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Canadas Kevin Koe is trying his best to avoid distractions and focus on curling as he
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Canadas Kevin Koe is trying his best to avoid distractions and focus on curling as he prepares for the upcoming mens world curling championship. Cheap Dallas Cowboys Jerseys Online . There have been a few challenges for Koe in the leadup to the competition, which opens Saturday at Beijings Capital Indoor Stadium. Chief among them is news that there are changes coming to his rink next season. Koes current lineup features second Carter Rycroft, third Pat Simmons and lead Nolan Thiessen. Rycroft, whose wife is pregnant, has already said hell be taking a year off after this season. Kevin Martin confirmed to The Canadian Press that Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert will be leaving his rink to join Koes team next season. Koe preferred to keep his focus on the world championship and declined to comment on the coming changes. The future plans of Simmons and Thiessen were unclear. It was the first major shakeup in whats expected to be a summer of significant change on the mens curling scene now that the four-year Olympic cycle is complete. The timing is less than ideal for Koe and his teammates. Gerry Peckham, the Canadian Curling Associations high-performance director, expects Koe to be able to lock in on the immediate task before him. "Our analysis of his performance skills and performance attributes would suggest that hes an incredibly focused individual and is seldom distracted by anything external to the game at hand," Peckham said. "I think those teammates have looked in each other in the eye again, squared their shoulders, are shaking each others hands and are now moving on to complete this journey of a world championship." Koe won gold in his only previous appearance at the world championship, taking top spot at the 2010 playdowns in Cortina DAmpezzo, Italy. At this years event, Canada will be a favourite along with Scotland, Sweden, Norway and China. The 12-team field is rounded out by the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Russia, Switzerland and the United States. "Canada used to be known obviously as a big favourite going in all the time but you quickly realize how the gap is changing," Koe said. "Our experience in 2010 was awesome in Italy and it was a great feeling to win. But this is just as important for us. "To get to be two-time world champs would be pretty neat and kind of validate our first win." Koe arrived early in the week so that hed have time to adjust to the 14-hour time change. He was greeted by plenty of smog, heat and humidity. Hes also still getting used to the various culinary options in the Chinese capital. "Its a bit of a culture shock for us," Koe said in a recent interview. "Big difference from what were used to. Obviously a huge city but it will be a great experience." Koe had a strong performance at the Tim Hortons Brier and is enjoying another solid year on the World Curling Tour. Hes third on the money list and fourth in the order of merit standings behind only Olympic champ Brad Jacobs, Howard and Jeff Stoughton. The only change from the 2010 lineup is that Simmons has replaced Blake MacDonald on the Calgary-based rink. "We dont get too excited or too worked up as a team," Koe said. "Were pretty calm. Obviously the experience of being to one (world championship) will help for sure, especially when youre coming to a foreign country where everything is different. "At least we can rely on the experience once we actually get on the ice of knowing weve been to the worlds and we did well last time." Its the first World Curling Federation world championship event to be staged in China. The venue was used for volleyball competition at the 2008 Summer Olympics. The Chinese team skipped by Rui Liu is coming off a fourth-place result at the Sochi Games. Scotlands Ewan MacDonald has three world titles to his name although this is his first appearance as skip. Thomas Ulsrud, who won Olympic silver at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, will skip the Norwegian team. "We know most of these teams and theyre all pretty good," Koe said. "Not too many easy games out there." Swedens Niklas Edin is not back to defend the title he won last year in Victoria. Instead, Oskar Eriksson will skip the Swedish entry. Round-robin play will continue through Thursday evening and tiebreakers will be used if needed to determine the top four teams. The Page playoff system will be used ahead of the medal games on April 6. Koe said the ice conditions in the venue will be a huge factor. "They do have some great icemakers but its really warm here," he said. "Its supposedly pushing 30 (degrees Celsius) here and they had an event in the facility early in the year and