Laurent Duvernay-Tardif having tough time with Chiefs’ playoff loss

They finished atop the AFC West with a 12-4 record to secure the No. The Steelers made a crucial third-down conversion on the ensuing possession then ran out the clock, ending Kansas City’s season.Pittsburgh converted 7-of-15 third-down chances while Kansas City was just 2-of-9.“It’s never easy when you realize the whole season is over,” Duvernay-Tardif said. but we were not able to sustain drives throughout the whole game and we had a lot of penalties, turnovers. and instead of doing four months I’ll be doing three before I report to (organized team activities).”Duvernay-Tardif, who is scheduled to complete his rookie deal with Kansas City at the end of next season, hopes to complete his medical degree in 2018. “I’m starting a week after the Super Bowl… “With playoff football you never picture yourself losing and being done,” Duvernay-Tardif said in a conference call Monday. Kicker Chris Boswell accounted for all of the Steelers’ points with an NFL playoff-record six field goals.Conversely, the Chiefs scored two TDs, including Smith’s five-yard toss to Albert Wilson on their first drive of the game.“I think our defence played really really well,” Duvernay-Tardif said. The 2014 sixth-round pick from McGill completed his second season as Kansas City’s starting right guard.It all ended in a home playoff loss to a Pittsburgh squad that couldn’t find the end zone. “All the effort you put into every ball game (for it) to come down to a third-down conversion that the other team is able to make and then hit a knee… 8, 1994. “The Steelers take a lot of pride in that and our goal was to respond quickly.“I think it was a little bit more intense than usual but at the same time, from my (brief) experience in the NFL this was a playoff tempo.”It won’t be an off-season of total rest and recuperation for Duvernay-Tardif. “I think it’s going to get a little bit harder to accept because that means as an offence we should’ve been able to win that game for our team and we weren’t able to.“Yes, we scored two touchdowns… 2 playoff seed in the AFC and an opening-round bye.It was also a solid third NFL campaign for the six-foot-five, 321-pound Duvernay-Tardif, Canadian university football’s top lineman in 2013. Spencer Ware’s one-yard touchdown run with under three minutes remaining cut Pittsburgh’s lead to 18-16 before quarterback Alex Smith hit Demetrius Harris for the two-point convert.However, it was nullified by a holding penalty. “You believe and you believe and you believe and then right away it just hits you that it’s over. It’s going to take a little bit of time to digest that.”Sunday’s defeat was especially heart-breaking. Duvernay-Tardif chalked that up to playoff intensity.“Football is a physical sport, it’s a sport where intimidation plays a bit of a role sometimes,” he said. He’ll be back in Montreal next month resuming his medical school studies by working at three area hospitals.“Because we made it to the playoffs I switched my medical (school) schedule a little bit,” he said. Kansas City tried again but Smith’s pass for Jeremy Maclin was incomplete.The Chiefs pinned Pittsburgh on its five-yard line on the ensuing kickoff with 2:38 remaining but had to burn their final timeout following Le’Veon Bell’s two-yard run. I think it was a little bit disappointing offensively.”Despite the two teams combining for 10 penalties and 116 yards, the contest was a chippy affair with plenty of shoving and jawing after the play. it’s hard to accept.”The 2016 season was one of promise for the Chiefs. It’s an ending Laurent Duvernay-Tardif didn’t see coming and will need time to accept.The NFL season came to a bitter close for Kansas City’s Canadian offensive lineman Sunday night with Pittsburgh’s 18-16 road win over Chiefs in an AFC divisional playoff game. The loss was the Chiefs’ ninth in 10 playoff games and fifth straight at home since a 27-24 overtime win over the Steelers at Arrowhead Stadium on Jan.

Toronto FC stars Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley hard at work already

