SOCHI, Russia – The Canadians had to hurl nearly 60 shots at the Latvian goal to scratch their way into a semifinal matchup with the Americans, but by the time it was over head coach Mike Babcock was convinced the experience would be beneficial, much as it was four years earlier. Dansby Swanson Jersey . "Did I want to win 7-1? Absolutely,” said Babcock after a nervous 2-1 win in the quarter-finals against Latvia. “Do I think its better for my team that we won the way we did? For sure." It took every bit of mustard his team could find to finally get past the unlikely challengers from Latvia – a team they had never lost to in either the Olympics or World Championships – and avert disaster. Kristers Gudlevskis, an unheralded 21-year-old draft pick in executive director Steve Yzermans Tampa Bay Lightning organization, stopped 55 shots and held the Canadians to just a single goal for the first 53 minutes of regulation. Patience was tested and tested again and again with every chance, opportunity and flurry squashed by the apparent back-up Latvian netminder, starting with a Sidney Crosby breakaway in the opening moments and continuing right on through the rest of the night. "Obviously when youre talking about 10 minutes left in the third and you look up and youve got 50-some-odd shots you dont want it to be one of those nights," said Crosby after the win. "I think that you just try to trust that eventually those chances will go in, stick with it." Patrick Sharp became just the fourth Canadian forward to score, his first goal in the middle frame matched minutes later on a mildly shocking Lauris Darzins breakaway. From there the Gudlevkis show rolled on in ever-surprising fashion, some of the most gifted offensive talents on the planet stonewalled by a goaltender who was starting for the American Hockey Leagues Syracuse Crunch as recently as Feb. 5. There was the stop on Jeff Carter in alone in the second period, a blocker save on Rick Nash in the third, a jam attempt by Chris Kunitz just a few minutes later. For a forward contingent struggling to score these were familiar troubles building in a game that Canada had no business not winning. "If you look at tonight besides picking the puck up and throwing it in the net what could you tell someone to do in those situations," said Crosby, who still has yet to score in this tournament. "We had some great chances. Youre getting chances like that theres not a lot you would change. Its not like you were going in there adjusting and trying to figure something out. I think its just the ultimate test of your patience when youre getting chances like that and you need to find a way to score." Its ultimately that persistence and push through the wall of a hot goaltender that Babcock believes will benefit his team moving into a 2010 gold medal game re-match with the Americans on Friday. Though they had only mild difficulties against Norway and Austria, the Canadians really only faced a stiff test from Finland in the final game of the preliminary round, a tilt they scratched out in overtime on the second of two goals from Drew Doughty. On this night it was another defenceman proving the hero. Shea Weber fired a cannon past Gudlevskis with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation, easing the nerves of a tense nation on the other side of the globe. "We just talked about the hockey gods," Babcock said. "You just keep doing things right, youre going to be rewarded. We had some chances. So we just thought if we kept doing it, wed get our chances, wed get a break, wed score a goal." Though they inched closer to it in the close win over Latvia, Canada has yet to truly resemble the powerhouse it was expected to be here in Sochi. But they have, true to Babcocks word, gotten better with each day gone by. They enter the semifinal, however, as an unlikely underdog, squaring off against an American squad thats stomped all of its competition here in Sochi. With the hottest player on the planet in Phil Kessel – who has nearly as many goals here in Russia (five) as the entire Canadian forward group (six) – and a battle-tested Jonathan Quick between the pipes, the U.S. has the look of a favourite in what should be an enticing rematch of the gold medal game in Vancouver. "Its what its all about," said Jonathan Toews of the matchup. "Canada-USA, I think has become a bigger rivalry than Canada-Russia. Theres a lot of animosity, lot of feelings like theres something to prove between both teams. Its for the chance to go play for a gold medal. It doesnt get any better than that." It took a few bumps and a similar crescendo for Canada to top the U.S. in Vancouver in 2010. There were familiar stumbles along the way – including a preliminary round loss to the U.S. – but ultimately, the Canadians got their game together as the tournament stretched on, dominating the Russians in the quarter-final before edging the Slovaks and Americans en route to gold. Babcock is mindful of that path when he looks at the winding road thus far in 2014. "The