- Stephanie Myles at Eh Game14 hrs ago
MONTREAL – As long as a Fed Cup draw ceremony can be, with all the speeches and ceremony, handshakes and non-handshakes, it really comes down to one crucial two-second instant.
Once the first name is drawn, the entire tie's schedule falls into place.
On Friday in Montreal, that name was Françoise Abanda.
Abanda was selected to play No. 2 singles by Canadian captain Sylvain Bruneau, and will meet Romanian No. 1 Irina-Camelia Begu in the first match on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m.
To follow will be Canadian No. 1 Genie Bouchard, against Romanian No. 2 Alexandra Dulgheru.
The two No. 1s always play each other in the first match of the day on Sunday, followed by the No. 2s. If necessary, a doubles match could decide a tie deadlocked at 2-2 and while Canada named Sharon Fichman and Gabriela Dabrowski as its pair, and Romania named Andreea Mitu and Raluca Olaru as its duo, the actual lineup could very well be changed if it comes down to that.
- Stephanie Myles at Eh Game16 hrs ago
Give the lady props for consistency, especially given the fact that after last year's "non-handshake" moment against Kristina Kucova and Slovakia, the eyes of many tennis fans would be upon Genie Bouchard when the same moment rolled around again at the official draw for the Canada vs. Romania tie Friday in Montreal.
But just as she did in Quebec City a year ago, Bouchard declined to shake opponent Alexandra Dulgheru's hand, leaving the veteran Romanian first with her arm hanging in mid-air, then with both arms tightly squeezed around her until the photographers were done.
The handshake is one of those things, perhaps a little hokey but more than anything a symbol of goodwill between the two nations about to battle it out on the tennis court.
As a Fed Cup moment, it's pretty much up there with all the group photos, and having to listen to all the speeches at the previous night's official dinner and prior to the official draw.
- Stephanie Myles at Eh Game18 hrs ago
It's just the start of the European clay-court season, so Canadians Vasek Pospisil and Milos Raonic are taking no chances.
After getting through two matches in Monte Carlo and being forced to retire in his quarter-final against Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic because of a foot injury, top Canadian Raonic pulled out of next week's event in Barcelona, Spain.
He was not scheduled to play the week after that, so that will give him two full weeks to treat the injury, believed to be to a metatarsal bone in the foot, before the two big Masters 1000 tournaments in Madrid and Rome.
As for Pospisil, he dealt with some knee tendonitis through the Indian Wells and Miami tournaments in the U.S. Needing time to heal up, his clay-court preparation was pushed back and clearly he felt he wouldn't be ready in time for Barcelona.
Pospisil will head to Europe early next week to rejoin coach Frédéric Fontang, with the plan to play the following week's tournament in Munich, Germany.
Hel will need a withdrawal from the main entry list to get straight in; at the moment, he is the first on the alternate list.
- Israel Fehr at Eh Game20 hrs ago
Toronto FC will try to snap a three-game losing skid while the Whitecaps will be without a key player for their trip to Salt Lake City. The Impact are off as they prepare for the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final, which goes Apr. 22 against Mexico's Club America at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
Here are three key storylines for Canada's MLS teams heading into Week 7 action.
SATURDAY, APRIL 18:
Toronto FC (1-3-0, 3 PTS) at FC Dallas (3-2-1, 10 PTS), 8:30 p.m. ET
1. Quest for chemistry
Toronto FC comes into Saturday's game at FC Dalllas having lost three in a row. Between two early byes and an international week, they've been unable to recapture the form from their opening day win over Vancouver. Michael Bradley, Sebastian Giovinco, and Jozy Altidore should all start and continue to work to create the chemistry they need to have to win consistently.
2. Back line blues II
- Andrew Bucholtz at Eh Game21 hrs ago
This summer's Pan Am Games in Toronto will feature lots of top athletes, but they present challenges for some athletes too when considered in the wider context of the crowded summer athletic calendar. This is particularly true in the demanding sport of decathlon; some top decathletes, including American world record holder Ashton Eaton, have said they'll only compete in a few individual events at the Pan Ams to save themselves for the world championships in August. Canadian decathlon star Damian Warner plans to do the full, grueling 10-event competition at the Pan Ams despite its proximity to the worlds, though. Warner, who became a well-known Canadian name thanks to an impressive fifth-place finish at the 2012 London Olympics, has been named a Pan Am torchbearer, and he's currently teaming up with Sport Chek for a media tour to promote the Pan Ams and fitness in general. Warner took the time for a phone interview with Eh Game this week, and said the chance to compete so close to his London, Ontario home in front of family and friends was what motivated him to do the full decathlon this summer.
