Senators’ poor play on the road has coach Guy Boucher steaming

“You can make some mistakes. Not only did Boucher stop drills if he didn’t like what he saw, he pointed fingers at those making the mistakes.Asked if he was worried about players taking exception to the criticism, he said if anyone takes issue with being singled out then the team has much bigger problems.“If we’re that fragile, we don’t deserve to be in the playoffs,” said Boucher. At this point it doesn’t appear Craig Anderson, whose wife is undergoing treatment for throat cancer in New York, will be re-joining the team before the Christmas break as Boucher said he expects Anderson to be gone “for a while.”Chris Wideman, who took a puck to the nose Sunday afternoon, will be a game-time decision. It’s nothing personal and I think we need to realize that.”Practice focused mainly on battle and compete drills as Boucher was frustrated by his team’s effort in a 5-1 loss to Anaheim on Sunday.“Our compete level wasn’t good enough and that’s just unacceptable,” said Boucher. “That’s all he’s trying to do is make us a better team, better players. “I believe we’re a team that can acquire a much better work ethic than we had last game because we had it before.”The Senators (16-11-2) host the San Jose Sharks (16-11-1) Wednesday and Boucher knows his team can’t afford to let things slide, which was one of the reasons he was so frustrated by mistakes during practice.Players expected a tough practice considering the result of the road trip and, as for Boucher’s outburst, most saw no issue with it.“You make mistakes and you need to be professional to take that criticism and get better,” said veteran Chris Kelly. Neil is just the third player in franchise history to reach the milestone, joining Chris Phillips (1,179) and Daniel Alfredsson (1,178). When you see it slip away you’ve got to get back in practice and do it and when you do it in practice, you do it in games.”With 15 games in November and 13 in December, practice time has been difficult to come by as Boucher tries to find the balance between rest and work for his players.“It’s a more difficult gauge than usual to be honest with you,” said Boucher. There is another team that’s playing well and wants to win, it’s the NHL, you’re not alone on the ice, but when our compete level isn’t there and we’re not first on puck on purpose that’s something we can’t accept of ourselves.“We’re a much harder team to play against than we showed the last game and the last four periods and that’s not something you just ask for. “We have to figure it out because we don’t want our team to drift and (Tuesday) we were in big need of practising some specifics.”Mike Condon will get the start Wednesday with Andrew Hammond as his backup. Guy Boucher says he doesn’t mind bruising a few egos if it stops the bad habits that have been creeping into the Ottawa Senators’ play lately.Practising for the first time since a disappointing four-game road trip that saw them win just once, the Senators head coach was critical of every error and had no problem voicing his displeasure. Wideman practised Tuesday wearing a full visor. Should Wideman not play, Andreas Englund will replace him.Wednesday night the Senators will honour Chris Neil, who played his 1,000th NHL game last Saturday.

Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco takes issue with BMO Field pitch

Three days after his team lost the MLS Cup final on penalties, Toronto FC star striker Sebastian Giovinco raised the issue of the playing surface at BMO Field.Giovinco, who had to be subbed off the last two home games, said the one difference between this season and 2015 was the MLS team sharing the ground with the CFL Argonauts. Saturday’s championship game was also the latest MLS Cup final in league history. The Italian made his comments to the media through an interpreter in the team’s end-of-season availability Tuesday.Team officials said Giovinco had raised the issue with them and that they were confident they could do things to improve the playing surface next season.BMO Field hosted the Grey Cup in late November.

Swimmer Penny Oleksiak wins Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete

Swimmer Penny Oleksiak is the winner of the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year.The Toronto Star award is selected annually by a panel of sports journalists from across the country.Oleksiak won four medals at the Rio Olympics last summer, including gold in the 100-metre freestyle.She added four more medals at the short-course world championship this month in Windsor. The 16-year-old Toronto swimmer edged Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby for the honour.Other finalists were sprinter Andre De Grasse, golfer Brooke Henderson, Paralympic swimmer Aurelie Rivard, tennis player Milos Raonic and high jumper Derek Drouin.The Lou Marsh Trophy is named after a former Toronto Star sports editor.

