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Having covered on-ice shooting and save percentages aleady, the next step is to look at the biggest variance in individual NHL player shooting percentages this season. Marc-Edouard Vlasic Jersey . While it might be easy enough to accept the notion that its difficult for a player to affect on-ice shooting or save percentages, because they are heavily-dependent on other players, its another matter entirely to accept the premise that an NHL player doesnt necessrily have a significant impact on his own shooting percentage in a given season. For one thing, as much as it might be convenient for viewrs, a single season isnt enough to capture a players true shooting ability, which means there is a high degree of variance possible. This variance is important, particularly in terms of perception, because its how players end up having career years. When Brett Hull scored 86 goals in 1990-1991, he finished a career-high 22.1% of all of his shots; 65 goals for Alex Ovechkin in 2007-2008? Scored on a career-high 14.6% of all of his shots. Teemu Selannes 76-goal rookie season came on 19.6% shooting, the best of his career. This is how seasons go from good to great but, just as save percentage is wildly unpredictable for goaltenders from one year to the next, so too is shooting percentage for individual players. This is relevant because perception is widely based on goal-scoring. Goals determine winners and losers and are easy to identify, but the reason we pay attention to these outlier percentages is to have have some idea whats real and what isnt. Take Blues LW Alexander Steen, for example. Hes enjoying the best season of his career, with 33 goals and 60 points in 64 games. Hes a tremendous two-way player who has probably been underrated, but hes received more accolades this year because hes become a more prolific goal-scorer. Even though his scoring has slowed since an outrageous start to the year, when he scored 17 goals in 18 games, Steen ranks fifth in the league in goals per game, behind Steven Stamkos, Alex Ovechkin, Gustav Nyquist and Corey Perry. If Steen was finishing at his typical (5-on-5) rate, 8.87% over the previous five seasons coming into the year, that would knock 11 even-strength goals off his total and while 22 goals and 49 points in 64 games is a fine season, its not held in the same esteem as Steens 33-goal, 60-point season. When youve evaluating Steen going forward, is it fair to conclude that hes now the player who scores on 18.4% of his 5-on-5 shots, or is that departure from his established performance level essentially a fluke? There is a lot of randomness at play for a player to have his shooting percentage skyrocket, Steen (and his linemates -- David Backes and T.J. Oshie) deserve some credit because Steen is getting better quality shots than he has in previous seasons. Using Some Kind of Ninjas shot tracker, we can see that Steens average shooting distance, at even-strength, is 28.4 feet, his best of all years tracked since 2008-2009. So, getting shots 3-4 feet closer on average may account for some improvement, though most likely not enough to more than double his even-strength shooting percentage. Lets look at Nyquist, who had four goals in 40 NHL games entering this season and now has 28 goals in 51 games this year, virtually saving the Red Wings playoff chances. Even the most optimistic fan isnt going to expect Nyquist to keep scoring on more than 20% of his shots, simply because no one does. This isnt to rain on Nyquists current goal parade, because its awesome, but if we reasonably think that Nyquist might be an above-average shooter (even, as high as 12%), then that would typically mean 12 goals at 5-on-5 instead of 21 -- that nine-goal difference would be massive for both Nyquist and the Red Wings. Its the kind of thing that no player needs to apologize for, but everyone must understand that these runs will end and regression will bring a player closer to his real skill level. That can still be very good, just not necessarily the out-of-this-world pace that Nyquist is keeping now. By the same token, how many times do you hear a player, mired in a slump, say that they feel okay as long as they are getting their chances? Its cliche, but utterly true. Sure, this player might be snakebitten for 10 games, 20 games, even a whole season, but if there is an established level of being able to score, there have to be extreme reasons for that player to suddenly and dramatically lose that skill. If youre looking for bounceback players going into next season, then, consider some of those that saw their shooting percentages crash this year and, by contrast, you might consider selling high on those players that finished at an abnormally high rate this season. Below, youll see players that have the widest differentials in their previously-established 5-on-5 shooting percentages compared to their results this season. My thanks to stats.hockeyanalysis.com for the data. HIGH INDIVIDUAL SHOOTING PERCENTAGE (min. 10 5-on-5 goals in 2013-2014) Alexander Steen, LW, St. Louis 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 8.87 2013-14 5-on-5 SH%: 18.40 Difference: +9.53 Joe Pavelski, C, San Jose 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 8.19 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 16.80 Difference: +8.61 Ryan OReilly, LW, Colorado 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 6.98 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 15.13 Difference: +8.15 Joel Ward, RW, Washington 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 6.67 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 14.44 Difference: +7.77 Ryan Getzlaf, C, Anaheim 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 10.42 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 17.32 Difference: +6.90 Nick Foligno, LW, Columbus 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 7.89 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 14.74 Difference: +6.85 Artem Anisimov, C, Columbus 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 9.83 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 15.38 Difference: +6.45 Frans Nielsen, C, N.Y. Islanders 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 8.89 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 14.89 Difference: +6.00 Valtteri Filppula, C, Tampa Bay 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 11.96 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 17.20 Difference: +5.24 (Honourable mention to Nashvilles Nick Spaling, who has nine 5-on-5 goals, but has seen 5-on-5 shooting percentage jump from 8.38% to 13.64% and San Joses Martin Havlat, who only has eight goals, but his SH% is up from 9.47% to 16.00%.) LOW INDIVIDUAL SHOOTING PERCENTAGE (forwards with min. 20 5-on-5 goals from 2007-2008 through 2012-2013) Matt DAgostini, RW, Buffalo 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 7.54 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 2.53 Difference: -5.01 Todd Bertuzzi, RW, Detroit 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 9.95 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 4.76 Difference: -5.19 Torrey Mitchell, RW, Buffalo 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 7.62 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 2.33 Difference: -5.29 Mathieu Perreault, C, Anaheim 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 21.90 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 16.46 Difference: -5.44 Kyle Brodziak, C, Minnesota 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 10.20 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 4.49 Difference: -5.71 Blake Comeau, RW, Columbus 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 9.66 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 3.49 Difference: -6.17 Ryan Malone, LW, Tampa Bay 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 11.90 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 5.66 Difference: -6.24 Tomas Fleischmann, LW, Florida 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 11.58 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 5.26 Difference: -6.32 Colin Wilson, LW, Nashville 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 14.02 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 7.59 Difference: -6.43 Steve Ott, C, St. Louis 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 9.82 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 3.33 Difference: -6.49 David Jones, RW, Calgary 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 13.92 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 6.67 Difference: -7.25 Steve Bernier, RW, New Jersey 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 9.78 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 2.41 Difference: -7.37 Shawn Horcoff, C, Dallas 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 9.69 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 2.04 Difference: -7.62 T.J. Galiardi, LW, Calgary 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 10.31 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 2.47 Difference: -7.84 Benoit Pouliot, N.Y. Rangers 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 13.46 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 4.81 Difference: -8.65 Alexandre Burrows, RW, Vancouver 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 12.77 