Carlos Beltran, Houston Astros finalize $16 million, 1-year contract

Beltran is a nine-time all-star and has hit .323 with 16 homers and 41 RBIs in 55 postseason games. He spent the last half of the 2004 season with the Astros and hit a postseason record-tying eight home runs.In 19 seasons, Beltran is a career .281 hitter with 421 home runs and 1,536 RBIs with the Royals, Astros, Mets, Giants, Cardinals, Yankees and Rangers.The Associated Press Carlos Beltran and the Houston Astros have finalized a $16-million, one-year contract.Beltran was to be introduced Monday at Minute Maid Park.The Astros have been busy boosting their lineup since missing the playoffs, trading for catcher Brian McCann and adding free-agent outfielder Josh Reddick.Beltran turns 40 in April. The switch-hitter split his time as a designated hitter and right fielder, playing 151 games. He hit a combined .295 with 29 home runs and 93 RBIs last season for the New York Yankees and Texas.

Federal minister calls for sports ‘culture shift’ on head injuries

These are high-risk-taking individuals who are prone to these high-risk sports. There’s a personality type, and a mentality around it that can be dangerous.”The various sports ministers – provincial and territorial as well as federal – meet every second year around the time of the Canada Games. If the sports that establish the culture of their games – including the professional teams that so influence young athletes – will do little, or even deny any connection between head trauma and mental health, then effective action on this public health issue will have to come from elsewhere.If young athletes are not demanding this, their parents most assuredly are. The next scheduled meeting was for Winnipeg next summer, but Qualtrough has already held a meeting of all her counterparts, in Lethbridge, last June.“Mainly because of this issue,” she says.The group left the Alberta city with a firm commitment to address health issues, and concussions specifically, related to sport and recreation. “In the world I live in around disability sports, the people are risk-takers. As Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities – the 45-year-old B.C. And as a former director of the Canadian Centre for Ethics and Sport and vice-president of the Americas Paralympic Committee, she has known dozens of athletes battling through concussion. Concussion awareness, like climate change, has slowly moved beyond the denial stage, though there are certainly doubters. The minister will hear another Hockey Hall of Famer, Ken Dryden, deliver a keynote address in which he will ask the critical question: “Where we go from here?”Part of where we go will involve governments. We’re losing out on kids in sports. I’m hoping what will come out of this is we’ll all be steering the ship in the same direction.”What she is trusting comes out of the Governor-General’s gathering and the political initiatives underway is nothing short of “a culture shift in sports where it will be okay to sit out a game or two because that’s the responsible thing to do, and because [that’s what] good athletes do. lawyer is both an athlete and legally blind – she was charged with preparations for the then-coming 2016 Olympics and Paralympics, celebrate the country’s athletic achievements during Canada 150, work toward passage of a Canadians with Disabilities Act, and then:

“Work with the Minister of Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada to support a national strategy to raise awareness for parents, coaches and athletes on concussion treatment.”David Johnston: Let’s act on concussions and make sports safe againRead more: The NHL needs to do more to prevent head trauma among its playersRead more: Science, safety and sales: The hockey helmet marketing problemTuesday morning at Rideau Hall, Qualtrough will be present when Governor-General David Johnston opens his “We Can Do Better” conference on concussion injuries and what can be done about them.She will listen while well-known athletes such as Hockey Hall of Fame-member Eric Lindros and two-time Olympic gold-medalist Rosie MacLennan tell their personal stories. If you meet a wheelchair rugby player, they probably got injured in a diving accident. She will hear Dr. They’re not playing because parents are worried about their safety.”The likes of Lindros, MacLennan and Dryden add credibility to the gathering, but so, too, does the Governor-General. This is a huge deal for sport.” She may have been the only cabinet minister to offer a fist pump and shout when receiving her mandate letter from then-brand new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.Carla Qualtrough had just reached the part where the PM lays out his explicit expectations for each minister. When the ministers do meet in Winnipeg, they hope to be closer to drafting a pan-Canadian policy that would include education and return-to-play protocols set by the Public Health Agency of Canada.“Some really good work is being done,” the minister says, “… but I don’t think, with all due respect, that there is an overarching harmonization or plan. Then our role models will start doing it, and then our kids will start doing it. And this culture shift will have happened.“I just don’t want kids to have sport experiences. The notion of “sucking it up and playing through it” remains prevalent in most contact sports: The injured player who continues on is admired; the injured player who stops is doubted or even dismissed.“We don’t say, ‘Oh, that was really smart of Sidney Crosby to sit out four games because he’s concussed,’” the minister says. If you look at a Paralympian who’s a skier, they probably got injured doing high-risk [activity]. I want them to have good sport experiences.“We need to act. Charles Tator and other medical experts discuss what is known as well as what is not known. Johnston was a star athlete in several sports, most notably in university as captain of the Harvard hockey team.The minister, who has been legally blind from birth, won three bronze medals as a Paralympic swimmer, one at the 1988 Games in Seoul and two in Barcelona in 1992. As a parent of four active children between the ages of 4 to 19, Qualtrough appreciates the worry of parents. “We say, ‘We needed him and he scored two goals last night.’ We need to shift the mentality around that. “It’s become a consideration for parents as to whether or not they will put their kids in sports,” Qualtrough says.In 2014, an estimated 155,000 Canadians suffered concussions, some mild, some traumatic and life-affecting. Her own senior policy adviser, coincidentally, has been off work since late summer because of a concussion from an accidental fall.“It does bring some credibility to the discussion,” she says.

