FIFA bans Lionel Messi for four World Cup qualifying games

It was judged a red-card offence for Messi.“This decision is in line with the FIFA Disciplinary Committee’s previous rulings in similar cases,” said the world soccer body, which also fined Messi 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,160).Messi and the Argentine soccer federation can challenge the ban at FIFA’s appeals committee. FIFA’s legal statutes do not grant jurisdiction to the Swiss-based CAS in “appeals arising from … Without him, though, Argentina has earned only seven points out of a possible 21.The 1978 and 1986 world champion is now only two points ahead of sixth place, currently held by Chile.After facing last-place Bolivia, Argentina will travel to play Uruguay on Aug. 5.It was close to a must-win match last Thursday when Argentina hosted Chile, the team it lost to in the Copa America finals of 2015 and 2016Argentina won 1-0 after Messi scored with a first-half penalty at the vibrant Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires, but he lost his cool in the closing minutes.Messi reacted angrily when a decision went against him and aimed a volley of profane abuse at the assistant. suspensions of up to four matches.”The Messi ban adds further turmoil to the embattled Argentina soccer federation, which is currently being run by an emergency committee appointed by FIFA last June.A previous generation of Argentine soccer leaders were implicated in corruption and indicted by the U.S. 31. The fifth-place team will enters a playoff in November, likely against New Zealand.Messi has scored in four qualifiers so far, with Argentina going on to win every game. They should have reasoned or contemplated this is in another way.“Four games is too much.”Messi’s behaviour and ban could affect his chances of winning FIFA’s best player award for 2017, even if his club Barcelona wins the Champions League.FIFA guidance to voters is that on- and off-field conduct should be taken into account.Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are in a career-long duel for the game’s most prestigious prize, and the Portugal and Real Madrid forward won his fourth FIFA award in January to draw within one of his great rival.In a stark contrast for soccer’s global stars, Messi has been shamed this week while Ronaldo was rewarded with the airport in his home island of Madeira being named in his honour. “But we’re left angry and sad because (Messi) will not be with the team.”Argentina has relied on its captain Messi to move up to third place in a group where the top four qualify for the tournament in Russia. He refused to shake hands with the official after the match.FIFA could intervene as the incident was not initially reported by the Brazilian referee. “I think it’s too sensitive for something like this. Then it has two home games against struggling sides: Venezuela on Sept. New elections are scheduled this week.The interim federation leader questioned FIFA’s judgment Tuesday.“I think it’s unusual because it will set a precedent that will decide the future of many things,” Armando Perez told Argentina’s TyC Sports channel. 5 and Peru on Oct. Lionel Messi is banned from Argentina’s next four World Cup qualifying games, dealing a blow to a campaign by the 2014 runner-up that has stuttered without him.Messi’s suspension for “having directed insulting words at an assistant referee” during a home qualifier against Chile last week, started Tuesday in Bolivia, where his teammates were due to kick off hours after FIFA announced its verdict. It rarely overturns disciplinary rulings, though it could reduce the number of games he must miss.A subsequent appeal does not currently seem possible to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Department of Justice in 2015, and subsequent federation elections were disputed. 10.“We have to appeal this decision, we’ll see how it goes,” said Jorge Miadosqui, Argentina’s national teams director. The five-time FIFA player of the year can appeal to FIFA, but is on track to return for Argentina’s final match in the 10-team South American qualifying group, hosting Ecuador on Oct.

USA Hockey, women’s national players reach agreement to avoid boycott

in that the women on the national team receive carding money of $1,500 per month from Sport Canada year-round.When the players centralized in Calgary to begin training full time for the 2014 Winter Olympics, Hockey Canada topped that up by about $2,500 per month to cover moving and living expenses.Own The Podium directs just over a million dollars of taxpayer money annually into the Hockey Canada’s female program that includes the developmental and under-18 teams.Players are set to travel to Plymouth on Wednesday and open the defence of their gold medal Friday against Canada. “I think there are a lot of things in this agreement other than financial that were important to the women in terms of kind of laying the foundation or building the framework for the women’s program for the years ahead and particularly the next four years of this agreement.” NHL agent Allan Walsh tweeted that men’s players were considering boycotting their world championship in solidarity if a deal didn’t get done.It took until almost the last minute, but a deal did get done that includes the formation of a women’s high performance advisory group with current and former players — like Hockey Canada has had for some time. I’m not worried about that one bit.”The U.S. Women’s National Team and USA Hockey on reaching an agreement that will allow the world championship tournament to be a best-on-best showcase,” said Davidson. The group’s goal is to advance girl’s and women’s hockey programing, marketing, promotion and fundraising to augment existing grassroots programs.Melody Davidson, Hockey Canada’s general manager of its national women’s team program, was pleased that Canada will be able to face their arch-rivals at the world championships.“We congratulate the U.S. “It’s going to be a turning point for women’s hockey in the U.S. has won six of the past eight world championships, but this deal was not just about one tournament. USA Hockey and the women’s national team reached an agreement to end a wage dispute and avoid a boycott of the world championships on home ice that would’ve been a black eye for the sport.Players and USA Hockey finalized the deal Tuesday night and announced it in a joint statement just three days before the tournament begins in Plymouth, Michigan. It’s a four-year agreement that pays players beyond just the six-month Olympic period. The goal is stabilizing the relationship between USA Hockey and the women’s national team moving forward.“That’s the crux of the whole deal,” Ogrean said. “Clearly, we wanted to get this behind us, and we’re very excited about having the team in Michigan to put on the jerseys that are their jerseys and to defend their world championship starting Friday night.”Star forward Hilary Knight called it an “arrangement that will have a positive and lasting impact.” Duggan said the deal was “the best there is” for the present and future.After more than a year of negotiations over wages and equitable support, players announced March 15 that they’d boycott the International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship if significant progress wasn’t made toward an agreement. Olympic committee, each player could surpass $70,000 in annual earnings.“I’m very relieved and I’m very positive about the outcome, and I think the women are, too,” USA Hockey executive director Dave Ogrean said by phone. The team’s first practice is Wednesday.“Even though this has been going on for two weeks, we’ve all still been preparing — working out, training, skating and doing what we need to do to be ready to go,” Lamoureux-Davidson said. “Our preparation has remained consistent and we are looking forward to a great tournament and our opening game against the United States on Friday night in Plymouth.”Canada’s system is different from the U.S. “We put that on the line and we made a promise to ourselves that until we reached an agreement that we thought was acceptable and we had made progress, that was a realization that maybe we wouldn’t be there.”Over the course of the public dispute, unions from the NHL, NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball and 16 U.S. Combined with money received from the U.S. “We’ll be all ready to go. The sides met for 10-plus hours in person last week and continued conversations before striking a deal Tuesday.Duggan said she was concerned about not being on the ice to begin the tournament.“That was a reality from Day One,” Duggan said by phone. (and) I feel like a turning point for women’s hockey in the world,” star forward Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson said by phone. “There was compromises on both sides, but the contract in its entirety, it’s going to change the lives of the current players that are on the team right now but (also) for the next generation.”Captain Meghan Duggan called it a “historic moment in women’s sports.” USA Hockey president Jim Smith said people will look back on this day “as one of the most positive in the history” of the organization.Before this agreement, players said they were paid $1,000 a month around the Olympics, and the new contract is believed to be worth around $3,000 to $4,000 per player per month. senators voiced support for the players.

