we need to get together and practice

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we need to get together and practice

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Jeff Stoughtons 11th Canadian mens curling championship is a bit of a homecoming. Bert Blyleven Jersey . Kamloops, B.C., the host city of this years Tim Hortons Brier, is where he won his first Canadian mens curling crown in 1996. He has won twice since -- the last in 2011 -- and is a two-time world champion. "Its kind of special being able to come back after so many years to a place with some great memories," he said in an interview. "Its pretty cool and the team is really looking forward to getting on with the week." The Brier starts Saturday and runs to March 9. Last year Stoughton lost the Brier final in Edmonton 11-4 to Brad Jacobs and his Northern Ontario rink. Stoughton had a disappointing 3-4 finish at the Olympic Curling Trials in December, as Jacobs went undefeated in claiming the right to wear Canadas colours in Sochi. Stoughton had lots of company. No one could slow the juggernaut from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.. "There was only one happy team coming out of those trials and that was obviously Jacobs," said Stoughton. "We just sort of decompressed for a few weeks and then got right back at it, had a great Skins Game, great fun Continental Cup with the guys, and then just carried right through to the Safeway championship in Winnipeg." In this years Brier field -- with both Jacobs and Alberta veteran Kevin Martin absent -- Stoughton and Albertas Kevin Koe are favourites. Manitoba has a record 27 wins at the Brier, followed closely by Alberta with 25. Koe is representing Alberta this year for the third time, after beating Martin 7-5 to take the provincial title. Koe won the Brier in 2010, his first appearance, and went on to win a world championship. Just getting out of Alberta is tough for Koe, who curls out of Calgary. "Youve got to get through one of the top teams in the world in Kevin Martin and its definitely not realistic to think you can do that every year," he said. He recognizes hes going to be one of the favourites along with Stoughton but says thats no different than any other year and the rest of the field may be deeper than some suspect. "Theres quite a few teams that a lot of people dont know about that I think will do pretty good, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, maybe even the Territories. I think its a pretty tough field actually." Theres maybe a little family pride creeping in there. For the third time in five years, hell be joined at the Brier by brother Jamie, who skips the Northwest Territories-Yukon entry. Jamie Koe is making his eighth appearance. In 2012, the brothers met in the 3 vs. 4 Page playoff. Kevin won and Jamie later lost to Manitobas Rob Fowler in the bronze-medal match but it was still a strong finish for a Territories team. Saskatchewan is led by 2003 World Junior champ Steve Laycock, back for his second appearance as skip at the Canadian championship with a new team of Kirk Muyres, Colton Flasch and Dallan Muryes. Jean-Michel Menard is back for his eighth try after becoming just the second skip from Quebec to win the championship in 2006. His lineup consists of Martin Crete, Eric Sylvain and brother Philippe Menard. One of the only new faces this year is Ontarios Greg Balsdon, who stopped Glenn Howard from making his ninth straight appearance at the Brier. "I dont want to say we lucked out because weve had good games but theyve obviously beaten us more than weve beaten them," Balsdon said of the final, that saw Howard miss with his last rock and give up the winning point. Balsdon is new to the Canadian mens championship. He was part of the Cory Heggestad-led team that won the 2013 Canadian Mixed, but he says this feels bigger. "It feels just amazing. I dont think well truly appreciate it until were there," he said. Another team that has the chops to run with the best is also the hometown favourite -- John Morris and his B.C. rink, that features former skip and Kamloops native Jim Cotter at third. "Its exciting," says Cotter. "I think back 18 years ago when it was in Kamloops and Barry McPhee was the hometown team and I remember watching in the crowd there and I was pretty excited for those guys. . . Here we are 18 years later and Ive got the same opportunity." They made it all the way to the final against Jacobs at the Olympic Trials by beating Martin. After a disappointing loss, they took a few weeks off during the holidays to regroup but Cotter says they took good things out of the trials into the provincial finals in B.C. The addition of the veteran Morris, now curling for his third province, has made a huge difference, Cotter says. "We really have clicked. Johns just a phenomenal guy on and off the ice." Jacobs, meanwhile, is