Brooke Henderson says she’s matured after remarkable season

In Rio, she left the golf course in tears after shooting 4-over on the final six holes of the third round, a collapse that included a four-putt on the 16th hole.“Golf is a very tough game and like anything in life there is going to be disappointments where you wish you had played a little bit better or made smarter decisions, but that’s just where you have to learn from it and move in,” said Henderson. But at the end of the day I’m just building a better me.”Henderson was the LPGA’s Ironwoman in 2016, playing a tour-high 31 events, peaking at No. Taiwan was Brooke Henderson’s favourite destination on the LPGA Tour this year. But she believes the gruelling schedule has prepared her for the future.“Where the tournaments were, what the courses were like, what the fans were like, the atmosphere, the communities around the tournaments, and the travelling – like how to get from one city to another and if it was easy or not – were all really important things to learn,” she said. I’m really looking forward to next year and hopefully the years after that too.”The LPGA Tour features two events in Canada in 2017 with the Manulife LPGA Classic in Cambridge, Ont., set for June 5-11 and the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open scheduled for Aug. 2 on the world rankings before finishing eighth. “I’m happy to come home, and I remember where it all began with my family and friends. 21-27 in Ottawa.The CP Women’s Open is already circled on Henderson’s calendar as the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club is playing host. “There’s always little things that every caddy/player have to figure out, but for the most part I really feel we work great together. Playing in the Olympics, winning US$1.7 million in prize money and capturing her first major were pretty cool, too.The 19-year-old from Smiths Falls, Ont., packed more into one season than some golfers experience over an entire career. She added 15 top-10 finishes and was just two shots out of the bronze medal position at the Olympics.While many marvel at the teen’s poise and maturity, Henderson’s inexperience did come to the forefront on occasion. And short game. Back home this month for a well-deserved holiday break, Henderson told The Canadian Press she feels more mature as she reaches the end of her remarkable year.“This year especially gave me a lot of experiences that added a lot of value to who am I am as a person, and what I am on the LPGA Tour,” she said in a recent interview. That’s always been something I’ve worked on especially the last few years.”She will also continue to have her older sister Brittany, a professional golfer in her own right, as her caddy.“We really make a great team and we know each other really well, which helps us on and off the course,” she said. “Now that I’ve done it, I feel almost like a veteran, where next year is going to be a lot easier.”Henderson won two titles in 2016, including the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, her first career major. “Being a member of the Ottawa Hunt Club and having it so close to where I grew up, celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary in the capital, it’s going to be really amazing.”After getting so close to the top in her first full LPGA season, Henderson admitted she’s more motivated than ever to get to No. Add to that the Rio Olympics and sponsor commitments and the young Canadian didn’t have much time for herself on her first full season on the women’s pro circuit. “When something really exciting happens – like having my major win or my other win this year – you really have to embrace them and celebrate because they’re hard to come by.”Henderson will remain involved with Golf Canada’s program next year, although she said she would work with Canadian head coach Tristan Mullally a “little bit” as her father Dave is her “number one guy.”“I definitely would like to get stronger and hit the ball a little further and work on my consistency overall,” she said of her off-season plans. “I think that’s the big one. 1.“I know there’s a lot of hard work ahead of me,” she said. “I’ll set smaller goals on my way to that, but I think that’s ultimately the end goal for any person playing on the LPGA Tour.” The course gave Henderson an honorary membership this year.“I’m already looking forward to that week of the season and hopefully I peak that week,” said Henderson.

DeRozan, Ross lead Raptors over Bucks in high-scoring affair

First up is Wednesday’s game in Philadelphia against the 76ers. He hit a floating jumper, a flashy driving layup and a three-pointer, while also nabbing some rebounds. The young Milwaukee squad, who may challenge for a playoff spot this season, chipped away at a lead that had ballooned to 26 points. Suddenly it was a 10-point game going into the final quarter.The Raptors seemed to return in the fourth. The 19-year-old played seven minutes on Monday and registered three points and three rebounds.The Bucks lost their third in a row and now hold an 11-12 record, good for ninth in the Eastern Conference.The Raptors, who still sit second in the East, are fourth in the league in average points a game with 111, behind only Golden State, Houston and Cleveland.“I’ll take the offensive explosion that we’re having right now and the good shooting, ball movement or whatever it is,” said Toronto coach Dwane Casey. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that ties with the 21-4 Warriors for the best offensive efficiency of any National Basketball Association team since the three-point line was introduced in 1979.The Raptors jumped ahead quickly, leading 33-23 after the first quarter behind a parade of three-pointers and a nine-point quarter for DeRozan, with another eight from DeMarre Carroll, including a pair of threes.Carroll began the game defending Antetokounmpo, and the Milwaukee star was held to just a single field goal on three attempts in the opening frame.Ross exploded for 12 points in the second quarter. The Raptors were one point shy of their highest-scoring half of the season, when they took a 69-49 lead into the locker room, in large part thanks to 8-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc.In the third quarter, however, the Bucks came charging back. [Patrick Patterson’s] start dropping, T-Ross’s start dropping, [Norman Powell’s] start dropping, [Carroll] too.”After playing the NBA’s second-toughest schedule to this point – according to Basketball Reference – the Raptors’ next three games are against teams with .500 records or worse. Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, the burgeoning 22-year-old superstar small forward known as the Greek Freak, registered 30 points and eight rebounds, besting his performance against Toronto when the two teams met on Nov. Behind big efforts from Antetokounmpo and Parker, combined with a cooling of Toronto’s shooting, the Bucks outscored the Raps 33-23 in the third. Jonas Valanciunas had 11 points and 13 boards, while Carroll contributed 13 points and seven rebounds.It was the first career NBA game in Toronto for Thon Maker, the Sudanese-born Australian who played two seasons at Athlete Institute in Orangeville, Ont., before the Bucks drafted him 10th over all back in June. “I think somebody asked this morning, them seeing the ball going through for Kyle, is it contagious? It’s true, and the Raptors rolled to another high-scoring win on Monday,122-100 over the athletic, young Milwaukee Bucks.Led by 30 points from DeMar DeRozan and 25 from Terrence Ross, the Raptors cruised to their third-straight victory on Monday and ninth in their past 10 games, improving to a 17-7 record. 25. It may seem like a surprising fact: The Toronto Raptors are currently tied with the Golden StateWarriors for the best offensive efficiency in the NBA. The 7-foot-1 power forward has played very sporadically for the Bucks in his rookie season – appearing in just eight games. The energy may have gotten the best of him though as he manufactured a steal and drove to the hoop but flubbed a monster dunk.Kyle Lowry, coming off a season-high 34-points on 18 field-goal attempts against Boston, had 18 points and seven assists on Monday. Jabari Parker also caused Toronto some problems while rolling for 27 points.Heading into Monday’s game, the hot-scoring Raptors were averaging 114.2 points for every 100 possessions. Ross once again erupted offensively in the final quarter to help build Toronto another comfortable lead.

