Eugenie Bouchard agrees to blind date with fan after betting against Patriots

Former Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard says she will honor a promise to go on a blind date with a Twitter follower after losing a Super Bowl bet.When the Atlanta Falcons appeared headed for a runaway victory in Houston on Sunday, the Canadian tennis player tweeted to her one million followers: “I knew Atlanta would win btw.”

That prompted a follower to ask her if she would go on a date if the New England Patriots pulled off a comeback victory.Bouchard agreed, and was left to regret it after the Patriots defied the odds to win in overtime.“Lesson learned. Never bet against (Patriots quarterback) Tom Brady,” she tweeted.On Monday, Bouchard said she would “stay true to my word” and go on the date with her fan, who says he is from Chicago and is studying in Missouri. Bouchard, 22, was a rising star in 2014 when she reached the Wimbledon final, but has slipped to 45th in the latest women’s rankings.

Hall gives Devils much needed jolt of offence

Life just outside one of the biggest cities in the world took some adjustment for the 25-year-old from Alberta.“It’s a fresh start [and] that part made it fun and exciting and it still is for me,” Hall said. “Everyone’s in a rush in New York City and Jersey. “The New Jersey symbol still doesn’t feel completely real to me, but I’m having a lot of fun with it.”Now living in New Jersey, Hall had been used to life in Alberta. Adam Henrique, a former teammate with the Windsor Spitfires and career Devil, was especially helpful, pointing Hall in the right direction as far as where to live and finding transportation.Typically, the off-ice adjustment is most challenging for traded players, but for Hall it was the opposite. Not only does he know when to get in and out of the city to avoid the almost incomparable snare of New York traffic, he knows how to get around, too. He was admittedly bitter after the trade, his first as a professional, describing it as an “indictment” on his capability as a hockey player and a sting to his “deep connection” with the city of Edmonton.He was also exiting a Connor McDavid-led squad that looked to be on the rise while joining a Devils club only just beginning to rebuild under second-year general manager Ray Shero.It took about a month before Hall found a normal routine with his new team. “At the start I was a little bit overwhelmed, but now I love it.” “But I think I’m doing a good job of it.”If not quite at the pace of his most potent NHL season – the 2013-14 campaign when he had 27 goals and 80 points in 75 games – Hall has still found a way to be effective, producing at about the same level on a per-game basis as last year in Edmonton when he notched 26 goals and 65 points in 82 games.He’s on pace for about 20 goals and almost 60 points in 72 games, leading the Devils in both categories despite missing eight games in November with a knee injury.Hall, who has three more seasons left after this one on a six-year pact (cap hit of $6-million [U.S.]), has given the Devils, fighting for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, the jolt of offence they’ve needed.Though the club still ranks as one of the lower scoring NHL teams – up to 27th entering play on Monday from 30th last season – New Jersey generates about 55 per cent of available five-on-five scoring chances with Hall on the ice (tops on the team) and almost 60 per cent of the highest-danger opportunities – namely those around the net.“Certainly it’s a big change,” Hall said of the move. Everyone’s in a rush to do things.”“In Alberta,” he added, “people are more relaxed and you’re more likely to have a door held open for you in Alberta than you are probably in New York City.”The pace was too much at first. The Devils’ style – heavier defensively, as he describes it – was so much different from the freewheeling Oilers squads he left behind in Alberta.“I’d say that on the ice, still even to this day, I’m still adjusting to how we want to play and that type of thing,” Hall said. But now, almost five months into his tenure with the Devils, Hall likes the big city just fine, especially the ease with which he can order anything on his mobile phone, such as food or dry cleaning.Hall wasn’t happy when Edmonton, after years of poor rebuilding teams, shipped him to New Jersey in an NHL-rattling trade for defenceman Adam Larsson last summer. He grew up in Calgary rooting for Jarome Iginla and the Flames before playing six seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, who drafted him first over all in 2010.“The New York City area is very congested,” Hall said during his second appearance at the NHL all-star game. Taylor Hall has learned how to avoid rush hour traffic in New York.Overwhelmed when he first made the jaunt from New Jersey to Manhattan as a first-year left winger for the Devils, Hall is used to it now.

