Friday, July 31, 2015

{allcanada} Donaldson leads Blue Jays past Royals in extra innings


TORONTO - A flurry of trades leading up to the deadline made the Toronto Blue Jays look like a serious contender. Even before all the reinforcements arrived, they proved they could beat the American League's best.

The Blue Jays erased two different three-run deficits, and Josh Donaldson capped things off with a walk-off single in the 11th inning to give them a 7-6 victory against the AL Central-leading Kansas City Royals on Friday night at Rogers Centre.

Donaldson saw the moves made by general manager Alex Anthopoulos to get ace starter David Price, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, relievers LaTroy Hawkins and Mark Lowe and outfielder Ben Revere and could feel the momentum building around the Blue Jays, who have won three straight to move closer to a playoff spot.

"With the trades and everything that happened this week, I think what it gave us is more confidence in ourselves," said Donaldson, who went 3 for 5 with two doubles and four RBI. "Alex believes in this team, the city believes in this team and we believe in this team. And when you add extra pieces like he did, it's starting to really come together."

Coupled with the Minnesota Twins' loss to the Seattle Mariners, the Blue Jays cut their deficit in the wild-card race to one game. Toronto kept pace with the New York Yankees, who won in Chicago to maintain a six-game lead in the AL East.

Tulowitzki, who homered in his Blue Jays debut Wednesday night, scored the winning run in the 11th inning. Donaldson, an off-season trade pick-up, hit his third walk-off of the season.

While last-minute additions Revere and Lowe were still on their way, Price watched from the dugout as Toronto turned in a respectable performance against new Royals ace Johnny Cueto, making his debut after a trade from the Cincinnati Reds.

Then Price got to watch the Jays hit around what has been an exceptional Royals bullpen.

"Whenever you're facing a guy like Cueto, that's a tough hill to climb," Price said. "We did that, we chipped away. That's what good teams do, and that's we showcased today. It was very impressive."

Toronto scored three runs on seven hits against Cueto, who struck out seven in six innings.

"I felt good on the mound and I thought I made one bad pitch," Cueto said through an interpreter, citing Donaldson's two-run double that in the third. "You've got to execute every pitch. With a lineup like this, you make a mistake and you're going to get hurt."

Toronto starter Drew Hutchison allowed just four runs, three earned, to keep his team in the game.

Aaron Sanchez, Robert Osuna, Brett Cecil and Liam Hendriks were perfect in relief from innings seven through 11.

Donaldson pointed to the Royals and AL East-leading New York Yankees in saying that good teams have "guys at the back end of the bullpen that can put up zeros in a hurry." The Blue Jays' bullpen did just that Friday night.

"What that does for your offence is it buys your offence time when they're putting zeros up not to have to feel pressure to score," Donaldson said. "When they're going out there doing their thing like they have been the last couple days, as an offence, we feel like it's just a matter of time before we really break through because you look at our lineup, it's the best lineup in baseball."

Toronto rocked reliever Ryan Madson, who entered the seventh inning with a 1.69 ERA. The Blue Jays erased one three-run deficit against Cueto and then another against Madson before Donaldson broke through in the 11th off Franklin Morales.

"What separates him is he still thinks base hits at the right time," manager John Gibbons said of Donaldson. "He's definitely one of the guys you want up there."

Notes — Edwin Encarnacion returned to the Blue Jays' lineup after a two game absence with a jammed left middle finger. ... With Price set to make his Blue Jays debut Monday against the Minnesota Twins, R.A. Dickey will pitch on short rest Sunday in the series finale with the Royals.

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{allcanada} Wrestler Piper owed plenty to Cup-winner Connor


Roderick Toombs, a professional wrestler known as "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, died Friday at his home in Hollywood, Calif. He was 61. This story originally ran on in October 2012.

In 1969, two tough 15-year-old Winnipeg boys got into a tussle. That's how it started.

Aspiring boxer Rod Toombs handled the larger Cam Connor, sparking an enduring friendship that has lasted more than four decades. It wasn't the last fight for either kid.

Connor eventually was a first-round pick of the NHL and the World Hockey Association. In a pro career that lasted 10 seasons, he won a Stanley Cup with the 1979 Montreal Canadiens and totaled more than 1,000 penalty minutes.

Toombs adopted the moniker "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and became a pro wrestling icon.

"I whupped him and we became friends," Piper told "He was the only friend from my childhood. I love him. He's the only guy I keep in touch with."