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 4.11 Difference: -8.66 Martin Erat, LW, Phoenix 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 11.90 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 2.50 Difference: -9.40 Marcus Johansson, LW, Washington 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 14.47 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 3.03 Difference: -11.44 Ville Leino, LW, Buffalo 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 12.50 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 0.00 Difference: -12.50 Steve Downie, RW, Philadelphia 2007-2013 5-on-5 SH%: 13.00 2013-14 On-ice SH%: 0.00 Difference: -13.00 Scott Cullen can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. Custom San Jose Sharks Jerseys . Pistorius denied the allegation that he said to the close friend of the girlfriend he killed: "How can you sleep at night?" The accusation by Kim Myers provided a bizarre twist during the trial of the world-famous double-amputee Olympian, who is facing 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder for shooting dead Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, at his home last year. Joe Thornton Jersey . The Thunder earned the Game 1 win with a 100-86 victory Saturday night. Oklahoma City dominated the first half and led by 22 at the break, but saw its lead shrink to just two points in the fourth quarter.With two days to go until Wednesdays 3pm et deadline, theres some trade speculation surrounding Jason Spezza and the Ottawa Senators. Sources tell TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger that the team is quietly gauging interest on the Senators captain, though Spezza has a limited no-trade clause and carries a large contract. The news comes amidst other reports that the Senators have been searching for a winger to play with him. However, general manager Bryan Murray says he has not talked about the 30-year-old centre. "I had one guy ask if I want to comment to quiet the rumours and I said, No. Im not going to ... The more I say about itt the more its going to be played over and over in the next couple of days," Murray told reporters in Vancouver, where the Senators beat the Canucks 4-2 in the Heritage Classic on Sunday. Joe Pavelski Jersey. nbsp;"Ill just say we have not talked, at this point in time, about Jason Spezza." Spezza, who was named captain last fall after the departure of free agent Daniel Alfredsson, has one year remaining on his current deal which pays him $4 million next season - but with a $7 million cap hit. The team signed him to a seven-year, $49 million contract in 2007. He has 15 goals and 46 points in 56 games this season. Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys NFL T-shirts From China Cheap NFL Black Jerseys Wholesale Black NFL Jerseys China Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys CheapCheap Nike NFL Jerseys ' ' '
INDIANAPOLIS - Defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois never bought the notion Indianapolis couldnt contend for a Super Bowl this season. Jalin Marshall Jersey .He had too much faith in his teammates and coaches to accept that perception.Now, one day after a surprising 24-13 divisional-round win at Denver, the most unlikely entrant of championship weekend finds itself with a seemingly unlikely Super Bowl scenario.We expected to be here, even though no one else may have expected us to be here, Jean Francois said. Were looking at accomplishing something, and we havent finished it yet.Outsiders arent the only ones surprised that the Colts are here.Just last week, team owner Jim Irsay told reporters he didnt anticipate things going this smoothly or this fast after he released Peyton Manning in 2012 and started over with a rookie quarterback, a first-time head coach and a first-time general manager.But Andrew Luck has been better than advertised, Indy has embraced Chuck Pagano and his philosophy and general manager Ryan Grigson has put enough pieces in place to win 11 regular-season games in three straight seasons.The two-time AFC South champs have gone one step deeper in the playoffs each year of the Luck-Pagano-Grigson era, and now they are just one win away from their third Super Bowl trip in eight years.Youre excited that youve done so much so soon but you also feel the weight. You know where you have to go, Irsay said. We know what we have to do as an organization and thats to get to the top of the mountain. Thats what our goals are as we go into this playoff run.Getting there this time will take a monumental effort.After eliminating Manning on his home turf, the Colts (13-5) face Tom Brady on his home field. Brady is 13-3 at home in the playoffs, 3-0 against the Colts, including last years 43-22 divisional-round drubbing.Its exactly the road Irsay expected to face when he told The Associated Press last month that Indys likely path to a championship would go through Denver and New England, then either Green Bay or Seattle, who will square off in the NFC championship game.Most thought winning any of those games would be too much to ask of Indys young team. The Colts never saw it that way.Faith is believing in what you dont see or cant see, and the reward for believing is youll get to see it, Pagano said Monday. Weve got a bunch of guys in this building that believe in what were doing and believe in each other. If you cant speak it into existence, itll never happen.The indications that Indy was ahead of schedule were there most of the season.During a five-game winning streak in September and October, the Colts allowed 75 points and the run defence was on the verge of cracking the top 10. Andrew Luck was throwing for 300 yards on a weekly basis and led the league in touchdown passes thanks in part to an evolving ground game.Then, late in the season, the Colts defence played well enough to win five of its last six games despite an uncharacteristic rash of turnovers and penalties. In the locker room, players and coaches insisted they were getting hot at just the right time.The critics, meanwhile, complained Indys success was largely built against sub-par teams and pointing to their 2-4 mark against playoff-bound teams and blowout losses at Pittsburgh and Dallas and at home against the Patriots (13-4) as evidence the Colts would be eliminated quickly.Even a convincing 26-10 wild-card round win over Cincinnati didnt change those thoughts.Sundays win over Denver will help, even though the Colts remain the biggest underdog left in the playoff field.The Colts dont care. Theyve got bigger things on their mind.It doesnt matter what anyone else thinks, Jean Francois said. As long as the people in this locker room believe, we can accomplish our goals.Notes: Pagano said the Colts came out of Sundays game with no major injuries. ... Pagano also explained that Trent Richardson, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 draft, was inactive for the Broncos game because he was not as skilled on special teams as the recently signed Michael Hill. Richardson worked out on special teams last week, but Pagano said he has not been asked to play on those units previously and that Hill was brought in, partially, because of his knack on special teams. ... The Colts believe they will have the same starting combination on the offensive line for the third straight week. The most recent time that happened was Weeks 1 to 3.___AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL Brent Qvale Jersey . Despite Arsenals financial firepower, the 31-year-old midfielder was the only arrival in the January transfer window. Signed until the end of the season as injury cover, Kallstrom might not be fit until mid-March after arriving Friday at Arsenal having injured his back earlier in the week while training with Spartak Moscow. James Carpenter Jersey . Judging by his performance Saturday night, Cotto has plenty left in the tank. Cotto became the first Puerto Rican fighter to win world championships in four weight divisions, stopping Sergio Martinez in their WBC world middleweight title fight Saturday night.PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers and second-round draft pick Stephon Tuitt have agreed to a four-year contract. Financial details were not disclosed. Pittsburgh selected the defensive lineman from Notre Dame with the 46th overall pick. The 6-foot-5, 303-pounnd Tuitt started 29 games at Notre Dame. Mark Gastineau Jersey. He finished with 127 tackles, 21 1/2 sacks and 27 quarterback pressures in three seasons and was the teams lineman of the year in 2013. Tuitt is the last of Pittsburghs nine draft picks to sign. Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys NFL T-shirts From China Cheap NFL Black Jerseys Wholesale Black NFL Jerseys China Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys ' ' '
Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at [email protected] Toronto Raptors Jerseys .ca. Hi Kerry, Its taken me a while to get up the guts to write you - when you were reffing, I didnt have very kind things to say about you. After religiously reading your column I have to admit I was quite wrong. Your knowledge of the game and the concise way you explain issues shows me you really knew what you were doing out there, officiating the most difficult game in the world to officiate. My question - the world has seen the goal scored by Phoenixs Mike Smith, where the puck went over his head, lodged on his jersey/in his pants, and then he backed into the net.  Im curious as to why the whistle was not immediately blown when this happened.  While from some angles, the puck IS visible, I would have to argue that it wasnt really playable - without potential injury to the goaltender.  A Buffalo forwards stick to his back while dangerous, would also have resulted in immediate retribuition from his teammates. Ive seen similar issues where a puck inadvertently goes in a skaters jersey or glove, and play stopped immediately.  While Im definitely not a Mike Smith fan, I think Phoenix got jobbed on that call. Whats your view? Thanks - and keep up the good work.  And my apologies for all the bad comments while you were working the game! Mark McBrideSpringfield, IL Mark: Thank you for the "courage" it might have taken you to send me this terrific question. The respect that you extended to me is the best New Years gift I could have ever hoped for. Wayne Gretzky wrote in the foreword of my book, The Final Call, "As any player does, I had a few run-ins with Kerry over those years. In fact, it was probably more than a few. I dont think he was always right, but I know I wasnt either. Players and refs often dont see things the same way in the middle of a game. But one thing Kerry always had from every player was respect."  Respect from the hockey community (players, management and fans) is the most that any Ref can hope to achieve. I thank you Mark for your offering here. The truth is I have a real problem with allowing a goal on this play once the puck became lodged and concealed in the sweater and pants of Phoenix goalkeeper Mike Smith well outside of his goal crease. Let me explain why.If we go strictly by the book, rule 85 provides some clear direction as to the Referees actions when a puck becomes unplayable or out of sight: 85.2 Puck Unplayable - When the puck becomes lodged in the netting on the outside of either goal so as to make it unplayable, or if it is "frozen" between opposing players intentionally or otherwise, the Referee shall stop the play. 85.3 Puck Out of Sight - Should a scramble take place or a player accidentally fall on the puck and the puck be out of sight of the Referee, he shall immediately blow his whistle and stop the play. I can support a goal being counted when a potential save is made within the goal crease and the goalkeeper doesnt completely control or freeze the puck prior to it crossing the goal line.  Likewise, a goal should count if the uncontrolled momentum of the goalkeeper quickly carries the puck across the goal line in the act of making a save similar to when this same goalkeeper (Mike Smith) slid the puck into the net under his goal pad on a shootout goal awarded to James van Riemsdyk. This play was completely different. Phoenix goalkeeper Mike Smith was well outside of his crease when a high "jump puck" took place between Smith and teammate Martin Hanzal that resulted from an over the head rebound. Both Smith and Hanzel had their sticks raised above their heads as Hanzel batted at the airborne puck with his glove. The actions of these two players, along with their location on the ice and that of the puck, have significant bearing on what the Referee should have been focused on; namely the puck! There was potential for the puck being struck with a high-stick or possibly batted into the net by either defensive player; both of which would require a decision by the Referee. From the Refs position deep in the corner below the goal line, with his back against the wall, on the opposite side of the ice to where this series of events took place, the referee did not react to the puck dropping into the sweater and pants of Mike Smith. Worse yet there was slow, gliding movement by the referee toward the scramble in the goal crease as Smith attempted in vain to locate the puck; which the goalkeeper ultimately carried across the goal line concealed in his equipment and partially visible to the overhead camera through replay. The referee was unable to render a decision from his position as was evidenced by his lack of decisiveness and uncertainty once play finally stopped. A conference was immediately convened by the officiating crew prior to the implementation of video review. This might have been a perfect time to institute rule 31.2, intent to blow the whistle! All video review could share was that the puck was visible across the line. Now let me tell you what should have occurred on this play. The referee should have anticipated the shot and rebound that took place on the opposite side of the net to where he was standing and quickly moved along the goal line half way between the net and the side boards. From this location he would be in position to have seen the puck drop into Mike Smiths equipment and become "unplayable."  An immediate whistle would have blown in advance of the goalkeepers return to his crease and well in advance of the puck entering the net in Smiths back pocket!   All of us at TSN offer you and your family the very best wishes for a safe, healthy, happy and prosperous New Year. No CMon Ref question tomorrow as we all enjoy the Winter Classic from the Big House! C.J. Miles Jersey . Bjoerndalen, who had failed to win any major race for two years before Sochi, writes in a Facebook entry that he is "full of energy and inspiration" after winning the 10-kilometre sprint and mixed relay at last months Olympics. Vince Carter Jersey .com) - Ryan Johansens creative moves and hometown appeal highlighted Team Folignos successful night at the NHL All- Star Skills Competition.SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- Alex Dubeau made 38 saves to help carry the Moncton Wildcats to a chippy 3-1 victory over the Saint John Sea Dogs on Wednesday in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League play. Centre JC Campagna opened the scoring for Moncton (6-8-0) with a power-play goal in the first period. Mark Simpson and Stephen Johnson made it 3-0 in the second period. Matthew Highmore got one for the Sea Dogs (5-6-1) in the third. Sebastien Auger turned back 21 shots for the Sea Dogs. Moncton was on the power play eight times, compared with just three man advantages for Saint John. The Sea Dogs had 27 minutes of penalties, while the Wildcats racked up 17. --- Sebastien Sylvestre had a goal and four assists to lead the Chicoutimi Sagueneens to a 5-4 victory over the Rimouski Oceanic. OG Anunoby Jersey. Jeremy Carignan, Laurent Dauphin, Charles Hudon and Victor Provencher also scored for the Sagueneens (7-6-0). Hudon and Provencher scored 68 seconds apart in the third period to make it 5-2. Anthony DeLuca scored his ninth and tenth goals of the season for Rimouski (7-4-1). The Oceanic made it close with goals from Samuel Morin at 14:11 of the third period, and another from Michael Joly with four minutes left. The Sagueneens were 2 for 3 on the power play, while the Oceanic converted twice on five man advantages. Domenic Graham made 31 saves for Chicoutimi, while Philippe Desrosiers stopped 28 shots for Rimouski. Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys NFL T-shirts From China Cheap NFL Black JerseysWholesale Black NFL Jerseys China Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys ' ' '
TSN 690 has you covered with extensive coverage of the 2014 NHL Draft, as the 690 crew will be live on location from Philadelphia. England Soccer Jerseys . Coverage kicks off on Thursday with the voice of the Montreal Canadiens on TSN 690 John Bartlett, along with Mitch Gallo and Conor McKenna bringing you the Canadiens NHL Draft press briefing. First round coverage of the draft commences Friday at 6pm live from the floor of the Wells Fargo Center and continues on Saturday with a special broadcast of rounds two through seven beginning at 10am. Marcus Rashford Jersey . Among the six changes: Drivers are now eligible if they have competed for 30 or more years in NASCAR or turned 55 in the calendar year before nominating day. Previously, drivers were not eligible until they had been retired for three years, so drivers can continue to compete and still reach the hall. Chris Smalling Jersey . The 18-year-old Januzaj has made his breakthrough at United this season, including scoring twice in a 2-1 win over Sunderland before the recent international break. His performances have sparked a debate about where his international future lies.KITZBUEHEL, Austria - Kjetil Jansrud of Norway dictated the pace in the first training for a mens World Cup downhill on Tuesday.Jansrud, who has won two downhills this season and tops the discipline standings, led last years winner, Hannes Reichelt of Austria, by 0.51 seconds on the 3.3-kilometre Streif course.Travis Ganong of the United States came 1.68 behind the Norwegian in third, while foourth-place Werner Heel of Italy was the only other racer to finish within two seconds of the lead. Danny Welbeck Jersey. .The training was interrupted several times by crashes, though none of the racers involved, including Manuel Osborne-Paradis of Canada, were injured.Organizers cancelled Wednesdays training, leaving one more practice session on Thursday before the race two days later. Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys NFL T-shirts From China Cheap NFL Black Jerseys Wholesale Black NFL Jerseys China Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys ' ' '