The squad will be pared down to 18 to travel to Bermuda for a Jan. In one sense you’re really proud and proud of everything we did together. 23. They are gearing up for friendlies Jan. “Just the time at home.“We travel so much and spend so much time on the road that when you get a little bit of time off, just to be at home … But it wasn’t long before the U.S. TFC’s my club. The off-season was all too short for Toronto FC stars Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley, with international soccer quick to call.Toronto players aren’t due to report for pre-season until Jan. We’re going to go after it from the first game.”Altidore’s goal this season is simple“To try to get back to that (championship) game obviously,” he said. Some defensive depth, especially at right back is also wanted.Bradley, who doubles as Toronto’s captain, believes the future is bright.“The expectations are that from Day 1 we’re going to have a very good team,” he said. 29 on San Diego against Serbia and Feb. So we’ll continue to use that as big motivation for us as we move ourselves forward.”Six Toronto teammates – Mo Babouli, Jay Chapman, Jordan Hamilton, Jonathan Osorio, Ashtone Morgan and Tosaint Ricketts plus Toronto FC II forward Raheem Edwards – are part of the 28-man roster for Canada’s Jan. “That’s the year. Toronto’s my home. And proud of the city, the way they stood behind us.“And in another (way) you’re a little disappointed in terms of how it ended. is great.”There was some speculation late last season that the 29-year-old Bradley, who has earned 126 caps for his country, had drawn interest from European clubs. Hopefully we can use that disappointment (as motivation) to start our season and really try to get to that (championship) game again.”Bradley, who said at the time that the championship loss was going to sting a while, was philosophical looking back.“Sports at the highest level challenges every guy to give everything they have and to spill their heart and soul into it. There’s lot of things going to happen now. So I’m just trying to stay fit, try to stay hungry.”Bradley and his family got to relax on a beach for a few days after the season ended. 12-18 camp in Florida. team’s morning practice. I think the club will continue to look to add the right types of guys. While they plan what to pack, Altidore and Bradley have been working up a sweat in California under the watchful eye of U.S. 3 in Chattanooga, Tenn., against Jamaica.Asked if he had been able to do anything special to his off-season regimen, Altidore joked: “I’ve barely had time to change my clothes.”“That’s the game,” he added. It’s only going to get busier with (CONCACAF) Champions League coming next year, I think, at some point. The only chance you have is if you do that but at the same time just because you do that, it doesn’t guarantee you anything.“And the biggest and strongest players and teams don’t let that stop them when things don’t go their way. “Once you get a taste of it, you want more. I’m not going anywhere.”Toronto went 14-9-11 during the 2106 regular season, finishing on a 12-3-5 run before falling to Seattle in a championship game it dominated on the statistics sheet. captain was back in the gym at Toronto’s training centre.He spent the holidays at his Toronto home.“For me that’s always the best part,” he explained after the U.S. 22 friendly. The Americans opened their annual January training camp one month to the day after Toronto FC was beaten by Seattle in a penalty shootout in the Dec. 10 MLS Cup final. That’s how it is. But he makes it clear that he likes it in Toronto.“I love Toronto. coach Bruce Arena. “The core group is by and large the same, intact. The team lost midfielder Will Johnson (Orlando) and reserve defenders Mark Bloom (Atlanta) and Josh Williams (Columbus) during the off-season.TFC took Notre Dame centre back Brendan Aubrey in Friday’s draft and has plans to use targeted allocation money to bring in an attacking midfielder. And it was such a bittersweet moment.

Red Wings’ Vanek scores, Coreau blanks Canadiens in 1-0 win

They signed him to a $2.6 million, one-year deal after he had 41 points in 73 games last year with the Minnesota Wild. The veteran stood in front of the net, obstructing Price’s vision as he competed for position with Montreal defenceman Alexei Emelin.The 32-year-old Vanek has a team-high 12 goals and is averaging almost a point per game in his first season with the Red Wings. The Red Wings began the day in last place in the Atlantic Division. Price, who has lost six of his last nine starts, has a losing record since starting 10-0 this season.Vanek extended his point streak to a season-high six games, redirecting Danny DeKeyser’s shot past Price with 1:36 left in the second. Thomas Vanek scored late in the second period and Jared Coreau earned his second shutout, leading the Detroit Red Wings to a 1-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Monday.Detroit won consecutive games at home for the first time since starting the season 4-0 at Joe Louis Arena as part of its 6-2 start. The Atlantic Division-leading Canadiens had won five of their last seven games.The 6-foot-6 Coreau, the tallest goaltender to play for the Red Wings, stopped 18 shots to improve to 5-1-1 in his first season with Detroit. He signed with the team in 2013 and played in the minors until getting a chance recently because Jimmy Howard is on injured reserve and Petr Mrazek is struggling.Montreal star Carey Price made a spectacular save late in the first period, using his glove to deny Andreas Athanasiou on a breakaway, and finished with 19 stops.

