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The Look Ahead

Orlando looks for some Magic in Arenas Add to ...

Their plays are easy. If you have the open shot, take it. If not, pass to Dwight Howard.

Newly-acquired Orlando Magic guard Gilbert Arenas tells reporters he understands his role. No, really: He does. Arenas joined the Magic from the Washington Wizards on the weekend in a trade for Rashard Lewis, after Orlando sent Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, a first-round pick in 2011 and $3-million (U.S.) to the Phoenix Suns for Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark. The new players have little time to adjust. The Magic's hectic week starts Monday against the Atlanta Hawks and includes games Thursday against the San Antonio Spurs and Christmas Day against the Boston Celtics.

Boss sleigh, eh?

It's Christmas time for the household names created by the 2010 Winter Olympics, and two of them - women's bobsleigh pilot Helen Upperton and brakeman Shelly-Ann Brown - are contemplating a roaring start by a pair of German sliders who were surprise non-factors in Whistler, B.C.

You want a lookahead? How about more than three years ahead? Canada's bobsleigh program already knows what it faces leading up to the 2014 Sochi Games. "The Germans have a huge equipment advantage over everyone else and every four-year cycle they take a huge step forward and the rest of us spend the four years leading up to the Olympics trying to play catch-up," said Upperton, the Calgarian who along with Brown of Pickering, Ont., finished in third place Saturday in a women's World Cup race in Lake Placid, N.Y. "Don't get me wrong. They're great pushers and exceptional pilots. It doesn't take away from their talents at all. But they have a definite advantage."

Neither Sandra Kiriasis nor Cathleen Martini won medals for Germany at Whistler - a shocking occurrence for a country that dominates the sport athletically and technologically. But Kiriasis has 885 points after four events of this World Cup season and Martini has 827, and their sleds are very much like the Ferraris used to be on the Formula One circuit: They sound different, and mistakes are more easily corrected. American Bree Schaaf is third - 107 points behind Martini. Olympic gold medalist Kaillie Humphries, who will be joined by regular brakeman Heather Moyse next month when the schedule resumes in Europe, is in fourth place with 704. Upperton, who missed the season's first event in Whistler, sits in eighth. It will be interesting to see if the glow from Whistler translates into technological investment in sliding sports. One good sign is a program being developed in conjunction with SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology) that will help design runners for skeleton sleds for the Canadian team.

MLB GMs adjust to blockbuster trade

Alex Anthopoulos will not be among the general managers recalibrating this week after Zack Greinke's shocking trade to the Milwaukee Brewers, which is expected to be finalized Monday. Anthopoulos, the Toronto Blue Jays GM, asked the Kansas City Royals about Greinke's availability early in the off-season, but was told the pitcher would not waive his no-trade clause to Toronto. End of story. Greinke agreed to go to Milwaukee, and sources suggest he believes he can do better statistically in the National League heading into free agency in two years. True, that. Also true is that coupled with Cliff Lee's decision to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies, baseball people now believe the Seattle Mariners will reconsider a decision not to trade Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez - or at least quietly test the market. Question: How much would the New York Yankees want to get Hernandez?

NUMBERS

7

Team Canada captain Ryan Ellis will become the seventh player to represent the country at three world junior championships when the event begins Boxing Day in Buffalo. The others are Jay Bouwmeester (2000-02), Jason Spezza (2000-02), Jason Botterill (1995-97), Martin Lapointe (1991-93), Eric Lindros (1990-92) and Trevor Kidd (1990-92).

Talk about twits

The field is as hard as concrete an hour and a half after they took the tarp off, and anyone that hits their head is getting a concussion. … I find it interesting that the NFL can claim an emphasis on player safety, and then tell us the field is fine. It's beyond hypocritical. … I can only hope, however unlikely, that no one gets catastrophically injured at the train wreck that's about to take place.

Chris Kluwe

In a series of tweets from practice, the Minnesota Vikings punter offered his review of the field at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium, which is being pressed into service Monday for the Vikings' game against the Chicago Bears because of the collapse of the Metrodome roof this month. The NFL ordered Kluwe to stop tweeting.



THE BIG THREE



Holiday treat

The world junior hockey tournament has become an essential part of the festive season for many. Canada's quest to regain gold begins against Russia on Boxing Day.



Hoop dreams

The NBA on Christmas Day has always been a special treat, but the tradition has grown and grown over the years. It's now a quintuple marathon with the marquee Miami Heat-Los Angeles Lakers clash in the middle.



Avoid at all costs

The Russia-Canada junior game on Sunday is sure to be a passionate affair. The same can't be said for the Toronto Maple Leafs' trip to Newark, N.J., to face the similarly lowly New Jersey Devils later that day.

 

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