LeBron, Cavaliers snap Raptors’ winning streak

“They’ve had our attention for the last couple of years. And LeBron James is still LeBron James, Kyrie Irving’s still Kyrie Irving, and I promise you, J.R. So when Dwane Casey, the sagely Raptors coach, hears the ‘My House is Burning Down’ reaction of the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers to their recent run of losses, he only smiles that knowing smile and suggests that everybody calm down a bit.“Again, everybody goes through that,” Casey said before Monday’s game against the Cavaliers at Air Canada Centre. “They’re still the Cleveland Cavaliers. Smith has not forgotten how to shoot the ball.“To me, it’s just a blip on the radar screen. In the grand scheme of things, a three-game losing skid in the uber-competitive National Basketball Association is hardly the sort of thing to turn your world upside down.By this time last season, the Toronto Raptors, for example, had already endured a couple of three-game slides – and things did not exactly turn to stone for them after that. Everyone goes through this, and they’re still the king of the hill until somebody knocks them off.”It would not be the Raptors, at least on this night, as the Cavaliers (14-5) were able to hold off for a 116-112 triumph during an invigorating engagement at the ACC that snapped the Raptors (14-7) win streak at six games.The Cavaliers displayed just too much elite firepower for the Raptors to manage, with four players scoring in double figures, led by 34 points from James.Kevin Love chipped in with 28 points and 14 rebounds while Toronto native Tristan Thompson factored in with 14 rebounds and six points.“We’ve got to play a perfect game to beat a team like that,” Casey said afterwards. But the Raptors were on a heady surge, having won their last six – their last four by a ridiculous average margin of 29.8 points – while the Cavaliers came in on an unaccustomed three-game losing skid.It was the longest such downward spiral in the 59-game regular-season tenure of Cleveland head coach Tyronn Lue, and it obviously got the attention of King James.“We’ve got to get out of the honeymoon stage,” James intoned to reporters after the Cavaliers were dumped by the Chicago Bulls in their previous outing on Friday.Earlier on Monday, James complimented Toronto on its recent burst, paying homage to what he referred to as the Raptors “two-headed monster” in DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry for helping to blaze that trail.“They’ve had our attention,” James said of the Raptors as a whole. I think they’ve had the NBA’s attention.”Even for a game in December, the contest had all the trappings of a playoff battle and the players were certainly not holding anything back.James shook himself up before 90 seconds had elapsed in the first quarter when he landed awkwardly after drilling home a fetching alley-oop feed from Irving, but was able to remain in the game.The same fortune did not befall Smith, Cleveland’s starting shooting guard who exited the game late in the first quarter with a knee injury and didn’t return.That was around the same time Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry took a lick to his upper lip by a Kevin Love elbow that required freezing before he could re-enter the contest.The game rolled back and forth with a quick, crowd-pleasing tempo that resulted in both teams enjoying six-point leads at one point.Late in the second quarter, after Toronto’s Patrick Patterson and Love toppled over like bowling pins after a heavy collision at the top of the key, DeAndre Liggins connected on one of two free throws that provided the Cavaliers with a 62-61 lead by the break.The Cavaliers began to flex their considerable muscle at the start of the third quarter, reeling off six straight points to pad their advantage to 68-61.They would build on that, with Irving negotiating a behind the back pass off the fast break to James for an easy layup that was followed up by a Love three that left Toronto staring up at an 82-72 hole.By the end of three the Cavaliers led 90-81. They fell just two victories shy of a berth in the NBA Finals. “Whether it’s mental breakdowns or whatever – no execution, not close out properly…all those little things matter in the flow of the game.”The game got away from Toronto in second half, the fourth quarter in particular when the Cavaliers pulled away during a three-point slugfest that left the Raptors reeling.A James three-ball with just over four minutes remaining put Cleveland ahead 107-92, too much for the Raptors to battle back from.A DeRozan three with 10.3 seconds left, that would have cut the score to 114-112, was ruled out of bounds.That proved the Raptors’ last gasp.DeRozan would finish with 31 points as the Cavaliers beat Toronto for the third time this season.It is always a moment when James comes to town with the Cavaliers, especially after last season’s bitterly contested Eastern Conference final in which Cleveland prevailed four games to two over Toronto in the best-of-seven affair.And the two teams are back at the top of the Eastern Conference heap in the early going this season, with the Cavaliers holding a slender advantage over the Raptors by mere percentage points heading into Monday’s contest for the best overall record.Cleveland had already beaten the Raptors on two occasions this season.

Rust’s hat trick rallies Penguins past Senators

It backfired. The Penguins poured in six goals over the final 32 minutes after spotting the Senators a 4-2 lead. Fleury stopped 12 of 16 shots and was hurt by shoddy play in front of him and at least one bad bounce: Stone knocked a carom off the glass behind the Pittsburgh goal out of midair and into the open net.Murray entered to a loud ovation from the 445th consecutive sellout crowd in Pittsburgh and his team responded almost immediately, scoring three times in a span of 6:09 to take the lead. Kessel tied it with a nasty wrist shot from between the circles and Schultz finished it with a wrist shot of his own to give the Penguins a 5-4 lead.Ottawa stuck with Anderson, making his first start since taking a brief leave of absence to be with his wife as she battles throat cancer, even after the deluge. Their victory marked the 13th time since Mike Sullivan took over as coach last December that they trailed by two only to rally and win. Malkin squeezed past two defenders to flip a backhand by Anderson 1:05 into the third to put the Penguins up 6-4.Phaneuf brought the Senators back within one with Ottawa’s third power-play goal, but Pittsburgh’s beleaguered penalty killers finally got a stop a couple of minutes later and Rust went high with the backhand on his penalty shot to give the Penguins the breathing room they needed. Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone and Dion Phaneuf also scored for Ottawa, which lost in regulation for just the second time in its last eight games.Craig Anderson spent most of the night under siege by the Penguins and stopped 36 of the 43 shots he faced before being pulled following Rust’s successful penalty shot 12:36 into the third.The Penguins have made a habit of falling behind by two goals only to scramble back. Earlier in the day he insisted his team can’t just turn on a switch to get things going.It only seems like that at times.The Senators chased Fleury when Hoffman pounded home a one-timer from the right circle to make it 4-2 at 7:08 of the second period. Bryan Rust had his first career hat trick, Sidney Crosby added his NHL-leading 17th goal and the Pittsburgh Penguins raced by the Ottawa Senators 8-5 on Monday night.Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel each had a goal and two assists for Pittsburgh, and Matt Cullen and Justin Schultz also scored. Cullen’s short-handed breakaway sparked the surge. It’s not the path Sullivan would prefer. Pittsburgh has won three straight overall and improved to 7-0-2 in its last nine against the Senators.Matt Stone had a goal and two assists for Ottawa. Matt Murray made 17 saves after coming in for an ineffective Marc-Andre Fleury in the second period.