NHL goalies give league-mandated slimmer pants mixed reviews

If you shrink the equipment properly, the big guys are going to have more holes. “And I understand the players shoot the puck better now than they ever have – and the equipment has to change to reflect that. They’ll catch more pucks. I do believe we’re going to see more goals just barely squeezing in there.”He also believes the overall improvement in athleticism among goalies means they’ll find ways to adjust.“Most of the goaltenders’ attitudes are great,” he said. Instead of just protecting the netminders – its original purpose – it was redesigned over the years for another reason: to help them stop the puck.Pads became lighter. I don’t want the goalies of today to be how I was – where every day I’d wake up with a newly bruised collarbone. Like any fraternity that finds itself under constant fire, NHL goaltenders tend to close ranks. Goal pads, knee pads, shoulder pads and the cheaters in the gloves all have to be done – everything. “Everything needs to be done this summer. Now a colour commentator for Fox Sports West in St. There has been foot-dragging every step of the way – mostly by goalies, of course, who didn’t want to lose the competitive advantage that their bloated gear provided.Finally, on Saturday night, a small but potentially game-changing initiative, years in the making, took its first tentative step.Goaltenders were obliged to wear new, slimmed-down pants. “Their hands will adjust. That’s no good.“But I’m also convinced they can be protected and still get the size of the equipment down – because now it’s unruly.”Millen played 604 NHL games for six teams between 1978 and 1992 and now works as a colour commentator for Rogers Sportsnet. Once again, speed will become important in the goalie position, the way it has up front.“What we’re doing now is chasing goalies out of minor hockey because they see NHL teams won’t draft anyone under 6 foot 2.”Pang, who was the runner-up to Joe Nieuwendyk for the 1988 Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL rookie of the year, received a primer on the new equipment from Blues goaltender Carter Hutton. “Will they find a way to stretch these pants out a little bit? They won’t cheat on the short side. They’re like, ‘OK, give it to us, we’ll find a way. It was easy to see a direct correlation – and to recognize that the simplest way to get a scoring uptick was to rein in the size of goalie equipment.But simple is probably not the best way to describe the process. The rounder pant leg has been contoured to fit individual goalies and, among other things, does not flare out the way previous versions did. It’s not going to be effective until the complete thing is done at once.”According to former goaltender Darren Pang, reducing the pant size means “you no longer will have a goaltender who is 190 pounds looking like they’re 230.“The guys who wore their [pant] laces so wide open and made it like a barrel, they can’t do that any more,” Pang said. They’ll challenge more. Yeah, they will. Pants became wider. On Saturday, while working the Ottawa Senators-Buffalo Sabres game, he made a public plea to the league and the players’ association to work together to make the equipment initiative succeed.“The thing that bothers me: One little fix probably won’t be enough,” Millen said. But … why should a goalie my size wear a suit tailor-made for a Ben Bishop?’”At 5 foot 5, Pang would be the smallest goalie in the league right now – more than a foot shorter than the towering Bishop, who is 6 foot 7.Millen, who was also relatively short (5 foot 9) by today’s NHL standards, believes goalies of his stature or Pang’s have no chance of playing professionally these days.“Thanks to great rule changes, we’ve managed to get the little guy back in at the forward position,” Millen said. Louis, Pang discovered the new contoured pants leave gaps that shooters can potentially exploit.“If I’m a team, I’m right away taking every short-side shot that I can,” Pang said. Now, no matter how small he is off the ice, every NHL goalie has ballooned in size to Michelin Man proportions.That’s because goalie equipment underwent a metamorphosis. Over all, the reviews were mixed, with much of the support coming from the goalies who advocated for the changes – the likes of Cory Schneider (New Jersey Devils) and Braden Holtby (Washington Capitals).Shrinking the pants is supposed to be just the first part of a comprehensive equipment overhaul; the rest of the changes will be rolled out this fall for the start of the 2017-18 NHL season.As a card-carrying member of the ex-goalie guild, Greg Millen says he understands that goalies need to be protected.“I totally get it,” Millen said. For most of the past 40 years, goalies have been fiercely protective of the equipment they wear to fend off pucks, often fired at them at more than 100 miles per hour.Nothing better illustrates the way that equipment has evolved than when one of the goalie greats passes away; photos and televised highlights of the start of his career show him in the skinniest of gear, looking like a scarecrow. Shoulder pads grew and were sometimes designed to be worn with one pair affixed atop the other.All that innovation coincided with a time when NHL scoring was sinking fast. Some goalies had been trying out the design for weeks; others waited until the 11th hour to adopt the new pants.Most seemed to find the new, form-fitting pants a bit snug. “We need to do the same for the goaltending position. We’ll prove to you that our ability to adjust is greater than the shooter’s.” “I’m testing those little holes between the post and the side of the pants, maybe 12 inches above the ice and under the armpit. It has been anything but.