Olympic Games isnt supposed to be easy,” he said. “They dont just give the medals out. You earn the medals. Now wed like to put ourselves in a situation to compete for one and we have another day to prepare [on Thursday]." Atlanta Braves Jerseys . No pretty goals on this night, just get to the front of the net and fight for a chance. R.A. Dickey Jersey . The Eastern Conference-leading Celtics finished their recent trek at 3-1 on Monday in Salt Lake City when Rajon Rondo made a key jumper with 24.1 seconds remaining, as Boston held off the Utah Jazz, 107-102, at EnergySolutions Arena. http://www.thebravesteamshop.com/Braves-David-Justice-Kids-Jersey/ . Coming off a 6-0 drubbing at Chelsea on Saturday, Arsenal endured another demoralizing result after rallying for a 2-1 lead -- only to concede a fluke equalizer.NEW YORK, N.Y. - The NFL may be on the hook for more money than it expected if a federal judge cant be convinced that its $765 million concussion settlement with more than 4,500 former players will be adequate to pay out benefits over the 65-year life of the agreement. The deal hit a snag Tuesday when a federal judge asked both parties to back up their assertions that the agreement negotiated over several months is appropriate. U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody denied a motion that was meant to serve as a preliminary approval for the settlement, seeking more information from the parties. She wrote that she was "primarily concerned that not all retired NFL football players who ultimately receive a qualifying diagnosis or their (families) ... will be paid," and that the lawyers for both parties have not addressed those concerns. Given the judges ruling, the two sides will need to offer more evidence the fund will be sufficient or possibly have the NFL add money to the pot. Otherwise, they may be left to start over. "We are confident that the settlement is fair and adequate, and look forward to demonstrating that to the court," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. Meanwhile, former players looking to receive assistance for the injuries they sustained while playing in the league will have to wait to be compensated. The two sides agreed in late August, just before the season kicked off and the issue largely went to the back burner, awaiting Brodys decision. The weekly accounting of brain injuries on the field, despite efforts to reduce them, continued to make headlines. Brody pointed out that the class of approximately 20,000 could overwhelm the fund, even if only 10 per cent of its members file claims against the $675 million set aside to pay claims, working out to $337,500 per player. The maximum payments in the settlement include $5 million for a yoounger retiree with Lou Gehrigs disease, $3 million for serious dementia, and $25,000 for an 80-year-old with early dementia. Jose Ramirez Jersey. Sol Weiss, a lead lawyer for the ex-players, remained confident the class-action settlement will ultimately be approved. "I am very confident that the (actuarial) people we used are right, and that there will be enough money to cover these claims for 65 years," Weiss said. The remainder of the $765 settlement is being earmarked for neurological testing and education. Lawyers will be paid on top of that by the NFL, meaning the suit would cost the league $900 million — or about 10 per cent of one years annual revenues. Brody also took issue with another part of the original agreement, writing in a footnote that she was concerned that the agreement prevents participants from suing the NCAA and other amateur football organizations. "Im not sure why the NFL would insist on that," said Gabe Feldman, a law professor who directs the sports law program at the Tulane University Law School. More than 4,500 former players filed the suit, some accusing the league of fraud for its handling of concussions. They include former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon, who suffers from dementia. Brodys hand-picked mediator, former federal judge Layn R. Phillips, led several months of negotiations last year and has called the deal fair to both sides. If and when the parties can satisfy all of Brodys concerns, she would then give preliminary approval to the settlement. Following that would be a hearing at which people with objections can speak and have their issues addressed before final settlement and payments. ___ Follow Rick Freeman at http://twitter.com/RWFreeman ___ Associated Press writers Barry Wilner and Maryclaire Dale contributed to this report. Cheap Nuggets Jerseys Cheap Timberwolves Jerseys Cheap Thunder Jerseys Cheap Blazers Jerseys Cheap Jazz Jerseys Cheap Warriors Jerseys Cheap Clippers Jerseys Cheap Lakers Jerseys Cheap Suns Jerseys Cheap Kings Jerseys Cheap Mavericks Jerseys Cheap Rockets Jerseys Cheap Grizzlies Jerseys Cheap Pelicans Jerseys Cheap Spurs Jerseys Cheap Thunder Jerseys Cheap 76ers Jerseys Cheap Knicks Jerseys Cheap Raptors Jerseys Cheap Pistons Jerseys Cheap Team USA Basketball Jerseys ' ' '