SBO REPORT:Slovakia stops embarrassing itself thanks

SBO REPORT:Slovakia stops embarrassing itself thanks to defense, third-string goalie

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Slovakia was 0-2-0 heading into Sunday’s   sbo  game with host Russia. They had been humbled by being outscored 10-2 in those losses. They had been doubly humbled to fall to Slovenia, a team that earned its first Olympic victory at their expense.

Some expected Slovakia to get rolled again, with the angry Russians bouncing back from a shootout loss to Team USA just 24 hours earlier.

Instead, the Slovaks hunkered down, got defensive, gave the hosts a hell of a scare and reestablished some   sbo  semblance of pride heading into the qualification round against the Czechs on Feb. 18.

“It mattered to us – and we wanted to prove to ourselves we could play better hockey than we showed in the first two games,” said Meszaros, after the 1-0 shootout loss to Russia (2-1-0). “I think we showed everybody that we can play with anybody. Hopefully, the next game we play the same way and are going to have success.”

The Slovaks tightened their defense, despite giving up 36 shots. Russia had five power plays and didn’t convert.

“We weren’t definitely happy with how we played and we knew we had to do something to play better defensively,” said Marian Hossa.

“We knew if we played well defensively, especially in the neutral zone,  sbo  we were going to frustrate them. I think that’s what we did pretty much the whole game. They tried sometimes to go individually and that’s what we wanted.”

Hossa said it’s a matter of knowing your opponent; and when your opponent has the arsenal that Russia does, it means not even thinking about going goal for goal with them.

“Defensively, we did everything that the coach asked us to do. The penalty kill was really good, obviously. We know we didn’t generate as many chances but we knew we cannot play open hockey against a team like that,” said Hossa.

“It shows when we do the system right, it’s not pretty but we don’t have a team to play tic-tac-toe hockey so we have to play this way and hope to score some goals.”

Another factor in the  sbo  Slovaks’ improved effort: goaltending. Jan Laco, the team’s third stringer, was given a start after Jaroslav Halak and Peter Budaj struggled. Laco plays for Donbass of the KHL, where he’s backing up former Philadelphia Flyers goalie Michael Leighton.

He made 36 saves, playing well and getting help from his defense, like when Meszaros slid to block an Alex Ovechkin shot into an open net in overtime.

“I knew he was there and I knew there was an empty net because our goalie made the first initial save and he fell down there. It was kind of a lucky play,” he said.

Should Laco start again in the qualification round?

“I don’t know. He’s hot. It’s up to the coaches,” said Meszaros.

No matter who starts for the Slovaks, one thing’s clear: There’s still  sbo  some good hockey, and pride, left in their locker room.

“You always have a chance in this tournament I guess no matter what you do in your first two games, you can still move along if you win that do or die game. We have to get ready for that and play our best hockey,” said Zdeno Chara.

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SBO REPORT:Bae gets another crack at Riviera

SBO REPORT:Bae gets another crack at Riviera

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Bae Sang-moon is off to another  sbobet  great start at the Northern Trust Open. The next step is a better finish.

Bae played bogey-free on another gorgeous day at Riviera for a 5-under 66, giving him a one-shot lead over Aaron Baddeley among the early starters. Baddeley, who won at Riviera three years ago, birdied his last four holes for a 65.

Dustin Johnson, who led after the opening round at 66, played in the afternoon.

Bae was at 9-under 133.

The 27-year-old South Korean was tied for the lead going into the weekend at Riviera last year. Bae struggled to a 76 in the third round and never got back  sbobet  into contention.

”It was really, really good experience, and I learned a lot,” Bae said. ”I improved a lot from last year.”
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Bae gets another crack at Riviera
Fred Couples hits from the second tee during the second round of the Northern Trust Open golf tourna …

He wound up winning the Byron Nelson Championship a few months later for his first PGA Tour victory.

Patience surely will be required at some point over the weekend on what has shaped up as one of the best weeks of weather at Riviera – an abundance of sunshine and only a trace of wind. But the course  sbobet  figured to get tougher for the leaders in the afternoon as the greens get more foot traffic.

”It’s a strong course, especially when it’s dry and firm like it is,” Baddeley said. ”If you miss it out of position, it’s really hard to get the ball up-and-down. Today was good, because I made a couple good saves but coming in, I had some good looks and made them.”

