SOCHI, Russia -- Canada was a second-half team at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Frank Clark Seahawks Jersey
. The medal intake in Sochi is forecasted to happen at a more measured pace. Starting with Saturdays mens snowboard slopestyle and womens moguls, Canada has at least one legitimate medal shot, if not more, virtually every day until the closing ceremonies Feb. 23. Chef de mission Steve Podborski and his assistants Jean-Luc Brassard and France St. Louis intend to be present at events where a Canadian is a front-runner for a medal. "I would say were booked every day," Podborski said at a Canadian Olympic Committee news conference Thursday. The host country won 18 of its 26 medals in Vancouver during the back half of the Games. Ten of the 14 gold medals came in the second half, including four on the final weekend. Sports making their Olympic debut helped balance the schedule of Canadas medal prospects in Sochi. Mens and womens snowboard slopestyle, the figure skating team event and the luge relay are among the new events over the first eight days of competition in which Canada has solid medal prospects. Thats in addition to Canadas strength in the entrenched sports of alpine skiing, moguls, short-track speedskating and cross-country skiing. "Sure there are new sports and we happen to be very, very good in the new ones because we are a great sporting nation," Podborski said. "With the support were getting now from corporate Canada, Own The Podium and the Government of Canada, we have an opportunity to be good in the traditional sports as well and thats where well make our great gains in the areas where are athletes are getting better . . . cross-country, alpine skiing." Canadas athletes have been waging fierce foosball tournaments in their village lounge while they await Fridays opening ceremonies, according to Podborski. But Olympic competition started early for some Canadians with Thursdays preliminary rounds. Canada sat in second place, two points behind host Russia, after the first day of the new team figure skating event. Torontos Patrick Chan was third in the mens short program, then Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., were second in the pairs short to give Canada 17 of a possible 20 points after the first two events. Sebastien Toutant of LAssomption, Que., and Max Parrot of Bromont, Que., advanced to the mens snowboard slopestyle final Saturday, while Charles Reid of Mont-Tremblant, Que., and Reginas Mark McMorris will attempt to join them via the semifinal earlier in the day. The Dufour-Lapointe sisters from Montreal -- Justine, Chloe and Maxime -- all qualified for Saturdays womens moguls finals as did Audrey Robichaud of Quebec City. Reigning world champion Spencer OBrien of Courtney, B.C., qualified for the womens slopestyle final Sunday. Hockey Canada also made the decision to replace injured forward Steven Stamkos with Tampa Bay teammate Martin St. Louis. No competition is scheduled Friday because of the opening ceremonies. In addition to slopestyle and womens moguls on opening weekend, skiers Erik Guay of Mont-Tremblant, Que., Calgarys Jan Hudec and Manny Osborne-Paradis of Invermere, B.C., are medal prospects in Sundays downhill. Canadas figure skaters are favoured to win a medal in the team event, which ends Sunday. Canadas objective in 2010 was to top the overall medal count and the target remains the same in Sochi. The host team was third in total medals, but won the gold-medal race four years ago. Because of the new sports, there are 36 more medals to be won in 2014 than in 2010. That will help fill Canadas coffers, but also those of top rivals Germany, Norway, the United States and host Russia. "Canada is here to compete and win," COC president Marcel Aubut said. "Our aim is to contend for the number one spot in medals won." "This is an ambitious goal, but we Canadians like it this way. Our athletes expect nothing less of themselves but the highest achievements." Added Podborski: "You dont try to come "somewhere up there." We expect great things in Canada now. Its an ideal approach. "We may not win the medal count this time. We may not win it the next time but one day we will because we are striving to be number one in the world in the medal count." While Canadas preparation for 2010 seems a successful model to copy for Sochi, the Canadian Olympic Committee took a different approach. The 2008 Summer Games in Beijing posed similar challenges to Sochi in terms of distance to travel, time-zone difference and unfamiliar language, food and culture. Virtually all of Canadas Olympians competed, trained or at least visited Beijing in the year prior to those Games to get comfortable with the place. The same practice was done for Sochi. There was less emphasis on pre-Games visits for the 2012 Summer Games in London. "If we look at the Beijing experience and we look at the Sochi experience, its actually very similar," COC chief sport officer Caroline Assalian says. "New and unfamiliar environment for most countries. "We ensured that the athletes and support teams as much as possible are familiar with this environment." The COC has conducted exit interviews with athletes, their coaches and support teams following Olympic Games since 2006 to better plan for the next. The athletes were asked "what made the difference in your performance?" "Their number one factor? Feeling part of a larger unified