McDavid leads way with three points, Oilers double up Flyers

Manning had been embroiled in a war of words with McDavid since injuring the Oilers captain during his rookie season last year.Edmonton took a four-goal lead with just over three minutes left in the middle period when Klefbom unleashed a cannon of a shot for the Oilers’ fifth goal on 17 shots. The Flyers conclude a three-game road swing in Vancouver on Sunday. McDavid now has 66 points while Crosby has 64.Radko Gudas, Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn responded for the Flyers (27-23-7), who have lost two in a row and four of their last five games.Edmonton struck quickly, just 2:14 into the first period when Hendricks elected to shoot on a 2-on-1 opportunity, scoring his second goal in as many games on Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth.The Oilers made it 2-0 with five minutes left in the opening frame when Matt Benning made a beautiful feed in front to allow Draisaitl to direct in his 22nd goal of the season.The Flyers cut into the lead just 31 seconds into the second period as a Sean Couturier pass hit Gudas in front and trickled past Oilers goalie Cam Talbot.Edmonton regained its cushion seven minutes into the second when Eberle cashed in on the rebound from a McDavid backhand for his first goal in nine games.It was 4-1 just over a minute later as an Eric Gryba shot struck Nugent-Hopkins in front and got past Neuvirth.Midway through the second period, Oiler Patrick Maroon took it to Flyer Brandon Manning in a spirited bout. With the win, Edmonton moved into a tie with Anaheim for second place in the Pacific Division. Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists to regain the NHL scoring lead as the Edmonton Oilers came away with a 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.Matt Hendricks, Leon Draisaitl, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Oscar Klefbom also scored for the Oilers (31-19-8), who have won two straight games and three of their last four. McDavid picked up another assist to move him back into the scoring lead.Philadelphia got one back with 45 seconds left in the second as Simmonds was left alone in front to score his 24th.The Flyers made it 5-3 seven minutes into the third on a Schenn power-play goal, but McDavid put the game away for good with his 19th goal of the season with five minutes to play.The Oilers start a six-game road trip in Chicago on Saturday. Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby took over the scoring lead for a brief moment earlier in the night with his own three-point performance.

NBA joins NFL in warning Texas over proposed ‘bathroom bill’

NBA spokesman Mike Bass says an environment where people are treated “fairly and equally” weighs heavily when the league chooses host locations. Texas has three NBA teams and has hosted three all-star games since 2006.Charlotte was originally supposed to hold the all-star game on Sunday. But the NBA moved the game to New Orleans after North Carolina adopted its “bathroom bill” last year. The NBA is warning Texas over a proposed “bathroom bill” targeting transgender people that is similar to a North Carolina law that prompted the league to move the all-star game out of that state.The NBA on Friday joined the NFL in suggesting that Texas will be overlooked for future big events if lawmakers pass a bill requiring people to use bathrooms that correspond to the gender on their birth certificate.