MONTERREY, Mexico - Olympic medallists Meaghan Benfeito of Montreal and Roseline Filion of Laval, Que. San Diego Padres Jerseys ., felt they delivered their finest performance this season, placing third on 10-metre synchro Friday at the final stop on the FINA World Series diving circuit. Xiaohui Huang and Jie Lian of China took the gold with 338.76 points. Jun Hoong Cheong and Pandelela Rinong Pamg of Malaysia were second at 328.56 and Benfeito and Filion, the winners at last weeks World Series stop in Windsor, Ont., were third at 323.28. "It was our best competition so far this season," said Benfeito. "All our five dives were solid, there is not one that really stands out. The key was our first two compulsory dives. We did them better than ever and that gave us a lot of confidence." In the final womens 10-metre synchro World Series standings which is ranked by country, China was first with 144 points, Malaysia second at 126 and Canada and Britain tied for third at 114. Benfeito and Filion competed at five of the six World Series stops earning a gold, silver and three bronze. It the first time in six seasons on the circuit that they won a medal at each stop they entered. "The more we compete, the better we get," said Filion. "Its another step towards our goal to be at our best for the World Cup and Commonwealth Games."Trevor Cahill Jersey . On the day the club activated Casey Janssen from the 15-day disabled list, his return from a strained oblique that cost him the first six weeks of the regular season, it announced Sergio Santos would be placed on the disabled list on Monday with discomfort in his right forearm. Travis Wood Jersey . - After sewage backups, toilet overflows and foul smells surfaced the past two years, nothing at the Oakland Coliseum surprises the home team anymore.NATAL, Brazil -- Rock-solid defenders who constantly chase, tackle and bully their opponents have been the key to Greece tactics ever since they became European champions in 2004. A decade ago, that team conceded a miserly four goals at Euro 2004 and its successor only conceded four in qualifying to secure its place at the 2014 World Cup as Greece stayed true to its reputation for hard work and ruthless discipline at the back. That all changed when the squad arrived in Brazil. The teams much-vaunted defence was torn apart in a 3-0 defeat by Colombia, whose display of speed and style sometimes left the Greeks standing around like statues. Greece now faces Japan in Natal on Thursday in a game that could very well put either team out of contention. Japan lost to Ivory Coast 2-1 in its opener, meaning neither team can really afford another defeat if they hope to advance out of Group C. Japan advanced to the round of 16 four years ago but lost to Paraguay on penalties. Greece has bowed out in the group stage in its previous two World Cups. For Greece, the need to rebuild its solid back line will be all the more important at a World Cup that is so far seeing crowd-pleasing flair in attack and plenty of goals: 44 in the first 14 games. Colombia scored in the fifth minute, forcing Greece out of its comfort zone right from the start and attacking with speed on the flanks. Greek frustration was reflected in two of its players drawing yellow cards in the second half. "That wasnt whhat people expected," Greece forward Andreas Samaris said. Yangervis Solarte Jersey. . "I know what everyone expected of Greece though: that we would have 11 men behind the ball, defend, defend, defend and give everything to keep a clean sheet. "We went out to win against Colombia, and that philosophy will not change. We just hope it brings a better result for us because Japan is now a must, must-win game for us." Like Colombia, Japan is likely to attack at speed through the Europe-based trio of Shinji Kagawa, Yuto Nagatomo and Keisuke Honda. Against Ivory Coast, Japan had the better of the first half but ultimately struggled as the game got more physical in the second half. The arrival of the Ivorians star striker Didier Drogba as a second-half substitute also raised his teams performance and there was only a muted response from the Japanese. AC Milan midfielder Honda said that the team was determined to bounce back against Greece. "Nobody feels good about losing and obviously it was a shock," Honda, who opened the scoring with a powerful first-half strike, was quoted as saying. "But its not a shock that we lost, the thing that shocks me is we lost because we could not play to our strengths. "We gave our opponents front line too much respect. Mentally we were weak but that is not a problem that cant be fixed. A little bit more spirit can turn things around ... of course we still have an opportunity to get through the group phase." Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys NFL T-shirts From ChinaCheap NFL Black Jerseys Wholesale Black NFL Jerseys China Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys ' ' '
London, England (SportsNetwork. Patrick Peterson Jersey .com) - Liverpool suffered a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at Anfield on Saturday, its third loss in the span of a week. The Reds were on the wrong end of a 1-0 result at Newcastle in league play last week and followed the match with a disappointing 1-0 loss to Real Madrid in Champions League action on Tuesday. The bad times continued on Saturday as Diego Costa netted the winner at Anfield to mount some additional pressure on manager Brendan Rodgers. Saturdays affair started brightly for Liverpool as the hosts managed to break the deadlock in the early going. A well-worked move in the ninth minute allowed Emre Can to find space at the top of the penalty area and uncork a shot that took a massive deflection on its way past Thibaut Courtois. Chelsea, though, got back on level terms just five minutes later when a chaotic sequence in the box culminated with Gary Cahill sweeping a loose ball toward goal from close range. It appeared as though Simon Mignolet had done enough to deny the visitors an equalizer, but goal line technology revealed that Cahills shot had narrowly crossed the line. While the two sides traded scoring chances for the remainder of the opening period, the second half was controlled largely by Chelsea. The visitors eventually got their noses in front in the 67th minute when Cesar Azpilicueta found space on the left flank and sent a dangerous ball across the face of goal. Mignolet managed to parry the delivery but only as far as Costa, who smashed a first-time effort into the back of the net. Liverpool had a penalty shout in the 88th minute when Steve Gerrards shot was blocked by Cahills outstretched arm, but the infraction went unnoticed as Chelsea escaped with all three points in tact. The result sees the Blues continue their unbeaten start to the season as Jose Mourinhos men improve to 29 points through 11 matches. Liverpool, meanwhile, stays put on 14 points. Southampton kept pace with Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table as the Saints battled to a 2-0 victory over Leicester City at St. Marys on Saturday. The hosts were made to wait until the 75th minute for the go-ahead goal as second-half substitute Shane Long broke the deadlock with a superb curling effort. Long then doubled Southamptons advantage just five minutes later when he latched on to a ball over the top and slipped a shot into the back of the net at the near post. The Saints improve to 25 points on the season to stay four points back of Chelsea while Leicester City drops its fourth straight to remain on nine points. Manchester United dictated play at Old Trafford on Saturday but only managed to come away with a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace. The lone goal came in the 67th minute when second-half substitute Juan Mata fired a shot that took a deflection on its way past Julian Speroni at the near post. The Red Devils were content with the narrow lead and closed out the match to snap their three-game winless run and move to 16 points. Manchester City avoided an embarrassing defeat at Loftus Road on Saturday as Sergio Agueros double helped the Citizens salvage a point from a 2-2 draw with QPR. The hosts grabbed the lead through Charlie Austin in the 21st minute only to see a brilliant bit of skill from Aguero draw City level 11 minutes later. An own goal from Martin Demichelis put QPR back in front 14 minutes from time, but Aguero ensured a point for the Citizens in the 83rd by latching on to a superb long ball from Yaya Toure and curling a precise left-footed shot into the back of the net. Ashley Barnes netted the lone goal in Bunrleys 1-0 defeat of Hull City, the clubs first win of the campaign. West Ham United and Aston Villa completed Saturdays action with a 0-0 draw at Upton Park. A.Q. Shipley Jersey .J. -- The NHL reduced its penalty against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday for signing Ilya Kovalchuk in 2010. Andy Lee Jersey .Dawson also birdied two of the last four holes to reach 12-under 132 on TPC San Antonios AT&T Canyons Course. He won his only title in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event in 2002 in the Web.com Tours LaSalle Bank Open.Im not going to lose any sleep, believe me, Dawson said. I used to be a perfectionist, but my attitude now is to play like Im in the pro-am.BARCELONA, Spain -- Barcelona compounded its exit from the Champions League by losing 1-0 