The pair spent countless hours at the gym working out and engaging in dozens of wrestling matches. Even back then, the future Roddy Piper didn't like to lose at wrestling. Piper was navigating numerous wrestling circuits when his best friend was selected by the Phoenix Roadrunners with the fourth pick in the 1974 WHA Draft.

From there, Connor quickly established himself as one of hockey's toughest players. In his second season with Phoenix, he had 18 goals and 295 penalty minutes in 73 games.

Just as Connor's hockey career was winding down, "Rowdy" Roddy was becoming a worldwide phenomenon. His hockey-playing pal was there every step of the way.

"We became good buddies," said Connor, who retired in 1984 and has worked for the past 18 years as a computer consultant. "We hitchhiked to Toronto together. I was with him his first day he got into wrestling at a local circuit in Winnipeg. He fought all over the world and had me come and meet him. I was there when he fought Mr. T. I was in the fifth row sitting there with Billy Crystal."

That match, in which Piper partnered with Paul Orndorff to face Mr. T and Hulk Hogan, was the main event of the first WrestleMania extravaganza. With Connor among the 19,000 fans at Madison Square Garden, Piper achieved his dream. His best friend had done the same a few years earlier.

In 1978-79, Connor appeared in 23 games for a powerhouse Montreal Canadiens team before convincing coach Scotty Bowman to give him a regular shift in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Connor's only goal of the playoffs came in double overtime in the quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but his run ended when he got a bad case of food poisoning during the semifinals against the Boston Bruins. Montreal captured its fourth straight Stanley Cup after beating the New York Rangers in five games, but Connor missed the Final due to his illness and was told he hadn't appeared in enough games to have his name engraved on the Cup.

That's when some Hall of Fame teammates intervened.

"[Ken] Dryden, [Bob] Gainey and [Doug] Risebrough all said, 'If you're not putting his name on the Stanley Cup, you do not have permission to put anyone else on our team's name on the Cup," Connor said. "I didn't know this until after. They went to bat for me and I'm grateful."

A few years later, while Connor was enjoying life after hockey, Piper was becoming wrestling's biggest bad guy. That fame had its benefits, but there were hazards being the most-hated man in one's sport.

"Rod was always the bad guy in wrestling," Connor said. "He has been knifed three times by fans. So when we went to a bar he would sit up against a wall because he always had to keep an eye on who was around him. We were like brothers. He'd jump in for me and I'd jump in for him. There were many nights we got in scraps together against bikers and different groups of guys."

No matter where the battles took place, Piper and Connor formed a fortuitous pair. They once even combined professions when both men wore boxing gloves on the ice to practice scrapping alongside Nick Fotiu, a former Golden Gloves boxer who played alongside Connor with the Rangers.

The pairing of hockey player and wrestler also led to some rowdy times off the ice.

"Without question the wrestlers [were rowdier]," Connor said. "We would always hook up. Rod would come in and take me for a beer with Andre the Giant and the Hart brothers and all those guys."

Almost 45 years since that fateful fight in Winnipeg, Connor and Piper remain the best of friends. They both climbed the ranks of their respective professions through brute strength and sheer will. Through it all, their respect for one another only has grown.

"There's a lot of correlations between hockey players and me," Piper said. "Keeping your family life together, being on the road, the constant pressure of performance. Those boys earn their money. People don't realize how tough hockey players are and what a tough sport that is. Those guys, I take my hat off to them. I think they're some of the greatest athletes in the world."

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{allcanada} Canada starts U-18 selection camp for Hlinka Cup


CALGARY -- With Canada's national men's summer under-18 team selection camp underway Friday, coach Stan Butler and his staff are looking to build a roster that will head to Bratislava, Slovakia and Breclav, Czech Republic from August 10-15 in search of an eighth straight gold medal finish at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.

"The biggest thing for us right now is to make sure as a group that we pick the right players," Butler said from WinSport's Markin MacPhail Centre at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. "It's a short-term competition and we don't have a lot of time for evaluation but once we make the evaluation, we don't have a lot of time for teaching either. Hopefully you pick the right guys and give them what they need to do and you hope the skill takes them the rest of the way."

Canada has had seven straight gold medal finishes in the tournament, won 10 of the past 11, and won 17 of the past 19 since 1996. The United States won gold in 2003 and Sweden in 2007.

"It's a big tournament for us," said Ryan Jankowski, Canada's director of player personnel. "Only [at] this tournament and the Winter Olympic Games are we able to put our best players on the ice for one Canadian team. The World Juniors, we have the NHL. The World Championship, we have the NHL. That's the exciting part. With our team, it's our absolute best against the World's best and we like the fact we've had a lot of success there."