After conquering hockey, Hayley Wickenheiser is focused on mastering med school

Now that she has retired, people may wonder of the most successful female hockey player in history: What was Hayley Wickenheiser like at the beginning, in her mid-teens, when she first made Canada’s national women’s hockey team?In a word, independent. But everybody says, when you get in, you have to reserve the right to change your mind.”One of the byproducts of her 23-year career is the generation of young female players she inspired to pursue their Olympic dreams. The fact the best male player in the world, Wayne Gretzky, acted as the MC at her retirement ceremony spoke volumes about the respect she has earned in the hockey world. But she wasn’t prepared to rule it out either.Right around then, Mark Miller of the Calgary Sun invited her to join the weekly Calgary media shinny games. Wickenheiser, who was always looking for a chance to get on the ice, said yes and came out and played a number of times. The first time I ever spoke with her, I had a pair of headphones on and was working next to Jock Wilson, the radio host of the Calgary Flames broadcasts. Wickenheiser, she laughed and said: “Who knows? It allows her to go out on her own terms, which is what every great athlete deserves. It depends upon what specialty you take. Everybody has an ego that has to be managed. She was single-minded. The Americans had a talented team that year – really no better or worse than the Canadians, but with greater poise – and ultimately won the gold.At the postgame news conference, I suggested to Wickenheiser – with the silver medal around her neck and in tears – that at some point in her life, much later, she would come to appreciate that she had won an Olympic medal, even if it wasn’t gold.In hindsight, I realize I read that situation completely wrong. Not Wickenheiser.She was calm, confident and mature beyond her years. You have a lot of pressure to make decisions quickly, so there’s that adrenaline flow, and I think that’s what draws me to it.“It doesn’t seem to bother me, seeing some tough stuff, so I think that’s the route I will go. She had an old soul, even as a young person.At the Winter Olympics in Nagano in 1998, she was the second-youngest player on the first Canadian women’s team to compete for an Olympic medal (Jennifer Botterill, at 16, was younger). The player pool in Canada has never been greater, and that might have created an issue: Wickenheiser trying to make the team at 39, when so many younger players were nipping at her heels.So retiring was the right choice on a lot of different levels. She made her own choices – and always moved comfortably in the company of older people. Wickenheiser just hated not winning. But I want to do emergency trauma. Not many teenagers – boys or girls – would have done that.But she did. Emergency trauma is a lot like hockey. She was remarkably, convincingly, authoritatively independent – in the way she thought, in the way she acted and in the way she plotted her life’s path. She burned to win. She always had an honest answer or thoughtful observation for any question you posed.By then, she’d already played men’s professional hockey in Sweden and Finland, but eventually abandoned it – not because of the competition, but because she felt such intense loneliness, being so far away from family, friends and her support group.She’s been chipping away at her education for most of her adult life and in November completed her master’s degree in medical studies. When asked about the possibility of playing as a position player in the NHL at some point in her career – at this point, Manon Rhéaume had already blazed the trail in goal – she was realistic: It would be unlikely because of the physiological differences between men and women. You’ve got to work in a team. Wickenheiser sat between us, a 16-year-old who’d come into the studio – by herself, late at night – to speak about the upcoming women’s world championships.Most teenagers at that time – before the Internet, cellphones and Instagram – were shy and difficult to interview, with little to say. She saw it as a second-place finish in a two-horse race – and she wasn’t interested in an award just for participating. Eventually, she won four more Olympic medals – all of them gold – and I belatedly understood why she valued the silver so much less. She was one of the most competitive athletes I’ve ever seen.Over the years, we bumped into each other all over the world – Olympic championships on three continents, the 2006 women’s worlds in Linkoping, Sweden. She still has some research work to submit for publication, and then she’ll be off to medical school.When I asked how long it would be before we could start addressing her as Dr. I’ve shadowed a lot in hospitals across the country the last number of years. Hayley Wickenheiser will surely be missed – but never forgotten. These were big, grown men she was going up against – some of them pretty good players – but, naturally, she more than held her own.

Joel Ward gets goal, assist to lead Sharks past Jets

“We’re just getting away from our game.”Tierney took another high-sticking penalty for the Sharks, but the Jets couldn’t score on the 15-second two-man advantage or either power play. Ward went in on a partial breakaway and beat Hutchinson with a shot from the top of the circle to make it 1-0 just 15 seconds into the man advantage.“You can’t give up so many grade-A chances and expect them all to be saved, we have to help our goaltenders,” Scheifele said. “It got shot through a screen and I felt it hit my skate and as soon as that happened I kind of kicked it pretty hard.”The Jets had some good chances early but Jones robbed Shawn Matthias twice in the opening minutes of the first period and Blake Wheeler hit a post later in the first.Winnipeg also got the first power-play chance when David Schlemko was called for a high stick, but the Sharks scored when Dustin Byfuglien couldn’t keep the puck in the offensive zone. I wasn’t too sure what happened after that.”Ward was taken off for observation to make sure he didn’t have a concussion. Louis on Saturday. It was a good hit,” Ward said. Joel’s a guy that brings that to the rink almost every night. Louis. Joel Ward more than delivered.Ward had a short-handed goal and took a hard hit to assist on Timo Meier’s score, helping San Jose beat the Winnipeg Jets 5-2 on Monday for just its third win in eight games. “Taking that hit, making that play scores the goal. “I tried to get the puck out obviously, and next thing I knew I was on my back and heard the horn go off. Martin Jones made 26 saves, allowing two late goals after the game had been decided.Josh Morrissey broke up the shutout with 2:36 to play and Mark Scheifele added a goal in the final minute after Jones tried to shoot the puck toward the empty net but hit Scheifele instead.“That’s the first time I’ve tried, and probably the last, too,” Jones said.Michael Hutchinson made 27 saves for the Jets, who have dropped four in a row.The Sharks broke open a close game with two goals in the first half of the second period, starting when Mark Stuart jumped up into the play and flattened Ward on a clean hit in front of the Jets bench.Ward’s head slammed against the ice but the Sharks took advantage of Stuart’s aggressiveness with a breakaway when Chris Tierney played the puck ahead to Meier, who beat Hutchinson for his second career goal.“It was a hockey play. By the time he returned midway through the second, the Sharks had added to the lead.Paul Potsma was penalized for closing his hand on the puck and Burns made the Jets pay when his point shot hit off the back boards and then deflected off an unsuspecting Hutchinson’s skate and into the net for Burns’ 18th goal of the season.“The third goal was just one of those bounces you get when you’re going through a rough patch,” Hutchinson said. That’s what it’s going to take at this time of year in order to have success.”Brent Burns and Chris Tierney also scored and Joe Thornton had an empty-netter as the Sharks bounced back nicely from a 4-0 home loss to St. We need that. “That’s the commitment we talk about,” DeBoer said. Sharks coach Peter DeBoer wanted a lot more out of his team following a lacklustre shutout loss to St.

