MONTREAL -- Rachel Homan and Team Canada have served notice theyre ready to defend their title at the Scotties Tournament of Hea


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MONTREAL -- Rachel Homan and Team Canada have served notice theyre ready to defend their title at the Scotties Tournament of Hea

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MONTREAL -- Rachel Homan and Team Canada have served notice theyre ready to defend their title at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Cal Clutterbuck Jersey . The defending champions grabbed the early lead and held on for a 9-6 win in nine ends over Quebecs Allison Ross on Sunday to emerge from the second day of play at the Maurice Richard Arena as the lone team yet to lose a match. "Its where I hoped wed be," said 24-year-old Homan (3-0). "You never know whats going to happen, but the teams playing really well. Weve just got to keep rolling." With previous victories of 8-3 over Manitoba and 9-3 over Ontario, both in eight ends, they have piled up points against some highly-regarded teams without yet having to go the full 10 ends. But Homan and the team were most concerned about giving up three to Quebec (0-4) in the second, which drew a roar from the 2,281 in the seats. "We gave up three in two, but thats alright -- mistakes will happen," said Homan. "Were learning the ice and different draws will be different weights." "I underthrew two halfway hits and that didnt turn out well and then Rachel threw one we thought was good but it sailed off," said Team Canada third Emma Miskew. "We got tricked a little on either the speed or the weight. "We didnt throw any more finesse shots after that because it tricked us a little." The evening draws saw two matches go to extra ends as both New Brunswick and P.E.I. pulled off victories. New Brunswicks Andrea Crawford (2-1) scored a single in the 11th end to take a 4-3 win over British Columbias 22-year-old skip Kesa Van Osch (1-3). And Kim Dolan (1-2) of P.E.I got her first victory of the tournament, 7-6 over Quebec in 11 ends. In the other late draws, Newfoundlands Heather Strong (3-1) edged Yukons Sarah Koltun (1-2) 6-5. Koltun scored singles in the ninth and 10th ends but fell short of the comeback. And Albertas Val Sweeting (3-1) scored three in the sixth end en route to a 5-4 victory over Nova Scotias Heather Smith (1-2). The afternoon draw saw some wild finishes. Stefanie Lawton (2-1) of Saskatchewan tied her game up with two in the ninth and then stole two in the 10th to win 8-6 over Sweeting. "Tied up coming home, without hammer, we know what we have to do," said Lawton, whose side gave up two in the 10th to lose 5-4 to Manitoba in the morning draw. "We have to put up two guards and get one on the button. "We got away with one when they kissed the guard and bit and I was able to put another on top of that and put the pressure on them. Theres going to be lots of games that will be battles. You just have to keep plugging away." Another cliffhanger saw Manitobas Chelsea Carey (2-1) get the point she needed in the 10th to defeat the B.C. side 7-6. And Ontarios Allison Flaxey (1-2) scored two in the 10th and a steal of one in an extra end to down Newfoundland by 8-7. Homan won last years Scotties as skip of Team Ontario, beating Jennifer Jones Winnipeg rink in the final. Jones isnt at this years tournament, having won an ultra-competitive qualifying tournament to represent Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Other top teams bowed out in their provincial championships, some citing mental fatigue from trying to make the Olympic team. But Homans side was spared that because they qualified automatically for the Scotties as the defending champions. "That definitely helped us," said Miskew. "Theres a lot of new faces here, but its nice to see a lot of young teams here." "We definitely have room to improve. We had a bad end but we were able to bounce back, so that was important for us. It seems every game you get a little better and thats our goal." Team Canada is part of the youth movement. Homan and Miskew are both 24, while second Alison Kreviazuk is 25. Theyve been playing together since they were young kids. Lead Lisa Weagle, 28, joined them later. Building a big lead in the morning draw against Ontario allowed them to give some playing time to their alternate, Stephanie LeDrew, who substituted for Weagle for the final two ends. "Its good to have her throw some shots and see the lines," Homan said of LeDrew. "You never know during a week if youre going to have to use her or not. "Hopefully not. Hopefully shell just be there to cheer us on, but its good to get her in early." LeDrew normally plays for Hollie Nicols Toronto rink, but she was brought in as an alternate by Homan for last years Scotties in Kingston, Ont., as well as for the 2013 womens world championship in Riga, Latvia. She got into three matches last year. "I know what it is to be prepared to jump in at a moments notice," said LeDrew. "I actually went for a jog around the arena in the sixth end to be prepared to go in the seventh, so I was warmed up and ready to rock." LeDrew said it is usually a team decision to get the alternate some playing time. "It tends to be on the ice between ends, if they have a big lead going," she said. "They see it as a good opportunity to throw the alternate in. "They also want to get me in because I have to play in two games, for at least one end in each game, in order to be eligible for the jewelry (prizes) at the end of the week -- the diamonds. So theyre being good to me." The match also pitted sister against sister as Alison Kreviazuk faced Lynn Kreviazuk, the Ontario second. "Actually, I havent played against Lynn in a few years, so this was kind of a first for me," Alison Kreviazuk said of her 22-year-old sister. "We get along great, so theres nothing negative. "They played really well, they just had a few bad breaks. I know shell pick it up for the next one." The morning draw saw more one-sided wins as Yukon downed P.E.I. by 10-3 in eight ends. Nova Scotia, beat New Brunswick by 12-2, also in eight ends. Yukon scored five in the eighth end to prompt P.E.I. to concede, while Nova Scotia had ends of four and five points in their romp over New Brunswick. Mathew Barzal Jersey . The question all fans want to know heading into this light heavyweight