Ontario’s Rachel Homan goes all in on a high-stakes year of curling

They’re a great team and they’ve had a lot of success.”The championship starts Saturday with a marquee matchup between Homan and Carey.Also part of the opening draw is the final of the pre-tournament qualifier between New Brunswick’s Melissa Adams (3-0) and Kerry Galusha of Northwest Territories (2-1).The victor continues playing in the 12-team main draw. “I decided to step back and do my own freelance designing.”Courtney, a registered nurse in Edmonton, picks up a casual shift when she can. “I’m going to throw the target back on their back. The squad will also be a hometown favourite at December’s Olympic trials in Ottawa. “We’ve spent a lot of time together as a team and less so on career.“We’re not seeing our friends and family as much as we’d like to. Yukon’s Sarah Koltun (1-2) and Nunavut’s Geneva Chislett (0-3) were eliminated from contention Friday.This will be the final year for the unpopular qualifying tournament at the men’s and women’s national championships.Curling Canada is changing the format to allow for more equal participation of all provinces and territories in 2018.The top four teams at the conclusion of the preliminary round next Friday advance to the Page playoff. As of 2015, Curling Canada residency rules allow each team to have one player from out of province.So there is significant travel to and from Ottawa and Edmonton for all four curlers.“Definitely leading into Olympic trials, I think family, work, friends, everyone knows I’m going to be where I need to be to make sure the team is ready,” Courtney said.They’re considered the team to beat at this year’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts, even by defending champion Chelsea Carey of Calgary.“They’re trying to take the target off their back, eh?” Homan said. Life takes a back seat to curling for the Rachel Homan team these days.They’ve dialled down their jobs and limited their social lives in a year of high stakes.Homan skips host Ontario at the Canadian women’s curling championship that begins Saturday. Ties for fourth will be solved by tiebreaker games. 1 women’s team in the world. Winner of the 2015 Canada Cup, Homan was the first to nail down one of nine women’s berths for the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings in Ottawa.Homan has stepped away from her job as a community ambassador in the RBC Olympians program.Miskew was a project co-ordinator for Canada’s Senate but quit that job just over a year ago to start her own design company and have more flexible hours.“My biggest issue when I worked for the government was taking almost 50 per cent of the time off between September and April,” Miskew explained. But they know this is a priority for us and a life-long goal we’re trying to achieve and they’re 100 per cent behind us. Weagle has taken a leave of absence from her communications job with the federal government.“We have big goals for ourselves and we’re trying to position ourselves to do everything we can achieve them,” Weagle said.Homan, Miskew, Weagle and second Alison Kreviazuk won back-to-back Canadian women’s crowns in 2013 and 2014, taking bronze and silver respectively at the world championships.They went 4-3 and lost out in the semi-final of the 2013 Olympic trials.Homan recruited Courtney when Kreviazuk moved to Sweden in 2014. Homan, third Emma Miskew, second Joanne Courtney and lead Lisa Weagle possess the tools and talent to win both, and thus wear the Maple Leaf in next month’s world championship and next year’s Winter Olympics.Maximizing their chances to do so means making sacrifices.“We’ve all put our careers on hold,” Homan said Friday at the Meridian Centre. You have to be okay with saying ‘No’ to things and taking time for yourself and taking time with the team and kind of putting that as a priority.”The World Curling Tour ranks the Ottawa Curling Club foursome as the No.