Spooner lifts Bruins to overtime win over Canadiens

Ryan Spooner scored in overtime as the visiting Boston Bruins beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 on Monday night.Austin Czarnik scored for the Bruins (16-12-2) in regulation time. After a scramble in front of Rask’s net, the Bruins goalie lost track of the puck as Byron backhanded home his 10th of the campaign. Nathan Beaulieu was the lone defenceman back, but his sliding effort just missed Czarnik’s shot.Rask kept his shutout bid alive until 16:48 of the third period when Byron scored on Montreal’s 29th shot on goal. There was no penalty on Krug on the play.Brendan Gallagher took matters into his own hands, dropping the gloves with Krug with five minutes remaining in the first.The second period saw fewer dust-ups, and was more about Price and Rask repeatedly frustrating their opponents.Price denied Czarnik on a partial break early in the frame. Tuukka Rask made 29 saves for the win as Boston handed Montreal a rare home loss.Paul Byron scored late in the third period to salvage a point for Montreal (19-6-4). The Habs winger went straight to the dressing room but was back for the start of the second period. The 24-year-old beat Price for his third goal of the season as he fired a shot between Price’s pad and blocker while on a 2-on-1. David Krejci looked to have given the Bruins the victory the victory 59 seconds into overtime but referees determined David Pastrnak had interfered with Price, preventing him from making the save.Spooner made it official with 1:40 remaining in overtime, beating Price on a partial breakaway. The Canadiens netminder then made a big pad save on Patrice Bergeron later on in the period.Rask’s biggest stop in the second was when he went down and stacked the pads on Tomas Plekanec, just seconds after Pastrnak hit the post at the other end of the rink.Czarnik broke the deadlock with 1:05 remaining in the middle frame. The Canadiens challenged the goal, claiming Spooner was offside on the play, but the goal stood.The loss was only Montreal’s third at the Bell Centre this year (14-1-2).The Canadiens and Bruins have a stormy history and it didn’t take long for the bad blood to spill over between two of hockey’s greatest rivals.Alexei Emelin set the tone for the encounter 13 minutes in with a big shoulder-to-shoulder bodycheck along the boards on young Bruins phenom Pastrnak.Torey Krug answered seconds later with an elbow to the head on Andrew Shaw in open ice in the neutral zone. Carey Price stopped 26-of-28 shots in defeat, just his fifth loss of the season.