Even among those who played early, it was hard to break away. A dozen players were within five shots of the lead, with half of the field still to finish the second round.

Baddeley was in the middle of the pack until he hit his approach on the 15th hole to about 8 feet. He followed with a short birdie putt on the par-3 16th, rolled in a birdie putt from 15 feet on the par-5 17th and finished it off with a 25-foot birdie  sbobet  on the 18th.
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5 things to look for at Riviera on the weekend
Charlie Beljan signals to his right after his tee shot the 12th hole during the second round of the …

Charlie Beljan, who lost in a playoff last year, had a 68 and was two shots behind. Brian Harman had a 69 and was another shot back.

Jordan Spieth managed to get in the mix, especially after he was on the cusp of leaving early. The 20-year-old Texan had tough par putts on four straight holes at the start of his round. When he finally missed one on the fourth hole for his first bogey, he took off. Spieth birdied four of his last five   sbobet  holes for a 66, leaving him in the large group that was at 4-under 138.

”I putted great today, a lot of par saves on the front,” Spieth said. ”I could have been 4- or 5-over at the turn, and instead I was at even, so very happy with the finish. Back in contention.”

Not so fortunate was Fred Couples, who had the low score in the group with Spieth and Webb Simpson until a poor finish. Couples made double bogey on No. 5, and then made bogey on his last hole for a 72 that left him at 2-over 144, which was likely to miss the cut.

Most frustrating for Couples was a tiny cut on the tip of his left thumb that opened up to the size of a dime, making it difficult for him to hang onto the club. Couples has gone his entire Hall of Fame career without wearing a glove.

Asked if it bothered him, he said, ”Yeah. I couldn’t hit the ball.”  sbobet  Couples made his 32nd appearance in this tournament.

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SBO REPORT:Tales of childhood bullying reveal the ugly side

SBO REPORT:Tales of childhood bullying reveal the ugly side of figure skating

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For the brief snapshot in time  sbo  that is the Winter Olympics, figure skaters are among the most-watched athletes on the planet. They are the focus of the attention, and sometimes adulation, of a global audience.

But for many male figure skaters, there is a price to be paid for pursuing their profession. And it cannot be measured in dollars, practice hours or physical toil.

Outdated public perceptions often draw an automatic association between figure skating and homosexuality, and that can lead to bullying among youngsters who compete in the sport.

“Even if you’re a figure skater and you’re not gay, you’re called gay all the time or you’re made fun of for being a figure skater,” said Johnny Weir,   sbo  the former U.S. Olympian who is openly gay and married his husband Victor Voronov in 2011.

“I’ve been in the sport long enough and know enough straight people in the sport that it’s very grating on your psyche to constantly be told something that you’re not and made fun of for something that you aren’t.”

[Related: The world loves figure skating, according to Facebook]

American pairs skater Simon Shnapir, who won a bronze medal with Marissa Castelli and the rest of the U.S. squad in the team competition, is 6-foot-3 and about as imposing of a physical specimen as can be found in Olympic figure skating. He played ice hockey as a boy but found the challenge of figure skating appealing to him. He admits his sport of choice led to some  sbo  unkind teasing from his peers.

“It is just the stereotype of the male athletes in this sport, what they look like,” Shnapir said. “Maybe the way they dress. It [the taunting] is always, ‘Do you wear tights?’ Stuff like that.

“It was a challenge. It was boys being boys. Once I grew up, people started appreciating what sports is about.”

For gay skaters, the abuse’s effect isn’t so harmless and can have tragic consequences. Jamie Hubley, a 15-year-old openly gay figure skater from Ottawa, committed suicide in 2011 due to depression caused by constant harassment over his sexuality and his sport. His father Allan told CBC News in Canada that bullies tried to stuff batteries down his son’s throat on the school bus.

“[Jamie] was the kind of boy that loved everybody,” Allan Hubley   sbo  said. “He couldn’t understand why everyone would be so cruel to him about something as simple as skating.”

[Related: Plushenko retires after injury at Sochi Olympics]

The feminine qualities of figure skating feeds the stigma, but American society has made significant strides toward greater acceptance when it comes to LGBT rights. Even still, casual epithets are thrown around and male figure skaters, whether gay or not, get caught in the crossfire.