Canada's hopefuls know what's on the line.

"Obviously there's a little pressure there," said Jake Bean, a defenseman for the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League listed on NHL Central Scouting's Futures List for North America and Europe last month. "I grew up watching Hockey Canada and the Canadian way over the last couple of years have been drilled into our minds. I think when we go there, if I'm lucky enough to make the team, we have a good sense of what's on the line and there will be no lack of motivation."

Tyson Jost, also named to Central Scouting's Futures List, knows full well what the Ivan Hlinka Memorial represents, too.

"Everybody kind of knows how much success they've had at the tournament," said Jost, a forward for the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League. "If I do have the honor of representing that team, I want to keep that run going. There's nothing more that I want than a gold medal."

The Memorial of Ivan Hlinka not only signifies the start of the 2015-16 season for the draft eligible players, it also begins the evaluation process for players eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft, held June 24-25, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.

"Even right now you can tell there's that presence in the air that it's your draft year," Jost said. "People are talking about it. It's something you've got to put behind you and focus on the present and not on the future. It's a long time away and it is a draft day so it'll come and go. You've got to focus on the now and not the future."

It's where Jankowski wants the mindset of the 1998-born group, whose tryout coincides with development camps for under-17 and National Junior Team as part of Hockey Canada's Summer Showcase.

"This is a selection camp," he said. "We're picking a team. The players know that. They're here to perform. Our Under-17 is a development camp. Our World Junior is an evaluation camp. This is a selection camp. We're picking a team to go represent Canada in a week and we have to take the best players who are ready now. They know. It's a pretty strong message from us when we call and invite them that they're trying out to play in a championship.

"Forty-two players and we're ready to go."

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{allcanada} Eskimos deal Riders sixth straight loss


EDMONTON - Matt Nichols threw two touchdown passes as the Edmonton Eskimos won their fourth in a row with a 30-5 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday.

The Eskimos (4-1) now sit in sole possession of first place in the Canadian Football League's West Division and have not allowed a touchdown in two straight games.

The loss kept Saskatchewan winless at 0-6.

Edmonton got off to a good start with a long and competent opening drive, capped off by a 27-yard TD pass from Nichols to Kenny Stafford. Nichols is the only remaining undefeated starting quarterback in the CFL this season.

The Eskimos added a 31-yard Grant Shaw field goal to lead 10-0 at the end of the first quarter. The Riders closed the score to 10-4 at the half with a punt single and a 34-yard field goal by Paul McCallum.

Saskatchewan's third-string quarterback Brett Smith finished the game completing 15 of 22 pass attempts for 132 yards and two interceptions.

The Roughriders recorded another punt single early in the third quarter before Edmonton responded with a 44-yard Shaw field goal.

The Eskimos found the end zone again with five minutes to play in the third, after Smith was picked off by Pat Watkins, who took the ball back 46 yards for a touchdown.

Smith was intercepted again by JC Sherritt on the next series, leading to a 14-yard field goal by Shaw to make it 23-5 for Edmonton.

The Eskimos continued to control the game six minutes into the fourth as a nice 31-yard pass and run by Shakir Bell set up a nine-yard passing TD from Nichols to Kendial Lawrence.

Edmonton is on the road for its next two games, heading to B.C. to face the Lions next Thursday. The Riders are next in Toronto to tackle the Argonauts the following Saturday.

Notes: Smith was making his first career CFL start at quarterback with Darian Durant out for the season and Kevin Glenn on the six-game injured list with a torn pectoral muscle. The 22-year-old rookie signed with Saskatchewan in the off-season following a college career at Wyoming… The Eskimos came into the contest having won their last four regular season home games by a combined score of 156-32… Turnovers have been prevalent in Eskimos games to this point, averaging 6.8 per game. In the other CFL games to date, the average is only 3.8.

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{allcanada} Bouchard withdraws from Citi Open with injury


Canadian Eugenie Bouchard withdrew from the Citi Open on Friday due to an abdominal injury.

It's the second straight year that Bouchard has withdrawn from the event.

The 21-year-old from Westmount, Que., has been dealing with the injury for the last several weeks.

"I am very disappointed to have to pull out of the Citi Open in Washington, DC," Bouchard said. "I have been working hard to return from an abdominal injury, unfortunately I am not ready to compete."

The Citi Open, which officially begins on Monday, was meant to be a tune-up event for Bouchard, who is set to compete in the Rogers Cup in Toronto from Aug. 8-16.