Winnipeg Jets feeling the squeeze of their crazy, busy schedule

29. The road-weary Jets were hanging in with the Edmonton Oilers until flashy rookie Patrik Laine did something he’s done a lot of this season, and conjured up another goal. “Maybe we’ve just got to get used to it.”The 2016-17 NHL season is unusual and covers 173 days altogether, once the Christmas and all-star breaks are subtracted, according to figures provided by the Elias Sports Bureau. For comparison purposes, that’s four days fewer than last year, six days fewer than the year before and seven days fewer than the year before that.But what’s new and unique to this season is that every team has been granted a bye week – Winnipeg’s falls between Feb. They know it just as well. I don’t have to say a lot to the older guys. Sadly, this one went directly into his own net; an own goal; and it left the Jets on the wrong side of a 3-2 score in their fourth consecutive defeat. He will tell you he’s never seen a season quite like this one, which started five days later than a year ago (because of the World Cup), but finishes on the exact same date in the spring, April 9.“I don’t know if it’s the new NHL, or it’s just an unusual season, or if it’s the geographic situation we’re in,” Maurice said. Little has played some with Drew Stafford and Blake Wheeler, and other times with Nikolaj Ehlers and Laine.“They’re two very different looks,” Little said. “Stafford and Wheeler are good players, but what they bring is a bit different than playing with the young kids. We’ve been really resilient and really consistent in our effort … Our fight’s been great.”Now, if they could just translate that fight into better results in the standings. Little has endured through the most luckless stretch of a career that’s now in its 10th season.After he missed the final 25 games of past season as a result of a fractured vertebrae, Little was then injured on his third shift of opening night in a collision with Carolina Hurricane Bryan Bickell and was out for 23 games.Without him, the Jets stayed barely competitive in a Central Division that doesn’t have the lustre of previous years, which may be the most important development of all because it has kept them in the playoff hunt.Now, with Little and emerging star Mark Scheifele in the lineup, they have an enviable one-two punch down the middle. The Winnipeg Jets’ lost weekend concluded in heartbreaking fashion Sunday night, if the 32nd game of any NHL season can actually be described as heartbreaking. It was the 28th game the Jets had played in 49 days, and the fact that coach Paul Maurice knew that exactly tells you something about their crazy, busy schedule.Maurice is not given to hyperbole and started coaching in the National Hockey League back in 1995. Columbus has played the fewest at 26, with nine other NHL teams at 27.That scheduling imbalance has taken its toll on the Jets of late and makes it difficult to assess exactly what they have – and what they might be capable of over the final 50 games, when their version of the compressed schedule lightens up.“I’d like to think that the teams we’ve played five or six more games than, are going to have the same thing coming down the pipe at some point,” Maurice said.“Not sure if that’s going to happen, but we’ve survived to this point – and then it will be up to us to make hay when the sun is shining.”If there’s one piece of good news for the Jets, it is how well centre Bryan Little has played since he returning to the lineup on Nov. 21 and 28 – for the first time in NHL history.In effect, it means teams need to fit 82 games into 168 possible playing days – leaving them with anywhere from nine to 12 fewer available days to do so compared with the past three seasons.Winnipeg has played the most games so far (32). For the younger guys, you’ve got to talk to them a lot – communicate with them, and try to figure out what they’re thinking on the ice.”The Jets have until Thursday to regroup, before starting a two-game homestand against the Florida Panthers, after which they travel to Vancouver to play back-to-back games against the Canucks before the Christmas break.Four days off will give them a chance to rest and practise and see what a mostly full lineup might look like when play resumes.“If you take the age of our group and consider 135 man-games lost, I think we’ve been very consistent,” Maurice said.“At one point, we lost five games in a row, so that’s not very good, but we only had one game in there that I didn’t think we gave what we had.

Metropolitan Division boasts the NHL’s strongest teams this season

Philadelphia has risen to fifth in the East behind 15 points from Jakub Voracek, a .930 save percentage from goaltender Steve Mason and a strong power play and penalty kill.Coach Dave Hakstol said the Flyers are finding different ways to win games, as evidenced by them beating the Edmonton Oilers 6-5 and then a few days later the Detroit Red Wings 1-0 in overtime.“I think we’re playing better defensively as a team,” said Voracek, who has 32 points and trails only Edmonton’s Connor McDavid in the NHL scoring race. “I would venture to say he’s probably the most fair coach as far as time off and days off and treating the players with respect and giving them their space and just allowing them to focus on one thing and one thing only, which is the 60 minutes ahead of them and the game. 3, Metro teams are an astounding 28-7-3, led by the Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, red-hot Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets and streaking Capitals. “The top eight in the East is going to be tough to get in this year. We plan to be at the top.”

Even for the Capitals, who ran away with the division, the top seed in the Eastern Conference and the Presidents’ Trophy last season, that’s easier said than done.They’re on pace for 112 points, which would leave them in third place because the Metropolitan is home to five of the top-eight teams in the NHL.Since Dec. “I think we’re finally getting to see what the Metropolitan is all about.”Asked if Washington getting tested by a tougher division could help come playoff time after running away with it last year, Williams simply shrugged and said, “Maybe.”His coach definitely thinks so, or at least that the Metropolitan being this good isn’t a bad thing for any team that makes the postseason.“I think competition makes you better,” Trotz said.“I think the quality in the Metro this year is terrific. 27. The Flyers have won a league-best nine in a row, the Blue Jackets six and the Penguins five so the Capitals’ four-game winning streak doesn’t have them moving up the standings.“Win them all if you can,” coach Barry Trotz said. “You have a bad day, you could fall like three or four spots. “When we’re making mistakes, Mason is playing unreal … I think as an overall game we got better not only over the winning streak but in the games before. It’s a good challenge, and I think it prepares you just to have some consistency in your game. That’ll make all the teams better, not only ours. “There’s no room. We’re in our playoff push.”No team has pushed toward the playoffs harder than the Flyers, who were 13th in the East before their run began on Nov. We lost the games when we should’ve won earlier in the year and now we’re winning them. If you don’t, then you’ll fall out.” It’s a good sign.”The Penguins have avoided the dreaded Stanley Cup hangover thanks to Sidney Crosby’s league-leading 20 goals in his first 22 games.As Henrik Lundqvist sits, Rangers backup goalie Antti Raanta has won three-consecutive starts with a 0.33 goals-against average and .984 save percentage.After losing four of its first six games, Columbus is rolling under coach John Tortorella. It’s a two-way street with him, and I think it’s allowed us to excel.”Meanwhile, the Capitals shrugged off some early-season malaise, and Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Braden Holtby said, “We’re realizing a little bit more who we are.” Three-time Hart Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin snapped a seven-game goal drought Sunday, but Nicklas Backstrom and others are picking up the slack.Defenceman Karl Alzner isn’t surprised by the Metropolitan might.“We all knew that when the divisions got made that ours was going to be really hard and it wasn’t as hard as it could’ve been, I think, the last few years,” Alzner said. You could go from being a wild-card team to not being in the playoffs to being second in your division if you win.”The competition is so hot that the New York Islanders are still in last place despite winning six of their last 10 and the New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes are five and seven points out of the last playoff spot in the East.At the top of the division, the Penguins, Rangers, Flyers, Blue Jackets and Capitals have combined to win their last 27 games.“Everyone’s playing at a high level,” Rangers centre Derek Stepan said. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is among the league leaders with a .932 save percentage and 1.98 GAA this season and forward Cam Atkinson has 27 points in 26 games.“Everybody’s bought in,” Columbus centre Brandon Dubinsky, who also played for Tortorella in New York. Justin Williams knows, from missing the playoffs twice with defending Stanley Cup champions, just how difficult it is to make it to the postseason, which is why the Metropolitan Division standings have his full attention.“I see our division, I see everyone winning,” the Washington Capitals right winger said.

