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Happy birthday to Stephen Ames. ETwaun Moore Jersey . And this is not just any birthday. Today, the Calgarian turns the big Five-Oh. So is the four-time winner on the PGA Tour happy about his big day? "Hell no. Its 50! Who wants to get there?" Ames chuckled in mock protest. "Actually, Im OK with it - its just a number." But its a big number, one that makes him eligible for the Champions Tour, that career mulligan circuit for the older set. He will make his official debut as an Old Guy on May 22 at the Senior PGA Championship, one of that tours five majors. "I look at it as being fortunate," Ames said, "because I have another place to play. Someone referred to it the other day as the back nine of my career. For me, it means I have 15 more years of golf and having fun with it and not having to worry about a job or a pay cheque coming in. Im pretty much set - its nice." Ames is ready to compete on the Champions Tour and thinks he can play well. Compared to many of the older guys, hes in great shape. His back problems that troubled him years ago havent been an issue for some time and in preparation for his move to the 50-and-over tour, hes lost 11 pounds. "Ive been working out hard," he said, "doing some hard cardio. Its not about weights for me, its cardio and all of a sudden the weight started dropping off. I was a size 35 pant and now Im slipping into 32s." Ames, who is being inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame later this year, has also been working hard on his game, adding some distance to his drives and concentrating on his scoring clubs. Those will come in handy on a tour where the courses are 7,000 yards as opposed to the 7,500 hes been playing. "I expect to play well," he stated. "The only difference is that instead of hitting 3-irons into greens, Ill be hitting 9-irons." After years of working with Sean Foley, Ames parted ways with the guy he brought to the PGA Tour last year. The two remain friendly but Ames found it hard to get time on Foleys busy schedule. So hes been seeing Calgary swing coach Paul Horton, and is happy with the new relationship. "The changes Im making, Im understanding them and Im starting to hit it further, which is a bit scary," he said. "The hard thing were struggling with right now is keeping it on the golf course. Thats just because Im not quite secure with it yet. But overall, Im definitely seeing the difference. Im not as short as the numbers are saying right now." In addition to less mileage on the scorecard, Ames is also looking forward to the more relaxed atmosphere on the Champions Tour, which he says will fit his personality. Its definitely a fan-friendly circuit and the out-going Ames believes hell enjoy that part of it, something thats been missing from the current PGA Tour. "Im going to get to be me a little more," he said. "The guys out here [on the PGA Tour] as so serious and stern-faced and there are no smiles... Im still enjoying it out here but its tougher and so thats why Im really looking forward to the Champions Tour." Ames will spend this year going back and forth between the two tours, playing 20 on the PGA Tour and filling in the rest of the season on the Champions Tour. For the first time in his career, hell also get a home game, teeing it up in the Shaw Charity Classic, the stop in Calgary. Sleeping in his own bed while playing a tournament is something hes never done, but hes looking forward to helping the tournament become even more successful than its maiden run last year. As he did on the PGA Tour, Ames will take to the Champions Tour in his own way. On the course, he should be a contender with that silky smooth swing of his. Off it, he will be the same guy too -- he never worries much about what others think and hes not afraid to say whats on his mind. Thats refreshing. Stephen Ames leads a stress-free life and thats a good way to be. Omer Asik Jersey .The long-haired pivot, who joined the Alouettes midway through the CFL season and put up a 9-3 record as a starter, will be listed as the top quarterback in training camp next spring.With a full training camp under his belt, the Alouettes will see if he has what it takes to get them back to the Grey Cup game after a four-year absence. Solomon Hill Jersey . - The Detroit Lions have 13 takeaways this season — three less than all of last season — and the defence isnt the only unit pleased with the performance. http://www.shoppelicansonline.com/ . - For a general manager who preaches building through the draft, Reggie McKenzie has struggled to find impact players his first two years in Oakland.BUFFALO - With 44 seconds left in regulation and a wide-open cage to shoot at, James van Riemsdyk fired a shot that would have tied the score at First Niagara Center. Instead, his attempt was blocked by the left leg of Sabres defender Christian Ehrhoff and the Leafs were sent their fourth loss in five games. "Theres no bigger stop in the game than Ehrhoff on JVR," said Randy Carlyle following