Canadians Osmond and Daleman among leaders after world skating short program

It’s the first time Canada has had two women in the top three of the world short program.“I was just loving every minute of it and completely in the moment,” Osmond said. At last month’s Four Continents, Daleman was first and Osmond second after the short program, but Osmond fell three times in the long program to plummet to fifth.“I’m still learning how to do everything all at the same time,” said Osmond, who had both her parents in the crowd. “That’s something you can’t plan for as a coach, or even for her. “I think she was questioning whether she could come back and whether she wanted to come back, and I think she was afraid.”On Wednesday, before a raucous crowd at Hartwell Arena that included several dozen Canadian flags, she was fierce and fearless in her first world appearance since 2014.Skating to Edith Piaf’s “Sous le ciel de Paris” and “Milord,” and dressed in a glamorous black dress and black gloves, a black scarf tied jauntily at her throat, Osmond reeled off a triple flip and triple toe loop combination to open. Russian Anna Pogorilaya is fourth with 71.52.When Rochette won world silver in ‘09, it was Canada’s first women’s medal since Elizabeth Manley claimed silver in 1988.When Osmond burst onto the scene in 2012, hopes were high that she would follow in Rochette’s footsteps before she was derailed by injury.Walia and Osmond started over and rebuilt all her jumps, and while she showed great improvement in practice last season, she was unable to produce the same performance in the competitive spotlight. She didn’t qualify for last year’s world team.“I think mentally she wasn’t quite ready, because in the competitions it wasn’t showing up,” the coach said. “I worked really hard on my stamina, my consistency, all year. With the crowd clapping along to her music, she went on to land a triple Lutz and double Axel en route in a clean program worth 75.98 points.“It feels incredible,” she said through a wide smile. The gruesome X-rays shows the bones bent sideways like broken toothpicks. He’d only learned last week that he’d have the time off work to attend the event, and landed in Helsinki on Wednesday morning.“Literally the last second I was there, it was ‘Oh my God, I see my dad!’,” she said. Just knowing that I’m up in second now, it just feels incredible.“This program, I just feel so comfortable and confident doing it,” she added. Or if she even wanted to.Now, the 21-year-old from Marystown, N.L., sits a mere three points behind defending champion Evgenia Medvedeva, and appears poised to capture Canada’s first medal in women’s singles at the world figure skating championships since Joannie Rochette won silver in 2009. Lubov Ilyushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch were the top Canadians in sixth place with 73.14 points. Standing at the board, animated coach Brian Orser virtually skated every step with her, jumping high in the air when she landed her triple Lutz.“Especially after Four Continents I just gained a lot of confidence and I just knew what I’m able to do and I just enjoyed the moment,” Daleman said.Daleman said the most touching moment was when she was sitting in the “kiss and cry” and spotted her dad Michael in the crowd. “I know how to deal a little bit more with the excitement, and hopefully I can just stay that way for the long (program).”It wasn’t as good a day for Canada’s pairs skaters, with two-time world champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford struggling to a surprise seventh after the short program.Osmond missed a season and a half after snapping her fibula in her right leg in two places when she swerved to avoid someone in practice in September 2014. “I was just happy to skate the way I did. Radford skated while fighting an injury to his right hip.Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China were first with 81.23 points were first after the short program at 81.23 points. And at the end of the season, it really was obvious that it was taking longer than we had hoped.”Her next hurdle is Friday’s long program, which has been her albatross this season. Canadian women among leaders at figure skating worlds (The Canadian Press)

