Arsenal outgunned in Champions League loss to Bayern Munich

The Germany forward had come on two minutes before.“We have to cope with the result,” Wenger said. Bayern Munich answered its critics with a comprehensive 5-1 rout of Arsenal in the first leg of their Champions League clash to put one foot in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.Thiago Alcantara struck twice in a superb performance, while Arjen Robben, Robert Lewandowski and substitute Thomas Mueller scored the other goals. “It’s not the final, unfortunately.”But Ancelotti will be relieved his side showed what it’s capable of after five unconvincing games since the winter break, when Bayern faced criticism for looking tired and lacking the dominance it displayed at the start of the season.There was little Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina could do to stop Robben from opening the scoring in the 11th minute. “The last 25 minutes was like a nightmare for us because we had no response.”In the night’s other first-leg match, defending champion Real Madrid recovered after conceding a stunning early goal to beat Napoli 3-1 on Wednesday and stay on track for its seventh straight appearance in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and Casemiro all scored for Madrid after Lorenzo Insigne’s extraordinary goal for Napoli less than 10 minutes into the Round of 16 first-leg match at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.Bayern extended its 16-game winning run at home in the competition with a repeat of the score from the last time the sides met, in November, 2015.“It’s only one game,” Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti said, playing down the significance of the win. Instead, Arsenal was given a lifeline when Lewandowski took down central defender Koscielny and the referee awarded the penalty before the half-hour mark.Amid deafening whistles from the home fans, Manuel Neuer saved Sanchez’s weak spot kick and Sanchez then missed the rebound. Granit Xhaka should have scored when he shot straight at Neuer, and Mesut Ozil might have made it 2-1 at the break, only for Neuer to come to Bayern’s rescue again.But it was all Bayern after Arsenal lost Koscielny in the 49th minute.Robben and Philipp Lahm combined on the right ring, the latter producing an inviting cross for Lewandowski to rise above two defenders and head inside the right post in the 53rd.The Poland striker produced a brilliant back-heeled flick to send Thiago through to score another three minutes later.Bayern had a host of chances thereafter, first through Lewandowski, who struck the crossbar after rounding the ’keeper, and then through Robben, who was blocked by Kieran Gibbs, illegally according to the Bayern players, who demanded a penalty.Those claims were forgotten when Thiago grabbed his second, minutes later, with a deflected shot after a corner, before he set up Mueller to complete the rout with two minutes remaining. “No matter what we say now, it’s detrimental to us.” “It should do.”The Premier League side, which lost captain Laurent Koscielny to a hamstring injury early in the second half, looks set to exit at the same stage for the seventh season in a row.“The real problems came after the third goal, because we lost our organization and looked really jaded,” Arsenal coach Arsène Wenger said. But the Chilean cut the Bayern fans’ cheers short when he prodded in a third attempt.Suddenly the momentum was with Arsenal. Arsenal now faces what seems a near-impossible task in the second leg of the Round of 16 on March 7, despite a first-half equalizer from Alexis Sanchez. “It’s a very, very good position,” Bayern captain Philipp Lahm said with a smile. Given too much space, the Dutchman cut inside as he’s done so often before and let fly with a shot that went in off the underside of the bar.Bayern dominated and it looked only a matter of time before the home side would add to its tally.