David Hearn and Graham DeLaet hope for a straightforward 2017 season

The Rules of Golf banned anchoring a putter to one’s body, a technique Hearn had used for a number of years, on Jan. 1, 2016.“It was obviously a transition year with the putter, so I spent a lot of time practising and put a lot of energy into that transition,” he said. After a whirlwind 2016 that included a trip to the Rio Olympics, Canadian golfers David Hearn and Graham DeLaet are looking forward to a more straightforward year on the PGA Tour.Both Hearn, 37, and DeLaet, who turns 35 on Sunday, are aware of the expectations they face as they chase a first Tour win. But it was an adjustment year for him as well as it was the first full season he couldn’t use a long putter. “There’s no specific plan for when I’ll shave or grow it. DeLaet will make his 2017 debut at the CareerBuilder Challenge next week in California. “I’m excited and proud to see the young Canadians find success on the PGA Tour and winning tournaments, but I don’t think that puts extra pressure on me.”DeLaet agrees.“My motivation has always been the same no matter who I am competing against. DeLaet got as high as 26th in the world rankings a few years ago, but the veterans have since seen younger players Nick Taylor and Mackenzie Hughes capture PGA Tour victories before they were able to crack the winner’s circle. “I would definitely say the Presidents Cup is a goal of mine, but I’m focused on my week-to-week performance and playing my best golf possible.”The first full-field event of the 2017 portion of the 2016-17 PGA Tour is this week at the Sony Open in Hawaii, which features Hearn, Hughes and Taylor. “I played a lot of tournaments because it was a big year in terms of the Olympics and I was a little bit tired going into the off-season.“It was nice to have a good holiday and I feel ready to go and very motivated to hit the ground running.”2017 is also a Presidents Cup year – a biennial competition that pits golfers from the United States against golfers from around the world (except for Europe) – and both DeLaet, who has played in the competition once before, and Hearn, have it in their sights.“Being Canadian is a source of pride to me and I feel anyone would be honoured to represent their country in any fashion,” DeLaet said. DeLaet, also withdrew from a tournament midsummer, citing anxiety while chipping and putting.“Battling injuries throughout most of a season is something no golfer wants to go through,” he said. I just go day to day and make a decision depending on how I feel.”Hearn had a steady season, finishing 56th in the FedEx Cup standings and earning more than $1.2-million (U.S.). Obviously these guys [Hughes and Taylor] are a new breed of golfers, but at the end of the day you just have to concentrate on your own game,” he explained from Boise, Idaho.While both Hearn and DeLaet enjoyed a rare experience in Rio, where golf made its return after 112 years, DeLaet had another off-course highlight. He and his wife, Ruby, welcomed twins Roscoe and Lyla in late 2015 and it was his first full year as a father.Although DeLaet said it was “the best year of [his] life,” he admitted he got frustrated battling injuries as he earned the least amount of money since his 2011 season. “The guys are getting younger on Tour, there’s no doubt.“Actually, they’re coming on at the same age, and I’m getting a little bit older,” he added with a laugh. “I’d certainly love to get that first win soon,” Hearn said from his home in Delray Beach, Fla. He said it’s likely to be around for a while.“There’s not strategy behind the beard, but I enjoy and appreciate the culture behind it,” he said. “I think I learned not only how to take care of my body properly, but also how to fight through adversity.”DeLaet also cultivated a now famous beard.

Maple Leafs rookies keep on surprising – and keep the team surging

“Willie [Nylander], Connor [Brown] and Zach Hyman were there every night playing their best hockey and being a huge part of this team.“We all know that within this room. However, one reason the Leafs are surging at the halfway point of the NHL season is that a lot of the rookies in the team’s supporting cast are almost as surprising as first-year sensations Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. “Rather than not knowing what to expect, I had 16 games last year, which I thought I played well in.”The progress has been so quick that it is hard to believe it will hold for the rest of the season, but the Leafs keep defying conventional wisdom. After back-to-back wins over the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators on the weekend, the Leafs are now third in the NHL for length of time in the lead.“We’re staying in our system and keeping our foot on the gas, rather than sitting back and letting things happen,” Hyman said of the difference in the team’s third-period play. We’re getting better, I think, [at] understanding what’s expected, that we’re good enough to win every night if we play right. 3: forwards Zach Hyman, Connor Brown and William Nylander and defenceman Nikita Zaitsev. Throw in 22-year-old defenceman Connor Carrick, who is in his first season as an NHL regular, and the Leafs are getting a surprising bounty from the kids.“The first couple of weeks of the season, there was a lot of attention on us and how well [we] were playing,” said defenceman Morgan Rielly, another of the youngsters getting rave reviews along with his partner, Zaitsev. It can be argued that, in addition to Matthews and Marner, at least four other rookies are making significant contributions to the Leafs’ recent 8-1-1 run and to their 10-4-4 record since Dec. They go about their business, play hard every night. With 28 points in 41 games, Brown is the more offensively gifted, but Hyman never stops checking or digging for pucks.Nylander has also racked up 28 points – and he has managed that despite bouncing all over the lineup this season, from the fourth line to stints with Matthews.Hyman says getting to play for the Leafs near the end of last season made his transition from minor leaguer to full-time NHLer a lot easier.“I got a little taste of it last year so I felt like I wasn’t a true rookie coming in,” he said. But head coach Mike Babcock likes to think that light at the end of the tunnel just might be a speeding train, so he issued a warning after Monday’s practice.“Let’s not get carried away here,” he said. Teams on the rise share one thing in common with teams on the decline – a lack of depth – which usually spells trouble as the playoffs hove into sight.Lack of depth usually means not enough savvy veterans for the supporting cast and too many youngsters, something that could be said about the Toronto Maple Leafs if you just looked at the birthdays on the roster. They have now made inroads on their penchant for blowing leads in the third period. Those things are positives.“So I guess our biggest improvement is understanding and expectations. There were eight rookies on the roster as of Monday’s practice, when the Leafs were preparing to open a four-game home stand Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres. “We’re taking things to the other team now and hopefully continuing to do that.”The Leafs’ rise back into a playoff spot, third in the Atlantic Division with six games in hand on the second-place Boston Bruins, has fired up the giddiness quotient among the fans and media. Saying that, it is Game 41 – I’ve been in the league a long time and lots of things can go good and lots of things can go bad.” “We got a lot of work to do here. They are a big part of this team.”Brown, 23, and Hyman, 24, have played on either side of Matthews for the entire season, and the trio is now one of the best lines in the league. They don’t get the media attention. We know where we’re supposed to stand and we expect to have success.

