The Hockey News

This Week in The Hockey News magazine: January 5, 2015

In the Jan. 5 edition of THN, it's our XL-sized World Junior Championship Preview, with 32 pages of previews, predictions and analysis on the world's best youngsters, on top of our standard top-to-bottom coverage of the NHL and beyond

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Posted on 5 December 2014 | 9:35 am

The Blair Necessities

AJHL Player Gets One Year Suspension

The Fort McMurray Oil Barons will be without forward Danton Ayotte for the foreseeable future.

After being ejected from the first period of the team's Dec. 6 game against the Brooks Bandits for an incident with an official, Hockey Alberta came down on Ayotte Wednesday, levying a calendar-year suspension on the 1995-born forward from Wetaskawin as announced by the team's Twitter account.

When approached for comment regarding the decision Thursday night, MOB head coach and general manager Curtis Hunt repeated the team’s statement, released through the team’s Twitter account just moments earlier.

“Hockey Alberta has ruled on Danton Ayotte’s match penalty for Dec 6 in Brooks, giving him a calendar year suspension,” the MOB tweeted.
“The club is considering all options on this ruling, which may include an appeal, and has no other comment at this time.”

Ayotte was one of the MOB’s top rookies in the 2013-14 Alberta Junior Hockey League season, scoring 16 goals and 26 points in 51 games along with 78 penalty minutes. Ayotte had struggled to find that same offensive game this year though, recording just four goals and 10 points in 27 games with the club.

Ayotte also had 82 penalty minutes on the year, though this was just his second game misconduct since entering the league.

Brad Lyon, Hockey Alberta’s senior manager of communications, explained that match penalties on an official are considered “the most serious infraction in the rule book” and divided into three different levels: threaten or attempt to strike, intentionally touches, holds or pushes and intentionally strike, trip or body check. Lyon added that Ayotte’s penalty fell into the third category, though the incident in question itself isn’t clear on the game’s official broadcast.

“In this situation when there’s a match penalty on an official assessed, it’s reported by the referees and that comes directly to Hockey Alberta to be considered from the discipline perspective,” Lyon said.

Lyon talked about the process that went into the ruling, saying both Ayotte and the official in question would’ve been interviewed at a hearing by the committee and had their statements and available evidence used in determining the length of the suspension.

Adding to that, Lyon said that for the type of infraction that was committed, the year-long penalty was the “recommended minimum penalty” under Hockey Alberta’s rulebook.

The chair of Hockey Alberta’s disciplinary committee, Sherry Haarstad, did not return calls as of press time.

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Posted on 20 December 2014 | 10:42 pm


Wilson, Seahawks close in on NFC West title

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Seattle Seahawks sure look like Super Bowl material again after dominating Arizona with a stifling defence and dynamic offence. Russell Wilson threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, Seattle set a franchise record with 596 … Continue Reading

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Posted on 22 December 2014 | 12:00 am

Yahoo Sports Blog

Packers, Steelers and Cowboys head to playoffs

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay BuccaneersBy Simon Evans (Reuters) - The Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys booked their places in the playoffs after victories on Sunday while the New England Patriots earned a first round bye for the postseason. Sunday's results meant that defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks also secured a place in the playoffs before crushing their NFC West rivals the Arizona Cardinals 35-6 in the evening finale. The Packers gained their berth with a 20-3 win at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but they will have to wait until next week to see if they can clinch the NFC North title. ...

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Posted on 22 December 2014 | 12:22 am

Wilson shines, Seattle uses record-setting offence to rout Arizona

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Seattle Seahawks sure look like Super Bowl material again after dominating Arizona with a stifling defence and dynamic offence. Russell Wilson threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, Seattle set a franchise record with 596 […]

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Posted on 22 December 2014 | 12:05 am


Kershaw pitches Dodgers to second straight NL West title

Go to for details. #TSN

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Posted on 25 September 2014 | 1:23 am

The Joy of Sox

Red Sox Trade Middlebrooks To Padres

It's a trade that comes as no surprise. The Red Sox have sent third baseman Will Middlebrooks to the Padres for catcher Ryan Hanigan.