Ranked No. 26, Bouchard has struggled this season, including losses in five of her last seven events.

Bouchard was the talk of the tennis world in 2014 after reaching the semifinals at the first three Grand Slam events, including a trip to the Wimbledon final.

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{allcanada} WWE Hall of Famer Roddy Piper dies at 61


"Rowdy" Roddy Piper, the kilt wearing trash talker who headlined the first WrestleMania and later found movie stardom, has died, the WWE said Friday. He was 61.

WWE had no additional details.

Piper, born Roderick Toombs, was the second WWE Hall of Famer to die this summer following the June death of Dusty Rhodes. Piper's death also comes days after Hulk Hogan, his biggest rival for decades, was fired by the WWE. Hogan had used racial slurs in a conversation captured on a sex tape.

Piper and Hogan battled for years and headlined some of the biggest matches during the 1980s. Hogan and Mr. T defeated Piper and Paul Orndorff on March 31, 1985, at the first WrestleMania at Madison Square Garden.

Piper was a villain for the early portion of his career, once cracking a coconut over the skull of Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. He later starred in the movie "They Live."

WWE chairman Vince McMahon called Piper "one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world."

Piper also went by the nickname "Hot Rod" during his career. Although he was Canadian, he often appeared in a kilt and came to the ring blowing bagpipes in a nod to his Scottish heritage.

Piper was best known for his lengthy career with the World Wrestling Federation, now the WWE. He had more than 30 titles to his name and was inducted into the company's Hall of Fame in 1985.

"Saddened about the passing of "Rowdy" Roddy Piper," tweeted Paul "Triple H" Levesque, a wrestler and top WWE executive. "He was truly a legend and icon, and will never be forgotten... #ThankYouRoddy #RIP."

Piper became a household name because of his rivalry with Hogan, and the involvement of pop star Cyndi Lauper and her friend Captain Lou Albano, also a wrestler. The feud led to an MTV special "The War to Settle the Score" in 1985. Piper was cast as the villain, and his disqualification led to Hogan claiming the WWF championship.

A brawl at the end of that fight led to the first WrestleMania.

Piper also had well-known rivalries with Rick Rude and Adrian Adonis, among others.

In addition to his celebrity in the ring, Piper appeared in John Carpenter's 1988 cult classic "They Live." In that film, he delivered the memorable line: "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass — and I'm all out of bubblegum."

"He was a great wrestler. He was an underrated actor and just a marvelous entertainer and I feel like I've just lost one of my close friends," Carpenter told The Associated Press.

Carpenter said when he last saw Piper, his friend had just had shoulder surgery but was doing well.

"His outlook was very good," he said. "Roddy will always be loved because of his wrestling career," Carpenter said. "He really became a legend in pro wrestling. He will not be forgotten."

Former "Survivor" star Jonny Fairplay started work in 2001 as Piper's personal assistant.

"I would wake him up in the morning and yell at him from the door of his bedroom," he said. "I'd say, hailing from Glasgow, Scotland, 'the guy who never beat Hulk Hogan.'"

Fairplay named his daughter Piper in honor of the wrestler.

"Rowdy Piper should be remembered as the greatest bad guy of all time," he said.

More recently, Piper appeared in the show "Celebrity Wife Swap," trading wives with fellow former wrestler Ric Flair.

Piper battled Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2006, but later said he had beaten the cancer.

A native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Piper is survived by his wife Kitty and their four children.

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{allcanada} Hulk Hogan -- Roddy Was My Best Friend ... I'll Miss Him



Hulk Hogan tells TMZ Sports ... he's devastated over the news of his friend Roddy Piper -- saying, "I will forever miss him."

"He was my best friend. He is a legend."

Hogan adds, "God's gain is our loss. May his family in this time of need, find peace. Much love forever, HH."

Hogan and Piper were the two of the biggest stars in wrestling back in the '80s -- and famously did battle at "Wrestlemania I" in 1985.

But outside the ring, they were tight -- and remained friends for decades.

The Iron Sheik has also issued a statement ... saying, "Roddy Piper. I love you forever. God bless you bubba."

WWE legend Virgil -- "My main man. Always had my back. RIP #RoddyPiper."

Kevin Nash -- "RIP to Roddy Piper. Prayers to his family and loved ones."

Bill Goldberg -- "#RIP #RoddyPiper ........damn sure one of the good guys. Gonna miss ya buddy"

Jim Ross -- "Rest in peace, Roddy Piper. You will live in our hearts forever"

UFC's Dana White -- "Sad day. RIP Rowdy Roddy Piper."