team, more than anything," Assalian said. "Thats what made the difference for them. Coaches and support team? Familiarity with the Olympic environment." And where Beijing was also a benchmark for Sochi was in Canadas conversion rate, which the number of athletes ranked in the top five at their most recent world championships make it onto the podium at the subsequent Olympic Games. The COC employs conversion rates to compare how Canadas athletes are performing compared to other countries. Even though Canada won just 18 medals in Beijing, the conversion rate there was 67 per cent compared to 59 per cent at the Winter Games of both 2010 and 2006, according to Assalian. The Canadian team needs at least match Beijings conversion rate to be in the hunt for the overall title in Sochi. "Our bar now is Beijing," Assalian says. "We know we need to convert better than we ever have at any Winter Olympic Games." The Canadian team will attempt this without the advantage it had in Vancouver and Whistler of home ice and home snow. Own The Podium chief executive officer Anne Merklinger says many winter sport teams have stronger leadership and better coaches since 2010. Both areas were priorities coming out of Vancouver and Whistler and she hopes improvements there compensate for the additional challenges of Sochi. "Weve come a long way in that regard," she says. "Without coaches, were behind the 8-ball. Its the most important success factor. "I think there are a number of examples where weve brought in great coaches, but weve lost some too. We need to find a way to continue to retain the good ones we have and attract new ones." "Were investing in that. Thats what it takes. Its a competitive industry." OTP oversees athletes competitive lives between Olympic Games and allocates about $62 million a year in federal government funding between summer and winter sports. The COC prepares athletes for the Games environment and looks after their needs and wants on the ground in Sochi. Marshawn Lynch Jersey
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. The award is presented annually to the most valuable player in the NHL, as voted by fellow members of the National Hockey League Players Association. The three centres are also the finalists for the Hart Trophy, awarded by the NHL to the player considered most valuable to his team.SAN JOSE – Through the first 10 minutes of an incredibly one-sided middle period the hometown Sharks had wrung up 15 shots to just a single measly one for their counterparts from Toronto. It was that kind of night in San Jose for the Maple Leafs, trounced 6-2 on the second stop of their three-game tour through the perilous California triangle. Though they managed to elude the Ducks in Anaheim just a night earlier, Toronto could not ultimately find the necessary juice to topple another giant at the SAP Center on Tuesday night. “It was like there was one puck and they had it,” said head coach Randy Carlyle afterward. “We didnt have a chance to play with it much. That gets frustrating for everybody.” About as dominant as they get in the NHL on home ice – theyre now 25-4-4 – and in the league generally speaking, the Sharks took control for good on this night midway through the first and right on into that dominant second frame, one that saw them plaster 17 shots on an often helpless James Reimer. In fact, San Jose had rung up more shots at one point in the early stages of the period alone than the Leafs had mustered all night. “I thought we did a lot of things that gave them a lot of opportunities, specifically turning the puck over,” Carlyle said of the effort, his team outshot 48-21 overall. “And we didnt skate. We were standing still.” Marc-Edouard Vlasic landed the games first goal before four minutes had elapsed on the clock, capitalizing on a careless Jake Gardiner defensive zone giveaway. Gardiner matched the marker himself 25 seconds later on a rush with Mason Raymond, but from that point on the waters firmly swung in the Sharks direction. Punishing the Leafs with their size, speed and skill, they would score four unanswered, including a pair from Joe Pavelski. “Just from the very beginning we werent ready to play,” said Gardiner, who added a second goal in defeat. It was only the fourth regulation loss for the Leafs in the past 21 games – 14-4-3 – an unlikely stretch which has seen them capture points with incredible regularity. They sit second in the Atlantic division even after Tuesdays defeat, one point up on the Canadiens with 78 points. Considering that overall performance in the past two months, this most recent defeat would appear a one-off beat-down at the hands of an elite opponent, one with very real Stanley Cup aspirations this season. One loss can turn into two pretty quickly on the left coast though with another lofty challenge lying ahead for the Leafs on Thursday night. Theyll face the Kings, winners of eight straight, at the Staples Center. “You have to flush it,” said Dion Phaneuf of the loss, which snapped a three-game win streak. “Theres no sitting around pouting about it because were going into a building with a team thats playing very well right now. Theres no time to sit around and pout.” Five Points 1. Scary Collision It was the signature Phaneuf open-ice hit. Only instead of landing the desired opponent, Patrick Marleau in this case, Phaneufs shoulder caught the head of James van Riemsdyk in a thunderous