Hanigan, 34, will likely be the backup catcher to Christian Vazquez in 2015

After a strong showing after his call-up in 2012, Middlebrooks slumped badly in the next two seasons, managing only a .265 on-base percentage in the last two seasons.

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Posted on 19 December 2014 | 4:05 pm

The Blair Necessities

Riders Sign Jamel Richardson

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that international free agent receiver Jamel Richardson has signed with the team. As per club policy financial details of the contract were not released.

Richardson (6’3 – 215) returns to Saskatchewan for a second stint after originally entering the Canadian Football League with the Green and White in 2003. The Victor Valley College product spent four seasons with the Riders where he registered 113 receptions for 1,471 yards and four touchdowns in 30 regular season games. 

Richardson missed the 2007 CFL season as he attended training camp with the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys before returning in 2008 with the Montreal Alouettes. He spent the next six seasons with the Al’s where he amassed 6,603 yards and 48 touchdowns on 473 receptions in 88 regular season games.  

For his career, the 32-year-old currently sits 39th in CFL history with 8,074 receiving yards. He has recorded 24 career 100-yard games on his way to being named a CFL All-Star twice (2008, 2011) and a four-time East Division All-Star (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011).

He has won two Grey Cup championships (2009, 2010) and was named the game’s MVP in 2010 after leading the contest with 109 receiving yards on eight receptions. 

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Posted on 22 December 2014 | 2:55 pm

Roto Rob

The Wire Troll: The Andrei Vasilevskiy Era Begins

A first round pick of the Lightning in 2012, the 6'3" 207-pounder was the highest drafted goaltender in the draft at 19th overall. He's been quite successful -- even dominant -- at all levels of play he's competing in so far. That didn't change when he made the leap across the pond this fall. In 14 appearances with the Syracuse Crunch, "Andrei the Giant" compiled an 8-3-3 record, a 2.34 goals against average, a .918 save percentage and two shutouts. He took his stellar play with him to sunny Florida after being recalled by the Bolts in Week 10, collecting a win, a 1.52 goals against average and a .958 save percentage.

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Posted on 21 December 2014 | 11:30 pm

Rider Prophet

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Jacques Chapdelaine

The Riders officially announced that Jacques Chapdelaine was hired as our new OC last week. I'd say it was an exhaustive search but the sense I got all along was that Chapdelaine was the guy Corey wanted. Unlike our last OC hire (which had me giddy as a school girl) this one gets a decided "meh" from me. Admittedly, Chapdelaine is far from the worse candidate out there and we certainly could have done much worse. After all this is a franchise that has endured the likes of Bellefeuille and Dyce as OC. Chapdelaine comes with a resume that certainly shows he can be a successful OC. He's won Grey Cups, he's developed QBs, he's put up points. So I don't want to try and spin this as a bad hire. I'm just not Chapdelaine's biggest fan. 

The knock on him is he is extremely pass happy. While I realize that Cortez's "run always no matter what" offense isn't great either, balance is needed in this league. His pass happy attacks have led to some seasons of his QBs getting pounded on (his team led the league in sacks a few different occasions). It has also led to neglecting star RBs. His mind-boggling under-use of Andrew Harris in key situations was a leading cause in his termination from BC. Hopefully that experience taught him something because our offensive success will depend on him. 

The search for a new DC continues as the list has apparently been narrowed to 3 candidates (plus the option for Corey to just do it if none of them pan out). Mike Benevides is on that last for sure. The other 2 names are unconfirmed at this point. Mike Sinclair's name has been mentioned. Corey has denied speaking with Devon Claybrooks but fairly reputable reporters keep insisting he's in consideration. Perhaps Corey's assertion that they have not spoken to Claybrooks just means they have been using more ancient forms of communication like carrier pigeon or smoke signals. 