John Cena -- "One of the true greats of all time. My heart goes out to his family and the fans he entertained over the years. RIP Rowdy."

WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon -- "Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world. I extend my deepest condolences to his family."

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{allcanada} “Rowdy” Roddy Piper Dies: Pro Wrestling Icon & Veteran Actor Was 61


"Rowdy" Roddy Piper, a wrestler and actor who was one of the kings of the squared circle during the WWF's go-go days in the 1980s, died overnight at his home in Hollywood. He was 61. His agent Jay Schachter told Deadline that Piper, whose real name was Roderick George Toombs, died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given. Piper had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2007 but said last year that he was cancer-free.

"I am shocked and beyond devastated," Schachter said. "He was an amazing man and a true friend, one of the most generous, sincere and authentic people I have ever known. This is a true loss to us all."

Los Angeles' Days Of The Dead Convention

Piper had been wrestling professionally for a decade when he joined the then-World Wrestling Federation full time in 1984, just as it was catching fire in pop culture. A native of Saskatchewan, Canada, he was billed as a bad guy from Glasgow, Scotland — famous for wearing a kilt and playing the bagpipes in the ring. Piper was a popular figure on the circuit, wrestling some of the top draws of the era and becoming an archrival of then-world champion Hulk Hogan. Their legendary beef — aided by Cyndi Lauper, whose popular video for "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" featured pro wrestlers — helped bring pro wrestling farther into the mainstream. Piper and Hogan squared off for the heavyweight championship in the 1985 Madison Square Garden event billed as The War To Settle The Score. The good guy won, natch, and Piper never did claim a world title.

MTV aired their bout, which helped pave the way for the inaugural WrestleMania a few months later, Piper — also known as Hot Rod — and tag-team partner Paul Orndorff lost the main-event bout to Hogan and Mr. T. WrestleMania would become the WWF's signature event, and Piper returned several times. He also got his own interview segment, Piper's Pit, during which he regularly would taunt his subject and, often, attack him. Decades later, it was revived as a podcast.

Piper, Hogan and dozens of other WWF stars of the day would gather — 'We Are The World"-style — for a video of the old hit "Land Of 1000 Dances," which earned heavy rotation on MTV. Remember this?

Piper left the WWF in 1996 and joined World Championship Wrestling, then rejoined the rechristened WWE in 2003. But that reunion was brief; WWE stopped using Piper following his interview on HBO's Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel in which he discussed the underbelly of the pro wrestling biz. But he returned again in 2005 and his legacy was cemented with induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. He returned to the ring and later was voted No. 1 on its all-time villain list. He continued to make WWE-related appearances throughout the next decades, and last year was a regular on the WWE Network reality show Legends' House.

They Live

During and after his wrestling days, Piper racked up dozens of film and TV credits, starring in numerous action B-movies and later doing voice work. Piper's TV credits include It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Cold Case and Highlander, and had a number of projects in various stages of production at the time of his death. But aside from wrestling, Piper's most famous role inarguably came in Universal's 1988 sci-fi thriller They Live. Starring as a sunglasses-sporting drifter suddenly tasked with saving the human race, Piper originated the a famous catchphrases — "I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass. And I'm all out of bubble gum" — and engaged in a marathon fistfight with co-star Keith David, said to be among the longest ever filmed. Years later, director John Carpenter said the scene took three weeks to rehearse. Since then it has been referenced and parodied in myriad other works, including an episode of South Park and the 2013 video game Saints Row IV, in which Piper appeared as himself.

The suddenness of his death left Piper no time to write deliberate last words. But in characteristic style, his last tweet serves as a fitting epitaph both to the man he was in real life, and to the larger than life persona he spent more than three decades crafting.

@R_Roddy_Piper : Plus I got my best guy @EarlSkakel backing me up! "It's the time of the Rebel" YOU PICKED THE WRONG GUY TO BULLY!

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{allcanada} Wrestling Legend "Rowdy" Roddy Piper Dies at 61


It's a very sad day for wrestling fans.

"Rowdy" Roddy Piper, an actor and former professional wrestler, died of cardiac arrest Thursday night, reports TMZ Sports. He was 61 years old.

His representative told TMZ, "I am devastated at this news. Rod was a good friend as well as a client and one of the most generous, sincere and authentic people I have ever known. This is a true loss to us all."

Born Roderick George Toombs in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Piper began his professional wrestling career at age 15. His gimmick was entering the ring with a kilt and bagpipes, a nod to his Scottish heritage, which lead to his nickname "Roddy the Piper."