Own The Podium cuts funding for Canadian men’s rugby sevens team

“Unfortunately our on-field performance last year with our men’s sevens side and our failure to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games has had an impact on our ability to access financial support through the Summer Team Sport Strategy,” Rugby Canada CEO Allen Vansen said in a statement. Rugby Canada said it is still determining the impact of the funding cuts on the men’s sevens program for the remainder of the 2017 season. “It is our mission to run a highly competitive, world-class men’s sevens program, as we have done for the past four years, with the objective of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and competing for a medal.”The funding cut comes just weeks before the Canada Sevens, the home stop on the World Series. “While we are disappointed that our men’s sevens funding recommended by OTP has been cut for 2017/18, we have taken steps to improve our on-field performance and to further develop our men’s sevens pathway.”The Canadian men currently stand 12th in the World Series standings after four events, although they did finish fourth in Wellington under new coach Damian McGrath. They are due to receive $1,970,000 for 2017-18 thanks to OTP’s Enhanced Excellence funding recommendations, according to Rugby Canada. Like the women’s sevens players, the men are centralized in Langford, B.C.“With six stops remaining on the HSBC World Sevens Series we know our men’s sevens team are as motivated as ever and have shown they can compete with the best in the world,” Vansen said. He backs his starting seven players against anyone but says the program is suffering from lack of depth.The team was 13th over all last season, ninth in 2014-15 and sixth in 2013-14. In its second year on the circuit, the Vancouver event has already become a hit with organizers releasing more tickets after the original allotment of 66,000 over the two days at BC Place Stadium sold out.The Canadian women won bronze in Rio and are third in their World Series standings. Rugby Canada is facing a big blow to the wallet with news that Own The Podium won’t fund the Canadian men’s sevens program for the 2017-18 fiscal year.The men’s sevens team, which has struggled on the field in recent years, got $850,000 in OTP recommended funding in 2016-17.

Ibaka brings defensive play, energy to Raptors

And Ibaka has heard plenty about the city from a former Raptor he got to know well as a member of the Magic these past few months – Bismack Biyombo.“Since we met, me and Biz, he always tell me great stories about the city, the fans here, the team,” said Ibaka, who speaks four languages – Lingala, French, English and Spanish. 24, so Ibaka’s debut as a Raptor will have to wait.“It’s not gonna be just like one game, boom, we’re back just because Serge walks in the door,” Casey said. Those are the things I’m really going to bring.”There is much speculation about how he could be used, since he has experience at both the No. “One thing he adds to our team is just overall physical toughness and in this league, in playoff basketball, in big-game situations, in fourth-quarter time, you’ve got to have that physical toughness and athleticism, speed and quickness at multiple positions.”He was greeted at the airport by the Open Court documentary crew that follows the Raptors, but Wednesday’s walk-through was his first meeting with new teammates.He’s friends with another Toronto assistant coach, Patrick Mutombo, who is also from the Congo. The trade with the Orlando Magic had exchanged Terrence Ross plus a first-round draft pick for Ibaka – the rim-protecting, floor-spacing specialist expected to fill the Raptors’ biggest void: the power-forward spot.Ibaka didn’t play with his new team Wednesday night. “When you have guys like Kyle and DeMar you don’t need an offensive, scoring guy really. The newest Raptor had a brief introduction to the media before Wednesday’s game against the visiting Charlotte Hornets. You need a guy who can bring some physicality and defensive plays, energy, running up and down. He’d arrived from sunny Florida to chilly Ontario less than 24 hours earlier, and the 6-foot-10, 235-pound power forward was already dressing the part. Serge Ibaka was wearing a winter tuque and a Toronto Raptors hoodie along with bright red sneakers, as he entered a packed news conference room Wednesday night. 5 positions.“He could be power forward, and also when we go small, the centre position is a possibility,” Casey said. 4 and No. Yet, he had arrived on an overnight flight, and with the Raptors travelling back from their Tuesday night game in Chicago and preparing for Wednesday’s contest at home, there was little time to bring him up to speed on the team’s plays.The 27-year-old player acknowledged that his situation in Toronto shares similarities with the one he experienced as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder from 2009-16, before he was traded to Orlando. Having lost 10 of their past 14 games, they could have used him. He reunites with Toronto assistant coach Rex Kalamian, who had been on OKC’s staff during its memorable run to the 2012 NBA final. It was a standing-room-only gathering at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre that lasted just eight minutes before the big man was whisked off to meet coach Dwane Casey for the first time and attend the team’s pregame walk-through.The Congo-born Ibaka arrived in the most intriguing deal the Raptors had made in years. He agreed that playing with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will be a lot like teaming with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.“A team like this, I’m just going to try to bring my experience and my defensive game, my toughness, my energy,” said Ibaka, who has three times been chosen for the NBA’s all-defensive first team. There, Ibaka played for a team that ran everything through an all-star backcourt. It’s everybody, collectively, pulling together.” “He loves it here.”It was Toronto’s final game before the all-star break, and the players don’t return to the court until Feb. “It’s a huge help, don’t get me wrong, but he’s not a lone saviour.