the 3-1 defeat in Buffalo, just the second regulation win for the Sabres this season. "But those are the things that are happening against us right now and weve got to find a way to push ourselves through." Offence has been hard to come by for the Leafs in recent days. In fact, theyve scored just four goals in the past five games, just two of those markers coming at even-strength. "Were getting some good chances - weve just got to start burying them," van Riemsdyk said. Tied for third in team scoring with 13 points, van Riemsdyk is one among a number of the teams highest scoring players who have gone quiet. In fact, the four active leading scorers for the Leafs - van Riemsdyk, Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul and Mason Raymond - have combined for just six goals and six points in the past six games. Furthering those woes are the limited contributions the club has gotten elsewhere. Seven of the 12 forwards who dressed against the Sabres have not scored this season, including David Clarkson, Jay McClement and Nik Kulemin. The defence, meanwhile, has contributed just three goals on the year, two of those empty-netters. Recalled to fill the void of the suspended Nazem Kadri and help stem a gaping gap down the middle, Trevor Smith was the lone Leaf to score in Ted Nolans return behind the bench in Buffalo on Friday. Questioned on the clubs offensive struggles, Carlyle pointed to the need for a simplified approach. "Put the puck towards the net and drive people towards the net," he said. "Shoot the puck; dont try to be so fine. It seems like were trying to pick the top corners or trying to pick spots where we should be just concentrating [on getting the puck to the net]." The Leafs were actually one of the most effective teams offensively at even-strength last season, ranking fourth with 105 goals in five-on-five situations. So far this season though theyve scored just 29 goals, tied for 20th overall after Friday night. It would be easy to point to the recent losses of Tyler Bozak, Dave Bolland and now Kadri for the clubs offensive struggles. But those troubles have only exacerbated an issue thats been simmering all year (12 of the first 47 goals were scored with the man advantage), kept quiet by a potent power-play thats recently gone silent (2-21 in the past seven games). "We had some point-blank [chances]," said Carlyle, who was pleased with his teams effort and intensity despite the loss. "We didnt have, I think, the great number of second opportunities. The puck was bouncing away from us, but yet we had our chances in the hockey game. You look at the difference in the game: power-play. They get a power-play goal and we dont get one." Five Points 1. Centre Ice Issues Never in his extensive coaching career has Carlyle seen quite a predicament such as the one his team currently owns at centre ice. Down their top three centres - with Tyler Bozak and Dave Bolland injured and Nazem Kadri suspended - the Leafs are in a state of flux at the position. "Id have to say this is a new one," said Carlyle prior to the game. "You have plan A, B, C and D in the drawer and I think were at E and F right now." Signed to an NHL contract last week, longtime Nashville Predator Jerred Smithson may have been plan E with Trevor Smith returning to the Leafs as plan F. The 28-year-old played with the Marlies in Cleveland on Thursday night, dropped off by the team on their return home. Plugged as a fourth line centre in his previous nine games with the Leafs, Smith was thrust into a larger role against the Sabres. "We cant expect Trevor Smith to come up at put him on our fourth line," Carlyle said. "Its unfair to him in this situation. When we had other people ahead of him, we had Bozak, we had Bolland, its a little bit different, but in tonights situation hes going to play a prominent role in an offensive line." Smith scored just the second even-strength goal for the Leafs in the past five games, the fifth of his career and second this season. He totaled nearly 17 minutes, mostly alongside Raymond and Clarkson. Smithson, meanwhile, continues to log important minutes for Carlyle - 13 against the Sabres - while assuming the bulk of his teams faceoffs. The 34-year-old has taken 80 draws in four games to lead the team. Update - The Leafs acquired 2009 first round pick and centre Peter Holland from Anaheim. A Toronto native, Holland will join the team immediately with an opportunity to play in the top six. 2. JVR at centre Its been clear from the get-go that the move to centre is not one that completely suits van Riemsdyk. But understanding the dilemma the club has faced and continues to face down the middle, the natural winger has complied with the coachs decision. Rarely looking comforttable and appearing to think rather than instinctively react, the 24-year-old has gone pointless in four games down the middle. Custom New Orleans Pelicans Jerseys. . Asked if those struggles were related to his shifting to centre, van Riemsdyk replied with a sly grin and revealing