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Author Topic: Vonn saw some encouraging s  (Read 64 times)
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« on: August 15, 2014, 01:41:51 am »

ANAHEIM Teemu Selanne wanted to do something nice for Sami Vatanen. His fellow Finn, 21 years his junior, had just arrived in Anaheim and was hoping to stick with the Ducks. The way Selanne saw it, if Vatanen was going to make it in southern California, he needed to have his own wheels. So the future Hall of Famer, an avid car collector, decided to lend Vatanen, a smooth-skating defenceman, one of his. A Mercedes CLK to be precise. "I havent seen it in a year-and-a-half," Selanne said with a chuckle. "I dont know if I like that car actually," Vatanen said with a big smile, "but its free." Selanne and Saku Koivu, another Finnish veteran, have mentored Vatanen, Anaheims fourth round pick in 2009, over the last couple of years. Koivu and his wife Hanna, for example, helped Vatanen get his apartment set up.   "You can tell that both of them have taken Sami under their wing," said Ducks defenceman Ben Lovejoy. "Hes not even their little brother, hes sort of their son." Told of that statement, the 43-year-old Selanne doesnt miss a beat noting, "He could be." The groundwork laid by Selanne and Koivu paid dividends in the regular season as Vatanen was the third leading scorer among Ducks defencemen picking up 21 points in just 48 games. "Its a big thing," said Vatanen. "Ive been watching those guys for a while. It was fun to get a chance to play with them and its more fun even in the playoffs." Vatanen played in just nine of Anaheims final 32 regular-season games and started the playoffs in the minors with Norfolk in the American Hockey League. He was recalled in time for Game 3 of the series with the Los Angeles Kings making an immediate impact. Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau even went so far as to label the youngster the best player on the ice on either team on Thursday night. Vatanen didnt slow down in his second career NHL playoff game on Saturday night, picking up his first post-season point, an assist on Ryan Getzlafs power play goal. He was also on the ice for Devante Smith-Pellys goal earlier in the period.  "Just some confidence on the back end," said Lovejoy when asked what Vatanen brings to the table. "Getting offence against the Kings is difficult and having another smart puck mover back there is only going to put our forwards in better position to create offence." It is the 5-foot-10, 183-pound Vatanens gutsy play, which impresses Selanne the most. "Hes a warrior out there," said Selanne. "Hes not the biggest guy out there, but he doesnt avoid the traffic. Hes putting himself in a situation where hes going to get hit and give hits. Its fun to watch when young guys and small guys can do that. And obviously the way he can see the game and pass. He can make a huge difference." Selanne is nearing the end of his decorated career and takes great pride in being able to help an up-and-coming Finnish player find his way. After all, it was Teppo Numminen who helped a young Selanne navigate some early-career growing pains in Winnipeg. "I remember how much he helped me and thats why I want to do my job as well. And its fun and you see how much they appreciate it and how life is easier when you have help here and there," Selanne said. "Thats what we have done for years. Its so much easier for a young guy when theres a countryman who wants to help and makes things easier and gets you settled down. Thats a very important part of our job." In a way, Selannes career has come full circle as he passes the torch to the next rising Finnish star on the Ducks. So, did Numminen lend Selanne a car back in the day? "Actually, I let him drive my car," Selanne said with a grin. Some things never change. <a href="http://www.cheapnfljerseyschinawholesale.com/">wholesale jerseys</a>. On one hand, hes the games best player. On the other, hes rarely impressed with himself. 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One night after scoring 43 points in a 100-96 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, James sat out the game with back spasms and the Heat lost for the first time in their three games without him this season. <a href="http://www.cheapnfljerseyschinawholesale.com/">nfl jerseys china</a>. The U.S. is 7-1-1 all-time in the Presidents Cup, with wins in each of the last four matchups against the Internationals. Get set for the competition with the Presidents Cup Preview Show on TSN, today at 2pm et/11am pt. COURCHEVEL, France -- Marlies Schild dominated both her rivals and the treacherous Courchevel course Sunday to win her second straight slalom race of the season, setting her up perfectly for a hat trick bid on home snow next week in Austria. Schild won by more than a second in Aspen, Colorado last month, and this time her margin of victory was even greater. She finished 1.87 ahead of Finlands Tanja Poutiainen and a massive 2.19 clear of Kathrin Zettel of Austria. "Not really surprised ... I know I can ski slalom very fast," Schild said. "The second run was more difficult