CHARLOTTE, N. Miami Marlins Gear .C. -- Carl Edwards said NASCAR is taking the wrong approach in its effort to draw more fans to the race track. If NASCAR really wants to create better competition and higher interest in the sport, Edwards said it needs to focus on changing the setup of the cars and not the championship format. NASCAR will announce its Chase for the Sprint Cup championship format on Thursday. It is expected to be to a 16-driver field whittled down through eliminations to four drivers and a winner-take-all season finale; it would be the fourth significant change to either the points or championship format since the Chase debuted in 2004. Edwards said drivers are already doing everything they can to win and the proposed changes that NASCAR chairman Brian France laid out two weeks ago wont change that. "I dont think you can take the top 15 guys in this sport and make them race any harder for wins. I dont think you can," Edwards said Tuesday. Its a sentiment shared by 2012 champion Brad Keselowski, who initially showed public support of the new format but is now reserving judgment until he sees exactly what NASCAR wants to do. France has been adamant he wants drivers to race at 100 per cent at all times and to value winning, and he preached most of last season that the frantic, door-banging battle to the checkered flag at California between Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano is the kind of racing he wants to see. "From a drivers perspective, theres nothing left," Keselowski said Wednesday. "Theres no set of rules to make me race harder than I do." Keselowski passed on a chance to move Kyle Busch out of the lead at Watkins Glen last August in what could have been a last-ditch effort to win the race. That victory would have likely ensured Keselowski a spot in the Chase; instead, he failed to qualify and was unable to defend his championship. Keselowski also doesnt think any changes will hurt six-time champion Jimmie Johnson. "No matter what format you put out there, hes the favourite," Keselowski said. "Until thats not the case, I dont see how theres any format that could be wrote, unless its the slowest guy wins, and I dont think theyre going to do that." Edwards said taking away the downforce on cars and making the tires softer is a good place to start. He said it would go a long way toward increasing competitive racing at the front of the pack. "No matter what format we race under I cant just try harder and go up and race with the guy or pass him," Edwards said. "I think the thing we have to focus on as a sport is making sure the cars can race one another. ... Right now, if Im staring at the guy in the front window it doesnt matter if (Im racing) for a billion dollars and 10 championships -- if I cant catch him, I cant catch him." Its not necessarily that Edwards is against the format. But he said if Frances proposals -- with the emphasis on winning races to get into the Chase for the Championship -- come to fruition, it will change the way drivers approach the season. "Things will get really, really interesting around Richmond. That will be insane," Edwards said. Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he wasnt excited about the proposed changes at first, but has begun to warm to the idea. "Lets change it all. Im all for it," Earnhardt said. "A lot of times we change things for the fans, and I think the drivers are going to enjoy some of this stuff as much as the fans are." Team owner Richard Petty said proposed changes are a "PR deal" by NASCAR designed to drum up more interest in the sport. He still thinks the best drivers will come out on top regardless of the format. "They just want to shake things up," Petty said. NASCAR is essentially borrowing a page from other major sports such as the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball where teams -- or in this case, drivers -- are eliminated from playoff contention while the season climaxes with one championship event at the end of the year. Earnhardt Jr. called it a "bold, aggressive" move by NASCAR. "When you look at other forms of sport, theres an elimination factor in the playoffs that we dont have," Earnhardt said. "We, as drivers, dont feel the intensity of an elimination factor being over our shoulders every race. I feel like weve had it easy in that regard where we just tally up points. Coming down to Homestead with four guys (racing for the championship), thats crazy -- but its exciting." However, driver Ryan Newman doesnt necessarily agree with the elimination-style system. "I dont think we can take everything the NFL or NBA is doing and say, We need to do it like this because theyre doing it like that and its working," Newman said. "This is still stock car racing. This is NASCAR. A certain per cent of change is good, but we do not need to copy the playoff system." Adam Conley Jersey . -- Michael Bennett gambled last off-season that playing on a one-year deal in Seattle would pay off in the future with the long-term contract he always wanted. Brian Anderson Jersey . 