response. "Thats not for me to decide," he said. Questioned on whether hed reconsider moving van Riemsdyk back to the wing, Carlyle also replied with some frustration. "I dont have anybody else," he said. "What else do you want me to do? Are we going to put a defenceman at forward?" Phil Kessel grew up a centre, but has played wing almost exclusively in the NHL with plenty of success. Mason Raymond played sparingly down the middle in Vancouver, including a game or two due of injuries last season. Like van Riemsdyk, neither is an ideal option. And so, in all likelihood, the Leafs will have to continue to grind down the middle for at least a few more games. Out since Oct. 25 with a hamstring injury, Bozak should return to practice next week and could be available by the weekend, if not early the following week. Kadri will be eligible to return from a three-game suspension on Nov. 21. Carlyle actually employed two centres on the same line against the Sabres - Jay McClement and Smithson - using Carter Ashton sparingly in a fourth line role. 3. Simplify Friday marked just the second time all season that the Leafs have outshot their opponent, but as Carlyle noted after the game, his club has been reluctant to fire pucks consistently toward the net. "When youre struggling a little bit offensively thats what you always want to try to do is simplify a little bit," said van Riemsdyk, "maybe shoot more pucks towards the net, keep driving the net and doing all those things." The Leafs had 33 shots against Ryan Miller. They attempted 59 - to just 35 for Buffalo - 16 of which were blocked, another 10 missing the net. 4. Kadri suspension One would have expected Nazem Kadris hearing with NHL Senior VP of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan to include a moment or two on the Mikael Granlund hit which got the 23-year-old ejected from Wednesdays game in Minnesota. "Thats what I got the match for so I was expecting some sort of discussion about that," said Kadri. "But it was all about the first one. He agreed, he thought the second one was clean." The first one was, of course, the collision with Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom in the opening frame of an eventual 2-1 shootout loss. "I was just trying to go to the net hard to make a play and just ran out of real estate and accidentally bumped into him," said Kadri of the hit which resulted in a concussion for Backstrom. Instigated by general managers following the Ryan Miller-Milan Lucic collision of 2011, Shanahan has tried to increase protection for goaltenders. According to Kadri, what drew the most concern from the league disciplinarian was the violent strike of the right elbow into Backstroms head. Lying motionless on the ice for a few moments, the 35-year-old ultimately remained in the game before leaving shortly thereafter. "Its definitely understandable," said Kadri of the suspension. "I know theyve kind of cracked down on the interference with the goaltenders and players [have] got to be aware of their surroundings now. That being said, it was unintentional." Kadri said he was surprised to receive three games, expecting either a fine or 1-2 game suspension. 5. Bernier sharp shorthanded Though he yielded a power-play goal to the Sabres on Friday, Jonathan Bernier has been among the most effective netminders this season when his team is shorthanded. The 25-year-old has given up just seven power-play goals on 91 shots, the fourth-ranked save percentage (.923) among goaltenders with at least 10 starts this season. Yielding an inopportune rebound to a Tyler Myers point shot, Bernier was beaten when Cody Franson, trying to tie up the stick of Drew Stafford, accidentally nudged to the puck to Steve Ott, who buried it for Buffalos first goal. Stat-Pack 2 - Even-strength goals for the Leafs in the past five games. 2-21 - Leaf power-play in the past seven games, including an 0-3 showing on Friday. 80 - Total faceoffs for Jerred Smithson in four games as a Leaf, leading the team in that span. 0-3-0 - Career record for Jonathan Bernier against the Sabres. 2 - Points for David Clarkson, who added his second assist of the season against the Sabres, but remains goal-less in nine games. 23:26 - Ice-time for Cody Franson against the Sabres, leading the team. 59-35 - Shot attempts favouring the Leafs on Friday night. 6 - Combined goals and points in the past six games from James van Riemsdyk, Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul and Mason Raymond. Special Teams Capsule PP: 0-3Season: 21.2% PK: 2-3Season: 84.2% Quote of the Night "That was a heck of a play by him. He made a good read and sacrificed his body for it." -James van Riemsdyk on Christian Ehrhoffs game-saving stop late in the third period. Up Next The Leafs return home Saturday to host the Sabres in the second half of a home-and-home set. China Jerseys Wholesale Wholesale Jerseys 2018 Wholesale Jerseys 2018 Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys 2020 NFL Jerseys Wholesale Cheap NFL Jerseys China ' ' '