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  • Kevin Martin announces his retirement during Sportsnet's broadcast of The Players' Championship on Friday night. (SN)

    Forget about a victory lap for Kevin Martin next season. One of the greatest skips to ever slide out of a hack is ending his career.

    After a legendary 27 year curling career, the future hall of famer has announced that this is, indeed his last season as a player. His immediate future is now crystal clear as he plays his last tournament at The Players' Championship, in Summerside, Prince Edward Island.

    Speaking to Rob Faulds during Friday nights Sportsnet broadcast of Players' Championship action, the 47 year old announced that he will hang up his curling shoes and join Sportsnet as an analyst. As well, Martin will take on a role with that network's Grand Slam Of Curling, which will grow from four to five events next season.

    Martin's future had been unclear over the last few weeks ever since the news was leaked that two of his current teammates, Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert, were joining forces with Kevin Koe for the 2014-15 season. With team vice Dave Nedohin almost certain to be

    Read More »from Guessing game over: Kevin Martin announces retirement, future plans
  • Top Canadian Genie Bouchard eschewed the traditional pre-match Fed Cup handshake, terming it "lame". (

    QUEBEC CITY – It's a tradition, during the generally yawn-inducing, invariably unrevealing Fed Cup draw press conferences, to get the singles and doubles pairings together for a handshake and a photo.

    They call it the "grip-and-grin". In boxing, it's typically the two combatants putting on their meanest fight face, putting glove to glove.

    Who knows why they do it, or why they keep doing it. It's just something that's ... done.

    First up on Friday, after the draw was made for the Canada vs. Slovak Republic tie that will send the winner to the prestigious eight-nation World Group I, were veteran Aleksandra Wozniak and Slovak No. 1 Jana Cepelova.

    No problem.

    Then came top Canadian Genie Bouchard and Slovak No. 2 Kristina Kucova.

    Nothing doing. The handshake thing is lame," Bouchard said. She wouldn't do it.

    Read More »from Genie Bouchard gives the opposing Slovak Fed Cup team some bulletin-board material
  • (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

    In many ways it is a shame that the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings will have to face each other in the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, because no matter what team wins, there will be a major feel good story that will come to an end at the earliest possible stage of this postseason.

    Looming large is Jarome Iginla's quest to win the Stanley Cup for the first time in his 17 season career. The affable 36-year-old came close in 2004, captaining the upstart Calgary Flames to the final before losing by a goal in game seven to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Last season, he seemed to be destined to raise the Cup when he was acquired by the powerhouse Pittsburgh Penguins from the Calgary Flames in a bizarre trade deadline deal. However, after getting into a groove over the course of the tail end of the regular season and the first two rounds of the playoffs - the dream was vanquished in a four game sweep in the Eastern Conference Final at the hands of the Bruins - the team he was

    Read More »from Bruins and Red Wings give hockey fans plenty to cheer about in first round matchup
  • WATCH THE BALL! Canadian Milos Raonic disposed of Spanish veteran Tommy Robredo Thursday in Monte Carlo to reach the quarter-finals of the Masters 1000 event. {AP/Michel Euler)

    Canadian tennis fans have been getting up before dawn this week to catch Milos Raonic in action at the Monte Carlo Masters.

    And so far, the early time slot (10:30 a.m. Monte Carlo time, 4:30 a.m. EDT - broadcast on Sportsnet1) has worked well for the 23-year-old from Toronto.

    Raonic eased his way into the quarter-finals of the prestigious Masters 1000 event Thursday with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over experienced Spanish veteran Tommy Robredo.

    On Wednesday – same Milos time and channel – he disposed of Yen-Hsun Lu of Taipei 6-7 (4), 6-0, 6-1, recovering well after letting his first official set of the European clay-court season slip away.

    Friday, it gets serious, as Raonic will face Australian Open champion and world No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka for a spot in the semifinals. And instead of the second court, Court des Princes, they will be on the iconic Court Central.

    Read More »from Milos Raonic rolls into the quarter-finals at the Monte Carlo Masters
  • Video: Raptors launch rebrand early with ‘We The North’ campaign

    Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Uriji, left, Canadian recording artist Drake, center, and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment President and CEO Tim Leiweke pose with jerseys after the announcement that the Raptors will host the 2016 NBA All Star game at a news conference in Toronto on Monday Sept. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

    On the heels of the best season in franchise history and a playoff date with the Brooklyn Nets, the Toronto Raptors are launching early a branding campaign that was slated for 2015.

    The campaign dubbed “We The North” celebrates the unique qualities of the NBA’s only Canadian franchise and was supposed to be launched next year to celebrate the team’s 20th anniversary. Instead, the remarkable turnaround that saw the team go from worst to first in the Atlantic Division forced MLSE to launch it now.

