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. -- Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith lowered into a crouch as the odd-man rush developed in front of him. The puck went to the left wing and he followed, lodging his skate against the post. A one-touch pass sent the puck across the front of Smiths crease and he slid over in a flash, whipping his right leg out for a sprawling pad save, setting off a collective Oh! from fans lining the glass behind him. NHL players on the ice, competing hard, fans cheering them on -- it almost felt like a real game. Of course, it was only a scrimmage in front of a couple hundred people at the Coyotes practice facility, but as the NHL lockout drags on, fans -- and the players -- will take anything they can get. "This is awesome," said Jane Pittet of Scottsdale, who left work to catch Thursdays workout at the Ice Den. "I wish it were the real thing, but this is fun to watch." The Phoenix Coyotes have been holding informal workouts at their practice rink since the NHL lockout started and this week were joined by more than a dozen players from around the league for what amounts to a lockout minicamp. Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby, San Jose forward Patrick Marleau, Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller and Dallas forward Brendan Morrow are among the players who have made the desert the hockey destination this week by skating with the Coyotes. Players from teams across the country have gotten together for workouts in their home cities, but this week is a chance to face a step up in competition and play against someone other than their teammates, not to mention feel at least a little pressure playing with people watching. "It was fun to be out there and, OK, Ive actually go to stop this puck," Miller said. "I kind of tried to pretend I was back in front of the home crowd and had to make a stop, so it was good." The Coyotes have had good turnout for their player-organized workouts, skating with a dozen or so players who havent gone to play overseas or for minor league teams, while a handful of players from other teams have occasionally joined in. Crosby, trying to work his way back from a series of concussions, helped organize a couple of gatherings in Dallas and Vail, Colo., and the group headed to Arizona this week to join the Coyotes. Phoenix captain Shane Doan sent word that there would be a mini camp of sorts this week, luring more players to Scottsdale. About 30 players have participated in the workouts this week, separating onto two rinks for drills before coming together for 40 minutes to an hour of scrimmaging. There isnt any hard checking or an overwhelming intensity to the workouts, but it is a chance for the players to get out and play at close to game speed. "Weve had a pretty good group here the whole time and we added about 15 guys, so that made it to where you can play a full game," Doan said. "That makes it so its 5-on-5 and theres a little bit of a break, not every other shift. Gives you a chance to really play. It just picks up the competitiveness and everyone wants to prove that theyre capable of playing and its a lot of fun." For now, camps like this and informal workouts with teammates are all the players have. The NHL lockout reached 75 days on Thursday and had already led to the cancellation of more than 400 games, including the New Years Day Winter Classic and All-Star weekend. Federal mediators joined the talks between the NHL and players this week, but the sides appear to still be far apart. "I thought I knew what to expect, but here we are, its almost December and were talking in Phoenix," said Miller, who lives in Los Angeles and has been working out with Kings and Ducks players. "Its very frustrating that we cant have a true partnership in the sense that the game was doing well. If it needed a tweak or two, we were more than willing to listen, but it seems everyones on guard and no one trusts the other party. Its been going like that for years. Its tough." Camps like the one this week will help them vent some of the frustration, but its just not the same as playing in games that matter. nike free billig schuhe
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. Eric Gordons first start of the season for New Orleans had a much better ending. Gordon, who like Nowitzki missed time recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, completed a three-point play with 4.GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- Anchored by another stellar performance on the badminton court, Canada had its best day yet at the Pan American Games. Canada won four gold medals within a one-hour span Thursday afternoon and swimmer Ashley McGregor capped the effort with a fifth finish atop the podium in the evening. Michelle Li of Markham, Ont., picked up her second gold in as many days with a 21-13, 21-12 victory over Torontos Joycelyn Ko in the womens singles badminton final at Revolucion Gymnasium. Li was so excited after the win that her legs nearly buckled. "After the game I could barely stand," Li said. "My legs were pretty weak. I was just so happy. "At the last Pan Am tournament, I made the finals in two events and lost, so its nice to have won two golds this time." At around the same time, the synchronized swimming duo of Quebec Citys Elise Marcotte and Montreals Marie-Pier Boudreau-Gagnon won gold in the womens duet