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Ryan Kesler begins Cup chase with Anaheim Ducks

Eyes on a prize: Ryan Kesler begins Cup chase with Anaheim Ducks after summer trade
Greg Beacham, The Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Ryan Kesler and his family are slowly getting used to the ocean view at their new home, and the Anaheim Ducks' new centre still has to remind himself he can go to the rink in flip-flops.

Oh, the sacrifices necessary to contend for a Stanley Cup.

Kesler formally got to work Thursday with the Ducks, who acquired the vaunted centre from Vancouver on draft day. After spending his entire 11-year NHL career with the Canucks, he's meeting new teammates and familiarizing himself with Anaheim's coaching staff while his kids start at a new school.

Elway son pleads guilty to disturbing peace

Son of Broncos' John Elway pleads guilty to disturbing peace after girlfriend alleges violence
The Associated Press

DENVER - Jack Elway, the son of Denver Broncos general manager John Elway, has pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace after being accused of pulling his girlfriend from a car and shoving her to the ground.

John Albert Elway, 25, entered his plea Tuesday and was sentenced to one year of probation that includes domestic violence counselling. Prosecutors withdrew an assault charge.

Casse will let Lexie Lou determine her future

Trainer mark Casse taking wait-and-see approach with filly Lexie Lou
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

TORONTO - Trainer Mark Casse will let champion filly Lexie Lou determine if her 2014 season is over.

It's been a banner campaign for Lexie Lou, who captured the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks on June 15 before beating the boys in the $1-million Queen's Plate on July 6, securing Casse his first win of Canada's most prestigious horse race. However, the three-year-old daughter of Sligo Bay-Oneexcessivenite finished last Sunday in the Grade 2 $300,000 Canadian Stakes despite being the 3/2 favourite in her first start against older fillies and mares.

Coach wants better defensive play from Jets

Paul Maurice says Jets must improve defensively to assess goalie Pavelec
Scott Edmonds, The Canadian Press

WINNIPEG - Their goaltending was near the bottom of the league last season, but coach Paul Maurice says the Winnipeg Jets have to play better hockey in front of Ondrej Pavelec before they can assess their starter.

"Play a strong enough game in front of him, give him a chance to win every night, and then we'll make an assessment of our goaltending and where it's at," Maurice said as training camp opened Thursday with player physicals.

"I have confidence in this man and his abilities to do it."

Eakins, Oilers quietly optimistic as camp opens

Oilers coach Eakins says Oilers are improved, but wants team to "be modest"
John Korobanik, The Canadian Press

EDMONTON - It's been eight seasons since the Edmonton Oilers last made the NHL playoffs, so coach Dallas Eakins wasn't talking much about expectations when the players reported for medicals on Thursday.

Instead he was focusing on the "process."

While he and most of the players were quietly expressing optimism that the team is much improved over last season, Eakins said he wanted the team to "be modest.

"We want to have no regrets for the past and no anxieties for the future," he said. "It's what are we doing today and that's it.

Crosby, Malkin to miss practice as a precaution

Penguin stars Crosby, Malkin to sit out early days of training camp as a precaution
The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Pittsburgh Penguins forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will be held out of the start of training camp as a precaution with what the team described as minor injuries.

First-year coach Mike Johnston said both players were injured in the lead-up to camp, which begins Friday.

Neither injury is considered long term. Johnston added Crosby's issue is not related to a wrist injury that hindered him late last season and into the Stanley Cup playoffs.

After Bigfoot comes Big Country for Mark Hunt

After Bigfoot comes Big Country for Hunt as two heavyweights square off in Japan
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

Amazingly Mark Hunt felt OK after his five-round war with Antonio (Bigfoot) Silva last time out.

Apart from the hand broken in two places, that is. Combine Silva's renowned teak-like noggin with 103 significant strikes and something has to give.

Not that Hunt, the 40-year-old heavyweight known as the Super Samoan, was complaining after the all-action fight was scored a majority draw.

"I didn't feel so bad," said Hunt. "It was a great fight, I did my job and I was happy."

Commissioner says call against TFC was wrong

MLS commissioner Don Garber says call against Toronto FC was wrong
The Canadian Press

NEW YORK, N.Y. - MLS commissioner Don Garber has came out in support of Toronto FC's complaints over a refereeing call that cost it two points in Chicago last weekend.

A potential winning goal in the 90th minute by Toronto's Gilberto was called off by Canadian referee David Gantar who said later the Brazilian forward was guilty of a pushing foul. The game ended at 1-1.

"That referee did not get it right in that game, and we shouldn't be ashamed of saying that," Garber said Thursday. "I feel for Toronto FC."

Leafs camp expected to be competitive

Leafs open camp hoping competition and depth make them a better team
Stephen Whyno, The Canadian Press

TORONTO - The post-mortem of the past two Toronto Maple Leafs seasons hasn't been pretty. A Game 7 collapse against the Boston Bruins in 2013 gave way to 14-game plunge that cost them a trip to the playoffs in 2014.

Starts haven't been the Leafs' problem. But with an eye on the finish, they hope off-season moves and a competitive training camp can help them write a different kind of ending.

Spott brushes off disagreement with Kessel

As Maple Leafs open camp, assistant Spott brushes off disagreement with Kessel
Stephen Whyno, The Canadian Press

TORONTO - On the first day of training camp in his new job as a Toronto Maple Leafs assistant coach, Steve Spott was trying to put an off-season disagreement with Phil Kessel behind him.

After the Toronto Star reported Kessel telling Spott he wouldn't follow the team's new plan on how to break out of its defensive zone — and Spott relaying that at a coaches clinic over the summer — the dispute became one of the hottest topics on the day players reported for physicals.

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