking decisive action that will at least give Swansea’s new manager the January transfer window to make changes.Assistant coaches Paul Williams and Alan Curtis will take charge of the team in the short term. American businessmen Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan have run the south Wales club since July, when they bought a 68 per cent controlling stake.Former Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs and current Wales manager Chris Coleman are the early favourites with British bookmakers to replace Bradley.Bradley arrived at Liberty Stadium with a strong reputation after spells at clubs in Norway and France, as well as stints as coach of the United States and Egypt national teams during his 35-year coaching career. He is a good man, a good person who gave everything to the job.”Once regarded as a beacon of stability and an example of how a soccer club should be run, Swansea will begin the search for its fifth full-time manager in less than three years, desperate to keep its place in the richest soccer league of all. After taking training on Tuesday, Bradley later returned to the club’s training ground only to be told he had been dismissed by the team’s American co-owners. Bradley couldn’t shore up Swansea’s defence — the team conceded 29 goals in his time in charge, and at least three goals in eight of his 11 games — and had only one attacker of true quality, Icelandic midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson.Bradley was unconcerned about coming under scrutiny — mostly from British soccer fans on social media — for his occasional use of American soccer terms like “PK” (for penalty kick) and “road games” (for away games), but was worried about Swansea’s sloppy play and failure to keep clean sheets.Bradley acknowledged that Swansea’s two games immediately after Christmas, at home to West Ham and Bournemouth, could determine his future. Bob Bradley waited years for the chance to coach a team in one of Europe’s top soccer leagues.When he finally got it, the job proved too big for him.The 58-year-old American was fired as Swansea manager on Tuesday, just 85 days after taking over the English Premier League’s next to last place team.Bradley won two of his 11 matches in charge, with his fate sealed a day after a 4-1 loss at home to West Ham that left Swansea in the relegation zone. The Welsh club is four points from safety, having been one place out of the relegation zone when Bradley joined.“With the club going through such a tough time,” Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins said in a statement, “we have to try and find the answers to get ourselves out of trouble.“Personally, I have nothing but praise for Bob.