Top CWHL teams from Calgary and Montreal in first-place showdown

Let’s take the whole family.’”The next step is generating enough revenue to sustain a salaried league, which Campbell believes is “absolutely on track.“What it will take is creating a consistent fan base. The speed obviously, too – you’ve got so many good up-and-coming players, the Jess Campbells, really speedy, really fast. The two teams ran away from the pack this season with second-half surges.“We’ve been prepping for this weekend for weeks and months – pretty much the whole year – so when the puck drops, we’re going to be so pumped up,” said Campbell, who noted there will be a significant home-ice advantage for the Inferno, “a massive fan base behind us, hooting, hollering and cheering and making it that much more exciting for both teams.“I know we’re deserving of a sold-out crowd,” Campbell said.“This is an opportunity for fans to come out and see two unbelievable teams. 1 team in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and the defending Clarkson Cup champions. That’s what it’s about. Montreal is a great team. They’ve rebranded this year as the Junior Inferno so when we’ve been in the rinks we see our logo, literally all over the place. Seeing those kids, in the malls, in the movie theatres, wearing that Inferno logo, that’s what’s going to grow the league – people in the community, asking, ‘Who are the Inferno? Hopefully we continue to move in the right direction.” This weekend, Campbell’s twin career paths collide when the Inferno play Les Canadiennes de Montreal in a first-place showdown Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon at Calgary’s WinSport Arena A, a season-ending two-game series between the two best teams in the league with first place on the line.For the Saturday game against Montreal, the Inferno players will be wearing limited-edition purple jerseys, provided by Scotiabank, which will be auctioned off on behalf of Start the Spark, an annual mental-health awareness campaign supported by the team and the Kennedy organization.Campbell, the liaison between the two groups, is expecting sellout crowds, thanks to an online ticket campaign, in which sponsors and donors purchased tickets for the game and then returned them to the team to distribute in schools and arenas across the city.The Inferno, at 19-3-0, leads Montreal (16-4-2) by four points. Oh, we have a professional women’s team? It’s a different game than the NHL, so we’re starting from a point of showing fans, ‘This is what women’s hockey is. Lacasse, a Providence College grad, is in her first season in Calgary. It gets your day off to a good start and brings you back to the old days, which is kind of nice.”Lacasse described her experience playing for Boston last season as one of the best in her career because of the camaraderie that developed on a rebuilding team. Tickets are only $15? You can’t ask for anything more.” Campbell added.Montreal features the top line in the CWHL – the trio of Marie-Philip Poulin, Caroline Ouellette and Ann-Sophie Bettez.Many of the top players on Montreal and Calgary have also been teammates on Canada’s national team, and they will get together again in the fall, when they centralize in Calgary to prepare for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.Until then, however, friendships are, out of necessity, put aside.An example, in a game last month, Inferno goaltender Geneviève Lacasse was caught in a playful moment when she put Poulin into a headlock after Poulin had crashed her crease. Living in the United States, where she couldn’t work, was becoming increasingly expensive, as a result of the shrinking Canadian dollar.Just about every CWHL player juggles work and hockey schedules, which occasionally means practice times are adjusted to accommodate scheduling conflicts. Cameras caught it all – and the two had a good chuckle about it afterward.“Poulin crashed into the net, and I put her in a headlock a little bit, and the play had left our zone, and I just kept holding on,” Lacasse said. We’ve been to the Clarkson Cup before, so for us, that experience will go really far.“Our end goal is to win the Clarkson Cup again, so we take every weekend and every game and focus on that and try not to get too far ahead of ourselves. It’s a great game, an awesome match-up and first place is on the line. “We have a partnership with Girls Hockey Calgary, with over 40 teams from novice to midget that we mentor and go to their practices. Earlier this week, after the ice plant broke down at their regular practice facility, the Inferno players endured the fresh hell of 7 a.m. We are more prepared. In her day job, Jessica Campbell is the director of communications for the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, which is why she was at Holy Cross Elementary Junior High School in southeast Calgary on a Wednesday afternoon, co-ordinating a mental-health initiative with the local middle school.By night, Campbell has a second profession – playing forward for the Calgary Inferno, the No. I’m sure, if you’re at a game, you’ll see – if you make a save, there’s a little tap on the pads of a goalie, or a little chirping going on, but it’s all done in a friendly way.“But it is small things like that that make it real fun as well.”Lacasse is a perfect 8-0 this season for the Inferno and her numbers trail only Montreal’s Charline Labonté in the overall goaltending stats. We’ve split with them both weekends we played against them, so it should be close. Once they see us play the Canadiennes, they’re going to be hooked and want to come back and buy season tickets for next year. Don’t compare it to men’s hockey.’ It’s just as good, it’s just a different game. practices on both Tuesday and Thursday in order to prepare for this weekend’s games.That sort of flexibility and adaptability is necessary in the CWHL, though Lacasse will tell you it wasn’t all bad.“It was a little tough to get the legs going that early,” she said, “but once they were moving, it was good. But coming to Calgary this year opened her up to a whole different world.“Just to see the development in the skating, which has improved the most over the years – girls just getting to play with better girls means you’re pushing each other on the ice. “And she’s trying to scramble out of it, and I’m laughing, and she’s looking back and laughing, too, and gives me a shove and gets out of there.“It’s definitely weird to play against her, but there’s so much respect on the ice. But we’re in it for the long haul. So I’m very optimistic about the direction we’re going as a league.”As for the weekend showdown against their rivals, the Inferno’s Rebecca Johnston is cautiously optimistic, noting that this year’s team includes a lot of new faces “who’ve helped us throughout the year.“I think definitely we are a better team. It has been really amazing.”For her part, Campbell believes the CWHL’s profile is growing incrementally, largely because of greater community awareness, something that didn’t happen by accident.“I know we’ve taken the right strides in Calgary,” she said. Lacasse wasn’t about to let her up – at least not right away. Let’s go watch. At her request, she was traded to the Inferno this past August from the Boston Blades in order to pursue a job opportunity.