Still in recovery, Jared Sullinger itching to join Raptors on the court

“I’m a kid in a candy store but I’m just not allowed the candy yet.”There is no timetable for Sullinger’s return to active duty, but a reasonable guess would be by the end of the month.There is no hurry, as the Raptors have been faring just fine without his looming presence, which is anticipated to be in the starting lineup at power forward when Casey feels he is ready.The Raptors remain the leaders of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference, having won their last three games to improve their record to 27-13 on the season.The team is now starting on a three-game road trip that will begin Tuesday night in Brooklyn against the Nets, the outfit the Raptors rolled over 132-113 on Friday at Air Canada Centre.A win on Tuesday will give Toronto 28 victories by the season’s halfway point, which would represent a franchise record for most wins through the first 41 games.The Raptors had recorded 27 wins at the midway point of the 2014-15 season. “He’s been going after every rebound like I’ve been telling him the whole year and I think it’s finally clicked for him.“Hopefully it only gets better from here.” All the things he will do will kind of fit right in and really help us and better the chemistry and help the ball movement.”Last season with the Boston Celtics, Sullinger averaged 8.3 boards and 10.3 points in 81 games and helped Boston into the playoffs.His physical presence will be a welcome addition to a Toronto team that has struggled at times rebounding the ball this season, their 42.9 average per game ranking them in the league’s lower echelon.Centre Jonas Valanciunas has picked up the pace of late, recording his third straight double-double against the Knicks, with 12 points and 16 rebounds.Last Tuesday against the Celtics, Valanciunas plucked a career-high 23 off the glass.“JV’s playing unbelievable,” Sullinger said. “That’s one of his gifts, his rebounding the basketball, his screening, his shooting. “We’re probably not practising as long, film sessions are not as long as they used to be. I’m not hip enough I guess to change too much, so we try to keep things the same and be consistent in what we do.”Which brings us back to Sullinger, and how his anticipated return to the lineup might affect a Raptors outfit that has jelled nicely during his absence.Casey said it is not a concern, that Sullinger understands all the sets and schemes that the Raptors run for the power forward position.“He’ll help us, he’ll help our rebounding tremendously,” Casey said. It’s a light exercise that rarely produces even a single bead of sweat. “And any time you mess with that, you mess with the game and I think you mess with the basketball gods. Last season, Toronto had 26 wins through the first 41 games and would go on to record a franchise-best 56 victories.It is getting to that point of the season where the drudgery of the day to day can start wearing on a team, where shortcuts in training can lead to bad habits in the games.Casey said he is well aware of the mid-season pratfalls, but points to one magic elixir that can keep a team fresh.“I know it sound facetious, but winning does that,” Casey said. When you are 6-foot-9 and 260 pounds, it makes sense to take things easy when the injury is to your foot.So when Sullinger received clearance Friday that it was safe to resume full practice, it was welcome news.“There’s a lot of work that has to be done for me to be where I want to be,” Sullinger said. Afterward, with most of the Raptors trooping back into the locker room to begin preparing for the real thing, Jared Sullinger instead headed upstairs to the practice court at Air Canada Centre to get his serious workout in.For the rehabbing plus-sized Raptors power forward, it was primarily just running and working on his shot for the next hour or so.Anything, Sullinger said, to get him back to a semblance of game condition so he can return to the court as soon as possible to show the Raptors what he has to offer.Sullinger, Toronto’s prime free-agent acquisition during the off-season, has not played a second for his new team after injuring his left foot during training camp in October.Following surgery, when he had a screw inserted into the bone of his baby toe, it has been slow going for Sullinger. With a mid-afternoon start at home on Sunday against the New York Knicks, there was no time for the Toronto Raptors to hold a normal pregame shoot-around, which is a ritual for most NBA clubs.Instead, Toronto coach Dwane Casey had the players arrive about three hours before game time to participate in what is known as a walk-through, in which the team gathers on the court to go over the scouting report on the upcoming opponent. Trying to keep guys mentally fresh as anything.”Casey said the game of basketball is about rhythm, continuity and consistency, and he does not like to alter the program all that much.“So we try to keep that the same,” he said.