Bouchard follows through on Super Bowl bet, goes on date with Patriots fan

Earlier on Wednesday she announced that she would be included in Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit edition. Never bet against Tom Brady.”On Wednesday, Bouchard followed through on the bet and tweeted a photo of the two of them in the backseat of a car with the caption “Just met my ‘Super Bowl Twitter Date’ John. Eugenie Bouchard is not one to welch on a bet.Bouchard, from Westmount, Que., went on a date with a New England Patriots fan on Wednesday night after the two agreed to a bet over Twitter during Super Bowl 51.Bouchard had tweeted that she “knew Atlanta would win” with the Falcons holding a big lead over the Patriots during the NFL’s championship game. On our way to the BrooklynNets game!”Bouchard later posted a video of her and her date sitting courtside as the Nets hosted the Milwaukee Bucks.She is ranked 42nd in the world. The fan then asked her to go on a date if the Patriots somehow ended up winning and in what must have seemed like a low-risk reply, Bouchard said, “sure.”

After New England came back to win 34-28 in overtime she tweeted: “Lesson learned.

Foligno, Jenner lead Blue Jackets in win over Maple Leafs

It was Anderson’s 11th goal of the season and his first in 15 games.Later in the first period, Jenner scored by pushing in the rebound from a shot by Werenski.Bjorkstrand got a breakaway from just inside the blue line after a steal by Brandon Saad and scored 1:32 into the second. … … “Every line contributed.”Nazem Kadri scored both goals for Toronto, and Curtis McElhinney blocked 30 shots. “(We) kind of pulled our foot off the gas there in the third, but they’re a good team and they made their push. Toronto F Nikita Soshnikov missed his fourth straight game due to an upper-body injury. … Columbus hasn’t been outshot since Feb. Kadri has five goals and 10 assists in his past 13 games.UP NEXT:Toronto: Hosts Ottawa on Saturday night.Columbus: Hosts Pittsburgh on Friday night. “I think we dominated the second half of the game, but by then it was too late.”Anderson started the scoring by poking in a rebound from the blue paint 4:30 into the game. Columbus moved into a tie for second place with Pittsburgh in the Metropolitan Division. Werenski launched a wrist shot from the high slot that glanced off Foligno’s thigh on the way in. The call was delayed while officials looked at the video replay to make sure McElhinney wasn’t pushed out of the way by a Columbus player. The Blue Jackets are 9-10-1 since a franchise-record 16-game winning streak earlier this season. Kadri got another 6:19 into the third when he tipped in Leivo’s pass.Calvert capped the scoring with an empty-net goal with 2:21 left.“I think our first two periods were really good,” Werenski said. Bjorkstrand was called up from Cleveland on Tuesday to replace Scott Hartnell, who was injured in Monday’s game against the New York Rangers.Foligno scored on a power play midway through the second. Joonas Korpisalo has been shuttled between Columbus and the Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate in Cleveland quite a bit this season. The Penguins visit on Friday night in what is likely to be a playoff atmosphere at Nationwide Arena.Josh Anderson, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Matt Calvert also scored, and Alexander Wennberg, Zach Werenski and Seth Jones each had a pair of assists for the Blue Jackets.“I thought the lines had more balance tonight right on through,” Tortorella said. 3 against Pittsburgh. I think we did a good job of weathering the storm there, so I thought it was a good 60 minutes for us.”NOTES: McElhinney was in the net for the Maple Leafs after starting goaltender Frederik Andersen made 33 saves in a 7-1 win over the New York Islanders on Tuesday. … Maybe now, coach John Tortorella will let him stick around.The backup goalie made 31 saves, Nick Foligno and Boone Jenner had a goal each and the Blue Jackets beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 on Wednesday night. It was a homecoming for McElhinney, who was waived by the Blue Jackets earlier this season after backing up Sergei Bobrovsky the past few years.Josh Leivo assisted on both goals for the Maple Leafs, who squandered a chance to move ahead of Ottawa and Boston for second place in the Atlantic Division.The Blue Jackets led 2-0 after the first period and took a 4-1 advantage into the third.“Tough start,” Kadri said. Foligno got credit for the goal, and Werenski his second assist of the game.The Blue Jackets, who led the NHL in power-play percentage for much of the season, scored with a man advantage for the first time in 10 games, ending an 0-for-16 drought.Toronto got on the board with 2:32 left in the second when Kadri put back a rebound from just outside the blue paint.