He started with the National Wrestling Association in 1973, working his way up to a full-time gig with the World Wrestling Federation by 1984. Piper was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.

He did a few guest-star spots on sketch shows and sitcoms and then hit it big, starring in the big-screen 1988 sci-fi flick They Live. From there, he worked on a number of movies and TV shows.

Piper was still an active celebrity at the time of his death: Less than a day ago, he tweeted that he was going to be a on a friend's podcast Friday afternoon.

He has been married to his wife Kitty since 1982. They had four children and one grandchild. Piper announced he'd been diagnosed with Hodgkins' Lymphoma in 2006.

His family confirmed his death on Facebook Friday afternoon.

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{allcanada} Professional wrestler Roddy Piper dead at 61


Roddy Piper speaks at Wrestlemania in 2009

Professional wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper has died at the age of 61, TMZ reports Friday (July 31).

The WWE legend, whose real name was Roderick George Toombs, died of cardiac arrest in his sleep at his home in Los Angeles Thursday (July 30).

Toombs had been battling Hodgkins Lymphoma in recent years. He was diagnosed with the form of cancer in 2006, but revealed he was cancer free in November 2014.

Despite being Canadian by birth, the wrestler's Scottish heritage led to the character being billed as hailing from Scotland. He was known for competing in a kilt and entering the arena to bagpipe music. Rowdy Roddy Piper was named the WWE's greatest villain of all time; he also won the WWF Intercontinental Championship in 1992 and the World Tag Team Championship with Ric Flair in 2006. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.

Piper is survived by his wife Kitty and four children — daughters Anastacia Shea, Ariel Teal and Falon Danika, and son Colton Baird, as well as one grandchild.

At the time of his death, Piper was working on developing a new podcast called "Piper's Pit" for the Earwolf Podcast Network.

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{allcanada} Blue Jays add P Lowe, OF Revere


TORONTO - In the week leading up to the trade deadline, the Toronto Blue Jays traded 11 pitching prospects in an effort to bolster their starting rotation, bullpen and lineup.

The final haul turned out to be ace starter David Price, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, relievers LaTroy Hawkins and Mark Lowe and outfielder Ben Revere. General manager Alex Anthopoulos hates the term "all-in," but that's exactly what the Blue Jays are for this season.

"People talk about 'all-in' and things like that — we're trying to win each year," Anthopoulos said Friday. "We believe in the talent, we believe we have a chance to get to the post-season."

That's the expectation if not the mandate for the 2015 Blue Jays, who hit the trade deadline 52-51, two games back of the Minnesota Twins for the second American League wild-card spot and six back of the East Division-leading New York Yankees.

These trades put even more pressure on the loaded Blue Jays to make the playoffs for the first time since 1993 and end the longest drought in North American professional sports.

"There's always pressure," manager John Gibbons said. "I'm excited about that, but I don't think that's changed. But there's pressure on you in this business all the time."

Perhaps the first bit of pressure was on Anthopoulos, whose contract is up at the end of the season, along with team president Paul Beeston's. But the Montreal native said he didn't know going into the week that he was going to be this aggressive and at times feared the Blue Jays wouldn't be able to do much.

Instead, Toronto kicked things off by getting Tulowitzki and Hawkins from the Colorado Rockies for shortstop Jose Reyes and big-time pitching prospects Jeff Hoffman and Miguel Castro along with Jesus Tinoco. Price cost three more young pitchers in top prospect Daniel Norris and fellow lefties Matt Boyd and Jairo Labourt.

On deadline day, the Blue Jays sent left-handed pitchers Nick Wells, Jacob Brentz and Rob Rasmussen to Seattle for Lowe and right-handers Jimmy Cordero and Alberto Tirado to Philadelphia for Revere. They got cash from the Oakland Athletics for pitcher Felix Doubront, who had been designated for assignment.

Lowe, a 32-year-old who revitalized his career this season, has a 1.00 ERA with 37 strikeouts and 11 walks in 36 innings and like Price can be a free agent after this season.

Toronto's bullpen now features Lowe, Hawkins, closer Robert Osuna, right-hander Aaron Sanchez and left-handers Brett Cecil and Aaron Loup.

"It's a different look than it was a couple of weeks ago," Gibbons said. "(Lowe) could pitch anywhere seventh, eighth, ninth, depending on what's going on. He's got that ability."

The 27-year-old, left-handed Revere is expected to join a platoon in left field. In a power lineup that includes Tulowitzki and sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, Revere becomes the contact hitter who can also steal bases.