And if not Osmond? And hopefully it’ll show this time when I do it.”Daleman, who was second at the Four Continents for her first major international medal, opened with a triple toe loop-triple toe loop combination before executing a triple Lutz and double Axel. “I didn’t know where he was or were my mom (Rhonda) was in the crowd.”In the pairs competition, two-time world champions Duhamel and Radford earned 72.67 points for their routine set to “Killer” by pop star Seal. I find the crowd reacts really well to it, which gives me a lot of energy while I’m skating.”Medvedeva, the latest in a long line of Russia stars, scored 79.01 points, edging Osmond on both the technical score and all five of the component (formerly artistic impression) marks.Daleman, a 19-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., scored 72.19 for third. There were times over the past two seasons when Kaetlyn Osmond didn’t know if she would ever be able to skate again. That gives me confidence on the ice. Fellow Canadian Gabrielle Daleman is right behind her.Osmond roared to a second-place finish in the short program Wednesday, while Daleman finished third, superb results for Canadian women who have long skated in the shadow of the country’s male stars. She underwent two surgeries, and then embarked on a comeback that was both arduous and rattling to her confidence.“I think she was at a very low point with her confidence,” said her longtime coach Ravi Walia. “It’s an amazing character, confident character.

Bizarre Cristiano Ronaldo statue unveiled at Portuguese airport

“I still haven’t had the chance to personally talk to (Ronaldo), but I’ll try to reach out to him to know his feedback.”Ronaldo’s full-body statue outside his museum in Funchal also does not do a very good depiction of the Real Madrid star, although it better resembles the player. It was part of an official ceremony to rename the local airport as Aeroporto Cristiano Ronaldo.Ronaldo also attended the ceremony, but did not show any signs of being bothered by the odd look of his newly unveiled bust.The bust’s sculptor, Madeira native Emanuel Santos, said it took him 15 days to create the statue. He said he presented the project to local officials when it was about half done and received the go-ahead to continue with his work.“It’s always a great honour to work on project like that,” Santos told local television channel RTP. The face is also unusually chubby, in contrast to Ronaldo’s chiseled looks.Dozens of guests and hundreds of fans were at the unveiling of the bust in Ronaldo’s native Madeira Islands. Cristiano Ronaldo has an airport named after him, but it was his odd-looking statue that attracted attention in Wednesday’s ceremony honouring the Portugal star in his hometown.The player’s bronze bust, which was unveiled to much fanfare by Portugal’s president and prime minister on the island of Madeira, hardly does the handsome footballer justice. It squashes his eyes close together, and the cheeky raised-eyebrow smile more resembles a leer.

Leafs’ Frederik Andersen expects to return Thursday in Nashville

Andersen claimed to feel “a little bit off” after the collision but remained in the game for the ensuing 17-plus minutes before he was finally replaced for the second period by backup Curtis McElhinney.He was declared day-to-day with a mysterious upper-body ailment, the details of which the Leafs never revealed.McElhinney started in relief against Florida on Tuesday and, while wobbly and perhaps fortunate at times, made 25 saves to secure a 3-2 win over the Panthers. Toronto all but confirmed it by sending third-stringer Garret Sparks to the Toronto Marlies shortly after practice wrapped up.“You can’t play the guy when he’s not ready so we had to wait for him to be ready and he’s ready now,” Babcock said. The victory kept the Leafs one point up on the Boston Bruins for third in the Atlantic division and four ahead of the rising Tampa Bay Lightning with seven games to go.Andersen’s return is a big boost to the Leafs’ push, his relative stability between the pipes helping the club jump from 30th place last season into the playoff fold this year.The Danish netminder boasts a very respectable .918 save percentage in a career-high 61 starts. “We didn’t think it was a big deal, but obviously when he’s not playing it’s a big deal.” 1 would in fact return. “We’ll see on the plane, but I’m looking pretty positive and I feel ready to go,” Andersen said shortly before the two-hour flight to Nashville.The 27-year-old was injured in the opening minutes of the Leafs Saturday visit to Buffalo after he was bumped in the head by Sabres forward William Carrier. The Toronto Maple Leafs are expecting to have their No. 1 netminder back in the crease Thursday night in Nashville.Frederik Andersen took part in an optional practice in Toronto on Wednesday afternoon and sounded optimistic about starting against the Predators, ending a few days worth of uncertainty about his status for the Leafs’ playoff push. He’s been especially effective in March, posting a 6-1-2 record with a .936 save percentage.Andersen looked upbeat as he tooks shots from teammates on Wednesday afternoon, and even an attempt that rung off his mask failed to dull his spirits.“We worked hard on the ice and made sure that I got up to speed again,” Andersen said.Leafs coach Mike Babcock planned to discuss Andersen and the goaltending plans for Thursday with goalie coach Steve Briere on the ride to Nashville, but seemed confident his No.

