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  • 10 Apr
    DENVER -- The shock and surprise of Patrick Roys departure is wearing off.Now its time to get back to business for the Colorado Avalanche, who open training camp Friday under first-time NHL coach Jared Bednar after Roys stunning decision to walk away last month.Everybody in here liked (Patrick), said defenseman Francois Beauchemin, who signed with the Avalanche in July 2015 partly because of Roy. We were happy. But we didnt have the success we wanted to.The Avs are coming off a season in which they missed the playoffs for a second straight year . Their offseason moves basically consisted of bringing in center Joe Colborne and defenseman Fedor Tyutin, along with signing defenseman Tyson Barrie (four years, $22 million) and forward Nathan MacKinnon (seven years, $44.1 million).Of course, there was also losing their head coach as Roy cited disagreements within the organization for his split.I didnt see it coming at all, 39-year-old forward Jarome Iginla said. But at the same time if that was the way he felt, you just move forward. As players, were excited now to get the season going and learn some new things and get at it.Heres the quick background on Bednar : He led the Lake Erie Monsters, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets, to the 2016 Calder Cup title. The former defenseman played nine seasons of professional hockey but never made it to the NHL until being hired to fill a surprise head coaching vacancy.Bednars still learning about a roster that features a top-notch goaltender in Semyon Varlamov, and scoring threats such as Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene and MacKinnon. Bednar will have to wait a little while longer to catch a glimpse of them in person, though, because theyre all playing at the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto.MacKinnon scored a nifty OT goal to help Team North America win on Wednesday.You look at the way those guys are playing there, the way theyre competing, the prominent roles theyre playing, the success theyre having, Im excited for those guys and the opportunity they have there, Bednar said. But well be equally as excited to get them back and join our team.Bednar has watched plenty of film of the Avalanche from last season. Enough to get a feel for the strengths (team speed) and weaknesses, which included another sluggish start to the season.If we put in the work and come prepared to work with the right habits and were doing the right things, paying attention to detail, then well get the results we want down the road -- early in the season and later on, Bednar said.He still plans on having Landeskog keep the captains C on his sweater. But other leaders have yet to be determined.I expect everyone to take somewhat of a leadership role, Bednar said. We all have to lead whether were wearing a letter or not.The team brought in Rene Bourque on a professional tryout contract. He played 49 games with Columbus last season and had eight points.They like the type of player I am and they think I can be a good fit if I show them I can still play in the preseason, the 34-year-old Bourque said. I think I do have lots left.Colborne joins Colorado coming off his most productive NHL season. He scored 19 goals and had 25 assists for Calgary in 2015-16. The versatile forward knows his way around the Mile High City after playing collegiately for the University of Denver. He was at the rink of his college the day he found out about Roys exit.Theres so much respect for him throughout this city and throughout the league, Colborne said. Sometimes, you have to do things that are for personal reasons. Right now, though, just talking with our new coach, (Bednar) seems like hes already bought in and ready to go. Theres a lot of excitement among us guys to have him at the helm. Nike Free Sale Australia . Mitch Holmberg added a goal and three assists. Connor Chartier also scored for the Chiefs (3-0-0). Luke Harrison spoiled Garrett Hughsons shutout bid with a power-play goal at 13:17 of the third period. The Spokane goaltender finished with 28 saves, including a Brandon Fushimi penalty shot in the second period that would have tied the game 1-1. Nike Free Cheap Australia . After dropping their final six games of December, the Wild opened the new calendar year with four consecutive wins. Following a loss to Colorado on Saturday, Minnesota rebounded the following night to blank Nashville 4-0, but then had the tables turned on them Tuesday. http://www.nikefreeaustralia.com/ . Detroit and Boston are deadlocked, 1-1, and Tigers manager Jim Leyland could be forgiven if he was caught rationalizing instead of dissecting how his club could blow a 5-1 lead late in Game 2. Nike Free Wholesale Australia .J. -- Seven games into a disappointing season, New York Giants defensive catalyst Jason Pierre-Paul is getting the feeling hes back. Nike Free Shoes Australia . Those lessons were more than enough to overwhelm the Utah Jazz. Lou Williams scored 25 points and the Hawks continued their offensive upswing as they rolled to an easy 118-85 victory over the Jazz on Friday night, winning their third straight and for the fourth time in five games. The photo went viral before practice even ended Thursday. There, in gray shorts and an aqua blue top, was Kevin Garnett playing basketball with Blake Griffin on the third day of the Los Angeles Clippers training camp. Thats right -- recently retired, 40-year-old Kevin Garnett, who won a title with Clippers coach Doc Rivers and Clippers forward Paul Pierce. Was he coming back? To play and give the