SOCHI, Russia – The Canadians had to hurl nearly 60 shots at the Latvian goal to scratch their way into a semifinal matchup with the Americans, but by the time it was over head coach Mike Babcock was convinced the experience would be beneficial, much as it was four years earlier. Jurickson Profar Rangers Jersey
. "Did I want to win 7-1? Absolutely,” said Babcock after a nervous 2-1 win in the quarter-finals against Latvia. “Do I think its better for my team that we won the way we did? For sure." It took every bit of mustard his team could find to finally get past the unlikely challengers from Latvia – a team they had never lost to in either the Olympics or World Championships – and avert disaster. Kristers Gudlevskis, an unheralded 21-year-old draft pick in executive director Steve Yzermans Tampa Bay Lightning organization, stopped 55 shots and held the Canadians to just a single goal for the first 53 minutes of regulation. Patience was tested and tested again and again with every chance, opportunity and flurry squashed by the apparent back-up Latvian netminder, starting with a Sidney Crosby breakaway in the opening moments and continuing right on through the rest of the night. "Obviously when youre talking about 10 minutes left in the third and you look up and youve got 50-some-odd shots you dont want it to be one of those nights," said Crosby after the win. "I think that you just try to trust that eventually those chances will go in, stick with it." Patrick Sharp became just the fourth Canadian forward to score, his first goal in the middle frame matched minutes later on a mildly shocking Lauris Darzins breakaway. From there the Gudlevkis show rolled on in ever-surprising fashion, some of the most gifted offensive talents on the planet stonewalled by a goaltender who was starting for the American Hockey Leagues Syracuse Crunch as recently as Feb. 5. There was the stop on Jeff Carter in alone in the second period, a blocker save on Rick Nash in the third, a jam attempt by Chris Kunitz just a few minutes later. For a forward contingent struggling to score these were familiar troubles building in a game that Canada had no business not winning. "If you look at tonight besides picking the puck up and throwing it in the net what could you tell someone to do in those situations," said Crosby, who still has yet to score in this tournament. "We had some great chances. Youre getting chances like that theres not a lot you would change. Its not like you were going in there adjusting and trying to figure something out. I think its just the ultimate test of your patience when youre getting chances like that and you need to find a way to score." Its ultimately that persistence and push through the wall of a hot goaltender that Babcock believes will benefit his team moving into a 2010 gold medal game re-match with the Americans on Friday. Though they had only mild difficulties against Norway and Austria, the Canadians really only faced a stiff test from Finland in the final game of the preliminary round, a tilt they scratched out in overtime on the second of two goals from Drew Doughty. On this night it was another defenceman proving the hero. Shea Weber fired a cannon past Gudlevskis with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation, easing the nerves of a tense nation on the other side of the globe. "We just talked about the hockey gods," Babcock said. "You just keep doing things right, youre going to be rewarded. We had some chances. So we just thought if we kept doing it, wed get our chances, wed get a break, wed score a goal." Though they inched closer to it in the close win over Latvia, Canada has yet to truly resemble the powerhouse it was expected to be here in Sochi. But they have, true to Babcocks word, gotten better with each day gone by. They enter the semifinal, however, as an unlikely underdog, squaring off against an American squad thats stomped all of its competition here in Sochi. With the hottest player on the planet in Phil Kessel – who has nearly as many goals here in Russia (five) as the entire Canadian forward group (six) – and a battle-tested Jonathan Quick between the pipes, the U.S. has the look of a favourite in what should be an enticing rematch of the gold medal game in Vancouver. "Its what its all about," said Jonathan Toews of the matchup. "Canada-USA, I think has become a bigger rivalry than Canada-Russia. Theres a lot of animosity, lot of feelings like theres something to prove between both teams. Its for the chance to go play for a gold medal. It doesnt get any better than that." It took a few bumps and a similar crescendo for Canada to top the U.S. in Vancouver in 2010. There were familiar stumbles along the way – including a preliminary round loss to the U.S. – but ultimately, the Canadians got their game together as the tournament stretched on, dominating the Russians in the quarter-final before edging the Slovaks and Americans en route to gold. Babcock is mindful of that path when he looks at the winding road thus far in 2014. "The Olympic Games isnt supposed to be easy,” he said. “They dont just give the medals out. You earn the medals. Now wed like to put ourselves in a situation to compete for one and we have another day to prepare [on Thursday]." Cole Hamels Rangers Jersey