Joakim Noah says over-the-counter supplement caused drug violation

We’re just glad to see him back on the court today, doing some things,” coach Jeff Hornacek said. Joakim Noah was seeking help to overcome injuries that wrecked his first season in New York and turned to an over-the-counter supplement.That decision “backfired,” Noah said Tuesday.It led to a 20-game suspension for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy , preventing Noah from ending a disappointing year on a positive note. “This was a tough moment, but I’m going to learn from it,” Noah said. 27 surgery to remove a loose body from his left knee. “I know that right now it’s a tough situation to be in not being there with my teammates out there on the court. “We’ll miss him the rest of the year and the beginning of next year. Anti-Doping Agency has said that the substance, known as SARMs, has “similar properties to anabolic agents, but … But he’ll be ready to go next year.”Noah was limited to 5.0 points a game and wasn’t able to be the defensive anchor the team hoped. The U.S. He was limited to 29 games in his final season in Chicago because of a left shoulder injury that required surgery.“So I know it didn’t come from a bad place,” Noah said, adding that he thought 20 games was severe but “it is what it is and I’ve got to bounce back.”He apologized to teammates and the organization, saying he let a lot of people down.“You can’t do anything about it now. the lack of steroid-related side effects.”Noah was aware of the warnings players get when it comes to outside supplements, but may have desperate for some relief in the midst of a second straight injury-plagued season. He may not even regain his starting spot next season, with rookie Willy Hernangomez playing well recently.Noah and the Knicks hope he can begin serving the suspension as early as their game Wednesday against Miami so he can chop off the first eight games this season.“It’s a tough lesson to learn, but everything in life has its purpose,” Noah said. But I’m going to take this suspension like a man and move on.” “I tried to take the right measures when I was taking the supplements and it wasn’t enough.”The league cited Noah for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator LGD-4033. I’ve gone through a lot of injuries, and I tried to take something to help me and it backfired.”Noah returned to practice Tuesday following Feb. The knee injury came after a hamstring injury he was trying to recover from around the All-Star break.All told, he managed just 46 games in the first season of a four-year, $72 million contract he signed last summer.“I wanted to do something to help myself, help my body and like I said it backfired on me,” Noah said. “I tried to take a supplement to help me with everything I’ve gone through.

‘Tough as nails’: Mark McMorris’s brother shares photo from hospital

“I was happy with my riding. “Now I can just take that out of my head and concentrate on my training this summer.”For now, he’s thinking about his friend and teammate.“I know he’s in good hands at the hospital in Vancouver,” Parrot said Tuesday. “It’s another great chance for us to inspire more people to get into snowboarding.”McMorris won three X Games medals this season along with two World Cup Crystal Globes, one for big air and another as the overall champion.His banner campaign came on the heels of another serious injury suffered in February 2016 when he caught an edge on a landing at an event in Los Angeles.McMorris — who has 14 combined X Games medals in his career, including five in big air — fractured his right femur and had a metal rod surgically implanted in his thigh.Parrot won 10 medals in 15 events this season, and has six X Games podium finishes, with three golds and two silvers in big air.His early nomination to the Canadian team for 2018 lifts a weight off his shoulders after he qualified just two weeks before the Games in Sochi, Russia, three years ago.“It’s a little stress relief, for sure,” he said. So much love.”Cindy McMorris is at her son’s side in photo, which quickly attracted thousands of likes and several hunderd comments.The 23-year-old McMorris suffered breaks to his jaw and left arm, a ruptured spleen, a stable pelvic fracture, rib fractures and a collapsed left lung when he crashed into trees while going off a jump on Saturday. “All good news from here on out. He underwent two separate surgeries over the weekend to control bleeding and repair the injuries to his jaw and arm.His brother, also an accomplished snowboarder, was with him when the accident happened.Canadian teammate Max Parrot said snowboarders are well aware of the risks they’re taking.“We’re practising an extreme sport,” he said. “Kids tough as nails,” his older brother Craig wrote in his feed on the photo-sharing app. “I hope he’ll be back really soon.” Certainly a little too early to speculate whether that will be probable or whether it’s still just in the realm of possible.”While they have been provisionally nominated for the 2018 Games through their standout performances this season, Parrot and McMorris — if he’s healthy — will still have to meet a minimum performance standard at an eligible event during the 2017-18 World Cup season to secure their spots. 9, 2018.“What it means for Mark is that based on his recovery and his rehabilitation … is his own desire and motivation to make the team next year,” Jarvis said in a phone interview on Monday. Parrot, meanwhile, wound up fifth.“It was a little bummer not to hop on a podium,” Parrot said last week. “But there’s not much you can do against a tree.”Despite McMorris’s severe injuries, Canada Snowboard announced Tuesday that he and Parrot had been provisionally nominated to Canada’s Olympic team.While there is no timetable for McMorris’s recovery, Canada Snowboard executive director Patrick Jarvis said the Olympic bronze medallist will have to show he’s healthy before fully securing his spot for the Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, that begin Feb. “He would have to prove a return-to-competition readiness to ensure that he’s comfortable riding again, that he’s back to the level of prowess that he’s used to.“All fingers crossed and we would certainly hope that Mark is able to do that. If at the end of the day you tell yourself you did your best, that’s all that matters.”McMorris, should he recover in time, and Parrot are considered strong medal contenders heading into 2018, especially with the big air event now included alongside slopestyle.In big air, snowboarders launch themselves off massive jumps in order to complete their tricks, while slopestyle involves competitors going down a course that includes a number of obstacles.“It’s really cool we have big air this time,” said Parrot. Their nominations are also subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee and the final allocation of Olympic quota spots.McMorris won bronze in slopestyle snowboarding’s Olympic debut in 2014 despite competing with broken ribs. There were tubes in Mark McMorris’s nose and bruises around his left eye and cheek, but the Canadian snowboarding star was giving the thumbs-up and flashing a small smile in an Instagram photo posted Tuesday by his brother.The Olympic bronze medallist from Regina is confined to a Vancouver hospital bed after suffering serious injuries in a crash in the B.C. backcountry over the weekend.

