Northern Ontario’s McCarville downs Carey 8-1 to advance to Hearts semifinal

Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville advanced to the semifinal of the Canadian women’s curling championship with an 8-1 playoff win over defending champion Chelsea Carey on Saturday.McCarville’s team out of Thunder Bay was scheduled to play Ontario’s Rachel Homan in the evening game for the right to play in Sunday’s final against Manitoba’s Michelle Englot. Carey went 9-2 and McCarville 8-3 to claim the third and fourth playoff seeds respectively in the preliminary round at the Meridian Centre.Carey started game with hammer as the higher seed, but she struggled with draw weight throwing both heavy and light.After two blank ends, McCarville stole seven points over the next four ends.Carey will play for the bronze medal Sunday against the semifinal loser.

Bonifacio drives in two as Atlanta Braves top Blue Jays in Grapefruit League opener

Jace Peterson, Adonis Garcia and Tyler Flowers had the other RBI’s.Blaine Boyer got the win after 1 2/3 innings of relief. Former Blue Jay Emilio Bonifacio was 2 for 2 and drove in two runs to help the Atlanta Braves beat Toronto 7-4 on Saturday in the Grapefruit League opener for both teams.Anthony Recker also drove in a pair for the Braves (1-0). Bartolo Colon started for Atlanta, allowing one run on three hits with a strikeout in two innings in his Braves debut. He allowed four runs on four hits through an inning of work.Anthony Alford, Reese McGuire, Dwight Smith and Jake Elmore, who went 3 for 3, drove in runs for Toronto (0-1). Glenn Sparkman, the Blue Jays’ pick in December’s Rule 5 draft, took the loss.

Shaw scores OT winner as Habs win 14th straight over Maple Leafs

“Are we going to beat Montreal? The Leafs could have pulled within two points had they emerged in regulation.“I thought we played very desperate hockey tonight and responded well from our previous game,” said Price, who stopped an Auston Matthews breakaway and hat-trick attempt moments before Shaw’s game winner.It was just the third win in the last 11 games (3-7-1) for the Canadiens and second under new head coach Claude Julien (2-2-0).“This is the stretch of the year that gets tough,” said Shaw, his ninth goal this year also his first game-winning marker in the bleu, blanc et rouge. Yes,” Babcock said. The Habs struck back quickly with Alex Galchenyuk feeding the team’s captain for the one-timer and game-tying marker — his 29th goal this season.“Those are the types of efforts that we’re going to continuously need for the rest of the season,” Price said.Galchenyuk got the Habs the lead in the final five minutes of the period when he beat Leafs centre Nazem Kadri for positioning around the net and deposited a Nikita Nesterov pass.Price was sharp in a middle period which saw Toronto outshoot Montreal 12-5. Yes.” “There’s tight games and the teams with character and the teams with heart that are going to find the ways to win.”Looking for their first win over Montreal since Jan. The victory offered the sputtering Habs some much-needed cushioning in an increasingly tight Atlantic Division. He turned aside two good chances from Connor Brown and Matthews on a Leafs power play — stopping all eight of their shots with the man advantage.“He was our best player tonight,” Shaw said of Price, who earned his 259th career win to pass Ken Dryden for sole possession of third place in Canadiens history.The Leafs were playing without Mitch Marner and Tyler Bozak (hand), the former missing his fifth straight game with an apparent right shoulder injury.Matthews tied it at two with his second of the game 79 seconds into the third, just getting his stick on a feed from Hyman. He became just the third Leafs rookie ever to hit the 30-goal plateau, joining Wendel Clark and Daniel Marois.Matthews needs five goals to break Clark’s rookie franchise record of 34.The American centre also pulled even with Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine for top spot among rookies in goals (30) and points (54).Matthews nearly had the hat trick in overtime, his breakaway attempt stopped by the knob of Price’s stick.The Habs scored off the next faceoff, Shaw taking a long, lofting feed from Tomas Plekanec and tucking around an Andersen poke-check before slamming hard into the end boards.“I didn’t see (the poke-check) until the last second so it might’ve been a little luck on our side,” Shaw said. It was the 19-year-old’s team-leading 29th goal and 53rd point of the season.The goal was also Matthews’ 11th to open a game this year — tops among NHL players — and 10th point (five goals, five assists) over the last 10 games.Matthews had two chances to score earlier in the period, but was denied both times by Price.Struggling to score these days, Montreal nearly evened it up at one with 55 seconds left in the first, Max Pacioretty’s redirection attempt creeping through the pads of Frederik Andersen before striking the post.Pacioretty celebrated for a moment, thinking the puck had crossed the line.The Canadiens entered the night with only 13 goals in their previous 10 games.Pacioretty finally evened it up at one seven-plus minutes into the second on a Canadiens power play, just the third marker on the man advantage this month for Montreal.Toronto looked to be in fine position moments before the goal, but Zach Hyman held onto the puck in the neutral zone for one extra second and had it swiped by Pacioretty. “But I think we’ve been working hard and competing and doing the little things right so it’s about time the bounces started going our way.”The Leafs equalled their point total from all of last season (69) in getting to overtime, head coach Mike Babcock noting that the “big step is we’re getting to play in real hockey games that matter.”Babcock was pleased with his team’s effort in defeat and paid little mind to Montreal’s three-year winning streak over Toronto — which preceded his hiring as coach.“Did I want to win tonight? “Desperate” hockey helped the teetering Montreal Canadiens score a big two points on Saturday night.Andrew Shaw scored the overtime winner and Carey Price was stellar with 32 saves as the Canadiens beat the Maple Leafs for the 14th consecutive time, a 3-2 triumph at the Air Canada Centre. Montreal now has 74 points, four up on Ottawa (70) and five up on Toronto (69). 18, 2014, the Leafs got on the board first on a strange goal midway through the opening frame.Matthews drove into the Canadiens zone with speed, pulled up and fired a shot that pinged off the outstretched stick and then arm of Alexei Emelin before bouncing off the ice and in between the pads of Price.