Given that we have already hired Chapdelaine and are seriously considering Mike Benevides, I'm concerned that Corey might soon develop a persistent squint and tendency to spend a lot of time on the field during games. If he starts appearing in commercials telling me to watch my cholesterol I will know he has gone full Buono.

One last bit of Rider news was the hiring of Craig Reynolds as the new President. Generally you would think the hiring of a president would be bigger news but maybe because Reynolds not a publicly known quantity it was kinda a non event. Some are concerned that he isn't from a football background but I would way rather have a sound business man with minimal football experience as president than a sound football man with minimal business experience. We have Taman to run the football side of things so the football knowledge Reynolds has gained in his many years with the club will be more than sufficient.

Coaching Carousel

BC Hires Jeff Tedford as head coach, George Cortez expected to join as OC
Winnipeg fires DC Gary Etcheverry.  
Alouettes add Anthony Calvillo to offensive coaching staff

NFL Watch
Delvin Breaux – workout with Denver
Shawn Lemon – workout with Denver, Washington, Arizona, Seattle, Baltimore, Indy
Luke Tasker – workout with Green Bay
Jalil Carter - workout with Denver
CFL Ins and Outs

In: DL Ricky Foley (contract extension)
Out: DB Carlo Thomas, FB Tim Cronk, DL Hilee Taylor, DL Trevor Guyton (won't be re-signed)
The Foley extension was known about for a while now but making it official is nice. I still say he is underrated in terms of what he brings to our defense. 

In: DB Brandon Smith (contract extension)

In: OL Tony Washington, DL Marcus Howard, WR Paris Jackson, DB Ryan Hinds, LB Nathan Kanya (contract extension)

In: DL Eric Norwood (contract extension), WR Quincy McDuffie, RB Sam Ojuri, DL Adrian Tracy (free agent signing)

In: DB Keynan Parker (contract extension)

In: DB Derek Jones, DB Matt Bucknor, QB Josh Portis (contract extension)
In: Anthony Calvillo (hired as offensive coach)

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Posted on 22 December 2014 | 7:00 am

Buzzing the Net Junior Hockey

NHL draft finally here: the coast-to-coast


Leon Draisaitl to the Edmonton Oilers at No. 3 overall seems a lock, eh? (Edmonton Journal)

You wanted a comprehensive draft preview that would help kill two hours at work today? You got one! Thank you. (The Pipeline Show)

Guy Flaming has a mock draft that will knock your socks off. (Coming Down The Pipe!)

Philadelphia Flyers beat writer Frank Seravilli also has an extremely cromulent mock that projects Sam Reinhart to join the Calgary Flames. (

Ken Warren has a rundown on the top 10 available prospects. (Postmedia)

Moose Jaw Warriors beat reporter Katie Brickman explains why teams will look past centre Brayden Point's lack of size. (Moose Jaw Times-Herald)

Edmonton Oil Kings defender Dysin Mayo figures the long playoff run goosed his draft stock. Did it do the same for his teammate, left wing Brett Pollock? (Victoria Times-Colonist)

Tim Hunter is interviewing again about the Vancouver Giants coaching job, writes Steve Ewen. (Vancouver Province)

Comeback story for this season ahead: Kootenay's Tanner Faith coming back from shoulder surgery. (Cranbrook Daily Townsman)


The Florida Panthers still have the No. 1 pick on the table, apparently. (USA Today)

Today's should-read: how Michael Dal Colle has come out stronger due to his family's challenges. (CBC Sports)

Josh Ho-Sang to the Habs? Why not? (A Winning Habit)

Bob Duff takes the long view, comparing Aaron Ekblad to another Windsor-area defenceman who went No. 1 overall 20 years ago, Ed Jovanoski. (Windsor Star)

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a checkered draft history? That explains so, so much. (National Post)

Sam Bennett says people "don't know why" the draft class lacks a potential superstar. Far be it to suggest it has to do with who does the analysis. (Columbus Dispatch)

This is more like it: a mock draft with Peterborough's Nick Ritchie in the top five. (SBN College Hockey)