1-9 on TSN. With more than 65 hours of exclusive live coverage, TSN delivers all the action beginning with Draw 1 on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 2 p.EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Top choice Odell Beckham Jr., and three other draft picks have signed with the New York Giants on Monday. That leaves only one unsigned player for the Giants from this months selections, defensive tackle Jay Bromley, taken in the third round. In addition to Beckham, a wide receiver drafted 12th overall, centre Weston Richburg (second round), linebacker Devon Kennard (fifth round) and cornerback Bennett Jackson (sixth round) signed with the team Monday. Beckham joins another LSU receiver, Rueben Randle, in New Yorks passing attack, which lost veteran Hakeem Nicks in free agency. Beckham set an LSU record with 2,315 all-purpose yards in 22013, completing his career with 15 touchdowns and 4,118 all-purpose yards, which ranks No. Jordan Holloway Jersey . 5 in school history. "He has great speed. Hes polished. He has great hands and played at the top level." Giants coach Tom Coughlin said when the team drafted Beckham. "Hes someone we could count on putting the ball in the end zone and we can also feature him in the kicking game as well." Richburg was a four-year starter at Colorado State who made 50 consecutive starts, a school record. He was first-team All-Mountain West in 2013. On Friday, the Giants signed fourth-round running back Andre Williams and fifth-round safety Nat Berhe. ' ' '
Germanys Felix Loch successfully defended his gold medal in mens luge on Sunday at the Sanki Sliding Center in Sochi. Tim Tebow Jersey . Already owning gold from competition in Vancouver in 2010, Loch posted a combined four-run time of 3:27.526. That included a track-record third run of 51.613. "Im really overwhelmed. We have worked very very hard over the summer," Loch said. "[Coach] Georg Hackl and I are a superb team. He helps me a lot." "We experimented a lot over the summer and it paid off." Russias Albert Demchenko was unable to catch the defending Olympic champion, but snagged a silver medal with a time of 3:28.002. Italys Armin Zoeggeler became the most decorated mens luge athlete of all time with a bronze medal-winning time of 3:28.797 for his sixth medal in as many Olympic appearances. Zoeggeler eclipsed Lochs coach, Hackl, for the all-time mark with two gold, one silver, and three bronze over the Italians career. Canadas top slider was Calgarys Sam Edney, who finished in 11th with a combined time of 3:29.777. Edney will return to the luge track as part of the Canadian team relay squad, with competition beginning in that event on Thursday. Olympic rookies Mitchel Malyk and John Fennell, both 18-year-olds from Calgary, finished 26th and 27th overall, respectively. "I cant complain, its my first Olympics, its a new experience," Fennell said. "The amount of people that showed up for the race was unthinkable. Dae-Sung Koo Jersey . Browns owner Jimmy Haslam announced the move with Young on Monday during a speech at a Pro Football Hall of Fame luncheon. Rick Aguilera Jersey . Nick Young scored 17 points for Los Angeles, which lost five of its last seven before trouncing the Pelicans, who beat them handily last week in New Orleans. Jodie Meeks and Xavier Henry scored 15 points apiece for the Lakers, who led by 20 points in the first half before coasting to their 12th win in their last 13 regular-season meetings with New Orleans. TORONTO -- With their lead atop the American League East on shaky ground after a disappointing road trip, the Toronto Blue Jays wanted to set the tone early for a nine-game homestand with a strong effort against New York on Monday night. Adam Lind provided the power and rookie starter Marcus Stroman had the best start of his young career as the Blue Jays dumped the Yankees 8-3 at Rogers Centre. Stroman, making his fifth start for Toronto, allowed one earned run and three hits over a career-high eight innings. "Shoot, it was a fantastic job," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. "We needed that. We needed shutdown innings early on to give us a chance to get on the board. Pretty impressive." Toronto (43-35) opened the scoring with a single run in the first inning and Lind belted a three-run shot off New York starter Chase Whitley in the Blue Jays six-run second. That was more than enough offence for Stroman (4-2), who tied a career high with seven strikeouts. "I felt my change-up was a big pitch today," he said. "Even though I didnt use it much, when I did use it, it was pretty crucial. I was just down in the zone today. Me and (catcher Dioner Navarro) got on a pretty good roll." Stromans lone blemish was a solo shot by Mark Teixeira, who hit his 13th homer of the season in the fourth inning to put New York (39-36) on the board. The Yankees fell into third place with the loss, 2 1/2 games behind Toronto. The Baltimore Orioles remained in second place, 1 1/2 games back, after a 6-4 win over the Chicago White Sox. Torontos offensive outburst was most welcome for a team that was coming off a disappointing 3-7 road trip and had been held to three runs or less in 11 of its last 16 games. The Blue Jays also had to make lineup adjustments with Jose Bautista out for at least a few days with a left hamstring strain and Brett Lawrie on the disabled list with a broken finger. Lind, who has been nursing a sore foot of late, helped fill the void by driving in four runs and scoring twice in the opener of the three-game set. "Lind is a big part of this offence," Gibbons said. "He kills right-handers." Edwin Encarnacion had three hits and Melky Cabrera had two hits and scored twice as Toronto outhit New York 13-6. Anthony Gose chipped in with a pair oof hits and made an excellent running