there was a lot of problems. But I think theyve brought in some dehumidifiers and air conditioning to cool the arena down. "Thats the big worry here. If the ice is good, I for sure like our chances. Bad ice would be a bit of an equalizer I think. But when you have some of the best icemakers in the world, Im sure theyll get it figured out." Canada has won gold three of the last four years at this event. Stoughton was victorious in 2011 at Regina and Howard won at Basel, Switzerland in 2012. The Canadians are scheduled to open against Denmarks Rasmus Stjerne on Saturday. "You have four very solid, confident, resolved individuals (who are) mentally tough," said Peckham. "I think they realize the significance and the importance of this world championship to themselves individually and as a collective, and then of course representing this curling nation of Canada. "So I think theyve gone out the door with their game face on." The world championship will return to Canada next year as Halifax plays host. Custom Cowboys Jerseys . The Opening Day starter played 53 games this season hitting .192 with nine home runs and 25 RBI. Red Sox manager John Farrell has decided to start Jose Iglesias at third base as of late instead of Middlebrooks. Dallas Cowboys Jerseys Outlet . It will mark the 22nd time the tournament has been held in this country and fourth in Atlanta Canada but will make its first appearance ever in played Nova Scotia. http://www.cowboyscheap.com/144d-cheap-t...wboys.html .com) - The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to complete a sweep of the Washington Capitals when the clubs cap a quick home-and-home series Tuesday night in the Steel City.Weve had a couple days to sit back and reflect on Toronto FCs first setback of the early season.  Neither the performance, nor the scoreline flatters in the 3-0 loss at Real Salt Lake Saturday. It was always going to be a difficult match against MLS Cup runners-up and a team with minimal roster change year over year.  Certain flaws were exposed and much work remains for a team in transition.  On the surface, a 3-0 loss to the casual fan or someone who didnt see Saturdays match may suggest, ‘same old TFC. Thats hardly the case.  TFC has experienced its fair share of lopsided results in recent years with the vast majority reflective of a lack of quality and the gulf in talent that existed between competitors.  Saturdays loss was more about Real Salt Lake taking advantage of TFC mistakes than any lopsided pedigree between rosters.  Team cohesion and familiarity also skewed in favour of the home side.  And even while on the back-foot for most of their visit to Rio Tinto, Toronto remained dangerous to the end and is certainly no longer a team you can take a lead against and rest on your laurels.  Theres no reason to lose excitement about what this team can be based upon this one performance alone.  However, lessons were learned and improvement is required. Here are five thoughts on Toronto FCs loss at Real Salt Lake. 1. Jermain Problem Striker Jermain Defoe left the match in the 62nd minute and headed straight to the locker room, clutching his hamstring.  Gulp.  Head Coach Ryan Nelsen commented post-match, “He was feeling the hamstring before the game and it tightened up.”  Defoe had a ‘slight hamstring issue at Tottenham before joining Toronto FC.  The severity of Defoes most recent potential setback has not been revealed.  Regardless of the severity, Toronto FC must proceed with caution. Hamstrings are tricky and, if not dealt with appropriately, can linger and lead to extended spells on the sidelines.  The extensive travel and varying playing surfaces across Major League Soccer put exceptional wear and tear on the body.  Durability is key for Defoe and it will take time to adjust to the conditions of North American football.  The team needs a healthy Defoe to be considered among MLS elite.  The pre-season injury loss of Bright Dike complicates matters more, leaving TFC all-too thin up front.  So the inclination will be to play Defoe as soon as hes deemed relatively fit.  Theres no need to play hero and play through the injury.  The season is a marathon.  The long view must be the priority with TFCs prized possession. 2. Difficult Night for Doneil Centre back Doneil Henry was among TFCs top players in the first two games.  The 20-year old has all the qualities to be a top defender in MLS, but Saturday was tough for him and his partner in the middle of the back four, Steven Caldwell.  Henry was the culprit for the penalty leading to RSLs opening goal.  A harmless, lazy ball was played to the feet of RSL striker Alvaro Saborio at the top corner of the 18; an innocent one-vs-one situation with the attackers back to goal.  Instead of taking a step back and focusing on position, Henry came through the back of the player with his arms wrapped around Saborio trying to get to the ball.  