Brooke Henderson ready for challenge of Women’s Australian Open

This year’s Women’s Australian Open will be on the links-style Seaton course at The Royal Adelaide Golf Club, a more wide-open course that won’t necessarily suit Henderson’s playing style.“I’m kind of using this week as a challenge and like I said, not normally the course that I necessarily play my best on, but I’m definitely looking forward to it this week and I feel like good things might happen,” she said. “I got to get a feel for the hotels, the golf courses, what travelling to that place was like, the time changes. She was one of the busiest players on the LPGA Tour last year and although it was exhausting, Henderson believes it will pay off in the long run. Brooke Henderson expects her hard work in 2016 is going to pay off in the new LPGA season.Henderson tees off at the Women’s Australian Open on Wednesday, looking to build on her first full season as a professional where she reached as high as No. 2 position for a short time last summer was really exciting. Her career is incredible, but being in that No. 8 position, is hopeful her world ranking will rise over the coming months.“I think everybody out on the LPGA Tour, their goal is to be the No. “(World No. She showed moments of brilliance at that event, including an 8-under 65 in the second round, but also had an underwhelming 73 the next day.She’ll be joined at the Australian Open by three other Canadians: Hamilton’s Alena Sharp, Maude-Aimee Leblanc of Sherbrooke, Que., and Calgary’s Jennifer Ha.Henderson, who finished last season in the No. “I think it was really important because I got to know what the courses were like, what the fans were like in that area,” Henderson said Tuesday. 1 player in the world and that of course is very difficult to do,” said Henderson. Watching it kind of slip away was heartbreaking, so hopefully I get up to a little bit faster start this year and see my world ranking climb.”Added Henderson: “I think by the end of 2017 (I’ll) definitely be in the top five and if I get a chance to be better than that, I’ll try and do that.”All three of Henderson’s career tour wins came on tight, tree-lined courses. 1) Lydia Ko has done an incredible and amazing job. 2 in the world rankings. I learned a lot of information about every place that I went, and so this year I can be a little bit more careful and kind of conserve my energy a little bit better and just go to the places that I want to go to.”The 19-year-old from Smiths Falls, Ont., finished in a tie for 21st place at the LPGA Classic last month.

Atlanta zoo names cockroach after Patriots’ Tom Brady

The zoo introduced a whole family of cockroaches in a video Monday , including a tiny Tom Brady.Brady and the Patriots came back from a 25-point deficit to defeat Atlanta 34-28 in overtime to win the team’s fifth Super Bowl title. More than a week after the Falcons fell victim to the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, an Atlanta zoo has named a cockroach after Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.Zoo Atlanta says on its Facebook page that it had a bet with Rhode Island’s Roger Williams Park Zoo that called for the loser to name a baby animal after the winning team’s star quarterback. Both zoos figured the loser would be pretty bitter about the game, so they agreed the animal in question would be a Madagascar hissing cockroach.