Northern Ontario’s McCarville rounds out final four at Scotties

Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville claimed the final playoff spot at the Canadian women’s curling championship with a 10-6 win Friday over Northwest Territories.McCarville was a finalist in last year’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts, losing to Chelsea Carey.Carey (9-2) and McCarville (8-3) meet again Saturday afternoon in a playoff between the third and fourth seeds. and Stacie Curtis of Newfoundland and Labrador went 5-6.Prince Edward Island’s Robyn MacPhee finished with a 9-5 win over Saskatchewan’s Penny Barker while Curtis beat Nova Scotia’s Mary Mattatall 7-4. Manitoba’s Michelle Englot and Ontario’s Rachel Homan (both at 10-1) were to meet in Friday evening’s playoff between the top two seeds. The winner advances to the evening semifinal. Alberta, Kerry Galusha of N.W.T. The winner goes to Sunday’s final, while the loser drops to the semifinal.Carey downed Alberta’s Shannon Kleibrink 7-4 to cap the preliminary round.Quebec’s Eve Belisle (7-4) finished just outside the playoffs.

Since he made the majors, outfielder Billy Burns has had animals by his side

You’ve just got to go and hopefully something goes your way.” It’ll just hang there all day. In 97 games with the A’s and Royals last year, Burns slumped to a .235 average, 15 extra-base hits and 17 stolen bases.“I don’t know what my role is going to be,” Burns said. He could get more playing time this year following an off-season trade that sent Jarrod Dyson to Seattle.“He can be a Dyson-type of guy,” Royals manager Ned Yost said Thursday. They just kept fighting. “The mantis is really kind of a still creature. He had a phenomenal year his rookie year and kind of fell back a little last year, but it’s all in there. It can sit there for hours and hours on end without you having to do anything.”Burns hit .243 in 24 games with Kansas City, stole three bases and scored seven runs. “He’s a base stealer. “That’s not up to me. I’ll just play hard, show them what I can do and hopefully impress some people.”He figures to back up Kansas City’s projected starting outfield, which includes Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain and Jorge Soler.Burns has speed, stealing 74 bases in 2013 in the minors. There’s FedEx fish shipping. He swiped another 57 in 2014, including three with Oakland.“It is something I love to do and it is something I’ve worked on my whole career,” Burns said.Royals first-base coach Rusty Kuntz has been tutoring Burns.“Hopefully, I can continue to improve on that with the help of Rusty,” Burns said. “He’s one of the best resources in the game. “That shows the character of the Royals at the time. Billy Burns keeps getting assigned to team mascot duty.When the Oakland Athletics first called up the outfielder in September, 2014, he had to travel with a goldfish as part of his rookie hazing.“I took it to all the clubhouses,” Burns said. It ended up dying in their care before they could.”Acquired last July 30 for Brett Eibner, Burns became caretaker of a rally praying mantis when the Royals went on a hot streak.Burns researched how to keep the mantis alive, purchased a glass cage with foliage and gave him insects to eat. “I asked the clubbies if they could ship it to me. They pulled that win off somehow and went on to have a great post-season run.”Burns wanted to keep the goldfish.“After the playoff, I couldn’t fly with it,” Burns said. The mantis travelled on the Royals’ charter flights and was in the clubhouse.“It’s real low-maintenance,” Burns said. It’s really been awesome to learn from him.”Burns said getting an extra half-step lead and “knowledge of the pitcher could be the difference between safe and an out.”If Salvador Perez leads off the ninth with a single with the Royals trailing by a run, Burns could run for him.“It takes a lot of guts,” Burns said. “Sometimes you’ve got to take chances, depending on the situation. Defensively he can play all three outfield positions.”Burns hit .294 with 18 doubles, nine triples, five home runs and stole 26 bases in 2015 with the A’s, finishing fifth in AL rookie-of-the-year balloting. He’s a switch-hitter, a line-drive type hitter. “That was the craziest game I’ve ever seen,” Burns said. He can cover gap to gap. “It was tougher to carry that’s, for sure.”The goldfish’s finale was in Kansas City, where Oakland wasted a four-run, eighth-inning lead and lost the AL wild-card game 9-8 in 12 innings.