Inclusion in women’s world hockey championship emotional for Canada’s rookies

I’m not a crier, but I was speechless.”The four women will make their world championship debut when they play the defending champion United States on Friday in Plymouth, Mich.The world championship is the biggest international women’s tournament this calendar year and a significant one with the 2018 Winter Olympics less than a year away. That even happens with our veterans,” Schuler said.“It speaks to just how, even with our veterans, just how important it is and how special it is to be able to play for your country.”Ambrose said she was most emotional when she called her family.“My mom kind of lost it,” she said.Fast said she was “blown away” and that the call “brought tears to my eyes,” while Stacey’s body did the talking for her.“I had shivers when I got the phone call,” Stacey said. The medal games are April 7 at USA Hockey Arena.Canada has not won world championship gold since 2012 in Burlington, Vt. “I didn’t have any tears. Players on the championship roster are usually also candidates to try out for Canada’s Olympic team.The “centralization roster” of players who will move to Calgary this summer and train full time for Pyeongchang, South Korea, will be announced following the world championship.Potomak from Aldergrove, B.C., is the youngest player on the world championship team at 19. The Americans have won six of the last seven, though their participation at the tournament was in jeopardy until recently. to play in a world championship since goaltender Danielle Dube in 1997.She is tenacious and gifted with the puck, scoring six game-winning goals as a sophomore for the University of Minnesota this season.The other three are 22-year-olds from Ontario coming off their inaugural seasons in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.Stacey, the great-granddaughter of Hockey Hall of Famer King Clancy, is from Kleinberg and played for the Brampton Thunder. We’re going to do whatever we can to accomplish those goals.” If she’s caught up ice, the blue-liner can still get back in time to defend.Ambrose is a smart, savvy defender with a lot of experience for a newbie, having played for Canada in both November’s Four Nations Cup and the two-game December series versus the U.S.Ambrose had an assist in that December series, which Canada won by scores of 3-1 and 5-3.“With all those players, we hope they’ll provide secondary scoring,” Schuler said.Russia, last year’s bronze medallist, and Finland are also in Canada’s pool in Plymouth. She’s also the first from B.C. Sweden, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Germany round out the field. When Sarah Potomak, Laura Stacey, Erin Ambrose and Renata Fast were told they would represent Canada at the women’s world hockey championship for the first time, their emotions ran the gamut, from shivers and tears to speechlessness.“Before the call I was so nervous,” Potomak said. USA Hockey and the American women reached an agreement Tuesday after the players threatened to boycott the tournament if they didn’t get more equitable treatment, financial and otherwise, from their federation.Alex Carpenter scored the overtime winner last year in Kamloops, B.C., for a 1-0 victory over the host country.Ambrose, Fast, Stacey and Potomak know this year’s world championship is a statement tournament for Canada with the Winter Olympics on the horizon.“After the December series, I think we’re riding on some momentum,” Ambrose said.“We know what our sights are set on in April. She has a big shot and uses her five-foot-10 frame to create space at the net.Fast from Burlington and Ambrose from Keswick are Toronto Furies teammates and a year removed from winning an NCAA championship together with Clarkson University.Fast lives up to her surname. “When she phoned, I literally started crying.”

Head coach Laura Schuler says delivering good news and hearing a gush of emotion is a fun part of her job.“You know what?