at Granada on Saturday, letting Real Madrid move ahead into second place in the Spanish league with a 4-0 win over Almeria. Barcelonas stumble ensured the same Atletico Madrid that ousted it from Europes top-tier competition would maintain the league lead with five more rounds to go, as it was level on points with Madrid but ahead on goal difference before it visited Getafe on Sunday. Granadas Yacine Brahimi scored what proved to be the winner in the 16th minute and goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis made saves to deny Lionel Messi and Neymar amid a plethora of scoring chances that Barcelona failed to finish. Barcelona has four more days to regroup from back-to-back defeats before it plays Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final in Valencia. "Its a step back," said Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta, whose late shot trickled by the post with Granada bunkered down in its area. "It hurts more given how few games are left. Sometimes its difficult to explain it when you lose. We did everything but score. We controlled everything else, but just couldnt finish our chances. Sometimes when the team is emitting strange vibes, this happens." With his centerbacks Gerard Pique, Marc Bartra and Carles Puyol all injured, Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino shifted Sergio Busquets into his back line and started Alex Song in midfield. It didnt take long for the shuffling to backfire, when Song lost the ball and Granada sprang a counterattack. Fran Rico quickly played Brahimi through for the forward to ride Martin Montoyas mark before he shot beyond goalkeeper Jose Pinto. "I dont think the lineup changes were decisive in a match that Barcelona should have won," Martino said. "Normally Barcelona wins this game by four or five goals. After two losses, the squad feels that something important is slipping away, but on Wednesday we must try and win the final (of the Copa)." &qquot;I cant feel good after these results, but we will keep fighting for the league. Carson Palmer Jersey. We cant confuse sadness with giving up." Barcelona peppered Granadas area with crosses and shots but went no closer in the first half than Neymars long-range attempt in the 30th that Karnezis pushed wide, while Messi tried in vain to dribble through the middle of the defence. The visitors kept pressing after the restart and Karnezis was called on to stab Cesc Fabregas volley around his post in the 54th. He then stretched to palm Messis free kick before he was well positioned to block Sergio Busquets try. Granadas Youssef El Arabi almost grabbed a second goal two minutes from time but he couldnt better Pinto one-on-one. Madrid didnt miss injured star Cristiano Ronaldo as it bounced back from its poor performance at Borussia Dortmund with a dominant victory. Angel Di Maria, Gareth Bale, Isco Alarcon and Alvaro Morata scored at the Santiago Bernabeu to keep Almeria in the relegation zone. Di Maria hit the crossbar to set the tone early and followed up in the 28th by curling in Madrids opener. Madrid toyed with Almeria until Bale scored his 14th league goal of the season from Karim Benzemas pass in the 53rd, with Isco hitting three minutes later. Morata went on to score five minutes from time. "We knew that the league would have more twists," Di Maria said. "We were behind (Barcelona) and then we were ahead, we fell behind again and now we are back in front. We know that we have to treat each remaining game as if it were the last." Also, Villarreal striker Jeremy Perbet headed in a free kick five minutes into stoppage time to snatch a 1-0 win over Levante. The otherwise dull match appeared destined to end scoreless until a late foul let Manuel Trigueros find Perbet unmarked at the near post. Villarreals win lifted it into sixth place, one point ahead of Real Sociedad after it allowed 10-man Celta Vigo to fight back twice for a 2-2 draw. Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys NFL T-shirts From China Cheap NFL Black Jerseys Wholesale Black NFL Jerseys China Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys ' ' '
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork. DeShone Kizer Jersey .com) - Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick will likely return to the starting lineup Sunday against the New York Giants. Vick suffered a hamstring strain against the Giants on Oct. 6 and missed the past two games. He took the first-team reps at practice on Tuesday and the Philadelphia Inquirer cited a source as saying the veteran would get the nod Sunday, but his status will likely be evaluated as the week goes along. "Im optimistic about it," said Vick. "At some point this week Ill test it out, I just dont want to do it this early in the week." Eagles coach Chip Kelly has stated that the health of his quarterbacks would weigh heavily in his decision for the starting role. Vick said his health is improving each day, but he would not give a definitive answer whether or not he would suit up as the starter. "Its kind of sore, but its progressing every day," Vick added. "Im excited to have an opportunity to play this week with this group of guys." Nick Foles replaced Vick as the starter the past two games, but suffered a concussion in Sundays 17-3 loss to the Cowboys and must pass the mandatory concussion protocol in order to play. Matt Barkley took over for Foles against Dallas and threw a trio of interceptions. The rookie would be the starter Sunday if Foles and Vick are unable to play. Vick has thrown for 1,185 yards and has completed 53.8 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and two interceptions. The Eagles ground attack will get a boost if Vick plays. The 11-year veteran rushed for 307 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries before his injury. Nate Orchard Jersey . Amare Stoudemire had 22 points and 10 rebounds, Carmelo Anthony scored 21 and the New York Knicks won their eighth straight game, 93-92 over Philadelphia on Friday night, sending the Sixers to their 23rd straight loss. Sammie Coates Jersey . The club announced Friday that Mauro Biello will be kept on as an assistant to coach Jesse Marsch when the Impact join the MLS in 2012.SOCHI, Russia - Josh Dueck has been named Canadas flag-bearer for the closing ceremony of the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games. The 33-year-old sit-skier from Kimberley, B.C., won a gold medal in the super combined and a silver in the downhhill. Larry Ogunjobi Jersey. The gold medal was the first of Duecks career. He also won a Paralympic silver in slalom at the 2010 Games in Vancouver. Wheelchair curler Sonja Gaudet was Canadas flag-bearer for the opening ceremony. Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys NFL T-shirts From China Cheap NFL Black Jerseys Wholesale Black NFL Jerseys China Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys CheapCheap Nike NFL Jerseys ' ' '
BOSTON -- Never one to take a lot of time between pitches, John Lackey had extra motivation to throw quickly and get out of the biting chill at Fenway Park. Bill Russell Jersey . Lackey pitched eight solid innings with temperatures in the low 40s as the Boston Red Sox beat the slumping Tampa Bay Rays 7-4 on Tuesday night. "I try to work fast," Lackey said. "Especially when its cold, Im trying to get guys in the dugout. It wasnt a whole lot of fun out there on the field today." Lackeys teammates showed their appreciation with a five-run rally in the sixth as the Red Sox opened a three-game series with a win over their AL East rivals. Shane Victorino drove in his first two runs of the season while going 4 for 4, hiking his batting average from .133 to .316. Victorino was playing in his fourth game after missing the first 22 with a hamstring injury. He singled in his first two at-bats, hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth and added an RBI double in the sixth. "We knew it was going to take a couple of games for him to get his feet on the ground," Boston manager John Farrell said. "He does give us a completely different dynamic in that 2-hole. When we can set the table for that middle of the order, weve got a chance to score some runs." Lackey (4-2) scattered six hits and allowed two runs, striking out five and walking one. After the Rays scored twice in the ninth, Koji Uehara came in and struck out Ben Zobrist on three pitches for his sixth save. Jackie Bradley Jr. had a pair of doubles and two RBIs as the Red Sox got 13 hits and won for the third time in four games. Xander Bogaerts was the only Boston starter without a hit. "It was good to see the evenness throughout the at-bats 1 through 9," Farrell said. The Rays lost for the seventh time in eight road games and are 4-9 away from home. Wil Myers had two hits and scored a run for the Rays. James Loney hit two doubles and joined Myers as the only Tampa Bay players with more than one hit. Both scored in the ninth on a throwing error by Bogaerts at shortstop. The Rays began the second leg of a 10-game road trip, which they started 1-3 in Chicago. Erik Bedard held Boston to one run through five innings, but the bullpen could not stop the Red Sox in the sixth. Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said both starters had good command, but it was a tough night for relievers to sit through the frigid conditions and then have to pitch. "Bedard was good. I thought Lackeys command was good tonight," Maddon said. "Its hard. Its hard for both sides. The game was not meant to be played in this kind of weather. But youve got to fight through it." Brandon Gomes (1-1) started the sixth inning and immediately walked Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes. Juan Carlos Oviedo took over with one out and fared no better. A.J. Pierzynski hit an RBI single, then Will Middlebrooks and Bradley hit back-to-back doubles. Bradleys shot to centre bounced off the wall in one of the deepest parts of Fenway Park, scoring Pierzynski and Middlebrooks easily. Bradley went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Victorinos ground-rule double. The Red Sox scored three more on three hits off Oviedo. Boston scored five times in the inning and sent nine batters to the plate. "Thats something that we normally dont do," Maddon said. "Were normally pretty good at minimizing damage. Weve got to do a better job of that." Bedard got his third no-decision in four starts. He allowed four hits, striking out four and walking three. Middlebrooks walked to start the fifth and went to third when Bradley doubled to centre. The Rays nearly got out of it when Dustin Pedroia lined out to third baseman Evan Longoria, who made a dive for the bag. Middlebrooks was diving in the other direction and barely beat the tag, then scored on Victorinos fly to centre to put Boston up 1-0. The Rays got the run back in the sixth when Desmond Jennings doubled with one out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Longoria. Ryan Hanigans single in the seventh drove in Myers, who led off the inning with a double that was just a few feet left of being a homer to centre. NOTES: Napoli has reached base in 24 of 25 games this season. ... It was the 28th anniversary of Roger Clemens first 20-strikeout game for Boston, when he broke the major league record for a nine-inning game against Seattle. ... Red Sox DH David Ortiz played in his 1,994th game. ... Tampa Bay played its 1,000th game since shortening the teams name to Rays in 2008. Bob Cousy Jersey .Cameron sustained his third concussion in three seasons last week on a hit by Oakland safety Brandion Ross, who was fined $22,050 by the NFL for the helmet-to-helmet blow. Robert Parish Jersey . The judge sternly instructed the prosecutor to restrain himself and he apologized -- then went right back to trying to pick holes in the testimony of the double-amputee runner. It was a harsh day of cross-examination for Pistorius, challenged relentlessly about his account of the moments just before he killed Reeva Steenkamp, as well as circumstances related to several firearms charges against him, including the firing of a gun in a crowded restaurant.Dean Shiels is the latest member of Rangers playing staff to leave the club following the expiration of his contract. The former Hibernian, Doncaster and Kilmarnock midfielder signed a four-year-deal to become the clubs second signing of the summer in 2012.But the 31-year-old has not been offered fresh terms and follows fellow-midfielders Nicky Law and David Templeton and striker Nicky Clark out the door at Ibrox. The Scottish Championship winners also ended U20s coach Ian Durrants 25-year association with the club on Thursday while loan signings Dominic Ball, Gedion Zelalem and Billy King have returned to their parent clubs. Ian Durrant ended 25-year association with Rangers on Thursday During his four years in Glasgow, Shiels helped Rangers to promotion from the Third Division, League One and Championship, while playing a part in the clubs first Petrofac Training Cup success earlier this year. Larry Bird Jersey. An Ibrox spokesman said: Everyone at Rangers wishes Dean every success in his future career and thanks him for his efforts during his time at the club.Since the end of the season Rangers have added 34-year-old midfielder Joey Barton, former Liverpool youngster Jordan Rossiter and Accrington Stanley duo Josh Windass and Matt Crooks to their squad as they prepare for life in the Scottish Premiership. 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BEREA, Ohio - Browns wide receiver Miles Austin remains hospitalized after sustaining a kidney injury during Sundays loss to Buffalo. Bert Blyleven Jersey .Cleveland coach Mike Pettine said Monday that Austin is expected to be kept for a second night in Erie County Medical Center. Pettine does not know when Austin was injured during Clevelands 26-10 loss. Pettine did not say when Austin is expected to be released.Austin, who is in his first season with the Browns, made seven catches for 86 yards. He initially complained of stomach discomfort following the game before he was taken by ambulance from Ralph Wilson Stadium.Pettine said tight end Gary Barnidge could miss some time with a rib injury. He was hurt after making a catch in the first quarter and did not return.___Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL Harmon Killebrew Jersey . Mesoraco hurt his hamstring while scoring from second in Friday nights 5-4 loss at Atlanta. Chapman was hit by a line drive during an exhibition game on March 19, breaking his nose and a bone above his left eye. The left-hander looked strong while throwing 43 pitches in batting practice before Saturday nights game against the Braves. Jose Berrios Jersey . While plenty of statistics illustrate Torontos turnaround in the second year of manager Ryan Nelsens tenure, stopping goals is not one of them.PHILADELPHIA -- The NFL agreed Wednesday to remove a US$675 million cap on damages from thousands of concussion-related claims after a federal judge questioned whether there would be enough money to cover as many as 20,000 retired players. A revised settlement agreement filed in federal court in Philadelphia also eliminates a provision that barred anyone who gets concussion damages from the NFL from suing the NCAA or other amateur football leagues. In January, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody had denied preliminary approval of the deal because she worried the money could run out sooner than expected. The settlement, negotiated over several months, is designed to last at least 65 years and cover retired players who develop Lou Gehrigs disease, dementia or other neurological problems believed to be caused by concussions suffered during their pro careers. More than 4,500 former players have filed suit, some accusing the league of fraud for its handling of concussions. They include former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett and Super Bowl-winning Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, who suffers from dementia. "This agreement will give retired players and their families immediate help if they suffer from a qualifying neurocognitive illness, and provide peace of mind to those who fear they may develop a condition in the future," plaintiffs lawyers Christopher Seeger and SSol Weiss said in a statement. Torii Hunter Jersey. The original settlement included $675 million for compensatory claims for players with neurological symptoms, $75 million for baseline testing and $10 million for medical research and education. The revised settlement eliminates the cap on overall damage claims but retains the payout formula for individual retirees. A young retiree with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrigs disease, would receive $5 million, a 50-year-old with Alzheimers disease would get $1.6 million, and an 80-year-old with early dementia would get $25,000. Even with the cap removed, both sides said they believe the NFL will spend no more than about $675 million to ex-players. Brody will decide later whether to accept the new settlement terms. Critics of the deal have said the league, with annual revenues topping $9 billion, was getting off lightly. Lawyers for the plaintiffs said the settlement avoids the risk of a protracted legal battle. The proposal does not include an admission from the NFL that it hid information from players about head injuries. "Todays agreement reaffirms the NFLs commitment to provide help to those retired players and their families who are in need, and to do so without the delay, expense and emotional cost associated with protracted litigation," NFL Senior Vice-President Anastasia Danias said in a statement. Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys NFL T-shirts From China Cheap NFL Black Jerseys Wholesale Black NFL Jerseys China Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys ' ' '