Vancouver Canucks player diagnosed with mumps, others show symptoms

Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby was among a group of players diagnosed with the virus during the 2014-15 season.The outbreak with the Canucks came the same day public health officials and infectious disease experts urged Canadians to check that their vaccinations are up to date as clusters of mumps are investigated in Ontario and Alberta. The Vancouver Canucks say at least one player has been diagnosed with mumps and that several others have shown symptoms of the highly contagious virus.Troy Stetcher is the only confirmed case, while fellow defencemen Chris Tanev and Nikita Tryamkin, along with forwards Mike Chaput and Markus Granlund, have all shown symptoms. The Canucks said Friday that players with symptoms were immediately tested and quarantined for a five-day period or until test results prove negative.“We’re taking this very seriously given how easily mumps can spread,” Canucks general manager Jim Benning said in a statement.The team added that vaccines are also being administered to minimize further risk of contraction, along with universal preventative hygiene measures, including disinfecting all dressing room areas.The mumps virus is found in saliva and respiratory droplets. Measles cases are also being probed in Nova Scotia. It is spread person to person through coughing, sneezing or coming into contact with saliva.This isn’t the first time the hockey world has been hit by the mumps.

Five Canadian NHL teams are in the playoff chase but cling to berths

Nowadays, those types of razzle-dazzle, franchise-altering deals almost always occur in the off-season when GMs with tangible assets to shop can interest all 30 teams in their available players.The problem at the trade deadline is the list of suitors can be far shorter. If you imagine the trade deadline as a series of stock-market transactions, the Flames bought low on defenceman Michael Stone who, only a year ago, put up 36 points for the Arizona Coyotes, playing mostly on the first pair with Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Chances are the player who will have the greatest impact on a playoff contender’s championship aspirations might be one of the two big centres being offered around – Arizona’s 6-foot-6 Martin Hanzal and Tampa’s 6-foot-7 Brian Boyle. I just don’t think it’s the right time for this team. I’d rather see them play out.“Things can fall in your lap … but I don’t see us being heavily involved in [the rental] market. “You never know because it happened here in 2006, but I just don’t see us being big players in that regard. Boyle would be a good fit if Tampa makes him available.Toronto is in a position similar to Edmonton’s – in the early stages of a methodical rebuild that probably doesn’t include any major 11th-hour additions either. The cost for Stone, a soon-to-be unrestricted free agent, was modest – a third-round pick in 2017, and an additional a fifth-rounder if he signs an extension with Calgary in the summer. Having said that, there are some areas where we can improve, and if you get into the playoffs, you never know. Two years ago, there was a brief flicker of hope. “But we made a lot of moves in the summer [primarily trading Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson] and they’re coming around. But that’s the approach we’re taking.”In the salary-cap era, the job of an NHL GM has become increasingly complex, with so many of the decisions needing to be filtered through payroll commitments. For going on 10 years now, a succession of Edmonton Oilers’ general managers have found themselves in the same desultory position at the NHL trading deadline: Obliged to sell off player assets to get help for some future date when their fortunes might finally turn for the better.Well, hallelujah.The future is inching ever closer – and not just in Edmonton, where the Oilers appear poised to snap a decade-long playoff drought, but elsewhere across Canada. Before that, you had to go all the way back to 2003-04 to witness five Canadian teams compete in the postseason. “If you’re talking hockey deals – for players with term left on their contracts that are going to generate multiple pieces back – those are June deals. But if the cost is one of Ottawa’s premium young defenders, it will be a tough deal for general manager Pierre Dorion to make.Winnipeg, four points back of Calgary in the race for the final wild-card berth, appears to be in a holding pattern. You can include 30 teams at that point, rather than dealing with five, six or seven now, because when you get into June, where there are no cap issues, your field is bigger.“And there are going to be disappointments in the playoffs, so maybe a team that you hadn’t even thought about comes with an offer.”Calgary was the first team to wade into the trade market this season, making the sort of small, strategic addition that will probably characterize this year’s trading deadline. Duchene has pure, raw speed and if the path to the Stanley Cup final goes through either Pittsburgh or Washington, two teams that play the game in high gear, having a player with track-club speed would be helpful and enticing.But giving up the sort of assets Colorado GM Joe Sakic would want in return makes completing a deal more problematic.Ottawa suddenly also needs help up front because of its injury issues and Duchene, from Haliburton, Ont., would also be a good fit with the Sens. Most teams simply don’t have the payroll flexibility or roster depth to add a warm body, no matter how talented.It’s why, for