Return of Anderson and Hammond gives Sens stability in net

Ottawa (27-17-6) is second in the Atlantic Division with 60 points and has a 15-9-5 record with the 26-year-old netminder in the lineup.“If it wasn’t for Condon we’d be in the basement,” Boucher said. It’s not like you’re trying to get a guy back from an injury where it prevents him from doing what he can.“Right now it’s just a question of stamina and timing.”Anderson’s wife, Nicholle, was diagnosed last fall with nasopharyngeal carcinoma, a cancer that starts in the upper part of the throat behind the nose and near the base of skull. Boucher turned to Mike Condon over the past two months – he has made 27 consecutive appearances – with Anderson away and Andrew Hammond sidelined with a high ankle sprain.Hammond was recently cleared to play and served as Condon’s backup on last week’s three-game road trip. Right now we’re finally at the point where we have options that we’ve been wanting for a long, long time.”Boucher gave full credit to Condon for his recent play. #helloottawa #happytears,” Nicholle said on Twitter over the weekend.Anderson’s last appearance came Dec. 5 in an 8-5 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. It doesn’t mean we’re doing that, but we have an option.“Before that Hammond wasn’t ready and certainly Andy wasn’t ready either and we weren’t going to ask an American Hockey League goalie to have all that pressure to take over and save us. Ottawa will kick off a four-game homestand Tuesday against the St. The Ottawa Senators will likely ease goaltender Craig Anderson back into the lineup after taking a leave of absence to spend time with his wife as she underwent cancer treatment in New York.Anderson resumed practising last week but wasn’t at Monday’s session as he was helping his family get settled back home in Ottawa. She underwent treatment at the Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Centre and recently expressed her excitement about returning to the nation’s capital.“You don’t even know, it feels so good to be back! “It’s not you guys, it’s not me, it’s not the staff, it’s the players, who since the start were willing to roll up their sleeves and managed to do things that no one really expected under the circumstances.” Louis Blues, but Boucher did not announce who would get the start in net.“We’ve been wanting to give [Condon] a break for a little while now,” Boucher said. “We could put him in there tomorrow morning and he could play a game, absolutely. “If we can give him a break [Tuesday] because we feel that either one of the other ones can do that, that’s an option. “He’s 100 per cent, he doesn’t have an injury, he could play a game, it’s just we’re trying to get him to his level before we put him in there,” Boucher said. While the Senators are thrilled to have him back, head coach Guy Boucher doesn’t plan to rush him into game action. “We wouldn’t have had anyone to replace Hammond and Anderson.”Anderson is expected to resume his starter’s role when he’s ready, although it’s possible he could be used as a backup for a game or two to get him back in a routine.Boucher admitted that had someone told him last summer that he would go through much of the season without his top two goalies, he wouldn’t have held much hope for the season.“It’s not just about recognizing Condon, it’s also about recognizing what the players have done,” Boucher said.