Defending world pairs skating champion Eric Radford battling injury

It’ll just be that jump.”The injury comes at the tail end of a roller-coaster campaign for Duhamel and Radford, who were so dominant through the previous two seasons, winning all but one competition.They finished third at this season’s Grand Prix Final and second at Four Continents last month, and then headed back to the drawing board the past few weeks to reassess “what’s gone on this season, why are we underperforming, why are we not succeeding in competitions the way that we’re training,” Duhamel said.“We had been training so amazingly, and then we had disappointing performances. The element in the short program comes with a base score of 6.0 plus a potential 3.0 added points for grade of execution (GOE). “You would think with all the experience we have, that we could just press a button and produce a perfect performance like that each time. “It’s extremely frustrating,” Radford said.Radford originally felt the injury to the hip of his landing leg last week, describing it as a spasmed muscle deep in his abdominals.“It was bugging me but still I had good control. And even when I do cross-cuts, I feel like I don’t have a lot of control over my hips.”It mostly affects their side-by-side triple Lutz jumps because he pivots powerfully off his right hip. Everything else has been really good. “After Sochi when Eric and I weren’t sure how long we would continue competing for and it was announced that the world championships were going to be in Finland in 2017, I immediately thought: I have to keep going until then, I have to continue until worlds in Helsinki.”Duhamel will have numerous family members in attendance at Hartwell Arena, including her grandmother who grew up in the tiny farm town of Kauhava before moving to Canada and hasn’t been back to Finland for nearly 20 years.Whether the worlds go their way, Radford said this season has been a learning experience.“I think a big part of what we learned is that even when you think you’ve learned everything, you really haven’t,” Radford said. I don’t know what muscle it is specifically… A fall would come with a negative GOE score, plus a 1.0 deduction for the fall.Radford has had a hip impingement, a syndrome that affects range of motion, since 2012, but has managed it through treatment.He received treatment after practice and said it felt slightly better, and will undergo treatment Wednesday morning before he and Duhamel skate the short program later in the day.“I’m just hoping I wake up and it’s back to normal because right now it still feels weak,” Radford said, adding he’s not considering withdrawing. But I guess sport in general is just not like that.“I think that it’s keeping perspective and still enjoying all the hard work even when things don’t work out. We left nationals feeling very positive and I think we both experienced I guess a state of shock at Four Continents, we weren’t expecting to have mediocre performances like that.”They made numerous changes to their program in the weeks leading up to Helsinki, and Duhamel said they’d been confident that two solid programs would be enough for a third straight world title.Duhamel, in particular, had been looking forward to these world championships because of her Finnish heritage.“It’s extremely special,” she said. He fell on three of them during Tuesday afternoon’s practice and touched a hand down on a fourth.“What it feels like is the muscle’s not responding, it feels like when you have jelly legs,” he said.A fall on the triple Lutz in competition would be costly. It can be very disheartening sometimes when you’re expecting greatness and it doesn’t happen, and I think that Meagan and I are always there for one another and we just keep persevering and doing our best.” “And then this morning I woke up and it was so stiff that I could hardly move, and then when I got on the ice, I can’t squeeze my legs together. when I’m in the air, I can’t pull in properly, my legs feel like they’re going to fly apart. “I’m still going to just do it, maybe the Lutz won’t work. On the eve of the world figure skating championships, Canada’s two-time pairs champion Eric Radford woke up and could “hardly move.”The 32-year-old from Balmertown, Ont., is battling an injury to his right hip that struck last week and plagued him during Tuesday’s two practice sessions, the worst possible timing for Radford and pairs partner Meagan Duhamel. It was just sort of sore,” he said.

