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as he hopes to take another step forward. M

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TORONTO -- Left with nothing play for at the World Cup of Hockey, coach John Tortorella told his United States players to play a game for themselves.They played hard, gave effort in a meaningless round-robin finale but still lost 4-3 to the Czech Republic on Thursday night. With an 0-3-0 record and a minus-6 goal differential, the U.S. finished seventh among eight teams, ahead of only Finland.The bottom line is we leave here with nothing, Tortorella said. Certainly we cant be happy about that.Previous losses to Team Europe and Canada eliminated the Americans from contention. While Canada, Sweden, Europe and Russia prepare for the semifinals this weekend, the U.S. and Czech Republic played out the string in front of a half-empty arena.Joe Pavelski, Justin Abdelkader and Ryan McDonagh scored for the U.S., which did not unravel in a meaningless game like it did in the 2014 Olympic bronze medal game. Ben Bishop allowed four goals on 20 shots in two periods, and Cory Schneider made seven saves in relief.Petr Mrazek stopped 36 of the 39 shots he faced to backstop the Czech Republic to its first victory. Milan Michalek scored twice and Zbynek Michalek and Andrej Sustr each had a goal.U.S. players promised they wouldnt mail it in with nothing to play for. A result of human nature, it felt like an all-star game with a lack of real physicality as everyone wanted to get through without getting injured.I thought some guys gave some really true efforts, Tortorella said. We just didnt find a way to win the hockey game.Afterward, Tortorella broke from his usual routine and addressed the team.McDonagh said the message was, Keep your heads up, youre all great players. You all represent your country to the best of your ability and you were a great group to be around.Frustration boiled over for Dustin Byfuglien at the final buzzer as he went after Czech defenseman Michal Jordan. A healthy scratch in the tournament opener, the Winnipeg Jets defenseman had a beautiful pass to set up Abdelkaders goal and was one of the best players on the ice.A collection of fans spent stretches of the first period chanting, Lets go Kessel! and We want Kessel! Stanley Cup-winning Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Kessel was left off the U.S. team and made light of that on Twitter on Tuesday night after the Americans lost to Canada.That was a must-win game for the U.S. after opening the tournament with what Patrick Kane called a dud against Europe. General manager Dean Lombardi blamed not being prepared for that game for the U.S. bowing out of the World Cup.I dont think we showed enough respect for the talent on that team, Lombardi said Thursday morning.Lombardi said that the 3-0 loss to Europe put the U.S. behind the proverbial 8-ball that felt like a boulder. The Los Angeles Kings GM has seen his team come back from a 3-0 playoff deficit but described the locker room after losing to Europe as tight, and the U.S. was never able to adequately respond.We needed to do a better job than what we did, but theres a lot of good players in that room, captain Joe Pavelski said. We kind of beat ourselves a little bit.Getting almost skated out of the rink by Canada wasnt entirely unexpected, but players acknowledged their recipe to move on was to beat Europe and the Czech Republic. They didnt do either, and USA Hockey faces plenty of questions about how it will bounce back for the 2018 Olympics, if NHL players participate.Tortorella said he had a few ideas about changes that could be made but preferred to keep those to himself. He doesnt want USA Hockey to overreact despite a lackluster showing on a big stage.Weve just got to slow ourselves down and dissect whats happened, he said. It certainly isnt good. But not to the extent as far as the chatter all around us. I think weve got to block out the noise, re-assess where we went and see what we can do to get us better as an organization. Vans Shoes For Sale Cheap . The 29-year-old from Port Colborne, Ont., has nothing but good things to say about former U.S. marine Liz (Girlrilla) Carmouche ahead of their co-main event Wednesday on the UFCs "Fight for the Troops" televised card in Fort Campbell, Ky. Cheap Vans Shoes Wholesale . A big centre with all the tools to be an elite player, Johansen paced the Blue Jackets with a standout game Saturday night. He had a goal and two assists for a career-high three points as Columbus beat the New York Islanders 5-2 to snap a five-game losing streak. http://www.cheapaustraliavans.com/ . - After leading the Saints to a fourth playoff appearance in five seasons, Drew Brees expressed confidence in the direction of his team and, perhaps more importantly, showed a willingness to listen to contract proposals if the team needs his help getting under the NFLs salary cap. Vans Shoes Australia Sale . In the lead up - which seemed to begin the moment Mike Geiger blew the whistle in Houston last Thursday night - the Impact rumour mill went into overdrive. The speculation went into meltdown mode, of the golden nugget variety. Vans Shoes Online Australia Sale . 9. Price, heading to the 2014 Olympics for Canada, was named the First Star after posting wins in three starts with a 1.00 goals-against average and a .971 save percentage. NAPA, Calif. -- Coach Jack Del Rio walked off the field after the first training camp practice and was quickly asked about the buzz surrounding his Oakland Raiders team that might finally have the ingredients to end a 13-year playoff drought.We play a little buzz coverage, Del Rio joked Friday before acknowledging and accepting the heightened expectations heading into his second year as Raiders coach.Its a tough division but we come in expecting to win our division, he said. Thats our goal. Thats our goal every year. I started that last year. We certainly arent going to back away from anything like that.Talking tough and actually contending are far different but this years Raiders team appears to have the necessary pieces to help the franchise reverse a downward slide that has featured 13 straight years without a playoff berth or a winning record.Quarterback Derek Carr took a major step forward in Year 2 in the NFL and has ended the revolving door at the position that had hindered Oakland ever since former MVP Rich Gannon left following the 2004 season.Carr has a strong offensive line to protect him, a 1,000-yard back in Latavius Murray to relieve some pressure and most importantly a big-time receiver in Amari Cooper, who caught 72 passes for 1,070 yards as a rookie last year.Carr has heard plenty about the hype surrounding his team as friends around the league spent the offseason praising moves like the additions of linebacker Bruce Irvin, cornerback Sean Smith, safety Reggie Nelson and guard Kelechi Osemele and told him the Raiders are a team to be feared.As much as he appreciates those compliments after starting his career in 2014 on an overmatched team that lost its first 10 games and changed coaches before finishing 3-13, he mostly tunes them out.I put so much pressure on myself I dont get caught up in `we expect this, we expect that, Carr said. I already expect greatneess and perfection.ddddddddddddCarr said he keeps a close eye on the team to make sure that the outside praise doesnt lead to complacency.He is pleased with what he saw this offseason as players put in the same extra work and effort they did even when the team struggled his rookie season.When the extra stuff stops, when the hard work stops, thats when you need to worry, he said.It helps that two of the hardest workers are the top players on both sides of the ball in Carr and edge rusher Khalil Mack. The teams top two picks in the 2014 draft talked about changing the culture in Oakland soon after they were drafted and they have done a good job so far in their short time as pros.They have produced as well.Carr is coming off a 32-touchdown season and is now seeking to become more efficient and consistent as he hopes to take another step forward. Mack emerged as one the top defensive players in the league last year, recording 15 sacks to go along with stout run defense that helped him get named a first-team All Pro at both defensive end and linebacker.Now they hope to contribute to some team success as well as the Raiders seek to improve on last years 7-9 record.I feel like were in the midst of a great turnaround, Mack said.Game notes First-round S Karl Joseph (knee) practiced for the first time with the full team after undergoing knee surgery last season at West Virginia. ... The Raiders hosted about 90 former players as part of alumni weekend. The team also hosted military members for the opening day of practice. ... Oakland signed DT Derrick Lott and placed RB Roy Helu Jr. on injured reserve. ... G Vadal Alexander practiced after starting the week on the non-football injury list.---Online:AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL ' ' '

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