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  • Team Virtue at the 2013 Saskatchewan championship. From left to right: Virtue, Moskowy, Schille and Kidby.

    More dominos have tipped, in curling's remarkable end-of-season string of changes.

    Vice Braeden Moskowy has announced he is leaving Brock Virtue's Regina-based team. Along with second Chris Schille's departure, this means Virtue has a couple of holes to fill.

    Moskowy, the 2011 Canadian Junior Champion, tells the Regina Leader-Post's Murray McCormick that he's hopeful of latching on with another team in time for next season:

    "We've heard of a few of the (roster) moves, but we still won't know a lot of them until after the Players' Championship at the end of April. If the right opportunity comes along tomorrow, then I would commit to that. I'm not exactly rushing into the first thing that comes my way due to the fact it's a huge commitment on my part and it could potentially be the next four years of my life."

    Read More »from More men’s curling changes: Brock Virtue’s team loses two
  • Rafael Nadal defeated Canadian Milos Raonic 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 Thursday night in Miami, in a close, fascinating encounter. (AP/Luis M. Alvarez)

    It was awfully close, in that way Rafael Nadal matches generally have of being close, while you await that moment when the world No. 1 shifts into a higher gear and suddenly grinds his opponent into dust.

    For Canadian Milos Raonic, that moment on Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the Sony Open came with Nadal serving at 2-3 in the third set, after more than two hours of play.

    Suddenly, Nadal's devastating inside-out lefty forehand, the shot no one really has had an answer for during the last 10 years because Nadal choses his moments to use it so judiciously, became untouchable.

    It was that "uh-oh" moment. If the fans can sense it, the opponent probably can, as well.

    After Nadal held serve easily for one of the rare times on the strength of that forehand, suddenly Raonic was serving at 3-3, in what's often called the crucial seventh game of any set, and he was running like a maniac.

    His first serve wasn't going in, and he suffered – that's the only word – three brutal rallies at the hands of Nadal when at deuce, suddenly Raonic felt the understandable need to go for too much and shorten the points. A forehand error, a backhand error, and there was the break, as Nadal then finished off a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 victory that was anything but routine.

    Read More »from Milos Raonic puts up a great fight in Miami, but Rafael Nadal prevails to reach semifinals
  • Carleton Ravens cheer at the CIS Final 8 in early March (Chris Roussakis for Yahoo! Canada Sports)

    When Pierre Lafontaine became CEO of Canadian Interuniversity Sport, it knew it was adding an idea person, a vision guy, and sometimes logistics would be left to people on the ground, or would have to be sorted out magically.

    Sportsnet, with a media partnership that runs through 2018-19, is committed to giving university sports a bigger platform. The network's early returns have been lukewarm, though. English-language viewership for football's Vanier Cup in on Sportsnet 360 late November was about 65 per cent lower than it was for the 2012 championship that was aired on TSN's main channel as part of its 2012 Grey Cup coverage. At least there is a willingness to try something semi-halfway radical to break outside of the traditional CIS nice. It announced on Thursday that is going to pack its four basketball and hockey championships into the second week of March, with the hockey tournaments also adopting hoops' Final 8 format as previously reported by Eh Game.

    "The exciting venture will allow CIS and its broadcasting partners — Sportsnet and Radio-Canada — to showcase over 20 hours of university sport on television over a two-day period, including Semifinal Saturday and Championship Sunday," the CIS release states.

    It is exciting, in the way that any movement is more exciting than stasis. The good news is this allays concerns of how much priority Sportsnet would give to CIS coverage that arose after the network bought the national NHL rights this fall. There's good intentions here, although that 'over 20 hours' talk would mean having coverage spread across the umpteen channels. There are trade-offs, though. A quick list of pros and cons:

    Read More »from CIS introduces Super Championship Weekend for basketball and hockey: here’s the pros and cons
  • One more time? Kevin Koe's Canadian champs are breaking up at season's end. (CP)

    For the first time in the history of the game, the World Men's Curling Championship will be contested in Asia, as twelve nations' entries gather in Beijing, China, beginning this weekend.

    Like the women's championship, the men's field is a little weaker this time around as a number of countries send teams other than their best, due to conflicts with Olympics participation. Because of that, the reigning world champions - Team Sweden, skipped by Niklas Edin - are not here.

    Still, some countries do have their Sochi teams participating at this event, including China, Norway, Russia, Germany and Denmark.

    Here's how the field breaks down, in three categories; contenders, challengers and long shots (Season records according to statistics found at CurlingZone.ca):

    CONTENDERS

    The 'contenders' group features the teams that are more than likely to be in the playoffs when the round robin schedule has been completed. In this category, you'll find three teams; Canada, China and Norway.

    It has been

    Read More »from World Men’s Curling Championship 2014: Contenders, challengers and long shots
  • Kevin Dineen coached the women's Olympic hockey team to gold in Sochi. (The Canadian Press)In the latter stages of his NHL career, Kevin Dineen always kept a notebook by his side.

    The forward, who played 18 seasons with five different pro teams from 1984-2003, knew he wanted to stay involved in the game post-retirement and the notebook – where he’d jot down drills, faceoff plays and various strategies – perhaps best represented the coaching career he seemed destined for and would eventually gravitate toward.

    It’s no surprise considering his father’s history behind the bench. Bill Dineen coached for 15 years in the WHA, AHL and NHL and when Kevin and his four brothers were growing up they’d often go down to the rink and watch their dad run through practices with the Houston Aeros.

    “Those were pretty formative years for me,” Dineen recalled in a recent phone interview from Toronto.