Trump order bites high-school basketball event in Vancouver

President Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigration to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries.Orangeville Prep, based northwest of Toronto, had been scheduled to play Prolific Prep, based near San Francisco, in Vancouver on March 18 in a game to promote elite high-school basketball in Western Canada. Olympic champion Mo Farah spoke out early on, worried that he would not be able to return to his family in the United States. A high-school basketball showcase set for March in Vancouver has been moved to California because of travel concerns sparked by U.S. “They’re scared he won’t be able to get back. Canada Showdown.The immigration ban has rippled through the world of sports. But Prolific Prep’s roster includes Abu Kigab, an 18-year-old Canadian from St. “We do not want to subject our kids to uncertainties and constantly changing foreign policies, so we are going to wait until we get more clarity.”The game will be played in Sacramento and has been renamed the Cali vs. The move is precautionary, organizers said. But the risk was considered too great.Kigab, a star at Prolific Prep, has played for Canada’s junior national team and is ranked in the top 100 of graduating high-school players in the United States this year. In the fall, he will attend and play at the University of Oregon, currently home to a top college program.Kigab’s family doesn’t want him to risk his education and career by coming to Canada, said Jesse Tipping, who organized the VanCity High School Basketball Showcase and runs Orangeville Prep.“His family is not letting him back into Canada,” Tipping said. Olympic Committee has been told by the U.S. The British distance runner was born in Somalia, one of the seven countries covered by the ban, and is currently training in Ethiopia. It’s not worth it to get stuck here.”On his Twitter bio, Kigab states his identity as “Sudan, Canada, USA, University of Oregon Commit.”Prolific Prep’s 13-player roster has seven Americans and six international players; besides Kigab, there are players from Ghana, Nigeria and Mali – countries that are not covered by the immigration ban.In announcing the change of venue for the game, the team cited “uncertainties of our new and current administration in Washington as it pertains to foreign policy.“We feel it is prudent to evaluate and wait for some of these new policies to either be upheld or dissolved by the higher courts in our country and make decisions after these policies are entrenched in stone,” Prolific Prep director of operations Philippe Doherty said in a statement. Catharines, Ont., who moved to Canada with his family from Sudan – one of the countries covered by the ban – when he was nine. He was assured he would be able to return.The U.S. He has dual citizenship. government that international athletic competitions should not be affected, as athletes and officials from all countries should have access to the United States.After the ban was announced, Canada quickly confirmed that dual citizens would not be targeted, as they can travel with a Canadian passport. The immigration ban was blocked on Friday by a federal court, and Kigab, as a Canadian, should be allowed to leave and return to the United States.