The striker went to the ground, making for an easy point to the penalty spot for match official Baldomero Toledo.   It was an unnecessary, sloppy challenge from Henry, showing shades of last season when he had the unbecoming habit of diving in and/or over-committing to challenges at inopportune times in vulnerable areas.  The time, place and execution of this challenge gone wrong was all amiss.  Theres much to like about Henrys commitment, aggressiveness and enthusiasm, but he has to pick his spots.  Henry has the athleticism to cover a lot of ground, meaning he can afford to take an extra step back and gain superior position while still being aggressive in challenges.  Superior defensive positioning and proper decision-making will come with furtheer maturity, experience and direction. Authentic Dallas Cowboys Jerseys.   Henry will be just fine and a key cog in this Toronto FC team.  Mistakes like this are part of the process a young player goes through. 3. Flaws in Defensive Execution High pressure can be a teams best and worst enemy.  Nelsens team has shown the desire and commitment to put all kinds of pressure on the ball, all over the field.  Its often a high risk, high reward proposition, but can leave a team vulnerable if a solid defensive shape doesnt hold true.  Toronto FC lost its defensive balance against a crafty Real Salt Lake midfield diamond that regularly found space between TFCs centre midfield duo and the backline.  Javier Morales at the top of the diamond found freedom in the gaps, leaving Torontos defenders not knowing whether to step forward and commit or fall back to cover.  Nelsens 4-4-2 isnt to blame for the breakdown, though - the problem was in execution.  If Toronto FC is going to continue to put constant high pressure on the ball, the centre backs need to keep the formation compact to condense the space and provide more support to the centre midfielders.  When Michael Bradley commits to the pressure on the ball, the space behind needs to be limited.  Of concern for Nelsen, as he tries to get his team working in unison, is a speed deficiency at certain defensive positions.  If the defenders arent confident they can make up ground, leaving space in behind, the tactical formation will fall apart.  The hope is superior execution of high pressure defensive play will come in time, as this new-look roster grows accustomed to tendencies and the strengths and weaknesses of their new teammates. 4. Jackson Leaves a Hole It came as somewhat of a surprise that Mark Bloom, starting right back in Torontos first two wins, moved forward to play outside right midfield with Jackson suspended.  Bradley Orr slotted in at right back, which seems to be the longer term plan once the Englishman finds full fitness.  Bloom did a nice job as an outside defender to start the season, but an outside midfielder, he is not.  It speaks to the lack of depth at the position that Nelsen chose to deputize Bloom at it.  Right midfielder Issey Nakajima-Farran made his MLS debut as a 59th-minute substitute.  Whether hes suited for this league and can be effective is still to be determined, but based upon TFCs lack of options, hell get every look possible.  TFC cannot afford to continually have a fullback playing a forward position.  It wasnt as if Nakajima-Farrans introduction that led to Toronto FC having success down the flanks. It was more the fullbacks pushing forward than influence from the outside of the midfield.  Regardless, proper role definition leads to a level of comfort and greater fluidity.  The team will have to find more depth at the wing positions or consistent build up will be sacrificed. 5. Keep the Ball! To nobodys surprise, Real Salt Lake dominated in possession, managing 63 per cent of the ball in the contest.  This marks the third straight week TFC have been short in possession.  TFC may never be a dominant ball possession team, able to boss the proceedings, but they have to be much better.  Poor field conditions and inconsistent surfaces, combined with unfamiliarity with new teammates are certainly excuses, but its too many long balls out of the back and not enough service to the feet of the strikers that are ultimately responsible.  Defoe, Gilberto and Dwayne De Rosario are forward players who demand the ball at their feet.  Having the trio chase down searching balls, while regularly competing in aerial battles, is a waste and hardly how to get the most out of the talent.  It starts at the back, but the build through the midfield has a ways to go.  This is a work in progress. Keeping the ball and playing along the ground with quality is paramount in the growth of the team. Toronto FC is next in action on Saturday when it the visits the Columbus Crew. You can catch all of the action live on TSN 1050 at 4pm et. 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