Las Vegas welcomes Raiders with open arms, big hopes

Thousands turn out for NASCAR races. The National Finals Rodeo rides into town every year. A city famous for its over-the-top reputation is eagerly welcoming an NFL franchise that boasts an equally outsized character and the promise of big-league legitimacy for the desert gambling oasis, which up to now has seen major sporting events just passing through.Las Vegas is no stranger to big time events catering to all tastes. “They are projecting roughly 10 times the number of tourists in attendance per game than any other team in the league.”Noll offered the Los Angeles Angels as a cautionary tale of the pitfalls of relying on tourists to help fill stadium seats. With the addition of an NHL expansion franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights, and as of this week the Raiders, Las Vegas believes it has arrived as something substantially more than a one-off venue.Jubilant state and local officials were quick to welcome the team after the league’s relocation approval Monday. Sports fans who had been confined to minor league baseball and an assortment of lower-division hockey teams gathered downtown to celebrate Monday night.On Tuesday, the state’s largest newspaper proclaimed “Touchdown, Vegas!” on its front page.“We’ve needed a sports team in this city for a very, very long time,” Las Vegas resident Sean Manchanda said. For the project to meet revenue projections, officials say the facility will need to see an attendance of nearly 2 million people every year.At least one economist says the math doesn’t hold and history proves tourists aren’t reliable supporters of sports teams.“It is completely over the top,” said Roger Noll, economics professor emeritus at Stanford University and an expert on the economics of sports. Locals are very much in support.”But with a population base of 2.2 million and nothing but desert on the outskirts, local interests and the Raiders are banking that the city’s lifeblood tourism industry will help fill the 65,000 seats of the domed $1.9 billion stadium.Nevada officials expect 450,000 people a year to travel to Las Vegas with the main purpose of attending an event at the stadium, whether it’s a Raiders or UNLV football game, a concert or motorsports event. Officials are eying a site near the Las Vegas Strip.Wherever the stadium ends up, a city that was once was treated with disdain by the NFL because of gambling could one day wind up with the jackpot of hosting the Super Bowl, with one local official wistfully hoping the city could host the 2021 Super Bowl since the Roman numerals would match the city’s initials — LV.No matter that Super Bowl sites are already determined for the next four games, for some sports fans it’s the chance to call a team their own.“It could have been the Browns for all I care. “If football works well in Green Bay and other tier II cities like Jacksonville, even Phoenix, it will work in Vegas. in 1996 and sold in the early 2000s. Champion boxers lace up their gloves at glitzy hotel-casinos on the Strip. I think it’s a slam dunk.”So do the Raiders, who on Tuesday began allowing fans to place a refundable $100 deposit to secure a personal seat license even though a site has not been picked for a stadium that won’t be ready until the 2020 season. The Angels were acquired by The Walt Disney Co. “I don’t think it’s any stretch of the imagination to get that kind of traffic into that stadium. “I’ve never had a team; I was born and raised here.” I’m just glad we are getting a team,” said Michael Chalmers, a 35-year-old Las Vegas native. Noll said Disney believed tourists visiting its theme parks would also attend a game at the Angels’ nearby stadium, but that idea proved to be “a complete failure.”“The counterpart in Vegas would be you stay three nights and we’ll get you tickets for the game,” Noll said.Irwin Kishner, an attorney who has played a role in financing stadium projects, had a more optimistic view, describing the agreement as an “excellent event for the city of Las Vegas.”“Las Vegas is one of the most well-travelled tourist destinations in the U.S.,” said Kishner, a partner at New York-based Herrick Feinstein LLP.

Matthews breaks Clark’s franchise rookie record in Leafs win over Florida

By the second period of his first NHL game, Matthews had four goals, starting a season-long race with Patrick Laine of the Winnipeg Jets for the rookie scoring lead. Wendel Clark had a quick response when he was asked when he first thought his Toronto Maple Leafs record for most goals as a rookie would be eclipsed.“The second period of the first game,” Clark said Tuesday night, shortly after Auston Matthews scored his 35th goal of the season to set a new franchise record for most goals by a rookie in one NHL season. It’s fun to watch as an ex-player, to watch all the guys playing together.”Two rookies fittingly drew the assists on Matthews’ goal at 11:54 of the first period: Zach Hyman and William Nylander. “If we’re going to be any good, we need these young guys breaking [records].“He’s got a great class of kids to be playing with. Matthews has the lead for now at 35, as Laine (34) did not score in the Jets’ 4-3 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils.Clark was, like Matthews, a first over all draft pick. Boyle accidentally hit Reimer on the head with his hip and the goaltender lay on the ice for several minutes. Pollack waved off his penalty call, something that has happened just a handful of times.“After the play I went after the referee and said, ‘Thanks, you didn’t have to do that,’ ” Polak said. He can either be shooting like this goal [Tuesday night] where it’s open in front of the net and he slides it in or he can be sliding something out of the corner. It was the first goal in what turned out to be a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers that kept the Leafs one point ahead of the Boston Bruins, who beat the Nashville Predators 4-1, in the fight for third place in the Atlantic Division. If we make a mistake why not get it better. The only shot to elude him was a redirection by Reilly Smith late in the period. Reimer was able to skate to the dressing room under his own power but did not return to the game.There was one unusual play near the end of the second period – referee Kevin Pollack reversed a penalty call on the Leafs. He has a goal scorer’s touch. Hyman’s shorthanded goal was his fourth of the season, also a franchise record.Reimer, a former Leaf, may have sustained a concussion when he was hit by Leafs centre Brian Boyle. Then, after the Leafs took a 3-1 lead on a shorthanded goal by Hyman early in the third period, McElhinney remained steady for the rest of the game, although Jaromir Jagr tightened things up with a power-play goal in the last minute.Matthews’ goal wasn’t the only Leafs rookie record established in the game. See, goal scorers score from everywhere on anything and they’re usually not in places you think.”What Matthews and his youthful teammates need to work on, judging by Tuesday’s game against the Panthers, is consistency. Clark was quite happy to see his record broken because it means his beloved Leafs are on the rise.“Hey, that’s good,” he said during the first intermission. ’ It was a classy move.”Leafs head coach Mike Babcock was a little less effusive.“Well that’s happened a few times since I’ve been in the league. “He’s like, ‘Everybody’s making a mistake. He can be coming across the blueline, he’s dangerous by himself. All season, they’ve been special. He scored 34 goals in 1985-86, also as a 19-year-old, and now works as a community representative for the team. Plus, he plays with guys and he can make passes and plays, he sees the ice well. “He’s got a great set of hands for a big guy.“[Matthews] sometimes does a lot of things like Mats does. Hyman dug the puck out from behind the net and fed Matthews in the slot for the goal.“Just to be in the same sentence as a guy like Wendel Clark is a big honour,” Matthews said. “A lot of credit goes to my linemates. He called defenceman Roman Polak for high-sticking but when the play was shown on the big scoreboard video screen, it showed the Panther player was hit on the head by the puck, not Polak’s stick. Matthews, 19, served notice in that first game of the 2016-17 season that, true to his billing as the first overall pick of the 2016 NHL entry draft, he was no ordinary rookie. McElhinney calmed the fears of a fan base worried about seeing a playoff spot slip away by coming up big in the second period when the Leafs let the Panthers take charge of the game.McElhinney made 11 saves in the second as the Leafs were outshot 12-6. Not a bad comparison, considering Mats Sundin is in the Hockey Hall of Fame.“He’s got the hands of a little guy, like the old days,” Clark said. Hyman’s been there all season, he brings the same mentality to each game. He was trying to cover the puck at the side of his net just as Boyle cut in. They dominated the Panthers in the first period, outshot them 13-3 and took a 2-0 lead on goals from Matthews and Leo Komarov. But then they almost handed the game back to the Panthers, a non-playoff team that played the previous night and then lost starting goaltender James Reimer to a head injury midway through the second period.Fortunately for the Leafs, backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney proved to be an adequate replacement for Frederik Andersen, who is day-to-day with a head injury. He never takes a game off.”The 6-foot-3, 216-pound Matthews reminds Clark of the last great centre the Leafs had, one he was traded for in the summer of 1994 and then played with from 1996 to 1998 when Clark was brought back to the Leafs. They got it right,” he said.