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed defensive end Trevor Scott. Caleb Sturgis Jersey . Scott spent the 2012 campaign with New England, recording 14 tackles and three sacks for the Patriots. He played his first four NFL seasons in Oakland. The University of Buffalo product has 111 tackles with 16 1/2 sacks and two forced fumbles in 72 games, including 18 starts, in his five-year career. Zach Ertz Jersey . Louis still looking for a way out of Tampa Bay, the 38-year-old NHL veteran isnt showing his cards. Donnie Jones Jersey . Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes, the bandleader of the beard brigade during Bostons run to the 2013 World Series title, said he will be shaving his off before spring training so that he can file it "in the archive" with his memories of the teams improbable championship.The Buffalo Sabres just wrapped up an abysmal season in which they finished 14 points behind the second-worst team in the standings. The good news? As a clearly rebuilding team, they are prime candidates for next seasons Connor McDavid Sweepstakes. Off-Season Game Plan looks at what new GM Tim Murray has at his disposal and what the Sabres roster may look like for next season. The Sabres have already started adding assets, in terms of prospects and draft picks, that its easy to see a bright future. The question is: how long will it take? Murray has said he wants to rebuild properly, but sounds anxious. "When you tear it down, it doesnt happen overnight," Murray said. "I want to rebuild here properly, which takes time. But it doesnt have to take years." In an ideal world, best-case scenario, the Sabres would still seem to be three-to-four years -- yes, years -- away from being a playoff team, so patience is required. That includes from the new general manager. Its one thing to have an aggressive plan, but if Murray is going to wait for his draft picks to mature as NHL players, theres no magical way to expedite that process. Sure, its possible that the Sabres could move picks for young talent, but players develop on their own timeline and its going to take time for 18-and-19-year-olds to become difference-makers in the NHL. For next season, there are obviously openings for young players to make the jump. Last years first-round picks, Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov, should challenge for spots, but a whole host of prospects will have a chance and there is the matter of this years top picks. The Sabres have the second pick and could pick fifth as well if the New York Islanders elect to give up the pick this year instead of 2015 (a decision still to be made by the Islanders as part of the Thomas Vanek trade). For all the theoretical promise that the Sabres have, they remain frontrunners for McDavid or Jack Eichel at the top of the 2015 Draft. The TSN.ca Rating is an efficiency rating based on per-game statistics including goals and assists -- weighted for strength (ie. power play, even, shorthanded) -- Corsi, adjusted for zone starts, quality of competition and quality of teammates, hits, blocked shots, penalty differential and faceoffs. Generally, a replacement-level player is around a 60, a top six forward and top four defenceman will be around 70, stars will be over 80 and MVP candidates could go over 90. Sidney Crosby finished at the top of the 2013-2014 regular season ratings at 87.12. Salary cap information all comes from the indispensable www.capgeek.com. CF% = Corsi percentage (ie. percentage of 5-on-5 shot attempts). GM/COACHTim Murray/Ted Nolan Returning Forwards Player Rating GP G A PTS CF% Cap Hit Cody Hodgson 68.46 72 20 24 44 42.5% $4.25M Drew Stafford 66.49 70 16 18 34 42.8% $4.0M Chris Stewart 63.71 63 15 11 26 47.5% $4.15M Zemgus Girgensons 62.17 70 8 14 22 44.7% $894K Torrey Mitchell 57.51 57 2 8 10 45.6% $1.9M Ville Leino 57.37 58 0 15 15 43.5% $4.5M Brian Flynn 57.35 79 6 7 13 41.6% $638K Free Agent Forwards Player Rating GP G A PTS CF% Class 13-14 Cap Hit Tyler Ennis 67.45 80 21 22 43 43.9% RFA $2.813M Cory Conacher 61.15 79 7 19 26 49.6% RFA $871K Marcus Foligno 60.12 74 7 12 19 42.9% RFA $827K Matt DAgostini 60.11 57 5 7 12 47.2% UFA $550K Zenon Konopka 55.23 23 0 1 1 34.7% UFA $925K John Scott 52.83 56 1 0 1 39.9% UFA $750K It is evidence of just where the Sabres are in their rebuilding process when Cody Hodgson, with 44 points, is the teams top returning scorer. The 24-year-old has enough skill to be a good second-line scorer, but he gets fed tougher assignments because the Sabres dont have anyone else. He played some wing late in the year, but as this roster is constructed, Hodgson or Tyler Ennis will likely be the de facto No. 1 centre. RW Drew Stafford is another Sabres veteran who is asked to do way too much. He played a career-high 19:38 per game last season and the return was a modest 16 goals and 34 points. A three-time 20-goal scorer with good size and some skill with the puck, hes also forced into a first-line role on a bad team when he could more reasonably fit as a second-line scoring winger. Going into the final year of his contract, Stafford could be a trade candidate leading up to the deadline. Though he got into a handful of games for the Sabres after he was acquired from the Blues as part of the Ryan Miller trade, RW Chris Stewart is a prime candidate to move again, whether its this summer or next season; in part, because hes entering the final year of his deal. Hes big winger who can play the power forward game, at his best, but his career has been up and down, from two 28-goal seasons to leading the Blues in scoring in 2012-2013, to playing 14:41 per game this past season, his lowest time on ice since his rookie year. 20-year-old Zemgus Girgensons rode a lightning bolt, going from the USHL to an everyday spot in the NHL after one year in the AHL, and was a solid contributor as a rookie. He plays a physical game and could, with a better supporting cast, become a player that can handle tough checking assignments as he matures. A couple years removed from his best years in San Jose, Torrey Mitchell can be used in a checking role, taking a heavier proportion of defensive zone starts, but hes also going into the last year of his contract, so he may not be around Buffalo for the long haul. It seems a given that the Sabres will buy out the final three seasons, and $11-million, due to Ville Leino after he failed to score a goal in 58 games, a feat that put him in rather ignominious company. The contract was ill-conceived when it was signed three years ago and, after 10 goals and 46 points in 137 games, it is probably best for both parties to move on. Admittedly, its easier to make that determination when its someone else that has to pay a player $7-million to not play for their team, but Murray has said it is a "very good possibility" that Leino will be bought out. Signed to an inexpensive one-way deal for next season, Brian Flynn has an opportunity to earn his spot as a checking forward. At the same time, he turns 26 this summer and has 24 points in 105 career NHL games, so he needs to establish that he can contribute enough in a checking role if hes going to have an NHL career that runs longer than next season. For a rebuilding team like Buffalo, its not the worst thing in the world to have a player with some hunger to make an impression filling out one of the lower spots on the depth chart. A tiny skilled forward who has a couple of 20-goal seasons under his belt, Tyler Ennis is a restricted free agent who is due a raise and, like Hodgson, is one of the Sabres that gets force-fed more minutes because there just arent better alternatives. Also, like Hodgson, its easy to see how Ennis could be a good complementary scorer on a more competitive team. Since scoring five goals and 12 points in the first seven games of his career (with Tampa Bay in 2012-2013), Cory Conacher has managed 13 goals and 43 points in 119 games. He may not be a prolific scorer in the NHL (after scoring 114 points in 118 career AHL games), but Conacher is also an okay possession player who is skilled enough to overcome a lack of size. If nothing else, he can be a reasonably-priced top nine forward for the Sabres. A sturdy winger who may have set unreasonable expectations when he burst into the NHL in 2011-2012, scoring 13 points in 14 games, LW Marcus Foligno hasnt scored anywhere near that rate since, but thats more in line with his track record coming into the NHL. Maybe hell develop some scoring touch but, in the meantime, Foligno can be a contributor in a physical checking role. The Sabres have, or will have, some pieces that they will be able to use to fill out their forward roster. Whomever they select with the second pick in the draft, if it ends up being Sam Reinhart or Sam Bennett, might have an opportunity to stick, though an argument can easily be made that its not worth burning an entry-level year for an 18-year-old to step into this lineup. Prospects Mikhail Grigorenko and Johan Larsson should have chances to compete for jobs, and Joel Armia may be ready to join the club at some point next season after further AHL seasoning. Whether they decide to keep an enforcer, like John Scott, around or not, the Sabres should have some lineup flexibility next season. When it comes to adding free agents, the Sabres may be able to nibble on the edges. Sure, it would be nice to add some with local ties, like Rochester-born Ryan Callahan, but if Callahan has other suitors, it doesnt make for the Sabres to shell out big long-term money for a 29-year-old winger. At the right price (and term), a veteran like Milan Michalek or Buffalo native Lee Stempniak would probably add stability in what is likely to be a trying season. Returning Defence Player Rating GP G A PTS CF% Cap Hit Christian Ehrhoff 68.97 79 6 27 33 46.0% $4.0M Tyler Myers 67.21 62 9 13 22 44.5% $5.5M Mark Pysyk 60.14 44 1 6 7 45.9% $870K Mike Weber 59.01 68 1 8 9 440. Trey Burton Jersey. 