Steelers play down coach Mike Tomlin’s description of Patriots

Antonio Brown wanted to let the world in on the party when he live streamed the giddy celebration in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ locker room after an 18-16 playoff win over Kansas City.The All-Pro wide receiver also happened to catch coach Mike Tomlin indelicately describing the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh’s opponent in the AFC Championship game. “Those odds are for people that bet on the game. It’s a bunch of guys having fun, talking, enjoying themselves. We play the game.” I can’t be some old guy stuck under a rock, that’s for sure.”Brown’s 17-minute video collected more than 900,000 views in a few hours before being removed (though it lives on through YouTube).It included players dancing and Tomlin — who was out of the shot and unaware it was being filmed but who could be heard clearly in the packed locker room — beginning his postgame speech by telling his team to “say very little moving forward” then adding “we spotted those (expletive) a day and a half.”New England advanced to the AFC title game by beating Houston on Saturday night, 24 hours before Pittsburgh held off the Chiefs.Guard Ramon Foster “would love to hear AB’s explanation” but downplayed any concerns about the video becoming a distraction or taking away from Pittsburgh’s ninth straight victory.It’s also not unusual for Brown to use social media in the locker room during the week or occasionally after games even though it may run afoul of league policy.“I don’t think that overshadowed it,” Foster said. “That’s how we’re going to be this entire week is to keep rolling, keep doing our job because at the end of the day it’s who’s the best team that day. That’s it.”New England beat Pittsburgh 27-16 on Oct. 23 behind two touchdowns from Tom Brady and 127 yards rushing from LeGarrette Blount.Pittsburgh (13-5) played without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who sat out while recovering from surgery on his left knee.Backup Landry Jones was steady if not spectacular, throwing for 281 yards with a touchdown and an interception.The Steelers actually outgained the Patriots by 13 yards (375-362), but settled for three Chris Boswell field goals when they needed touchdowns in hopes of pulling off an upset.It’s an issue that popped up again on Sunday night, when Boswell drilled a post-season record six field goals to provide all of Pittsburgh’s 18 points.More will almost certainly be required against New England, which is averaging 31.6 points a game at home when Brady plays this season.That will be challenging enough, not worrying about getting worked up over something Tomlin thought he was saying in the intimacy of the locker room or even the slight head start the Patriots will have in preparations.“I just like to keep rolling,” Foster said. It just so happened they heard what the coach was going to say. They’re going to study everything we do, so it’s not like we’re going to sneak up on them. Tomlin’s word choice — an expletive — didn’t bother his players as Brown’s decision to throw back the curtain on what is usually a private moment.“Personally I’d like some of that stuff sacred,” long snapper Greg Warren said Monday. That’s simply what that was. “They know for us to be in this game is not a secret. It wasn’t anything malicious. The rest don’t matter.”Tomlin’s vocabulary or the oddsmakers who have made Pittsburgh a decided underdog included.“I think we proved that wrong this weekend,” Foster said. “You guys know what that was. “But this is a changing world, a changing environment. It just happens that (Brown’s) iPhone is really good.”Besides, Foster hardly thinks New England (15-2) will use Tomlin mildly dissing them as an incentive, not with a chance to reach a seventh Super Bowl under Bill Belichick at stake.“The Patriots watched our game, they know everything about us,” Foster said.

AP source: Bautista and Blue Jays working hard on return

The sides are discussing one-, two- and three-year agreements. A person with knowledge of the negotiations tells The Associated Press that outfielder Jose Bautista and the Toronto Blue Jays are “working really hard” to bring him back to the club.The person spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because negotiations are ongoing. After Toronto ended a 22-year playoff drought with an AL East title in 2015, Bautista hit a memorable three-run homer in Game 5 of the AL Division Series against Texas, punctuating his shot with a bat flip.He did not accept Toronto’s $17.2 million (U.S.) qualifying offer. The 36-year-old Bautista hit 22 homers with 69 RBIs last year while batting .234 in an injury-slowed season.Bautista (265) ranks second behind Carlos Delgado (336) on Toronto’s career home run list.