for me, but it worked really good. I like the slope here." Anna Goodman of Pointe Claire, Que., was 11th, while Erin Mielzynski of Guelph, Ont., was 13th. There was heartbreak for Marie-Michele Gagnon of Lac-Etchmenin, Que., who was sitting eighth after the first run, only to straddle a gate and go out. "It was so close to being an incredible day," said Canadas womens head coach Hugues Ansermoz. "There were good results but we could have had so much more. (Gagnon) was really going for the podium today and she just straddled a gate." Goodman, whose career-best World Cup result is a ninth-place finish, had to battle difficult conditions during her first run. "I watched 15 girls go down and by the time I went there was a huge snowstorm," said Goodman, who was 20th after the first run. "I fought as hard as I could. I was happy with how it went. On the second run, I really tried to go for it again." Schild can make it three out of three in slaloms this season if she wins Tuesdays race in Flachau. "Of course my goal is to win the race," the 30-year-old Schild said. "What makes me so fast? I always try to get a good feel for the race, every slope. I have a lot of experience over the last years, and maybe a good feeling." Schild, who also won at Courchevel last year, would have been faster if she hadnt wobbled halfway down the crumbly Stade Emile Allais course that claimed 18 racers in the first run, including overall World Cup leader Lindsey Vonn. "Of course Marlies is really strong and a step ahead of us, but we will take up the challenge," said Poutiainen, who was also second behind Schild at Courchevel last year. "I seem to like this place, its a good hill for me. We know it was not easy for organizers to get this race ready." Defending World Cup champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany was second in her first run despite jarring her knee, but lost her balance and fell in the second. The second run started in bright, early afternoon sunshine with temperatures at minus 3 C and the snow still chalky and relatively soft. Austrias Bernadette Schild stood ninth after the first run behind Canadas Gagnon, but both had trouble at the same section halfway through their second. They were not alone. Slovakias Veronika Zuzuulova, fourth after the first run, caught the inside of a ski on a gate and went wide and out of contention.dddddddddddd The same thing then happened to Swedens Maria Pietilae-Holmner, who was third after the morning run. Then it was Hoefl-Rieschs turn to falter, her body swaying to the left as she mistimed a gate. But this made little difference to Schild who, despite the cushion of a comfortable lead over Zettel and Poutiainen, still attacked the course aggressively from the outset. Pietilae-Holmner was second in Aspen, with Hoefl-Riesch third. With them both missing out on podiums, Schilds lead in the slalom standings is already considerable. She is 70 points ahead of Poutiainen and 95 clear of Zettel. American Julia Mancuso did not start because she picked up a stomach bug on Saturday and wasnt feeling well, and is also likely to miss the events in Flachau. Vonn has promised a more aggressive approach to slalom this season, and the American looked well set to finish in the top five. The three-time World Cup winner was .68 seconds behind Schilds time at the first time split and .79 back at the second, but then pushed a bit too hard and missed a gate. "My coaches radioed up that they were putting water on the course because it was breaking up at the bottom," Vonn said. "I just felt like I hit a wet patch of snow and my skies kind of slid, and it was too late to recover it. "It was the peely, slushy feeling you get. The top part of the course was absolutely perfect, considering everything, they did a great job." Despite the setback, Vonn saw some encouraging signs that her slalom is coming on. "Im really happy with my run, I looked at the times and I was only eight-tenths out on the second split," Vonn said. "It was definitely really positive. For (having) not (trained) in a week, its not so bad. Im trying to get my slalom back on form and so far its going well." Vonn already has 522 World Cup points and a huge overall lead -- Germanys Viktoria Rebensburg is second with 286. Vonn is also tied for third in World Cup race wins with Renate Goetschl on 46. Olympic and world downhill champion Vonn is trying to wrestle back the World Cup title she lost by three points last season to Hoefl-Riesch -- previously known as just Riesch before getting married in the off-season. The slalom had been moved from Saturday to Sunday because the snow was not compact enough and parts of the course were too soft, with the snow cracking around the gates. Workers laboured overnight to prepare the course, but it still seemed problematic and got the better of some experienced skiers. Austrias Nicole Hosp, Italys Manuela Moelgg and Sarka Zahrobska of the Czech Republic all went out in the morning. Hosp went well wide and her left ski shot up in the air, Moelgg stumbled, and Zahrobska was eliminated after missing a gate near the bottom. ' ' '
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