Sault Ste. Marie's intuitive defender, Kyle Jenkins, is an intriguing possibility as a Day 2 pick. (Sault Star)


Halifax Mooseheads GM Cam Russell predicts speedy striker Nikolaj Ehlers will go "very high" on Friday. Like No. 6 overall to Vancouver high? Who knows? How about No. 7 overall to Carolina? (Metro Halifax)

Damn right Charlottetown goalie Mason McDonald is stoked for the draft. (Charlottetown Guardian)

Cape Breton's Julien Pelletier should become the first player from Thurso, Que., to be drafted in 21 years. (Le Droit)

Quebec Remparts overage goalie François Brassard is working toward getting a free-agent shot after being put back in the draft pool by his hometown Ottawa Senators. (Le Soleil)

Feel-good story: Rimouski grad Jimmy Oligny, a rugged rearguard, has signed an AHL deal with the Milwaukee Admirals. (

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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Posted on 27 June 2014 | 11:06 am

Sports on the Web

It’s the 102nd Grey Cup

The 102nd Grey Cup is in the sports news and sports on the web in Canada right now and it has been a tradition north of the 49th parallel for generations. As far as tradition goes, the Grey Cup dwarfs the National Football League. The Canadian Football League was organized and running while the NFL […]

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Posted on 30 November 2014 | 12:07 pm

Vancouver Sun

Whitecaps poised to add scorer Octavio Rivero

The Vancouver Whitecaps aren't officially talking about it yet, but it appears the club has landed a new goal scorer.

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Posted on 22 December 2014 | 4:54 pm

Rod Pederson



1 - THAT 70'S SHOW:  The photo above was taken by 620 CKRM morning personality Gloria Evans at the Harvard Broadcasting 2014 Christmas party.  We all got a laugh because it looks like the set of the Merv Griffin Show or the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson decades ago.  In truth, Michael Ball, Perry Nyhus and I were just sitting around shooting the bull at the Harvard Broadcasting Green & White Lounge at Mosaic Stadium.  I posted this photo for fans of Perry Nyhus to let them know he's alive and well, and smashing records in our sales department.  When he made the decision to go off the air in the spring of 2010 and retire the "Nyhus Country Drive", that's when the SportsCage was born.  Perry and I have a long and storied history.  He's the pride of Ceylon, SK.

2 - CHAPDELAINE OVER LAPOLICE:  Something changed.  One week ago in this space I mentioned the possibility of Paul Lapolice and Corey Chamblin being the Saskatchewan Roughriders' offensive and defensive coordinators in 2015.  At the time - from what I was hearing - that was going to be the case.  There seemed to be a strong appetite from the Riders' side to hire Paul Lapolice to replace George Cortez and I firmly believe the feeling was mutual.  Then, something changed.  From the quotes I've read, Corey Chamblin felt Jacques Chapdelaine was a better fit in Saskatchewan.  And if that's the case, like many fans have said, I'll defer to Chamblin's expertise.  I simply wanted to see Paul here because we have a strong relationship and I'm not sure if I've ever met Jacques.  But they're both great at what they do.

This move has got the CFL buzzing.  Someone said to me, "Chamblin's painted a target on his back" because of the moves to replace Cortez and Richie Hall.  Maybe that's true, but I don't think Corey is worried about that.  He painted a target on his back when he signed Dwight Anderson and Ricky Foley before the 2013 season and the moves paid off.  Another CFL type said, "Corey didn't want to hire his eventual replacement (Lapolice)".  I really don't believe that's the case.  Chamblin doesn't think that way.  He doesn't go about his daily business with the threat of being fired in the back of his mind.  As I wrote previously, he does what's best for the team FIRST so although many of us preferred Lapolice (for our own reasons), we've got to defer to the Coach of the Year.

So Lapolice will go back to TSN (likely) for another year and draw a comfortable wage and be able to sleep at night.  He'll also be able to pick up and drop off his kids from all of their appointments and have another year to watch them grow up.  Although he may be discouraged at being passed over for the Roughrider job, he's in a really good position.