Ryan Tannehill’s knee injury less serious than first feared

He has a 13-12 record as a starter – giving him a career winning percentage better than Tannehill’s – but this week will be the first time Moore has started for a team with a winning record.The new backup quarterback is expected to be rookie Brandon Doughty, a seventh-round draft pick from Western Kentucky who grew up near the Dolphins’ complex.Tannehill likely finishes 2016 with career highs in passer rating (93.5), completion percentage (67.1 per cent) and yards per attempt (7.7). Despite the surprising news, Matt Moore is expected to make his first start since 2011 on Saturday against the New York Jets.Tannehill limped out of Sunday’s win in the third quarter after being hit by defensive end Calais Campbell as he released a completion. It’s a long, long process.”ACL surgery generally requires at least a nine-month recovery. 1 quarterback.After a slow start against Arizona, Moore led a late drive that ended with the game-winning field goal.The Dolphins won for the seventh time in the past eight games and forged a tie with Denver in the race for the final AFC wild-card playoff berth.Only two Dolphins on the active roster have been with the team longer than Moore, a 10-year veteran who joined Miami in 2011. He has 25 starts but none since the Dolphins drafted the durable Tannehill, who started 77 consecutive games in his first five NFL seasons despite taking 213 sacks.Moore has thrown 16 passes in the past four seasons, including five Sunday. Ryan Tannehill’s left-knee injury is less serious than first feared and no surgery is expected, but it remains unlikely he’ll play again this season for the Miami Dolphins.The quarterback’s injury was diagnosed as a sprained ACL and MCL, coach Adam Gase said Monday.When Tannehill was hurt Sunday against Arizona, the Dolphins (8-5) feared a torn ACL that would require surgery and a long, arduous rehabilitation. Miami led 21-9 when Tannehill was hurt and won 26-23 on a last-second field goal.The victory didn’t help the Dolphins’ glum mood. “I was happy for him. Gase said the Dolphins don’t know how long Tannehill will be sidelined by the sprained knee, but it’s questionable whether he would be available even deep into the postseason.While Tannehill was at the team complex Monday, Moore was not – his wife was having their third child. But he’ll soon be cramming as the new No. That’s a hard injury to come back from and rehab. Tannehill was red-eyed on the sideline as the game ended and left the stadium on crutches.But the Dolphins learned late Sunday he won’t need surgery.“Better than what we thought,” Gase said.

U.S. court won’t hear challenge to NFL concussion settlement

The league has announced it will spend hundreds of millions of dollars to study ways to improve player safety and has taken steps to outlaw some of the game’s most brutal hits.CTE, a progressive degenerative disease of the brain seen in athletes and others with histories of repetitive brain trauma, has been discovered during autopsies on several former players.They included Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide, and safety Dave Duerson, who played on the all-time great 1985 Chicago Bears defense and later committed suicide. They also argued the deal unfairly favored currently injured retirees and left thousands of former players who have not yet been diagnosed with neurological diseases without a remedy.The objectors included Scott Gilchrist, the son of retired player Carlton Chester “Cookie” Gilchrist, a Buffalo Bills running back in the 1960s whose lawyers say died from CTE at age 75 in 2011.The NFL has come under increasing pressure in recent years from fans, politicians and parents to address the link between playing the sport and head trauma. It also said many of the symptoms associated with CTE, such as memory loss, are eligible for compensation under the settlement. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia wrote that those challenging it “risk making the perfect the enemy of the good.” Under the settlement, the NFL does not admit guilt.The deal was first approved in April 2015 by U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a challenge to the National Football League’s estimated $1 billion settlement of concussion-related lawsuits with thousands of retired players brought by a small group of them who contend it is flawed.The justices rejected an appeal of a lower court ruling in April upholding the settlement, which resolved litigation brought by players who accused the NFL of covering up information that tied head trauma like that suffered playing football to permanent brain damage. In March, the NFL for the first time acknowledged a link between football and CTE.But the appeals court noted that the research surrounding CTE is still nascent, with no current way to test for the disease while an individual is still alive. The U.S. The dozens of retired players challenging the settlement complained that it did not cover potential victims of a degenerative brain disease that scientists have linked to repeated blows to the head.In upholding the settlement in April, the 3rd U.S. The settlement calls for payments of up to $5 million each to former players diagnosed with certain neurological disorders, but it does not address chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a condition that has been linked to concussions.The lawsuit was brought on behalf of more than 5,000 retired players, though the settlement could cover more than 21,000 former players, according to the appeals court.A smaller group of retired players objected to the agreement, saying it did not account for CTE. District Judge Anita Brody in Philadelphia.