Canadian ex-athletes call for early-age education and training on concussions

A concussion in B.C. Rosie MacLennan, the two-time Olympic gold medalist in trampoline, told the gathering of her own battles through four concussions and the accompanying depression and anxiety that often follow.Ms. Lindros said. Johnston, who opened the conference, declared it would be “about living up to one of our most significant responsibilities: to ensure all Canadians – especially young people – can play sports safely and confidently, without hesitation or anxiety.”Another member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, former Montreal Canadiens goaltender Ken Dryden, delivered the keynote address and spoke of the similarities between concussions and climate change: Both are issues where science has produced irrefutable evidence of damage – while doubters and deniers argue against taking action.“We cannot get the big things wrong,” Mr. Lindros was speaking on a panel with two former Canadian Football League players, star quarterback Matt Dunigan and safety Étienne Boulay. … I believe the greatest risk to sports in the future, to the number of people who participate, to the games we decide to play and to our understanding of sports as something good for our health and our development, is head injuries.”Mr. Mr. … It’s about the proportionality of risk. Lindros believes, must be made – and often by others, including teammates. They will not take up the issue as perhaps they should; many are involved in lawsuits over brain injuries, which prevents them from even discussing the health issues – physical and mental – that science has tied to brain trauma.“Pro sports is not a way to start,” he said.(Tellingly, neither the NHL nor the National Hockey League Players’ Association attended the conference in any official capacity.)Instead, start with the kids, Mr. There’s still a risk if you try and cross the road or go on a car trip up the M1 – that’s another important message we need to get out.” “You can’t expect a concussed athlete to know that they are experiencing a concussion. “I’m doing great.”A second panel illustrated that concussions are not just a concern of hard-contact sports such as football and hockey. MacLennan said the four years between Olympic victory in London in 2012 and Rio in 2016 were “the hardest years of my athletic career.” At one point leading up to the 2015 Toronto Pan-American Games, she had fallen and was having great difficulty with light and spatial awareness, profoundly affecting her ability to perform. He turned to painkillers – and painkillers turned him into an addict.“I’m fighting that today,” he said. I, as a person, just wanted to keep skiing. “Because of the information we’ve now got, it’s right we should give it more attention. It’s confusing for parents, confusing for people. Boulay. There should be, he said, “one message. My sport is, much as I love it, not forever.”She spoke on a panel with retired Olympic speed skater Kristina Groves, Olympic cyclist Tara Whitten and retired Paralympic alpine skier Karolina Wisniewska.“You’re really in a fog,” Ms. … The league’s position is there’s no conclusive evidence at this point.” The CFL has been named in a $200-million (Canadian) class-action lawsuit over concussions and brain trauma. Concussions are not going to go away just because the sporting world now knows they are dangerous.“You can change hockey,” Mr. It’s getting lost in the wind because it’s not consistent messaging. “It’s time for the decision-makers to catch up to the scientists.”Mr. One message. He was fearful of losing his spot on the roster to a younger player who was trying to make the team – fearful of losing his only means of making a living.“I took the wrong decision to stay in the game, to keep my spot,” Mr. “The answer to that question is certainly yes,” Mr. “I lied about my condition to my doctor.”It was, he believes, a near-fatal error. Lindros told a conference Tuesday called by Governor-General David Johnston. And, as of today, the CTE Center researchers admit that the study of CTE remains in its ‘infancy.’”NFLAfter many years spent denying a link between CTE and repeated blows to the head, the NFL in 2013 agreed to a $765-million (U.S.) settlement in a lawsuit brought on by more than 4,500 fomer players. Robert Cantu (the primary expert retained by plaintiffs’ counsel in the concussion litigation currently pending against the NHL, and a member of Boston University’s CTE Center), that a causal link between concussions and CTE has not been demonstrated. Boulay said. “We understand from scientific research and other sports that have introduced it that if you have a much better assessment of the injury, it might be possible, when you see the intensity and the point of contact, to evaluate potential concussions better,” said Lukas Brud, secretary of the International Football Association Board, which determines the rules for soccer worldwide.RugbyIan Ritchie, head of the Rugby Football Union (the governing body in England), spoke about concussions in rugby in October. “We’ve looked back enough.”Instead of harking back to his storied NHL career with the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Dallas Stars, the 43-year-old elected instead to talk about what might be done in the future about what many consider to be an epidemic of concussion injuries, particularly among the young.His call for education at the youngest levels was the highlight of the “We Can Do Better” conference. So he took action when his son, Dolan, suffered a third concussion while trying to follow his father as a quarterback. Concussions suffered in the CFL this season were down 20 per cent (40 compared with 50 in 2015), according to Mr. The youngster already knows his body parts like toes and elbows, so he can be taught about the importance of protecting his head.“Tell kids, ‘Every day is brain day,’” he said. As a former hockey star with a long, public history of concussion injury, Eric Lindros has little hope that, without a great deal of convincing, the NHL and other professional leagues will seriously tackle the growing public health issue.“You’re not going to control pro sports,” Mr. “I pulled him off the field,” he said. “When you’re a professional athlete and you’re concussed, the last thing you want people to know is you’ve been concussed.”He saw how his head injuries affected his personality, memory and balance. She felt the country expected it of her, fought through the problems and was able to win again. Dunigan made his teenage son walk away from his dream. Dryden said. Lindros said. He wants them to let coaches and teammates, as well as their parents, know that something is wrong with them.“It’s a sign of strength now to raise your hand,” he said.Mr. Orridge.SoccerDespite being a low-contact sport, soccer is not immune to head injuries. As early as next season, doctors could be permitted to watch replays of collisions and have matches stopped if a concussion is suspected, according to The Associated Press. “One of the toughest things I ever had to do in my life.” Years later, with doctors’ clearance, his son returned to play briefly for Louisiana Tech University.Mr. But, she said, she learned an important lesson.“Your brain is forever. “We can start at the bottom and work our way up. It’s very difficult to make any kind of decision when you’ve had a concussion.”But such decisions, Mr. Dunigan now speaks frequently to young athletes about the dangers of keeping head injuries secret in order to keep playing or merely to preserve a spot on a team. “What you can control is the classroom.”