example, the Colorado Avalanche – who have been listening to offers for two of their good young forwards, Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog – are unlikely to deal either in the next few days, unless a team steps up with a bold unexpected offer.The Colorado player most likely to move is Jarome Iginla, the future Hall Of Famer, who has never won a Stanley Cup championship in a 20-year career and would like one last crack at it before he retires.In all probability, Iginla will also be the most recognizable name to change teams at this year’s trading deadline. Duchene was a member of Canada’s 2016 World Cup championship team, which included Julien as an assistant coach, Weber on the blueline and Carey Price in goal, giving the Canadiens a keen insight into his character and strengths. Subban to Nashville for Shea Weber and Edmonton moving Hall to New Jersey for Larsson. Five teams – the Canadiens, Senators, Flames, Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks – all made the playoffs, but only two advanced to the second round, where both Calgary and Montreal were summarily dismissed. The Oilers, for example, are shopping rather than selling – for a back-up goalie, for help in the faceoff circle and, maybe if it all falls into place, for experience up front to help mitigate all that raw youth that will be seeing postseason action for the first time.But knowing Edmonton’s window to compete for a championship is just barely inching open, Oilers’ general manager Peter Chiarelli has made his strategy clear: He is not going to pull out all stops this year, trying to land a short-term fix that might enhance his team’s playoff chances.Instead, he is judiciously seeking a tweak or two, and hoping the impending return of defenceman Darnell Nurse and the continuing development of top prospect Jesse Puljujarvi in the minors ultimately can give his team a necessary late-season push.“There are areas we can tinker with, and I think the team deserves it, based on being in the playoff conversation,” Chiarelli said last week. Edmonton landed its Messiah two years ago in Connor McDavid who, in just his second NHL season, is leading the league in scoring.In addition to raising hopes for Stanley Cup playoff success, the presence of all these Canadian teams in the playoff mix has also changed how they approach the NHL trading deadline. One – Calgary – made it all the way to the Stanley Cup final before losing.Thankfully, the payoff for last year’s across-the-board blundering was significant in Toronto and Winnipeg, where the Leafs and Jets both landed generational talents (Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine) in the annual NHL entry draft. To make Stone more affordable under the salary cap, Arizona also retained one half of his $4-million annual salary.Calgary was a seller in Treliving’s first two years on the job, and he got remarkable value last spring for the likes of Jiri Hudler (second- and fourth-round picks) and Russell (a second-rounder who would have been upgraded to a first had Dallas managed to win two playoff rounds).But like Chiarelli, Treliving is also treading cautiously.“We’re still in a precarious spot,” Treliving said, “so you make the determination: ‘One, where do we want to help ourselves, and two, what’s a price that makes sense?’ Moving forward, I’m still in the mode of, ‘what are the prices?’ Similar to what we did on defence, if we could tweak it to help us up front, that’s what I’m looking at right now.”As for Chiarelli, with the prospect of having McDavid in his lineup for years to come, he is trying to be patient – and keep the rising expectations of his fan base in check.“I don’t think we’re quite ready to contend for the Cup,” Chiarelli asserted. On Friday morning, with less than a week to go until the 2017 NHL trading deadline, four teams in addition to the Oilers – the Montreal Canadiens, the Ottawa Senators, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Calgary Flames – were all clinging tenaciously to playoff berths in the oh-so tight NHL standings. Compare that with last year, when not a single Canadian-based NHL team qualified for postseason play, a development that created so much anxiety that it’s a wonder the government didn’t launch a royal commission.The last Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup was the 1993 Montreal Canadiens. Vancouver, eight points back, might be the only real seller among Canadian teams, with three assets – goaltender Ryan Miller and forwards Jannik Hansen and Alex Burrows – all drawing some measure of interest from the contenders.In an era when every team must supplement its high-priced core with contributions from players at the bottom of the roster, teams are generally loathe to part with their youth, even for a trade that could provide an immediate short-term return.“At the end of the day, only one team holds a parade,” said Flames’ general manager Brad Treliving. I’m not going to really mortgage it heavily this year.“From a planning perspective, it doesn’t make sense.” Montreal has been shopping for help ever since the coaching change – from Michel Therrien to Claude Julien – and has been linked to Colorado and Duchene. Edmonton is a team in need of faceoff help, especially if the Oilers play Anaheim in the first round. The most public manifestation of their jobs involves player trades which, mostly, occur right now, before the trading deadline, and then again in June, in and around the draft.Last year, both the Canadiens and Oilers made blockbuster deals on the same June 29 day – Montreal shipping P.K.