Montreal baseball investors have met MLB’s conditions: source

A group of Montreal investors has met the conditions laid out by Major League Baseball to get a team back in the city, a source has told The Canadian Press.“I can tell you we are no longer looking for investors and that we believe we have all the ingredients to be able to welcome a team, be it an expansion one or one that already exists,” the person said on condition of not being identified. The source said the investors have a solid financial set-up, support from two levels of government, various potential locations for a stadium as well as at least five different designs for the venue.“We are not going to say we favour one site or another,” the source said. “But it’s crucial for the [eventual] site to be well served by public transit.”As for what the stadium would look like, the person said there is a lot of flexibility.“We can choose the version we want,” the source added. “There are five. They are preliminary plans and we could easily rework them once the project has been launched.”The investors are just waiting for a call from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to get the ball rolling.“For me, the most important element in all this is the team,” the person said.“ All the other areas are sufficiently advanced.”The Toronto Blue Jays play two exhibition games at Olympic Stadium this Friday and Saturday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.Montreal businessmen Stephen Bronfman and Mitch Garber publicly revealed their commitment last year to the project, while Bronfman and Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre co-signed a 2015 letter that was sent to the 30 MLB teams as well as to Manfred.The letter spoke of Montreal’s interest in rejoining the major leagues for the first time since 2004, when the Expos left to become the Washington Nationals.Manfred said last year he would like two teams added to MLB in order to make scheduling easier.But he also said that scenario had to wait until another collective agreement was signed with the players’ union and the issue of stadiums in Oakland and Tampa was settled.While the new bargaining agreement was inked last December, the situation with the Tampa Bay Rays and the Oakland Athletics is far from clear.Stuart Sternberg, the majority owner of the Rays, said last week he had to forgo his two preferred sites for a new stadium because they were not available.The search for a new location won’t be complete until the end of the year.In Oakland, the NFL’s Raiders have announced they will eventually say goodbye to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, where the Athletics also play.The A’s have committed to staying in Oakland, providing they get a new stadium.

NHL will release teams’ protected, available Vegas expansion draft lists

EDT June 17. Vegas must submit its selections by 5 p.m. After further consideration, the NHL will release teams’ protected and available lists to the public before the Vegas Golden Knights’ expansion draft in June.The league announced the decision on Twitter on Wednesday despite NHL general managers expressing a desire to keep the lists private. All 30 existing teams must submit their list of protected players by 5 p.m. Each team can protect either seven forwards, three defencemen and one goaltender or eight skaters of any position and one goaltender.The Golden Knights begin play next season. June 20, with the announcement of those picks made June 21.The league said the timing of the lists being released was still to be determined. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said there was more internal discussion at the league office and that none of the GMs expressed strong views on the subject.

Venus Williams beats top-ranked Kerber in Miami Open quarterfinals

Kerber stayed rooted to the baseline and was on the defensive even when she served, facing 13 break points and losing serve five times.The German will remain No. 12 Caroline Wozniacki in the other semifinal.Williams took charge of her quarterfinal match when Kerber double-faulted on the final two points of the opening set, and broke serve twice more early in the second set. 2 Karolina Pliskova will play No. She reclaimed the top ranking this month after Indian Wells, replacing Serena Williams, who is sidelined by a knee injury.Venus Williams improved to 61-13 at Key Biscayne, where she is making her 18th appearance. 1 player, but her first since 2014. Fognini improved to 9-44 against top-10 players, and became the first Italian man to reach a semifinal at Key Biscayne. 3 Simona Halep 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-2. 11, she’s into the tournament’s semifinals for the first time in seven years. She won the title in 1998, 1999 and 2001 and considers the tournament her hometown event – she lives 90 minutes north in Palm Beach Gardens.At 36, Williams was the oldest woman to enter the draw, but she hasn’t been taxed physically while winning every set in her four matches.On the men’s side, Fabio Fognini became the first unseeded player in 10 years to reach the men’s semifinals at Key Biscayne when he beat 2016 runner-up Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-2. She closed out the victory on her fifth match point with a backhand winner.It was a matchup of offence against defence, with Williams the more aggressive player, charging the net often. Fognini, 29, who matched his best showing in an ATP Masters 1000 event, will next play the winner of Wednesday night’s match between Rafael Nadal and Jack Sock.Nishikori was seeded No. No. 10-seeded Johanna Konta, who became the first British woman to reach a semifinal in the tournament by beating No. Seeded No. 1 next week despite her loss. Williams’ opponent Thursday night will be No. 2. Venus Williams moved a step closer to her first Key Biscayne title since 2001 when she beat top-ranked Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-3 Wednesday night in the quarterfinals of the Miami Open.It was Williams’ 15th career win against a No.