If they were expecting the former player, recently named to the Hockey Hall of Fame, to detail a personal history of concussion injury, they were in for a surprise.Read more: Federal minister calls for sports ‘culture shift’ on head injuriesOpinion: Let’s act on concussions and make sports safe again“I’m not going to look back,” Mr. Simplify things. “Last I heard, it’s still a subject of debate in the medical and scientific community. Even with all the changes, concussions are still going to happen.”Forget about the professional leagues taking action, Mr. Keep the message simple, up-to-date. I don’t think we hide behind that at all. Miller told the U.S. Both men became very emotional while detailing their lives after multiple blows to the head.Mr. We can simplify this. Lindros said – even those as young as his 2 1/2-year-old son, Carl Pierre. Boulay, who won a Grey Cup with the 2012 Toronto Argonauts, recalled how he was a small man playing in a league of much larger men and had to make do with what gifts he had.“They taught us to hit with our head,” said Mr. Let’s have one protocol. House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce in a roundtable on concussions.CFLSpeaking ahead of the Grey Cup in Toronto last week, CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge denied a link between football and degenerative brain disease. “It never came back to normal,” he said of his damaged brain. Johnston put it: “When it comes to concussions, let’s skate to where the puck is going.”————————————————HOW LEAGUES HAVE HANDLED HEAD INJURIESNHLIn a letter to United States Senator Richard Blumenthal, dated July 22, 2016, NHL commisioner Gary Bettman said the science linking chronic traumatic encephalopathy – or CTE, a degenerative brain disease – and concussions remains nascent. Wisniewska said of her experience with concussion. Dunigan, who is today a sports broadcaster, played 14 years in the CFL and was diagnosed with concussions more than a dozen times. Lindros told the conference. The last one, suffered in a game played in Hamilton, “was the final nail in the coffin – I knew right there and then my career was over.”In the 20 years since, he said, “I became a different person … I’ve been struggling to maintain consistency.” Raised in Texas, he was taught to never give in to adversity, never admit to weakness. We are Canada.”And that is precisely what the Governor-General hopes comes out of the gathering.In closing the event, Mr. In March, Jeff Miller, the NFL’s senior vice-president for health and safety, acknowledged publicy for the first fime that there is a link between football-related head trauma and brain disease. Ritchie told the Telegraph. Johnston said this “conversation” should continue and “take us closer to a national concussion strategy” – something the country’s sports ministers have already started work on.As Mr. It was held in Rideau Hall’s luxurious ballroom, where the Order of Canada is awarded to those who “desire a better Canada.” The 80 invitees in attendance this particular day – professional hockey and football players, Olympians, medical experts, teachers, coaches and parents, some of whom have lost their children to brain trauma – desire a “safer Canada.”Mr. is no different from a concussion in Quebec. Dryden spoke of his love for all sports, from hockey and baseball in his youth to squash and rollerblading in later years, but added, “I worry about sports now in a way I never worried before. The biggest bang for your buck is going to be in the classroom.”He also called for all the stakeholders in the concussion issue to get their acts together. He came to believe that headaches after each match were just part of the game.After one hard hit during a game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2012, he hid his injury. “It’s very difficult for me to talk about individual circumstances – five to 10 years ago this wasn’t given the same attention,” Mr. “In 2012, it was the consensus of medical experts on concussions in sport, including Dr. “Wider rinks, longer rinks, bring back the red line … but that’s neither here nor there.

Chris Colabello elects free agency, ending two-year run with Blue Jays

Once he returned, he hit .185 with five homers in 45 minor-league games. Chris Colabello’s turbulent two-year run with the Toronto Blue Jays came to an end Tuesday when he elected to become a free agent.The veteran first baseman helped the Blue Jays return to the post-season in 2015 but his big-league career flamed out last April when he was suspended 80 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. Colabello had one homer and a .217 average in the Blue Jays’ six-game loss to the Kansas City Royals in the AL Championship Series.His numbers in 2016 took a significant dive.Colabello batted just .069 through 10 games last season before his 80-game ban was announced. The Blue Jays selected Colabello off waivers in December 2014.Colabello played in 101 games for Toronto last year, becoming a feel-good story as a longtime minor-leaguer who shone once he got a chance to play regularly in the big leagues for a contender.He was one of the Blue Jays’ most dependable hitters in 2015 with a .321 batting average and an .886 OPS (on-base plus slugging). Colabello tested positive for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone (DHCMT), an anabolic steroid sold under the name Turinabol. He said he did not know how the drug appeared in his system.When Colabello’s suspension ended in July, the Blue Jays designated him off their 25-man roster and he spent the rest of the season in the minor leagues.Colabello’s formal departure from the team was confirmed Tuesday in a brief statement on the Blue Jays’ media relations Twitter feed.“Chris Colabello elects free agency as opposed to an outright assignment,” the tweet said.The 33-year-old native of Framingham, Mass., had been outrighted off the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster last Friday after clearing waivers.Colabello played seven years at the independent league level before signing as a free agent with the Minnesota Twins in 2012. Colabello, who mostly played at first base and left field, also hit 15 homers and drove in 54 runs.In the playoffs, he had one homer and a .375 average in Toronto’s five-game win over the Texas Rangers in the American League Division Series. He spent parts of two seasons in the Twins’ system before making his big-league debut in 2013.He posted mediocre statistics in 55 games for the Twins that year and again over 59 games in 2014.