Federer returns with a win at Aussie Open, joins Murray in second round

1 at a major for the first time, had some nervous moments in her 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 win over Lesia Tsurenko.Kerber won her first Grand Slam title in Melbourne last year, beating Serena Williams in the final after saving a match point in the first round.After wasting a match point before her serve was broken as Tsurenko rallied to win the second set, Kerber said her mind raced back 12 months.“When I lost the second set, and I had match point, I was thinking about my match last year in the first round,” she said. I’ve never won here — I’m going to try to change that this year.”Wawrinka, who made his Grand Slam breakthrough in Australia in 2014, narrowly scraped past 35th-ranked Martin Klizan 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.In the ninth game of the fifth set, Wawrinka smashed a soft half-volley from Klizan straight back into the Slovakian’s body, clipping the frame and just missing his midsection. 20 Zhang Shuai.Sixteen-year-old Destanee Aiava became the first player born in this millennium to play in the main draw of a major, but the milestone match ended in a 6-3, 7-6 (4) loss to Mona Barthel. 16 Lucas Pouille was the highest-ranked of the three men’s seeded players to lose.Five of the women’s seeded players went out, including No. Roger Federer shanked a few shots and was unsettled by how nervous he felt after six months on the sidelines, despite the familiar surroundings at the Australian Open.No other man on tour knows the way around a Grand Slam tournament better than Federer, who is playing in his 69th major and has won a record 17. Open champion Marin Cilic, 2008 Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 14 Nick Kyrgios returned from his suspension for underperforming in Shanghai last year and raced through a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 win over Gastao Elias.No. Angelique Kerber, defending champion and ranked No. 5-seeded Kei Nishikori. “In the warmup … He served 19 aces and had only one double-fault in a 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win Monday over fellow 35-year-old Jurgen Melzer, but dropped serve three times and experienced frustrating moments.“I was feeling nervous once the match actually started,” said Federer, who hadn’t played at tour level since Wimbledon after taking time off to let his injured left knee heal. 15 Roberta Vinci, who lost to CoCo Vandeweghe.Seven-time major winner Venus Williams beat Kateryna Kozlova 7-6 (5), 7-5, and 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard continued her recent resurgence by routing Louisa Chirico 6-0, 6-4.Joining them in the next round will be French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, Olympic gold medallist Monica Puig, No. So was No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 4 Simona Halep, who lost 6-3, 6-1 to Shelby Rogers in the first match on Rod Laver Arena, and No. Then I hit four frames in a row. I felt fine. 19 John Isner, No. 23 Jack Sock, No. He returned for Wimbledon, reached the semifinals, then didn’t play again in 2016. 29 Viktor Troicki and No. In November, he fell out of the top 10 for the first time in 734 weeks.The 17th-seeded Federer wasn’t the only highly ranked player to find the going tough Monday.Stan Wawrinka, the U.S. “First rounds are always tough.”In his first Grand Slam match with the elevated status of having a knighthood and the No. It was like, ‘Whew, it’s not as easy as I thought it was going to be.’“I struggled for a while to find that groove, that rhythm.”Federer had surgery on the knee after a semifinal exit at the last Australian Open and missed the French Open, ending his streak of 65 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments. 11 Elina Svitolina and No. He stepped over the net and ensured Klizan was OK, then held serve in that game and broke in the next game to finish it off.Nishikori beat Andrey Kuznetsov 7-5, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (6), 6-2. Open champion, was pushed to five sets. 10 Carla Suarez, No. Joining him in the second round are 2014 U.S. 1 ranking, Andy Murray berated himself when he made mistakes and frequently yelled during a 7-5, 7-6 (5), 6-2 win over Illya Marchenko.In other words, nothing much has changed.The five-time finalist comfortably navigated what he hoped was the first step to a drought-breaking Australian Open title.Murray has lost four of the last six finals in Melbourne to six-time champion Novak Djokovic.Gaining the top ranking and receiving the civic honours doesn’t change anything for Murray, who said he faces “the same pressure, same expectations. 31 Sam Querrey.Also, No. 27 Bernard Tomic, No.

Eugenie Bouchard opens Aussie Open with first-round win

Canadian tennis star Eugenie Bouchard has advanced to the second round of the Australian Open.The native of Westmount, Que., ousted American Louisa Chirico 6-0, 6-4 in 56 minutes.The pair didn’t begin play until nearly 11 p.m. Bouchard made the semifinals at Melbourne Park in 2014, and followed that up with a semi appearance at the French and the final at Wimbledon.But injuries and poor form have since seen her ranking drop out of the top 20.On Monday, Bouchard won the opening set in 18 minutes and broke Chirico in the third game of the second set before serving to win, clinching the match when Chirico sent a forehand long.No. after Stan Wawrinka needed nearly 3 1/2 hours to beat Martin Klizan in five sets in the preceding match. 3 seed Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., opens play Tuesday against Germany’s Dustin Brown.