What’s old is new: Habs fire Therrien, name Julien as replacement

21, 2016, in the middle of a season where Bergevin would have been well within his rights to gas his coach, he said of Therrien: “If you’re ever in a foxhole, you want that guy next to you. The historically minded might go all the way back to last year, to the leadership group failings and the public excoriations of then-Hab P.K. 9, the one win in seven and three shutouts in five, the flailing special teams – all of it’s on the head coach.On Jan. At times like these, the tendency is to look for a pivot point.Was it Dec. 16, when Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, pulled at home against the San Jose Sharks, shot his coach a long, penetrating glare that may one day be found in the stink-eye hall of fame?Maybe it was Feb. He was sunk by poor goaltending and worse luck.Then again, so was Therrien (apropos of nothing, the last team to fire him in the month of February won the Cup a few months later). And before anyone asks, Weber is more of a Julien-type player than Subban.Speaking of which, everything that’s happened this season in Montreal can be viewed through the Subban prism.The superstar trade and coach firing are only related in that Therrien was rid of his go-to sin-eater in the off-season.The team’s 18-17-7 record over the past three months, the 5-10-2 record since Jan. Or Feb. 1 centre was placed on the wing of a healthy scratch from the game before. The shelling has paused for bye week. Price has been pedestrian in the past few weeks – exhausted and out of sorts. Subban. 9 in Phoenix, when the club seemed distracted, disjointed and often disinterested against the woeful Coyotes. The Arizona game was peculiarly un-Price-like.It seems all the more ominous in light of the fact that Price, along with Shea Weber and Max Pacioretty, met privately with Bergevin (who also met with Therrien).Then there were murmurs last weekend that Price was unimpressed at being rested on Saturday night at home – he is 46-7-5 on Saturdays over the past four years – in order to face Boston on the road Sunday.After a bad loss in that game, Price said, “We seem to have lost our identity.”Ouch.That identity will now be defined by the Julien approach to defensive-zone coverage.Goalie and coach have worked together with Team Canada, along with Weber. That’s what Michel is to me.”It’s time to fill in that hole and start on a new one. It resumes on Saturday against Buffalo. Julien is an elite one.Both are known as fiery characters, but Julien is also regarded as a strong tactician.This year he took an underpowered Boston club and fashioned it into the NHL’s best possession team. 7 Super Bowl parade, other teams, including the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, quickly inquired about the one-time coach of the year.It’s Bergevin’s good fortune that Julien decided there is unfinished business in Montreal.The Habs were allowed to contact him on Monday, and sources said a long-term deal was quickly sealed and signed Tuesday.If anyone knows the hurt of being jettisoned, it’s Julien: In 2007 he was punted as the coach of the New Jersey Devils three games before the playoffs started.You might say the 56-year-old, who grew up just east of Ottawa, landed on his feet.He has since added a Stanley Cup, an Olympic championship and a World Cup title to his résumé (as an assistant in the latter two cases).Therrien is a good coach. Hindsight is fun that way.That Michel Therrien, a man who was given a rare second bite at the apple in Montreal, would be replaced with Claude Julien, who took over for him in 2003 and now gets his own second shot, merely adds thicker crust to the intrigue.Tradition holds the every general manager gets one coach firing before the target is affixed to his back, and the Habs’ Marc Bergevin evidently decided to go ahead with his when a higher-quality, bilingual upgrade dropped into his lap.Conventional wisdom going into the Habs’ bye week was that Bergevin’s priority was to swing a trade – Montreal is thin at centre and could use another left-shot defenceman – to jolt his team, whose grip on the top spot in the Atlantic Division is faltering.Instead he fired a man who, while not his first choice upon taking the job in 2012, had become a confidant and a friend.“Today we hired the best available coach – and one of the league’s best,” Bergevin said in a team-issued statement.“I am convinced that he has the capabilities to get our team back on the winning track.”Well, he’d better.If changing the coach provides respite to players, the pressure isn’t about to ease on the front office to address the Habs’ shortcomings.In terms of Julien, the winningest coach in Boston Bruins history, time was of the essence.After Boston dismissed him during the Feb. 5, when the team’s former No.