Canada’s Dominique Maltais retires from competitive snowboarding

Snowboarder Dominque Maltais announced her retirement Tuesday, even if she feels she can still compete at a high level.The two-time Olympic medallist has been dogged by back and knee injuries in recent years and decided it was time to move on to new things.“I did everything possible to recover and maybe get back to a competitive level,” Maltais said from Quebec City. I’m very proud of that.”Her medal at the Turin Games remains a career highlight.“That was my first Olympic experience,” she said. “That’s when I discovered the media impact that an Olympic medal brings.”If that was the best, her experience four years later at the Vancouver Olympics was the toughest. “And even if there were other factors that weighed on my decision, I wanted to be sure I could live an active life and keep participating in sports in the years ahead.”Maltais, 36, first made her mark by winning a bronze medal in snowboardcross at the 2006 Turin Olympics. “After that I had the best performances and results of my career.”Maltais plans to work with high school athletes near Quebec City, do some public speaking and work as a personal fitness trainer. Maltais, from Petite Riviere St. “I was able to stay at the top for many years. She also won silver at the 2014 Sochi Games.She took silver at the 2013 world championships in Stoneham, Que., and bronze at the 2011 worlds in Spain. Expected to win a medal, Maltais suffered a bruised lung in a crash on the morning of her competition and wasn’t able to reach the finals.“It hurt, but that setback helped me grow as an athlete,” she said. “Health has always been the key question for me but, physically, time catches up to you. Francois, Que., also reached the podium 38 times — winning 15 gold medals — at 77 World Cup events.She took the Crystal Globe as the season’s top skier on five occasions.“I feel I accomplished all the objectives I set as an athlete,” she said.

Toronto Wolfpack in training camp, gearing up for rugby league debut

“It’s all so new. “It’s humbling really … 22, and current Super League champion Wigan Warriors on Feb. and Jamaica will arrive in camp next week. We’re moving on the go, moving at pace. We don’t do a week without contact … The boys have been really receptive.”The Wolfpack, owned by a group of entrepreneurs including Australian David Argyle, are serious about making their transatlantic sports venture work. Nothing in terms of facilities, nothing in terms of one lad knowing another,” said the former England hooker. Rowley, who will carry 25 to 30 players during the season with 17 dressing for games, says some or none of those may make the first team.Rugby league is a hard-hitting affair and Rowley says training camp is no different.“Obviously you want a controlled environment but you’ve got to replicate as closely as you can to a game. 28. There are currently 24 players in camp, training five days a week from 8 a.m. “We’ve not got six, 12 months to perfect something and move on to the next. and I guess that’s why you need 25 to 30 boys because inevitably you’ll spill blood and get injuries.”The camp includes marquee signing Fuifui Moimoi, a fan favourite during his days in Australia’s National Rugby League with the Parramatta Eels. “Obviously I’ve worked with him before and I can honestly say it’s is as good as I’ve seen him.”Rowley likes the rest of the roster as well.“We’ve got a predominantly young team and the senior players are young at heart so we’re all in the same mindset, which is important.”With high-profile away exhibition games against reigning Challenge Cup champion Hull FC on Jan. For the last three weeks, in the damp and fog of north England, Toronto Wolfpack coach Paul Rowley and his staff have been building a dream.Assembling a professional rugby league team from the ground up.“It’s interesting because it’s so different than anything anybody’s ever done before — putting a whole team together from scratch with nothing. Playing in the Kingstone Press League 1, they will pay the travel expenses of European teams coming to Canada during the season.The team is holding its camp at the home of Brighouse Rangers, an amateur club.“It’s a good blank canvas,” Rowley said of the training ground. The facility will progress with us.” “It’s not the finished article by any means but the club itself want us here and that’s half the battle. The veteran Tongan international forward played for Rowley in England when he coached the Leigh Centurions.“He’s training very very well,” Rowley said. on.A influx of talent recruited from tryouts in Canada, the U.S. It brings you back to when you began playing the sport and why you did and the beauty of it and the love for it. Everyone’s training with a smile on their face but ultimately we’re working hard because we’ve got some goals to achieve.”Despite the challenges, there have been no bad moments thanks to the enthusiasm of the group, he says.“Good moments and bite-your-lips moments,” he said.The team, which kicks off play in the third tier of English rugby league in March, assembled three weeks ago with overseas players joining Nov. 5, Rowley knows the clock is ticking.“It’s a bit like a crash course,” he said.