Hornets surge back, snap Raptors six-game winning streak

1 seed in the East held home-court advantage. On the road it is a cringe-worthy 6-26.Last season, heading into the postseason as the No. Heading into their game against the Hornets, the Raptors needed a win, along with a loss by Atlanta in its game against Philadelphia, to secure at least a fourth-place finish in the Eastern Conference and home-court advantage for the opening round of the playoffs.But the Raptors failed to come through, and allowed the Hornets to surge back with some hot shooting in the fourth quarter to record a 110-106 victory, snuffing a six-game Toronto winning streak.“They were as hot as fire in the fourth quarter,” said Raptors coach Dwane Casey “We go from one of our best defensive quarters, 16 in the third, to 44 in the fourth. But at home in the playoffs, Toronto’s success rate has been much better, 18-12. Toronto’s overall record in the postseason, in which they’ve only won three series, is 24-38. Tucker, a trade-deadline addition to the lineup last month, just qualifying for the playoffs is a personal perk.According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Tucker is sixth on the list among active players of most regular-season games played (412) without an appearance in the postseason.It will be good “to get that monkey off my back,” Tucker said before the game. Toronto lost all three games on enemy turf and was gone in six.For a player such as Toronto forward P.J. “Right now it’s not even about the playoffs. 2 seed in the East, Toronto enjoyed home court advantage through the first two rounds, which was huge.Toronto outlasted the Indiana Pacers and then the Miami Heat in two seven-game series, in which Toronto prevailed each time in the final game, played on their home court packed with frenzied fans.The Raptors’ run ended after that in the conference final against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who as the No. And that was the difference in the game.“I thought we did a good job of containing their three-point shooters and [Marco] Belinelli saw one go in and then it was contagious.”After Toronto had secured a 74-66 lead heading into the fourth quarter, the Hornets rallied and a reverse layup by Jeremy Lamb knotted the score at 82-82 with less than eight minutes left.It remained close the rest of the way.It was 101-101 heading into the final frantic moments where Kemba Walker drained a long three for the Hornets with 37.5 seconds left, and the Raptors were in a pickle.Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan made two free throws, which cut the lead to one, but the dagger was then inserted by Marvin Williams, who canned a long three with 8.7 seconds left to sink the Raptors’ chances.Belinelli led the Hornets with 21 points. It will mark Toronto’s fourth successive playoff visit, a franchise record.All that is left to resolve, with seven games remaining for the Raptors following their game on Wednesday night against the Charlotte Hornets at Air Canada Centre, is the final seeding to determine their opening-round opponent. DeRozan, who struggled to hit on 11 of his 24 shots, responded with 28.Teams usually perform better at home in the playoffs, but for the Raptors’ home-court advantage has been a big boost. It’s about us finishing off the season the right way and winning as many games as possible before we get there.”The Raptors, in the midst of a four-game home stand, next play Friday night against the Indiana Pacers.As has been the Raptors’ annoying habit this year, they fell behind early, trailing 34-24 early in the second quarter after a driving layup by Frank Kaminsky and a made free throw on the ensuing foul.Toronto entered the game leading the NBA with 19 comeback victories this season when trailing by 10 points or more.The Raptors struggled early on with their shots, at one point in the second quarter having made just 34.6 per cent (nine of 26) of their attempts.Toronto clawed its way to within two points of the lead, but needed a 19-foot jumper by DeRozan at the buzzer to trim the Charlotte advantage to 50-47 by the half.The Raptors began to find some offensive footing in the third when DeMarre Carroll, making his first start after sitting out the past two games nursing a sore lower back, drilled a three that lifted Toronto in front 54-53.Then it was DeRozan’s turn to amp it up, speeding down the court with the ball toward Marvin Williams, the overmatched Charlotte defender. DeRozan blew past Williams and laid the ball in to make the score 56-53.As he headed back down court, DeRozan cast a long, hard stare at the Charlotte bench for good measure.Toronto led by as many as nine in the quarter before settling for a 74-66 margin heading into the fourth. In the Toronto Raptors’ rather thin playoff history, playing at home has been good, on the road bad.The Raptors have already punched their ticket for their ninth NBA postseason adventure, which begins in mid-April.

