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Were seeing a number of teams where

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    30. Juni 2018 05:15:34 CEST

    TORONTO -- Long gone are the days when basketball fans tuned in to March Madness hoping to catch a fleeting glimpse of a Canadian. DJ Chark Jaguars Jersey . When the NCAA mens tournament tips off Thursday, look for numerous Canadians not only playing major minutes, but playing starring roles. "Whats a tangible barometer for us to hold onto is the number of our players who are playing prominent roles within these teams," said Rowan Barrett, assistant GM of Canadas national mens program. "Were not tuning in to hope our Canadian guy gets two or three minutes. Were seeing a number of teams where our players are either the player of the year in the whole conference, the leading scorer of the team, the freshman of the year or theyre on the Wooden list as one of the top players in the entire country." Canadians, Barrett said, are the driving forces behind their teams, and "thats got to be exciting for Canadians and exciting for Canadian basketball." A total of twenty-seven Canadians will suit up in the tournament. Of course, theres Andrew Wiggins of Vaughan, Ont., a favourite to go No. 1 overall in this years NBA draft. The Kansas Jayhawks star was the Big 12 freshman of the year. But while Wiggins has been dominating NCAA headlines, there are numerous other Canadians shining on the college stage, including Andrews brother Nick, who plays for the undefeated Wichita State Shockers. Theres Melvin Ejim, a small forward from Toronto and senior at Iowa State, who claimed AP Big 12 player of the year honours. Michigan sharp-shooter Nik Stauskas of Mississauga, Ont., was named the Big 10 player of the year. Of the top five shot-blockers in the NCAA, three of them are Canadian. Jordan Bachynski, a seven-foot-two centre from Calgary, leads with 4.13 blocks a night for Arizona State. Bachynski was the Pac 12 defensive player of the year. Khem Birch, a 6-9 forward from Montreal, is second in blocks with 3.76 for UNLV. Torontos Sim Bullar, a seven-foot-five centre for New Mexico State, is fifth with 3.41. "The good thing is when you have so many Canadians performing at a high level, it inspires other Canadians, it inspires the kids coming in and theyre thinking, OK, Im not just coming in here to play, Im coming here to lead, Im coming in here to be a driving force and the level and the bar continues to be raised," said Barrett, who played college basketball for St. Johns. "I think thats great for our game, for our athletes who do decide to play in the NCAA. Its a tangible show of the growth of our game." Theres Tyler Ennis of Brampton, Ont., who is the starting guard at Syracuse. Ennis was one of 25 players on the mid-season list for the John R. Wooden award for the NCAAs top player, and is touted as an NBA first-round draft pick. There were some tense moments Sunday before the NCAA unveiled its March Madness bracket, Barrett said. The tournament is a chance for players to turn some heads prior to the NBA draft, but obviously not all of the 92 Canadians in Div. 1 would make the spring showcase. "Thats always exciting for sure, and especially when there are some of our Canadian players that we want to get into the tournament, that were not sure are going to get in, like a Dwight Powell at Stanford," said Barrett. Powell, from Toronto, was also on the mid-season Wooden award list. "You want him to get on that stage, he wants to get drafted this year, hes on the draft boards. So it was really exciting, exhilarating for him to get in there." Barrett predicts five Canadians may go in this years draft. Whats also exciting, he said, is that the college stars are also keen to play for Canada. "I think its great just the novelty of Canadians, to look and say, Hey thats great, there are Canadians there (in March Madness), but its a total other thing to see them donning the red and white and going out there and sweating and bleeding for their country as they give everything they have," he said. "Hopefully that will be the most inspirational thing for some of these younger players who are coming in and watching the game." Ronnie Harrison Jersey . Smith, an eighth overall pick, had two goals in only 276 minutes of playing time over 16 appearances last season. The left side midfielder played only 43 minutes in three games this season. Taven Bryan Jersey .  