MALMO, SWEDEN – Bringing Griffin Reinhart to the World Junior Hockey Championship, even though he would miss the first three games due to a suspension, was a major gamble. And it almost backfired. Without the big Edmonton Oil Kings defenceman in the lineup, Team Canada stumbled in a shootout loss to the Czech Republic and then trailed Slovakia 3-1 late in the second period of its third roundrobin game. A loss to the Slovaks would have meant Canadas hopes of topping Group A would be dashed and a date with the Russians in the quarter-finals would be looming. But Canada found a way, barely, to beat Slovakia. Reinhart then returned against the United States on New Years Eve, solidifying the blue line and helping Canada beat their North American rivals and secure an easier quarter-final opponent. Reinhart then scored the opening goal – the first time Canada struck first in eight games, including three pre-tournament ones – and added an assist in a 4-1 win over the Swiss. He was named player of the game. Meanwhile, the United States was eliminated by Russia. All the sudden, the decision to bring Reinhart is looking mighty good. "The only people questioning it was everybody on the outside," insisted head coach Brent Sutter. "We didnt have any question on the inside. After assessing where we were throughout the country with our back end, it became very clear to myself, after being told what I was told from the scouts side of it, that we had to take that chance of him not playing in the first three games and having him for perhaps the last four and thats how its going to work out." Reinhart, the son of former NHL defenceman Paul Reinhart, is the whole package. Thats why the New York Islanders made him the fourth overall pick in the 2012 NHL draft. And he certainly seems motivated to repay the trust Sutter has shown in him. "All year, it was pretty unpredictable whether they were going to take him," said Sam Reinhart, Griffins younger brother and Canadian teammate. "You know everyone in the locker room is happy they did now and hes probably the happiest guy here, too." Griffin Reinharts return had an immediate impact on defence partner Mathew Dumba, who was forced to carry a large load in the first three games, despite suffering from an energy-sapping virus. (If Dumba had been forced to miss a game, that would have left Canada with just five defenceman, yet another possible pitfall of bringing Reinhart despite the suspension.) Dumbas game was a bit off at times early in the competition, but he has meshed well with Reinhart in the last two outings. "Its huge having Griff here," said Dumba, who played 13 games with the Minnesota Wild this season before being loaned to Hockey Canada. "Hes a veteran player. Hes that calming presence definitely on the back end. I love playing with him. He makes it real simple for me out there. I always know where he is and vice versa." Reinharts presence has had ripple effects throughout the entire roster. "Hes meant a lot," said forward Curtis Lazar, "and you saw his offensive side today, but also in the D zone, he uses that big body to get the puck out of pressure and makes that first, crisp pass. Were really glad to have him back in the lineup." "Its been huge," said Sam Reinhart. "That experience he brings, the level of play, he just calms everything right from the forwards back to the goalie, just a calming presence on the ice." As for Griffin Reinhart himself, well, he is pretty happy with what hes brought to the table thus far. "Felt better that game," he said, moments after the quarter-final victory, "starting to get my legs under me and the team played well. Just skating, starting to get my hands back, just more comfortable on the ice. Its different practising, situations are different in games. The States game went well and its only getting better." Reinharts calm demeanour on the ice is replicated off it. "Ive known Griff for a quite a while and hes not the loudest guy in the dressing room, but when het gets on the ice, he loves to control the game," said Lazar, Reinharts teammate in the Western Hockey League. "I sort of have the inside track on Griff and hes not going to show much emotion, but its good to have him and hes really happy with the performance hes put out the past couple of games." Was the desire to make an impact eating him up while he waited for a chance to contribute earlier in the tournament? "Oh yeah," Lazar said, "no doubt." Notes: * Charles Hudon (shoulder) and Mathew Dumba (knee/leg) did not take part in the practice; head coach Brent Sutter described the absences as "maintenance days" and said both players are expected to be the lineup on Saturday. * It was Canadas first practice at Malmo Arena, which is much larger than the Malmo Isstadion where the team played its previous five tournament games; "It is what it is," Sutter said. "The game is played on the same sized ice no matter where youre playing." In conversation with Nabil Karim after the quarter-final win on Thursday, Sutter said moving rinks was akin to playing a "road game." The Finns have been based at Malmo Arena all tournament. * Sutter was asked for his take on facing Finland: "I see a hard-working team. I see a team thats very structured. I see a team thats going to play some North American hockey. Theyre a gritty group. Theyre getting some decent goaltending and they got three forwards on their team that are as good as any forwards in this tournament. Theyre going to come and theyre going to come hard and we have to be ready for it." * Here is a link to Canadian players talking about Fridays practice and facing Finland: http://bit.ly/1gwWvc4 Tony Allen Jersey
