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Leafs defenceman Jake Muzzin says new contract is 'close' – Toronto Sun

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OTTAWA — Jake Muzzin saw the giant scrum awaiting him and quipped: “Geez, you score just one goal …”

But expect the big defenceman to be spotlighted again in a few days, with a new contract. He and the Maple Leafs are nearing a four-year contract, which Postmedia’s Terry Koshan and others have alluded to this week.

“I let my agent handle these things, but we are close,” a smiling Muzzin said after his big goal in Saturday’s 4-2 win over the Senators, his first in weeks. It was his fourth goal of the season.

A number in the $5.5-million US AAV range has been speculated once the salary-cap parameters are settled.

Muzzin, acquired a year ago from the Kings, is a huge piece for the Leafs’ blueline moving forward. When he signs, a decision on Tyson Barrie and a deal for restricted free agent Travis Dermott are next.

Goalie Jack Campbell said he would miss the bearded Muzzin protecting him.

“I was so upset when they traded him from L.A.,” Campbell said. “It’s great to be back with him.”

lhornby@postmedia.com

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6-time Canadian curling champion Jennifer Jones denied a 7th title – CBC.ca

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Jennifer Jones will have to wait for another chance to win a record seventh Canadian women’s curling championship.

The decorated skip believes she has the team and the time to get that opportunity.

Jones and her Winnipeg wild-card team fell 8-3 to Ontario’s Rachel Homan in Sunday’s semifinal at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Homan advanced to the evening final against Manitoba’s Kerri Einarson for the title.

WATCH | Homan heads to Scotties final:

Ontario’s Rachel Homan scores 2 in the 9th end to seal the 8-3 victory over Wild Card’s Jennifer Jones.  0:27

The winner will represent Canada at the world championship March 14-22 in Prince George, B.C.

Jones, 45, is tied with Colleen Jones for the most national women’s championships won by a skip. She claimed the fifth of her six crowns five years ago in Moose Jaw, Sask.

Losing to Homan foiled her bid to win it again at Mosaic Place.

“You always think about it every time you step on the ice,” Jones said. “Not even about winning a record seven, but winning and representing Canada.

“I would have loved to have had an opportunity to represent Canada in Prince George. It always is terrible to lose, but at least we gave ourselves a chance this year.”

After Jones won her sixth title and a second career world championship in 2018, her longtime second Jill Officer retired. Jones, Officer, third Kaitlyn Lawes and lead Dawn McEwen won an Olympic gold medal in 2014.

Jones and Officer had curled together since their junior days. Jocelyn Peterman replaced Officer.

Jones speaks of her team as a work in progress despite her experienced lineup.

“We worked on a lot of things. I feel they’re all coming together,” the skip said. “We’re trending in the right direction which I love and having a ton of fun.”

‘We know we’re better than that’

Trailing 5-1 after five ends Sunday, Jones tried setting up multi-point ends to get back in the game. Homan shut the door on her with defensive hits and Jones shook hands after nine.

“The disappointing part is we know we’re better than that and we just let it get away too early,” Lawes said. “We knew we had to keep it close with them, especially because we’re such a great-hitting team.

“Obviously we come here and we want to win. We’ve built a lot over the last two seasons with this lineup. In the big picture, I’m really proud of where we’re at. I know we have a lot left in the tank.”

Homan’s team boasted shooting accuracy percentage of 91 per cent compared to wild-card’s 76 over the first five ends Sunday. Peterman struggled early at 68 per cent, which put pressure on Lawes to make runback doubles.

Jones was heavy on a draw in the second end to give up a steal of three. The skip was light on another draw to score two in the eighth and settled for one.

“It’s hard to come off a loss,” Jones said. “I get to go home to my kids and that’s always great.

“I am not a super-competitive person — people don’t believe that — except when it comes to curling.

“When we’re on the ice, we want to win. It doesn’t matter what we’ve won in the past. We’re in the moment and we’re just has hungry as we’ve ever been.”

In her 15th career Tournament of Hearts, Jones was the wild-card team for the first time. The wild-card was introduced to the national men’s and women’s championship in 2018.

After losing to Einarson in the Manitoba women’s final, Jones beat Tracy Fleury to gain entry into the main draw in Moose Jaw.

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Hurricanes roll out carpet for David Ayres with home game invite – CBC.ca

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The Carolina Hurricanes aren’t done with David Ayres just yet.

Ayres, a 42-year-old Zamboni driver for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, was forced to be Carolina’s emergency goalie for its road game Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ayers, of Whitby, Ont., stopped eight-of-10 shots he faced in his NHL debut, helping the Hurricanes capture a 6-3 victory.

Afterward, he was named the game’s first star. Ayres came into the game in the second period after injuries to regular netminders James Reimer and Petr Mrazek.

On Sunday, the Hurricanes announced that Ayres will be present for their home game Tuesday night against the Dallas Stars.

“See you Tuesday, Davey!” the club said on its Twitter account.

After the win over Toronto, the Hurricanes provided a video of Ayres being showered by Carolina players when he came into the team’s dressing room. And head coach Rod Brind’Amour praised both Ayres and his team for their efforts.

“It’s not often in a game that you get tied to a great memory,” he said. “All you have is the memories you’ve got and you guys just gave me one, you gave each other one.

“But it’s a memory I’m going to have forever, the way you guys played in that third period for you (pointing to Ayres) and the way you [Ayres] played for us.”