Tennis Canada’s season highlighted by rise of Milos Raonic

And he’s only 25, while the other players are 30 or 31. Open junior semifinals and she got her first pro wins in singles and doubles in Gatineau, Que.It was not such a strong season for the women’s team overall, however.Bouchard, a top-10 player in 2014, reached two tournament finals but ended the year ranked 46th. We live for these moments. Francoise Abanda of Montreal, despite evident talent, languished at 172nd.“I thought (Bouchard) would have a better ranking,” said Borfiga. “His last match against Murray, he won more nine-shot-plus rallies than Murray did.“That’s a tribute to how he’s improved his movement, which was not his forte. 1 Andy Murray — with the third overall ranking, a career high and the best ever for a Canadian. 3-5 in Ottawa.Laurendeau rates Canada’s chances at 50-50.“We play at home — that’s a big factor,” said Laurendeau. That’s why he’s able to break a lot more. Next up is a tie against the British team led by Murray Feb. You see how guys improve their game through their 20s, so I think there are a lot better things to come from him for sure.”It was not a strong season for Canada’s second best pro Vasek Pospisil of Vancouver, who slipped to the 133rd ranking, but Peter Polansky of North York, Ont. That’s why he has a good chance to win a grand slam.”Davis Cup captain Martin Laurendeau said Raonic has become a more complete player, with more than just a big serve.“He’s a big boy and he moves around the court very well,” said Laurendeau. He’s improved his backhand and volleys and, especially, his return of service. “He has ambition and he has a good team behind him with (coach) Riccardo Piatti.“That’s why, when you look at the year he had, he’s so close to Murray and (Novak) Djokovic. Sure, we enjoy beating Chile and teams like that, but we enjoy taking on France and the other top countries. Raonic, of Thornhill, emerged from the year — and five meetings with world No. “The juniors is one thing, because we saw with Filip Peliwo (the two-time 2012 junior grand slam champ now ranked 388th), who is struggling to make the transition, but it increases the odds.“Pro rata, we may be the most productive federation in the world, when you look at the boys and girls and how many top 10s we’ve had for so many years, winning grand slam titles and finals. “Their doubles will be good, probably the two Murrays (Andy and Jamie).“It’s a tough task, but this is what we train for. I’m optimistic for her.” 27, will win a grand slam event in the next two years.“He’s improving day after day,” said Borfiga. The towering right-hander also became the first Canadian male to reach a grand slam final when he lost to Murray at Wimbledon in June.Borfiga is convinced Raonic, who will turn 26 on Dec. That’s what gets the blood going in the guys.”On the women’s side, 16-year-old Bianca Andreescu of Toronto rose to ninth in junior rankings thanks to reaching the U.S. (135th) and Steven Diez of Toronto (166th) reached career highs.And 43-year-old Daniel Nestor of Toronto reached the Australian Open final with partner Radek Stepanek.The juniors had a brilliant season.Shapovalov won the Wimbledon boys singles title and reached the doubles final with Auger-Aliassime, then won his first three pro titles in Futures events as well as upsetting Australian star Nick Kyrgios at the Rogers Cup.Auger-Aliassime won the U.S. Milos Raonic’s rise in world rankings and a foursome of promising juniors has the people charged with developing Canadian tennis talent in a cheery mood.“We’re very proud of their performance this year,” Tennis Canada vice-president Louis Borfiga said Tuesday.While there is disappointment in the women’s side, where Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., and Francoise Abanda of Montreal have been treading water, Raonic and junior boys Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal, Denis Shapovalov of Thornhill, Ont. “With Francoise, we’re always hoping she’ll have a better ranking but she’s young.“Eugenie is working very hard. It gives us depth.”Canada also kept its spot in the prestigious World Group in Davis Cup play for a sixth straight year. and Benjamin Sigouin of Vancouver were on a roll in 2016. Open junior title after losing in the French Open boys final, while Sigouin jumped to 11th in world junior rankings.“Not many countries have three top 10 juniors in one year,” said Laurendeau.

Canada sends strong figure skating team to Grand Prix Final

“Scores are going to be put up. Yep, I’m gonna make it. Duhamel and Radford won gold at the event slightly more than a week ago in Japan, despite nearly botching their final lift.“Completely shocking to us. “I’m competing against the top five in the world; it’s kind of the all-stars of the season. At this point we know there’s going to be record-breaking scores – there’s no doubt about it.”The Grand Prix Final features the top six skaters in the Grand Prix standings in each of the four disciplines. “At this point in my career, if I’m doing it for the results, if I’m doing it for winning as many gold medals as possible, I’m setting myself up for failure.“So I’ve learned to just go out and be concerned with my own challenges and my own goals, because the minute I start to get concerned with winning. Nope, I’m not gonna make it.’ Eventually we got it up and squeezed out two and a half points for that lift.”Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodeau, who were fourth in pairs in the Final last season, are Canada’s other entry in the event. My biggest goal and my biggest challenge is not to get too taken back, too distracted by the jumping competition going on. – winning would equate to me trying to do as many quads as Yuzu and Shoma – I’m setting myself up for trouble and I’ve experienced that before.”Hanyu is aiming to be the first singles skater to win four consecutive Final titles.Canadian ice dancer stars Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are chasing their first gold medal after finishing runner-up in four previous Grand Prix Finals.The dancers, who took two seasons off after their silver medal performance at the Sochi Olympics, have bounced back in top shape, winning the recent NHK Trophy in Japan with a world-record score.In pairs, Canada’s two-time world champs Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford hope to clean up some uncharacteristic bobbles at the NHK Trophy. But the two mistimed it. It doesn’t happen very often and it’ll never happen again,” Duhamel said.In the lift, which comes seconds before the end of their program, Radford gracefully hoists Duhamel overhead. Canada is sending entries in all four disciplines for the first time ever, due to Kaetlyn Osmond’s successful Grand Prix season.She’s the first Canadian to make the Final in women’s singles since Joannie Rochette in 2009.Chan, meanwhile, has won a pair of golds, a silver and bronze at the Final, and finished fourth last year in his comeback season.He’ll face a trio of huge jumpers in Japan’s Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, Shoma Uno of Japan, and American Nathan Chen.Chan beat Hanyu to win Skate Canada, and then roared back from third-place after the short program to win the Cup of China.Chan paused on a recent conference call when asked whether he believes he can win in Marseilles.“Well, I didn’t really go into either of my Grand Prixs, especially Cup of China, with any expectation to win,” he said. Patrick Chan knows if he’s to find success at the Grand Prix Final this week, he has to keep his eyes off the scoreboard.The three-time world champion from Toronto is part of Canada’s strongest team ever at this week’s Final in Marseille, France, and expects some sky-high scores in the men’s field.“My biggest challenge is trying to keep my nerves at bay and staying calm,” Chan said. Nope, I’m not going to make it. “And as it was going up I had five different thoughts of, ‘Okay, it’s going to make it. There were a few tense seconds, when Radford’s arms where straining, that the lift looked in doubt.“It ended up just being strength between the two of us,” Radford said.

