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Adrian Lewis has conceded that playing doubles matches alongside Phil Taylor at the World Cup of Darts can be difficult to adjust to. World Cup guide Draw, schedule, pairs... everything you need to know The unique competition is live on Sky Sports from Thursday until Sunday and Englands Lewis and Taylor will enter as the defending champions - they meet Spain in the first round.Despite an unrivalled three wins from five World Cups, Lewis claims that the doubles format can present problems. Youve got to try and focus - which can be hard, especially when Phils behind you telling you to slow down! Adrian Lewis He told the PDC: Its hard to get into a rhythm, especially when youre playing a doubles match, but youve got to try and focus - which can be hard, especially when Phils behind you telling you to slow down!I really enjoy it. Pairing up with Phil and playing for England is good and weve won it in three out of four years, so weve got a good record and hopefully we can retain the title. Look back at last years tournament as England scooped the top prize We always have fun and a lot of friendly banter with other teams but its brilliant playing with Phil.The World Cup offers darts top names to renew acquaintances wearing the colours of their countries, having spent the past few months battling away in the Premier League. Gary Anderson, who will represent Scotland alongside Robert Thornton against New Zealand in the opening round, still recalls last years painful defeat to England.It would be great to win the World Cup, said Anderson. Adrian and Phil havent let me forget that final for an entire year but the pressure will be on them and hopefully Robert and myself can come through. Rod Studd has selected Devon Petersens miscount as his favourite World Cup of Darts moment We wont be taking anything for granted against New Zealand though because its a big chance for them and theyll want to produce a big upset against us.World No 1 Michael van Gerwen is another obvious favourite to lift the trophy on Sunday - he teams with Raymond van Barneveld for the Netherlands, a duo that won the title two years ago, against Russia. Raymond van Barneveld (left) and Michael van Gerwen win World Cup of Darts 2014 Van Gerwen said: Winning this title two years ago was very special for me and Raymond and it would be fantastic if we can do that again this weekend.Well focus first on the Russia game because we dont know what to expect and anything can happen in doubles matches, so well have to prepare well.The World Cup of Darts begins on Thursday at 7pm, live on Sky Sports 1 HD. Also See: Studds favourite moment World Cup full guide Five key questions Full draw Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. . Luke Wileman and I stood in the corridor outside of the Vancouver Whitecaps dressing room at BC Place in Vancouver. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. . Yup, he definitely needed this one. Craig homered twice and had three RBIs Wednesday night to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 7-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Craig went 4 for 5 and Yadier Molina added three hits for the Cardinals, who salvaged the final game of a three-game set in hopes of staying within shouting distance of front-running Milwaukee in the NL Central. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link.. He made that dream a reality Wednesday night. Olt, who grew up in Branford, Connecticut, attended UConn and made a nearly 2 1-2 hour trek to Boston a handful of times to watch the Red Sox, belted a two-run homer, one of four hit by Cubs in a 16-9 rout that completed a three-game interleague series sweep. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. . “Im not sure well get Melky Cabrera at all,” said Gibbons. The 29-year-old left fielder struggled all season with knee and hamstring problems. Cabrera was first on the disabled list from June 27-July 20 with tendinitis in his left knee. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. .C. -- Eric Staal kept his focus after his apparent breakaway goal was waived off early in the third period.The St. Louis Blues had 111 points in the 2013-2014 season, the second-most in franchise history and most since 1999-2000, yet a first-round playoff elimination leaves obvious room for improvement. Off-Season Game Plan examines a team that is knocking on the door with the top contenders in the Western Conference, but needs something to take the next step forward. A Top-10 puck possession team, the Blues were very good on special teams too (eighth in power play percentage, second in penalty killing percentage), so they didnt have glaring weaknesses going into their first-round series with Chicago. If there was one area of concern, it might have been goaltending, as the Blues finished the year with a .913 save percentage, tied for 13th. They traded for Ryan Miller, in the hopes that he would be the answer, but Miller posted a .901 save percentage in 25 (regular season plus playoff) games with the Blues, which didnt alleviate goaltending concerns and prompted the Blues to re-sign Brian Elliott and mark Jake Allen for promotion. Going with inexpensive goaltending does open up the possibility that the Blues can more readily upgrade their lineup, perhaps with an improvement in the second-line centre spot. While the Blues were tied for sixth in the league with 2.92 goals per game, there is still room to elevate their skill level if they are going to compete with the best. Its not as though the Blues are incapable of competing with their current roster -- they were challenging for first place overall before losing the last six games of the regular season -- but its difficult to justify making no improvements to a team that has made it out of the first round once since 2002. The TSN.ca Rating is an efficiency rating based on per-game statistics including goals and assists -- weighted for strength (ie. power play, even, shorthanded) -- Corsi, adjusted for zone starts, quality of competition and quality of teammates, hits, blocked shots, penalty differential and faceoffs. Generally, a replacement-level player is around a 60, a top six forward and top four defenceman will be around 70, stars will be over 80 and MVP candidates could go over 90. Sidney Crosby finished at the top of the 2013-2014 regular season ratings at 87.12. Salary cap information all comes from the indispensable Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link.. CF% = Corsi percentage (ie. percentage of 5-on-5 shot attempts), via Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link.. GM/COACHDoug Armstrong/Ken Hitchcock Returning Forwards Player Rating GP G A PTS CF% Cap Hit Alexander Steen 81.02 68 33 29 62 57.1% $5.8M David Backes 76.16 74 27 30 57 55.5% $4.5M T.J. Oshie 73.65 79 21 39 60 54.5% $4.175M Vladimir Tarasenko 73.20 64 21 22 43 58.1% $900K Maxim Lapierre 60.70 71 9 6 15 44.9% $1.1M Magnus Paajarvi 60.17 55 6 6 12 53.1% $1.2M Ryan Reaves 55.82 63 2 6 8 45.9% $1.125M Chris Porter 55.29 22 0 1 1 47.8% $675K Free Agent Forwards Player Rating GP G A PTS CF% Class 13-14 Cap Hit Patrik Berglund 64.84 78 14 18 32 54.7% RFA $3.25M Vladimir Sobotka 69.18 61 9 24 33 56.7% RFA $1.3M Jaden Schwartz 73.91 80 25 31 56 56.5% RFA $1.167M Derek Roy 63.58 75 9 28 37 52.0% UFA $4.0M Steve Ott 60.05 82 9 14 23 44.5% UFA $2.95M Brenden Morrow 61.06 71 13 12 25 48.5% UFA $1.5M Alexander Steen has developed into one of the best two-way forwards in the game, and he set career-highs in goals (33) and points (62), despite missing 14 games with injuries last season. Hes due for some shooting percentage regression, but Steen is also one of 18 players to put up at least 3.0 shots per game in each of the past four seasons. Hard-nosed centre David Backes rebounded from a down season in 2012-2013 with a career-best 0.77 points per game last season, and Backes and Steen were part of an exclusive group to play against high calibre of competition, start more shifts in the defensive zone and finish with better than plus-10 shot attempts per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 play. Hes ever-so-slightly below the best two-way centres in the game because hes good, not great, offensively. T.J. Oshie gained lots of fame for his shootout exploits against Russia in the Olympics, but he had a breakthrough NHL season too, staying healthy enough to set career-highs in goals (21), assists (39) and points (60) while putting up strong possession stats while spending most of his time alongside Backes and Steen. If the Blues have a breakout offensive star in-house, it could be Vladimir Tarasenko, the sturdy winger who has been productive enough, with 62 points in 102 games through his first two seasons, but hes in elite company when it comes to puck possession over that time, with the Blues getting 58.0% of the 5-on-5 shot attempts with Tarasenko on the ice over the last two years. An agitator who is fed defensive zone starts, Maxim Lapierre consistently gets crushed in terms of puck possession. He is one of 13 forwards to have at least 20 goals and 250 penalty minutes over the past three seasons. While his first season in St. Louis wasnt very productive, Magnus Paajarvi played a career-low 10:15 per game and his possession stats were still good enough to believe that the 23-year-old