Cristiano Ronaldo wins fourth Ballon d’Or award

I never thought in my mind to win four times. The emotion is like for the first one, it’s a dream come true again. I feel so proud and happy.”The Ballon d’Or, which merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year award from 2010-15 to create the FIFA Ballon d’Or, returned to France Football magazine this year, with only journalists voting and not national team coaches and captains. I’m so happy,” said Ronaldo, who won the award in 2008, 2013 and 2014. Portugal and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or award for the fourth time on Monday after claiming the European Championship and Champions League titles in 2016.Ronaldo is now one short of his La Liga rival Lionel Messi’s record tally of five.“For me it’s a great honor to receive my fourth golden ball. “I take the opportunity to thank all my team mates, from the national team and for Real Madrid.

Edmonton Oilers beat Winnipeg Jets 3-2

Patrik Laine has scored a lot of big goals in his rookie season with the Winnipeg Jets. The winner was credited to Edmonton forward Mark Letestu and stood as the game winner. That’s my comments,” said the Finnish rookie, who has 17 goals for the Jets in just 32 games. He’s scored nine goals in 15 career games against the Jets.“I can’t really explain it,” Letestu said. “Every defenceman, it goes in off them, so he has a story to tell.”Winnipeg started the scoring with 5:10 left to play in the first period when a Bryan Little tip went off the post, but Perreault got two whacks at it, sweeping it in past outstretched Oilers goalie Cam Talbot.Edmonton came close late in the first on a power play, but Jordan Eberle’s one-timer hit the crossbar behind Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck.The Oilers tied the game two minutes into the second period when a huge rebound from a Tyler Pitlick shot came to Klefbom, who hammered home his fifth of the season.Winnipeg regained the lead with eight minutes to play in the second period as Thorburn scored on a nice feed in front from Marko Dano.Edmonton looked to have pulled even again two minutes later, but a Zack Kassian breakaway goal was deemed to be offside upon review.The Oilers made it 2-2 2:28 into the third period on the power play as Connor McDavid set up Letestu for a chip shot goal in front.Edmonton got a break to go ahead 3-2 with 8:39 to play in the third as Laine swatted a shot into his own net with some authority in an attempt to clear it, giving Letestu credit for his second of the game.“He’s 18 years old. I’ve done it many times”The Oilers remain at home to play Columbus on Tuesday. “It was just a bad position for me. The Jets are off until Thursday, when they will play host to the Florida Panthers. An unfortunate goal.”Letestu has had five of his six goals this season come against Winnipeg. “It’s nice to be in the fight right now. He feels terrible,” said Jets captain Blake Wheeler. I think it’s just coincidental that it’s been against this team. Unfortunately, he scored a big goal for the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.Laine accidentally rifled the puck into his own net as the Oilers snapped a four-game losing skid with a 3-2 victory over the Jets. We’ve put ourselves in the (division) lead and we have to keep it rolling.”Mathieu Perreault and Chris Thorburn scored for the Jets (13-16-3), who have now lost four straight games.Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice sympathized with Laine’s bad luck.“Every guy in the National Hockey League’s got a goal like that,” he said. “These things happen. “The puck just goes in on certain nights. A really lucky third goal and on the power play, Connor (McDavid) finds me in a good spot.”Oscar Klefbom also scored for the Oilers (15-11-5), who improved to 7-6-1 at home.“These points are huge,” said Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. We’re battling every night and every point is so big we just have to find a way to get those points because it’s a tight race right now. Laine was clearly not in the mood to discus his late-game gaffe.“I think everybody saw what happened.

