Forum Index > In deference to McMillan, Canales has not moved into his former

wangya321 5 years ago
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Stephen Harts team will be the underdog in World Cup qualifying, but the national squad coach feels Canada has a chance to get there if all his players are on top form. Canada is gearing up for the third stage of qualifying for Brazil 2014 in a pool with Panama, Honduras and Cuba beginning in June. "Last year Id have been worried, but (most) players are playing regularly now," Hart said on a conference call Wednesday after cautioning it was too early for bold predictions. "But if theyre healthy, Id say were in good position to compete." The Canadian squad breezed through the second round, outscoring St. Lucia, Puerto Rico and St. Kitts and Nevis by a combined 18-1 margin. A much tougher task awaits against Panama, which is ranked 47th by soccers world governing body FIFA. Honduras is ranked 51st and Cuba 113th. Canada is currently slotted at No. 74 in the world. It is one of three groups playing in the CONCACAF (North and Central America and the Caribbean) zone. Each sends two teams to the final stage of qualifying next year. Canada has gone to the World Cup tournament only once, that being in 1986 in Mexico where it lost its three preliminary round matches. First up for Canada is a friendly Feb. 29 against Armenia in Cyprus. Hart said he will try to use only European-based players for that game to limit their travel. Then there is a friendly June 3 against the United States at BMO Field in Toronto, by which time he hopes to have a full squad that includes players from Major League Soccer and elsewhere. Qualifying begins June 8 with a game in Cuba, which may not be as easy a game as their ranking would indicate. "Theyre more difficult to play at home than away from home," said Hart. "Sometimes the whole team doesnt travel outside the country." Canada has home games June 12 against Honduras and July 9 against Panama, then travels to Panama on Sept. 9. Cuba visits Toronto on Oct. 12 and Canada plays in Honduras on Oct. 16. Hart hopes to assemble his squad as soon as European leagues finish their seasons in mid-May, although players on teams involved in promotion or relegation playoffs may be there a little later. "Theyll get a couple of days off but I told them not to plan any extended holidays," said Hart. "Were going straight to camp, at least for the European-based players to start with." Part of the camp will be held in Florida, where players can get used to the hot conditions they expect to find in Cuba. He hopes to have 24 or 25 players in camp and cut down the squad from there. "I have an idea of how wed like to play and what players, ideally, youd like to have," he said. "A lot depends on whether the players are playing regularly and are in good form. "There are a couple of positions up for grabs. Thats where the exhibition games come in." Canada opted to play all its home qualifying games at BMO Field, which did not sit well with some who felt the national team should visit other parts of the country. Also, due to Torontos multicultural flavour, they can often draw as many fans for the visiting team as for the home side. Hart said Toronto was picked because it has a grass field and players dont like playing on artificial surfaces and because it minimizes travel for many of them. "It feels like home," Hart said. "The facilities are good and we wanted to minimize the time of flying." www.nflpanthersjerseymart.com/elite-ted-ginn-panthers-jersey/ . The second-seeded Simon extended his unbeaten streak at the clay-court tournament to 16 matches by ousting Daniel Brands of Germany 6-1, 7-5. The 10th-ranked Tipsarevic lost 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain. www.nflpanthersjerseymart.com/elite-byron-bell-panthers-jersey/ . -- The Phoenix Coyotes used their sticks, skates, legs and, in the case of Zbynek Michalek, their faces to prevent the Minnesota Wild from scoring. http://www.nflpanthersjerseymart.com/elite-brad-nortman-panthers-jersey/. He gave the Pittsburgh Penguins an early two-goal lead over the New York Islanders on Friday night. Then the Islanders responded, doing something they hadnt managed in six years: win a playoff game. www.nflpanthersjerseymart.com/elite-domenik-hixon-panthers-jersey/ .Y. -- Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson is taking a wait-and-see approach regarding his chances to play against New England this weekend. www.nflpanthersjerseymart.com/elite-cam-newton-panthers-jersey/ . Shaquille ONeal hailed Buss for his foresight, while Kobe Bryant cited Buss ability to convince people to believe in him.PORTLAND, Ore. -- It is said that Kaleb