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The Globe and Mail

Lockout is allowing Backstrom to channel his inner Gretzky

With the No. 99 being retired throughout the NHL, the locked out centre is donning the double nine while playing in the KHL.

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The NHL lockout isn’t all bad, as it at least gives some players the chance to live out dreams they could never have realized in the NHL. Take Capitals centre Nicklas Backstrom for instance, who is currently living out his Wayne Gretzky fantasies by donning the famous No. 99 – retired throughout the NHL – during his stint with the KHL’s Dynamo Moscow.

Charles Krupa/AP

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But despite denying it’s because of the Great One, teammate Alex Ovechkin spilled the beans: “Nicklas told me, ‘I’ll be like Gretzky in Russia.’” For a guy barely averaging a point a game in his NHL career, that seems a tall order.


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Revenge is a dish best served cold – and wet if it happens in San Francisco apparently.

Mark Humphrey/AP

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In the teeming rain last Monday, the Giants second baseman delivered the decisive out in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, catching Matt Holliday – the Cardinal who had tried his best to take Scutaro out of the series in Game 2 on a reckless slide – on an infield fly of all things. Who says the baseball gods don’t have a sense of irony?


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Their names suggest they were dreamed up by Grantland Rice himself: The Babe, Mr. October, Prince Albert and, er, Kung Fu Panda. Okay, Pablo Sandoval’s nickname is more Disney than Four Horsemen, but his feat was no less dramatic, joining Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols as just the fourth major-leaguer to hit three home runs in a World Series game in the Giants’ 8-3 Game 1 win Wednesday.


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And the omens are certainly good for the National League champions: other than Ruth in 1926, the first of two times he hit four home runs in the series, all the other hat tricks preceded championship parades.

Paul Kitagaki Jr./AP

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People talk about the black vote, the southern vote, but nobody ever talks about the Red Devil vote. With an approximate 71 million U.S. supporters of Manchester United, the opportunity is there to help swing the vote in the U.S. presidential election, and Wayne Rooney is there to lead the way. The Manchester United striker with marginally more hair follicles than brain cells was all over the action earlier this week.


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“Watched all the presidential debates,” he tweeted on Tuesday, “If I had to vote would vote for Obama.” So that’s that then, problem solved. If only certain other English footballers were progressive enough to endorse a black man.


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So despite all the lies and deceits, it turns out cycling’s biggest charlatan told the truth after all. His first biography, It’s Not About the Bike, hit the nail right on the head as it turns out, and his personal peloton sported the names of EPO, testosterone, growth hormone, cortisone and steroids.


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And if being stripped of all seven of his Tour de France titles wasn’t bad enough, the Texan is also likely to have his name expunged from the New York City Marathon record books, meaning the loss of his 868th-place finish in the 2006 race. Oh, the shame!


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