can make it work in a top-nine role. Theres no doubting Ryan Reaves toughness. Hes dropped the gloves 38 times in 194 games over the past four seasons, and while he doesnt always get killed in puck possession, he did last season. Hes a marginal fourth-liner, which makes it a little difficult to justify a four-year contract, so thats a strong commitment from the team. 30-year-old Chris Porter is forever battling to hold a spot in the Blues lineup, playing 143 games over the past four seasons, and he may well be up and down again next season, but hes on a one-way contract, so Porter has a chance to earn regular fourth-line work. While some players endure a sophomore slump, Jaden Schwartz made a quantum leap forward, jumping from 13 points in 45 games as a rookie to 56 points in 80 games last season, putting up stellar possession numbers along the way. His coach compares him to Zach Parise, which is high praise, and reason to think that the Blues would be inclined to sign Schwartz to a long-term contract. Though he has earned his keep as a checking centre, Vladimir Sobotka was given more offensive opportunities last season and came up with a career-high 33 points in 61 games, while playing a career-high 16:45 per game. He also had excellent possession stats. Patrik Berglunds production see-saw was on the down portion last year, which should be reason for optimism next sason, yet he had strong possession numbers last season too. Hes big and skilled, yet hasnt scored more than 40 points in any of the past three years and hes capable of meeting that threshold at the very least. The Blues got a jump on next season by inking Joakim Lindstrom, a 30-year-old forward who had five points in 16 games with Colorado in 2011-2012, but has 137 points in 129 Swedish Hockey League games since. It wouldnt be fair to place high expectations on Lindstrom, but if he improves the forward depth, thats a start. For a team that didnt score enough, the Blues most likely target this summer should be a way to improve their attack. Whether thats a free agent signing like Thomas Vanek or trading for a high-priced centre like Jason Spezza or Eric Staal, its a need that needs to be addressed. Returning Defence Player Rating GP G A PTS CF% Cap Hit Alex Pietrangelo 75.72 81 8 43 51 554.dddddddddddd% $6.5M Kevin Shattenkirk 73.55 81 10 35 45 55.1% $4.25M Jay Bouwmeester 69.03 82 4 33 37 53.8% $5.4M Barret Jackman 63.43 79 3 12 15 52.9% $3.167M Ian Cole 62.61 46 3 8 11 49.0% $825K Roman Polak 62.42 72 4 9 13 49.4% $2.75M Jordan Leopold 61.19 27 1 5 6 53.1% $2.25M Free Agent Defence Player Rating GP G A PTS CF% Class 13-14 Cap Hit Carlo Colaiacovo 59.12 25 1 3 4 51.7% UFA $750K One of the games premier blueliners, Alex Pietrangelo has top-tier possession stats and over the past four seasons is one of seven defencemen to record at least 100 points with a rating of plus-50 or better. The 24-year-old is goign to be in the Norris Trophy discussion for years to come. He may be overshadowed, somewhat, by Pietrangelo, but Kevin Shattenkirk is a terrific puck-moving defenceman, who also has great possession numbers and, over the past three years, his 111 points is tied for 12th among defencemen. After some underwhelming years in Calgary, Jay Bouwmeester had 37 points for the Blues last season, his most 2008-2009 when he was playing in Florida. As always, he played against the oppositions best forwards and, playing for a strong Blues team, actually had positive possession stats too. An easier workload, while playing a career-low 17:56 per game, helped Barret Jackman to a more effective campaign in 2013-2014. The 33-year-old adds toughness in a mind-the-store defensive role. The 18th overall pick in 2007, Ian Cole hasnt been able to hold down a regular role with the Blues. Maybe he fits in the top six with another club, but this isnt an easy lineup for Cole to crack. A rugged defensive defenceman, Roman Polak has limited puck skills and that has resulted in mediocre possession stats that, in relative terms, are notably worse than his teammates. There does seem to be some recognition of the limits to Polaks game, however, as his ice time per game has decreased every season since 2008-2009, going down to 17:20 per game last season. Ankle and hand injuries kept Jordan Leopold out of the lineup for much of the 2013-2014 season, and he didnt play much when he was healthy -- a career-low 15:36 per game. The Blues are Leopolds sixth NHL team and the veteran may want to consider a seventh unless St. Louis is prepared to play him more. Returning Goaltender Player Rating GP W L OTL GAA SV% Cap Hit Brian Elliott 65.91 31 18 6 2 1.96 .922 $2.5M Free Agent Goaltender Player Rating