Canales spends so much time at the Trail Blazers practice facility that hes got a bedroom there. Truth is, Canales sleeps many nights on a couch in the building. But rest has been rare recently for Portlands new interim head coach, who started with the team in 2004 as an unpaid intern. Canales became the NBAs first Mexican-American head coach when he took over for Nate McMillan, who was dismissed last week following six-plus years at the helm of the Blazers. Also the youngest head coach in the league at 33, Canales assumes a team in disarray. After a promising start to the season, the Blazers have withered with losses in nine of their last 12 games. Portlands housecleaning last Thursday was swift. Over the course of the day, McMillan was fired and two trade-deadline deals sent starters Gerald Wallace and Marcus Camby elsewhere. Former No. 1 draft pick Greg Oden, the often-injured big man who was once hailed as the Blazers ticket to an NBA championship, was unceremoniously waived. Canales was thrust into the jumble when he was made acting head coach, joining acting general manager Chad Buchanan in "interim" status. Canales has been charged with the difficult task of inspiring the team thats left to finish out the season. The first thing he did as head coach was to gather everyone at practice. One by one, he asked them if they were dedicated to the Blazers. "I just know that were going to hold them accountable," he said. "Weve asked for them to commit to each other and to commit to competing, playing together. Thats what were going to expect from anybody." Right after that meeting, the Blazers responded by beating the Eastern Conference-leading Bulls 100-89 in Chicago. But as reality has set in, theyve lost two straight, including a 116-87 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night. On Wednesday morning, Canales had his team running competition shooting games, and the losers were stuck with push-ups. He was right there with the guys doing the push-ups when his group lost. Later in the day, McMillan paid a surprise visit to the practice facility to say goodbye and thank employees. The respected coach had already bid farewell to his players, stopping by the hotel in Chicago before the Bulls victory. While some would say Canales role is more about player development at this point thaan winning games, he certainly doesnt see it that way.dddddddddddd "Every loss hurts," Canales said. With just 20 games remaining in the lockout-shortened regular season, the Blazers host the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday night. A native of Laredo, Texas, Canales didnt play basketball in college. After he landed with the Blazers as an intern, he worked his way up to video co-ordinator, then part-time assistant coach and finally full-time assistant under McMillan. He coached the team at the NBAs Summer League in Las Vegas for three seasons. Asked how he feels about his new role with the team, Canales was quick to deflect attention, relying on an old cliche that drew groans and laughs from those gathered around. Canales is nothing if not personable. "Im not going to lie and say its not special," he said. "But its not about me. Its about us." In deference to McMillan, Canales has not moved into his former head coachs offices at either the practice facility or in the teams Rose Garden locker room. "My first and second year he would actually sleep here every night in case guys came back late, or he would be here if guys came in early in the morning," said LaMarcus Aldridge, who has played in Portland since 2006. "He wanted to be here all day, all night. So that was pretty tough. I wouldnt do that. Id go home." Bill Schonely, the longtime Blazers broadcaster who coined the phrase "Rip City" and now is a special ambassador for the team, had nothing but praise for Canales. "I love him. Hes a very down-to-earth, very good person. He loves the team, he loves to teach, and he loves each and every one of those players," Schonely said. "And the players love him to death in return." While this season looks bleak for the Blazers, the summer should be interesting. As a result of several moves this season, Portland has stockpiled picks for the June NBA draft and has cleared as much as $25 million in cap space in hopes of landing a premier player -- preferably a point guard. Canales is well aware his stint as head coach is temporary, but he plans to make the most of it. And that means that the couch at the practice facility wont see much use in the next several weeks. "I dont think Im going to have time for anything else except preparing this team every night," he joked. ' ' '
zakbowden1 26 days ago
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