#1 a row since coach Jim Harbaugh von lebaobei123 01.03.2019 02:18

SOCHI, Russia – When the Canadian management team, headed by executive director Steve Yzerman, gathered in recent months to evaluate the crop of players that would be selected to play for Team Canada at the Sochi Olympics two central attributes emerged above all else. There was the requisite hockey sense demanded from the countrys very best and of equal importance, if not more so, was the ability to burn up and down the ice, the latter of significant consequence on the generally unfamiliar international ice surface. "I think we have a really good mix of players here that bring a lot of elements," said Doug Armstrong, the Blues GM and a member of Team Canadas management team, "but the one element they all have is skating ability." Its likely why someone like 34-year-old Joe Thornton – a member of the gold medal winning squad in 2010 and top point producer again this season, but certainly not the fleetest of foot – was not named to the team this time around, replaced by explosive types such as Matt Duchene and Jamie Benn. In fact, the Canadian roster in Vancouver featured a number of players who were probably never be described as quick – Jarome Iginla, Brendan Morrow, Dany Heatley, Eric Staal – but could get around just fine, at that point in their respective careers, on the NHL-sized ice. "I think you see some players that can play on the North American ice [that are] not quite as fleet of foot, but the space they have to get to they can get to quicker and hold it longer. From the corners to the front of the net the distance isnt as great. I think its a different style," Armstrong said. "A bigger man can have success maybe in the North American game thats a little harder to have here." Absent is a single player on this roster who cant get up and down the ice effectively. Quickly adjusting to the larger international ice surface – 15 additional feet wide – will be among the greater challenges facing the Canadians as they look to become the first back-to-back gold medal winning squad in the NHL era of the Olympics. All of which explains why swiftness on skates – not to mention the ability to move the puck with equal speed and precision – was such a fundamental asset in the selection process. Canada managed to win its first gold in 50 years on the Olympic size ice in Salt Lake City, but fell badly short four years later in Torino – they finished a distant seventh. Though other gold medal hopefuls face a similar challenge – with the vast majority of talent migrating to Russia from the NHL – the Canadians (and Americans certainly) will be required to climb a somewhat higher hill, having only played on the 200 by 100 foot surface sparingly. "Theres no question," said head coach Mike Babcock, "when youve grown up your whole life playing on one surface youre probably pretty comfortable with that surface. I know we are in North America. So theres a little adjustment, well get it worked out." One adjustment Babcock will seek is shorter shift lengths: from the NHL standard of 45 seconds down to 40 seconds with more space to cover and ground potentially to protect. He and the coaching staff, which includes big ice expert and former Swiss National Team coach Ralph Krueger, will also stress the need to attack inside on the offensive end, rather than linger on the perimeter as an opponent would prefer. "As much wider [as] the rink is you still want to play an up and down, north and south game and I think its the strength of our team to be able to play at a high speed, high tempo, all four lines," said John Tavares, who played on the bigger ice in Switzerland during the last lockout. "I think thats where were going to be at our best." Other immediate challenges facing Canada (and just about every country) include the required role alterations demanded of NHL stars and energy-sapping jet lag, an adjustment most countries will face in some way or another. "We can talk about the size of the ice surface," said Yzerman, "but I think its adjusting to playing a lesser role. Youve got forwards that are used to playing 21-22 minutes a game that are going to play 10 and 11 and defencemen that are used to playing 27 playing 18. Thats a huge adjustment for them all." Stars and scoring champs are fighting for even the slightest bit of ice-time. Martin St. Louis was the oldest Art Ross winner in NHL history last season (he was 37) and has kept the Lightning afloat save the injured Steven Stamkos again this season, but he finds himself grinding amongst 14 forwards for an opportunity. He and Duchene, a fellow first-timer were on the outside of the forward lines on the opening day of practice at Bolshoy Ice Dome. "When I talked to St. Louis in Tampa I told him he was one of 14 forwards and that he has to grab his piece," said Babcock. "Thats what weve told everyone; theyve got to find a way to grab their piece." Babcock was flipping through lineups and line combinations from the triumphant experience in Vancouver alongside assistant coach Claude Julien and came to a very simple conclusion: things can change in a hurry. Mike Richards for instance, rose from the 14th forward to a key member of an effective trio which included Jonathan Toews and Rick Nash. "Its a competitive environment and we expect our guys to compete for their ice-time," Babcock said. The Canadian head coach got creative in his attempts to quell the effects of jet lag. Players were given a special package for the plane ride over to Sochi, a kit that included eye covers, ear plugs, melatonin, vitamins, and compression socks to reduce the possibility of swelling in the feet. They were also told to sleep no longer than four hours (some did anyway) and stay up until midnight if possible. All to curtail the effects of the drastic change in time zones. "Keep the players up," Babcock said