Leafs’ key season stretch begins Saturday against Montreal

“We’ve been a little off in terms of converting some of the chances but I think we’ve done a good job creating and carrying the play.” 14 and replaced by Claude Julien.Even though the Leafs can say they took five of a possible six points in their past three games, with two wins and an overtime loss, they have their own wobbles to be concerned about. If Toronto Maple Leafs fans are wondering exactly when the stretch drive to the NHL playoffs begins, Saturday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens serves as the best starting point.The floundering Canadiens, 2-7-1 in February and finding it awfully hard to score goals these days, were barely hanging on to first place in the Atlantic Division before Friday’s games. But their last win over the Leafs was Jan. He says he does not believe the loss of Marner, who will not be able to play Saturday, has hurt their productivity.“We’ve been playing a bit more north-south [with Brown],” van Riemsdyk said. The second-place Ottawa Senators would move into a tie in points with the Canadiens with a win Friday night against the Carolina Hurricanes. A win on Saturday over the Habs would put the Leafs into the thick of the fight for first place in the division. “Every play matters out there on the ice.“Those are the games you want to play in and it’s exciting to play those games.”Despite the Canadiens’ February woes, in which they’ve scored a paltry 14 goals, the Habs are not an easy mark for the Leafs. They have lost four of their past seven games, they grabbed a point from a shootout loss Thursday to the New York Rangers only because goaltender Frederik Andersen was outstanding, and they are having goal-scoring troubles of their own at times.The big concern now is van Riemsdyk, who has not scored a goal in 10 games, and linemates Tyler Bozak and Connor Brown. Also on head coach Mike Babcock’s watch list is the other veteran line of centre Nazem Kadri and wingers Leo Komarov and Josh Leivo.“That line wasn’t as good [Thursday] night,” Babcock said of Bozak’s line, which was excused from Friday’s practice to rest for the Canadiens game. Since Brown replaced the injured Mitch Marner three games ago, the line has not clicked. The biggest thing is to compete in the O-zone.”Van Riemsdyk thinks in that respect, he and his linemates are on the right track. “I measure on how hard they compete, how much they have the puck and how many shifts they’re in on and on the puck.“If you want to score and if you’re on the puck, you’ll score. They have three wins in as many games against Toronto this season. With 22 games left in the regular season, the Leafs sat in third place, four points behind the Habs with a game in hand. 7, which marked the start of a long stretch of trouble for the Canadiens that led to head coach Michel Therrien being fired on Feb. “Neither was [Kadri’s] group. A loss puts them back in the scramble for either third or the last Eastern Conference wild-card playoff spot.Considering the Leafs’ recent history as a punching bag in order to get the best-possible draft position, and that they have only one appearance in the playoffs since 2004, just being in this position is a welcome change for the players.“It’s fun to come to the rink every day, you look at the standings and see how tight things are,” Leafs winger James van Riemsdyk said. Those things happen and someone else has to pick them up.”What worries Babcock is not the actual lack of scoring from Bozak, van Riemsdyk and Brown but their overall work in the offensive zone.“I don’t measure guys on how many they score,” the coach said.

Canadian rugby team calls in reinforcements for Uruguay match

Despite knowing the travel nightmare ahead of him with the next tournament game set for Uruguay, Beukeboom bolted for the airport without hesitation.“Any chance to be with the national team is a great honour,” he said Friday from Montevideo. That’s what they base their game around.“With our young players, our challenge is going to be how to handle that and be able to play our game.”Gordon McRorie returns to Canada’s starting lineup as captain, while Clay Panga will make his first tournament appearance at flanker. “It’s pretty exciting to have two members of the family in the national team.” “But to trade the rainy days in England for Uruguay is pretty nice.”Ranked 20th in the world, the Canadians (1-2) played their first three tournament games on home soil. “Playing rugby for the full 80 minutes is where we seem to be lacking.”Anscombe has been troubled by his team’s slow starts – the United States led 15-0 after just 11 minutes – and was left seething by a number of sloppy lineouts against the Americans.“Getting [Beukeboom] down here certainly has helped,” Anscombe said. He replaces Taylor Paris, a back who scored five combined tries over the past two games, but has since been returned to his French club.“He’s a class footballer,” Anscombe said of Trainor, who also plays in France. Kainoa Lloyd also draws in for what will be his test debut on the wing.There could also be a sibling connection on the field.Matt Beukeboom, Brett’s 19-year-old brother, has been named to the Canadian bench after making his test debut against Chile two weeks ago.“It’ll be the first time we’ve every played together, if we do,” said Brett Beukeboom, who left home at 16 to pursue rugby. “They’ve been competitive in all their games. later this year.Most of the country’s top internationals aren’t with the team, but Beukeboom said there’s plenty of promise in the current group.“We have some exciting young players,” said Beukeboom, a lock for the Cornish Pirates in the second-tier English Championship. “Getting some knowledge, some seniority, some leadership in that area … we’re confident that will make a difference.”Conor Trainor is also back and will start against Uruguay. “We’ve lost Paris, but we’ve replaced him with another good one.“Hopefully we can give him the opportunity to show what he can do.”The U.S. 30 Chile 36-15 on the same field.The 17th-ranked Americans then thumped Canada 51-34 last weekend in soggy Burnaby, B.C.The Canadians called up a relatively inexperienced squad for the event with an eye on development ahead of two crucial World Cup qualifiers against the U.S. “To be called in was something I couldn’t turn down.”The 26-year-old from Lindsay, Ont., will earn his 23rd test cap Saturday as one of five changes to the starting lineup when Canada visits Uruguay in its fourth of five ARC matches.Beukeboom’s South American odyssey started with a six-hour train ride to London before a flight to Miami and finally a connection to Montevideo – a trip that took about 40 hours from door to door.“It was a long couple days,” said Beukeboom, the nephew of former NHL defenceman Jeff Beukeboom. 33 Brazil.Canada is 8-1 all-time against Uruguay, including a 33-17 victory at last year’s ARC.“They’re improving,” said Anscombe, whose team visits Brazil to conclude its schedule March 3. Brett Beukeboom didn’t think twice about swapping English rain for Uruguay’s sun and humidity.After helping his rugby club to a league victory last weekend, the Canadian took an eight-hour bus ride home from Leeds to the town of Penzance in southwest England.Beukeboom barely had a chance to unwind when he got a call from men’s national team head coach Mark Anscombe. They lost to Argentina’s second-tier side 20-6 on a snowy pitch in Langford, B.C., before downing No. and Argentina ‘A’ are both 3-0 and appear to be on a collision course for tournament honours when they meet March 4.Uruguay, ranked 23rd, opened with a 29-23 loss to the Americans and a 57-12 blowout defeat to Argentina before getting in the win column with a 23-12 victory over No. Canada had just lost to the United States in Americas Rugby Championships play and was facing a number of injuries. They’ve got a strong forward pack.