Jerry Stackhouse thrilled to coach D-League Raptors 905 team

He juggles an ever-changing lineup – one full of players trying to make the NBA, mixed in with whichever Raptors get sent down on assignment each night – veterans working back from injury or youngsters in need of experience.Stackhouse has brought his long-time friends, former NBA players Rasheed Wallace and Keith Bogans, to work with his 905 players. He earned it for leading the Toronto Raptors’ 18-month-old D-League affiliate – Raptors 905 – to one of the best records in the league. “I respected his game growing up, but he’d always kill my Lakers and that made me mad. That’s fun for me, and the guys get a kick out of trying to stop me,” Stackhouse said. Others said ‘You’re already in the NBA, you don’t need that.’ But honestly, I love it. “When people see the success he’s having in the D-League, I think NBA teams will notice his coaching talent, but I also think ex-NBA players at the end of their careers may be more likely to look at coaching in the D-League, too.”As a player who had to transition from power forward in college to perimeter player in the NBA, Stackhouse can relate to the crop of mostly undersized players all trying to develop or morph into other positions in the D-League, just battling to get noticed. “When I played in Detroit, I’d get them to practice or bring them to my house – guys who hadn’t even made the team yet. Still in great shape, Stackhouse got on court and went toe-to-toe with young Raptors during instruction. There are a few recognizable names who spent time as NBA players. His biggest role came in development. Just two years after retirement, Stackhouse came to work as a Casey assistant.Stackhouse sat in the second row during games, as Casey kept his more experienced assistants beside him up front. select team at a European tournament. His team has sailed into the all-star break on a three-game win streak. And he still goes at them on the court, full-speed, daily.“For a few minutes every day, I get to jump into a shell drill and be Jerry Stackhouse again. It didn’t happen that way. The Raptors floated the opportunity to Stackhouse and another assistant, Jama Mahlalela. He’s incredible!” as the cocky youngster swaggered to the applause.He became the third overall selection by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1995 NBA draft, and from there, his 18-year career spanned eight teams and some 970 games. But this year he’s there in a unique capacity.While most are readying for Saturday night’s skills challenge and slam-dunk contest in New Orleans, Stackhouse will coach in the Development League all-star game. The path he’s taking through the D-League isn’t typical for a former star player, but don’t be surprised if others start to follow it.Stackhouse saunters through the narrow basement hallways of the Hershey Centre in suburban Mississauga, his lively voice echoing as he cracks jokes with assistant coaches down the hall as music filters out of the locker room. Eventually he transitioned into a veteran leader.“I always gravitated to helping the younger players,” Stackhouse said. Two 905 players – Edy Tavares and Axel Toupane – earned nods to the game, while another – John Jordan – will vie for the D-League slam-dunk title.Most D-League teams have head coaches who came from college or gigs as NBA assistants. “Winning should be at the forefront of everything we do.” It’s been a godsend.”Stackhouse grew up in Kinston, N.C., the youngest of 11 kids – eight boys and three girls. It’s a sharp contrast from the lush meeting space where he convened with the other Toronto Raptors assistant coaches on Dwane Casey’s staff last season just off the locker room at the Air Canada Centre, or in the offices of the NBA team’s lavish new practice digs.“I would have loved to jump right into an NBA head-coaching job after my playing days like Derek Fisher or Jason Kidd, and the competitor in me was a little salty about that when it didn’t happen, but I know now I wasn’t ready for that,” Stackhouse said. Stackhouse has been known to send his 905 players out to dinner with his credit card after they’ve played particularly well. Are you serious? Look at him strut! The two-time all-star, who retired in 2013, has made no secret about wanting an NBA head-coaching job. He would push guards Cory Joseph or Norman Powell in practice, sweating it out in physical drills.