    We The North.
    In many ways we are in a league of our own,
    One step removed, just beyond the boundaries.
    Some would say we're on the outside looking in,
    but from our perspective we're on the outside looking within.
    'Cause that's where the effort resides,
    toughness is found, the aggression is tapped – on the inside.
    Far from the East side.
    Miles from the West side.
    Nowhere near the South Side.
    We are the North side, a territory all our own.
    And if that makes us outsiders – we're in.

    The spot encapsulates

    Read More »from Video: Raptors launch rebrand early with ‘We The North’ campaign
  • (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)

    Now the real fun begins.

    Forty-eight wins, an Atlantic Division title, the best season in franchise history, and yet the Toronto Raptors will enter the postseason as underdogs in their first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets.

    Knowing the character and the history of this Raptors team, they wouldn’t have it any other way. This is exactly what they want.

    DeMar DeRozan and Amir Johnson have been here the longest, grinding away for five years to get to this moment. They're undoubtedly the heart and soul of the team.

    Kyle Lowry is the brains behind the operation. His All-Star calibre season and relentless style of play and leadership has taken him from perceived antagonist to professional authority.

    Those three set the tone for the rest of the group and it shows. Sophomores Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas have shown consistent improvement and continued growth during their second season. Patrick Patterson and Greivis Vasquez immediately fit in after they were acquired from

    Read More »from Raptors draw challenge of experienced Nets in first round of playoffs
  • Canadiens G.M. Marc Bergevin practices his jazz hands during a press conference. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz)

    The cameras caught Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin's reaction to fourth-liner Dale Weise's thrilling overtime goal Wednesday night, which gave the Habs a road win in the first game of their series against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    And it was a beauty - destined to be re-Tweeted and Facebooked and forwarded around the planet to the great delight of the members of Habs Nation.


    The trick will be to come up with the appropriate name for it.

    The Bell Centre Boogie?

    The Habs Hippie Shake?

    The Pointe St-Charles Pogo?

    Montreal rapper and sports fan Jay Farrer came up with a pretty good one: the Marc-arena. Could catch on.

    Ronald Corey, the former G.M. and self-professed curator of the "Canadiens Way", the one who thought anything out of the church (from hockey players partying on Crescent St. – oh, the horrors – to Guy Carbonneau giving the bird to a photographer when he was snapped on the golf course after an early Habs' exit from the playoffs) deserved a quick charter flight out

    Read More »from Next to go viral: Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin’s overtime Happy Dance
  • Want to help the Habs win the Cup? Light a virtual candle (

    It's one of those things that always amazes anyone beyond the Quebec borders.

    But it seems perfectly normal here.

    When the Canadiens are in the playoffs, everyone gets behind them - even the forces on high.

    As part of the Catholic Church of Montreal's annual campaign, you can light a virtual candle to help boost the Habs' hopes for $1, with the proceeds going to the campaign to help maintain the church's buildings, and support various other activities.

    Read More »from With the support of the Catholic Church, how can the Montreal Canadiens lose?
  • Former NHL star Chad Johnson clowns around during Alouettes mini-camp in Florida Wednesday (from

    There may be no happier kid in the Montreal Alouettes' Florida mini-camp this week than 36-year-old Chad Johnson.

    "I'm like a kid again. Had the same giddy feeling, the same butterflies," Johnson told the assembled media at fabled Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Fla. after the second day of a three-day camp Wednesday. "I feel good. I'm nowhere where any of these guys are as far as the nuances of this (Canadian) game. Just look forward to getting better each day, see what happens.

    There are some issues with bringing Johnson to Montreal, even though Johnson Tweeted today that he'll arrive June 1. But according to team G.M. Jim Popp, age isn't one of them.

    "He's in great shape. Weren't we counting on a star quarterback in his 40s until last year?" Popp told the Journal de Montréal. "He has super-quick footwork. His routes are dynamic. He's still capable of making big plays. He reminds me of a home-run hitter."

    If it were up to him, Popp said. he'd offer Johnson a contract and he'd be headed to Lennoxville, Que. in early June to take part in the official training camp. But some factors are out of the Alouettes' control – most notably getting a Canadian work visa for him. Popp said those things always depend on who handles the application.

    Read More »from Chad (Ochocinco) Johnson works out with the CFL Alouettes – and hits Twitter
  • Canadian Sharon Fichman, seen here at the U.S. Open last August in her only other Grand Slam singles appearance, has earned her way straight into the main draw for her first French Open. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)Canadian Sharon Fichman hasn't had much luck in the qualifying at Grand Slam tennis tournaments.

    But with her good play so far in 2014, she has solved that problem.

    Fichman, 23, has earned her way into her first-ever French Open (in either singles or doubles) as the official entry lists for the second major tennis event of the season were released Wednesday.

    With her ranking currently at No. 89, Fichman easily was among the 108 players who received direct entry. The rest of the 128-player draw is made up of wild cards, and 12 players who win three matches in the qualifying rounds.

    Read More »from Canadian Sharon Fichman in main draw for her first career French Open


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