Israeli skater Evgeni Krasnopolski was bullied in his homeland and also suffered some abuse after moving to Hackensack, N.J., following high school to further his career. He admits the situation has improved and is no longer subject to slurs from strangers.

“Now it is a different story. Everyone knows me and the way I live,” Krasnopolski said. “I would get in a lot of fights   sbo  after I hear ‘gays’ and stuff like that. In the beginning nobody knows me. I have enough hockey players who are friends now [who] before shouted out some gay [stuff].”

American pairs skater Nathan Bartholomay, who skated with Felicia Zhang here and placed 12th, believes the higher standard that male figure skaters reach, the less likely they are to be picked on.

“Especially if you are in an elite training environment,” Bartholomay said. “I can’t tell you how often the hockey guys come and watch us.

“I have had a couple of people ask me [if I was gay]. I have a lot of friends who are gay and I don’t take offense to it. If it is a stereotype, a lot of people  sbo  just brush it off – be who you are and let your skates talk.”

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SBO REPORT:Flyers win fourth straight heading

SBO REPORT:Flyers win fourth straight heading into Olympic break

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The Philadelphia Flyers have plenty of  sbo  positives to think about for the next three weeks.

Brayden Schenn and Scott Hartnell scored goals and goaltender Ray Emery made 32 saves to lead the Flyers to a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames on Saturday in the last game before an 18-day Winter Olympics break.

The Flyers (30-23-6) have won four straight games and are among the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference going into the layoff. While five players are going to Russia to play in the Games, others are going to take a vacation.

Many players would rather keep playing.

“It sucks having to stop now,” right winger Wayne Simmonds said. “Obviously, we want to carry some momentum in, but when we get back, I keep saying we’ve   sbo  just got to focus in and when we have that week of practice, we’ve just got to work our butts off and get back into it.”

Calgary center Matt Stajan scored with 2:26 left to cut it to 2-1.

The Flames (22-29-7) lost for only the second time in eight games and are way behind in the playoff chase in the West.

“Obviously we’d like a win going into the break, but in the last eight games or whatever (we have) six wins, and I think we have to carry that momentum,” Flames center Sean Monahan said. “It’s time to rest our bodies, which will be good for us.”

The Flyers took a 1-0 lead near the midpoint of the second period on Schenn’s 15th goal. Simmonds passed the puck from behind the net to Schenn in the left circle. His one-timer sailed off goalie Reto Berra’s arm and into the net.

“Before and after, I had quite a few opportunities, not just me but our whole line,” Schenn said. “And we’re lucky we got   sbo  one. We feel like we’ve been getting chances as of late. Games before this they just weren’t going in, so it’s nice to get one.”

Claude Giroux was credited with his 20th goal at 4:04 into the third period to make it 2-0, but after the game the goal with given to Hartnell, his 15th. Giroux’s stick seemed to hit another stick as he wound up and fired a shot from the right circle. The puck floated in the air, hit off Hartnell and trickled behind Berra.

Stajan poked a rebound past Emery to snap his shutout bid, but the Flyers held on for the win.

“I think we’ve been playing good hockey. We’ve been in every game,” Stajan said.

Both teams looked ready for a long break, though it doesn’t come at an opportune time for the surging Flyers. They have pulled to within one point of the  sbo  No. 4 spot in the East, and must wait to continue their momentum.

“I think especially during the last stretch of six or seven games we’ve tightened up and really have not given teams that much,” Emery said. “I think it was a great stretch heading into this break. We talked about it before those six or seven games, that we could either put ourselves in a good position or play ourselves out of it. Fortunately, we’ve put ourselves in a pretty good spot going further in the year.”

NOTES: G Ray Emery got his first start since Jan. 23 in place of Steve Mason, who was bothered by cramps and dehydration in Philadelphia’s win over Colorado on Thursday night. … The Flames started the game with their fourth line for a brief shift, but it didn’t turn into anything physical. … LW Michael Raffl (Austria), RW Jakub Voracek (Czech Republic), D Kimmo Timonen   sbo  (Finland), D Andrej Meszaros (Slovakia) and D Mark Streit (Switzerland) are heading to Sochi from the Flyers. … G Reto Berra (Switzerland) and D Ladislav Smid (Czech Republic) are going from the Flames.