“I have gravitated to him, because I play with that same chip on my shoulder,” Raptor Norman Powell said last season. I loved teaching them things.”As his NBA career was winding down, he helped coach his 13-year-old son Jaye’s team. I idolized him, his focus on going at everyone no matter who they were.”The Raptors 905 head-coaching gig opened up when inaugural coach Jesse Mermuys left for an assistant’s job on Luke Walton’s Lakers staff. including Darrick Martin or Coby Karl, son of coaching legend George Karl. But the depth of Stackhouse’s NBA playing experience makes him unique in among current D-League head coaches.“We have a coach who was an all-star and still has the ability to practise hard with our players, giving them the chance to measure themselves against him every day – that’s a real advantage we have,” Tolzman said. He’s a very fun coach and he’s very smart, also sometimes very serious.”While the top priority of a D-League franchise is to develop the NBA club’s talent, the Raptors want to send their players down to an affiliate with a winning atmosphere.“Some say the D-League is not about winning, it’s only focused on development, but I say that’s bull,” Stackhouse said. But he got noticed by Raptors president Masai Ujiri while coaching a U.S. He veers into a tiny concrete room and settles his 6-foot-6 frame in for a lengthy interview. Stackhouse jumped at it, especially considering the unique, tight relationship between the Raptors and their D-League affiliate, squads that play just 30 kilometres apart.Mermuys and general manager Dan Tolzman built the foundation for a strong expansion team, and now Stackhouse has led the 905 to a 25-9 record – tops in the Eastern Conference. “I spent a year on Casey’s staff, and some people told me I would be perfect for developing young players in this D-League job. He did so in just his first few months as a head coach. Jerry Stackhouse has attended NBA all-star weekend countless times – as a player, a broadcaster, or just to be part of the annual revelry of basketball and celebrity. Players in many situations benefit from on-court moments with him.“I want to beat him on the court – it motivates me,” said Raptor Bruno Caboclo, who comes down from the big club to play most games with the 905. The 42-year-old looks just as he did during his playing days. The veteran of 18 NBA seasons once believed he could be one of those rare players handed his own team immediately after retirement. “He makes a good move – like a crossover – and every player starts yelling and laughing. He tells them stories about his old teammates such as Michael Curry or Darrell Armstrong who went undrafted and battled their way into the NBA. Look at him dancing! He honed his basketball skills against his big brothers, working himself into one of the state’s best high school talents.The high-scoring phenom starred at the University of North Carolina under legendary coach Dean Smith – an All-American and Sports Illustrated’s 1995 national player of the year.Some of Stack’s moments remain the stuff of Tar Heel all-time highlight reels.His reverse one-handed slam in a 1995 rivalry game against Duke made broadcaster Dick Vitale shriek “Stackhouse, Oh America! In 2000-01 as a Piston, he was the league’s second-leading scorer behind Allen Iverson. “I say ‘If y’all bring this kind of defensive effort in the game that you’re bringing right now to try and stop me, we’re going to be all right tonight.’”He’s known for his unique three-piece suits on game nights, and he was D-League coach of the month for December. Eventually he started his own Amateur Athletic Union program – Stackhouse Elite Basketball – stressing defence and ball-sharing and helping produce talents such as Brandon Ingram, today a rookie for the Los Angeles Lakers.Stackhouse already knew Casey from his days as a veteran with the Dallas Mavericks when Casey was an assistant. He was a rookie standout, then a franchise star.