3 - CHAPDELAINE QUOTES:  The new Roughrider offensive coordinator was an eloquent and obliging guest on Friday's SportsCage with Mitchell Blair on 620 CKRM.  The first obvious question was why Chapdelaine would leave SFU to come to Saskatchewan, and how it feels to be in Green & White.

"Being a Canadian and coaching football, professional and college are really the two highest avenues and levels to coach football in this country," Chapdelaine said.  "Those are always at a high interest level for me and the SFU situation was a solid one.  I wasn't looking to leave but the Saskatchewan Roughriders came knocking, so to speak, and we had some great discussions and one thing led to another and a decision was made.  I'm really glad to be a Roughrider."

Global TV Regina's Taylor Shire was a great co-host for the program and asked Jacques why he felt Saskatchewan was a good fit, just like Chamblin had mentioned.

"After going through the interview process, Corey and I do things in a similar sort of fashion," Chapdelaine answered.  "We like to put players in a position of success in terms of looking for mismatches and showcasing and highlighting the guys that can do that for us.  I had a great exchange with Darian Durant as well, who was here, and not only is he a tremendous quarterback but he's a class act and he's a leader amongst his peers.  I could see that we'd just get along real good.  There was a really strong connection."

And finally Taylor asked Chapdelaine the question every listener was waiting for:  how does he feel about the Roughriders' talent on offense and do they have the tools to get back to the Grey Cup?

"I know there's a lot of very good weapons right now," Jacques concluded.  "I would be ahead of myself if I expanded more on that because I haven't had time to look at the whole 2014 season, and that's one of the things I will do.  I know the play of the offensive live has been very good.  I know when Darian is healthy, he's a high-producing quarterback and there are some very good elements in the receiving core as well.  I'm excited about the opportunity to look at the running back situation and see how that can play itself out.  Right now there's Canadian and American content at the running back position which also gives you flexibility with the usage of the receivers.  There's a lot of very exciting things that give you a lot of flexibility."

For more on the hiring of Chapdelaine, read Scruffy's story on the official Roughriders website here:

4 - THE ANNIS STUKUS AWARD:  This could be the first time since 2009 that the Grey Cup-winning head coach doesn't win the CFL Coach of the Year Trophy.  Back in 2009 it was the Argos' Jim Barker who won the COTY award rather than Montreal's Marc Trestman after the 13th Man incident.  We cast our ballots for the 2014 award last week and there were some real tough decisions in there between Calgary's John Hufnagel, Edmonton's Chris Jones and Montreal's Tom Higgins.  If you had a vote, who would it be for?  It's always a tough decision because this is the highest level of football in Canada and every coach is good or else he wouldn't be there.

5 - CRAIG REYNOLDS:  It killed me to miss the appointment of Craig Reynolds as the new President & CEO of the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Tuesday but I was on vacation and out of the city.  We did exchange text messages and I offered my solid congratulations.  Craig was the early favourite for the position right out of the gate and did nothing to diminish his chances.  Somebody with the Roughriders said it better than I could with regards to Craig - "Everyone who's worked with him has had a positive experience".  Can you get a better endorsement than that?  Many inside - and outside - the organization feared for the path of the team if Reynolds didn't get the job but now they don't have to worry about that.  As Rider Chairman Wayne Morsky said at the introductory news conference, "Rider Nation, we're in good hands".

6 - REPORTER OF THE YEAR:  Because of a lack of sponsorship for the award, there was no CFL Reporter of the Year award handed out for the 2014 season.  For all but one season of the trophy's existence, it's been sponsored by Gibson's Finest Whiskey.  I felt the award should still be handed out, even without a sponsor, however the Football Reporters of Canada didn't feel the same way.  In fact the Press Box Sports Bar offered to sponsor the trophy, but it was declined.  It seemed like a perfect fit - a sports bar named after a press box here in the heartland of the CFL!  But no dice.  Regardless, if we were handing out the award for 2014, I think it would go to Sportsnet/SportsCage CFL Insider Arash Madani.  He consistently kicks everybody's butt on scoops.