A career .292 hitter, Revere is batting .298 this season with 24 stolen bases after having a .306 average and 49 steals last year. Anthopoulos sees Revere as replacing the speed the Blue Jays lost by trading Reyes.

"I think he was the best fit for us and for our team," Anthopoulos said. "When your shortstop's a middle-of-the-order power hitter, that allows you to carry a left fielder that's not a power hitter, that's the profile that he brings: contact, slap the ball around and run and create havoc on the base paths, things like that."

Revere told reporters in Philadelphia he's looking forward to joining a contender.

"I've seen guys go from last place teams to potentially winning a World Series in the same year, or go to a team that goes into the playoffs," he said. "Doesn't matter if it's a wild card spot or if we go all the way. I'm just trying my best to help the team win."

Winning this year is the priority, especially considering Price will be one of the most sought-after free agents in baseball, Hawkins is expected to retire and Lowe should be due for a significant raise.

In Tulowitzki and Revere, the Blue Jays picked up players who can help beyond this season. Tulowitzki is signed through 2020 and Revere is under team control through 2017.

"You already knew you were dealing with a strong opponent, and they got significantly better," Yankees GM Brian Cashman said in Chicago about the Blue Jays.

Anthopoulos insisted Thursday that the Blue Jays are "always focused on the short and long-term." Unlike last year, when the Blue Jays were quiet at the trade deadline, this flurry of moves suggests a belief that this team can at least make the playoffs, if not go on a significant run.

"At that point anything can happen," Anthopoulos said.

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{allcanada} Wrestling star ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper dies at 61



Wrestling legend "Rowdy" Roddy Piper has died at the age of 61 ... TMZ Sports has learned.

Piper -- born Roderick George Toombs -- died from cardiac arrest in his sleep at his home in Hollywood on Thursday night. He was discovered on Friday.

Piper was a wrestling icon -- one of the biggest stars in the WWE back in the '80s, and even wrestled in "Wrestlemania I" back in 1985 ... squaring off against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T.

Roddy's rep tells us, "I am devastated at this news. Rod was a good friend as well as a client and one of the most generous, sincere and authentic people I have ever known. This is a true loss to us all."

Piper had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2006, but last November he said he was cancer free. A family source tells us he was "cancer free" at the time of his death.

A family member tells us, "Our family is saddened by the sudden passing of our father and beloved husband, Roderick Toombs aka Rowdy Roddy Piper."

Roddy was admitted into the WWE Hall of Fame back in 2005 and was one of the top 50 villains in the history of the WWE. 

Piper had a long relationship with WWE -- last wrestling back in 2008 ... but appeared on various WWE shows up until 2014. 

Roddy is survived by his wife Kitty and their 4 kids -- including 3 daughters and son Colton who's pursuing a career in professional wrestling.

The death is especially shocking considering we just spoke to him on Friday and asked his opinion about the Hulk Hogan scandal.

Piper Vs. Mr Perfect 1991:

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{allcanada} Justin Bieber Crashes Mariah Carey/French Montana Sesh



Justin Bieber made a very spontaneous decision to appear in a Mariah Carey and French Montana song.

We're told Mariah and French were working on a new song Thursday night at a Hollywood recording studio when Bieber just showed up.

Biebs confessed to Mariah he's a huge fan, so she played a portion of the song she and French were recording.

Bieber was so into it, he jumped into a booth and laid down some vocals that'll be featured in the song.

Kylie Jenner was also there with a few friends, but she won't be on the song ... for obvious reasons.

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{allcanada} Blue Jays acquire reliever Lowe from Mariners


TORONTO - The Toronto Blue Jays continued to stock up at the trade deadline, acquiring reliever Mark Lowe from the Seattle Mariners.

The Blue Jays sent left-handers Nick Wells, Jacob Brentz and Rob Rasmussen to Seattle in the deal.

Lowe, a 32-year-old right-hander, has a 1.00 earned-run average with 37 strikeouts and 11 walks in 36 innings.

Getting Lowe is the latest signal that the Blue Jays are all-in on trying to make the playoffs this year, even at the expense of the future.

Toronto has traded several prospects this week to get shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, reliever LaTroy Hawkins, ace starter David Price and now Lowe.

The new-look Blue Jays bullpen now features closer Robert Osuna, Lowe, Hawkins, lefty Brett Cecil and righty Aaron Sanchez.

The club also reportedly traded for Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Ben Revere two hours before the deadline.