of his goals for a practice that begin at 8pm local time. "We thought if we got some exercise at this time of night we had a better chance of staying up til midnight." Cheap Adidas Shoes Authentic . It all would have been for naught, however, had it not been for some clutch shooting in the fourth quarter by Kobe Bryant and a couple of equally critical hustle plays by Derek Fisher and Pau Gasol in the final minutes. Wholesale Adidas Shoes . Alen, 28, hit .315 with five home runs, 59 RBI and a career-high nine stolen bases for the Goldeyes last season. He is the longest serving catcher in Goldeyes history, having already spent five seasons with the organization. http://www.cheapshoesadidas.com/. But history aside, theyre still happy to participate in the Par 3 contest, traditionally held on the day prior to the first round of the Masters. Discount Adidas Shoes . Bach, a 59-year-old German lawyer, was elected Tuesday as president of the International Olympic Committee. He succeeds Jacques Rogge, who stepped down after 12 years. Bach, the longtime favourite, defeated five candidates in a secret ballot for the most influential job in international sports, keeping the presidency in European hands. Adidas Shoes Sale . -- Damian Lillard couldnt believe when he got a clear look at the rim.SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Adam Snyder returned to the San Francisco 49ers this season because the offensive lineman thought it was his best opportunity to win a championship. Nothing that has happened the past two weeks has shaken that belief, and his teammates and coaches feel the same way. But theres a sense of urgency as the defending NFC champions take a two-game losing streak into Monday nights game against the Washington Redskins. The 49ers (6-4) have slipped to the sixth and final spot in the conference playoff picture, as San Francisco prepares for the seasons stretch run. Snyder will be in the middle of it Monday when he makes his first start of the season. The ninth-year veteran takes the place of injured All-Pro left guard Mike Iupati for a struggling offence that has been a big reason for the teams recent slide that followed a five-game winning streak. Its a familiar situation for Snyder, who made 69 starts at four line positions during his first stint in San Francisco from 2005-2011. Whats not so familiar for the 49ers is a losing streak that has dropped them near the edge of playoff contention. Its just the second time San Francisco has lost two games in a row since coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff arrived in 2011. But the 49ers, who were 9-1 and 7-2-1 after 10 games the past two seasons, remain confident they can get back on course for a return to the Super Bowl. "I still believe that and I know that everybody in this locker room believes that, and thats where we are right now," Snyder said Saturday. "The games become more important now. We put ourselves in this position coming down the stretch and we use it as motivation. Things didnt go the way that we planned, but we just have to keep fighting, stay on task, and thats what were doing every day." As his team prepared to leave for Washington early Saturday afternoon, Harbaugh was able to stray from his usual "one-game-at-a-time" mentality and look at the big picture. The 49ers, two-time defending NFC West champions, trail the Seattle Seahawks by 3 1/2 games in the division with six to play. One of those games is a home rematch with Seattle in two weeks. "The thing you look at is, the season plays out differently each year," Harbaugh said. &"I mean, the sense of urgency is high every week.dddddddddddd Theres plenty of opportunity ahead of us and the opportunity thats staring us right here in the face is a very good one, and thats what we focus on." Iupati suffered ligament damage in his left knee during last weeks 23-20 loss at New Orleans, ending his run of 63 consecutive starts to begin his career since the 49ers made him the 17th overall selection of the 2010 draft. San Franciscos offence had been struggling even with the first-team All-Pro in the lineup, gaining 151 total yards during a 10-9 home loss to Carolina two weeks ago and then 196 yards last week at New Orleans. In that game, 17 of San Franciscos 20 points came after turnovers by the Saints. The other three came on Phil Dawsons 29-yard field goal that followed the Saints turnover on downs in the third quarter. Dawsons kick culminated a 49-yard drive that was San Franciscos longest of the day. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been sacked nine times the past two weeks after San Franciscos line allowed just seven sacks over the previous five games. The 49ers arent expecting much drop-off with Snyder, who started 15 games at right guard in 2011 before leaving the team as a free agent. Snyder started 14 games for the Arizona Cardinals last season before returning to San Francisco. "Adams a guy we have complete and utter faith in," offensive co-ordinator Greg Roman said. "So thats really about it. Hes a very versatile guy. Plug him in and go. Dont even blink." Iupatis injury will break a string of consecutive starts for San Franciscos offensive line. All five starters along that unit earned recognition last season as either a Pro Bowl starter or Pro Bowl alternate, and all five started each of San Franciscos 19 games last season and all 10 so far this season. "Its rare to have an offensive line go through almost an entire two seasons and not have an injury," Snyder said. "They were fortunate enough to do that but now I have to step in and I dont want to have any drop-off in the level of production. I think Im capable of doing that. Theyre big shoes to fill, but its not like Im stepping into a situation that Ive never been in and theyve never been a part of." ' ' '

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