Incidentally there's a great Monday Night Football game this week with Denver at Cincinnati.  Manning versus Dalton.  Kickoff is at 7:30 pm and you should catch it at the Press Box where you could also win a jersey from either team courtesy Bud Light.

7 - RIDERS' PROFILE SLIPPING?:  I was somewhat startled to learn that when Google revealed its list of the Top 10 Canadian trending sports teams in 2014 last week, the Saskatchewan Roughriders WEREN'T on it.  Here's the list from 1-10:

* Toronto Raptors
* Montreal Canadiens
* Toronto Blue Jays
* Toronto FC
* Calgary Stampeders
* Edmonton Eskimos
* B.C. Lions
* Montreal Alouettes
* Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The Roughriders were 14th on the list, but were ahead of the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs.  Hmmmm.  I'd suggest a recount but with digital data, it doesn't lie.  This statistic simply illustrates the Roughriders can't afford a down year in 2015.  However it's inexplicable how the Ottawa REDBLACKS could be the CFL's "most-Googled" team in 2014.

Speaking of the Ottawa team, congrats to DT Zack Evans.  He and his wife Jenna welcomed Zander Evans to the world Saturday evening at 7 pm!

8 - WILCOX'S JADEN SCHWARTZ:  A bad break, literally, for Wilcox, SK's Jaden Schwartz of the NHL's St. Louis Blues.  He's out indefinitely with a broken right foot.  Jaden's third on the Blues in average icetime (18:42) and has been the workhorse on that line with Vladimir Tarasenko and Jon Lehtera.  Here's to a speedy recovery for Jaden.

9 - CONGRATS STUEY:  Defenceman Brad Stuart's career with the Regina Pats was a short but memorable one.  The Rocky Mountain House product spent two full seasons with the Queen City Kids from 1996-1998 and maybe said five words the whole time.  He was the third overall pick of the San Jose Sharks in 1998 and from there his NHL career was born.  Last week Brad became the 100th defenceman in NHL history to play 1000 games and he did it in a Colorado Avalanche uniform.  That is one remarkable achievement.  Hopefully when we have this massive Regina Pats 100-year homecoming in 2017, Brad will be a part of it.

Speaking of accomplishments, Arizona Coyotes GM Don Maloney is one win away from becoming the franchise's all-time winningest General Manager.  Maloney's been on the job since 2007 and currently sits at 278 wins which has him tied with former Winnipeg Jets GM John Ferguson.  The Coyotes failed to net the record-breaking win on Saturday when they fell 4-2 in LA.  They'll try again Monday night in Vancouver.

10 - GO PATS GO:  The WHL is currently on its Christmas break and the upstart Regina Pats (20-11-2) went into the break sitting third in the WHL's Eastern Conference, 12 points behind second-place Medicine Hat and one point up on fourth-place Calgary.  Most importantly, they're nine points up on the 9th place P.A. Raiders for a playoff spot.  We won't see the Pats again until Sunday, December 28 when they host the Swift Current Broncos in a 6:00 pm faceoff.  While some Pats fans are WAY ahead of themselves annointing John Paddock as WHL Coach of the Year, the fact is the first half of the WHL season has been head-turning for Regina.  In fact at the various Christmas parties we've attended over the past couple of weeks, the Pats are fighting the Riders to dominate the discussion.  Should they be a buyer or a seller at the trade deadline?  Most contend the Pats should deal off their assets and set the franchise up for future success.  In the end, I'm sure that's what Paddock will do.

AND I've got exciting news to bring today (for me at least).  With the Voice of the Pats Phil Andrews being away in late January, I'll be back in the Regina Pats radio booth on 620 CKRM for games January 23 (home versus Moose Jaw) and January 24 (at Brandon).  Thank you to QCSEG for extending the invitation!  It's going to be great calling Pats hockey again.  What a Christmas gift!