Talent runs deep for Canadian women’s rugby sevens

“I’m really happy for her because she worked really hard in rehabbing her injury.”Like Steacy, Kish has been training on her own in Alberta, rather than in Victoria with the centralized group of players. He could have taken 15, calling Caroline Crossley “a bit unlucky” not to make the travelling squad.After finishing runner-up in its pool to powerful New Zealand, Canada tightened its defence on Day 2 and dispatched Russia 26-5 and Olympic champion Australia 12-7 before downing the Americans 21-17 in the final for its second Cup win in the past three tournaments.Tait pointed to squad depth as a key factor.“It’s one of the big things that helped us with the result [in Sydney],” he said. Depth, an issue for the Canadian men’s rugby sevens squad, has not been a problem for Canadian women’s coach John Tait recently.After missing some players for the season-opening event in Dubai, at which Canada finished a disappointing sixth, Tait had more than he needed in Sydney. It was good to be able to spread that kind of workload across the 12 over the two days. stop because of her sister’s wedding. Kish, another force on restarts, joined captain Ghislaine Landry and Britt Benn on the Sydney tournament all-star team.The next stop on the HSBC Women’s Series is March 3-4 in Las Vegas, where Canada is in a pool with France, Russia and the winner of the Sudamerica Rugby Sevens. It made a big difference for us when we got in those tight minutes against Australia and the U.S.A.”As an example, Tait used veteran Ashley Steacy off the bench on Day 1 and started her on Day 2. Steacy, for one, will miss the U.S. Canada will also bring a second team, the Maple Leafs, to Sin City under the direction of assistant coach Sandro Fiorino.The two Canadian women’s teams will then take part in an invitational tournament in Vancouver that runs parallel to the men’s Canada Sevens the next week.Tait expects one or two changes in his Las Vegas squad. She’s got a vertical leap on her, for sure.”Former captain Jen Kish, who missed Dubai when a neck injury flared up again, was back to her best in Sydney.“She had a great tournament,” Tait said. Tait took 14 down to Australia, dropping two players to get to the 12-woman tournament squad. “She’s phenomenal in the air and an aggressive tackler.”Possession is crucial in the sevens game and the 5-foot-8 Darling is a weapon at restarts, able to soar in the air for the ball.“She can jump,” the 6-foot-8 Tait said. And he believes he has a star in the making in 20-year-old Hannah Darling. “I hold the [tackle] bags for them in restarts [at practice] and I hold the bag up high because otherwise I’m going to have a knee in my face. “We were able to really manage the minutes of some of the younger players and get them on the field – at crucial times – pretty fresh for Day 2 considering how hot it was. It meant he had one of his best and most experienced defenders fresh for key games, helping create turnovers that kick-started the Canadian offence.Bianca Farella started Day 1 in the forwards, then came off the bench on Day 2 with Darling getting the start.“Different lineups – some of them were matchup-driven, but a lot of it was just trying to balance the workload because the heat and humidity was so strong down there we knew we couldn’t overplay seven or eight girls.”Tait believes the sky’s the limit for Darling.“Hannah, I think, is going to be, in another couple of years’ time, one of the best players in the world if she keeps on the track she’s on,” he said.