His recovery time is expected to be six to eight months. Seidenberg was injured in the third period of Fridays 5-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators, when he got his leg tangled with forward Cory Conacher. NEW YORK -- Chris Kreider did just about everything right on the ice, and off it, too. Kreider scored a career-best three goals, and Rick Nash added a goal and two assists as the New York Rangers spoiled the return of former coach John Tortorella by rolling to a 5-2 victory over his Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. Kreider netted two in the first period for his first NHL multigoal game, and finished his hat trick by tipping in Anton Stralmans shot with his back to the net at 9:38 of the third. Kreider had scored only five goals -- three this season -- in his first 43 career games. After a tough rookie season under Tortorella, in which he spent a large chunk of time playing in the AHL, Kreider didnt reveal any extra satisfaction that his breakout game occurred against this opponent. "I would have struggled trusting me, too," Kreider said of last season. "I was playing through an injury. There are no hard feelings, I learned a lot from him. "I had a pretty positive experience on the whole. At the end of the day, its two points and were happy to come away with the win." Nash and defenceman Michael Del Zotto connected in the second against starting goalie Roberto Luongo and backup Eddie Lack to turn the much-anticipated game into a rout. David Booth and Daniel Sedin scored for Vancouver, which couldnt build off a 5-2 win at Ottawa on Thursday. The Canucks are 3-5-4 in their last 12 games. "I thought we played better in the games we lost prior (to Thursday)," Tortorella said. Rangers rookie backup Cam Talbot was sharp again in spelling Henrik Lundqvist, and made 35 saves in his first home start to improve to 6-1. He has allowed only 11 goals in eight outings. "I gain a lot of confidence, and confidence in the guys in front of me, too," Talbot said. "Theyve been playing really great in front of me. Im just trying to stop the puck and not let them down because theyre doing a great job of getting me in games and getting me leads." New York bounced back from a 3-2 loss at Boston on Friday, that had new coach Alain Vigneault angry, and snapped a three-game losing streak at home even though they were outshot 37-24. Fans unleashed taunts of "Tor-tor-ella" as the final minutes ticked down. "Im not going to lie to you, its a little weird for me coming back here," Tortorella said. "Once the game starts, its about playing and trying to find a way to get a win. Thats my job, to try to get some traction with this hockey club. Once that starts, its just, Lets go." Vigneault got a bit of satisfaction in the coaching matchup Saturday as he earned a win over his former team that let him go after a first-round playoff ouster last season. Watching Daniel Sedin and twin brother Henrik wearing opposing uniforms provided quite a wakeup call. "When I saw the twins have a couple of their moments out there, I knew we were playing againstt the Canucks," Vigneault said. Tanner Lee Jersey. "Theyre a good team, but what we had was some great bounces. "A couple of our players made some great defensive efforts, and when that wasnt there, Cam made some great saves." The fiery Tortorella will have another chance to knock off the Rangers, whom he led for 4 1-2 seasons, when they visit Vancouver on April 1. He declined to comment about Kreider, who played only 28 games with the Rangers last season. The Rangers didnt rest after grabbing a 2-0 edge in the first period, and quickly stretched their lead in the opening seconds of the middle frame. It took just one deflected shot by Nash 17 seconds in to make it 3-0 and end the day for Luongo, who stopped only seven of 10 shots. Lack came on and gave up Del Zottos second of the season at 11:04 during a power play that made it a four-goal lead. Luongo, who made his season-high eighth straight start, could be in line for a day off Sunday when the Canucks visit Carolina in another matinee. "Its always hard to either get pulled or to give up a lot of goals," Luongo said. "Ive just got to be better and try to come up with more saves." The Canucks gave up two total power-play goals after allowing only two in their previous 14 games. They hadnt yielded two in one game in 16 contests, dating to Oct. 22. Talbot was seeking his third straight shutout -- all on consecutive Saturdays -- but his bid ended when Booth got Vancouver within 4-1 with 4:10 left in the second. Despite being outshot 14-9 and committing several turnovers, the Rangers headed into the first intermission with a 2-0 lead. Vancouver had a gaffe of its own at the right point, and the puck came to Nash, who kept the puck in the Canucks zone and swept a picture pass onto the stick of Kreider, who was alone in the slot. Kreider quickly let go a shot that got past Luongo to make it 1-0 with 7:23 left in the first. Alex Edler, who didnt get the puck out along the boards, received an earful from Tortorella when he returned to the bench after the goal. The Canucks biggest mistake came with 3:28 remaining when forward Zack Kassian flung the puck over the glass and was called for delay of game. Kreider needed only 22 seconds to double the lead with his second of the day. "We just make a huge mistake 5 feet from the blue line, and it ends up in the back of our net," Tortorella said. "Throw one out of the rink, power-play goal and again were climbing the hill." NOTES: Vigneault replaced defenceman John Moore in the lineup with Del Zotto, who had been scratched for two straight games and five of eight, and benched forward Taylor Pyatt for Derek Dorsett, who had missed two games because of a sprained wrist. ... Edler didnt play the rest of the first period after Kreiders first goal. ... The Canucks fell to 8-7-3 when allowing the first goal. 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