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.com) - Colorado may be ahead of the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference standings, but they are a club that the Avalanche may want to avoid in the playoffs.MIAMI -- For LeBron James, the mask was distinctive. His effort, that was basically the same as usual. So, too, was the outcome for the New York Knicks. Playing with a dark carbon-fiber mask to protect his broken nose -- a "menacing" look is how Heat coach Erik Spoelstra described it -- James scored 31 points to help Miami beat the reeling Knicks 108-82 on Thursday night. "I tried to put pressure on the defence, tried to make plays and I was happy to be back on the floor," said James, who missed one game because of the nose, which got broken on Feb. 20 at Oklahoma City. James made 13 of 19 shots and topped 30 points for his fifth consecutive outing. He said he plans to play with a mask for the next couple weeks, at least. "As much as I dont like it, I have to figure out how to make it work," James said. Dwyane Wade added 23 points, shooting 10 for 13 from the field. The Heat outscored New York 23-3 over the final 7:02 of the third and won their sixth straight. The Heat shot 61 per cent, while the Knicks shot 37 per cent. No team shot better than 49 per cent against Miami in 10 games during February, and none of the last four Heat opponents have shot better than 40 per cent. "Where we need it to be," Wade said. "Thats how we win games." Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points for New York, but none in the final 21:38. Tyson Chandler had 19 points and 16 rebounds, and J.R. Smith added 11 points for the Knicks, who fell to 2-10 in February. "I dont know if we got defused or what," Anthony said. We didnt bounce back." Raymond Felton, in his first game since being arrested on gun charges, missed six of seven shots and scored only two points for the Knicks. "No excuses," Felton said. Norris Cole, Mario Chalmers and Ray Allen each scored 11 points for the Heat, who are 41-7 in February games over the last four seasons. James got the buzz for this one going just before tip-off, strapping the mask over the top half of his face, the deviation from the usual clear-plastic look enough to send Twitter users into some sort of commenting oveerdrive.dddddddddddd "He played like Batman," Heat forward Chris Bosh said. More importantly to the Heat, the mask didnt seem to impair James vision much. James had 11 in the opening quarter, the Heat finished the period with a six-point lead and soon stretched the margin to 16 in the second quarter. A hook shot from Wade in the lane was his seventh straight make, giving Miami a 43-27 lead and indicating things would be a runaway. Eventually, they indeed would. But New York made it interesting for a bit. Anthony had a brilliant flurry, scoring all 16 of his second-quarter points in the final 5:52 of the period as New York erased just about every bit of that big Miami lead. Then with 8:36 left in the third, Anthony set up Smith for a jumper that got New York to 64-61. And from there, it was all Miami. Thats when the huge run to end the third got started. The Knicks missed 12 of their final 13 shots to end the third -- their only field goal in the final 8 1/2 minutes was a layup by Tim Hardaway Jr. -- and the Heat just got rolling. For some perspective, James had 12 points in the quarter while the Knicks, total, had 14. "We crumbled," Anthony said. "It got out of hand." Shane Battier set up James for a down-the-lane dunk that got Miamis lead back to double digits at 72-61 and the snowball just kept growing. A 10-0 run in the final 2:21 of the quarter turned it into a runaway; James got fouled by Anthony and turned it into a three-point play with 1:58 left, then beat Anthony on a cut and accepted a pass from Cole for an easy layup on the next possession. One trip later, Allen hit a 3-pointer, and just like that, Miamis lead was 23, the outcome quickly becoming academic. NOTES: It was the first time in Miami as an opponent for Hardaway, with the Knicks bench at the end of the court where Tim Hardaway Sr.s retired jersey number hangs from the rafters. ... Wade missed about three minutes in the first quarter to get an ankle re-taped. ... Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was among the stars in attendance. ... The Heat didnt get a single offensive rebound until the fourth quarter. Youth NFL Jerseys China Wholesale Throwback Jerseys Disocunt Football Jerseys China Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping Wholesale NFL Gear Cheap Jerseys
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