catch against the wall in right field in the sixth inning. Nolan Ryan Jersey . "The defence behind me was unbelievable," Stroman said. "Eddie made two great plays, Gose with an unbelievable play. Stuff like that kind of picks you up and gives you much more confidence going into the next couple innings." Whitley (3-1), meanwhile, allowed eight earned runs, 11 hits and three walks while striking out a pair. "It seemed like when he made a mistake, they hit it hard and when he made a good pitch, they seemed to find a hole with it," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "It was the combination of that. It was a tough start for him." Toronto reliever Chad Jenkins relieved Stroman and gave up two runs over two-thirds of an inning. With two runners in scoring position, Aaron Loup got Brian Roberts to fly out to end the game. Notes: Announced attendance was 31,554 and the game took two hours 45 minutes to play. ... Whitleys earned-run average rose to 4.07 from 2.56 while Stromans fell to 4.25 from 5.14. ... Steve Tolleson replaced Francisco at third base in the seventh inning. ... Both Bautista and Lawrie were hurt Sunday in Cincinnati. Bautista said theres a chance he could play at some point in this series but Lawrie, from Langley, B.C., will likely be out for three to six weeks. ... Bautista has been named captain of the American League Home Run Derby team for the July 14 event during all-star week at Minnesotas Target Field. Colorados Troy Tulowitzki will captain the National League side. ... Toronto recalled Gose and fellow outfielder Kevin Pillar from triple-A Buffalo on Monday and optioned catcher Erik Kratz to the Bisons. ... Left-hander Mark Buehrle (10-4, 2.32) is scheduled to start Tuesday against New York right-hander David Phelps (3-4, 4.13). ... Following the series against the Yankees, the Blue Jays will continue their nine-game homestand with a four-game series against the White Sox. Toronto will get an off-day Monday before a two-game mini-series against the Milwaukee Brewers. ... Cabrera has had at least one hit in his last 20 games against the Yankees. He has reached base safely in all 22 career games against his former club. ... Yangervis Solarte ended an 0-for-28 skid with an RBI single in the ninth. ' ' '
PORTLAND, Ore. Carlos Beltran Jersey . - LaMarcus Aldridge said an overtime thriller over Golden State was good preparation for the looming post-season. "It definitely shows what were going to see in the playoffs," Portlands All-Star forward said, "where every possession counts and every basket counts." Aldridge had 26 points, including the go-ahead basket in the waning moments of overtime, and the Trail Blazers emerged with a 119-117 victory over the Warriors on Sunday night. The win, which featured 16 lead changes and nine ties, assured the Blazers of no less than the fifth seed in the playoffs. It also assured a post-season matchup against Houston, sitting in fourth in the Western Conference. With a win in one of their two remaining games, the Rockets can clinch home-court advantage. Portlands win came despite the best efforts of Golden States Stephen Curry, who had a season-high 47 points. It was the third time this season Curry has eclipsed 40 points, and sixth time in his career. The Warriors sit behind Portland in the standings with two games to go. Golden State will need to win one of its last two games to clinch the sixth seed. "This is kind of what you expect from two playoff teams," Curry said. "From start to finish it definitely had that playoff feel." Aldridges jumper with 39.9 seconds to go gave the Blazers a 118-117 lead. Damian Lillard added a free throw for Portland before Andre Iguodala missed a 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds left and Wesley Matthews grabbed the rebound for the Blazers. Matthews added 24 points for Portland, which has won four straight and eight of its past nine games. The Blazers wrap up the regular season on Wednesday against the Clippers. Draymond Green hit a 3-pointer for Golden State to tie it late in the fourth quarter and Matthews missed a corner 3 as time ran out to send the game into overtime. Currys 3 gave Golden State a 111-110 lead in OT. After Matthews scored on a bank shot and free throw, Klay Thompsons 3 gave the Warriors back the lead. Matthews and Thompson exchanged 3s before Aldridges jumper gave the Blazers the lead and the Warriors couldnt answer. Thompson finished with 25 points. "I told the guys before the game, I thought this would be a great tuneup for the playoffs," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "This wasnt a playoff game and it wasnt necessarily a playoff atmosphere, but I felt like both teams really wanted the game and you were going to see a lot of effort from both teams. Its heightened in the playoffs, but I felt this was good preparation for us." Warriors centre Andrew Bogut did not play in overtime and after the game the team said he was undergoing a rib X-ray. His status for Monday nights game at home against Minnesota was not immediately known. Portland activated backup forward Joel Freeland, who has been out since Feb. 11 with a sprained MCL in his right knee, but he did not play. Spanish forward Victor Claver was moved to the inactive list with Freelands return. Iguodalas dunk pulled the Warriors to a 46-44 lead in the first half before Curry hit a 3-pointer. Lillard fouled Curry from 3-point range at the