Raptors welcome DeRozan back with win over Clippers

outfit that lost for its third straight outing.While Toronto celebrated DeRozan’s return, the team was still without forward Patrick Patterson, who sat out for the second straight game with a bothersome knee.The Raptors were coming off a big, ego-boosting, 103-96 win in New York on Sunday over the Brooklyn Nets. They dropped their second in a row, and fourth in their last five, on Sunday when the Celtics prevailed for a 107-102 triumph in Boston.Most of the attention in that game focused on Paul Pierce, who is winding down his great NBA career with the Clippers, primarily as a bench player. The 39-year-old, a 10-time all-star with more than 26,000 points during a 19-year career, has announced that this season will be his final hurrah.Sunday in Boston represented his last regular-season game in the city where he played the first 15 years of his career and he was feted accordingly. in the third quarter, with Lowry hitting on another three – he connected on four of his first six – to extend Toronto’s lead to 88-73.On an ensuring L.A. Chris Paul, L.A.’s dynamic point guard, has been sidelined since undergoing surgery to his left thumb on Jan. “I had no problems, no pain, no nothing.”The Raptors were in full control by the time the fourth quarter rolled around, with the home side enjoying a 97-82 lead against a disinterested L.A. 17-19 in New Orleans, can’t come soon enough for these two outfits.While Paul is not expected back until some time next month, the Raptors at least received some good news heading into Monday night’s game against L.A. The Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Clippers have been locked in similar flight patterns as they stumble toward the break surrounding the NBA all-star game.Both teams are posting decent overall records but both have struggled of late as injuries during a hectic portion of the schedule have conspired to weigh them down. Redick drained a 22-foot jumper.But Toronto’s offence started to purr after that, aided by a couple of three-pointers off the fingertips of Lowry that helped Toronto secure a 35-31 lead heading into the second quarter.At the six-minute, 33-second mark of the second quarter, Lowry drained his third three of the game, bringing the score to 54-47 for Toronto.For Lowry, the three was the 802nd of his career with the Raptors, a franchise record, having surpassed the old mark of 801 held by Morris Peterson.DeRozan would count 20 of his total in the opening half to go with Lowry’s 18.Nothing was going right for L.A. 17, when they were riding the crest of a four-game winning streak, that they have put together back-to-back victories.Lowry was also lethal for the Raptors, chipping in with 24 points to go along with eight assists, while Jonas Valanciunas was strong up the middle, finishing with 21 points to go with 12 rebounds.“It felt great to be back out there, just competing with my guys, putting up a victory, especially at home,” said DeRozan, whose only complaint on the night was that he felt a bit winded by the end.“It felt good,” he said. His presence on the court was a welcome sight to his Toronto teammates.Paired once again with Kyle Lowry, his primary running mate, DeRozan was in fine form despite his inactivity, exploding for 31 points as Toronto (32-21) crushed the Clippers (31-21) 118-109.For the Raptors, it was the first time since Jan. possession, Blake Griffin tried a showy behind-the-back pass that only wound up in the mitts of Toronto’s Lucas Nogueira for the turnover.Jakob Poeltl worked hard to secure an offensive rebound beneath the basket for Toronto and then got the shooter’s bounce on the ensuring layup while being fouled with 5.6 seconds left.He sank the free throw to complete the three-point play and lift Toronto into a 97-82 lead for the fourth quarter. The forward drilled the game’s final shot – a three-pointer – that brought the fans to their feet in a final, fitting salute.“I have to say, if you were a Boston fan [on Sunday] you had one hell of a day,” Rivers said before Monday’s game. It was only their third win in their last 11 outings – a precarious slide that has seen them fall from second to fourth in the Eastern Conference.The Clippers have also struggled of late. 18.For the Raptors, DeMar DeRozan, their leading scorer, has been fighting a sore right ankle that had caused him to miss seven of Toronto’s last eight games.The all-star weekend, Feb. “The Celtics won, Paul Pierce made the last shot, and then New England wins.”The opening half of Monday’s game was an offensive feast, wtih the Raptors opening a 70-60 lead.The Clippers broke fast from the gate in the opening quarter and would lead 17-6 after J.J. at Air Canada Centre. DeRozan took part in a light pregame workout and pronounced himself ready to start. And Clippers coach Doc Rivers did his part, subbing Pierce into the game late in the fourth quarter.