Canadian rugby sevens player Admir Cejvanovic counts his blessings

“I have a couple of glimpses of what it was like,” Cejvanovic said. The Canadians last beat the Americans 13-11 in the second leg of their Rugby World Cup qualifier in 2013.“It’s always a special game,” said Paris. The plan is to get more players integrated in the national-team setup ahead of a two-legged World Cup qualifier against the United States later this year.“It’s going to be a challenge, but the boys have worked hard this week,” said Canada’s head coach Mark Anscombe. I’m grateful for that. Admir Cejvanovic doesn’t remember much about the refugee camp nestled on the border of Croatia and his native Bosnia.Just a toddler at the time, he lived there with his mother under the protection of the United Nations for about six months as the Balkan region descended into a series of wars in the early 1990s. “If anything it makes me a better person and helps me focus on the things that are important.“I owe it all to my mom. I’m just happy we came here and I got the chance to do this.”Sporting a cut that needed stitches over his left eye after a practice this week, Cejvanovic said he’s visited Bosnia on three occasions.“I love my time there,” he said with a smile. “If I’d stayed back there my life would have been a lot different.”Cejvanovic will play his fifth game for the Canadian men’s rugby team Saturday when it hosts the United States.The Americas Rugby Championship test match will be Cejvanovic’s first for Canada in Burnaby, a city just east of Vancouver where his family put down roots and he was introduced to the sport he now loves.Cejvanovic is happy to talk about his journey – more than 100,000 people were killed during Yugoslavia’s bloody breakup – especially with so much negativity surrounding refugees and immigrants in today’s world.“I understand it’s a big issue,” said Cejvanovic, whose mother will attend Saturday’s game at Swangard Stadium. The squad beat Chile 36-15 last weekend following a 20-6 loss to Argentina’s second-tier side.The Canadians have called up a young squad for the tournament. 23 Uruguay and No. What my life would have been like, who knows? 8 against the United States. “It wasn’t too difficult for the kids.“A lot of us were just ignorant to what was going on.”The pair would eventually find their way to a town in Croatia and then finally the Vancouver area as sponsored refugees by the time Admir was four.“My life in Canada, for me it’s like winning the lottery,” said Cejvanovic, now 26. Reegan O’Gorman and Robbie Povey have been tabbed to make their first test starts for Canada, which after Saturday will fly south to play Uruguay on Feb. She made the decision to pull us out of there. “We’ll go in with some confidence to back ourselves to do what we need to do.”Anscombe is set to make five changes to the starting lineup against the No. 34 Brazil.Ray Barkwill will captain the squad, while Taylor Paris gets another nod after scoring three tries against Chile. 25 and Brazil on March 3.Canada is 38-16-1 all-time against the United States, but has lost five in a row after winning seven straight. With a bigger body than most players in the sport’s more-wide open incarnation, he needed to be focused at all times, something that has helped his transition back to the 15-man game.“I used to be a very lazy rugby player,” said Cejvanovic, who will suit up as Canada’s No. “There’s a ton of new boys into the squad, a lot of them have never played against the States.“They obviously understand the rivalry, but it’s a bit different when you get in there and get a crack against them.” “I’m from the countryside so my uncles get a lot of work out of me.“I get to learn what hard work is.”Cejvanovic also learned about hard work the last two years as a member of Canada’s rugby sevens program. “Sevens taught me how to work off the ball.”Canada, ranked 18th in the world, is 1-1 in Americas Rugby Championship. 17 United States, which is 2-0 after wins over No.

Josh Donaldson misses first official spring training workout for Blue Jays with injury

“It’s not the news you want to receive but you anticipate. The American League’s most valuable player in 2015 who last season hit .284 with 99 runs batted in.“He tweaked his calf running some sprints [on Friday],” Toronto Manager John Gibbons said. “He’ll have to get an MRI and we’ll know more. It’s inevitable with all the players.“What I can tell you, Josh does a very good job of taking care of himself. 1 catcher Russell Martin, who is coming back after having minor off-season surgery to his left knee, also did not participate in any of the drills after coming down with a fever.Donaldson is considered an indispensable part of the Blue Jays. He’s put himself in a great position in this off-season, he’s in really good shape. The first full official workout of the spring training campaign for the Toronto Blue Jays took place here on Saturday morning and there were a couple of notable absences.Third baseman Josh Donaldson, who will be expected once again to carry a heavy load for the Blue Jays this year, skipped the workout after reporting stiffness in his right calf. And No. Hopefully it’s not a big deal. And he also recovers very well. So when you factor all of that in, it mitigates the concern to some extent.” It might cost him a few days and that’s not going to kill him.”The regular season opener isn’t until April 3, when the team travels to Baltimore to play the Orioles, giving Donaldson ample time to recover.The same goes for Martin, whose health concern is also not believed serious.“I mean any time in professional sports that an athlete is injured there’s some level of concern,” Blue Jays General Manager Ross Atkins said.