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31/05/2017

re: We feel that Derick provides great talent, brin

RIO de JANEIRO -- If members of the 2016 U. http://www.hockeyleafsnhl.com/authentic-tiger-williams-maple-leafs-jersey/ .S. Olympic womens basketball team feel the stress of having only 10 days of preparation time together to avoid being THAT team -- the one that loses the 41-game winning streak and five straight gold-medal victories that American teams have strung together before now -- they can at least find comfort in the luxury ship theyre sharing with the U.S. mens basketball squad for the duration of the Games.When players from both squads arrived Wednesday on a charter flight from Houston, photographers snapped shots of porters in red jackets and white gloves carrying their baggage on board the Silver Cloud, a 296-passenger ship in the Silversea cruise line. A weeklong cruise on the yacht can cost upward of $13,000, and patrons enjoy access to a spa, bar, cigar lounge, several dining areas, verandas and an outdoor pool. Theres also a media room where Team USAs Maya Moore said the womens squad held their first meeting of the Games upon arrival Wednesday.We were only there about an hour, but its definitely comfortable, Moore said with a smile. Ill get a better idea when we go back. But we may have to see about having a [rookie] talent show or something in that room.Other than some possible gripes about where the ship is docked -- its at Pier Maua in Guanabara Bay, one of the heavily polluted waterways in the Rio area -- its unlikely the mens or womens teams will be echoing the sort of complaints the Chinese or Australian delegations (among others) have shared since arriving at the Games.Chinese officials reported some muggings, and Australian-born NBA star Andrew Bogut has tweeted about arriving to find his Olympic village bed is too short to accommodate his 7-foot frame and his room lacks a shower curtain. (He tweeted a photo showing how he decided to rig one himself.) Another athlete tweeted a photo showing where the showerhead had fallen off when he turned on the water -- and all of that was after Kitty Chiller, chief of the Aussie delegation, initially declared the village uninhabitable when the team first arrived and put the bathroom sinks and toilets through stress tests.The Aussies were among the national delegations that also objected to some exposed wiring they found. By the end, one Rio official had enough and shot back that perhaps Games organizers would put kangaroos in each Aussies room to make them feel more comfortable.U.S. basketball wont likely have to worry about any of that.The website description for the Silver Cloud boasts the ship is spacious yet intimate and designed to cross oceans and yet able to slip up rivers and into hidden harbors with ease. ...The yacht-like Silver Cloud offers incomparable comfort and style.Just in case star-crazed fans try to get too intimate, theyll have to get past security measures like the bullet-proof glass partition surrounding the ship, a metal detector at the beginning of the gang plank heading onboard, and police marksmen who are reportedly stationed on boats that will be patrolling the waters around the ship, according to Britains Daily Mail.Its worth noting that such high-end accommodations arent new for the U.S. basketball teams, or based solely on the pre-Games concerns about Rios readiness to host the world. The practice of staying outside the athletes village started with the first mens Dream Team in 1988. (The coach at the time was Hall of Famer Chuck Daly, then the Pistons coach, whose nickname was Daddy Rich.)We dont stay in the [Olympic athletes] village because we dont feel its the best way to prepare for the competition, USA Basketball spokesman Craig Miller told the Associated Press in February.Right. It just didnt work out that way at the 2004 Athens Games. The U.S. men stayed on the Queen Mary 2, wound up losing to Argentina, and came home with only a bronze medal and red faces.The U.S. women are favored to win here in Rio as heavily as that U.S. mens team was favored.Star guard Diana Taurasi says the chance for the NBA and WNBA stars to mingle off the court is one of the things that makes playing in the Games so much fun. In the offseason she sometimes scrimmages in Los Angeles with Draymond Green and other players from the U.S. mens team. On Wednesday, she noted that the two squads enjoyed the chance on the charter from Houston to Rio to get acquainted and swap stories.But now that theyre all here, a reporter asked Taurasi, what will life be like on the ship? Will it be breakfast with Kyrie Irving and Dwyane Wade? Just hanging out?Yeah, theyre all right, Taurasi joked. You know, if Kyrie plays a good game, maybe Ill have breakfast with him. ... We went to their [last tuneup] game. Theyre a great bunch. Weve always had a great relationship with the mens team. We practice in the same facility, we share the boat, usually share the same hotels. They support us, we do the same. Everybodys just a basketball fan. We have the mutual respect of playing basketball together.Once we get down here, its all about Team USA.After the U.S. women played three tuneup games against Canada, France and Australia the last two weeks -- all teams that Taurasi says the U.S. expects to be there at the end of medal-round play -- Taurasi said she and her teammates are ready to go.Olympic head coach Geno Auriemma agreed. The U.S. begins play Saturday against Senegal, and Auriemma, who coached the U.S. to the 2012 gold medal, said, Ive never had a team thats better prepared or more eager to get started. http://www.hockeyleafsnhl.com/authentic-darryl-sittler-maple-leafs-jersey/ . Vokoun departed practice on Saturday morning after discovering swelling in his thigh. He was taken to a local hospital where the clot was revealed. The club announced the surgery following a 5-3 exhibition loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. http://www.hockeyleafsnhl.com/authentic-doug-gilmour-maple-leafs-jersey/ . The 29-year-old from Port Colborne, Ont., has nothing but good things to say about former U.S. marine Liz (Girlrilla) Carmouche ahead of their co-main event Wednesday on the UFCs "Fight for the Troops" televised card in Fort Campbell, Ky. http://www.hockeyleafsnhl.com/authentic-brooks-laich-maple-leafs-jersey/ . Pirlo limped out of Sundays 1-0 win over Udinese after just 13 minutes. Juventus says Pirlo underwent tests on Monday which revealed he has "a second-degree lesion to the collateral medial ligament in his right knee. NEW YORK -- After getting run out of the playoffs in the first round by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Rangers made another move to improve their speed.They also got a little younger in the process.The Rangers on Monday traded center Derick Brassard to the Ottawa Senators for forward Mika Zibanejad in a deal involving players coming off career seasons.The deal includes draft picks with the Rangers receiving the Senators second-round draft pick in 2018. Ottawa will get the Rangers seventh-round pick that year.I think the potential is there for more upside, Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton said of Zibanejad. He is just scratching the surface at age 23. There are not a lot of guys who have done what he has done as far as scored 20 before that age.Zibanejad skated in 81 games with Ottawa with 21 goals and 30 assists. He established career highs in games played, goals, assists, points, game-winning goals (seven), and faceoff win rate (50.5 percent). He has scored at least 20 goals in each of the past two seasons.The 28-year-old Brassard, who is returning to his hometown, had a career-high 27 goals and finished second on the team with 58 points in 80 games last season. His 31 assists were 10 less than the previous season.I was a little shocked when it happened today, Brassard said. But Im really happy to be joining the Sens and playing at home. I really like their team, I really like the balance of their team all the way from the goaltender all the way out to the forwards. I think theyre the up-and-coming team and with Guy Boucher being the coach, I think its going to be really good for the team.Zibanejad gives New York a player who has had success in the shootout. He has tallied a goal on 13 of his 28 career NHL shootout attempts, and he has five game-deciding goals in the shootout.Zibanejad led the Senators in game-winning goals, faceoff wins, and faceoffs taken, ranked third in short-handed goals (two), tied for third in gammes played, tied for fourth in assists, and ranked fifth in points and power-play points (11) in 2015-16. http://www.hockeyleafsnhl.com/authentic-borje-salming-maple-leafs-jersey/. . He also ranked third among Ottawa forwards in short-handed ice time per game (1:25).The 6-foot-2 Swede has skated in 281 NHL games over parts of five seasons (2011-12 to 2015-16), getting 64 goals and 87 assists. He was selected by Ottawa with the sixth overall pick in the 2011 draft.Brassard skated in 254 games with the Rangers over parts of four seasons, getting 69 goals and 105 assists. He was acquired by New York from Columbus in April 2013 in a multiplayer trade that sent forward Marian Gaborik to the Blue Jackets.Senators general manager Pierre Dorion believes Brassard is a better hockey player at this point than Zibanejad.Our ultimate goal is to make the playoffs again, and we feel that Dericks going to help us make the playoffs, Dorion said. Theres also more: We feel that Derick provides great talent, brings leadership into our room. Hes someone thats played a lot of games in the NHL more than Mika.Zibanejad will be a restricted free agent after the 2016-17 season and will earn $2.62 million.Brassard is under contract through 2018-19, earning $5 million annually.Gorton, who signed Michael Graber and Nathan Gerbe as free agents in the offseason in an effort to improve team speed, refused to say whether the Rangers were planning any other moves with the new found salary cap space.In other matters, Gorton said the Rangers decided not to buy out the contract of veteran defenseman Dan Girardi.We have seen some real good production out of him for many years, and he did by all accounts not have the kind of year we wanted or he wanted, Gorton said. We expect Dan to be better and he expects to be better. The buyout just didnt make sense for us.---AP Sports Writer Stephen Whyno in Washington contributed to this report. 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