Chan focusing on mental game ahead of his final Olympics

Same thing with drugs; it’s why people take drugs, because they get into that same feeling, the dopamine release and all that stuff. “We wouldn’t be at this level if we couldn’t meet the physical challenge, but to be at a higher level, the top of the top, is to master the whole brain side of it.”Chan put his work with Goldman to the test at the Canadian championships last month, at which he won his ninth national senior title. Chan will skate the short program Friday and the free skate on Sunday. He fell three times in his long program at the Grand Prix Final in December, plummeting from second place down to fifth. It’s all part of the 26-year-old’s “no-stone-left-unturned” approach to what will be his final Olympic appearance next year in Pyeongchang.He’ll put his new game plan to the test at this week’s ISU Four Continents championship in South Korea, a test event for next year’s Olympics.Chan has captured three Four Continents titles, including last season in Taiwan where he climbed from fifth place after the short program.He’ll face a stiff test against teen star Nathan Chen, who reeled off five quadruple jumps in his long program to win the U.S. “I think it’s important to not go beyond my ability, and setting goals that are absolutely ridiculous. “I can’t really put my finger on how or what I did to make it successful.”So for the first time in his career, the three-time world figure skating champion is exploring the psychological side of competing, enlisting the help of Dr. After the warm-up, he unlaced his skates and found a table to lie down on.“I just laid on the table and got into breathing exercises, breathing visualization,” Chan said.The cerebral skater is also reading a book – Steven Kotler’s The Rise of Superman – that explores the mental state of extreme athletes, and their ability to get into a “flow state” (what others refer to as “the zone”).“It’s very natural, it’s innate in all of us. Scott Goldman, a sports psychologist at the University of Michigan. Oh, I guess I’ll skate well, because I feel kinda good.’ Whereas now it’s more scientific, it’s clearer.”The Four Continents – Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania – is a final tune-up for the world championship in late March in Helsinki.Aside from his mental game, Chan continues to work on the physical side to keep pace with the big jumpers such as Chen and Hanyu. … Extreme athletes get it instantly. All that stuff ties in together.“It’s cool, it’s interesting because you become very aware, as opposed to just guessing and being like, ‘Oh, I guess this feels right. He currently does just one.“I’ll also have to see how the results turn out at worlds and how the men skate under that kind of pressure situation,” Chan said. “They say that people who meditate, they can get into flow state through meditation. Even when Patrick Chan is at the top of his physical game, his mental one is a crapshoot.“Usually when I have a good skate, I’m not quite sure how it happened,” Chan mused recently. He said the plan for next season is to do two quads in his short program. championship, and defending Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan.Chan has worked hard on the physical side of his skating since his return from a one-year hiatus, upping the number of quads in his free program to three. Because then it just becomes discouraging and I can’t get anything done. During the wait between the warm-up and competing, his nerves were frazzled.“We all have our solutions, our tricks, or maybe our ways to brush the problems under the rug kind of. But it’s how do you get into that, how do you set yourself up for that kind of flow state?” Chan said. Good food. So there needs to be a good balance of what I can achieve and personal gratification so that I stay motivated to being challenged.”The Four Continents begins with the short dance, pairs and women’s short program on Thursday. And that’s my goal, is to be able to face these moments of mental challenge and physical challenge,” Chan said. Sex. But he’s been inconsistent, and believes his mental game is the culprit.

‘Star-liever’: Blue Jays’ Biagini happy to play, regardless of role