buzzer and Curry made all three free throws to put Golden State up 52-44 at the break. The Warriors ended the half on a 14-2 run. Curry led all players with 21 points. Portland rallied early in the final quarter, taking an 87-77 lead on Lillards 3-pointer. But Currys 3-pointer and a jumper pulled the Warriors within 95-93 with 6:01 left. Iguodalas basket tied it at 95 with 4:54 to go. The two teams wrestled the rest of regulation. Thompsons long jumper gave Golden State a 102-101 edge with 41.9 seconds to go before Aldridge made a pair of free throws. Curry drove for a layup but missed and Matthews made free throws to give the Blazers a 105-102 lead, but Greens step-back 3-pointer tied it at 105 with 3.6 seconds left. Matthews 3 missed as time ran out. "I think this was a big test," Matthews said. "This is as close to the playoffs as weve seen." Notes: Curry extended his NBA-leading streak of 68 straight games with a 3-pointer. He is now fifth for the longest streak all time, matching Reggie Miller. ... Greens game-tying 3 at the end of regulation was his only basket of the game. ... Both Thompson and David Lee fouled out of the game for the Warriors. Custom Kansas City Royals Jerseys . -- Kyle Busch edged teammate Joey Logano at the Bristol Motor Speedway finish line Friday night to become the all-time winningest driver in Nationwide Series. Wholesale Royals Jerseys . Heather, the first Gaiter to win the award, set a Canadian Inter-university Sport record with 3,132 passing yards in eight league games, an average of 391.5 yards per game. That beat the mark of 3,047 set only one week earlier by Westerns Will Finch, a Hec Crighton finalist.PHILADELPHIA -- The Flyers turned the worst start in team history into a playoff berth. They forced Game 7 after a 3-2 series deficit. The Flyers simply ran out of comebacks. Just as it has in every season since winning it all in 1975, Philadelphia heads home without a Stanley Cup. The New York Rangers eliminated the Flyers with a 2-1 win in Game 7 in the first round on Wednesday, extending their championship drought to 38 seasons, the sixth-longest streak in the NHL. There was one sliver of consolation Thursday when team captain Claude Giroux was selected as a Hart Trophy finalist, the leagues MVP award. Giroux matched a career high with 28 goals and finished third in the NHL scoring race (86 points), helping the Flyers rally from a 3-9-0 start. Hes the fifth Flyer to be a finalist, joining Bobby Clarke, Eric Lindros (who both won), and goalies Pelle Lindbergh and Bernie Parent. Individual award nominations are nice, and this one was sweet for Giroux after Team Canada bypassed him for the Olympics. But they simply dont compare to the thrill of hoisting the Stanley Cup. "We do have to be proud of what we did," Giroux said. "Last place and being able to come back and get everybody back on the same page. We had a lot of fun doing it. But right now, it stings a lot we cant be in the second round." Giroux had his chance in 2010 when the Flyers reached Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals. But since that tantalizing run, theyve shown few signs of establishing themselves as a perennial contender. As they rallied from the bottom of the East all the way to the playoffs, the Flyers found two key cogs to their future are already in place: Coach Craig Berube and goalie Steve Mason. General manager Paul Holmgren made the right call when he fired Peter Laviolette after an 0-3 start and promoted the coach known as "Chief." After a small adjustment period, he had the Flyers playing as one of the top teams in the conference, leading to a 42-30-10 (94 points) finish. Jake Newberry Jersey . "We were stuck in a hole for a while and they battled out of it," Berube said. "They stuck together and went to a Game 7." Mason, the NHLs rookie of the year in 2008-09, pushed aside the doubts that lingered from Columbus that he could become a No. 1 goalie and blossomed into their goalie of the future. His mix of sensational saves and easygoing personality helped the Flyers start to erase the memories of Ilya Bryzgalov from their consciousness. "This teams a lot of fun to play with and Im looking forward to growing them in the future," Mason said. Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek form a nice offensive nucleus. Veteran defenceman Kimmo Timonen may decide to retire, though of the rest of the D was a sore point for the Flyers, especially in the post-season when Mason faced tough shot after tough shot with little break. The Flyers might not have made the playoffs without Mason. They might have beat the Rangers with even a solid defensive effort. "At no given time were we feeling we were out of the series, or out of it this season, for that matter," Mason said. This year, the Flyers celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Broad Street Bullies team that left a lasting mark on the league, but has done nothing to get them closer to holding that third championship parade down Philadelphia. The Flyers havent advanced past the second round since the surprising Stanley Cup finals run in 2010. But a year after missing the playoffs, the Flyers at least stabilized themselves and proved that an addition or two on the blue line can push them deeper into the post-season. "Game 7. Lose 2-1. Cant get closer than that," Giroux said. "For a young team, I think its great. Its only going to make us stronger." ' ' '