collision of teammates. Remaining down for a few moments, van Riemsdyk left the ice for concussion tests only to return a short while later, however unlikely given the blowout. “I was pretty worried when [I saw] him go off the ice, but very relieved to see him come back and talk to him and know that hes okay,” said Phaneuf. It was odd to see the 24-year-old return – he had four shifts afterward – given his recent concussion history. van Riemsdyk missed 15 games with a concussion during the 2011-12 season, but was deemed fine to return in the latter stages of the final frame on this night. Oddly enough, his skate laces on both skates were cut in the collision. “I dont know how that happened,” said Carlyle, managing a grin. 2. Scraps Plenty frustrated with the nights proceedings, Toronto assumed the league-lead in fighting with four more scraps in San Jose and 44 now on the year. Troy Bodie, David Clarkson, Tim Gleason and Joffrey Lupul all fought on Tuesday night, just a day after the group fought three times in Anaheim. “Frustration more than anything I would say,” Carlyle said of the fisticuffs.. Cary Williams Jersey
. Employing Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren only sparingly this season – due to injuries or otherwise – the Leafs have not fought with any near the regularity of a year ago. They dropped the gloves 44 times in 48 games last season, only now hitting that mark with 15 games to play. 3. Reimers Rough Night Roughed up for six goals on 48 shots against the Sharks, James Reimer rarely looked comfortable in the Toronto crease. Playing second fiddle to Jonathan Bernier, the 25-year-old was making just his fourth start since his last win on Jan. 21. “I felt pretty good out there,” said Reimer afterward. “I felt like I was battling and working as hard as I could, just pucks found a way through.” Some of those pucks found a way through under challenging circumstances. The Sharks second goal, a blast from Brent Burns, found its way through after a scrum in the Toronto crease that saw Joe Thornton fall on Reimer. The goal was initially waved off – the official hadnt seen it go in – but ruled good via replay from NHL headquarters in Toronto. In other situations, Reimer was either helpless – Vlasics goal for instance, which sailed through a maze of traffic after the Gardiner giveaway – or just plain fighting the puck, Pavelskis first marker of the night sliding under his right arm. “It just was one of those nights where things didnt go my way, whether it was people sitting on me or scrums that pucks found a way through the bodies or tipped off people or what,” Reimer said. 4. Effects of Seven Defencemen Because of an illness to Cody Fransonthe Leafs did not dress seven defenders against the Sharks, but the effects of their preferred lineup construction are interesting to digest. Outside of offering an extra shift or two a period to the likes of Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul, or James van Riemsdyk, adjusting to a lineup featuring seven defencemen has allowed Carlyle (or Dave Farrish more specifically) to spread the minutes more evenly amongst the blueline. The two who have been most effected by the change are Gardiner and his regular defence partner, Franson. From a season-high of nearly 24 minutes on average in December, the 23-year-old Gardiner has seen that ice drawn back considerably to under 18 minutes most nights. He also been effectively removed from the penalty kill. Franson meanwhile averaged better than 20 minutes for the first four months of the regular season, but he too has seen that opportunity dip in recent weeks. The 26-year-old did not play 20 minutes in any of the previous six games featuring seven defencemen, stuck most nights between 15-19 minutes. His penalty killing opportunities have also diminished though not to the extent of Gardiner. Battling undisclosed “bumps and bruises” post-Olympic break and annually overworked, Dion Phaneuf has had his ice-time slightly eased with the shift to seven defenders, playing 22-23 minutes recently. Carl Gunnarsson – who remains a top pairing penalty killer – and Morgan Rielly – who does not kill penalties – have been unaffected by Rangers addition. 5. Goin Back To Cali Jonathan Bernier will meet some former Kings teammates for dinner on Wednesday night. The 25-year-old is getting set to visit his old L.A. stomping grounds for the first time as rival on Thursday evening. “Try to let them know that theyve got to shoot wide,” he said with a laugh. Stats-Pack 44 – Fights for the Leafs this season, leading the league. 48-21 – Shot advantage for the Sharks on Tuesday night. 6-2-1 – Record for the Leafs in their past nine games against the Western Conference. 6 – Fights for David Clarkson this season. Clarkson fought Andrew Desjardins in the middle period, his third fight in the past two games. 14-4-3 – Leafs record in the past 20 games. Special Teams Capsule PP: 0-2Season: 20.8% (7th) PK: 4-4Season: 78.7% (28th) Quote of the Night “It was like there was one puck and they had. We didnt have a chance to play with it much. That gets frustrating for everybody.” -Randy Carlyle, following the loss to San Jose. Up Next Jonathan Bernier visits his former L.A. confines when the Leafs visit the Kings on Thursday in the third game of a five-game swing. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China
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