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re all the players are at." Gillies, Barber and Hartman are
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LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant is making steady progress in his injury recovery, although the Los Angeles Lakers star is likely still weeks away from a return to the court. Cheap Titans Jerseys China . Before Friday nights game with the San Antonio Spurs, Bryant said hes running on flat ground "a little bit more aggressively" and improving the flexibility in his ankle. Bryant also works out regularly on a special treadmill at the Lakers training complex. While Bryant isnt projecting a return date, he has said he would need about three weeks of conditioning work before returning to practice. He thinks this week counts toward that total. "This week its done pretty well, actually," Bryant said. "Its been OK. Ive been able to push pretty hard and come back, push hard again. The recovery of it has been pretty good." The fourth-leading scorer in NBA history tore his Achilles tendon in April during a game against Golden State. He hasnt practiced with the Lakers since then, but his concerns are more about his overall athleticism than the Achilles. "Its not anything to do with the tendon necessarily," Bryant said. "Its going from having the ankle locked up for so long. It wouldnt move. You have that limited range of motion, I dont have to tell you the domino effect that has on the other parts of the body." While hes resting, Bryant is excited about the prospects for the Lakers, who are hoping to avoid missing the playoffs for just the second time in Bryants career, now in its 18th season. Although Bryant is often doing rehabilitation work while his teammates practice, Bryant is spending his time on the shelf mentoring several young Lakers, specifically swingmen Nick Young, Wes Johnson and Xavier Henry. Bryant effusively praised Henry, saying he had no idea of Henrys skills while the fourth-year swingman played for New Orleans. Until he can get on the court with them, Bryant knows he must show patience -- something not always thought to be his strength. "Thats a misconception," Bryant said. "Theres nothing I can do about it. I measure my injuries very well. If its something I can play through and it wont get worse, Ill play. If its something that will get worse, I have to make those decisions." Cheap Tennessee Titans Jerseys . After Mondays comments by Coach Claude Noel that its work first and skill second, and that more “A” games are needed, the Jets responded with a 47-shot effort. If not for terrific goaltending by Braden Holtby the Jets would have had two points in regulation. Cheap Titans Jerseys Authentic . -- Top-seed Shahar Peer and Canadian Eugenie Bouchard advanced to the second round of the inaugural WTA Citi Open. http://www.cheaptitansjerseyselite.com/ . - Houston defensive end J.MALMO, SWEDEN – Canada has been searching for its identity at the World Junior Hockey Championship and they may have found it: underdogs. Consensus among Canadian players is that they enter Tuesdays first-place showdown with the Americans as the clear underdogs following a shootout loss to the Czech Republic on Saturday and a white-knuckle, come-from-behind win against Slovakia on Monday. "Its probably one of this first times were the underdogs in this and theyre really good," said defenceman Mathew Dumba, loaned to Team Canada by the Minnesota Wild. "Theyre a great team and weve got to be ready for them." "Oh for sure, I think were definitely the underdogs," agreed forward Bo Horvat. "Theyve been playing well all tournament and won all of their games so far. It should be a good test." "I think, maybe, were a little bit of the underdogs," said Jonathan Drouin, Canadas top-line centre. "They won last year, theyre 3-0 so we have to get off to a good start and play our own game and not watch them play.” The message from Canadian players was remarkably consistent. You almost got the sense they were happy to enter the New Years Eve clash considered the weaker team and Nic Petan, who scored the winner in Mondays 5-3 victory over Slovakia, admitted as much. "Yeah, definitely, it makes us work harder," he said. Canada as an underdog in hockey? A rare occurrence, especially at the World Juniors, but considering the sky-high expectations facing these teenagers, who can really blame them for trying to shift the pressure to the Americans? Only 16-year-old Connor McDavid, Canadas youngest player, balked at the idea that his group was an underdog. "I dont know," the Erie Otters sensation said. "I think a lot of people are viewing us the underdogs. Im not necessarily sure thats how we feel. Were confident in our abilities." The defending champion Americans tried to brand themselves as underdogs entering the event. Head coach Don Lucia noted theyd need big-time goaltending from Jon Gillies every night and would rely on a grind-it-out style to win some close, low-scoring games. Of course, the United States promptly cruised through the first three games of the tournament outscoring the Germans, Czechs and Slovaks 19-4. "Were not a star-studded team," insists Lucia. "I think the bottom line is our guys understand what our identity is and