“He doesn’t change for anybody – and that’s a good thing. “I appreciate that. But it’s 24/7 with him.”It all might be a bit much to take were it not for the fact that Biagini proved himself to be a valuable asset for the Blue Jays last season, coming out of nowhere to become a trusted right arm for manager John Gibbons.Utilized primarily in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to help get the ball to closer Roberto Osuna, Biagini posted a 4-3 record on the season with a 3.06 earned-run average. Happ, Marcus Stroman, Francisco Liriano and Aaron Sanchez, the Blue Jays have limited options in a starting role should any of them get injured.“I think a lot of pitchers want [starting] to be their goal,” Biagini said in a rare moment of semi-seriousness. He struck out 62 over 67.2 innings pitched.He did not allow a home run until his 50th appearance, on Sept. “I feel older – almost exactly one year older.”He did allow, though, that he was much more comfortable in the company of his teammates heading into this season – to the point where he was thinking of decorating one of the clubhouse walls with his finger painting.He was asked if the Toronto bullpen might not be a little thin without him should the Blue Jays convert him into a starter. 1. “Unbelievable – public shaming.”The California-born Biagini is sort of a Will Ferrell character, and his shtick is not just something he puts on when members of the media are on his doorstep. Joe Biagini is Major League Baseball’s quirkiest player, and he was up to his usual antics here Tuesday while greeting teammates he had not seen since the end of last season.“You smell as good as I remember,” he remarked to the slightly bemused Marco Estrada after giving his fellow pitcher a big bear hug in the middle of the Toronto Blue Jays clubhouse at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. But it’s not going to be any sort of disappointment if I never have the opportunity to start because I’m just happy to be in this position and try to help this team.”As the pitchers and catchers were undergoing their physicals Tuesday, the medical staff may have noticed that Stroman’s heart was beating a bit faster. But some guys enjoy relieving better, closing.“My goal was just to get to the big leagues, and I really do appreciate the opportunity that was given to me here. You never want to change for anybody and you don’t want to put on acts, which I don’t think he does.“If he is, he’s putting on a great act. There’s not a lot of that going around these days.”And on it goes.He was asked how much different training camp feels this year than last – his first season with the team.“You’re standing closer to me than you used to,” he retorted.After the riotous laughter died down, he continued. The Blue Jays, who paid him $525,000 last season, had argued for $3.1-million.When approached by reporters for comment on Tuesday at the stadium, Stroman said he did not want to discuss his windfall. “It’s kind of like the thing people long for. “What do you think I should do?”“Whatever makes you happiest.”“That’s very thoughtful,” Biagini said. After Estrada, J.A. And he continued his strong run into the playoffs, pitching in six postseason games and allowing three hits and one walk to go with six strikeouts in 7.1 innings.Despite those solid numbers, the Blue Jays have said they will tinker at spring training – which officially gets under way on Wednesday for pitchers and catchers – to see if Biagini’s stuff might also play out in a starter’s role.Deep down, Biagini has always wanted a crack at starting, and the club could certainly use the help. “Hey, Danny Barnes is here,” Biagini would remark a bit later to no one in particular after spotting the reliever who hopes to earn a spot in the Toronto bullpen this season.Biagini walked over, clasped Barnes’s hands and planted a big kiss on his fingers.There is no such thing as personal space when Biagini is around.Last season, when he found himself alone on an elevator with a TSN television reporter at Rogers Centre, Biagini moved in and gave the startled journalist an affectionate squeeze.To talk with him is not so much an interview as a game of verbal Ping-Pong in which you are never sure where the conversation is going to bounce.There is talk of converting him from a reliever, a job in which he excelled last year with the Blue Jays, into a starter, where the club is thin and could use the ballast to protect against injury.Biagini was asked which role he would prefer, starter or reliever.“Star-liever,” came his deadpan response. Earlier in the day, the 25-year-old learned that he had won his salary arbitration, with a panel agreeing that his salary for this season should be $3.4-million (U.S.). His teammates will tell you he is the same behind the clubhouse doors.“He’s exactly the same,” Estrada said. “Are you calling me fat,” he said.