Maple Leafs sign goalie Karri Ramo to professional tryout

“Things just weren’t working out to this point for whatever reason on the starts that he was giving.”Lamoriello said the timing of Ramo’s medical clearance just happened to align with the decision to demote Enroth, who will join Ramo and Garret Sparks with the Marlies.Twenty-two-year-old Antoine Bibeau, who’s yet to play an NHL game, will back up Frederik Andersen at the NHL level.The Leafs were unhappy with Enroth’s early season performance, during which the 28-year-old registered an .872 save percentage, albeit in only four starts (all of them on the second half of a back-to-back). “You make these decisions and it’s not that you overreact or not that you push a button, it’s just that you have a feeling for this.”Toronto has been relying heavily on Andersen with Enroth struggling. The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed Karri Ramo to a professional tryout, but general manager Lou Lamoriello insists that there is no plan right now for the 30-year-old goaltender.Ramo has been cleared to medically return from a left knee injury (torn ACL and meniscus) and will play later this week for the Toronto Marlies, the Leafs’ AHL affiliate. In other words, we don’t know where (Ramo is) at,” Lamoriello said in an interview on Tuesday afternoon. “He hasn’t played in a while. The club determined that Ramo, injured on Feb. “There is no plan right now. 11 against San Jose, wouldn’t be ready for the start of the year. Andersen will start for the 21st time in 25 games Wednesday night when the Leafs host the Minnesota Wild.“We’d like a backup to play 20 games if we could,” Leafs coach Mike Babcock said after practice on Tuesday.Lamoriello said he was in contact with Ramo and his agent after last season to see what the injured goaltender’s status was for the 2016-17 season. The decision would appear to set the stage for Ramo to replace Jhonas Enroth as the Leafs backup goaltender, but Lamoriello said that’s not the case. They pursued other goaltenders as a result, eventually landing on Enroth.Ramo has been rehabbing at the Leafs practice facility, even participating in practice with the Leafs at one point.Lamoriello insisted repeatedly that the club hadn’t yet settled on the Finnish goaltender as the long-term back-up option this season, though it certainly appears so given Bibeau’s inexperience and mediocre performance with the Marlies (.907 save percentage).Ramo was serviceable as a part-time starter with the Calgary Flames last season, posting a .909 save percentage in 37 games before the injury. We’ll keep every option open. We wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t keep every option open, but there is no plan in place … ”Enroth cleared waivers on Tuesday afternoon, but Lamoriello said Ramo’s signing was unrelated.“It has nothing to do with the decision on Jhonas Enroth,” he said. The 5-foot-10 Swedish goaltender was signed to a one-year deal worth $750,000 (U.S.) in the summer.“It just wasn’t working,” Lamoriello said of Enroth, who gave up three goals on 29 shots in his last start against Calgary. Whether he’s able to regain that past form post-injury remains the question.“Our Marlies team is for development and it’s also to see where players are at and what potentially can help the Maple Leafs,” Lamoriello said.

Barcelona wins, but Messi falls short of Ronaldo’s goal record

It conceded a 90th-minute equalizer in a 1-1 home draw against Real Madrid in the Spanish league on Saturday.Barcelona was without forward Neymar and midfielder Ivan Rakitic because of suspensions.Coach Luis Enrique also rested striker Luis Suarez, giving a chance to recently signed forward Paco Alcacer, who has been criticized by Barcelona fans for his lacklustre performances.Ronaldo last year became the first player to reach double figures in the six games of the group stage. The Argentine slid behind the defenders and fired home a low left-foot shot after receiving Turan’s return pass.Messi had a great chance to match Ronaldo’s record in the 73rd, but his close-range header was brilliantly saved on the goal line by goal keeper Yann Sommer.Turan scored in the 50th, 53rd and 67th minutes to help the Catalan club end a three-game winless streak. Arda Turan scored a hat trick for Barcelona, which had already secured first place in Group C. He is two short of the milestone heading into the game against Borussia Dortmund at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.Messi now has 93 goals over all in the Champions League, two less than Ronaldo.Group ALittle-used forward Lucas Perez scored a hat trick as Arsenal easily beat Basel 4-1 to finish top of its group.Getting a rare start, the Spanish forward gave Arsenal a three-goal lead by the 47th minute as the visitors coasted to victory.Mesut Ozil’s delightful assist let Alex Iwobi score in the 53rd before Basel substitute Seydou Doumbia struck a consolation goal in the 78th.Mistakes cost Paris Saint-Germain dearly as it missed out on top spot in Group A following a late 2-2 home draw with Ludogorets – an unheralded Bulgarian side that had not won any of the previous five group games.Dutch forward Virgil Misidjan scored in the 15th minute and Brazilian forward Wanderson made it 2-1 in the 68th, shortly after Edinson Cavani had levelled for PSG.Winger Angel Di Maria saved face for PSG in the second minute of injury time with a scuffed shot, and Cavani was desperately close to grabbing the winner in the final seconds.Group BIt was meant to be a battle to advance in Lisbon, but it turned out to be a shootout for top spot as Besiktas collapsed in Ukraine.Napoli won 2-1 at Benfica but both teams qualified for the knockout stage after Besiktas fell to a surprise 6-0 thrashing at Dynamo Kyiv.Substitute Dries Mertens changed the match after coming on in the 57th. Serhiy Sydorchuk and Junior Moraes added to the scoreline after Besiktas striker Vincent Aboubakar was red-carded for a second offence.Group DRobert Lewandowski curled in a spectacular free kick to give Bayern Munich a 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid, but the Spanish side still won the group, finishing with 15 points to Bayern’s 12.Bayern’s win stretched its record to 15 straight Champions League home victories and ended Atletico’s hopes of winning all six group matches.By holding PSV Eindhoven to a 0-0 draw, newcomer Rostov clinched third spot and a place in the Europa League. He also netted once against City in Manchester and twice against Celtic in Glasgow.Ronaldo on Wednesday will try to become the first player to score 100 goals in European competitions. Messi played in only five matches for Barcelona this season, but he twice scored hat tricks – in the home games against Celtic and Manchester City. The Belgium international set up the opener for Jose Callejon on the hour mark before securing the win in the 79th.Napoli gifted Benfica a consolation goal three minutes from time when Raul Albiol was caught napping, allowing Raul Jimenez to seize the moment and fire past Reina.In Ukraine, Dynamo’s star winger Andriy Yarmolenko started the night’s torment for Besiktas with smart footwork on the byline and a cross to the far post for Artyom Besedin to score the ninth-minute opener.Besiktas looked lively for the next 20 minutes until defender Andreas Beck was dismissed for a collision with Derlis Gonzalez, who was through on goal for Dynamo. Lionel Messi opened the scoring in Barcelona’s 4-0 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach on Tuesday, but fell short of matching Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal record in the group stage of the Champions League.Messi struck his 10th group-stage goal this season, one less than the 11 netted by Ronaldo with Real Madrid last season to set the record. All positions had already been decided ahead of Tuesday’s final round.Manchester City drew 1-1 with Celtic in England in the other match of the group. Moenchengladbach ended with five points and winless Celtic with three.Messi scored in the 16th minute at Camp Nou after a one-two with Turan inside the Moenchengladbach area. Moenchengladbach finished third and will play in the Europa League next season. Yarmolenko scored the resulting penalty and Vitaliy Buyalskiy soon made it 3-0 with a lobbed effort after a Besiktas defensive mix-up.A deflected shot from Gonzalez provided Dynamo’s fourth in first-half stoppage time. Barcelona finished with 15 points, six more than Man City.