Brock Nelson’s OT goal lifts Islanders to victory over Leafs

It was the rookie’s team-high 24th.Kulemin tied it with 1:47 left in the opening period. Morgan Rielly had three assists and Nikita Zaitsev added two.Nylander, who had his first career hat trick in a win at Boston on Saturday night, had given Toronto a 5-4 lead with 2:01 left in regulation when took a pass from Rielly and beat Greiss on the blocker side.Ladd tied it with his 12th goal.Bailey made it 4-all with 6 1/2 minutes remaining on rebound for his 11th. That gave the Islanders their first win this season in a game they trailed after two periods (1-12-2).Auston Matthews, Mitchell Marner, Nikita Soshnikov, Zach Hyman and William Nylander scored for Toronto, which finished 2-4-0 on a season-high six-game trip. On the winning goal, Nelson got a pass from Bailey and beat Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen on the blocker side. Brock Nelson’s second goal of the game at 2:42 of overtime lifted the New York Islanders to a 6-5 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night.Trailing 5-4 late in the third period, the Islanders pulled goalie Thomas Greiss and tied it on Andrew Ladd’s deflection with 1:29 left.Josh Bailey had a goal and two assists, Ryan Strome a goal and an assist, and Nikolay Kulemin also scored for the Islanders. It was his third goal in eight games against his former team. New York stopped a two-game skid and improved to 6-0-2 in its last eight at home. It marked the third straight game the Islanders evened it after trailing 4-3 going into the third period.They lost 5-4 at Detroit on Friday night, and then by the same score in overtime at home to Carolina on Saturday.Marner put the Maple Leafs ahead 3-2 in the second period off a centring pass through traffic from Tyler Bozak for his 14th goal at 5:12.With Rielly off for holding on the game’s first penalty, Hyman scored short-handed as he brought the puck up the left side and fired it past Greiss’ blocker at 9:34 for his eighth. It was Hyman’s third short-handed score of the season, and the Maple Leafs’ fifth.Strome scored 1:23 into the game as he brought the puck up the left side and knocked in the rebound of his own shot past Andersen for his eighth of the season.Toronto took the lead with goals 1:24 apart later in the first. Soshnikov tied it with his fourth on a slap shot from about 45 feet with 6:33 left.Matthews, stopped by Greiss on a point-blank attempt earlier in the period, gave the Maple Leafs a 2-1 lead. Andersen made a pad save on a hard shot by Casey Cizikas, but Kulemin knocked in the rebound from in front for his ninth.

Sidney Crosby in top form, on the verge of entering 1,000-point club

Yet Crosby is hardly ready to say getting to 1,000 is tougher today than it was when his boss, Mario Lemieux, was tormenting the league 25 years ago.“It’s hard to compare,” he said. Yet he doesn’t hold them as close as the ones that left him wondering if he would ever get back on the ice with his teammates, let alone return to the form that made him the torchbearer for an entire organization as a teenager.So whenever Crosby becomes the 86th member of the NHL’s 1,000-point club — he had 997 heading into a visit by Calgary on Tuesday night — he’ll make sure the puck ends up in his father Troy’s hands for safekeeping. “I’m a hockey player but I love the game too and I have a lot of respect for what those guys accomplished. It’s just something you try to enjoy a little bit more.”In a way, Crosby has come almost full circle. It’s just such a frustrating injury.”One that finally seems to be in the rearview mirror.The proof came in October, when Crosby was diagnosed with a concussion coming off his electric performance in the World Cup, where he led Team Canada to a gold medal. The game will mark the team’s first visit to the home of the NFL’s Steelers since Jan. He plays with a kind of reckless abandon. He’s busy looking forward, not back. “I think you look at it differently as you get older. Heck, Crosby would have settled for the chance to score just once more.“A lot of things go through your head as far as playing again, getting to the level you think you can get to,” the two-time MVP said. Crosby’s 30 goals lead the league and his 59 points are second only to Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, who is now where Crosby was a decade ago: at the forefront of the next wave of superstars.The 29-year-old Crosby remembers those giddy early days. The lingering effects of a concussion in the 2011 Winter Classic left the Pittsburgh Penguins captain’s once bright future uncertain at best. “You worry: Do you come out of it? Crosby didn’t play again that season and just 22 games the next.In Minnesota at the time, veteran forward Matt Cullen watched Crosby from afar and feared the worst.“It’s a really tough thing to go through,” said Cullen, who dealt with his own concussion issues before joining the Penguins in 2015. For the first time in his life, the preternatural vision that helped make Crosby a star couldn’t see the next move.Reaching a thousand points? And with it comes an appreciation that Crosby admits he didn’t always have for his own talent and the historic company he keeps.“I don’t feel old but I feel like there are times maybe when you’re younger it’s kind of an extension of junior hockey where you’re used to getting certain milestones and it seems to come easy,” Crosby said. You know how good he is for the game and how fun it is to watch him. He’s on pace to challenge the personal-best 51 goals he put up in 2009-10 and he’s done it with line combinations that seem to change depending on coach Mike Sullivan’s mood.During one stretch, he’s with young speedsters Conor Sheary and Bryan Rust, another he’s with bowling balls Patric Hornqvist and Chris Kunitz.“Regardless of who we play him with, I think he has the ability to adapt his game to make his line effective,” Sullivan said. It’s hard for that to not kind of cross your mind.”No longer. Do you play with the same aggression? Considering how hot he’s been over the last 15 months, it doesn’t matter anyway. He’s sprinting through it.“The way he’s been playing, winning the Cup, the World Cup and everything that’s come along with it, he’s just on top right now,” Cullen said. On Monday, Crosby and the rest of the Penguins practiced in the throwback yellow helmets the team will wear during a Stadium Series game at Heinz Field against Philadelphia later this month. A thousand points, no matter what era, is pretty good.”While teammates wonder aloud where Crosby’s point total would be at now if Steckel’s right shoulder hadn’t connected with their leader’s head six years ago, he doesn’t. He’s not limping to 1,000. “It’s one more aspect of Sid’s overall game that makes him as good as he is and as elite a player as he is.”Crosby is three points away from becoming eighth active player to reach 1,000, and if he does it sometime in his next nine games, he’ll get there faster — much faster in most cases — than any of them. The news made the league flinch, but Crosby missed just six games and returned with an added dimension to his game: sniper. “A lot of sitting time around kind of waiting. He left it with his career at a crossroads following a blindside hit by Washington’s David Steckel. “He’s as good as there is.”02:39ET 07-02-17 Crosby’s 1.326 points per game rank fifth all-time, and he’s the only one in the top 10 who made his NHL debut after 1994. Not with Crosby healthy and at the height of his powers for the defending Stanley Cup champions. Five years ago, Sidney Crosby spent a winter working out in solitude wondering when the pain in his neck would ease and the intermittent fog in his head would lift. 1, 2011.Crosby skated onto the ice that rainy night as the league’s leading scorer and overwhelming frontrunner for a second Hart Trophy.