Flames put ‘The Moose’ to good use as playoffs near

Just in the past few games, Calgary Flames’ goaltender Brian Elliott has been hearing a chant that’s familiar to him from the Olympic Saddledome faithful. Coming off a 24-save performance in Monday’s win over the Colorado Avalanche, Elliott is now 14-1-1 in his past 16 decisions, and earlier in March tied Mike Vernon’s club record for consecutive victories by a goaltender (11). “He’s really feeling it. The only ones that have seemed to have gone in are screen shots and tips. 1 reason we’ve been on this run is goaltending. Last Saturday, in the clash between Elliott’s former team and his current team, spectators in attendance at the Scottrade Center waved stuffed moose, some dressed in Calgary regalia, others in Blues’ colours.Elliott’s teammates have taken notice, with team captain Mark Giordano noting Tuesday: “I feel like all the great goalies have had that happen at one point in their careers in their home building. How they fare there will ultimately determine who they meet in the opening round.According to Elliott, former Blues’ coach Ken Hitchcock had a term that he invented – “stick-with-it-ness” – that ultimately separated the good teams from the great teams.In a topsy-turvy season such as this one, in which Calgary won just five of its first 16 games, it has been the Flames’ ability to play with consistency, night in and night out, over the past two months that has made the team so dangerous an opponent.“It’s the time of year where we’ve won a number of games and haven’t really moved up that much in the standings,” Elliott said. Elliott has had a cartoon moose stencilled on the back of his helmet since his college days, honouring a close friend who’d passed away and was adept at moose calling.In his time with the St. Calgary finishes with six games – three home, three away – against the NHL’s California teams. “It’s hard to catch teams – and you have to keep up or you’re left behind. It wasn’t so long ago – the morning of March 15 to be exact – when the Sharks held a nine-point lead over Calgary and Anaheim in the divisional standings.But then the Sharks imploded – weirdly, unexpectedly – and now Anaheim’s on top and Edmonton has caught them as well. The guys have been playing so well that if you stop the ones you should and maybe a couple that you shouldn’t, you come away with wins.”As for the welcoming sound of those moose calls, Elliott noted: “It started last year or the year before in St. Gaudreau has points in five consecutive games and nine in all during that stretch.And Elliott’s play, according to Giordano, has been the catalyst.“You just want to get out of the way and let him see as many shots as possible,” Giordano said. Not only are they huge to keep you in games and keep the score what it is, but you gain momentum off them.“The No. Roberto Luongo sticks out – people chanting their nicknames when they make those big saves, which is pretty cool.”When the Flames’ brain trust put the master plan together for the NHL’s 2016-17 season, they imagined Elliott would carry the load in goal; Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau would do the heavy lifting offensively; and the trio of Giordano, TJ Brodie and Dougie Hamilton would stabilize the defensive end.The beauty of master plans in a long, grinding 82-game schedule is they don’t necessarily have to succeed instantly.In a year which started with most of their good players not playing all that well, the Flames are – now, finally, with six games to go in the regular season – starting to click most everywhere.Monahan, for example, is on fire – four more points in the win against Colorado. “Mooooo-se” they now cheer, whenever Elliott makes a pivotal save, which has happened a lot of late.Elliott’s play in goal is one of the main reasons the Flames are within one victory of clinching an NHL playoff spot for the second time in three years, heading into Wednesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. Louis Blues, fans would serenade Elliott’s best moments with their own version of the moose call. For sure, it goes a long way for the confidence of the group when you get those big timely saves. I can’t say enough good things about the way he’s been playing.”The Flames’ recent surge has turned the Pacific Division playoff race into an ultratight fight to the finish. Louis and it’s kind of cool they’ve taken it over a little.“Put it this way: I’m glad it’s ‘Moose’ – and not boos.” Three points separated the top four teams heading into Tuesday night’s action.

Federer and Nadal advance, Wawrinka ousted at Miami Open

Berdych advanced with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Adrian Mannarino.“You’ll always take those days off,” Federer said. I do feel that I have improved. “They are worth gold.”Nishikori will next face unseeded Fabio Fognini of Italy, who beat Donald Young 6-0, 6-4. It’s the first time Pliskova has made the semifinals at Key Biscayne.Pliskova improved to 23-3 this year, the best record on the women’s tour.“I’m really enjoying my tennis this year … “I turned it around a little bit. The game has evolved, I had to adjust, but overall I do believe I’m probably a better player than I was 10 years ago.”Zverev, who turns 20 next month, downed Wawrinka 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, and showed no ill effects by playing just 24 hours after winning a three-setter over John Isner that went entirely to tiebreakers.“I played well in the second and third,” Zverev said. Federer gets Wednesday off, and will meet 10th-seeded Tomas Berdych on Thursday in the quarters. winning almost every match so far,” said Pliskova, who took advantage of 10 double faults by Lucic-Baroni and avenged a loss to her in the Australian Open quarterfinals. Wawrinka wasn’t as fortunate, the No. … “Obviously, it’s a little bit better for him, but at the same time I’m happy with the way that I am playing, happy with the way that I started the year after a tough second part of the year last year with injuries.“So I think it’s a positive for both of us that we can still (be) around here and be very competitive almost every week that we are playing.”Federer had a battle with Bautista Agut, and seemed to enjoy himself. For Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, it was a happy anniversary.For Stan Wawrinka, it was not a happy birthday.Federer and Nadal — playing back-to-back on stadium court on the 13th anniversary of their very first match — both advanced Tuesday to the quarterfinals of the Miami Open, surviving strong tests in both cases. I had to be aggressive.”Zverev won 26 of the 36 points played in the final set.“I had no more gas in the second and third sets,” said Wawrinka, who smiled when a surprise birthday cake — replete with ’Stan The Man’ lettering — was brought into his post-match news conference. Maybe on the offensive side, overall, I think I’m doing definitely a few things better than I ever have. He was an up-and-coming 17-year-old when he faced Federer at what was then called the NASDAQ-100 Open in 2004, and surprised many with a straight-set win that day.More than a decade later, they’re still rolling.“It’s a good start of the year, I think, for both of us,” Nadal said. He needed — and got — a break with Bautista Agut serving for the first set, and with Federer serving at 4-5 in the second they played about a half-dozen back-and-forth shots at the net in a tete-a-tete that ended with Federer winning the point.He cracked a slight smile as the crowd roared. 14 Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), the fifth-seeded Nadal got past Nicolas Marut 6-4, 7-6 (4), and Nishikori — a finalist at Key Biscayne a year ago — rallied from a break down in the final set to beat Federico Delbonis 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.Federer is 16-1 this year, matching his career-best record at this point in a season.“Is it the best I’ve ever played?” Federer said. “But at the end of the day, you have to try with what you have that day, and today was not enough.”Nadal won the only break point played in his match against Marut, and it was enough. 1 seed getting bounced on his 32nd birthday by teenager Alexander Zverev.“Every match is going to be tough from now on,” said second-seeded Kei Nishikori, who also survived a three-setter to reach the quarters.That seems to already be holding true.The fourth-seeded Federer outlasted No. Young’s loss meant only one American man would reach the quarters — that being No. “For me, it’s hard to say yes to that question. 13 Jack Sock, who beat Jared Donaldson 6-2, 6-1.Karolina Pliskova, who has never found Miami exactly to her liking, got into the women’s semifinals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over 26th-seeded Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

