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Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week they discuss Russias mens hockey team, the ineptitude of the IOC handling the Nicklas Backstrom situation, John Tortorellas many apologies, and Canadas strong showing in curling. Bruce Arthur, National Post My thumb is down to Russias national mens hockey program, which is still making reverberations a week after Sochi. After falling in the quarter-finals for the second straight Olympics, Russias NHL stars came back angry. As Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wrote, Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin were unhappy for many reasons, but most of all resented the programs bias towards KHL players, which greatly distorted playing time, pairings, strategy, and felt like a punishment to Russian stars who dont play at home. Russia was one of the worlds great hockey powers, and a worthy rival to Canada; now its a mess, riven by petty rivalries. Its a shame, really. The Russians havent won a best-on-best tournament since the 1981 Canada Cup, and somehow they feel further away than ever. Steve Simmons, SUN Media My thumb is down to the International Olympic Committee for the mess it made of the Nicklas Backstrom gold medal game allergy pill fiasco. As a member of Swedens hockey delegation said, the IOC destroyed one of the greatest days in Olympic hockey history for the country. Backstrom, who did test positive for pseudo-ephedrine, didnt disagree with that assessment. The IOC first tested Backstrom last Wednesday. In the three days that followed, they never did do a second test. The Swedish team was not informed of Backstroms status until two hours before game time. Now dont get me wrong, the Swedes could have had Nicklas Backstrom, Ralph Backstrom, and all the Backstroms you can name available for the gold medal game and the result wouldnt have been different. What they didnt need was an unnecessary disruption, born of IOC ineptitude. Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated My thumb is down to John Tortorella, not for his most recent apology but for the continual need to apologize. This time, the Canucks coach launched into a mea culpa after saying he favored Sweden in the Sochi final because he wanted his Swedish Olympians - Daniel Sedin and Alex Edler - to return with smiles on their faces. Tortorella wears blinders. Professionally, he sees the small picture, nothing beyond his team. Belatedly, of course, he grasped context - Vancouver … Canada. So four weeks after apologizing for losing his mind between periods against Calgary, he again was at a microphone wearing a hair shirt and a tight expression. Thats Tortorella, the never-ending sorry. Dave Hodge, TSN My thumb is up to the excellence shown by Canadas Gold-medalists in curling - Jennifer Jones and her rink from Winnipeg and Brad Jacobs and his rink from Sault Ste. Marie. We used to take for granted Canadas worldwide dominance in curling, and then we didnt, because as good as the Canadians continued to be, several other countries showed they were capable of winning world titles. Not that Jones and Jacobs allow Canada to rest on its laurels, but the Sochi results were very impressive, and hows this for proof of Canadas wealth of curling talent - the Brier is underway in Kamloops and the field is strong with Jeff Stoughton, Kevin Koe, John Morris, and Brad Gushue. And imagine talking about a strong field that doesnt include Jacobs, Glenn Howard and Kevin Martin. Ozzie Newsome Youth Jersey . The first baseman hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning to lead the Mets to a thrilling come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. David Njoku Jersey . -- Adam Tambellini scored three times and set up one more as the Calgary Hitmen won their sixth in a row by crushing the host Lethbridge Hurricanes 8-1 on Saturday in Western Hockey League play. http://www.brownsauthenticproshop.com/Yo...d-Njoku-Jersey/. 31-Feb. 2. While organizers havent decided if itll be red or green clay, they feel their choice of surface will give the Americans an advantage over Britain, which is expected to be led by defending Wimbledon champion Andy Murray. Austin Corbett Browns Jersey . -- The Oakland Raiders added a veteran presence to their young receiving group by signing free agent James Jones to a three-year contract Monday. Sione Takitaki Browns Jersey . The premature end left 26 players still to finish the round in the Asian Tour event. Siddikur, who shot a bogey-free first round to share the lead with five others, eagled the par-5 first hole before bogeying twice and rebounding with six birdies.LONDON -- Second-half goals from Toni Kroos and Thomas Mueller gave holder Bayern Munich a 2-0 victory over 10-man Arsenal and a firm grip of their last 16 Champions League tie on Wednesday. Kroos scored in the 54th minute with a stunning strike, curling the ball past Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, who came on after Wojciech Szczesny was sent off for fouling Arjen Robben. An unmarked Mueller scored with a powerful header from close range in the 88th. Both teams missed penalties in the first half, with Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil shooting straight at Manuel Neuer, and Bayern midfielder David Alaba clipping a post. Szczesny was sent off in the 37th minute for following through on Robben. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was clearly frustrated by the sending off, saying it was a great game until halftime. "It killed the game," Wenger said. "The game until then was top quality. The second half was boring. It was one-way traffic." He said Szczesny went for the ball and suggested the decision would have been different had it been a Premier League match. Bayern coach Pep Guardiola disagreed with Wenger, saying he thought it was a penalty and a sending off. Guardiola acknowledged, however, that Arsenal were the better team in the first 15 minutes and that the sending off worked to his sides favour. "The game changed completely," the former Barcelona coach said. "They had nine players in the box and we had to wait patiently." With the odds clearly stacked against the London side, Arsenal can only hope it repeats last years 2-0 win at Bayern in the second leg on March 11. In the nights other match, Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa scored a late winner to beat AC Milan 1-0 at San Siro. At Emirates Stadium, the match was breathless until the sending off, with both sides attacking and trying to gain an advantage. Kroos nearly opened the scoring for Bayern in the third minute when he forced Szczesny to make a flying save with his fingertips. Arsenal wasnt unnerved and starting to dictate play with chances for surprise starter Yaya Sanogo and Santi Cazorla. Bayerns defence started to panic and Ozil won a penalty in the eighth minute when centre back Jerome Boatteng clattered into him as the German swiveled past.dddddddddddd However, the playmaker failed to convert the spot-kick and Neuer palmed the ball to safety. It was Ozils second penalty miss in the Champions League this season, after misfiring against Marseille in the group stage. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain created problems down the right for Bayern, but the five-time European champion settled down and started to stretch Arsenals defence as the first half wore on. Robben won a penalty in the 37th, when he jumped to control a ball, which bounced off his knee and appeared to be going out of play. But Szczesny was sent off when he clattered Robbens shin on the follow-through. Fabianski came on and Alabas spot kick clipped the outside of the left post. Bayern dominated the second half and despite resolute defending from Arsenal, the home side finally caved in. The first goal came out of nowhere with a simple exchange of passes on the right, but Kroos was given too much space and he unleashed a shot from about 20 yards (meters). A tired Arsenal back line switched off late in the second half, with Philip Lahm finding Mueller whose header bounced into the ground past Fabianski. Kroos nearly made it 3-0 with a low shot that struck a post in stoppage time. Bayern won the treble last year under Jupp Heynckes, and his successor, Guardiola is on course to replicate the teams domination of European football. The Germans are unbeaten in the Bundesliga this season, winning 19 of 21 league matches, and are 16 points clear at the top. Guardiola was without injured attacking midfielders Franck Ribery and Xherdan Shaqiri. The only surprise in team selection was Wengers decision to start Sanogo over striker Olivier Giroud, who recently was accused of having an affair with a model at a hotel before Arsenals 5-1 loss to Liverpool. Wenger insisted he wasnt punishing Giroud, just resting him. "I decided to give him a breather for one, two games," he said. Giroud, who issued an apology at the weekend after the accusations were reported, tweeted on Tuesday: "Ultimate precision with respect to my apologies...Yes I made a mistake but not I have not committed adultery! Things are clear..." ' ' '