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  • 24 Jul
    TORONTO -- Every day over the summer, Johnny Gaudreau thought about not having a contract.Gaudreau worried about it and obsessed over it but he wasnt going to let stalled negotiations with the Calgary Flames keep him from playing in the World Cup of Hockey.You dont get many chances to play in the World Cup, Gaudreau said. So I was like, `Lets get some insurance and I really want to play in this tournament.Gaudreau is one of 13 NHL players who go into the World Cup without a contract for this season, assuming a certain amount of risk in case they are injured. Johnny Hockey and Team North America teammate Jacob Trouba bought extra insurance beyond what the NHL Players Association provided -- just in case.Honestly, Im not very worried about it, the 23-year-old Gaudreau said. Hopefully I dont get too serious of an injury, but I have insurance that protects me, so I think Im all right.Gaudreau, Trouba, Russias Nikita Kucherov, Nikita Nesterov and Dmitry Orlov, Swedens Hampus Lindholm, Finlands Rasmus Ristolainen and Europes Tobias Rieder are all restricted free agents whose NHL teams own their rights. Europes Dennis Seidenberg and Christian Ehrhoff, the Czech Republics Jakub Nakladal and Michal Jordan, and Finlands Lauri Korpikoski are unrestricted free agents and will be on scouts radars at the World Cup.After putting up 78 points in 79 games last season, the Flames know what the dynamic Gaudreau can do.The same can be said of the Tampa Bay Lightning with Kucherov, Winnipeg with Trouba and Buffalo with Ristolainen. Gaudreau doesnt think a handful of international games, no matter how big the stage, will affect what his next contract looks like.Its entirely different for the unrestricted players.Ehrhoff said he needs to prove he can still play in the NHL at age 34, and Seidenberg may have to do the same at 35 after being bought out by the Boston Bruins.Ive played quite a bit, Seidenberg said. People should know what I can do and cant do by now, but nonetheless this is an important tournament for me.Its an important tournament for Gaudreau and Trouba, too, because its an opportunity to take their minds off their contract situations. After what Gaudreau called a painful summer, this is a welcome respite.Its actually been kind of nice to be on a team and to be in a locker room again and start playing hockey, Trouba said. It sort of goes back to normal when youre playing hockey.Not having a contract by this time of year isnt normal for top, young players like Gaudreau, and the World Cup adds a layer of uncertainty. But the players without deals have, at least temporarily, made peace with their situations.In the summertime I worry a lot about that, but right now I kind of try to ... not think about it, try to focus on camp and something to do, said Orlov, a defenseman for the Washington Capitals. Its going to be for sure I will sign -- not now, but maybe later. I feel fine about that and can focus on tournament because its always fun and nice to play for your country when you get a chance.Trouba and Gaudreau arent playing for the United States but rather Team North America, which mixes U.S. and Canadian players under the age of 23. Neither player would listen if his agent advised not playing in the World Cup.I mean, it was my decision at the end of the day, Trouba said. We figured out all the insurance and all that stuff beforehand and planned for it. This is something I really wanted to do, and I was going to do it either way.The unrestricted free agents face the same injury risk, but for them this is a showcase event with the hockey world watching closely. Nakladal acknowledged the scope and quality should help him get some visibility, and Korpikoski hopes his Finnish teammates vouch for him.Well see how much pull these guys have, he said. It probably doesnt hurt to have a good tournament, personally, too.---Follow Stephen Whyno on Twitter at Tracy Mcgrady Jersey .875,000, avoiding arbitration. Clippards deal Monday means all eight Nationals players who filed for arbitration wound up settling before a hearing. Jonathan Isaac Magic Jersey . "Were just throwing s--- at the wall hoping something sticks," said Tortorella about the possible line combinations for Fridays game against Columbus. The Canucks have lost five straight games and six of their last seven, leaving them in a logjam in the Pacific Division, currently sitting fifth - good for ninth in the Western Conference. .Y. -- Injured Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno did not practice with the team Monday and head coach Ron Rolston said its unlikely hell play in Wednesdays season opener in Detroit. D.J. Augustin Jersey . Third-seeded Murray had the easiest path to victory on New Years Eve, barely breaking a sweat during his 6-0, 6-0 win over 2,129th-ranked Qatari wildcard recipient Mousa Shanan Zayed. Penny Hardaway Jersey . Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the Carolina Hurricanes, announced Wednesday that the team would assign Swedish forward Elias Lindholm to his nations team for the upcoming tournament. When it began to look as if Laetitia Beck would represent Israel at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero, the second-year LPGA golfer was reminded about the sports very low profile in her country as she inquired about her apparel and equipment for the Games.My Olympic committee doesnt know much about golf, said Beck, Israels only LPGA player. Im responsible for everything. They told me to do what I want as long as its according to the rules, and they would reimburse me. I had to find someone to make my uniform, order a bag and get my hats. Im a very independent person, but it was a little stressful because I want to represent Israel and its culture the right way.With so much attention having been focused on which stars wont compete for various reasons in golfs return to the Olympics after 112 years, players like Beck are a reminder that its a big opportunity -- and a priority -- for others. Although currently ranked outside the top 200 in the Rolex Rankings, Beck was 42nd in the final Olympic qualifying list for the 60-player womens golf field because individual countries are allowed a maximum of four, and in most cases, two, entrants.This is special to me, being able to represent my country and help Israel have a bigger overall Olympic team, said Beck, a two-time golf gold medalist (2009, 2013) at the Maccabiah Games for Jewish athletes. We tend to be big in judo, track and field and wind surfing, but the numbers are pretty small, around 45 people. Being able to be an ambassador for Israel is important. And it will be great to be part of the team.Beck, 24, moved from Belgium to Israel with her family when she was 6 years old. They settled in Caesarea, in the Israeli coastal plain between Tel Aviv and Haifa, home to the countrys only 18-hole golf course, Caesarea Golf Club. From age 8 to 12, golf became part of Becks active sports life along with tennis and soccer.My mom says, I dont how you happened because youre so different from all of us. But Im super athletic and always had very good hand-eye coordination, Beck said. I would play golf twice a week, tennis three times a week and soccer at school. When I was 12, the pro at my club encouraged my mom to sign me up for the Israeli Ladies Championship. I was not good -- I only broke 90 the last round -- but I won in a playoff.Inspired by the victory, Beck dropped other sports and concentrated on golf, becoming a scratch player in a year. At 13, she won the national title by 30 or 40 shots, Becks prowess prompting her family to send her to the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, the following year. Beck continued to improve at the Academy, also the training ground for fellow LPGA players Paula Creamer and Jessica Korda. Beck earned a womens golf scholarship to Duke University, where she was a two-time All-American and a key member of the Blue Devils sixth national championship in 2014.dddddddddddd Later that season she tied for 11th at LPGA Q-School.After finishing 111th on the 2015 LPGA money list, Beck has struggled for consistency in 2016 -- she is currently 223rd in earnings -- although she had consecutive top-20 finishes in May at the Yokohama Tire Classic and Kingsmill Championship.I think I have as much talent as the best players, Beck said. With me, it seems to be in my head. Im a long way from my potential, and I think I can beat them all. I want to be the best, but I want to do something with it too.Beck has worked with some golf mental coaches but hasnt found the right fit.Its hard for me. I can get a little tough on people. I definitely need to find someone I can trust.That can take time, as Becks college coach, Dan Brooks, recently told the schools student newspaper, The Chronicle.When she came in as a freshman, I didnt know if she and I were going to make it, Brooks said. I probably have had no greater evolution of a relationship than she and I had. By the time she left, we were real tight and continue to be.Said Beck of her attitude: Im such a big perfectionist. Thats what gets me coming back the next day, to see if I can get better.Now living in a community with a large Jewish population in Miami-Dade County, traveling home to the Middle East for only a few weeks a year, Beck is proud of her heritage.Being the only Israeli golfer out here, I want people to know where I come from, she said.Beck always wears a Star of David necklace and has the symbol stitched on her golf bag, which is in the Israeli colors of blue and white.Im not too religious, Beck said. Its more about the culture than religion. On the high holy days Ill go to temple.Beck bypassed a college tournament in 2001 because it conflicted with Yom Kippur, and she adheres to a Kosher diet.It was interesting at Passover during the Swinging Skirts event this year, she said. No bread and no yeast, and I usually eat pasta and make a peanut butter sandwich or have an energy bar on the course. The only thing I could have was fruit.Diet doesnt figure to be a problem at the Olympics. The news of how Beck fares in Rio will travel back to Israel, if awkwardly.Slowly, there are more articles back home if I do well, Beck said. But the articles are pretty funny because they dont know much about golf. Theyll say things like, She advanced into the final. In judo, you advance.By whatever description, though, Beck will be glad to be there representing her country.The first time I was at the Maccabiah Games, when I was 13, the opening ceremony was very emotional, she said. I was born in Belgium and live in the U.S. But I consider Israel home. ' ' '