Clippers veteran leadership? To coach? Or maybe just to scare DeAndre Jordan into making more free throws?In an interview with ESPNs Jackie MacMullan, Rivers acknowledged that he tried to persuade Garnett to play for the Clippers in an emeritus role before he made a final decision about retirement. Garnett passed.But think about how quickly you envisioned that transition. How easy it was to see KG in that wise man role. How much the Clippers still seem to need that championship experience and guidance going into Year 6 of the Lob City era.Year 6!If it seems like the time has gone by quickly, well, you havent lived through the painful and humiliating playoff losses like Griffin, Jordan and Chris Paul have.Unfortunately for me, Ive had 11 summers of going into the summer knowing what its like not to win a championship, Paul said.Two of the five seasons have ended with Griffin and Paul suffering serious injuries that required surgery in the offseason.Another season was marred by the Donald Sterling scandal; the other two featured monumental collapses (blowing a 2-0 series lead vs. Memphis and a 3-1 series lead vs. Houston).In between, Jordan round-tripped to Dallas; Griffin broke his hand on a team staffers face and Paul made two of the most un-Chris-Paul-like plays youll ever see at the end of a playoff game in Oklahoma City.There has been an ownership change, a coaching change, at least three front-office rearrangements, even a new mascot. (Yep, Chuck the Condor has been renewed for Season 2.)All of this happened in the five years since Paul was traded to L.A.; and Jordan and Griffin made that endearing Lob City video outside the practice facility.Watching that video now, they look so young and innocent compared to the men who sat on stage together earlier this week at media day.Both Griffin and Paul can become free agents next summer, meaning all sorts of personal and organizational decisions lie ahead. Do the Clippers dare risk losing one or both in free agency without getting anything in return? Or do they feel compelled to trade one, both or someone else during the season to make sure there isnt a crater in the middle of Steve Ballmers $2 billion franchise next summer? Over the years, if you spoke to people in and around the franchise, youd hear wildly different opinions on what the future would look like. Part of that was because everyone was waiting to get a read on what kind of owner Ballmer was going to be. How patient would the notoriously emotional owner be? How long would he defer to Rivers on basketball decisions? Thus far, Ballmer has remained at a respectful distance. His biggest intervention this summer was greenn-lighting indulgent contracts to keep Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford.dddddddddddd Of course the Clippers had no choice but to pay their own free agents because the team was so far over the cap; it had no real options at replacing anyone who departed. Still, can you see Sterling giving Crawford $42 million? Not a chance.So after three years of Ballmers ownership, it might just be long enough to draw some conclusions. Most importantly, according to Clippers insiders, Ballmer is committed to keeping both Griffin and Paul long term, no matter what it costs.Do both want to stay? Thats impossible to predict nine months out from free agency. But its hard to imagine either finding as good of a setup as they have in Los Angeles. Both have firmly planted roots in L.A., with deep ties to the business and entertainment worlds. Paul has essentially become a CEO-in-training, befriending executives he does business with and those who frequent Clippers games; Griffin is a superstar pitchman and budding comic.As for the idea theyd make a blockbuster trade, consider this: The only way the Clippers get a decent return is if Paul and/or Griffin agreed to waive their player option for next season, or guaranteed theyd re-sign long term in the city they were traded. Theres no compelling reason for either of them to do that after the infusion of television rights money spikes the salary cap up to more than $100 million next summer.Rivers has already publicly said the team isnt trading Griffin at least a dozen times now. Its heresy to even bring up trading Paul. Jordan has turned into the best defensive center in the game, and hes locked up on a very reasonable contract for two more seasons.So while this is still a pivotal season for the Clippers core group, its probably not their last stand.Which brings us back to Garnett shooting jumpers with the Clippers on Thursday.Four years ago, Rivers was brought to L.A. in the hopes his championship pedigree would get the Clippers over the top.Last season, Pierce was signed for the same reason.Now, KG is in the gym, teaching as Rivers put it.Something has been missing. Something is still needed. As Pierce himself said, based on talent alone, the Clippers do have something of a super team with Paul, Griffin, Jordan, JJ Redick (the best 3-point shooter in the league) and Crawford (a three-time Sixth Man of the Year award winner). So why havent they won a title yet? And can they still do so in an NBA in which Kevin Durant just joined the 73-win Golden State Warriors?On talent alone, L.A. is still one of the top three or four best teams in the NBA along with Golden State, Cleveland and San Antonio.Other teams in the past have been probably just as deep, Crawford said. But Im not sure it was the right guys at the right time.This just feels like the perfect storm as far as guys who want to win, are competitive enough at the right time frame in their lives about whats important. ' ' '