free routine and Ottawas Mo Zhang won gold in womens table tennis. Calgarys Grace Gao and Vancouvers Tobias Ng followed Li on the badminton court with a gold in the mixed doubles. Li, who turns 20 next month, won the womens doubles title a day earlier with partner Alexandra Bruce of Toronto. In the pool, McGregor surprised herself with a time of two minutes 28.04 seconds in the womens 200-metre backstroke. "I did not expect to come to Guadalajara and win a gold medal," she said. "Im just happy I could swim fast and win the gold." Americans Haley Jo Spencer (2:29.30) and Michelle McKeehan (2:30.51) finished second and third, respectively. Edmontons Hanna Pierse (2:31.06) was fifth. Canada locked up Olympic berths in the synchro event and womens table tennis with the victories, while the badminton team members earned valuable ranking points in the buildup to qualification next spring. For Ko, her silver at the Pan Ams came after taking doubles bronze with Gao. "I didnt play my best and Michelle played really well. This is my first Pan Am Games and Im happy that I made it this far," said Ko. "If I have to lose, losing to my teammate is better than losing to another opponent." The mixed doubles match had plenty of drama as Canada fought back from a five-point deficit in the final set for a 21-13, 9-21, 21-17 win over Eva Lee and former world mens doubles champion Halim Ho of the U.S. "Its not every day you beat a former world champion," said Canadian coach Ram Nayyar. Ng said they didnt stray from their aggressive gameplan, adding they got a nice boost from the pro-Canada crowd in the 850-seat badminton venue. "We believed we had the right strategy and we stuck with it when it wasnt working and it came through in the end," he said. In table tennis, Zhang defeated Xue Wu of the Dominican Republic 4-2 (12-10, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-3) while in the pool, Marcotte and Boudreau-Gagnon scored 188.988 for their victory. "Its a huge relief to know that were going to the Olympics," Boudreau-Gagnon said. "Were very happy right now, but the celebrations will come only (Friday). Theres still the team event." Mary Christene Killman and Mariya Koroleva of the U.S. were second with 179.463, whiile Brazils Nayara Figueira and Lara Teixeira were third with 177. nik free run billig
. 413. Canada is expected to win gold and claim another Olympic berth after Fridays team free program. The Canadians have a huge lead after Wednesdays technical program with a score of 94.875. "The team watched the technical routine on film (Wednesday) night and I promise you, it was perfect," Canada coach Julie Sauve said. "It was so perfect that the girls were shrieking they were so delighted. Well be ready (Friday)." Canada has 39 medals (12 gold, 10 silver, 17 bronze) to sit third in the overall standings. The U.S. has a commanding lead with 98 medals, while Brazil is second with 42 medals. The Canadian badminton team won an impressive six medals in all but is still a longshot to challenge the sports powerhouses like China, Indonesia, South Korea and Malaysia at the London Games. Still, the performance here was a good building block for a squad that has more of an eye on the 2016 Olympics in Rio. "Weve got a good young team," Canada coach Jeff White said. "So if they all maintain it to 2016, I think Canada could be in a position to win a medal at the Olympics, which has never happened before." In womens team squash, Torontos Stephanie Edmison clinched a 2-1 victory over Mexico as Canada advanced to the gold medal match. Mexicos Samantha Teran opened the tie with a 11-5, 11-4, 11-2 victory over Miranda Ranieri of Waterloo, Ont. Samantha Cornett of Deep River, Ont., defeated Imelda Salazar 11-6, 11-8, 13-11 to level the match before Edmison downed Nayelly Hernandez 11-8, 11-2, 11-2 to clinch the win. The Canadian mens team also advanced with a 2-0 victory over the U.S. Torontos Shahier Razik recorded seven straight points before Julian Illingworth was forced to retire. Shawn Delierre of Montreal clinched the semifinal win with a tough five-game victory over Christopher Gordon, taking the deciding game 11-8. Both squash finals will be played Friday. The women will take on Colombia, while the men face host Mexico. In womens soccer, Christina Julien of Williamstown, Ont., scored as Canada defeated Argentina 1-0. With the win, Canada qualified for the semifinals. Julien took a pass from Canadian captain Christine Sinclair of Burnaby, B.C., and chipped the ball past Argentine goalkeeper Elisabeth Minning for the games only goal. Canadas final group game is Saturday against Brazil. "We wanted to qualify for the next round," Canada coach John Herdman said. "It is job done, mission accomplished. We can now sit back and see how the other pool plays out." Canadian cyclist Stephanie Roordas set a Pan Am Games record in the womens omnium individual pursuit. The Calgary native finished with a time of three minutes 37.544 seconds. The previous record was set at the Winnipeg Games in 1999 by Erin Mirella of the U.S. Roordas sat third after four events behind Venezuelas Angie Gonzalez and Mexicos Sofia Arreola. Canada opened mens field hockey with a 7-2 win over Trinidad and Tobago. The Canadians fell 12-5 to the U.S. in womens softball, while the mens handball team got past Venezuela 28-25. In late baseball action Thursday, Canada dropped a 9-4 decision to Cuba. ' ' '