Weal plays hero, leads Flyers past Senators in shootout

25.“He’s been a good two-way player,” Hakstol said. After that, you just have to stick to your move and do it to the best of your ability.”Weal quickly has gained the confidence of Flyers coach Dave Hakstol since being called up from Lehigh Valley of the AHL on Jan. Ottawa won in a shootout Nov. “You don’t complicate it too much. “And I’d rather look at it like we’re on the road and we gained a point again.”NOTES: The teams finished their season series, with Philadelphia winning 2-1. Jordan Weal put his hustle and skill on display.Weal scored the only shootout goal after tying the game late in the third period on an embarrassing mistake by the Ottawa Senators, sending the Philadelphia Flyers to a 3-2 victory Tuesday night.Brayden Schenn also scored for the Flyers, a long shot to make the playoffs with six games remaining. Turris and Bobby Ryan also failed to beat Mason in the tiebreaker.Weal’s goal in regulation was all about hard work — and some help from Anderson.Weal tied it with 5:59 left in the third period after Anderson, who had been stellar to that point, misfired a pass from behind the net right onto the stick of Weal. He’s a reliable player that generates and creates offensively.”Flyers goalie Steve Mason clinched the win when he stopped Tom Pyatt on Ottawa’s final attempt. “He’s scored some big goals for us. “We got a point because he played well before that mistake. Senators LW Viktor Stalberg (upper body) and D Marc Methot (finger) sat out for the second straight game.UP NEXTSenators: At the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.Flyers: Host the New York Islanders on Thursday. All three games were decided by 3-2 scores. Philadelphia began the day six points out of a post-season spot but needing to jump four teams. The goal snapped Philadelphia’s 0-for-16 drought on the power play.In spite of the defeat, Boucher was glad to pick up another point on the road. 15 at Philadelphia, and the Flyers skated to an overtime win at Ottawa on Dec. … The Senators, making their second stop on a five-game road trip, are four points behind first-place Montreal in the Atlantic Division and four points in front of Toronto.Kyle Turris had a goal and an assist, and Erik Karlsson also scored for Ottawa.Weal opened the shootout by beating Craig Anderson between his legs.“We have some video on the bench that shows us what the goalie likes to do,” Weal said. He’s played terrific for us and he’s going to keep playing great.”Both teams had chances in overtime. He sent it into the empty net for his sixth of the season and fifth in the last 11 games.Senators coach Guy Boucher challenged the play, arguing that Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds interfered with Anderson as he tried to get back to the crease, but officials let the goal stand.“Things like that happen because we pressure them hard and we took away their options,” Weal said.Boucher didn’t blame Anderson.“He has bailed us out other games,” the coach said. Ceci deked past fallen Flyers defenders Brandon Manning and Del Zotto to the right of Philadelphia’s net before passing back to Turris in the slot. You just see if the goalie likes to stay out, backs in, does anything crazy. Turris’ one-timer got past Mason for his 26th goal of the season.Karlsson opened the scoring on a power-play goal with 3:35 left in the first period, firing a wrist shot over Mason’s glove with Mark Stone providing a screen in front.Schenn responded just more than two minutes later with a power-play goal of his own, deflecting Shayne Gostisbehere’s slap shot from the point for his 23rd of the season and 16th on the man advantage. “It’s a sad mistake, but it happens.”“For all the saves he’s made this year and all of the times he’s made us win a game — he gave us a point tonight, too,” Boucher added. 1. We’re all behind him and we’re going to keep getting behind him. The Senators are 21-14-1 away from home.“You could look at it two ways, either we lost a point or we gained one,” Boucher said. Turris hit the right post with a shot early in the extra session, and Philadelphia’s Michael Del Zotto and Weal each had a near miss.Turris put Ottawa ahead 2-1 with 7:25 remaining in the third period after excellent work by Cody Ceci to set him up.