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SBO REPORT:Trevor Bayne fit, gearing up for Daytona 500

SBO REPORT:Trevor Bayne fit, gearing up for Daytona 500

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Trevor Bayne sped around  sbo  Talladega Superspeedway in his No. 21 Ford getting his car ready for the upcoming season, and then did the same thing in his running shoes.
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The 2011 Daytona 500 winner and part-time triathlete is fit, motivated and hungry to contend for another big win upon his return later this month to the scene of his greatest triumph and to challenge for a Nationwide Series championship.

”This is a really big year for us,” Bayne said during a break from Thursday’s solitary testing session.

He’s scheduled to run 12 Sprint Cup races, including all four on the superspeedways, with The Wood Brothers plus a full-time Nationwide schedule for Roush Fenway Racing.

”Being here at Talladega by ourselves today, I think that shows that this team wants to do what it takes to be the best   sbo  and to have a shot to win those 12 races that we show up at,” he said.

The daily workouts, including those squeezed-in runs at racetracks, are also indicative of his thriving health. Bayne went public in November with the revelation that he has multiple sclerosis, but said he still has no symptoms and isn’t taking medication.
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Trevor Bayne fit, gearing up for Daytona 500
FILE – This July 5, 2013, file photo, shows Trevor Bayne standing next to his car on pit road during …

An outspoken Christian who often shares his religious testimony in speeches, Bayne said that good health just reinforces his faith. Bayne also said he’s been training harder than ever, meeting three times a week with a personal trainer and  sbo  going on 1.5-mile swims, three-mile runs and 25-plus mile bike rides.

He ran around the 2.66-mile tri-oval Thursday afternoon in near-freezing temperature. But he’s got his next triathlon coming up in April in Charleston, S.C., so clearly multiple sclerosis isn’t slowing him down.

”Fortunately for me at this point, it’s had no impact on me,” Bayne said. ”That’s been a huge blessing, because there are people that have it worse. There are some that never even know they have it and live a perfectly normal life. To know that I have it is good to me because it creates a dependence for me daily on the Lord.”

The 22-year-old, who also got married last year, hasn’t recaptured the winning formula since becoming the youngest  sbo  winner of NASCAR’s biggest race at 20. In fact, he’s only had two Top 10 finishes in his other 45 starts, one of them coming at Talladega in 2012.

Nowhere near old enough to be a has-been, he’s still in the early stages of a career that happened to start in stirring fashion.

”He’s 22, he’s just getting started,” team co-owner Len Wood said. ”Fortunately for him, he started with a bang.

”It was only his second-ever start. That was a big deal when it happened, and if we get him another one, that could be equally as big.”

Bayne will return to Daytona International Speedway in a couple of weeks for the Feb. 23 race.

The restrictor plate races are a priority for The Wood Brothers. They tested at Daytona earlier and then spent two days working the car around the  sbo  tri-oval at Talladega, running solo on Thursday.

Since he won’t be competing in every Sprint Cup race, Bayne will face extra pressure in NASCAR’s overhauled qualifying sessions to make sure he makes the field in his scheduled events.

”That’s why we came down here,” said Eddie Wood, co-owner of the team with his brother. ”To us as an older race team, the Daytona 500 is the biggest race of the year and the biggest of all. Everybody looks at it that way, but I think we take it to another level. That’s basically why we came down here. We went to Daytona in January and tested and had a really good test.

”Coming down here just kind of fills in some blanks that we had so that when we do unload at Daytona you don’t  sbo  feel like you left anything on the table.’

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SBO REPORT:Swansea fires manager Michael Laudrup

SBO REPORT:Swansea fires manager Michael Laudrup

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Michael Laudrup was fired as   sbobet  Swansea manager on Tuesday, paying the price for a slump in the year since delivering the south Wales club’s first major trophy.

The Dane is leaving the Premier League club after 20 months, having signed a new contract in March 2013 after being linked with leading clubs following his team’s triumph in the League Cup.

Now, though, Swansea is 12th in the standings but just two points above the relegation zone, prompting the 49-year-old Laudrup’s dismissal.