Varlamov stonewalls Maple Leafs as Colorado Avalanche leave Toronto with 3-1 win

My family’s here right now and I got a lot of support from friends and family so it’s really special.”The Leafs carried the play to Colorado in the opening period, outshooting their opponents 21-8, a season high for shots in one period for Toronto this season.But it was the Avalanche who skated away with a 1-0 lead.Rantanen scored the goal, on the power play with just over a minute left in the period, knocking home the puck into the open net with Bibeau caught out of position making an earlier save.Tyler Bozak was off for tripping at the time – a lazy penalty that occurred in the Colorado defensive zone.The defensive noose tightened in the goalless second period where scoring chances were kept to the bare minimum.In perhaps an attempt to light a fire under his team, Matt Martin of the Leafs engaged Nikita Zadorov in a fight late in the period, but to no avail. Toronto came into the Colorado game with a record of 0-4-1 in the back half of back to backs this season.It was also the second game in as many nights for the Avalanche, who were humiliated just 24 hours earlier, dropping a 10-1 loss in Montreal to the Canadiens.Maybe Patrick Roy had the right idea when he abruptly resigned as the Avalanche coach in August.Babcock was certain that Colorado would be primed to make amends against the Leafs.“What would you want from us if we got tuned last night,” Babcock said earlier on Sunday. “Unfortunately we couldn’t get the win but it was a really special moment. Pretty calm kid.”The Avalanche took a 1-0 lead into the third period on the strength of a power play goal by Mikko Rantanen all the way back in the late stages of the opening frame.The Avalanche would increase their total to 2-0 with another power play marker, the one by Nathan MacKinnon at the 7:22 mark.MacKinnon neatly stepped around Toronto defender Morgan Rielly at the Leaf blueline and then skated in to beat Bibeau with a low shot to the stick side.The Leafs finally broke through late in the game when Gardiner one-timed a blast past Varlamov at the 17:24 mark while Toronto was enjoying a two-man advantage and had their goaltender pulled.Blake Comeau then iced it for Colorado, sliding a long shot into the unmammed net with 1:11 left to play.Toronto outshot Colorado 52-19 on the game, but the majority of the shots were from far out as the Avalanche did a good job of limiting any second chances.“They get a good road win, they rode their goaltender and got it done,” said Toronto coach Mike Babcock. The power play had good looks, but we got to score on the power play, you just can’t get good looks.”The Leafs started the day eight points back of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and the next week or so might provide a good opportunity for the club to make some post-season hay.Sunday’s contest marked the first of a five-game home stand for the Buds, who next will entertain the San Jose Sharks at the ACC on Tuesday.For the Leafs, coming off an impressive 4-1 win in Boston on Saturday, the back-to-back was their sixth of 18 scheduled for this season. “You’d expect us to come here and get our nose to the grindstone and bet back to it. And when the opponent was an Avalanche outfit who were shellacked 24 hours earlier in Montreal, you would have thought Toronto’s task would be that much easier.Instead, it was the Avalanche who were able to crush Toronto’s spirits on a snowy night in the big city, skating to a 3-1 win in a low-key, tight-checking affair.If you like your hockey with a heavy dose of defensive play with little in the way of gold standard scoring chances, this was your baby.The game marked the National Hockey League debut of Antoine Bibeau in the net for the Maple Leafs with regular goaltender Frederik Andersen getting that night off.If Bibeau was tense, it didn’t show and he was the least of Toronto’s problems in this plodding affair.“I sure hope he was nervous tonight, his first NHL game,” said Toronto’s Jake Gardner, the only Leaf to beat Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov. “But he didn’t look like it. Just when you think the Toronto Maple Leafs have finally turned a corner toward semi-respectability, up pops a baffling performance like Sunday night’s outing against the Colorado Avalanche.Returning to the cozy confines at the Air Canada Centre after a solid win Saturday night in Boston against the Bruins, one would have expected a fired up Toronto outfit to show up, ready to build on the momentum from that big road win. They’re going to be no different here, they’ve got proud guys.”As for Bibeau his first NHL start, Babcock said he expected the 22-year-old to be a tad nervous.Bibeau was whiling away his time with the Marlies in the American Hockey League when he got called up after Jhonas Enroth was waived and then demoted to the minors.“It was a really special game, obviously,” Bibeau said. “We had lots of opportunities to score and didn’t.

Pittsburgh Steelers overcome three interceptions to beat Buffalo Bills

It was the second three-TD game of his career, and first in which he scored three times rushing.Bell broke the franchise rushing record set by Willie Parker, who had 223 yards against Cleveland on Dec. Washington (7-5-1) snapped a two-game losing streak and remained in the middle of a jumbled playoff race. 7, 2006.He also extended his streak to four-straight games with 100 yards or more rushing, a span in which he’s combined for 620 yards on the ground.The Bills mustered no response on offence or defence at a time when both quarterback Tyrod Taylor and coach Rex Ryan are having their future in Buffalo questioned.Taylor finished 15-of-25 for 228 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.Lions 20, Bears 17DetroitMatthew Stafford ran for a go-ahead, seven-yard touchdown with three minutes 17 seconds left after throwing two interceptions in the fourth quarter, one that was returned for a score on the previous possession. The Eagles (5-8) have lost four in a row and eight of 10 after a 3-0 start.Packers 38, Seahawks 10Green BayAaron Rodgers passed for 246 yards and three touchdowns as the Green Bay Packers routed the Seattle Seahawks 38-10 on Sunday. Le’Veon Bell scored three times and set a franchise record with 236 yards rushing in finding traction on a slick, snow-covered field, leading the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 27-20 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon.The Steelers overcame three interceptions thrown by Ben Roethlisberger to win their fourth straight game to improve to 8-5 and keep pace in the AFC playoff race. Green Bay gained more than 300 yards in Seattle’s first game without former All-Pro safety Earl Thomas, out for the season with a broken leg. The NFC North-leading Lions (9-4) have won five straight and eight of nine.Washington 27, Eagles 22PhiladelphiaChris Thompson’s 25-yard touchdown run with 1:54 remaining lifted Washington to a 27-22 victory over Philadelphia. They’re two games back of first-place Detroit in the NFC North, but play division opponents in the last three weeks of the season. Matt Barkley completed two passes that put the Bears in a position to at least attempt a tying field goal in the final minute, but both were negated by penalties, before Chicago turned over the ball on downs from the Detroit 44. Seattle’s Russell Wilson threw a career-high five interceptions and the Packers (7-6) won their third straight game to keep their playoff hopes alive. He had nine rushes for 72 yards alone and capped the 82-yard drive by waltzing into the end zone from five yards.Bell also had 62 yards receiving to account for 298 of the 460 yards gained by Pittsburgh. After scoring in the first half on three- and seven-yard runs, Bell put the game away on the opening drive of the third quarter. Kirk Cousins threw two touchdown passes, including an 80-yard toss to DeSean Jackson, and had a pick-six. The loss all but mathematically eliminated the Bills (6-7) from contention, and puts them in jeopardy of extending the NFL’s longest active playoff drought to 17 years – the longest since New Orleans ended a 20-year drought by reaching the postseason for their first time in 1987.