    Decades later the 50-year-old and second youngest of the five boys has a lengthy coaching resume he can point to and just last week he was named the head coach of Canada’s men’s under-18 team.

    Read More »from Kevin Dineen is ready to build off his Olympic success with the Canadian men’s U-18 team
  • Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada, far right, won the bronze medal at the world figure-skating championships Thursday in Saitama, Japan (CBCSports.ca)

    Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford had a good, not great, free skate at the world figure-skating championships Thursday in Saitama, Japan.

    A fall by Duhamel on the landing of their side-by-side triple salchows may or may not have cost them one step on the podium. But the top Canadian team still came away with a bronze medal.

    Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford had a good, not great, free skate and ended up with a bronze medal (CBCSports.ca)

    The winners were 30-year-old Aliona Savchenko and 34-year-old Robin Szolkowy of Germany, who eased to the gold medal as the class of the field in what in all likelihood will be their final skate together.

    The veteran duo, bronze medalists at the Sochi Olympics, easily outdistanced the Russian pair of Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov, who jumped ahead of the Canadians to take the silver.

    Canadian Kristen Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch, with a clean program and their customary eye-popping lifts, finished just off the podium in fourth place.

    Read More »from Canadians 3rd and 4th in pairs event at the world figure-skating championships
  • Marc Kennedy (L) and Ben Hebert sweep for Kevin Martin at the 2013 Brier. (CP)

    Like Jeff Stoughton, Kevin Martin is in a curling no man's land.

    The decorated skip, flush with four Brier championships, a world title and an Olympic gold medal, has confirmed that he is without a team at the end of this season. The rumours of front-end players Ben Hebert and Marc Kennedy leaving are true. They'll join forces with Martin rival Kevin Koe, whose current team is in Beijing, China, representing Canada at the upcoming World Men's Curling Championship.

    "I can't confirm that I'm looking for a new roster but I can confirm that Marc and Ben are going to curl with Kev, yeah. I haven't decided if I'm going to curl again at all," Martin told Canadian Press.

    That Martin can't confirm he's looking for a new team will only fuel speculation that he is seriously considering retirement, although he has said recently that he wouldn't mind playing a year or two more.

    Hebert and Kennedy's move, as well as vice Dave Nedohin's apparent decision to take some time off from the game, means

    Read More »from Rumours confirmed: Hebert, Kennedy to leave Kevin Martin
  • Montreal's Percival Molson Stadium seems set to host the 2014 Vanier Cup.Big CIS football news broke Wednesday, thanks to a report that the 2014 Vanier Cup will be held in Montreal. (Thanks to Yahoo's Neate Sager for that find.) The above piece, from Charles Payette of Montreal's 98.5 FM news station, indicates that this fall's Vanier Cup, which will be the historic 50th edition of the game (it started in 1965 as an invitational championship game before going to a playoff format in 1967) is going to be held at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium, the home of both the CFL's Montreal Alouettes and CIS' McGill Redmen. That could be an excellent decision, and one that could make for a memorable Vanier.

    Heading to Montreal is a bit of a change for the Vanier Cup. Three of the last five championships (including last year's) have been held at Laval's stadium in Quebec City, with the other two in Vancouver and Toronto as part of the short-lived Vanier Cup-Grey Cup pairing. While the dominant defending champion Rouge et Or (who have won three of the last five championships and appeared in four of them) will still likely be favoured to make it to the Vanier, they won't have quite as much of a home-field advantage this time around. Perhaps even more importantly, Montreal's more of a destination, one closer to a lot of CIS schools, and it's one that should inspire plenty of students from the competing schools (and perhaps even from neutral ones) to make a road trip for the Vanier. That could lead to a great atmosphere.

    Read More »from Vanier Cup appears headed to Montreal in 2014, and perhaps to its own weekend at some point
  • Dustin McGowan's last big-league start was in Setpember, 2011. (The Canadian Press)

    There have been many second chances in Dustin McGowan’s baseball career over the last six years. The latest one makes him a starter in Major League Baseball once again.

    On Wednesday, the Blue Jays made their final cuts and announced its starting rotation - and it includes McGowan. The fifth starter in a rotation is not usually noteworthy, but for McGowan it marks the conclusion of a long road back from nearly six years of various injuries that derailed his career. McGowan, 32, was a rising star in 2007 when he started 27 games, won 12 and lost a bid for a no–hitter in the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies.

    But McGowan spent parts of the next six seasons on the disabled list with a serious right shoulder injury, and various foot and oblique injuries. The Blue Jays stuck with McGowan and now he will be the starting pitcher for the home opener against the New York Yankees on April 4. The Blue Jays open the regular season with a four-game series in Tampa Bay against the Rays.

    Read More »from Dustin McGowan gets fifth spot in Blue Jays’ rotation, will start home opener
  • 06078493

    The St. Louis Blues soundly defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3 on Tuesday evening in a score which flattered a home side that was thoroughly outplayed by one of the premier teams in the NHL for the bulk of the game.

    The Blues' brand of tenacious physicality, sound positional, tactical and transitional play was on full display as they out-shot the Maple Leafs 49-25, shutting them down by stifling their breakout attempts and then hemming them in their own zone.

    The visitors, who have already clinched a playoff spot and are vying for their second Presidents' Trophy as the league's regular season point leaders, were led by their captain - David Backes, who recorded his second career hat trick.

    After losing two games in a row, 4-0 against the Chicago Blackhawks last Wednesday and 4-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, The Blues have now put together two strong efforts going back to a 1-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.

    "With 10 games left - it's buckle down and get

    Read More »from Blues drop Maple Leafs 5-3 in a tale of two captains

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