With NBA All-Star Game set to kick off, Charlotte wonders what could have been

executive director Chris Sgro said in an e-mail.“The economic damage already experienced because of HB2 is only the beginning.”Charlotte’s loss is New Orleans’ gain.The Big Easy has paired the four days of All-Star game festivities with Mardi Gras, merging two giant parties.Meanwhile, Charlotte is left wondering what could have been. As a result, Doggett – like other Charlotte residents and businesses – have been left out in the cold, looking for ways to enjoy this weekend. They stand to lose millions more if the NCAA pulls the state’s tournament bids for the next six years.“HB2 has cost North Carolina every single day with businesses and events leaving a state that has written discrimination into law,” Equality N.C. The league moved the event last summer after North Carolina politicians failed to repeal House Bill 2, a law that passed last March that limits the protections of LGBTQ people. Now, the Westin is offering rooms starting as low as $90 a night.Hickory Tavern, a sports bar/restaurant where fans regularly gather for Hornets “viewing parties,” and other local bars have mostly cancelled all-star themed events and aren’t expecting big crowds.The Charlotte Convention Center was going to host many of the events, including the interactive NBA All-Star Experience. Hornets season ticket holder Doug Doggett was planning on ponying up several hundred dollars for tickets to the NBA All-Star Game this weekend in Charlotte.But since the league has moved its annual showcase to New Orleans, Doggett now has no plans to watch the game on TV.Charlotte won’t be a ghost town this weekend, but it sure won’t be buzzing the way many had hoped when the NBA awarded the city the 2017 All-Star Game. A federal trial to decide the legality of HB2 is scheduled to begin later this summer.Hornets owner and former NBA great Michael Jordan declined comment, but has spoken out against any form of discrimination in the past.“We are extremely disappointed we lost the game because we worked so hard as a community to get it,” Whitfield said. Now, the biggest event on the centre’s calendar this weekend is the International Equestrian Trade Show.“There are a lot of business leaders that would like to see a resolution to HB2 and there are a lot business leaders who have had ongoing discussions with leaders of the Senate and the House, asking them to work together to get a resolution,” Whitfield said.NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in October that returning the All-Star Game to Charlotte in 2019 is “a high priority,” provided there’s a resolution to the so-called bathroom bill, which limits which restrooms transgender people can use in government buildings and schools.But that’s no guarantee.Newly elected Democratic Governor Roy Cooper wants to repeal the law, but so far attempts to do so with the GOP-controlled legislature have failed. He won’t be showing off his skills in front of his home crowd.“I have been here a long time, and it would have been really cool for the city, the organization, the fans and even me,” Walker said.But Walker and the fans aren’t the only ones disappointed.Charlotte area hotels, restaurants and other entertainment-based businesses stand to lose out on the $100-million (U.S.) impact of the game, according to Hornets chief operating officer and president Fred Whitfield.Before the league moved the game, it was almost impossible to find a hotel in downtown Charlotte near the arena for this coming weekend. We, like the NBA, don’t believe in any form of discrimination, but we felt like it was incumbent upon us to move the game as long as the HB2 situation lingered over our city and state.”Along with the All-Star Game, North Carolina has had major music headliners such as Bruce Springsteen cancel concerts dates and the Atlantic Coast Conference pull its neutral site championship games out of state, including football, which featured national champion Clemson University.And now NBA stars LeBron James, Kevin Durant and hometown hero Stephen Curry – and their big, revenue-generating corporate sponsors – won’t be coming here either.Forbes estimated in November that HB2 has cost North Carolina $630-million in lost revenue since it was passed in March of 2016. “But we did support commissioner Silver’s decision to move the game. There is an Equestrian Trade Show in town, though it’s not generating the same level of excitement.Vernon Jackson, also a season ticket holder, said he was looking forward to seeing the All-Star game in person, but now only plans to watch when Charlotte’s Kemba Walker participates in the Three-Point Contest .“I’ll watch Kemba, but as for the game itself – probably not much,” Jackson said.Walker – Charlotte’s first all-star since Gerald Wallace seven years ago – shares the fans’ pain.

Crosby grabs point 999 as Penguins top Canucks

Racing down the right wing, Malkin dangled the puck on his stick and waited while defenceman Luca Sbisa slid harmlessly out of the way before slipping it Kessel, who buried it into the open net to make it 3-0 with just over six minutes to go.“The first time we went 2-on-1, I tried to pass to him and he tried to pass it back and it didn’t work,” Malkin said. He snagged Jack Skille’s wrist shot on a breakaway out of midair late in the second and stoned Skille again when he skated in all alone early in the third.By then, the Penguins were firmly in control after Crosby set up Guentzel’s sixth of the season. “You saw what happened when we got away from it in the third. Louis in Jan. Matt Murray stopped 29 shots for his third shutout of the season, and the Penguins remained unbeaten in regulation since the All-Star break (5-0-2).Malkin missed seven games while rehabbing an injury from a victory over St. The quality Mike Sullivan appreciates the most in Evgeni Malkin is the one that separates the Pittsburgh Penguins star from just about everyone else who happens to do what Malkin does for a living.“He’s such a threat when he’s on the ice,” Sullivan said. 24. It’s more fun.”Miller made 38 saves while under siege for most of the night, particularly in the third as Pittsburgh pulled away.“We knew what game we had to play,” Miller said. It didn’t turn out so well.”Despite a series of injuries, the defending Stanley Cup champions have managed to keep pace in the supremely tight Metropolitan Division, where the Penguins, Columbus and the New York Rangers are separated by all of two points as they try to keep first-place Washington in striking distance.Murray was spectacular at times. The Penguins captain came in having gone scoreless in consecutive games for the first time in nearly a year.The drought was on its way to stretching to three games heading into the third, but Crosby nudged closer to becoming the 86th NHL player with 1,000 points when he completed a give-and-go by feeding a streaking Guentzel down the slot 2:27 into the third.“It’s pretty easy when you’re playing with the best player,” said Guentzel, a rookie who has six goals in 18 games. He gave Pittsburgh the lead 5:51 into the second when he stood on the far post, stopped a pass from Olli Maatta with his right skate and tapped it into the net.“I tried to score with my stick because sometimes (if it’s) off your skates, the coach makes a challenge,” Malkin said. “Now I passed to him and he shoot. “I know the puck was coming.”Vancouver’s defence couldn’t say the same when Malkin and Kessel broke in on Ryan Miller late in the third. “He’s one of the elite players in the league that has the ability to change the outcome.”