Toronto FC looks forward to 2017 after pain of MLS Cup loss

I don’t think we did,” Altidore said. It’s up to us now to get back in preseason, work hard and try to get the club back in position to win.”The reason for optimism is based on the fact that all three of TFC’s designated players are not the fading international stars that used to, and in some cases still do, come to MLS to wind down their careers with some easy money. History was made, all right. It was the crowning save of a night of holding off the TFC offence, which came at Seattle in waves only to be frustrated by Frei and his teammates, who rode a razor’s edge to victory. The cruel twist here is that Frei is a former TFC keeper, a five-year veteran of the team who was shipped out after the 2013 season in one of the Reds’ many house-cleanings before finally figuring things out in 2016.But there is a “but” here.This is not an old-style MLSE team, ripe for a roster blow-up. It will only make us better as we go into next year and stronger as a group as we try to get back to this and come away winners.“It’s a group that’s grown incredibly over the last two years. Altidore, Bradley and striker Sebastian Giovinco are still in their prime years. “We have a front office that’s committed to that core group of guys and committed to some stability with those guys.“This is a group that’s really close together and already thinking about how we can get together, push the envelope and get back to where we are today.” Their team was set to be the first Canadian champion in MLS history. By winning 5-4 on penalty kicks, the Seattle Sounders became the first MLS Cup champion to win without getting so much as a single shot on goal through 120 minutes of regulation and extra time, which ended 0-0. “There are a lot of lessons we can take away from this run. We’re just getting started.”Defender Drew Moor, who played a brilliant game on the back line with Eriq Zavaleta and Nick Hagglund, says of his teammates, “I hope they all stay here. It would also be the first team owned by MLSE to win a major championship. I think one of our key moves in the last couple years is we picked up designated players in their primes, not designated players who are at the end of their games.“We’ve got a very deep team, probably deeper than some people know. The only significant loss for next season is expected to be midfielder Will Johnson, 29, who is headed for free agency.“I thought we played in the playoffs like a team that really wanted to go and try and win a championship,” head coach Greg Vanney said. “I think we showed them what can be. Up to that point, Bradley was a shoo-in as the most-valuable player of the game.Instead, the award for MVP of the championship game went to Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei, who made not only that save on Bradley but an acrobatic one-handed stab on a header by TFC striker Jozy Altidore in the 17th minute of extra time. Bradley and Giovinco are both 29 and Altidore is 27.Supporting them is a solid mix of MLS veterans and young players from a development system that is starting to pay off. I know their heads are down now but they’ll come back fighting once we start reaching it next year. It was easy, after 120 minutes of regulation and extra time and then the agonizing penalty kicks, to confirm a widely held belief that Toronto teams, in particular Toronto teams owned by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, are cursed.Going into Major League Soccer’s championship game on Saturday night, fans of the heavily favoured Toronto FC were expecting history to be made. We’ll rest and recover and come back strong next season.”The 2016 campaign, during which the Reds won their first playoff game, brought the team close together, much closer than many MLS teams where players collect their cheques, put in some playing time and then go their own way.“Yeah, we have a great core group of guys,” Zavaleta said. Their first shot on goal came on their first penalty kick.Capping the penalty-kick nightmare was the sight of TFC’s star midfielder Michael Bradley shanking his penalty kick for an easy save. In the midst of the pain of losing a championship game on the wonky grounds of penalty kicks, the TFC players and their coach pointed out this is a team built for the long haul and how they expect to start preparing for a second appearance in the MLS Cup when training camp starts in about seven weeks.“I think the whole city was behind us and you can feel like we let them down. This off-season, we’ll look to make one or two moves, three moves at the most, to strengthen our team.