Boston Bruins fire coach Claude Julien; Bruce Cassidy named interim coach

“We’re not the ones that are executing on the ice and hopefully we have to realize that this is not going to fix everything. But we also want to remind the players that there’s a process involved to get where you want to go every day. Asked what he can get out of the team that Julien couldn’t, Cassidy said “We’re going to find out soon enough.”“I think that the team is not that far away from winning games,” he said. Again last year, the Bruins had a chance to reach the playoffs heading into the final week, but they lost nine of their last 12 games to finish ninth in the East.The Bruins hadn’t kept a coach who missed the playoffs two straight years since 1965, when Milt Schmidt was given a third year before he was replaced by Harry Sinden.Julien was spared in 2015 when team president Cam Neely decided to fire general manager Peter Chiarelli instead, replacing him with Sweeney. He went 419-246-94 over nearly 10 seasons, including two trips to the NHL finals and a Stanley Cup title in 2011. “There’s a quote out there that ‘We’ve found more ways to lose instead of win.’ That means you’re generally close. We have to be focused on that.” The Bruins felt they needed to a change at the top, even if it meant doing it on a day when the city was celebrating a championship.Boston fired Stanley Cup-winning coach Claude Julien on Tuesday, just hours before a downtown parade in honour of the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl victory.General manager Don Sweeney apologized for the timing, but said the team’s two-day break between games provided time to recover from the emotions of Julien’s dismissal. We have to go out there and do the job.”Julien is the fourth coach to be fired this season following Ken Hitchcock in St. So we’ve got to flip the switch on a few of those plays throughout the course of the game to go in our favour.”Cassidy said he isn’t expecting to make wholesale change, but will tweak the team’s defence to get “the puck back a little quicker” and “being more opportunistic with our chances” on offence.While he said there will also be a focus on developing younger players, he said he’s aware mandate to win games now.“It’s a results-oriented business,” Cassidy said. Boston has lost two in a row and six of nine and fallen out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. He completed his fifth season as head coach of the Providence Bruins in 2015-16, having spent the three previous seasons with the club as an assistant.This will also be his second stint as an NHL head coach, having previously coached the Washington Capitals from 2002 to 2004 and helping the team to a post-season berth in his first season there. “I’m going to try to make it last as long as I can.”Again last summer, the Bruins spared him, with Sweeney saying Julien was the right coach to guide the team through a “bumpy transition.” Last season, Julien became the all-time Bruins leader for wins by a coach.Cassidy, 51, is not a newbie to the Bruins, having spent nine years in the organization. “I’m aware of that. Sweeney gave Julien another chance, saying “He’s the coach of the Boston Bruins as of today, for sure.”Julien said at the time that he had little room for error.“It just means that I’m probably the next one to fall off the totem pole, right?” the former Canadiens and Devils coach said last summer. The Bruins lost in the finals two years later, and the year after that earned 117 points and the Presidents’ Trophy before losing in the conference semifinals to archrival Montreal.But in 2014-15, Boston was eliminated from the playoff race on the final day of the regular season — the first time in Julien’s tenure they sat out the playoffs. Louis last week , Gerard Gallant of the Florida Panthers in November and Jack Capuano of the New York Islanders in January. Four of the past eight Stanley Cup champions have made a coaching change midseason.Julien was the longest-tenured current coach in the NHL, starting with the Bruins in the 2007-08 season. He said he wasn’t oblivious of the optics, but added “I’m not going to make a decision just based on that.”