Gallagher gets late game winner as Canadiens top Stars

The Stars played their first game since learning they had been eliminated from playoff contention. Andrei Markov got a standing ovation as he picked up an assist to tie Guy Lapointe for second on Montreal’s all-time list of points by a defenceman with 572, behind Larry Robinson’s 883.Radulov elected to shoot on a two-on-one and scored on a backhand at 17:58.Canadiens goalie Al Montoya suffered a lower body injury in practice this week. Zach Fucale was called in from Brampton of the ECHL to serve as backup.Dallas, coming off a 2-1 win Sunday in New Jersey, plays the third of a five-game road trip Thursday night in Boston.Montreal’s Nikita Nestorov and Brian Flynn returned from injuries this week but aren’t yet ready to play.The Stars are without injured skaters Patrick Sharp, Antoine Roussel, Jiri Hudler and Jamie Oleksiak. The longest stretch was during a third-period Dallas power play. Brendan Gallagher broke a tie 3:31 into the third period as the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Dallas Stars 4-1 on Tuesday night.Max Pacioretty, Artturi Lehkonen and Alexander Radulov also scored for Montreal (43-24-9), which won a second game in a row.Curtis McKenzie scored for Dallas (31-34-11), which ended a four-game points streak. The game marked the first time brothers Jamie and Jordie Benn played against one another in the NHL, but they were only on the ice at the same time for a few brief moments. Jamie Benn plays with the man advantage for Dallas while Jordie, traded by the Stars to the Canadiens in February, is a Montreal penalty killer.Montreal outshot Dallas 36-28.The Stars dominated the opening minutes, outshooting Montreal 6-0, and got the first goal at 1:47 when McKenzie picked off a pass, fired a shot off the end glass and put the rebound into an open side.The Canadiens got 15 of the next 16 shots on goal but it took until 15:49 of the second frame to tie the score as Pacioretty took a feed from Phillip Danault and saw his backhand shot trickle through Kari Lehtonen’s equipment for is 34th of the season.A puck bounced past Stephen Johns at the point and Gallagher was able to break down the left side and beat Lehtonen with a high wrist shot inside the near post to put Montreal ahead.Lehkonen wired an off-wing shot inside the far post from distance at 13:02.

Oilers make NHL playoffs for first time since 2006

It was Gryba’s second goal of the season and second game-winner. All 39 of their home games at Rogers Place have sold out. Only the most optimistic among their supporters would have predicted that, in the previous 10 years they won fewer games than any other NHL team.The winning goal was scored by Eric Gryba, on a puck the hulking defenceman swatted toward the net. We finally have a good team and are winning.”Fans were waving shirts over their heads as they celebrated, and banging on the glass outside the room where Todd McLellan gives his post-game post-mortems.“They have been here for 10 years, and they have gone through a lot of pain,” McLellan said of the team’s followers. Everything we do from this point on is a new experience for us.” "They stuck with us. In the two games, he only allowed one goal against the Kings and had a combined 69 saves.After winning, the Oilers gathered at centre ice and saluted their fans.“It has been a long time coming,” Jordan Eberle said. It took McDavid only 49 seconds to find Oscar Klefbom wide open in front of the net for an apparent 1-0 lead. Later, a goal by Zack Kassian was also wiped out, causing the crowd to chant  unkindly about the referees. They had driven 90 minutes to Edmonton from their home in Viking for their first game of the season, a gift from their son and daughter-in-law.“I am very much an Oilers fan,” Ellen said.Rod was there to see Kings coach Darryl Sutter. The Sutter family hails from Viking.Nearby, in the arena’s soaring entrance hall, Marion Jevne slowly pushed her walker across the floor. The goal was disallowed because one of the Oilers was caught crowding Quick in the crease. It was so long ago that Twitter had not been launched yet. That has been done.“Getting into the playoffs for the first time in 10 years is probably the easy part,” McLellan mused. Three days earlier, Eberle had played his 500th game as an Oiler. The Oilers’ last playoff game was June 19, 2006, when they lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. With 10 minutes remaining, the crowd began to chant: “We want the playoffs.”

In the last minute, as Cam Talbot turned away a flurry of point-blank Los Angeles shots, it sounded as if the roof was going to be blown off Rogers Place.The longest post-season drought in the NHL came to an end with the Oilers’ 2-1 victory over the Kings. Dressed in Oilers regalia, Ellen Krips sat sipping a $5 draught across from her husband, Rod. I’m not sure that happens everywhere else.”The Oilers have 93 points now, and can leapfrog San Jose in the Pacific Division by beating the Sharks when they visit on Thursday night.McDavid has 14 points in his last eight games as the Oilers have pushed hard for the playoffs.“In the last minute, you are looking at the clock and want it to count down as quickly as possible,” he said.Eager fans began pouring into Rogers Place three hours before the puck drop, filling the Molson Canadian Hockey House. It fluttered past Quick like an R.A. The year before last, the Oilers won only four of 29 games in their division, the victory Tuesday left them 15-5-3 against division opponents.“This is about putting the right people in the right spots and letting them do their job,” Bob Nicholson, the Oilers’ chief executive officer said.It was Nicholson who brought in Peter Chiarelli as general manager, and Chiarelli hired McLellan to turn the team around. "I want us to stay ahead of Calgary.”The Oilers looked poised for an easy victory at the start. It was fan appreciation night in Edmonton on Tuesday, and the timing could not have been better.The Oilers’ long-suffering faithful used the occasion to celebrate their team’s return to the playoffs after 10 seasons of futility. That’s a lot of losing for a guy who just turned 27. The only other time he scored was also against Los Angeles, at Rogers Place on Dec. She is 85, has had season tickets since 1981, and wears headphones so she can listen to the radio play-by-play.“I want us to win tonight,” she said. Dickey knuckleball with 12:57 left in the second period. It was McDavid’s 89th point, increasing his lead in the season scoring race to seven over Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Chicago’s Patrick Kane with a half-dozen regular-season games left.The victory was the Oilers’ seventh in eight games, and with it they became the first Canadian team this season to secure a berth in the playoffs. 29.The players congratulated Talbot after the victory, the second time he has thwarted Los Angeles in eight days. It came along 26 days later.So many delirious Edmonton fans took to Twitter last night that the wireless signal inside the packed downtown arena crawled to a near stop.The city is excited again thanks to the resurgence of the Connor McDavid-led Oilers.The 20-year-old captain put Edmonton on top 1-0 in the first period when a pass he directed toward Pat Maroon was deflected and bounced off Jonathan Quick’s glove into the net. “The job gets tougher.  “It hasn’t gone the way we wanted, and to finally have the opportunity to do this is exciting.