Hockey comes to Beijing, with Bettman, a billionaire and Beckham

The Chinese tech giant has said that for some games “10 million people watch,” said Luc Robitaille, president of business operations for the Kings.“When you’re in China they don’t think it’s big. Dreyer said. Kings is my favourite hockey team,” a videotaped Mr. “And that’s exciting as well. “Enjoy the game.”Read more: The man behind the push to bring the NHL to ChinaIn September, the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings will meet for a pair of preseason matches in Beijing and Shanghai, marking what commissioner Gary Bettman called “the formal launch of what we hope will be a long and successful collaboration between our league, our teams and our partners in accelerating the development of hockey in China.”But as the appearances by Mr. Bryant made clear, hockey needs all the help it can get here.In China, “even Wayne Gretzky, no one knows who he is,” said Brandon Chemers, a Beijing-based sportswriter. They have so much potential, so much opportunity.”The league may not possess a Yao Ming-like star to drive millions of Chinese people into its arms. It inter-spliced footage of the Great Wall and the Boston Bruins, set to the pumping tune of Hall of Fame: “You could be the greatest / You can be the best / You can be the King Kong banging on your chest.”It is surely not the last time the NHL will find itself in a strange position in China where, after years of watching other leagues chase viewers and dollars, it is now pledging to stay for the long term.“It’s very definitely at the first stages,” Canucks president Trevor Linden said. Robitaille said.The opening honours this September will go to the Kings and Canucks for reasons of ownership and fan base: LA Kings is owned by AEG, which also runs an arena in Shanghai where one game will take place, while the Vancouver area is full of people with connections to China.No one doubts the size of the prize if they can succeed.“It’s China, that’s why everyone comes,” Mr. But the NHL has the most powerful man in China, President Xi Jinping, who is overseeing a nationwide pursuit of winter sports participation ahead of the Beijing Olympics in 2022 – and who, it is widely believed, has a personal fondness for hockey.“He’s behind this, and when he gets behind things the country moves in that direction pretty quickly,” said Mark Dreyer, a Beijing-based sports analyst who runs the Sports Insider website.“There’s actually a lot of indications that the government is moving away from soccer at the moment, and making winter sports its No. We think it’s astronomical.”Precise numbers in China are rarely trustworthy, but even an audience a quarter that big would suggest the NHL has reason for optimism.“The most important thing that we should focus on now is helping them grow the game,” Mr. Beckham and Mr. But it’s just weird.”Moments after the former Lakers’ star’s appearance Thursday, the NHL rolled a promotional video for ORG Packaging, the league’s strategic partner in China that is run by billionaire Zhou Yunjie, who began goaltending as a teen. For the past few years, state-run broadcaster CCTV has televised five regular season games a week. This is what it takes to assemble a historic day for the National Hockey League in China: the league commissioner admirably twisting his tongue around a Mandarin greeting, a Chinese billionaire who regularly suits up in goalie gear, government officials in drab suits, a group of under-12 local hockey players with parents willing to sneak them out of school for a day to skate with hockey royalty – and guest appearances by David Beckham and Kobe Bryant. You just need that 1 per cent.” We should have some of our players come in the summer.”If that includes a team effort to promote the sport, the Kings are also aware that no one can yet claim to be China’s team, a position that could prove lucrative. “Whoever is willing to work the hardest, their brand is going to be out there,” Mr. Bryant added. Robitaille said. The local population is so vast that, even with only a small percentage tuning in, the Chinese audience regularly beats North American viewership for those games.The league has also signed a five-year online streaming deal with Tencent. “The L.A. 1 priority within the sports industry.”The NHL’s “timing clearly works,” he said.The league has already had a taste of what’s possible. Beckham said Thursday, his words dubbed into Mandarin and projected from a centre-ice screen at a Beijing arena where the NHL came to kickstart an effort to find new audiences and players in the world’s second-largest economy. “So having a guy like Kobe say, ‘Hey, it’s okay, check it out’ — it sort of has more value than if it was a star hockey player. “I hope you will welcome their arrival as warmly as you welcomed me a couple of years ago,” Mr. “It’s a numbers play. “All of us should have alumni come in.

