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was better off Verfasst am: Beitrag 08:27 Fr - Sep 28, 2018

As the Minnesota Vikings conducted their first full-team practice of training camp http://www.officialhurricanes.com/authentic-adidas-andrei-svechnikov-jersey , the offensive linemen, once again, found themselves in the spotlight.

The center of attention is precisely where these players would prefer not to be, and their position coach's sudden death was about the worst circumstance imaginable. The day after the starters served as pallbearers at Tony Sparano's memorial service, they turned their focus back to the field while carrying forward those lessons learned about the game and about life.

"He took me to places I couldn't go as a player and as a man," center Pat Elflein said. "It wasn't just football with him. He really cared about his players, the well-being of his players, and it hurts."

Sparano's personality in practice was gruff. He was simply aiming to help his players improve, and once they realized the passion behind his motives they quickly gained a deep appreciation for his presence that's been dearly missed this week.

"It's still there," Elflein said. "You can still sense it in the room, that Tony's not there, but he is."

Injuries have taken a toll on this group over the last few years. Some draft picks didn't develop, and some free agent additions didn't fit. Add that all up, and Minnesota's offensive line has struggled more than any other position group on the team since head coach Mike Zimmer was hired in 2014. Strides were made last year http://www.officialoilers.com/authentic-adidas-connor-mcdavid-jersey , but the NFC championship game loss at Philadelphia showed there's a long way to go. That's where the toughness and pride that Zimmer hired Sparano to more deeply instill in the blockers ought to continue on even without their leader.

"What his vision was on the makeup of his offensive line and what he truly believed in, over the past two years we've really focused on bringing in," general manager Rick Spielman said. "I used to kid him all the time, 'It's like watching a bunch of Tony Sparanos running around the building.' They're all in that mold. But I do think the group that we have, that they will rally. I know that they will want to make him proud as we move forward."

Zimmer announced Saturday his decision to switch tight ends coach Clancy Barone to become co-offensive line coach with Andrew Janocko, who assisted Sparano last season. Todd Downing, who was Oakland's offensive coordinator last year and hired by the Vikings as a senior offensive assistant, will assume supervision of the tight ends.

"We're still kind of mourning Tony, but he would've wanted us to move on, get back to grinding, so that's what we're going to do," left tackle Riley Reiff said.

Barone coached tight ends and offensive line at different times during eight seasons with Denver, where he was before joining the Vikings last season. Janocko is in his fourth year on Zimmer's staff.

"I feel really good about it," Zimmer said. "These guys are experienced in the things that they're doing Cam Talbot Jersey , and I think it was the best way to go."

Continuity was the top priority in replacing Sparano, who died of heart disease on Sunday at age 56.

"For the last two years we've worked really hard on the footwork and the techniques and the schemes we were running, so I felt like it was important that we continue to do that regardless of whatever we decided to do," Zimmer said.

Reiff is the anchor of the group, which has begun training camp in a mild state of flux with Elflein recovering from offseason surgeries on his ankle and shoulder. Nick Easton, likely the starting left guard again, has been handling center with Elflein still in rehabilitation mode. Mike Remmers has made what appears to be a permanent move to right guard, and Rashod Hill is in place at right tackle. While Elflein is out, newcomer Tom Compton is taking most of the turns at left guard.

"These guys are professionals. They understand that things happen. This isn't the first time that something's happened to us here," Zimmer said. "So we're used to overcoming adversity, and that's what we're going to continue to do."

CHICAGO (AP) — Corey Crawford is skating again. The Stanley Cup-winning goaltender hasn’t been cleared for practice just yet, but he thinks he is close.

Now about those defensemen for the Chicago Blackhawks.

While Crawford delivered a positive update Friday on his recovery from a concussion that sidelined him for most of last season, defensemen Connor Murphy, Brent Seabrook and Gustav Forsling missed the start of training camp due to injuries.

Forsling had right wrist surgery in July Youth Chris Kunitz Jersey , but the back injury for Murphy and abdominal issue for Seabrook were new developments. Murphy will be sidelined for about eight weeks, taking him out of the mix for the start of the season. The 33-year-old Seabrook is expected to miss about one week, according to team physician Michael Terry.

“Things changed here quickly there the last day or so in that area,” coach Joel Quenneville said.

The Blackhawks missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 2008, and the mix of green prospects and aging veterans among the defensemen was one of the biggest issues. The injuries could open the door for 19-year-old Henri Jokiharju to make the team out of camp.

Jokiharju was selected by Chicago in the first round of the 2017 draft. Brandon Davidson, who has eight goals and nine assists in 114 career NHL games, is in camp on a tryout deal, and Blake Hillman also could get a longer look.

“We’ve got a lot of candidates and I think that’s what’s exciting about the first day of camp and the first games next week,” general manager Stan Bowman said. “It’s going to be let’s see which guy earns that spot. There’s certainly opportunity there for players who play well.”

A healthy Crawford could provide a big lift. He worked with goaltending coach Jimmy Waite before Chicago’s first practice, skating off before the rest of the players jumped on the ice.

“I’ve gotten better and better over the last couple months and was able to skate a few times the last two weeks,” Crawford said. “I feel good on the ice as a goalie. But right now, I’m just, I’m not ready to go yet.”

Crawford played in 28 games last season, going 16-9-2 with a 2.27 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. The two-time All-Star was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 27.

The 33-year-old Crawford faced some shots during a morning skate in Arizona on Feb. 12 Shayne Gostisbehere Jersey , but was never able to come back.

“Things never really got better,” Crawford said. “We thought maybe to try it when I went to Arizona, and then we were at a point, too, where we were close in the standings and then it just got to where it didn’t seem like it was worth it when we started to slide. It was better off think about long-term than try to rush back.”

Crawford’s first public acknowledgement of his concussion and the specificity of the information on Murphy and Seabrook are part of an organizational shift in strategy when it comes to injuries. Rather than the traditional hockey parlance of generic upper-body and lower-body ailments, the Blackhawks are planning to be more forthcoming when it comes to players’ health.

“We’re trying to, I guess, sort of change with the times, maybe,” Bowman said. “It’s always that balance between respecting the players — at the end of the day, this is their injuries, they’re not our injuries. But we understand the world that we live in today. People want to know and they care about our team and they care about the players individually. They want to know.”

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