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. According to several reports, the quarterback has asked for a trade or his release from the team. The reports state Pryor strongly wants to be a starter, and that wont happen in Oakland.MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Ryan Tannehill watched the final play from the sideline, hopping anxiously as an opponents desperation heave hung in the air, then letting out a jubilant scream when a teammate swatted the ball to the turf. At the end of a dismal week, the Miami Dolphins finally had something to celebrate. Brent Grimes broke up Philip Rivers final pass in the end zone as time expired, and the embattled Dolphins beat the San Diego Chargers 20-16 Sunday. Tannehill threw for 268 yards, including a 39-yard score to Charles Clay, who broke two tackles on the play. Miami managed 104 yards rushing behind a makeshift line. The victory came amid a harassment scandal that raised questions regarding the teams locker room culture. An NFL special investigator will question players this week about the relationship between offensive tackle Jonathan Martin and guard Richie Incognito. "Theres a lot going on, but were not focused on that," Tannehill said. "Were focused on football." The Dolphins (5-5) won for only the second time in the past seven games. Theyre still in contention for an AFC wild-card berth, despite a dreadful defeat last Monday at Tampa Bay and the distractions of the harassment case. "Were fighting through this," tackle Tyson Clabo said. "Someones got to get that last wild-card spot. Why not us?" The Chargers (4-6), who were plagued by penalties and missed tackles, lost their third game in a row. "We made too many mistakes from start to finish," coach Mike McCoy said. "We hurt ourselves way too much." Trailing by four points, San Diego started from its own 17 with 1:54 left and drove to the Miami 25. On the final play, a harried Rivers lofted a pass toward Vincent Brown in the end zone, but the 5-foot-10 Grimes leaped to slap the ball away. Rivers threw for 298 yards and Ryan Mathews ran for 127, including a career-best, 51-yard dash to set up a field goal. But the Chargers had 10 penalties for 76 yards, including two infractions that cost them 11 points in the first half. "Ten penalties, thats a lot," Rivers said. "Were not playing well enough to overcome those things." Miami played at home for the first time since the scandal broke. The stands were less than two-thirds full, and an airplane banner rreflected the mood by calling for the firing of general manager Jeff Ireland, who has long been in disfavour with fans. Josh Hamilton Jersey
. Because centre Mike Pouncey missed the game with an illness, the Dolphins had three backups starting on the offensive line. Martin missed his third consecutive game while undergoing treatment for emotional issues, and the suspended Incognito sat out his second game. Working behind the patchwork line, Tannehill was sacked four times, increasing his NFL-high season total to 41. But Miami averaged 5.5 yards per rush to limit the Chargers time of possession. As usual, the Dolphins went with pass plays two-thirds of the time. On the games opening drive, they marched 76 yards -- with all but 2 coming through the air -- for a field goal. Penalties repeatedly hurt the Chargers. Corey Liuget was flagged for roughing the passer to negate a teammates fumble recovery at the San Diego 1, and two plays later the Dolphins scored a touchdown for a 10-7 lead. Liuget said he didnt see Tannehill get rid of the ball. "It was a costly penalty for us," Liuget said. "I wish I could get that one back. Its not a great feeling at all." A scrambling Rivers hit Antonio Gates for a 5-yard touchdown with a minute left in the first half, but the quarterback was flagged for throwing past the line of scrimmage, and the Chargers settled for a field goal that made it 10-all at halftime. A drive in the second half stalled after receiver Keenan Allen was flagged 15 yards for taunting, and the Chargers defence was penalized four times for offsides. San Diegos Derek Cox dropped a potential pick-six in the first quarter, and on the next play Johnny Patrick intercepted Tannehill at midfield. The Chargers scored four plays later for a 7-3 lead. Clay put Miami ahead to stay in the third quarter when he caught a short pass and ran over defenders Marcus Gilchrist and Donald Butler en route to the end zone, making it 17-10. Notes: Chargers CB Johnny Patrick missed the second half with a head injury. ... Dolphins CB Dimitri Patterson left the game in the first half when he aggravated the groin injury that has bothered him for much of the season. ... The Chargers have lost seven in a row in Miami since their memorable 41-38 overtime playoff victory in January 1982. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Cheap Soccer Jerseys China
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