Raptors return from all-star break with playoff hope, injury concern

“He had X-rays [Friday] or images, he’s gonna get more images next week. Friday, stepping off a red-eye flight from Phoenix, ready to join a team that acquired him for his defensive toughness. Casey said he had treatment on the wrist over the all-star break while he was in New Orleans and more when he returned to Toronto on Thursday night, but it hadn’t improved by Friday.Toronto had all of its players healthy for only one of its 57 games heading into the break. Still, they know that while the formula looks good, the chemistry still could take some time.“In a short time we’ve got to get a rhythm and a rotation and feel for each other, combine what they’ve done well for other teams and incorporate it into our team. Then Dwane Casey dropped some unsettling pregame news – all-star point guard Kyle Lowry wouldn’t play Friday because of a lingering injury to his right wrist, suffered against the Charlotte Hornets on Feb. Washington added a big scoring threat off the bench by adding Bojan Bogdanovic. In Atlanta, newly acquired Ersan Ilyasova will help stretch the floor. I don’t know how long he’s gonna be out. The rolling Celtics took over the No. Patrick Patterson was finally back from a knee injury. Now the oldest player on the roster, the 31-year-old small forward/shooting guard, acquired from the rebuilding Suns on Thursday, said he knows several Raptors well – Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, DeMarre Carroll – and feels instantly comfortable with the players and the systems.“The guys play well together, they mesh well. “Different nights, different stories, different teams – there’s going to be different things we need to win games and I’m that guy, a utility guy who comes in and does whatever you need to get a win that night and then get ready for the next one. On paper, the squad appeared complete. Boston stood pat, confident in the roster that roared into the break by winning eight of 10.The Raptors are counting on their two newly acquired veteran players to adjust quickly. The Raptors no longer looked like the team most likely to meet the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference final.Acquiring Ibaka and Tucker should surely bolster the Raptors defensively, a must since the squad went into the break tied for 10th in points allowed (104.3) and 19th in defensive rating (109). 2 spot, followed closely by the Washington Wizards and Atlanta Hawks. The team appeared in desperate need of a shakeup at the trade deadline if it wanted to make another run to the Eastern Conference final, or even dream bigger. “I always put P.J. There was a strange mix of hope and concern in the air on Friday, as the Toronto Raptors returned from the all-star break for a showdown with the Boston Celtics.P.J. I think 25 games left and being right in the thick of things, being able to make a push to get even higher and get home court advantage.”DeRozan gave Tucker a huge endorsement on Friday.“I’ve been asked who are the three toughest players that guard me best,” DeRozan said. Newly acquired Serge Ibaka was about to make his Raptors debut and fill the team’s long-standing gap at power forward. “They’re people with feelings and who have to understand terminology, and all of that has to come together.” After holding the second spot in the Eastern Conference for the first couple of months of the season, the Raps began to falter, skidding into the break having lost six of their past 10 games, and plummeting into fourth place. in there.”Many NBA experts praised Toronto as one of the big winners of the now-expired trade period, particularly in the East. Tucker, the final piece of the Raptors’ puzzle, arrived in Toronto at 9:30 a.m. Smith are both out recovering from surgeries. Both players will also be counted upon to shoot the three and to help slow stars such as LeBron James, should they meet the Cavaliers in the postseason.After a whirlwind first day as a Raptor, Tucker was squeezing in video study with coaches before meeting with the Toronto media. So that’s a blow. It’s not gonna be a one-day thing.”The invaluable Lowry averages 37.7 minutes a game, more than any other player in the NBA. But it’s an opportunity for Cory [Joseph] and Delon [Wright] to step in and play. I’m just looking to add whatever they need,” Tucker said. I like what we have,” Casey said. 15, before he participated in the all-star weekend.“He hurt his wrist in the Charlotte game, thought it was gonna get better,” Casey said. Cleveland could be vulnerable at the moment as Kevin Love and J.R. That’s a huge blow for us.