With the team in danger of missing the playoffs for a third straight season, Sweeney felt he had little choice. Assistant Bruce Cassidy was named interim coach.“I had come to a conclusion that in moving this group forward with an eye toward the plans that have been put in place, that I wasn’t willing to commit to a longer term basis with Claude,” Sweeney said.He also said there is time before the March 1 trade deadline to make adjustments that could get the Bruins in position to make the playoffs.“There’s no question I think this group has a chance to get in,” Sweeney said.Bruins left wing Brad Marchand said he’s hopeful the change will give the team a jolt.“At the end of the day it falls back on the players,” he said.

Patriot fans pack Boston streets for snowy Super Bowl parade

“As I get older, it gets better.”Peter Field, 60, and his two adult daughters left the comfort of their hotel room overlooking the route and headed out into a day that saw snow turn to icy rain to join the crowd.“This is the place to be,” said Field, of Hampstead, New Hampshire. Watch as Boston cheers on Patriots during Super Bowl Parade (The Associated Press)

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh welcomed the players to the front of City Hall, where fans could be spotted wearing goat masks – a reference to the acronym GOAT – or greatest of all time.“You all know we have the GOAT when it comes to players in Tom Brady,” Kraft told the crowd at the parade’s end. This one capped a season in which Brady had to sit out the first four games as a league-imposed punishment for using under-inflated footballs during the 2015 playoffs, a scandal nicknamed “Deflategate.”The Patriots had trailed the Atlanta Falcons in Sunday’s Super Bowl by as many as 25 points before Brady rallied them to a 34-28 overtime victory.“That game was hard but we are going to remember that one for the rest of our lives,” Brady told the crowd.The city has seen 10 “duck boat” parades in the past 16 years as Boston’s four major sports franchises collected a string of 10 championships.“I’ve been to 10 of these in my lifetime,” said Bill Nugent, 23. Falling snow gave way to clouds of confetti as hundreds of thousands of New England Patriots fans decked out in team jerseys and knit caps packed Boston streets for a parade to celebrate their team’s fifth Super Bowl victory.Stars including quarterback Tom Brady and wide receiver Julian Edelman tossed footballs to the crowd from a cavalcade of flatbed trucks and amphibious vehicles known as duck boats. Boston has ratcheted up security at public events since the deadly 2013 bombing attack on the Boston Marathon.Chants of “Brady, Brady” echoed through the streets as fans celebrated the 39-year-old quarterback’s fifth career Super Bowl ring. Team owner Robert Kraft hoisted one of several silver Vince Lombardi trophies held by team members. “We have the GOAT when it comes to coaches in Bill Belichick. “I have to be part of it.” We have the GOAT of fans on the planet.”Security was high for the parade with sand-filled dump trucks blocking key intersections off the route to prohibit a vehicle-mounted attack.