Brad Gushue to lead Canada at world men’s curling championship

“(We’re) right up there with Niklas and obviously Peter and David Murdoch are some of the other teams that people will highlight there. Sallows replaced Walker at the Elite 10 event after the Brier but the regular lineup is expected to be ready for Saturday’s opener against Switzerland.“I think a lot of teams around Canada and around the world thought we were going to be in a lot of trouble with Brad out,” Nichols said after the Brier win. They also played hurt as Gushue has been dealing with a hip/groin issue and Walker’s sweeping abilities were hampered by a right shoulder injury.“To win this one, it doesn’t seem to make much sense,” Gushue said. Second Brett Gallant skipped Canada to world junior silver in 2009 and lead Geoff Walker played third on the national team skipped by Charley Thomas that won world junior gold in 2006. 2-10 Olympic Trials in Ottawa. We’re just so happy where we are.”Round-robin play continues through April 6 and the medal games are set for April 9.The venue can seat about 12,000 for curling. It was Canada’s first world men’s title since 2012.Gushue missed the first few months of the season due to injury but his team maintained its top ranking with Nichols at skip. De Cruz won a world junior title in 2010 while Murdoch took Olympic silver in 2014 and is a two-time world men’s champion (’06, ‘09).The 12-team field also includes American John Shuster, China’s Rui Liu, Germany’s Alexander Baumann, Italy’s Joel Retornaz, Japan’s Yusuke Morozumi, Jaap Van Dorp of the Netherlands, Norway’s Steffan Walstad and Russia’s Alexey Stukalskiy.“I feel like our team is definitely one of the favourites going in,” Gushue said in a recent interview. “The fact that it’s in Canada, a lot of things are going to be very similar about it.”Sallows also served as a fifth on the Pat Simmons team that won world bronze two years ago in Halifax. Brad Gushue and his teammates have plenty of experience wearing the Maple Leaf even though they’re set to make their first appearance at the world men’s curling championship.Gushue and third Mark Nichols won Olympic gold at the Turin Games in 2006, five years after winning a world junior title together. The Brier champions are joined by coach Jules Owchar, team leader Rick Lang and alternate Tom Sallows.“Lots of experience within the room,” Gushue said. He became the first Newfoundland skip to hoist the Brier Tankard since Jack MacDuff in 1976.Gushue’s team came through despite the pressure and distractions that came with playing in their hometown. It’s a good field.”Koe beat Gushue in the 2016 Brier final and then defeated Denmark’s Rasmus Stjerne 5-3 to win world gold in Basel, Switzerland. When Brad came back everything fell back into place. “I think it really showed that our team has a lot of grit and determination.”The top-ranked team will look to build on that success in Edmonton.Sweden’s Niklas Edin, Switzerland’s Peter de Cruz and Scotland’s David Murdoch are also expected to contend for podium spots.Edin, who won Olympic bronze at the 2014 Sochi Games, won world titles in 2013 and 2015. John’s.“We’re going to treat it very similar to a Brier,” Gushue said. “We managed to do pretty well. Gushue and Walker also have world junior experience as alternates.If Gushue reaches the podium, he will secure a direct entry into the Dec. The foursome from St. That’s about twice the capacity of Mile One Centre in St. “I don’t think there’s going to be anything that’s really going to surprise us.”Earlier this month, Gushue edged Kevin Koe 7-6 to win the national men’s title for the first time in 14 tries. John’s will be podium favourites when the 2017 world men’s playdowns begin Saturday at the Northlands Coliseum.