4% $1.667M Free Agent Defence Player Rating GP G A PTS CF% Class 13-14 Cap Hit Jamie McBain 62.16 69 6 11 17 40.8% RFA $1.8M Henrik Tallinder 57.23 64 2 6 8 42.5% UFA $3.375M Alexander Sulzer 55.62 25 0 2 22 41.3% UFA $725K He may not live up to his monster contract, but Christian Ehrhoff plays 25 minutes a night for the Sabres and does it well -- hes been a top relative possession player over the past five seasons and it tends to go unappreciated on a bottom-feeding team like the Sabres, but Ehrhoff is the type of defenceman that many other teams would come looking for in trade; of course, presuming that they could stomach the idea paying the soon-to-be 32-year-old for seven more seasons. Its been quite an unusual career path for Tyler Myers, who was a star-in-waiting as a 19-year-old, but seems to have lost his way. Myers seemed to play better over his last dozen or so games before suffering some injuries late in the year. A 24-year-old signed through 2019, Myers has time to improve and it would probably be worthwhile for the Sabres to give him another year to see what they really have in hand. Theres nothing flashy about Mark Pysyks game, but hes been steady on a bad team since first coming up in 2012-2013. Even so, he was still demoted to the AHL for a couple of months last season and while it might have allowed him to play a significant role and not be subject to losing night after night, its not unreasonable to expect that 22-year-old Pysyk will be much more ready to handle NHL action next season than some of the Sabres other defence prospects. Mike Weber is a tough, stay-at-home defenceman but, as is often the case with stay-at-home defencemen, he gets crushed in terms of puck possession and its difficult to make the case that he is going to improve in that regard. He can be place-filler, eating up some minutes while the prospects gain their NHL footing, but is more suited to a depth role. Jamie McBain burst into the NHL, late in the 2009-2010 season, playing big minutes for Carolina, and lookedl ike he was well on his way to a long and fruitful career. Now, hes 26, and coming off a season in which he played more than 20 minutes per game, but also took some lumps in the possession game, so its been a rather uneven ride to this point. The restricted free agent is capable enough to fill a spot on next seasons blueline, but expectations are sufficiently modest. Most of the holes on the Sabres defence can be filled by prospects -- Pysyk, Rasmus Ristolainen, Nikita Zadorov, Jake McCabe -- though that doesnt mean the holes will go away entirely. Those young defencemen are going to take some time to develop and if it means they learn on the job next season, theres value in gaining that experience, even if it hurts the short-term results. In the name of immediate reliability, an inexpensive veteran like Mike Weaver or a reclamation project like Andrej Meszaros could be worth a look but, considering the expectations for next season, the Sabres could be fine to let their prospects play and see who is ready to sink or swim, knowing that there isnt huge downside to sinking. Returning Goaltenders Player Rating GP W L OTL GAA SV% Cap Hit Jhonas Enroth 73.26 28 4 17 5 2.82 .911 $1.25M Michal Neuvirth 72.04 15 4 8 2 2.78 .921 $2.5M Over the past three seasons, Jhonas Enroth has posted a .915 save percentage, which is about league average, but pretty decent for a goalie with a backup workload. While his overall numbers were mediocre in 2013-2014, Enroth did have a .929 save percentage at 5-on-5 and that should be enough to get consideration for a bigger role next season as the Sabres embark on life without Ryan Miller. Enroth will battle for playing time with Michal Neuvirth, the 26-year-old who had fallen out of favour in Washington. Neuvirth played 48 games in 2010-2011, having handled a heavier workload in the NHL before, yet both goaltenders arent really established at this point in their careers, so the Sabres arent obligated to one or the other. They can alternate or let one of the goalies take the starting job with superior performance. No matter who is in the net, theyre likely to be busy. Top Prospects Player Pos. Team/League Stats Rasmus Ristolainen D Rochester (AHL) 6-14-20, -2, 34 GP Nikita Zadorov D London (OHL) 11-19-30, +30, 36 GP Mikhail Grigorenko C Quebec (QMJHL) 15-24-39,+15, 23 GP Joel Armia RW Rochester (AHL) 7-20-27, -6, 54 GP J.T. Compher LW Michigan (Big 10) 11-20-31, +13, 35 GP Jake McCabe D Wisconsin (Big 10) 8-17-25, -6, 36 GP Johan Larsson LW Rochester (AHL) 15-26-41, +7, 51 GP Nick Baptiste RW Sudbury (OHL) 45-44-89, +20, 65 GP Hudson Fasching RW Minnesota (Big 10) 14-16-30, +17, 40 GP Chad Ruhwedel D Rochester (AHL) 4-24-28, -1, 47 GP Nicolas Deslauriers LW Rochester (AHL) 19-23-42, +3, 65 GP Rasmus Ristolainen, the eighth overall pick last summer, got into 34 games with the Sabres as a rookie and got steamrolled early, posting a 38.9% Corsi% before he spent some time in the AHL. Ristolainen fared a little better late in the year, after he was recalled, posting a 43.4% Corsi%, and none of those struggles as a teen defenceman should take away from his status as a top prospect. He has size, can move the puck and ought to gain valuable experience next year. Hard-hitting Nikita Zadorov could force his way onto the team next year too, as he showed promise in an early-season stint with the Sabres, before having a strong year in London. Zadorov is huge and can be a punishing hitter. He needs to pick his spots better as he climbs the ladder, but Zadorovs physical play combined with his skill gives him a high ceiling. It could be said that Mikhail Grigorenko will have to succeed despite the development plan the Sabres had for him -- presuming there was one -- to this point. Since being drafted 12th overall in 2012, Hes bounced between the Sabres (8 points in 43 games), Rochester (four points in 11 games) and Quebec of the QMJHL (116 points in 72 regular season plus playoff games). Theres talent there, but hes been overwhelmed at the NHL level, so it could make sense to let him start next year in the AHL, establish his game as a pro scoring centre and go from there. The 16th pick in 2011, Joel Armia didnt score much in his first North American pro season, but thats not unusual for a 20-year-old. Next season will be a big opportunity for Armia to take the next step and score like he did in Finland. A good season could set him up nicely for a future at right wing on a scoring line for the Sabres. A second-round pick last year, J.T. Compher had an impressive freshman campaign at Michigan. He plays a two-way game and has time to develop an offensive game before he embarks on a pro career. Taken in the second round in 2012, Jake McCabe is a two-way defenceman who can play the power play and play a physical game defensively. There will be some competition for jobs on the Sabres blueline next year but, even though he played seven games for Buffalo late in the year, theres no need to rush McCabe into the lineup. Some heavy minutes in the AHL should be good for his development. In industrious forward, Johan Larsson managed just four assists in 28 games with the Sabres, but his relative possession stats were promising enough that he could start in a depth role next season. A winger with good size and speed, Nick Baptiste blossomed offensively after he was a third-round pick last summer, jumping from 21 goals and 48 points in his draft year to 45 goals and 89 points this season. As the Sabres stockpile young assets, Baptiste will have to remain productive to stay at the forefront, but hes one of their best offensive prospects at the moment. A power forward who had a nice freshman season at the University of Minnesota, Hudson Fasching was picked up in a trade deadline trade with Los Angeles. He has upside, and the Sabres can afford to wait a few years to see if he develops into a pro scoring winger. Smallish defenceman Chad Ruhwedel, soon to be 24, is more mature than the other Sabres defence prospects, and he was relatively effective in 21 games for Buffalo. He doesnt have the same kind of future with the franchise as the top picks, so he can be bypassed more easily, but if the young D prospects arent ready, Ruhwedel could offer more immediate help. A converted defenceman who was acquired with Fasching when Brayden McNabb was sent to Los Angeles, Nicolas Deslauriers got a good look with the Sabres at the end of the year. Though he managed just one goal in 17 games, Deslauriers is a sturdy forward who managed decent relative possession stats and the 23-year-old could make the club next season. The Sabres have some other prospects of note including Swedish scoring winger Gustav Possler, goaltender Matt Hackett, who is coming off a down season, and Daniel Catenacci, who had 20 points in 76 games as a first-year pro. Sabres advanced stats and player usage chart from Extra Skater DRAFT2nd - Sam Reinhart, Sam Bennett, Aaron Ekblad FREE AGENCYAccording to www.capgeek.com, the Sabres have approximately $37.1M committed to the 2013-2014 salary cap for 13 players. Check out my possible Sabres lineup for next season on Cap Geek here. Needs: Three top line forwards, two top-four defencemen, depth defencemen.What I said the Sabres needed last year: Two top-six forwards, two top-four defencemen, another defenceman.They added: Zemgus Girgensons, Mikhail Grigorenko, Jamie McBain, Mark Pysyk, Rasmus Ristolainen, Nikita Zadorov. TRADE MARKETChris Stewart, Drew Stafford, Jamie McBain, Mike Weber. Scott Cullen can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys NFL T-shirts From China Cheap NFL Black Jerseys Wholesale Black NFL Jerseys China Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys ' ' '
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