And do it with style. Malkin celebrated his return from a lower-body injury with his 23rd goal of the season then added a beautiful feed that set up Phil Kessel’s third-period goal, helping the Penguins roll by the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 on Tuesday night.Sidney Crosby earned the 999th point of his career with an assist on Jake Guentzel’s goal and Matt Cullen added his ninth of the season for Pittsburgh. We started stretching things out and leaving good ice. He appeared ready to return last Saturday night in Arizona before Sullivan made Malkin a late scratch just to be sure.Given another couple of days to rest, Malkin picked up right where he left off before getting hurt.

Patrik Laine gets third hat trick of season as Jets defeat Stars

The Stars rang three shots off the post behind Hellebuyck, while Winnipeg’s Nic Petan fired a one-timer wide of a gaping cage on the power play before Mathieu Perreault grazed the post with a wrist shot.The Jets head east for four games on the road, beginning with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday before Canadian stops in Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto. Connor Hellebuyck made 34 saves in his third straight start for the Jets since Ondrej Pavelec suffered a lower-body injury on Feb. Jets rookie Patrik Laine had his third hat trick of the season, including the winner, as Winnipeg beat the Dallas Stars 5-2 on Tuesday night at MTS Centre.Joel Armia and Blake Wheeler also scored as Winnipeg (26-29-4) snapped a four-game losing skid.Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin’s second period goals for Dallas (22-26-10) erased a two-goal Jets lead. With Winnipeg forward Nikolaj Ehlers off for hooking, the Stars found the equalizer on the power play at 13:35 of the second as Seguin’s low wrist shot from the point found its way through traffic for his 21st.Wheeler’s empty-net goal at 18:12 of the third is his 17th of the season.Dallas and Winnipeg exchanged grade-A opportunities in the third. Armia’s fifth goal of the season is his second in the past four games — a stretch where the 23-year-old has four points.Dallas cut the Jets lead in half just over a minute later as Benn completed a passing play from Jason Spezza and Seguin for his 19th of the season. The Stars wrap their four-game road trip through the Central Division on Thursday in Minnesota against the Western Conference leading Wild. 7, improving his record to 18-15-1 on the season.Stars netminder Antti Niemi stopped 18 of the 21 shots he faced, dropping his personal mark to 10-9-4.The victory also snaps a five-game home losing streak for the Jets, while Dallas suffers their sixth loss in their last seven games.Laine’s winner came with 5:07 left in the game before he then completed his hat trick just over four minutes later with Winnipeg’s second empty-netter to put his total at 26 goals in his 51st game.Laine opened the scoring late in the first period. Mark Scheifele forced a turnover in the Jets’ zone and turned it up ice to Andrew Copp who evaded a sprawling defender, feeding Laine to tap in his 24th of the season.Armia fired a one-timer from the high slot off a Shawn Matthias centreing pass as Winnipeg extended its lead at 7:38 of the second.

