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BANFF, Alta. [url=http://www.bluejacketsshop.com/customized/]Custom Columbus Blue Jac
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BANFF, Alta. Custom Columbus Blue Jackets Jerseys . - Olympic gold medallist and World Cup champion Marielle Thompson won a photo finish to take top honours at the Canadian ski cross championship Friday. The 21-year-old from Whistler, B.C., beat out teammate Georgia Simmerling of West Vancouver, B.C., to cap off a notable season, which included gold at the Sochi Games and gold at the final World Cup race of the year to claim her second career Crystal Globe. With Simmerling hot on her heels in the womens final, a late lunge for the line by Thompson gave her victory by the slimmest of margins. "That was pretty exciting. I won by the length of a broken thumb," said Thompson, who tore a ligament in her thumb after crashing on a training run. "I guess you dont need thumbs for racing." Tristan Tafel, of Canmore, Alta., took the mens race after taking the lead at the first turn to secure his second national title. Simmerling finished in second place. "We were neck and neck out of the gate," Simmerling said of her duel with Thompson. "I was behind her the whole way. I tried to get her at the end but I think I just missed her by a hands length." India Sherret, of Cranbrook, B.C., was third and veteran Danielle Sundquist, of Calgary was fourth. The mens final was dominated by Tafel after his teammate and World Cup star Brady Leman of Calgary — who was fourth at the Sochi Games — went off course. Matt Brady and Kevin Macdonald were second and third, respectively. "Im pretty excited," said Tafel, who had a tough season on the World Cup circuit. "We all had a really good start and it was extremely tight going into the first turn. Thats where I took the lead and kept it all the way down. "The young guys were skiing right on my tail at the finish — good for them." Fridays podium capped a good week for Macdonald, who won the overall Nor-Am Cup title to earn himself a World Cup spot for next season. Macdonald topped the ski cross Nor-Am standings with 922 points, with American Robert Mahre (743) finishing second. Tania Prymak of the U.S. won the womens title with 871 points, with Canadas Abby McEwen finishing second (750). Artemi Panarin Jersey . The Oilers jumped into the free agent market early by signing defencemen Keith Aulie (six-foot-six, 228 pounds) and Mark Fayne (6-3, 210 pounds) and left-winger Benoit Pouliot (6-3, 197-pounds). Two days earlier MacTavish traded lightweight forward Sam Gagner to Tampa Bay for 6-3, 203-pound right winger Ted Purcell. Sergei Bobrovsky Jersey .Y. - Peyton Manning made his fifth MVP award a family affair. http://www.bluejacketsshop.com/ . On paper, it looks a little like Andre the Giant taking on a midget wrestler. It has all the makings of a rout with the Americans adding an eighth win in nine outings of this biennial event. The Yanks have eight players in the top 15 in the world while the Internationals have just one.In another sign of the growing concern about head trauma in sports, the NHL and the U.S. ski team will each have at least one concussion expert at the Sochi Olympics. Dr. Jeff Kutcher, a Michigan-based neurologist, will be in one of two hockey arenas and the on-hill physician for three events on the slopes in Russia. U.S. ski team medical director Kyle Wilkens said Kutcher will be the associations first specialist evaluating and treating concussions during the Winter Olympics. "Its such a hot topic," Wilkens said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "Were trying to do the right thing with concussion, and thats why hes on board." Kutcher will also evaluate the neurological health of about 150 NHL players from all 12 countries in the Olympics. Dr. Ruben Echemendia, a neuropsychologist and chair of the NHLs concussion program, will also be at the Olympics -- a first for the league, according to deputy commissioner Bill Daly. The NHL isnt fond of freezing its league for two-plus weeks and putting their stars at risk for injuries at the Olympics, but the league and the NHL Players Association both have a degree of comfort knowing that Kutcher will be there. "Dr. Kutcher is well regarded in his field and has significant experience working with NHL players, so we are pleased he will be in Sochi and is willing to assist with our players while at the games," NHLPA executive director Don Fehr said. Kutcher said he is prepared to tell an athlete he or she cant go for a medal if they have a concussion at the Olympics. "At the end of the day the decisions that we make, we make irrespective of the situation -- we have to," Kutcher said in an interview with the AP. "The alternative is if I let somebody go down another run or participate in a hockey game while theyre injured and that injury leads to a more significant injury, it could be life-changing in the negative. Thats what I have to worry about." International Olympic Committee medical director Dr. Richaard Budgett is glad Kutcher will be there, too. Seth Jones Jersey. "I havent heard of any other country sending a specialist such as a neurologist," Budgett told the AP in a telephone interview. "But its good that theyve got a specialist coming out because theres a lot of interest in monitoring concussions. The Olympics are like a fish bowl -- with everybody watching -- so its great that he will be able to raise awareness and show that were taking the health of our athletes seriously." Kutcher appears to be highly qualified for his pressure-packed role this month. The NBA named him director of its concussion program more than two years ago. Kutcher said he evaluates players from the NBA, NHL and NFL "all the time." The NCAA has used his expertise to help shape its concussion policies. Kutchers day job is working as an associate professor of neurology at the University of Michigan, where he is a physician for the schools athletic teams and director of its NeuroSport Program. Wilkens said Kutcher, who has helped the U.S. ski team with its concussion policy, will be the on-hill physician for skicross along with snowboardings parallel giant slalom and parallel slalom. Kutcher will also care for other U.S. athletes as needed, according to Wilkens. "His primary responsibility is with us, but if a slider gets a concussion, for example, Jeff will be there to help," Wilkens said. "For the two weeks, were all a part of Team USA." Kutcher has diagnosed numerous athletes with concussions over the years, telling them they cant compete until he clears them. Kutcher, though, hasnt had to dash anyones dreams of winning Olympic gold. "I do feel a little bit of pressure," he said. "I understand the gravity of the situation and needing to first and foremost do my job as a neurologist regardless of setting or scenario. It doesnt matter if its a training run or a gold-medal run or any scenario at all. It is the health of the athletes that Im there for." 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