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{allcanada} 2015 Salary Arbitration Dates


TORONTO (July 5, 2015) – Twenty-three players have elected Salary Arbitration:

NOTE: * signifies settlement


Arizona Coyotes
Mikkel Boedker *
Phil Samuelsson - July 21, 2015 *
Brendan Shinnimin- July 20, 2015 *

Buffalo Sabres
Phil Varone - July 27, 2015*

Calgary Flames
Lance Bouma - July 22, 2015*
Paul Byron - July 30, 2015 *
Josh Jooris - July 28, 2015*

Colorado Avalanche
Andrew Agozzino - July 20, 2015 *
Mathew Clark - July 22, 2015 *

Detroit Red Wings
Gustav Nyquist *

Minnesota Wild
Erik Haula - July 31, 2015

Nashville Predators
Craig Smith - July 20, 2015 *
Colin Wilson - July 28, 2015*

New Jersey Devils
Eric Gélinas - July 21, 2015 *
Adam Larsson - July 29, 2015*

New York Rangers
Derek Stepan - July 27, 2015*

Ottawa Senators
Alex Chiasson - July 23, 2015*
Mike Hoffman - July 30, 2015

Philadelphia Flyers
Michael Del Zotto - July 21, 2015 *

St. Louis Blues
Magnus Paajarvi *

Toronto Maple Leafs
Taylor Beck - July 24, 2015 *

Washington Capitals
Braden Holtby - July 23, 2015 *
Marcus Johansson - July 29, 2015


Edmonton Oilers
Justin Schultz - July 24, 2015 *

Toronto Maple Leafs
Jonathan Bernier - July 31, 2015

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{allcanada} Ex-King Richards remains in limbo


One month after the Los Angeles Kings terminated the contract of forward Mike Richards, no charges have been laid and the NHL Players' Association has yet to make a decision on whether to file a grievance on the matter.

Sgt. Bert Paquet, a spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Manitoba, said Thursday there is "still an active investigation" into Richards.

According to a Winnipeg Sun report from June 30, Richards is "under investigation for alleged possession of a restricted substance while attempting to cross the Canada-U.S. border." The Sun reported a man was "held in custody … for at least four hours after allegedly trying to import" prescription painkiller OxyContin on June 17.

The Kings placed Richards on unconditional waivers on June 28, then moved to terminate his contract on June 29, citing a "material breach." They have yet to discuss the grounds for terminating his contract.

In the month since then, the NHLPA has continued to gather facts and information, but has yet to decide on filing a grievance. Richards and the NHLPA have 60 days to file a grievance contesting the termination, or until Aug. 29.

Whether charges are laid could impact the NHLPA decision to move forward with a grievance.

"There is no guarantee charges will be laid," Paquet, the RCMP spokesman, said. "There has been a lot of interest in this case. If charges were laid, we would likely announce the information publicly."

Without going into precise timing, Paquet said there is a statute of limitations for pursuing charges against Richards.

"In a federal drug case, and I am not saying this is one, we usually have more than a year before courts say we can no longer prosecute," Paquet said. "It depends on the actual charges in this case, if there are any. But we're not worried about that, we have several more months before we're at the point where that happens."

Richards' agent, Pat Morris of Newport Sports Management, declined to comment.

Richards, 30, is currently an unrestricted free agent. By terminating his contract, the Kings walked away from the $22 million remaining on the 12-year, $69-million deal originally brokered with the Philadelphia Flyers on Dec. 13, 2007.

If a grievance is filed on Richards' behalf by the NHLPA, a request could be made for an expedited hearing. That could enable Richards to enter an NHL training camp in September. 

The case would be heard by impartial grievance arbitrator George Nicolau, known for being the longest serving arbitrator in Major League Baseball history. Nicolau, 90, served previous stints as an arbitrator for the NHL.

The Kings received significant salary cap relief with Richards' termination, just prior to the opening of the July 1 free agency period.

At the very least, the Kings will be hit with a $1.33 million salary cap recapture penalty next season. If a grievance is filed, and Nicolau rules in the favor of Richards, the Kings could ultimately conduct an "ordinary course buyout" of Richards' contract, which would result in fluctuating cap penalties (as high as $4.21 million per season) through 2025.

The Kings would also be responsible, in that case, to pay Richards $14.5 million of the $22 million remaining on his contract.

According to the league's Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams may terminate a contract if "a player shall at any time: fail, refuse or neglect to obey the Club's rules governing training and conduct of Players, if such failure, refusal or neglect should constitute a material breach of this SPC" [Standard Players' Contract].

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