What’s more, the stick Ayres used in the game is going to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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Jones, Lawes families find support in each other after personal losses – CBC.ca

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MOOSE JAW, Sask. — Jennifer Jones is two wins away making Scotties history.  

And should she win both of her games on Sunday, she’ll be winningest skip in Scotties history with seven titles – currently tied with Colleen Jones with six.

But the veteran skip from Winnipeg, Team Wild Card this year, has been playing with a heavy heart.

There have been so many times throughout this year’s event Jones has looked into the stands for her father, Larry.

He’s not there.

Larry Jones died suddenly this past May. He was Jennifer’s biggest fan and sparked her interest in the game – Larry also coached Jennifer during her first Scotties win in 2005.

“It’s been tough. I’ll be honest,” Jones said. “After we won the Wild Card game I looked up for my dad and he wasn’t there. You kind of sometimes forget. I feel like he’s out there with me. Every time I curl I feel super close to my dad.”

Sitting in the stands though cheering on her daughter is Carol Jones. Larry and Carol were married for 53 years. They sat beside each other for hundreds of hours of curling.

“My husband and I traveled to all these curling events. Every event over the years,” Carol said.

“Some tearful moments. But the curling community is amazing.”

The ‘Thelma and Louise’ of curling

This year, Carol is sitting beside Cheryl Lawes at the Scotties.

The two have been seatmates at big curling events before – during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi they became good luck charms.

“No matter who was sitting in the seat beside her, I had to get them out because I needed to sit beside her,” Cheryl said. “And I did for the whole Olympics and that’s why we won.”

Now they’re reunited and have rekindled a friendship. Losing a husband and father is something Cheryl and Kaitlyn know all too well.

Keith Lawes, who like Larry Jones for Jennifer, got Kaitlyn involved in curling at a very young age. He loved curling and was so passionate about it. In 2007, when Kaitlyn was just 18 years old, Keith died.

Now all of these years later Carol and Cheryl are providing comfort for each other at the Scotties while cheering on their daughters.

Carol Jones, left, and Cheryl Lawes have been side-by-side cheering on their daughters at the Scotties this week. (Devin Heroux/CBC Sports)

“When Carol was starting to go through her journey, and you could tell Larry was ill, I tried to give her some guidance,” Cheryl said.

“And just to be there for a shoulder to cry on.”

There have been many tears and tough days for the two. But they’ve seemed to find a new energy being in each other’s company in Moose Jaw – they’re actually having the time of their lives right now.

“I’m Thelma,” says Cheryl.

“And I’m Louise,” says Carol, laughing.

The two have been dancing around the stands to music, cheering their daughters on wildly, laughing and leaning together when rocks coming sliding down the ice.

“We’ve formulated a very strong friendship and obviously a very strong support for our girls,” Carol said.

“She did grab my knee the other day. It helps to have somebody that you can lean on when there’s a big shot.”

Joy for Jennifer and Kaitlyn

Carol and Cheryl having as much fun as they are at this year’s Scotties has eased the minds of Jennifer and Kaitlyn – to know their mothers have each other while they’re playing means everything to them.

“I texted my mom last night and asked if she was having fun because I haven’t seen her that much. She said, ‘fun? I can’t stop laughing.'” Kaitlyn said.

Cheryl Lawes, left, and Carol Jones position themselves directly behind Jennifer and Kaitlyn’s sheet, watching every shot with laser like focus, hanging on every rock. (Devin Heroux/CBC Sports)

“It makes me so happy. They have so much energy. They seem younger. They’re having a blast and that’s all I could ask for.”

Jones gets emotional when she thinks about the curling journey she’s been on with her parents and now the past decade with Kaitlyn.

“It’s my mom’s first Scotties without my dad. For her to come and see her laughing and having fun means the absolute world to me,” she said. “It’s amazing that our moms can share this together.”

Carol and Cheryl position themselves directly behind Jennifer and Kaitlyn’s sheet, watching every shot with laser like focus, hanging on every rock.

“We make rocks curl. We make rocks crash on a guard,” Cheryl says, laughing.

“Thank god for her. She’s been a great, true friend,” Carol said.

Jennifer beams when she sees her mom having as much fun as she is.

“I have a tremendous mom. She’s the best person in the world,” Jennifer said. “All I want to see is her smiling. Curling brings us so much joy in our family, but I really think it’s been an amazing healing process for my mom.”

Jones vs. Homan battle awaits

That last spot in Scotties Final on Sunday night will be decided in a semifinal game between Jones and Rachel Homan.

Homan defeated Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville on Saturday to advance to within one game of the championship battle.

It’s been quite the last number of seasons for Homan and her team out of Ottawa. After their disappointment of the Olympics, they lost year’s Scotties final in dramatic fashion by giving up steals in the 10th end and then an extra end.

Those tough losses are valuable lessons.

“Everything you go through changes you and helps you grow as a person,” Homan said.

“We feel like we’re right there.”

Homan’s lead, Lisa Weagle, says they’ve put those losses behind them and are focused on winning a fourth Scotties title.

“The only thing you can do is learn from it. We’ve taken what we can from that and figured out how we can be stronger and better,” she said.

This iteration of Team Homan made their Scotties debut five years ago in Moose Jaw.

Homan says it’d be a fitting place for them to win again.

“We’re going to give it everything we have. If it’s good enough, awesome. If it isn’t, we didn’t leave anything behind,” she said.

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