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NHL additions give world junior teams a boost

World junior teams get major boost with addition of NHL players, prospects
Stephen Whyno, The Canadian Press

TORONTO - While Canada is set with the recent addition of Curtis Lazar, other teams are still getting stronger ahead of the world junior hockey championship.

Switzerland will have San Jose Sharks defenceman Mirco Mueller, who leads all rookies in blocked shots and will become a go-to guy in Group B play in Toronto.

"As an important young player to our franchise for now and the future, we think this experience will provide a positive impact on his career moving forward," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement.

Presidential fumble: It's Franco, not Flacco

President Obama throws Baltimore QB into speech, calling actor 'Flacco' instead of 'Franco'
The Associated Press

BALTIMORE - Call it a Presidential fumble: Barack Obama mistakenly used the last name of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco when referring to actor James Franco in a speech Friday.

Lashing out at Sony Pictures for its decision to halt the release of the movie "The Interview," Obama said, "It says something interesting about North Korea that they decided to have the state come out with an all-out attack because of a satirical movie starring Seth Rogen and James Flacco."

Gold medallist Michael Phelps pleads guilty to DUI

Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps pleads guilty to 2nd DUI; says he realizes problem
Juliet Linderman, The Associated Press

BALTIMORE - Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps avoided jail time on Friday when a judge placed him on probation for pleading guilty to a drunken driving charge for the second time in 10 years. The punishment came with a warning.

"You don't need a lecture from the court," Baltimore District Judge Nathan Braverman told Phelps. "If you haven't gotten the message by now, or forget the message, the only option is jail."

Prince intrigued by CFL commissioner's job

Former Als president Prince intrigued by CFL commissioner's position
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

Time hasn't diminished Skip Prince's affinity for Canadian football and the CFL.

The former Montreal Alouettes' executive confirmed Friday he recently contacted CFL board chairman Jim Lawson about the commissioner's position but hasn't heard back. Prince said while he's busy as the principal of The Prince Companies — which provide consulting services in the sports and entertainment industries —he inquired about the CFL's top job at the urging of two business associates.

6th man pleads guilty in MLB steroid case

6th man pleads guilty in MLB performance-enhancing drugs investigation
Curt Anderson, The Associated Press

MIAMI - The sixth man to plead guilty in the Major League Baseball performance-enhancing drugs scandal was described in court Friday as a recruiter of mostly foreign-born players for the now-shuttered South Florida clinic at the centre of the case.

Juan Carlos Nunez, 48, admitted at a hearing that he brought several professional ballplayers, many of them from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, to Anthony Bosch and his Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables. Most of the 14 players suspended by MLB for using steroids last year were from those two countries.

Sprong trying to play through distractions

Charlottetown Islanders forward Daniel Sprong tries to play through distractions
Jamie Ross, The Canadian Press

Daniel Sprong's season has been full of distractions, including the TV crew that follows him around to document his every move.

But the Charlottetown Islanders star forward remains focused on his future even as he deals with the cameras, frequent media coverage, various draft ranking updates and a citizenship application that's slowly crawling through Canada's immigration system.

Whitecaps to host Toronto to open MLS season

Whitecaps to host Toronto to open MLS season, Montreal visits D.C. United
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

TORONTO - After eight losing campaigns, Toronto FC will have to turn things around the hard way starting in 2015.

Toronto usually opens the season on the road because of the unpredictable weather come March. But the time away home will be far longer to start next year due to renovations to BMO Field in advance of the Pan American Games.

Hutchinson says he's always there for Canada

Atiba Hutchinson savours soccer award, looks to lead Canada to higher ground
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

TORONTO - At 31, Canadian midfielder Atiba Hutchinson is hitting his stride at Turkey's Besiktas. And people are taking notice.

"Atiba is our best player,'' says Canadian coach Benito Floro. "He is the best player in Besiktas.''

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger agreed after his team played Besiktas in the Champions League in August. "I was impressed by Hutchinson," he said.

Gardiner could be odd man out for Leafs

Gardiner could be odd man out for Maple Leafs on Saturday against Flyers
Dhiren Mahiban, The Canadian Press

TORONTO - Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Gardiner could be the odd man out Saturday night when his team hosts the Philadelphia Flyers at Air Canada Centre.

Gardiner, who had a minus-2 rating in Thursday's 4-1 loss at Carolina, didn't exactly get a ringing endorsement from head coach Randy Carlyle when he was asked to describe the blue-liner's recent play.

"I think Jake's been very erratic," he said Friday after practice. "Simple as that."

No dinosaur: Raptors unveil new logo

No dinosaur: Toronto Raptors unveil sleek new logo in short video
The Canadian Press

TORONTO - The Toronto Raptors' basketball-dribbling dinosaur logo will soon be extinct.

The NBA team has unveiled a sleek new logo that's a silver basketball, ripped by dinosaur claw marks, inside a red circle. The current dinosaur logo will be retired after this season.

The Raptors unveiled the logo in a short video clip Friday ( entitled "This is our Shield." It's part of the team's "We The North" marketing campaign.

Canadian rapper Drake, the Raptors' global ambassador, had a hand in the redesign.

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