Lowry scores 21 to lift Raptors over the Hornets

So I said Delon, just stay aggressive. “Those guys just did a great job of playing basketball, scrambling and just being aggressive.”The players joked in the post-game locker-room about the oddball fourth-quarter lineup that saw Lowry playing small forward at times.“I’m the oldest one (of the three point guards), so I just took the highest role, the 3 position,” Lowry said. especially for me, I’ve known him since he was a kid, since he was a baby, so it’s cool to actually see it.”Nicolas Batum drilled a three with 29 seconds left, but Carroll squelched any Charlotte comeback with a three of his own with seven seconds left.“I think Delon and Jak and DeMarre and Cory came in and just said ‘Forget it, we’re down and all we can do is go play basketball,“’ Lowry said. He did a good job tonight.”Lowry and DeRozan now head to New Orleans to represent the East in the NBA all-star game. The Toronto Raptors didn’t have the help of newcomer Serge Ibaka on Wednesday night. They were presented with their all-star jerseys prior to tip-off. “The older you get, you go from point to a 2, I guess I’m a 3 now. But Ibaka wasn’t ready to play Wednesday.Playing its last game before a nine-day break, Toronto came out with plenty of energy to take an early 14-point lead, but then things quickly went south. The Raptors took a narrow 44-41 lead into the halftime break.The Raptors’ pitiful performance continued in the third as the Raptors were outscored 34-14. “We were searching and we were searching and went to the Fountain of Youth and those guys came through and played their behinds off,” coach Dwane Casey said.Lowry had 21 points to top the Raptors (33-24), who snapped a three-game losing skid and own for just the fifth time in 16 games.“Tonight we needed that, just emotionally,” Lowry said. Turned out, they didn’t need him.Instead, an unlikely lineup of three point guards — Kyle Lowry, Cory Joseph and Delon Wright — plus DeMarre Carroll and rookie Jakob Poeltl powered the Raptors to a fierce fourth-quarter comeback, and the Raptors beat the Charlotte Hornets 90-85 on a roller-coaster night at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors came to life in the fourth, and when Lowry drilled a three-pointer with 7:11 left to play, it capped a 20-2 run that gave Toronto a one-point lead and had the fans out of their seats.A basket by Poeltl made it a five-point Raptors lead before Walker scored Charlotte’s first field goal of the quarter with 3:13 to play to make a three-point game.With 1:26 to play, Wright — wearing glaring tangerine sneakers — stole the ball and finished with a basket to put the Raptors back up by five, part of an impressive performance by the young Raptor who’s missed most of the season with a shoulder injury.“Came through big,” DeRozan said of Wright, whose name was trending on Twitter in Toronto. The rest of the team will enjoy a much-needed break before returning to practice next Wednesday.Ibaka, wearing the team’s blue and white throwback Husky warmup sweats, appeared briefly on the court prior to the team introductions. And when Walker hit his second of back-to-back three-pointers with just under two minutes left in the half, it capped a 19-6 Hornets run and pulled Charlotte to within a point. He received cheers and the a few high fives before disappearing again.It was a team decision not to play the newest Raptor, because of his late-night flight to Toronto, and a hectic day of required medical tests and getting his bearings.Because of the NBA all-star break, Raptors fans won’t get to see him play until Feb. Delon was doing a great job of handling the ball… The Raptors imploded in the second and third quarters and the Hornets turned their double-digit deficit into a 75-58 lead to start the fourth quarter. 24 when Toronto hosts the Boston Celtics.The Raptors raced out of the gate, shooting 53 per cent in the first quarter and leading 31-20 heading into the second.But they couldn’t buy a basket in the second, making just one of seven three-point attempts in the quarter. “I always loved Delon’s game, he’s got a poise to his game, and for him to go out and handle the ball for the majority of the fourth quarter, that’s big. I’m happy for him. “ We emotionally needed that type of game.”Norm Powell added 17 points, Carroll added 13, Wright had 11, Jonas Valanciunas finished with 11 rebounds and 10 points, and DeMar DeRozan chipped in with 10 points.Frank Kaminsky led Charlotte (24-32) with 27 points, while Kemba Walker added 24.The slumping Raptors received reinforcement Tuesday in the trade with Orlando that brought Ibaka to town in exchange Terrence Ross and a first-round pick in the upcoming draft. The disgruntled crowd ushered the Raptors off the floor with a smattering of boos.Perhaps it was the push they needed. It just shows the hard work he put in…

