Jeremy Freeborn’s Weekend Sports Preview

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    This is a big weekend in figure skating, soccer and equestrian as there are significant events in those sports. I will also be watching the NHL, NFL, NBA, World Cup luge and curling.

    Saturday—International Skating Union Grand Prix Final—www.cbcsports.ca.–The top six ice dancers, and men’s and women’s figure skaters on the Grand Prix circuit this season are competing in the International Skating Union Grand Prix Final in Marseille, France. Among the Canadians who will be competing are Canadian Olympic gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of London, Ontario in ice dancing (7:45 am PT), and Canadian Olympic silver medalists Kaetlyn Osmond of Marystown, Newfoundland (in women’s singles, 10 am PT) and Patrick Chan of Ottawa, Ontario (in men’s singles, 11:20 am PT).

    Saturday—NHL—Dallas Stars @ Philadelphia Flyers—Sportsnet One—10 am PT—The Philadelphia Flyers are currently the hottest team in hockey. Winners of seven straight, the Flyers beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-5 on Thursday night. In the win, the Flyers came back from two two goal deficits to comeback and beat Edmonton to collect two key points in the Metropolitan Division standings. Expect a lot of goals as the Stars (89 goals against) and Flyers (92 goals against) have given up the most goals in the NHL this season.

    Saturday—NHL—Vancouver @ Florida Panthers—Sportsnet—4pm PT—The Vancouver Canucks are coming off an impressive 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning and will now face the other franchise from Florida. The Panthers meanwhile are coming off a 5-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Canucks know the Panthers goaltender well as it is Roberto Luongo. Both the Canucks and Panthers have work to do if they hope to make the 2016-17 Stanley Cup playoffs.

    Saturday—MLS Cup—Seattle Sounders @ Toronto FC—FOX—5pm PT—For the first time ever a Canadian team is in the MLS Cup Final. Toronto FC qualified by beating the Montreal Impact 7-5 in a two game total point series. The Sounders qualified by beating the Colorado Rapids 3-1 in their two game total point series. Toronto FC is led by Italian Sebastian Giovinco and American Jozy Altidore.

    Saturday—World Cup Luge—www.cbcsports.ca—5pm PT—World Cup luge takes place this weekend from Whistler, British Columbia. The schedule is condensed because a truck that was carrying the sleds from Lake Placid to Whistler was stuck in Manitoba, and prevented the world’s best lugers from competing on Friday. The women’s race will be at 5 pm PT, men’s doubles at 6:20 pm PT and the men’s race at 7:40 pm PT. There will be only a single run in each event and the team relay luge event has been cancelled.

    Saturday—NHL—Winnipeg Jets @ Calgary Flames—CBC—7pm PT—The Flyers may be the hottest team in the NHL, but the Calgary Flames are the hottest team in the West. On Thursday night, Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton scored at 1:09 of overtime in a 2-1 Flames win over the Arizona Coyotes. With the win, the Flames have now won five straight and moved into a first place tie with the Edmonton Oilers in the Pacific Division. No folks this is not 1986. This is 2016 and the Oilers and Flames are tied for first.

    Saturday—NBA—New Orleans Pelicans @ Los Angeles Clippers—Sportsnet One–7:30 pm PT—The Clippers have the best record in the NBA amongst all teams who are not leading their division. At 16-7, they just happen to share the same division as the 20-3 Golden State Warriors. The Clippers are led by Blake Griffin who has 20.7 points per game and DeAndre Jordan who has 12.8 rebounds per game. However they may have a tough time shutting down Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis, who leads the NBA with 31.4 points per game.

    Sunday—Rolex Grand Prix Show Jumping—www.cbcsports.ca—5:30 am PT—The world’s best show jumpers will compete in the final grand prix event of the 2016 season in Geneva, Switzerland. Canada will be represented by 2008 Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze of Montreal, Quebec, who also won a bronze medal in individual show jumping at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The previous grand prix winners this season were Philipp Weishaupt of Switzerland, who won in Aachen, Germany in July and Scott Brash of Great Britain who won in Spruce Meadows in September. Brash’s teammate Nick Skelton of Great Britain, won the gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

    Sunday—NFL—Pittsburgh Steelers @ Buffalo Bills—CBS—10 am PT—Bills running back LeSean McCoy and Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell are both in the top ten in NFL rushing yards this season. Bell is in the top ten even though he was suspended the first three games of the season for missing a drug test. The Steelers are 7-5, while the Bills are 6-6.

    Sunday—NFL—Arizona Cardinals @ Miami Dolphins—FOX—10 am PT—After an outstanding 2015 season where Arizona was 13-3, the Cardinals were expected by many, including yours truly, to contend for a Super Bowl this season. However after 13 weeks, Arizona is 5-6-1 and are endangered of missing the playoffs altogether. The Dolphins meanwhile have exceeded expectations and at 7-5 are one game back of the Denver Broncos for a postseason berth.

    Sunday—NFL—Denver Broncos @ Tennessee Titans—CBS—10 am PT—Even though the Broncos are 8-4 and the Titans are 6-6, it is Tennessee that has a chance of moving into first place in their division with a victory. The Titans have had great seasons from quarterback Marcus Mariota and running back DeMarco Murray, and are in a first place tie at the moment with the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South.

    Sunday—NFL—Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers—FOX—1pm PT—At 8-3-1 the Seattle Seahawks are currently the second seed in the NFC and have the surging Detroit Lions on their heels. The Packers were 4-6 two weeks ago, but have since come up with impressive wins over the Philadelphia Eagles and Houston Texans to return to the .500 mark. A major reason for Green Bay’s success has been their defense. They have only given up 26 points in their last two weeks after giving up 89 points the previous two weeks.

    Sunday—Curling—The National—Women’s Final—Sportsnet–1 pm PT—This is the third major on the 2016-17 Grand Slam Curling calendar. Allison Flaxey of Caledon, Ontario won the Masters in Okotoks, Alberta in October and Val Sweeting of Edmonton, Alberta won the Tour Challenge in Cranbrook, British Columbia in November.

    Sunday—NFL—Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants—NBC—5:30 pm PT—In the best NFL matchup of the day, the 8-4 New York Giants host the 11-1 Dallas Cowboys in a NFC East division battle. Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott leads the NFL in rushing yards with 1285. Dallas’s only loss all season came to the Giants in week one by a score of 20-19.

    Sunday—NHL—Winnipeg Jets @ Edmonton Oilers—Sportsnet—6:30 pm PT—The Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets will both try to end slumps. They are also both without one of their top defensemen. Oilers blueliner Darnell Nurse and Jets blueliner Tyler Myers remain out with lower body injuries.

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