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Posted on 21 December 2014 | 11:19 pm

Yahoo Sports

Updated NFL playoff picture: Cowboys, 'Hawks in; Steelers bounce Dolphins; Saints go from first to out (Yahoo Sports)

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 21:  Jimmy Graham #80 of the New Orleans Saints looks to the scoreboard late in the fourth quarter of a game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 21, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Sunday's early results set up a series of Week 17 showdowns.

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Posted on 22 December 2014 | 12:00 am

Toronto Sports Media

Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

photo credit: Twitter . by mike in boston / @mikeinboston / hatemailaccount at gmail   Good morning sports media fans. This will be my last post before Xmas, so let me take this opportunity to wish all of you Happy Holidays. Thank you for reading and commenting […]

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Posted on 20 December 2014 | 10:06 am

Star Sports

Girl’s ‘surreal’ death by TTC bus stuns family

Family and friends of Scarborough teen Amaria Diljohn expressed disbelief at her death during a candlelight vigil Sunday evening, even as many questions about the fatal bus collision remain unanswered.

“This is surreal to me that somebody actually did this,” said Dominique Fraser, Amaria’s aunt, between sobs. “Her family loves her. We miss her dearly.”

Amaria, 14, was struck by a TTC bus on Dec. 19 while crossing the Neilson Rd. from east to west at around 5:40 p.m. Friday; the 133 Neilson bus had been driving northbound on Neilson Rd. at the time and was turning right onto Finch Ave. East.

Amaria died at the scene, just steps from her home, where she lived with her mother Crystal. At that same intersection on Sunday — bearing pink balloons, stuffed animals and candles lined up in the shape of a heart — around 200 people, including Amaria’s parents and classmates, gathered.

Amaria’s grandmother, Denise Thompson, said Saturday she was tormented by thoughts of her granddaughter’s final moments.

“Was she crying? Was she calling for help?” But she said the results of the investigation will do little to ease the family’s grief.

“If they charge whoever, if they don’t charge whoever, it’s still not going to bring her back. I would give anything to get her back.”

The incident is being investigated by Toronto police as a hit and run. As of Sunday, the bus driver, a 27-year-old male who turned himself in, had not been charged.

A number of questions remain, including the driver’s identity, why he didn’t stop, whether or not Amaria was a passenger on the bus, whether or not any witnesses saw the teen get hit and who reported the crash.

Speaking at the vigil, Amaria’s father Maurice Fraser said he was waiting on the investigation to provide answers.

“I know that the right things will be done,” he said, thanking the community for its support.

The crowd, which broke into a rendition of “Amazing Grace” followed by “Jesus Loves the Little Children,” recalled a bright, bubbly girl who made friends easily.

“She didn’t deserve this,” said Jolene Howell, 14, who says she cried for hours when she heard the news. “She was a good person.”

Howell and a number of other students from Woburn Collegiate Institute signed photographs of Amaria with messages of love. A freshman at Woburn, Amaria was trying her hand at many school activities, from band to sports.

Both the TTC and the transit union, Amalgamated Transit Workers, Local 113, have put out statements indicating their full cooperation with the investigation.

“The bus has been identified and video from the bus downloaded to aid the investigation,” said the TTC.

Ward 42 Coun. Raymond Cho told vigil attendees Amaria’s death was “unfair.”

“We don’t have enough vocabulary to express our sadness,” he said, also passing along Mayor John Tory’s condolences.

On Saturday, Amaria’s mother, Crystal, told the Star, she couldn’t comprehend why the bus driver didn’t stop.

“I don’t understand how you run over somebody and don’t feel that,” she said.

A Star report in July found that TTC vehicles have been involved in 18,000 collisions since 2009 — nearly 5,000 of them preventable, in the eyes of transit commission investigators.

With files from Peter Edwards

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Posted on 21 December 2014 | 10:58 pm

Ottawa Citizen Sports

Fury FC scores four in first away win in its history

Ottawa Fury FC collected the first away win in its history Saturday night

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Posted on 20 May 2014 | 2:10 am