“It is a decision we have taken reluctantly,” chairman Huw Jenkins   sbobet  said. “But it’s a decision made in the best interests of Swansea City Football Club and our supporters. It is the first time in nearly 10 years that the club has parted with a manager in this way, but we had to remove the constant uncertainty surrounding the club and Michael’s long-term future with us.”

Garry Monk, the 34-year-old defender who has been out injured since September, will replace Laudrup, alongside current first team coach Alan Curtis, “for the foreseeable future,” Swansea said.

Like Laudrup, two possible contenders for the job on a full-time basis are former Barcelona players who advocate the type of passing game favored by Swansea; Oscar Garcia, who currently manages second-tier club Brighton, and Luis Enrique, who is in his first season as coach of Celta Vigo.
Swansea’s next game is the   sbobet  south Wales derby against fierce rival Cardiff at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

“After thinking long and hard about the best way forward, I felt it was unlikely we would achieve a stable environment at the club (with Laudrup) to allow us to get back to basics and produce the performance levels that have served Swansea City so well over the last few years,” Jenkins said.

“Now we need to put that uncertainty behind us and move forward as a united football club on all fronts.”

For Laudrup, whose fortunes have rapidly plummeted since the League Cup success last February, it is the latest setback in a mixed managerial career for the former forward following a successful playing career that took in both Barcelona  sbobet  and Real Madrid.

After winning the league and cup in Denmark with Brondby, he guided Getafe to the final of the Copa del Rey — where they lost to Sevilla — in his one season with the unheralded Spanish club. Next came a troubled year in Russia with Spartak Moscow before returning to Spain with Mallorca, where he soon fell out with the owners.

It was at Swansea where his profile soared, building on the work of predecessor Brendan Rodgers and initially establishing the team as a fixture in the Premier League’s top 10 with its attractive passing game.

But since beating lowly  sbobet  Bradford in the cup final, Swansea has won just eight of out 35 Premier League games across the two seasons and there have been continuous reports about a rift with the hierarchy.

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SBO REPORT:Olympics: What the Avalanche Need from Their Sochi-Bound Players

SBO REPORT:Olympics: What the Avalanche Need from Their Sochi-Bound Players8

All the NHL buzz is about the upcoming   sbo  Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The Colorado Avalanche have four players who will represent four different countries at the Olympics. Semyon Varlamov will represent Russia, Gabe Landeskog Sweden, Matt Duchene Canada and, of course, Paul Stastny for the U.S. Naturally, the Avs are proud of these Sochi-bound players.

However, the Avalanche have hockey business as usual until the Olympic break. The Avs also have a playoff run to gear up for. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb predicting the Colorado Avalanche will make the playoffs. Heck, when interviewed for being the first star of the Buffalo Sabre’s   sbo  game, Avalanche rookie Nathan MacKinnon, in teenage exuberance, started talking about winning the Stanley Cup already!

The Avs have four road games before the Olympics break. The four Olympians may already be Sochi-dreaming, but the Avalanche need some production out of them first.

Semyon Varlamov

Varlamov may be the most excited of the bunch, barring Matt Duchene, since he’s representing the host country at the Olympics. In fact, Pittsburgh Penguin Sidney Crosby, who played for Team Canada in the 2010 Olympics in Canada, talked about   sbo  using that excitement. He told NHL.com’s Dan Rosen, “I know for a fact that in Vancouver we used that energy to our advantage. It was a big boost being at home.”

Granted, Varlamov’s not an excitable sort. What the Avs don’t need is for him to suddenly get butterflies about the upcoming Olympics and let that affect his goal tending. In fact, they need Varlamov to tighten up his play. He’s maintained an even .92 save percentage for most of the season – 5th in the NHL. However, that percentage has fluctuated between .818 and .964 in the last five. The Avs will take the .96 percent and run, but the .818 and even .886 are not fabulous.
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Olympics: What the   sbo  Avalanche Need from Their Sochi-Bound …
The Avalanche need Olympian Paul Stastny healthy.

Varlamov let in seven goals in two games before stopping 27 of 28 shots in the game against Buffalo. He’ll play at least two games of the upcoming four – the Avs need that tighter play from him. After all, the Colorado Avalanche just rewarded Semyon Varlamov with a lucrative five-year contract extension worth $29.5 million. They deserve to get what they’re paying for.