GP W L OTL GAA SV% Class 13-14 Cap Hit Ryan Miller 69.09 59 25 30 4 2.64 .918 UFA $6.25M When the Blues made the decision to re-sign Brian Elliott, they certainly put themselves in position to have an economical goaltending tandem next year, with Elliott and Jake Allen likely to share the crease. For the first three years of his career, Elliott struggled, but hes been much better -- which facing a lesser workload -- in the past three seasons. Even so, is he good enough to anchor a team with Stanley Cup aspirations? A second-round pick in 2008, Jake Allen has been groomed plenty for an NHL job, spending four seasons in the AHL, with a 15-game stint in St. Louis in 2012-2013. He has a .917 save percentage in 172 AHL games, including .928 in 52 games last season, so the 23-year-old is ready for his chance to play in the NHL regularly. Top Prospects Player Pos. Team/League Stats Dmitrij Jaskin RW Chicago (AHL) 15-14-29, +7, 42 GP Ty Rattie RW Chicago (AHL) 31-17-48, +5, 72 GP Jake Allen G Chicago (AHL) 2.03 GAA, .928 SV%, 52 GP Joel Edmundson D Chicago (AHL) 4-4-8, +14, 64 GP Tommy Vannelli D Chicago (AHL) 14-27-41, +4, 60 GP Jordan Schmaltz D North Dakota (NCHC) 6-18-24, +1, 41 GP Colton Parayko D Alaska (WCHA) 7-19-26, +15, 37 GP Jordan Binnington G Kalamazoo (ECHL) 2.35 GAA, .922 SV%, 40 GP Jani Hakanpaa D Chicago (AHL) 4-4-8, +20, 54 GP Zach Pochiro C Prince George (WHL) 27-39-66, -14, 63 GP Ryan Tesink LW Blainville-Boisbriand (QMJHL) 13-23-36, -3, 47 GP A second-round pick in 2011, Dmitrij Jaskin has already skated in 20 games with the Blues, and while hes managed only two points, he hasnt looked out of place. With 19 goals and 38 points in 51 (regular season plus playoff) AHL games, Jaskin is likely ready to make the jump. Also a second-round pick from 2011 (nine spots ahead of Jaskin), Ty Rattie showed that his junior goal-scoring exploits were no fluke. After scoring 144 goals in 173 (regular season plus playoff) games in his last two WHL seasons, Rattie notched 31 goals in 72 AHL games as a rookie pro. He could use further development, and get stronger, but his offensive skill could accelerate his timeline. Its been a long, sometimes uneven road for top goalie prospect Jake Allen, yet hes still just 23. If, as expected, he starts the year in St. Louis, the next question will be how long before he takes over the starters role? Drafted with a second-round pick in 2011, Joel Edmundson is a 6-foot-4 defensive defenceman who had a solid first pro season in Chicago and may be as close as any Blues blueline prospect to getting called up. Taken in the second round of last summers draft, Tommy Vannelli is an offensive defenceman who had a nice year in the WHL. He needs to refine his game, improving his play without the puck, but Vannellis skating presents upside. Drafted in the first round, 25th overall, in 2012, Jordan Schmaltz has been making progress at North Dakota, and will continue there. He may not have first-round pedigree, but hes a fine puck-moving prospect. A third-round pick in 2012, Colton Parayko is a puck-moving defenceman with good size. Hes 6-foot-6 and has improved in two years at Alaska. Blocked for AHL playing time by Allen, Jordan Binnington spent his first pro year in the ECHL, and played well enough that the 2011 third-round pick ought to get his AHL shot next season. 6-foot-5 defenceman Jani Hakanpaa was a fourth-round pick in 2010 and has made the move to North America, putting up a dozen points in 68 AHL games. A disturber drafted in the fourth round last summer, Zach Pochiro needs to get stronger, but had a fine year in the WHL last season and will get to see if he can agitate in the same manner as a pro. Picked in the sixth round in 2011, Ryan Tesink has had trouble staying healthy, but can skate and has enough skill to warrant watching his progress. Blues advanced stats and player usage chart from Extra Skater DRAFT21st - Ivan Barbashev, Roland McKeown, David Pastrnak FREE AGENCYAccording to Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link., the Blues have approximately $48.6M committed to the 2014-2015 salary cap for 18 players. Check out my possible Blues lineup for next season on Cap Geek here. Needs: Two top nine forwards, depth forwards, depth defence, backup goaltender.What I said the Blues needed last year: One top six forward, depth forwards, depth defenceman.They added: Derek Roy, Brenden Morrow, Maxim Lapierre, Magnus Paajarvi, Jordan Leopold. TRADE MARKETPatrik Berglund, Magnus Paajarvi, Jordan Leopold, Ian Cole. Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link.. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. ' ' '
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