Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. Discount Shoes Online Australia . This week, they discuss preparations for the Rio Olympics, the exciting first round of the NBA playoffs, Mike Keenan victorious in Russia and the prolonged wait for the NFL Draft finally coming to an end. Bruce Arthur, Toronto Star My thumb is down to the International Olympic Committee and…I know, I know…you feel like weve been here before, but this is a new frontier because the concept of an Olympics in Rio was new when the IOC awarded Brazil the 2016 games seven years ago. Concerns about readiness, inequality and about the way the country might react? Dont worry! Rio! Now with two years to go, the IOC is shocked…shocked…to find that they gambled on a country that hasnt built the establishment. Seriously, Rio is in major organization trouble with whole complexes unbuilt and with public unrest still simmering, the IOC is lamenting the fact that they cant employ Beijing-style slave labour. Theyre blaming it on Rio. Guess who they should be blaming instead? Steve Simmons, Toronto Sun My thumb is up to the first round of the playoffs and Im not talking about the Stanley Cup playoffs, which have been marvelous, as usual. Im talking about the NBA playoffs, where, normally, the first round is about favourites winning and not much else, but not this year. A last-second three by the sensational Damian Lillard of Portland meant there were five Game 7s in the first round, instead of a record-breaking six. There have been eight overtime games and the road team has won 21 of the first 36 playoff games - this from a league that usually sees the home teams win 70 per cent of the time. And, of course, there is Game 7 in Toronto today with the possibility of 2 million people watching on TV. If this isnt fun, I dont know what is. Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated My thumb is up to Mike Keenan, who reminds us that a coach is a coach is a coach, no matter the team or the time zone. Keenan always dreamed of winning a Cup, although probably not the Gagarin Cup. Two decades after the New York Rangers memorable Stanley Cup run, Iron Mike did it again on the far side of the erstwhile Iron Curtain, coaching the KHLs Metallurg Magnitogorsk to a Game 7 win over Lev Prague. Note one striking similarity in the championships: as he did after beating the Vancouver Canucks in 94, Keenan celebrated in the dressing room by singing karaoke - this time in Russian, of course. The Red Army choir is not giving up its day job. Dave Hodge, TSN My thumb is up to May 8, which is coming soon - on Thursday - and thats why my thumb is up, because when May 8 finally arrives, it brings with it the National Football League Draft…finally. Did I say "finally?" When the NFL moved the draft from April to May, we might have known wed be sick of mock drafts by now. There is actual analysis that proclaims winners and losers of mock drafts! Ive heard so much about Jadeveon Clowneys awesome talent and alleged laziness that Im sure there are two Jadeveon Clowneys. Im not sure if the Houston Texans will take one of them or which one or if the Texans will take Johnny Manziel or if theyll trade down - I only know they cant trade up and I dont care anymore what they do, I just want them to do it. On May 8. Nmd Outlet Store . His Chicago Blackhawks teammates werent shocked when he found it. Kanes career has been defined by his brilliance in the Blackhawks biggest moments, and his tiebreaking goal with 3:45 to play in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals will rank among the best. Air Max 90 Online Store . "I honestly dont know," he said. Try this: 20 points, nine assists and seven rebounds by Rajon Rondo, a 62-37 rebounding advantage by the Celtics and a horrible 4-for-30 shooting performance on 3-pointers by the Nets.GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes zipped around the ice, generating good scoring chances, getting into a scrap after a big hit, pumping in a goal late in the first period. It was just the kind of effort they needed against a team that had played the night before, particularly one thats ahead of them in the standings. Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored two goals, Thomas Greiss stopped 30 shots and the Coyotes kicked off an important five-game homestand with a 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night. "We caught a team at the right time, but that being said, I thought we played the right kind of game to take advantage of it," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "We kept getting pucks deep, we put some pucks at the net and it was a pretty solid game throughout our lineup." The Coyotes needed to string together some victories during their homestand after a rough stretch dropped them to ninth in the Western Conference. They responded with arguably their best game of the season, playing solid in their own end while peppering Jonathan Quick with 29 shots. Antoine Vermette had a goal and an assist to extend his points streak to five games and Shane Doan had his 500th career assist on Ekman-Larssons second goal. That was more than enough for Greiss, who had his second shutout this season, third career. "It was a huge game for us," Ekman-Larsson said. "We talked about this game and I think we played well for 60 minutes." Los Angeles laboured after playing the night before and for the fourth time in six nights. The Kings also continued to struggle in the offensive zone. Los Angeles was relegated to the outside mostly in the first two periods and hit the post twice in the third, unable to get anything past Greiss. The Kings have scored two goals in their past four games and have lost six of seven. "Tonight, I dontt know how many really good chances we had," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. Cheap Air Max 90 Australia. "Probably a bit of them playing really well and us not being hungry enough to get to the dirty areas and if were going to score goals, thats what were going to have to get back to." The Coyotes have been tumbling down the Western Conference standings, losing seven of their past 10 games. They did rally from a 4-2 deficit to earn a point against Vancouver Sunday night behind Vermettes third career hat trick. Phoenix still had its offensive mojo going early against the Kings, creating some good chances and while getting traffic in front of Quick, who made some tough stops, including a sprawling save on Jeff Halpern. Ekman-Larsson broke through late in the first period, whipping a wrister from the point past Quick. A physical game between two rivals became even rougher in the second period, when Jordan Nolan levelled Kyle Chipchura with a shoulder, setting of a scrum along the boards. Phoenix got a power play out of it and scored 12 seconds into it, when Ekman-Larsson beat Quick with a slapshot just outside the faceoff circle. Greiss had a string of tough saves as the game opened up late in the second period and Vermette put it out of reach in the third, punching in a rebound for his team-leading 19th goal of the season. The Kings hit the post twice in the final period, but, as has been the case lately, the pucks caromed away instead of into the net. "Theres a team-wide frustration and a personal frustration for some guys in here," Brown said. NOTES: Vermette has six goals and two assists during his points streak. ... The Kings have scored three goals in their past 38 power play chances. ... Coyotes LW Paul Bissonnette received a 10-minute misconduct in the second period for throwing punches at Nolan after his hit on Chipchura. ' ' '