Matt Duchene

Duchene, who is an excitable sort, is psyched about making the   sbo  Olympics. He stated during a post-game press conference, “Other than getting drafted to the Avalanche, I think it’s the biggest compliment for my career. It feels awesome. I feel so honored and humbled.”

What the Avalanche need from him is simple – they need for him to break out of his goal-scoring slump. It’s true that he’s been recording assists, which are very important. He’s top of the team in points. He’s currently at a +5. But the Avs need him to be the goal-scoring machine he’s capable of being. He only scored one goal in all of January. That’s very un-Duchene-like.

It’s only a matter of time. Color analyst Peter McNab stated he’s happened upon Duchene after practice, long after the others have left, just shooting pucks at the net. The Avs just need him to sink some in before the Olympic break. Personally, I predict he’s going to fire up the rockets in his skates and earn a  sbo  hat trick in one of the games – pucks go in for Matt Duchene.
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Olympics: What the Avalanche Need from Their Sochi-Bound …
The Avs have four Sochi-bound players.

Gabriel Landeskog

Truthfully, the Avs just need Landeskog to maintain the status quo. He’s solid. He’s second on the team in points. He’s at an impressive +12. He earned two goals in the game against Buffalo and has seven points in the last five games.

Landeskog is a player with European finesse in his game. Yet he has adapted himself to the more aggressive style of North American hockey, much in the way of Peter Forsberg back in the day. As such, he’s just as valuable as our formerly favorite Swede. (Ok, we probably like them equally -right?)

Landeskog is also a strong leader. So, the Avalanche need him to do absolutely nothing different in the next four – and to come home healthy from Sochi.

Paul Stastny

The Avs need Paul Stastny to get – and stay – healthy. Stastny  sbo  missed two games in November with back spasms. He missed two games with a leg injury mid-January. Now he’s day-to-day with an ankle injury he sustained when colliding with other players during the Minnesota Wild game. He missed Satruday’s game against Buffalo. In fact, the Colorado Avalanche recognized the four Olympics-bound players in a pre-game ceremony. Landeskog, Duchene and Varlamov all skated onto the ice behind their country’s flags. Stastny had to be content with walking a little ways out on a red carpet when his name was called. He did not look happy.

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SBO REPORT:The Chicago Bulls Need to Find Derrick Rose a New Position

SBO REPORT:The Chicago Bulls Need to Find Derrick Rose a New Position

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The Chicago Bulls would be wise to  sbobet  find point guard Derrick Rose a new spot on the court.

Specifically, the Bulls should transition Rose from point guard to shooting guard in order to extend his career and provide greater roster flexibility.

Why move Rose at all?

We all know that Rose is aggressive. It is what has defined him as a player since he was in high school. It is what earned him the 2011 NBA MVP Award. His aggressiveness also contributed greatly to each of his injuries.

Consider that he suffered   sbobet  his ACL tear driving the lane in the fourth quarter of the first game of the 2011 Eastern Conference playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers. Granted, head coach Tom Thibodeau should have been proactive and pulled his star point guard since the Bulls were in no real danger of losing. That doesn’t change the fact, however, that Rose was too aggressive for the situation.

And, frankly, it’s not like the injury should have come as a surprise to anyone at the time. Rose only appeared in 39 regular-season games that year because of a variety of injuries, including back spasms, turf toe, and numerous other ailments. In other words, he was always hurt. In fact, he didn’t appear in two consecutive games for over a month before that fateful drive to the bucket, according to ESPN.com’s Scott Powers.

The second knee injury — this time a meniscus tear — was also  sbobet  non-contact, but was arguably the result of a career worth of self-inflicted abuse. Rose is a glutton for punishment. How else do you explain his propensity to drive the line with reckless abandon? There are only so many times a player can absorb as much contact as Rose does without certain parts of the body breaking down.

Moving Rose to shooting guard is a matter of forced preservation.

Moving Rose makes the Bulls better

Another byproduct of moving Rose is that the Bulls will be a better team. Now, that does not mean that he is a bad point guard. Quite the opposite, actually. He did win an MVP playing the position, so there isn’t a reasonable argument that moving him will improve point guard play.