TFC hopes experience, confidence lead to MLS championship

“I started to say, ‘Hey, this is not us.’“That was the only real concern. It’s a long game. “After the first goal and the second goal, the veteran players were saying: Calm down, we don’t need to get too amped up over this – we still have many, many minutes to play in a two-legged affair, and 90 of those minutes are at home.“I think it’s easier when you know you have that much time to recover from something. “So we would get a little out of hand in terms of how many guys would commit to the attack in trying to score goals and we’d take another goal.“This year, our group is much more stable and balanced in terms of the mindset of sticking with the plan and seeing it through all the way. Having experience on the field is important, but also just the messaging from the sideline and how we go about things is always important. Combine that with the home-field advantage for Saturday’s MLS Cup and you understand why TFC is favoured to beat the Seattle Sounders for the league championship. This group has grown to recognize how it works.” Toronto FC is still a team that likes to dig holes for itself, but that is where the similarity ends with teams from its first nine years in Major League Soccer.There is a sense on the team now that things will work out after a lead is squandered or the opposition is allowed a quick advantage. Then it’s easy for the guys to stick with it.”Thanks in part to the aforementioned personnel changes after last season, there are now enough veterans on the team that Vanney does not have to gather his troops after every on-field mishap and buck them up.“I was looking at their reactions on the field during that [Montreal] game,” Vanney said. You don’t have to get too caught up in it. If so, it will be the first time the Cup has gone to a Canadian-based team.Nowhere was the resiliency of TFC more aptly demonstrated than after the first half of the first game of the two-leg Eastern Conference final against the Montreal Impact.Montreal took a stunning 3-0 lead in the opening half, and TFC looked disorganized and dispirited.But over the next 135 minutes of soccer in Toronto and Montreal, TFC gathered itself, fought back, slipped again a few times, but each time struck back. Then we adjust as we need to during the course of the game.”TFC defender Steven Beitashour showed that confidence a few minutes earlier Tuesday when he was asked if there ever was a point in the playoffs when he worried that it was all over.“Never that it was going to end, but I’d say when we were down three-nothing to Montreal I started to worry a little bit,” he said. Eventually the Reds stole a 7-5 aggregate series win in extra time.Experience, preparation and confidence are the keys to bouncing back, according to TFC head coach Greg Vanney.Confidence, for example, was sorely lacking in the 2015 Reds, not to mention some defensive skill that was remedied with a few personnel changes.“In years past or last year, I don’t think we were a confident enough group that once we gave away one goal that we wouldn’t give away two or three goals,” Vanney said Tuesday after his team’s training session. “Preparation is always important, because if you know what you’re planning for, you know what you’re about to face.“And you believe in what your long-term objective is and what you’re capable of doing over the course of 90 minutes. The type of players we have, we always expect to score.”If a team is prepared well in the sense that it knows what to expect from an opponent and has weathered more than a few crises, according to Vanney, then it is well suited to shrug off a bad turn or three.“I think you gain that through experiences, a belief in what you’re doing as a group,” the coach said. No longer is a collapse inevitable after a few mistakes on the field.

Hall leads Devils over Canucks with goal, assist and hit

This was also their first win in regulation in the last 11 games.Daniel Sedin scored a second-period power-play goal with the Canucks on a two-man advantage, and he set up his brother, Henrik, early in the third period when Vancouver closed the deficit to a goal. This is the first time the Devils have gone 10 home games without losing in regulation — they began 8-0-1 in 1987-88. Taylor Hall scored a goal, set up a go-ahead tally by Kyle Palmieri and delivered a crushing check that knocked Vancouver defenceman Philip Larsen out of the game to lift the New Jersey Devils over the Canucks 3-2 on Tuesday night.Defenceman Ben Lovejoy also scored and Cory Schneider made 22 saves as New Jersey remained the NHL’s only team not to lose at home in regulation.

Schwartz, Blues rally to beat Canadiens in overtime

Tomas Plekanec and Paul Byron scored for Montreal, which completed a five-game trip 2-3.Goalie Jake Allen made 28 saves to improve to 13-3-3.Schwartz lifted a backhander past goalie Al Montoya with 1:22 left in overtime.Stastny and Schwartz scored in a 2:51 span in the third period to tie it at 2. Jaden Schwartz got his second goal of the game in overtime, leading the St. Louis Blues to a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.Paul Stastny also scored for St. The Blues rallied from a 2-0 deficit and have a point in their last 13 home games. Louis, which has won four of five.