Capitals defeat Oilers to extend home winning streak

The Capitals dominated much of the final period and held on in the final minutes when Talbot was off for an extra attacker. Oshie out along with Andre Burakovsky, who’s expected to be back in mid-to-late March. Justin Williams and Tom Wilson scored as the Washington Capitals beat the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 on Friday night to tie the franchise record with their 13th consecutive home victory.Williams’ game-winner in the third period was his 19th of the season. But it was the fourth line that jumpstarted the offence with Wilson’s fifth goal of the season through traffic 12:22 into the first period.A misplay by the Capitals’ second line led to Draisaitl’s goal 35 seconds into the second when the puck pinballed to the big German wide open in front. Washington’s streak of home games with five-plus goals ended at 11, but Braden Holtby made 30 saves to pad the team’s lead atop the NHL. They have now outscored opponents 64-20 during their home winning streak.Leon Draisaitl scored his team-leading 23rd goal of the season for Edmonton, which got 24 saves from goaltender Cam Talbot.The Capitals had their most patchwork lineup of the season with injured regulars Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik and T.J. Evgeny Kuznetsov didn’t have a point but was arguably the Capitals’ best player against Edmonton. Connor McDavid added to his league-leading point total of 69 with the secondary assist.Williams, a pending unrestricted free agent, beat Talbot clean on a one-timer for the game winner 5:48 into the third. Washington is the league’s healthiest team this season with only 27 man games lost to injury, but four players out at one time meant the NHL debut of rookie forward Riley Barber and season debut of defenceman Aaron Ness.Oshie’s absence, his 10th missed game this season because of an upper-body injury, pushed Brett Connolly on to the first line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.

Eddie Lack gets ninth career shutout as Hurricanes beat Sens

Eddie Lack stopped 34 shots for his ninth career shutout to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 3-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Friday night.Jordan Staal, Elias Lindholm and Viktor Stalberg scored, and Phillip DiGiuseppe had two assists to help Carolina snap a five-game losing streak (0-4-1) and move out of last place in the Eastern Conference. The Senators squandered a chance to move into first place in the Atlantic Division.Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson moved past Kyle Turris into sole possession of second place on the franchise’s consecutive games played list with 308. Lack (2-3-1) was making just his sixth start of the season due to concussion issues.Craig Anderson finished with 41 saves for Ottawa, which snapped a three-game road winning streak.

Chad Johnson lifts Flames to third straight win

Calgary took a 2-1 lead 79 seconds later when Backlund scored on a wrist shot from in front. Aleksander Barkov and Nick Bjugstad scored for the Panthers. Chad Johnson made 36 saves during his first start in five games to lead the Calgary Flames past the Florida Panthers 4-2 on Friday night for their third consecutive victory.Sam Bennett, Mikael Backlund, Deryk Engelland and Troy Brouwer had the goals for the Flames, who scored three straight in less than five minutes midway through the first period. Roberto Luongo stopped 24 shots in his first start in three games.The Panthers, coming off the first five-game road sweep in franchise history, have lost two in a row.Calgary stretched its lead to 3-1 when Engelland swept in a loose puck in the crease with 6:09 left in the first.Florida closed to 3-2 on Barkov’s shot from the point with 2:40 remaining in the period. Barkov has seven goals in his past eight games.Brouwer made it 4-2 at 6:19 of the second when he redirected a pass from Matt Stajan into the net from in front.Bjugstad gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead on his power-play goal at 5:45 of the first when his shot from the left circle went off Johnson’s blocker and in.The Flames tied it when Bennett grabbed a rebound in front and poked it in at 8:57.