What it will do is make the team more complete.

The Bulls will be more athletic at the two and have a point guard whose primary responsibility will be to share  sbobet  the ball. Now, that does not mean that D.J. Augustin is the long-term solution for the Bulls, but his performance to this point has been nothing short of eye-opening. The front office would be wise to remember the lessons of seasons past (think Nate Robinson here) and ensure that he doesn’t end up finding another team at the end of this season.

The frontcourt and backcourt will also improve because of the versatility of Jimmy Butler. He can fill in at shooting guard or small forward, which will give Thibodeau added flexibility with his rotations. And after seeing how jimmy Butler has struggled for extended stretches since moving to shooting guard, getting him back into a comfort zone will surely prove beneficial.

To be sure, no position on an NBA court is an easy one to play. Each of them take a serious physical toll on the player, but each position has different levels of responsibility. Removing as much from Rose’s plate will benefit him and the team.

Now, even if Rose is moved, there is no telling how he will react.   sbobet  He could accept the switch as is or be resistant. If winning a championship is as important to him as he has says it is, though, the transition should be smooth.

After all, it is in the team’s best interest to find a way to keep Rose on the court, and putting him at shooting guard is the best place to start.

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SBO REPORT:More slams and Hall of Fame await Li Na, says Evert

SBO REPORT:More slams and Hall of Fame await Li Na, says Evert

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Li Na is destined for more  sbo  grand slams and a place in the Hall of Fame after the Australian Open win cemented her position as the most influential female player of the last decade, said former great Chris Evert.

Li’s final victory over Slovak Dominika Cibulkova on Saturday gave her a second major following her 2011 French Open title, a triumph that made her Asia’s first singles grand slam champion.

Evert, the winner of 18 grand slam titles, joined WTA Tour chief Stacey Allaster in hailing the Chinese’s achievements at a timely promotional event on   sbo  Monday for the end of year championships in Singapore and women’s tennis in Asia.

“Yeah, I’d vote for her,” Evert told reporters when asked if Li was worthy of a place alongside her in the Hall of Fame. “It’s not only about winning grand slams its about the influence that you have in tennis.

“Look at her, as Stacey said she is the most influential women’s tennis player in the last 10 years, with what she has done for global tennis so absolutely 100 percent.

“Something  sbo  would be wrong if she didn’t get into the tennis hall of fame.”

Her impressive play and comical post match interviews have made her a crowd favorite in Australia and around the world, with Allaster brimming as Asia, and China in particular, embraces the sport.

Singapore and Beijing now house WTA offices while 17 WTA events will be played in Asian Pacific in 2014. Allaster said Li’s latest boost had been timely.

The 31-year-old clubbed her way past first-time finalist Cibulkova in Saturday’s showpiece to help erase the memories of two previous failures in Melbourne Park finals.

The Wuhan native, who moved up one place to world   sbo  number three in the rankings courtesy of her victory, saved match points in her third round victory in Australia over Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic before finding her feet.

Li, the winner of nine WTA titles, then dropped only 18 games in her four subsequent matches to leave Evert predicting the Chinese could add a third or fourth grand slam before the year is out.

“This year she is still up for grand slams, along with Serena (Williams), Maria (Sharapova), Victoria (Azarenka).

“She is right up there with them too. There was always a little gap before you said Li Na’s name but now I think   sbo  she is right up there with all of them after the type of tennis she played at the Australian Open.”

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SBO REPORT:Spieth steals the show at Torrey Pines

SBO REPORT:Spieth steals the show at Torrey Pines

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The crowd was by far the largest at   sbobet  Torrey Pines, with eight-time champion Tiger Woods in the middle of the action.

And if the fans could not be seen on this overcast afternoon, they could be heard after shots close to the flag, or putts that found the bottom of the hole.

It was just like old times, with one very big exception.

Woods wasn’t the star attraction Friday. He was little more than a spectator.

In his group was Jordan Spieth, the 20-year-old Texan who is full of talent, not bluster. He ran off three straight birdies to tie for the lead, knocked in another one on his penultimate hole at the  sbobet  North Course (No. 8) to take the outright lead and left Woods in his wake.