still celebrating his Olympic gold-medal win. The schedule made it virtually impossible to compete for a berth in this years Brier, although starting in 2015 the previous years winner will get an automatic berth, something the women already do. With Jacobs out of the mix, 1996 Canadian junior champ Jeff Currie was able to shift the Northern Ontario title from Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay with his team of Mike McCarville, Colin Koivula and Jamie Childs. Former Olympic champ Brad Gushue from Newfoundland and Labrador is still the headliner out of the Atlantic provinces and James Grattan is making his 11th appearance for New Brunswick. Eddie MacKenzie has led Prince Edward Island to the Brier for three of the last four years and Jamie Murphy is back after also representing Nova Scotia at the 2012 championship. Brier finalists each receive $40,000 in prize money, the bronze medallist gets $30,000 and the $20,000 goes to the fourth-place team. Larry Doby Jersey . -- Sacramento Kings coach Michael Malone didnt hold his tongue about his teams shortcomings on the defensive end following its lopsided loss to Miami. Dave Henderson Jersey . But when defencemen Nate Schmidt and Karl Alzner scored, it was an unexpected bonus for Washington.DENVER - Jordan Crawford scored a career-high 41 points and Harrison Barnes added 30 as a squad of Golden State backups beat the Denver Nuggets 116-112 Wednesday night. Crawford beat his previous career high of 39 points set against Miami on March, 30, 2011, when he was with Washington. He surpassed it with a runner that put the Warriors ahead for good at 110-108. Randy Foye, who led Denver with 32 points, raced downcourt in response but his finger-roll rimmed out and Golden State corralled the rebound. With 30 seconds left, Barnes sank a free throw and Draymond Green swooped in to tip in his errant second shot, giving the Warriors a 113-108 lead. Crawford and Steve Blake each missed a free throw over the next 14 seconds, giving the Nuggets an opening. Green was whistled for goal-tending on Foyes 3-pointer with seven seconds left but the call was overturned upon review, leaving the Nuggets trailing 115-112. Anthony Randolph tied his season high with 19 points for the Nuggets, who are missing the playoff party for the first time since 2002-03, the year before Carmelo Anthonys arrival. The Warriors are headed to their second straight Western Conference playoffs, again as the No. 6 seed and this time, theyll face the third-seeded Clippers starting Saturday in Los Angeles. With Andrew Bogut out indefinitely and nothing to play for as far as seeding, the Warriors rested their regulars for the playoffs. Guard Klay Thompson was the only starter coach Mark Jackson put in his starting lineup 48 hours after Golden State secured its first 50-win season since 1993-94. Thompson played just eight minutes but his was an efficient cameo with eight points. Green was pressed into duty in the fourth quarter when Hilton Armstrong fouled out. Nuggets coach Brian Shaw had no problem with his counterpart going with a short bench by design, something Denver has had to do out of necessity for much of the season because of a rash of injuries to the likes of Ty Lawson, JaVale McGee, Danilo Gallinari, J. Robin Ventura Jersey. J. Hickson and Nate Robinson. "It will be like playing ourselves," Shaw said before tip-off. "Well get to see what its like." The Warriors reserves had fresh legs and continually beat the winded Nuggets downcourt. By halftime, Golden State, despite shooting just 9 of 17 from the foul line, was ahead 66-52 behind 22 points from Barnes and 19 from Crawford. The Nuggets opened the fourth quarter on a 12-2 run to take the lead and give the home crowd something to cheer about. This marked the final game for Nuggets trainer Jim Gillen, who never missed a game or a practice in 23 seasons with the Nuggets. He worked for nine head coaches and four interim coaches, five general managers and nearly 200 players, taping up, by his estimate, 15,000 ankles. Shaw called Gillen the fabric of the franchise. "As a first-year head coach, Ive had to rely on him in so many different situations from his experience and knowledge and know-how from things that we need to get together on, from hotel stays to when we need to get together and practice and how much rest guys need and to even in-game strategy, timeouts at the end of the game and things like that," Shaw said. NOTES: As expected, Lawson (sprained ankle) did not play in the season finale, meaning he missed the last seven games of the season. ... The visiting team won all four games in the season series. ___ Follow AP Sports Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton cheap nfl jerseys cheap jerseys cheap jerseys cheap nfl jerseys wholesale jerseys ' ' ' 

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