DeRozan leads revamped Raptors to victory over Celtics

The Raptors gave up 19 points on 11 turnovers — no surprise with their revamped roster.Lowry, who sat alongside the coaches in a charcoal grey suit, injured his wrist in the Feb. Lowry missed the game with a right wrist injury.Thomas led Boston (37-21) with 20 points.P.J. A huge blow for us,” Casey said.The Raptors looked discombobulated at the beginning of the game, allowing the Celtics to shoot 55 per cent in the first quarter and take a 29-18 lead into the second.The Celtics stretched their lead to 17 points in a second quarter that saw some heated moments. Cory Joseph and Patrick Patterson had 11 points apiece for Toronto (34-24). When DeRozan went to the free throw line in the dying seconds, the crowd serenaded him with chants of “M-V-P!”The Raptors shot 49 per cent on the night, and outrebounded Boston 40-36. Carroll whacked Thomas with a flagrant foul while chasing him down, and the pint-sized point guard leapt back to his feet and went straight at Carroll, wagging a finger, while teammates held him back. Tucker, playing his first game as a Raptor in about a decade, finished with a team-high 10 rebounds, including two huge ones in the final minute-and-a-half, plus nine points. Tucker, who was originally drafted by Toronto in 2006, was acquired by the Raptors at Thursday’s trade deadline, and didn’t arrive in town until 9:30 Friday morning.The Raptors were among the busier teams at the trade deadline, shipping Terrence Ross to Orlando for Ibaka, then picking up Tucker, much to the relief of Raptors fans who watched helplessly as the team plummetted down the Eastern Conference standings in recent weeks.They went into Friday night in fourth place in the East, four games back of the second-place Celtics.Playing their first game in nine days, the Raptors trailed by as many as 17 points but when Ibaka drilled a three-pointer with 5:58 to play in the third, it capped a spirited 18-7 run that gave the Raptors their first lead since the game’s opening minutes.Marcus Smart drilled a three with 3.9 seconds to go to send Boston into the fourth quarter with a 77-74 lead.The Celtics led by as many as eight points in the fourth quarter, but when DeMarre Carroll knocked down a three-pointer with 3:27 to play, it put Toronto up by two points. The newcomer scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds to help a retooled Raptors team that was missing Kyle Lowry to a 107-97 win over the Boston Celtics. Came back (Thursday) night, got treatment and woke up this morning and it wasn’t any better.”Tests on Friday showed the injury was more serious than first expected.“There’s going to be more images next week, so that’s a blow. DeRozan added a long jumper, and it was a four-point Raptors lead in front of a delighted capacity crowd of 19,800 that included Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock.A basket by Jae Crowder pulled Boston to within three, but DeRozan replied with a long jumper with a minute to play that all but sealed Toronto’s victory. 15 game versus Charlotte, but played in the NBA all-star game four days later in New Orleans.“He thought it was going to get better,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. Less than three minutes into Toronto’s Eastern Conference battle against Boston on Friday, Serge Ibaka swatted away a shot by Isaiah Thomas then scored on a long pullup jumper on Toronto’s next possession.The crowd roared as the ball bounced around the rim before finally dropping through the hoop.On a night DeMar DeRozan scored a career-high 43 points, Ibaka made his Toronto debut a memorable one. “(He) had treatment over the all-star break, down in New Orleans. Toronto closed the frame on a 7-0 run, and Boston went into the halftime break up 55-45.The Raptors host Portland on Sunday, are in New York to face the Knicks on Monday, then play Eastern rival Washington back to back — Wednesday in Toronto, and Friday in D.C.

Manitoba leans on veteran Englot, claims playoff spot at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Homan was assured a top-two finish and thus will play Friday night.The winner goes directly to Sunday’s final. At 9-1, their final round-robin game was a marquee matchup at night against undefeated Rachel Homan of Ontario.Third Kate Cameron, 25, is making her Hearts debut in St. “This year has been more exciting for me just because I know the team is super-talented and we have the opportunity to be at the top.“We know if we play well we can definitely compete with any team in the world, so we’re looking forward to the playoffs.”The four teams with the best records get into the Page playoff, with ties for fourth solved by tiebreaker games.The preliminary round concludes Friday morning followed by a playoff game at night between the top two seeds. Catharines.“This has been a really fantastic fairy tale year,” the skip said. Catharines, Ont., while front end Leslie Wilson, 37, and Raunora Westcott, 40, played in it for Cathy Overton-Clapham in 2011 and Jill Thurston in 2010.The closest Wilson and Westcott came to playoffs was losing a tiebreaker in 2010.Englot, 53, skipped Saskatchewan to the playoffs twice in seven appearances. After seven straight wins, Carey fell 8-4 to McCarville in the afternoon draw.Quebec’s Eve Belisle was 6-4 with a game against B.C. “If I miss a shot she’s ‘no worries Kate.’ There’s no anger.”Englot knows from experience how difficult it is to win your province and get to the Canadian championship. “Now, we know how big this is, but yet, in the same breath we need to stay the course, stay relaxed and stay focused.”The Regina resident – Curling Canada allows each team to have one out-of-province member – has been doing that in the preliminary round.“She’s patient, she’s calm,” Cameron said. Michelle Englot was recruited precisely for this situation.Short on previous playoff experience at the Canadian women’s curling championship, Manitoba will now lean on a woman who has been there, done that.The Manitobans claimed their playoff spot at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts with a 7-2 win Thursday over British Columbia. at night.At 5-5, Kerry Galusha of Northwest Territories and Alberta’s Shannon Kleibrink needed Quebec and Northern Ontario losses Thursday night to avoid elimination. She finished third in both 1988 and 1989.“Back in ‘88 and ‘89, we didn’t really realize how big this is,” Englot said. The loser drops to Saturday night’s semi-final to face the winner of the afternoon playoff between the third and fourth seeds.Defending champion Chelsey Carey, 7-2, and Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville, 6-3, were in playoff territory with two games to play. She’s revelled in her new team’s performance both in Manitoba play-downs and in St.