”The kid’s got talent,” Woods said.
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Spieth steals the show at Torrey Pines
Tiger Woods tees off on the 11th hole of the North Course at Torrey Pines during the second round of …

Spieth had a 9-under 63, giving him a one-shot lead over Stewart Cink going into the weekend of the Farmers Insurance Open.

Woods had a 71 on the North, which played about 4 1/2 strokes easier than the South Course, and thus was not a particularly good score. He wasn’t that bad, but off enough to get into some deep patches of rough that kept him from getting close and having reasonable birdie chances. Woods was nine shots behind.

Cink ripped a 3-wood from 280 yards onto the green at the par-5 ninth on the tough South Course for a two-putt birdie and a hard-earned 71.

”I’m looking forward to playing with Jordan,” Cink said. ”I’ve never   sbobet  seen him hit a ball, so that will be fun.”

This whole PGA Tour thing has been a blast for Spieth, especially considering where he was a year ago.
View gallery
Spieth steals the show at Torrey Pines
Jordan Spieth hits his approach shot on the 10th hole of the North Course at Torrey Pines during the …

Spieth made his pro debut at Torrey Pines last year, and even though he missed the cut, the experience was such that he remembers more of every shot from his opening round on the North than any other tournament he played last year.

Even the start of his pro career is comical in retrospect. Spieth, even though he was low amateur at the U.S. Open at Olympic Club the year before, had to go through pre-qualifying just to get into the Monday qualifier. He didn’t make it, and then was given a sponsor exemption. And then he  sbobet  was gone by the weekend.

The rest of the year turned out OK. With no status on any tour, he earned temporary membership (the big boost was a runner-up finish in Puerto Rico), secured his card for the next season, won the John Deere Classic for instant membership, was picked for the Presidents Cup team and finished No. 7 in the FedEx Cup.

”It seems like three or four years ago, it really does with all of last year, what it encompassed,” he said.

So long ago that a pairing with Woods – the defending champion, unofficial king of Torrey Pines, supreme commander of his PGA Tour universe and No. 1 player in the world – wasn’t really that big of a deal.
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Spieth steals the show at Torrey Pines
Stewart Cink makes a face as he misses a birdie putt on the eighth hole of the South Course during t …

”I wasn’t intimidated by any means,” Spieth said. ”I grew up watching  sbobet  him, just like I did with a lot of these veterans out here, so I’ve idolized him, watched him win majors and whatnot. It’s exciting to finally be paired with him.”

They played a practice round at the Presidents Cup. They were teammates. Spieth had every reason to feel as if it was just another round.

And it’s not the first time he was in the company of a big-time star. In September, he played in the final round with Phil Mickelson at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Spieth is a huge fan of Mickelson, though it didn’t show.

The kid shot 62, a round so strong that Mickelson quickly got on the phone with Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples and told him he should pick Spieth. And he did.

Mickelson, meanwhile, had so much soreness in his back that after a 73 on the South to finish eight shots out of the lead, he withdrew from the tournament. Mickelson cited muscle pain in his lower back,  sbobet  saying that he would consult doctors to figure out his next move. He feared that swinging differently to protect his back might get him into bad habits.
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Spieth steals the show at Torrey Pines
Jordan Spieth hits an approach to the ninth hole on the North Course at Torrey Pines during the seco …

Spieth has no such habits at the moment.

This is the third time in eight rounds this year that his name has been atop the leaderboard at the end of the day. He shared the lead after the first and third rounds at Kapalua. Then again, he missed the cut in the Sony Open. And this tournament is only halfway through.

Even so, Woods was impressed, though not surprised.

”He hits it a long way, phenomenal putter. He made a boatload of putts today from the 10- to 20-foot range, and on poa greens, that’s not easy to do. He was pouring them in there. He had speed to them, too. That’s what you have to do to putt on poa. … He putted with a lot of confidence.”

That used to be Woods, and it still might be. This is his 2014 debut, his first competition in six weeks. And while it’s a long shot to win from nine shots back and   sbobet  49 players ahead of him, Woods was quick to remember that he made the cut with two shots to spare in 1999 and had a 62-65 weekend to win by two at Torrey Pines.

That was before the South Course – where the final two rounds are played – was lengthened ahead of the 2008 U.S. Open (which Woods won). No one has shot better than 67 on the South for two days.

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