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SIMMONS: Just who are Marner and Nylander? The Leafs need to know

Mike Babcock understands the template as well as anyone. When he won his only Stanley Cup a decade ago, his team was led by a Hall of Fame defenceman in Nicklas Lidstrom and two likely Hall of Fame forwards in Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Also part of the Cup winning template: A high-end coach and a high-end goaltender. That’s …

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Blue Jays to extend protective netting at Rogers Centre

TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays became the latest Major League Baseball team to announce plans to extend the protective netting at their home stadium Monday. New netting will be extended to the outfield end of each dugout at Rogers Centre. Existing netting behind home plate will be replaced and increased in height by about three metres, the team said …

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Travis Dermott’s debut suits the Maple Leafs’ long view

In the Toronto Maple Leafs management suite, there may have been a few satisfied smiles exchanged over the weekend. This would not be to celebrate the Leafs’ second consecutive shootout win on Saturday, a 3-2 decision over the visiting Vancouver Canucks. Management’s concern is the long view, so the satisfaction came from the successful NHL debut of 21-year-old defenceman Travis …

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Meet Canada’s next basketball star

When Laeticia Amihere stepped in front of a cross-court pass for a steal at the top of the key in the defensive zone, the mood in the sparse gymnasium in Hampton, Va., during a women’s basketball tournament, had been rather sombre. Knocking it forward, Amihere collected the basketball near mid-court and, after a couple of powerful strides, rose toward the basket …

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Kia Nurse brings UConn home for the holidays

With Kia Nurse’s stellar four-year basketball career at the University of Connecticut drawing to a close, it seems fitting that the institution would want to honour the Canadian with a special game. That game will be on Friday night in Toronto at Ryerson University’s Mattamy Athletic Centre, when the powerhouse Huskies will play the Duquesne University Dukes in an out-of-country …

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Rocket beat Crunch 5-2 to halt losing streak at five

LAVAL – Adam Cracknell had two goals and Chris Terry scored once adding three assists, as the Laval Rocket snapped a five-game losing streak with a 5-2 win over the Syracuse Crunch Wednesday night, in American Hockey League action at Place Bell. Nikita Scherbak had a goal and set up two more for the Rocket (11-13-6) while Brett Lernout added …

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Whirlwind week for new Impact wingback Raheem Edwards

TORONTO — It’s been five days and three teams since Raheem Edwards celebrated winning the MLS Cup final with Toronto FC. The 22-year-old wingback from Mississauga found himself — briefly — a member of Los Angeles FC when he was taken with the fifth and last pick of Tuesday’s expansion draft. LAFC promptly flipped Edwards and Finnish defender Jukka Raitala, …

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Stu Cowan: Canadiens make bald beautiful for a very good cause

Jordie Benn now looks like a biker. Andrew Shaw looks like a young Navy Seal officer ready for action and Karl Alzner looks like his tough drill sergeant. Artturi Lehkonen looks even younger. Seven Canadiens took on a new look after practice Wednesday in Brossard and it was for a very good cause. Benn, Shaw, Alzner and Lehkonen all went …

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Pat Hickey: Only the most optimistic think Habs have a chance this season

You don’t need a lot of fancy statistics to understand the Canadiens are a bad hockey team. If you’re optimistic, you can look at the standings and point out the Canadiens are only one winning streak away from a playoff position. They are only two points behind Boston in the race for third place in the Atlantic Division and only …

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