Brain damage in former soccer players fuels fears about heading

I think the risk is extremely low from playing recreational football.”Soccer is the most popular sport in the world and scientists said the danger of head injuries had to be weighed against the game’s known benefits in improving cardiovascular health, which actually reduces the likelihood of developing dementia.The study, published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica on Wednesday, followed 14 retired soccer players with dementia and secured next-of-kin permission for post mortem examinations for six of them.The scientists found evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a potential cause of dementia, in four of the six brains. It suggests that some professional soccer players might risk the same long-term cognitive problems suffered by boxers and some American football players.But experts said more research was needed to prove any definitive link between heading a football and developing dementia, and they added that the risk was likely to be minimal for occasional players.“We’ve demonstrated that the same type of pathology that occurs in ex-boxers can also occur in some ex-footballers who have dementia, but I’d emphasise this is a very small number of players,” said co-lead researcher Huw Morris of London’s UCL Institute of Neurology.“The average playing career of these players was 26 years, which is thousands of hours of game playing, thousands of hours of practice and thousands of headers … Scientists have found signs of brain damage that could cause dementia in a handful of former soccer players, fuelling worries about the danger of frequent knocks from heading the ball or colliding with others on the field.The small study was the first of its kind, involving post mortems on six men who died with dementia after long careers playing soccer. But there may still be cumulative damage from sub-concussive impacts, experts believe.Britain’s Football Association said more work was needed into whether degenerative brain disease was more common in ex-footballers, adding it planned to jointly fund research with the Professional Footballers’ Association. All were skilled headers of the ball. All six also had signs of Alzheimer’s disease.CTE is common in ex-boxers and has been linked to progressive memory, behavioural and motor impairment.Unlike boxing or American football, blows to the head in soccer are generally lower impact and players are less likely to experience concussion.

Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin says firing Therrien was not an easy decision

Yesterday was tough.”The Habs GM has always made a point of saying he is willing to make difficult and unpopular decisions for the good of the club, but replacing Therrien with former Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien was a no-brainer – a tough move personally, yes, but a smart one professionally.In Julien, Bergevin said he has the “strict, fair and firm” coach modern players need, and the instant credibility of being a Stanley Cup winner and international hockey champion simply makes him “the man for the job.”As to what specific improvements Bergevin expects to see – well, you didn’t really expect him to lay that out for public consumption, did you?Suffice to say that when he was asked what bothers him about the way his club is playing, he said, “It’s a little bit of everything.”He also sought to dispel the idea that Julien’s sudden availability – he was fired by the Bruins nine days ago – spurred his decision.Indeed, the idea that his team could use a new voice has been firming up in his mind since the Jan. A deal was struck.As it happens, Bergevin doesn’t know Julien especially well either. “We often forget that side,” Bergevin told a news conference Wednesday, red-eyed and fighting back tears, a day after firing Therrien. But then came a string of four losses.“We’re just not playing our game. A short conversation ensued. Julien was not only the best available coach but the best for the job – full stop.He contacted Boston, as the team still owned Julien’s contract. We’re just not the same team as earlier on; there’s something missing,” Bergevin said. They are acquaintances and rubbed shoulders at the World Cup of Hockey when both were involved with Team Canada.Like Therrien, whom he succeeded in 2003, Julien will embark on his second stint coaching the team.So, in that sense, this is all terra cognita for Bergevin.Though he’s clearly dismayed at seeing a friend leave, he is enthusiastic about making a new one.“In my opinion, with his track record, he’s a superstar,” he said. “We’re all human, we all have feelings, and this is tough. A change had to be made.”This past weekend, after a pair of dismal losses, he began drawing up a list of potential replacements. It had several names on it, though he wouldn’t say who, and demurred when asked if he had inquired about the availability of former Florida Panthers coach Gerard Gallant, a former Habs assistant.But one name was at the very top: Julien.Bergevin said he was thinking about the short term, yes, but also about the medium and long term. 28 all-star break, when the Habs bounced back from a dismal game against the Islanders with a decent performance against Buffalo. When Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin hired Michel Therrien to coach his team in 2012, he knew him only superficially.But the two have since grown close, so when it was time to make the trek to Therrien’s suburban Montreal home to deliver the news no one ever wants to hear, it wasn’t exactly easy. “Something’s not right.