Red Wings forward Nyquist suspended six games for high-sticking

A suspension was warranted regardless of his intentions, the league said, because he was attempting to use his stick in a retaliatory fashion and he is “completely responsible” for using his stick to deliver a dangerous blow that could have resulted in a severe injury.Nyquist will forfeit $158,333.34 in salary. “They didn’t think it was that bad. I said, ‘Well watch the replay. You’ll see it deserved more than a double minor.“’ Nyquist said the play wasn’t intentional, but the NHL’s Department of Player Safety disagreed.“This is not an accidental or inadvertent high-stick delivered by a player who is swatting at a puck in mid-air or who simply fails to control his stick in traffic,” the league said in a video explaining the suspension. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund. Nyquist got a double-minor, which irked Wild coach Bruce Boudreau.“They didn’t see it from the same angle I did,” Boudreau said of the game officials. Spurgeon missed a few shifts while getting stitches in his cheek but returned before the end of the period. “Rather, as Nyquist stated in a hearing regarding this incident, he acts in retaliation for being cross-checked from behind.”According to the league, Nyquist didn’t intend to high-stick Spurgeon but wanted to respond with a cross-check of his own. Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist has been suspended for six games for high-sticking Minnesota Wild defenceman Jared Spurgeon during a game last weekend.The incident occurred at 14:13 of the first period in Sunday’s game between the clubs, a 6-3 Wild win.Spurgeon had cross-checked Nyquist to the ice from behind near the side boards, and Nyquist came up swinging, using the blade of his stick to spear Spurgeon just below his left eye.

Toronto Blue Jays sign veteran pitcher Mat Latos to minor-league deal

He posted a 7-3 record with a 4.89 earned-run average and 42 strikeouts.The 29-year-old has also spent time with the Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Marlins, Cincinnati Reds and San Diego Padres over his eight-year career. The Toronto Blue Jays signed right-hander Mat Latos to a minor-league deal Thursday with an invitation to major-league camp.Latos spent last season with the Chicago White Sox and Washington Nationals.

Brooke Henderson ready for challenge of Women’s Australian Open

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

Atlanta zoo names cockroach after Patriots’ Tom Brady

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

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

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

Talent runs deep for Canadian women’s rugby sevens

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

Chan focusing on mental game ahead of his final Olympics

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

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

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

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

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