- Chris Zelkovich at Eh Game1 day ago
Keith Pelley is on the move again.
As the first season of Rogers Media's blockbuster $5.2 billion National Hockey League broadcast deal winds down with mixed results, the company announced that its president is leaving to head up the PGA European Tour.
“I am very honoured to be joining the European Tour as its new CEO at an exciting stage in its development," Pelley said in a statement. "The tour already has a highly regarded reputation and I look forward to building on this using my previous experience in both media and sports to ensure it remains at forefront of the game across the globe. “Throughout my career in North America, it has been a privilege to work with the best sports organisations, athletes, and media assets. I am excited to build on these experiences on the international stage.”
This won't be Pelley's first foray into the non-broadcast side of sports. He was president of the Toronto Argonauts from 2003 to 2007, including a Grey Cup championship in 2004 with owners David Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski.
Foot injury forces Milos Raonic to retire in his quarter-final match against Tomas Berdych in Monte CarloStephanie Myles at Eh Game1 day ago
Milos Raonic managed to get through his third-round match against Tommy Robredo in Monte Carlo.
But it was clear fairly early on during his quarter-final encounter with Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic Friday at the Rolex Masters in Monte Carlo that the 24-year-old Canadian's foot injury wasn't going to allow him to do much.
Down 2-5 in the first set, after suffering his second service break, Raonic retired after a courtesy visit from the ATP Tour trainer and physician.
"It’s painful, and now the entire foot is numb. So I can’t push off, I can’t run to the right. I can’t stop. As soon as the weight goes off my toe, I don’t have any control. So I can’t push off to serve," Raonic told them.
That much was fairly obvious, especially the way he pulled up after shots, sometimes hopping on his (good) left leg. He also wasn't able to serve to his normal standard. And, with the conditions heavy and humid, Raonic wasn't able to hit through with his forehand for winners that might have bought him a little more time.
- Don Landry at Eh Game1 day ago
Well, that was eventful.
The 2014-15 Canadian curling season has drawn to a close - apologies to those of you who are still duking it out in your club championships - so it is time to take stock of a year jammed with interesting stories. Tough to whittle 'em down, but here are my choices for top ten stories of the year.
And, as we say at the end of a long curling season: Good golfing.
10. TEAM HOWARD BOUNCED FROM ONTARIO PLAYDOWNS
- Stephanie Myles at Eh Game2 days ago
One game into Milos Raonic's third-round match against Spain's Tommy Robredo in Monte Carlo Wednesday, he stopped.
First the ATP Tour trainer came out. Then the tournament physician came out for a consult.
Per Raonic, the issue was a metatarsal at the top of his right foot, and the Canadian definitely appeared concerned.
So it's not surprising that Robredo's handshake at the end of Raonic's 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory was, to say the least, cursory. The clay-court player lost on clay to a big server who managed just four aces, and who was visibly hobbled.
What Raonic did extremely well, though, was compete. What he also did well was adapt to his circumstances without bemoaning his lot. Raonic came to net 36 times – often on kick second serves followed up by drop volleys.
This is not, as Raonic observers well know, his "A" game. Or his "B" game. Or maybe even his "Z" game. But on Thursday, it was a winning game.
Per Raonic's manager Austin Nunn, the foot was a pre-existing issue that predated his matches in Monte Carlo and was made worse by his play.
- Stephanie Myles at Eh Game2 days ago
Genie Bouchard admits the feels the weight of expectation – that every time she wins, it's "normal" and every time she loses, it's a "catastrophe."
She talks about that, and more in this video.
(For the French-bereft, we've provided English subtitles).
Bouchard's new coach Sam Sumyk also talked, about his new charge and the challenges ahead.