Sidney Crosby

Canada names Olympic hockey roster, led by Sidney Crosby

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Canada will again look to Sidney Crosby to lead it to Olympic gold in men’s hockey.

Crosby was the star of the 25-man team announced Tuesday. In Sochi, Canada will attempt to become the first nation to win back-to-back Olympic men’s hockey gold medals since the Soviet Union era.

It has not won an Olympic title on non-North American ice since Oslo 1952, but there is no doubt Canada is the most talented nation in the 12-team field.

Goalie Roberto Luongo, who took over for Martin Brodeur at the Vancouver Games, suffered an ankle injury Saturday, but it does not appear serious.

Luongo or Olympic rookie Carey Price is expected to be Canada’s starter in Sochi. The third goalie is Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes.

Olympic hockey rosters: U.S. | Canada | RussiaSwedenFinland | Czech Republic | Slovakia | Switzerland | Latvia | Norway | Austria | Slovenia

Tampa Bay Lightning sniper Steven Stamkos was named to the team despite his broken tibia. If he is unable to play, he can be replaced up to Jan. 12.

The notable omissions were forwards Claude Giroux and Martin St. Louis. St. Louis is the captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning, whose GM, Steve Yzerman, is Canada’s GM.

Canada was dealt another blow with forward Logan Couture set to undergo surgery Wednesday. He was also left off.

In their place, Canada went with the likes of Patrick MarleauJamie Benn and Chris Kunitz, who were seen as bubble players.

The defense is led by 2010 Olympians Shea WeberDuncan Keith and Drew DoughtyDan Hamhuis was selected over the likes of Brent Seabrook and Dan Boyle.

Here’s the full Canada roster:

Goalies
Roberto Luongo — Vancouver Canucks
Carey Price — Montreal Canadiens
Mike Smith — Phoenix Coyotes

Defensemen
Jay Bouwmeester — St. Louis Blues
Drew Doughty — Los Angeles Kings
Dan Hamhuis — Vancouver Canucks
Duncan Keith — Chicago Blackhawks
Alex Pietrangelo — St. Louis Blues
P.K. Subban — Montreal Canadiens
Marc-Edouard Vlasic — San Jose Sharks
Shea Weber — Nashville Predators

Forwards
Jamie Benn — Dallas Stars
Patrice Bergeron — Boston Bruins
Jeff Carter — Los Angeles Kings
Sidney Crosby — Pittsburgh Penguins
Matt Duchene — Colorado Avalanche
Ryan Getzlaf — Anaheim Ducks
Chris Kunitz — Pittsburgh Penguins
Patrick Marleau — San Jose Sharks
Rick Nash — New York Rangers
Corey Perry — Detroit Red Wings
Patrick Sharp — Chicago Blackhawks
Steven Stamkos — Tampa Bay Lightning
John Tavares — New York Islanders
Jonathan Toews — Chicago Blackhawks

Michael Phelps to participate in Shark Week

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NEW YORK (AP) — Olympic champ Michael Phelps is participating in Discovery network’s Shark Week this summer, although he won’t be asked to outswim one.

It’s not immediately clear what Phelps will be doing, although Discovery President Rich Ross said Tuesday he’s intrigued about seeing the fastest human swimmer interact with nature’s fastest. Perhaps Phelps can be encouraged to go underwater in a shark cage, he said.

The week of shark-themed programming in mid-summer is annually Discovery’s biggest event. Now that it is approaching its 29th year, programmers are on the lookout for a new wrinkle.

Phelps has won 28 Olympic swimming medals, 23 of them gold.

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World Figure Skating Championships ice dance preview

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Alex Shibutani says he and sister Maia have made a statement the past two years.

“With our ability to perform when the stakes are highest,” he said.

The stakes don’t get much higher than this week.

The Shibutani siblings, breakout world silver medalists a year ago, lead three U.S. couples who finished in the top six at the 2016 World Championships into this year’s worlds in Helsinki.

It is the strongest ice dance field since the Sochi Olympics. The PyeongChang Winter Games medal contenders will be confirmed this week.

The clear favorites are Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the 2010 Olympic champions competing this season for the first time since taking silver in Sochi. Virtue and Moir returned from their two-year break to post the three highest total scores of all time in their last three international competitions.

“This is probably the most prepared we’ve been for a world championships,” Moir said, while adding, “this was a warm-up season.”

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The Shibutanis finished second (with a personal-best score) to Virtue and Moir at the most recent event, the Four Continents Championships at the 2018 Olympic venue in South Korea in February. The margin separating the two couples — 5.1 points — was considerable.

“We’re sort of in a way in a race against ourselves to try and see how good we can get and how good we can become,” Alex Shibutani said. “Each competition along the way is another step to that eventual goal [the Olympics].”

At worlds, the Shibutanis are in the medal mix with France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, who won the last two world titles.

The French, already the youngest world champs in 40 years, are trying for the first ice dance three-peat in 20 years.

But they have not progressed this season, unable to match or better their winning score from the 2016 World Championships.

Papadakis and Cizeron train in Montreal with Virtue and Moir, but they struggled (held against their own standard) in both competitions outside of French borders this season. And in different areas — step sequences, twizzles, lifts.

Conversely, it looks like the Shibutanis’ biggest obstacles are well behind them. They went from a world bronze medal in their first senior season together in 2011 to four straight years off the podium.

The Shibutanis hit a nadir at the Sochi Olympics with a ninth-place finish, worst of the three U.S. couples. Maia’s tights snagged on Alex’s sequined jacket during a lift.

The devoted vloggers countered doubts after Sochi by stressing their youth — Alex was 22 then; Maia was 19. They talked about weathering the journey and sticking to a meticulous creative process.

It paid off with their first U.S. title last year, followed by that world silver medal in Boston.

“Last year’s results at the world championships were very energizing for us,” Alex Shibutani said. “People are aware of the career trajectory that we have had. We’ve set ambitious goals because we were so motivated following that result and that exciting string of competitions that we had last season.”

The Shibutanis were actually outscored by two-time world medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates in the U.S. Championships free dance in January. They stormed back with that personal best at Four Continents, though, erasing any doubt that they are the U.S. couple expected to make the podium in Helsinki.

The U.S. has earned 12 ice dance medals at the last 12 World Championships. In that same span, the U.S. brought home eight medals combined from men’s, women’s and pairs.

The Shibutanis feel confident they will extend recent American success in their discipline.

They would also create more history for sibling skaters. They’re already the most accomplished brother-sister duo since Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay of France won three straight world medals followed by Olympic silver in Albertville.

“We really elevated the way that we compete and perform,” at Four Continents last month, Alex Shibutani said. “Our skating has reached another level.”

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