The man behind the push to bring the NHL to China

Zhou knows better than to put on airs as a Chinese person.“We have to confess that when it comes to hockey, the NHL is our teacher,” he said. Zhou said in an interview Wednesday at a fencing club in Beijing that, his staff proudly says, is the only one in China to include a cavernous wine cellar in its basement, stocked with hundreds of bottles of his own Sunshine Creek brand of sparkling brut.Mr. Zhou, meanwhile, was building an empire on cans. Cappo said. Zhou Yunjie is not the sort of person who needs to bow to other people very often.He is a Chinese billionaire, a magnate of beer kegs and Red Bull tins who owns a vineyard in France, hobnobs with a Hungarian Olympic gold medalist fencer and gets into debates with his staff about how many factories he actually owns – they say 27, he says 29, spread across three countries. The NHL has plans to invest in youth training and wants to help build Chinese hockey leagues; other organizations, including Hockey Canada, have similarly become active suddenly in the world’s most populous nation.Read more: Gary Bettman says NHL open to Chinese investment as hockey tries to expand footprintBut what seems like an abrupt tack toward China has been years in the making, in part thanks to the prodding of Mr. In 1991, at the age of 30, he and his mother started bottling beverages and, in 1994, made their first set of cans, for winter melon juice. Forbes now estimates his net worth at $1.1-billion (U.S.).But hockey stuck with him from his days cheering childhood hero Bobby Orr, and five years ago he popped in on a Bruins game while in Boston.It rekindled his interest in the game, and in 2013 he began talking to the NHL. Zhou seems well positioned to make that happen.“Obviously, he runs a massive distribution business. Russia, by comparison, has 550.So far, the number of Chinese players has not grown quickly. “And right now, we need to hire a very good teacher, so that we can learn how to get better faster.”The NHL is about to make a historic push into China, a market where it has lagged far behind other professional sports leagues. In January, he suited up in goalie gear for the NHL All-Star Celebrity Shootout, and squared off against Justin Bieber.“I didn’t let any in,” Mr. Zhou became wealthy, accumulating vineyards in France and Australia, and homes around the world. About one-million people in China now golf and, since 2014, the country has hosted its own domestic professional league, the PGA Tour China Series.“Now that the middle class is emerging, they want their kids to learn other sports. Cappo said.China is also on a winter-sport spree ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022. Zhou said, after scrounging with his brothers to buy a single pair of skates.Mr. Like hockey, it is expensive and requires specialized facilities. Zhou also wants to bring an NHL truck tour to China, with displays of league history.“What I hope to do with the NHL is to jointly work on promoting the sport in China,” he said.It’s an extraordinary set of ambitions for a man who in the 1970s was attending Beijing’s Shichahai Sports School when a hockey coach saw him playing soccer and asked if he would be interested in strapping on skates.Soon he was in net for the Beijing team in a league that, at the time, had teams from far western Xinjiang to the frigid northeast. On Thursday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will take the stage in Beijing to formally announce a pair of exhibition games in China later this year. But when it comes to slapping pucks, the kind of thing he once did with Justin Bieber, Mr. Zhou. Zhou – or Mr. Joe and people get things done for you. Zhou, who began goaltending as an 11-year-old in Beijing in the 1970s, and is now signing a three-year deal to be the league’s strategic partner in China.It’s a country that can today count only a few thousand hockey players – but stands ready, he believes, for astounding growth over the next decade.“We can set our target at five million people playing hockey,” Mr. Better, he figured, to let people first watch the game in person.Conversations did not go well at first.“I got the feeling when I was in the U.S. Zhou, the billionaire, said a wave of young people are about to pick up sticks courtesy of Chinese governments, which are making participation in ice and snow activities mandatory ahead of the Winter Olympics.With thousands of schools in northeast China, that could amount to millions of new hockey players, he hopes. China’s powerful president, Xi Jinping, is behind the push: Mr. He’s a great guy to have on our side.”Mr. Zhou himself played until he was 18, then went off to university.Then hockey went dark, killed in part by a new national Olympics strategy that poured resources into sports in which China stood to amass medals, and left others to wither.Mr. “No one thought golf would be a sport that anyone would follow,” Mr. By that time, the number of Chinese arenas could swell to 240, estimates Geoff Le Cren, the owner of Skate Pro International Co., the China and southeast Asia distributor for Bauer.“That’s a huge number,” he said. Even professional golf has brought its champions to China for tournament play since 2005, when Tiger Woods came to Shanghai.As for the NHL: “I don’t think they’ve really made a major effort to develop the sport until now,” said John Cappo, who has spent 30 years in Asia, and has held top executive roles at sports and entertainment companies IMG and AEG.But golf isn’t a bad example for Mr. Zhou. Beleskey said. It’s no exaggeration to say he was the one who pushed forward the NHL entry into the Chinese market.”The NHL argues that it has not had the luck of other leagues in China, like the National Basketball Association and the wave of Yao Ming fame it was able to ride.But the NBA has pursued China for decades, first giving away broadcasting rights to China Central Television in 1987. He’s the man over there,” Mr. Zhou said. “If I were still his age, I think I would have played better.”With a report from Eric Duhatschek “You go places with Mr. The sport has become the domain of the super rich, who pay as much as $20,000 a year for private coaching.But Mr. His company, metal-can-making giant ORG Packaging Co., will be the presenting partner of the NHL China Games 2017, a pair of matchups between the Lose Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks planned for this September in Beijing and Shanghai.Each of those games will be preceded by an intensive week of hockey activities; Mr. Bettman and Mr. And I think hockey could be one of them,” Mr. Two years later, they began production of cans for Red Bull, which became immensely popular, selling five billion drinks in China in 2014 alone.Mr. Zhou became a Bruins sponsor last year.For him, hockey’s rise in China could be good for business: the more people play, the more they may drink Red Bull, whose cans his company still makes.For now, though, he is enjoying the new profile he has won as hockey’s top booster in a market the NHL suddenly wants to crack. Xi himself skated as a child, Mr. He wanted to bring the league into China, rather than its broadcasts alone – which, he said, drew small numbers of confused viewers who complained that they couldn’t keep track of the puck. Mr. Joe, as he is known to the players who have met him – has big plans. Zhou himself hopes to help build new leagues to keep those kids trading slap shots; first at universities, and then in Chinese cities – perhaps six at first, to reflect the NHL’s origins.Boston Bruins left winger Matt Beleskey, who travelled to China last summer to participate in youth hockey clinics, said Mr. Even the People’s Liberation Army and a railway bureau in Inner Mongolia iced teams.Hundreds of thousands of Chinese people played hockey at the time, he estimated. He is in negotiations for his own rink in Beijing, which could be used to build a new generation of hockey players, establish an NHL museum and host exhibition games. Zhou’s ORG.“We can’t only use the word ‘fan’ to describe Mr. that they really didn’t care about others – they only cared about doing well for their own teams,” said Miao Zhenhua, director of the promotions department at Mr. He’s got the contacts.