keep with that identity." That blue-collar identity that values hard work as much as skill is the same one Canadian head coach Brent Sutter has sought to install with his group. But the Americans, who have had 12 different players score, seem to have had an easier time adapting to the brand. "Anybody who asks about this team I tell them I dont think we really have any superstars," said forward Adam Erne. "Were a group that works really hard and really wants to win and I think thats what it takes in this tournament: different guys every game." DROUIN FACES ERNE FOR FIRST TIME SINCE CONCUSSION Erne is at the heart of this years rivalry game, because of what happened earlier this month in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Erne, who plays for the Quebec Remparts, leveled Halifaxs Drouin with a hit from behind. Drouin sustained the first concussion of his career on the play. Afterwards, Erne suggested the third overall pick in last Junes NHL draft may have made matters worse by trying to draw a penalty on the play and embellishing what happened. "It happened so long ago. Its not a big deal right now. Im not focused on that. Im focused on the upcoming game," said Erne, who reached out to Drouin after the game via text. "Everybody knows that hes a good player and we were drafted by the same team [Tampa Bay] so were going to have to get along so thats just how its going to have to be. Its in the past. It happened. Itts hockey so lets move on from there. Cheap DeMarco Murray Jersey. quot; Erne wasnt suspended for the hit and Drouin refused to comment on that decision. But the 18-year-old said winning on Tuesday would be the best revenge. "Yeah, for sure," Drouin said, "I dont think Im going to go for a cheap-shot on Adam. Its not the Q here. We have to win and its going to be a team game." MCDAVID vs. EICHEL IN 2015 NHL DRAFT PREVIEW Erne against Drouin is not the only juicy subplot in the Canada-USA rivalry these days. Tuesdays game will also feature two of hockeys brightest young stars going head-to-head, specifically: McDavid against American Jack Eichel. Both are expected to go very high in the 2015 NHL draft with the Canadian considered the odds-on favourite to go No. 1. "Yeah, you know, its nice to play against him, but I dont really think about playing against him," said Eichel, a Boston University recruit. "Its not a one-on-one battle were going to be playing in. Its a team game where the United States is going to be playing Team Canada. Im not going to be playing Connor." McDavid echoed that sentiment. "Its not really about me and him. Its about Canada versus the Americans. Thats it. I know hes on the team. Hes a big part of their team. Hes a good player and hell be a big part of the game." McDavid has struggled to make his mark on the tournament. He was benched after taking two penalties against the Czech Republic and started the next game against Slovakia as Canadas 13th forward before earning more ice time in the third period. Eichel, meanwhile, has been a solid presence in the American top-six forward group notching a goal and three assists. "I couldnt believe how young he actually is," said Team USA captain Riley Barber. "Hes a big player, strong and doesnt really look his age." "His all-around game is quick, so fast," said line-mate Ryan Hartman. "Ive been lucky enough to be playing with him the last couple games now. He knows where he is out on the ice and where all the players are at." Gillies, Barber and Hartman are the three returning players on the American roster. Drouin, defenceman Griffin Reinhart and goalie Jake Paterson are the veterans on the Canadian side. Paterson will be Zach Fucales backup on Tuesday while Reinhart will make his 2014 tournament debut after missing the first three games with a suspension. RIVALRY IS SOMETHING SPECIAL Last years semifinal showdown remains very much on the minds of the players. "Its a motivation," said Drouin. "We lost 5-1. It was a hard loss for me. This year, I want to battle back and make sure I dont lose again against the Americans." "It was one of the worst feelings Ive had in hockey for sure," admitted Reinhart. "Whether they played in it or not everyone on both teams was watching," said Hartman. "Everyones going to be riled up and ready to go." Indeed, Canada versus the United States is always an emotional encounter. When you add in all the subplots listed above and the fact the game will decide who wins Group A, well, its easy to get pumped up. "Its something special," said Erne with a smile. "I mean, Ive been watching since I can remember so its going to be a real honour to play in it and Im real excited." "Ive played in a few U.S.-Canada games and theyre always intense," said Eichel. "I know our teams looking forward to it and I imagine they are as well." "Its unbelievable," said McDavid, "especially this New Years Eve game. It has been quite a tradition for the past couple years and I usually never missed watching so it will be a lot of fun for sure." "I expect a lot of compete out of them," said Barber, whos tied for the team lead with three goals. "It should be a really, really fun game to watch." Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys ' ' '
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