affair is will Rua display his true potential. Working with UFC welterweight fighter Demian Maias team in Sao Paulo Brazil and having training partners such as fellow UFC stand outs Fabio Maldonado and Daniel Sarafian, the 32-year old feels very well prepared for Friday nights encounter. Bryan Trottier Jersey . As Valanciunas was whistled for a rare technical toward the end of the third quarter - a result of waving his hand at an official after being called for a foul - Lowry pulled the Raptors sophomore aside, corralling him by his jersey and patting him on the back. http://www.nhlislandershockeystore.com/john-tavares-jersey/ . - Even with a new coach, the Denver Nuggets still love to push the basketball.TORONTO – On draft day in the summer of 2012, the Maple Leafs parted with a defenceman they once viewed as an anchor of the future, a top-five overall selection they traded up to land in the first round of the 2008 draft. Luke Schenn was picked 12 spots ahead of Jake Gardiner. Looming this summer for Dave Nonis and Toronto management is a decision similar to the one faced when it came to Schenn - deciding when to cut bait with a high-upside, but potentially flawed prospect. Then-Leafs general manager Brian Burke made the choice at just the right time with Schenn, who is back in town on Saturday, sending him to Philadelphia for James van Riemsdyk, the one-time second-overall selection who had yet to blossom as a Flyer. Gardiner has stalled in his third NHL season, only sparingly resembling the emphatic, change-of-pace defender he was in the playoffs last spring and before that, as a rookie, under then-head coach Ron Wilson. Like Schenn, the 23-year-old was viewed very recently as a concrete piece of the Leafs future, a status that has muddied with each game gone by, his performance wavering uncertainly in each of the past two seasons. Gardiner, whose name has been floated in trade rumours constantly, is a restricted free agent this summer and its at that point that a choice will definitively be made on his future with the Leafs. Though he still leads the team in even-strength ice-time this season, he has seen his opportunities consistently plummet; from a season-high of nearly 24 minutes nightly in December down to less than 21 in January to fewer than 19 in February and now to a season-low of about 17 in early March. Theres upside there – his elite skating ability most prominent – and the Leafs know it, but in some doubt now is whether that upside can be unlocked or whether the former Wisconsin star is too flawed in other areas to make him worth hanging onto, especially with younger defenders like Morgan Rielly, Stuart Percy and Matt Finn already in the prospect chain. Unlike Nazem Kadri, who tested the organizations patience, but eventually offered sustained stretches of development, Gardiners play has been mostly erratic since his rookie debut. There was a six-game spell in the playoffs against Boston with other hints proving infrequent. Its well established that defencemen typically take longer to mature than forwards – Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson among the notable exceptions – all of which complicates the decision-making process when it comes to Gardiner. His inconsistent play in the past two seasons may be just be part of the development curve. Once a defenceman himself, head coach Randy Carlyle joked that it took "too long" for him to finally mature into a well-rounded NHL defender, offering insight into why the process lingers at the position. Andrew Ladd Jersey. "I think because you handle the puck more," said Carlyle, who won a Norris Trophy in his fifth season. "Theres more pressure on a defenceman in the game to handle the puck and make the right decision with the puck and youre constantly under pressure from the opposition trying to strip you of the puck, body-check, all of those things…" Tim Gleason, a 31-year-old and member of the 2010 U.S. Olympic team in Vancouver, said it was only a few years ago that he found his bearings at the NHL level. His response as to why it took as long as it did mirrored Carlyle. "The more you do it the more used to it you get and it slows down a tiny bit," he told the Leaf Report. "Its different than being a forward; you have pressure on you instead of giving pressure. As a forward, youre taught to pressure the puck as quick as you can, as fast as you can. As a defenceman, your job is to protect the puck, get the puck out being under pressure. I think thats a big deal." Gardiner has struggled in that regard. His decision-making with the puck and, even without it, has been flawed. Hes made wholehearted attempts to make "smarter plays with the puck," "not making so many turnovers and or, at least, not in bad areas," but its remained an ongoing issue anyway. At Carlyles prodding, hs also tried to become a stiffer defender, stating his intent to work on things such as "having one hand on my stick, body position, finishing checks." Hes watched a lot of video, too, even pulling his performance from that memorable series against the Bruins at one point earlier this year. Its tantalizing performances like that – when he had five points in six games – that surely give Nonis and his team pause when it comes to moving on from Gardiner. Schenn was dealt only nine months after he signed a rich, five-year deal with the Leafs. It was determined that his shortcomings – foot speed specifically – would ultimately keep him from reaching the promise that saw the club move up two spots to select him in the 08 draft. With his value still at a point where it could seemingly fetch some sort of return, Gardiners shortcomings could force another such decision in the months ahead. The Toronto defence has been a source of instability all year and will certainly require an upgrade or two in the offseason. Whether Gardiner and Cody Franson, a fellow restricted free agent, fit into that mix remains to be seen. Four members of the Leaf back-end are signed beyond this season – Gleason, Rielly, Dion Phaneuf and Carl Gunnarsson – all seemingly on more solid ground within the organization than either Gardiner or Franson. Theres upside there with the Minnesota native. In question is whether the Leafs will keep waiting for it. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '


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