Steelers hold off Chiefs on Boswell’s six field goals, 18-16

A 43-yarder midway in the fourth quarter gave Boswell the NFL record.Kansas City’s Cairo Santos got in on the kicking act with a 48-yarder to make it 15-10. Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for 7 yards on third down and Pittsburgh then ran out the clock, securing a ninth straight victory for the Steelers. That led to Boswell’s second field goal, a 38-yarder. Who needs to reach the end zone when you have Le’Veon Bell chewing up yards and the clock, and Chris Boswell setting an NFL playoff record with six field goals?Throw in a stingy Pittsburgh defence for most of Sunday night, and a multitude of mistakes by Kansas City, and the Steelers’ 18-16 victory sent them into the AFC championship game. The Chiefs have not won a home playoff game since 1994, losing five in a row.The scoring started furiously in the opening minutes, then the game became a kicking exhibition by Boswell, who also had six field goals in the regular season against Cincinnati. The Steelers (13-5) needed to hold off a last-ditch threat by the Chiefs (12-5) before advancing to face New England next Sunday night for a spot in the Super Bowl. Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce had a rough game, including a big drop and a 15-yard roughing penalty in the third period.UP NEXTSteelers: Head to New England for a shot at making the Super Bowl. He added a team-record 170 yards rushing to the 167 he had in a win over Miami last week.The Steelers became first team to win a playoff game without a TD since eventual Super Bowl champion Indianapolis in the 2006 AFC divisional round at Baltimore.Using a no-huddle attack almost to perfection early on, the Steelers drove deep into Kansas City territory. Fans arrived early, tailgated in the rain as the worst of the storm never hit the area. … He added a 36-yarder to cap a 14-play drive on which Pittsburgh again barely huddled.A clean game up until then turned to, well, turnovers, on successive series. Boswell’s four first-half field goals tied the team record for an entire playoff game. And Bell put on a virtuoso running performance, patiently finding holes and then exploding through them. At that point, 10 seconds from the end of the third quarter, the Chiefs were outgained 333 yards to 150.WEATHERMANSwitching the game from noon local time to an evening kickoff to avert an ice storm had no effect on the crowd. But they bogged down inside the 5 and Boswell made a 22-yard field goal.The Chiefs were just as efficient on a six-play march capped by receiver Albert Wilson lining up in the backfield, then slipping uncovered into the end zone for a 5-yard score.Pittsburgh’s answer came on a 52-yard heave to All-Pro Brown, who somehow was covered by linebacker Justin Houston. Bud Dupree pounded Alex Smith, whose pass shot high into the air and was caught by linebacker Ryan Shazier.The Steelers got to the Kansas City 5, where Frank Zombo leaped to deflect Roethlisberger’s throw, and All-Pro safety Eric Berry — burned for 26 yards on the previously play — picked it off in the end zone.Boswell’s fourth field goal, from 45 yards, made it 12-7 at the half. The next try failed.With 2:43 remaining, Justin Gilbert misplayed the kick return and was tackled at the Pittsburgh 5. The Patriots won at Pittsburgh 27-16, but Ben Roethlisberger was injured and didn’t play.Spencer Ware’s 1-yard touchdown run took Kansas City within 18-16. … His 43-yarder, setting the franchise record for a post-season game and tying the league mark of five, came on Pittsburgh’s first series of the second half. Not that what was going on was worth watching for Chiefs fans.NOTESBell rushed for almost as many yards (101) in the first half as the Chiefs gained (106). The Chiefs at first converted the 2-pointer to tie it, but tackle Eric Fisher — the first overall selection in the 2013 draft — was penalized for holding. But fog rolled into Arrowhead Stadium in the second quarter, obscuring some views from on high.

Canadians Vathje and Rahneva win skeleton gold, bronze at Winterberg World Cup

I had an inkling that I could win here today, even though Jacqueline (Lolling) is incredible on this track. “It is pretty cool and surreal to be back on top of the podium,” said Vathje. To be able to materialize it on the track is a great feeling.”North Vancouver’s Jane Channell finished in 12th at 58.86 despite putting down the fastest start time in the field.It was the first time in four years that two Canadian skeleton athletes shared the World Cup podium. We always have a great battle here.”It is the second podium for the hard-working Rahneva in just her fourth race. The last two Canadians to reach the podium together were Sarah Reid and Mellisa Hollingsworth when they finished one-two in Lake Placid during the 2012-13 season.“It’s awesome to have two of us on the podium and really shows the depth of our program,” said Vathje. Calgary’s Elisabeth Vathje and Ottawa’s Mirela Rahneva won gold and bronze respectively in skeleton on Sunday a World Cup event in Winterberg, Germany.Vathje slid to a golden time of 58.02, while Rahneva clocked-in at 58.14 for the bronze in the weather-shortened one-run race. “I love coming to Winterberg and have always enjoyed this track. “I must have visualized 100 runs this week and continuously practised laying on my sled. It was nice to come here and do well,” said Rahneva. All three of us are forces to be reckoned with. We love this sport and our country so much so it is awesome to show our depth.”The race was originally stopped due to heavy snow after the first seven sleds went down the track. Germany’s Jacqueline Loelling was second at 58.12. Her first podium in Europe, she also slid to the bronze at a World Cup stop in Lake Placid, N.Y., just prior to the holiday break.“I had a rough week in Altenberg, but I knew it was important to stay strong and positive. “I really hope we can get Jane up there on the podium with us. Officials planned to call the race off, but after a lengthy delay, the weather cleared, and a one-run race was re-started from scratch.

Canada’s Marielle Thompson and Brady Leman take gold and silver at ski cross World Cup

Both Dave Duncan of London, Ont., and Kris Mahler of Canmore, Alta., who also had a crash today, both failed to qualify for the quarter-finals.Joining Thompson on the women’s podium was Switzerland’s Fanny Smith in second place and France’s Marielle Berger Sabbatel in third place.Switzerland’s Alex Fiva won the men’s race ahead of Leman and Switzerland’s Armin Niederer. Holding his second-place spot through the finish line, Leman now sits in second-place overall on the tour. The hard crash sidelined her for the rest of Sunday’s competition.On the men’s side, Ian Deans of Kelowna, B.C., qualified for the quarter-finals where his competition ended for the day. Drury made a textbook pass in the quarter-finals to advance to the semifinals, ultimately finishing the day in seventh.Georgia Simmerling of West Vancouver, B.C, crashed over the finish line in third place of her semifinal to advance to the small final. Five Canadians finished in the top 10, including veteran Chris Del Bosco of Montreal who won the small final, finishing in fifth. Marielle Thompson of Whistler, B.C., saved her best run for last on Sunday, winning gold in women’s ski cross while Calgary’s Brady Leman took silver in the men’s event at the World Cup.Thompson took an early lead in the final heat and held it all the way down the track to win the title.Leman earned his second silver in as many days, making it his fourth podium finish of the season. Joining Del Bosco in the small final was Toronto’s Kevin Drury, who continues to add solid top-10 finishes after joining the Canada ski cross World Cup team last season. Leman had to work hard to maintain a top-three finish throughout the big final.