The Air Canada Centre has always been a house of horrors for the Ottawa Senators. Morgan Tiller Jersey Store . Steve Thomas. Cory Cross. Gary Roberts. Joe Nieuwendyk. Every Sens fan can tell you with painful clarity how each of those players stung the Senators in the past. So as the Sens get set to face the Maple Leafs in a crucial game on Saturday night, I pondered a very legitimate question: Has Ottawa ever beaten Toronto in a regular season game that mattered at the Air Canada Centre? The only instance I could think of was at the tail end of the 2007-08 season, when the Senators crushed the Maple Leafs with a decisive 8-2 victory. With that win, Ottawa essentially clinched a playoff spot – although they were facing a Toronto team that had absolutely nothing to play for. The worst part is that win actually proved costly, as Leafs forward Mark Bell took out both Daniel Alfredsson and Mike Fisher in that game and neither was available for the playoffs. Even Ottawas lone meaningful regular season victory at the Air Canada Centre came with a massive asterisk. For the most part, Ottawa has enjoyed success at the ACC in the month of October. Their most memorable victories were probably the first ever shootout win in NHL history and Dany Heatleys four-goal performance in an 8-0 win. Both of those wins came just a few weeks apart in October of 2005. You could maybe toss Craig Andersons 47-save shutout performance in his Sens debut into the mix, but that victory came in February when the Senators had already given up on the 2010-11 season. In fact, that Anderson victory at the ACC was an aberration when you look at the Sens record against the Leafs towards the back half of the season. A monthly breakdown of the Sens all-time record against the Maple Leafs paints a pretty clear picture of a team that does well in the first half of the season, but fades down the stretch against their provincial rivals: October: 16-5-1 November: 10-5-1 December: 3-3-1 January: 5-5-2 February: 4-7-3 March: 7-6-3 April: 4-7-0 Of course these numbers only reflect regular season meetings, but if you were to add the playoff numbers to the mix it would only worsen the situation for the Senators. In short, the Senators have won 16 times against the Leafs in the month of October in only 22 games. But that is more wins than they have against the Leafs in the final three months of the season combined – and that spans a total of 41 games. To add to the misery, the Senators record against the Leafs in February, March and April in the last five years is a woeful 2-10-0. Its not like Im dragging up ancient history and talking about the playoff series from 12 years ago. This is recent history that has not been kind to Ottawa. Ottawa has lost some memorable regular season games to the Leafs and it feels like all of them have been in the back half of the season. The infamous flu game where Owen Nolan scored the OT winner and said “Boo-hoo” about Ottawa players being sick. Or the 6-0 shellacking the Leafs laid on Ottawa in the regular season finale in 2003-04, which gave Toronto home ice advantage in their subsequent playoff series. And even Nazem Kadris hat trick last March in a 4-0 shutout win is probably near the top of the list. Torontos great regular season moments against Ottawa come in February, March and April, while the Senators big wins seem to occur in October. These are all ominous numbers and stats for the Senators, as they head into Saturday nights showdown against the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. The calendar has flipped to February and history is not on the Senators side. But if Ottawa wants to make the playoffs this season and head into the Olympic break with some momentum, its time they finally won a game at the Air Canada Centre that mattered for both teams. Bill Baumgartner Jersey Store . If there is one club built to handle an off-field controversy, its the Bill Belichick era Patriots. Even if New Englands offence stumbles a bit out of the gate, their defence can help them stay in games, especially in the AFC East with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets in the first two weeks. Larry Jordan Jersey Store . - Novak Djokovic beat John Isner 7-5, 6-7 (2), 6-1 on Saturday to reach the final of the BNP Paribas Open, where hell resume his longtime rivalry with Roger Federer.OAKLAND – Edwin Encarnacion suffered a right leg injury in the first inning of the Blue Jays Saturday night game against the Athletics. The clubs preliminary diagnosis is “right quadriceps soreness.” Encarnacion will undergo an MRI on Sunday. Encarnacion was at the plate with one out and Jose Reyes on third base and Melky Cabrera on first. He beat out a groundball by a step but pulled up lame. He required the assistance of trainers George Poulis and Mike Frostad to leave the field. "I felt some pop before I touched the base. Thats why after I touched the base I let my body go to the ground because I felt a lot of pain," Encarnacion said. Reyes scored on the play. Adam Lind pinch ran for Encarnacioon and replaced him at first base. Richard Bell Jersey Store . Losing Encarnacion for a prolonged period of time would be damaging to the Blue Jays playoff hopes. He is baseballs leader with 69 RBI. Encarnacions 26 home runs place him in a second-place tie with Baltimores Nelson Cruz, one behind Jose Abreu of the White Sox. "Id be very surprised if it wasnt a DL, for a couple of weeks at least. I dont know that for sure yet," manager John Gibbons said. "Of course, in this moment I dont want to go to the DL. I want to be playing, helping my team to win games," Encarnacion added. "Thats what we need right now, we dont need me to go to the DL, its going to be very frustrating for me. Well see what happens." ' ' '