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PHILADELPHIA -- It didnt take Russian forward Nikita Scherbak long to win over the Montreal media. "Oh my God, a lot of people," a nervous Scherbak said as he approached a phalanx of media backstage at Wells Fargo Center after going 26th overall to the Canadiens in the first round of the NHL draft Friday. "Oh my God." Within five minutes, the Saskatoon Blades winger was over his nerves and had English, French and Russian reporters eating out of his hand. What do you know about Montreal, he was asked. "Merci, bonjour," he offered. And what about the Habs? "I know Montreal wins a lot of Stanley Cups." Asked how much he weighed, Scherbak said he was 190 pounds. "But I havent eaten for two days, Im so nervous," he said to laughter. "Im sitting eating my fingers." The Russian, either six foot or 6-2 depending on who you believe, scored 28 goals and added 50 assists in his first year with the Blades to lead all WHL rookies. He also was named the Blades most valuable player and rookie of the year. "I think Im a good playmaker," he said. Habs GM Marc Bergevin marvelled at the Russians poise. "I saw somebody with a lot of personality. Hes got an appeal to him. Hes got confidence. Montreals a different market and from what weve seen so far we feel we could handle that." The Canadiens also have players who can mentor the young Russian in Alexei Emelin, Andrei Markov and Alex Galchenyuk. Asked how close Scherbak is to making the NHL, Bergevin gave the stock answer. "Thats going to be up to him," he said. As for his playing skills, Bergevin pointed to his speed, skating, vision and playmaking ability. "For us, hes a top talent," he said. "For whatever reason he was at 26 so we jumped on him." The GM acknowledged that he would have looked to move down the draft had the Russian been picked earlier. Scherbak said he came to Canada because he wanted to fulfil his dream and that of his family to play in the NHL. "I dont think about the KHL," he added. The language barrier wasnt easy. At first, he said all he could do was "just show." Then he learned "easy words like cat, dog, like food, eat, sleep." A year on, he can chat away. "Thats pretty good," said one reporter. "I think so too," smiled Scherbak. "Maybe I learn French right now," he added. Reporters suddenly felt old when, asked who he looked up to in the NHL, Scherbak cited 21-year-old Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Earlier in the day, Montreal coach Michel Therrien acknowledged he has replayed the Eastern Conference final loss in his head. "Of course," he said at the draft. "if you look at the big picture, yes were happy about the progress we made. But at the same time, when youre two wins away from reaching the Stanley Cup final, yes youve got to be disappointed." The Canadiens have already made some decisions. Bergevin says free agents Thomas Vanek, defenceman Douglas Murray and tough guy George Parros wont be back. Talks continue with three other free agents: captain Brian Gionta, and defencemen Mike Weaver and Francis Bouillon. Markov and Therrien have both signed new deals. "Thats good news for us," Therrien said of Markov staying in the fold. "Hes an important player, hes a veteran. Hes got such an important role, so were all pleased hes back with us." Therrien agreed to a four-year contract extension earlier this month. The 50-year-old is in his second stint at the Habs helm. His record over the last two seasons is 75-42-13. Finding an assistant coach to replace Gerard Gallant, now head coach of the Florida Panthers, is also on the Habs to-do list. Defenceman P.K. Subbans contract is also a major issue. Bergevin says there has already been a meeting with Subbans agent. Asked about young goalie Dustin Tokarskis immediate future, Therrien said simply: "Well see at the (training) camp." Tokarski acquitted himself well in filling in for the injured Carey Price against the Rangers. Therrien made a point of praising backup Peter Budaj, who was ignored in favour of Tokarski. "Peter is one of the best backups in the NHL. So I have a lot of respect for Peter Budaj." Cheap Authentic NFL Jerseys .Y. - Geno Smith still thinks of himself as the New York Jets starting quarterback. China Jerseys . The Marlies centre set up three goals, including the game-winner, as Toronto cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Oklahoma City Barons in American Hockey League action. http://www.nfljerseyschina.net/ ." Bach is in Rome for the European Olympic Committees general assembly and meetings with Pope Francis. He also visited with Italian Premier Enrico Letta. "The prime minister appeared to be interested in a bid from Italy for 24, because he has realized that the games can serve as a catalyst for development for a city and a country," Bach told The Associated Press on Saturday. Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys . - Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson sat on the scorers table at Oracle Arena on Wednesday morning. Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping . Lost to Los Angeles in first round of playoffs.BELGRADE, Serbia -- Vasek Pospisil knows his first career match against the worlds best tennis player isnt going to be easy, so hes happy hell be getting it over with early in Canadas Davis Cup semifinal tie against Serbia. The 23-year-old from Vancouver will face the No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic in Fridays opening singles match at the Kombank Arena. With Pospisil also playing doubles, getting his toughest match out of the way gives him time to rest before teaming up with veteran Daniel Nestor on Saturday in doubles. "Obviously I dont have to talk about how good of a player (Djokovic) is so I know Im going to have a tough day on Friday," Pospisil said after Thursdays draw. "Im happy that Im playing first and to rest for the doubles on Saturday." Djokovic only arrived Wednesday night after losing a gruelling four-set match to Rafael Nadal in the U.S. Open final on Monday. There was a concern that Djokovic may be rested Friday and saved for Sundays much-anticipated match against top-ranked Canadian Milos Raonic. Djokovic assured the large gathering of Serbian media Thursday he will be ready to go when the best-of-five tie kicks off Friday. "Its not the first time that I have two days time to get ready," said Djokovic. "Its obvious that Im tired because Ive had a long hard-court season and jetlag and time changes can play a factor to my adjusting to the conditions but I feel quite healthy and very much motivated and inspired to play for my country." The 11th-ranked Raonic will play Janko Tipsarevic in the second match Friday. The player from Thornhill, Ont., has won all three previous meetings with Tipsarevic but all those wins have come on hard court surfaces. Theyll be playing on clay indoors in Belgrade, a surface that has challenged Raonic in the past. "Im playing much better on clay and even here after the summer Ive had, I have a lot of confidence ...," said Raonic. "Even though its a bit faster than a traditional clay court and clay court atmosphere, its something I feel very comfortablee with and I feel like Ive done well with.dddddddddddd" Canada, which upset Spain and Italy in Vancouver to advance, has never played in the Davis Cup semifinals before. Serbia, meanwhile, is trying to get back to the final after winning the event in 2010. The winner of the tie will play the winner of the other semifinal between the Czech Republic and Argentina in November. Despite being in uncharted territory, the Canadians seemed relaxed Thursday. Raonic and Pospisil warmed up by throwing a football around and kicking a soccer ball over the net before a vigorous training session. Nestor arrived later with the rest of the staff for a final game of soccer tennis before the team marched in for the draw. The Canadian team has a strong connection to the Balkan region with Nestor returning to his birthplace while Raonic was born in what is now Montenegro. Frank Dancevic of Niagara Falls, Ont., who saw action in the first round against Spain in February, has a Serbian-born father and has trained in Belgrade recently. While those connections may earn the Canadians some respect from the 15,000 fans each day, Nestor knows they wont get much support. "If things get close, and we expect them to, I think for sure theyre going to forget about that pretty quickly," Nestor said. "At the end of the day its about winning the tie so theyre going to do what it takes to do that." In the doubles on Saturday, Nestor and Pospisil will be taking on Ilija Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonic. Bozoljac is a last-second change, replacing Dusan Lajovic. Nestor and Zimonic were partners between 2008 and 2010. The pair won three Grand Slam titles together so they know each other well. Nestor is more concerned with Lajovic. "I think Bozoljac brings something new to the table and we have to be prepared for him," said Nestor. "Hes a big hitter and a shot-maker and we have to try and take him off his game." The singles draws are flipped for Sunday with Djokovic opening the day against Raonic and Tipsarevic playing Pospisil. ' ' '

2019-02-23 05:04:03
   
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