DENVER -- Facing his first predicament as a head coach, Brian Shaw suspended one of his players and sat down the rest of the Denver Nuggets for a lengthy chat Thursday. Thomas Sanders Jersey . He hopes his message got through and possibly serves as a turning point in the season. The Nuggets are trying to snap out of an eight-game slump, their longest in nearly a decade. "Didnt anticipate for (the meeting) to last as long as it did, but however long it needs to take to flush everything out and figure out whats going on with our team, we decided to take that time today," Shaw said. "Its been a long morning after a long night of watching the game over and just playing everything back in your mind and trying to find a solution for where we are." One of the biggest moves of the day was Denver suspending veteran point guard Andre Miller for two games for "conduct detrimental to the team." Miller was upset after not playing in a 114-102 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night. It was the first "Did not play -- coachs decision" of Millers 15-year career. Asked how his meeting with Miller went, Shaw said he hasnt talked to him yet. Shaw didnt elaborate on why Miller was suspended but there were reports that Miller voiced his displeasure with Shaw over his lack of playing time. "It just came to a boiling point. We made a decision and were moving forward," Shaw said. Millers suspension begins Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies. He also will not travel for a game Sunday in Los Angeles against the Lakers. "We will have a conversation before he comes back with the team," Shaw said. "Thatll happen when it happens." In the meantime, Shaw met for several hours with the rest of his squad as the Nuggets try to get back on track. "Everybody got their feelings out. Everybody said what needed to be said," point guard Ty Lawson said. "Hopefully everybody can take that to heart and change so we can start getting wins. Its always healthy to get things out and get everything in the open. Hopefully, this will be a turning point for the rest of the season." Shaw is hoping for the same thing. "Ive been on championship teams that while you were winning you had these kinds of meetings to air everything out," Shaw explained. "It happens and its a part of what goes on in our business and a family. These things happen. "There was a lot of things people wanted to get off their chest." Miller was a favourite of former coach George Karl, who was ousted after winning a franchise-best 57 games last season only to be bounced from the first round of the playoffs for a fourth straight time. The transition from Karls up-tempo style to the system Shaw wants to run hasnt been all that smooth. This season could be filled with growing pains, which has been hard for the fans to digest. The Nuggets drew some boos after losing their fifth straight game at Pepsi Center on Wednesday. They were a franchise-best 38-3 at home last season. Shaw said the takeaway from the meeting was the importance of "hard work and effort." "If we bring that every night and we ended up losing every game, we can still live with ourselves because we know we gave it everything we had," Shaw said. "To this point, at different stages in the games, we havent been doing that, so thats why we are where we are." Matt Forte Jersey . - Playing a road game against a division rival raises the intensity for linebacker Clay Matthews. Jay Cutler Jersey .9 million deal Thursday. The 25-year McGinn had 19 goals and 19 assists in 79 games last season in helping the Avalanche tie a franchise record with 52 wins.The four-team FXFLs first season is over, and the developmental leagues founder is eager to get started on Year 2.I think we had a great first season, given the accelerated timeframe we operated under, says Brian Woods, commissioner of the league. We are very pleased at the response from the public. This model has proven itself. We believe we have something that works, with utilization of minor league baseball parks and the sponsorships weve created.Two of the FXFLs four franchises, the Brooklyn Bolts and Omaha Mammoths, drew decent-sized crowds to such stadiums. The Boston Brawlers didnt fare quite so well, and the Blacktips were a road-only team.Woods also was satisfied with the media reach the league had through regional sports networks and ESPN3. There were 80 million households who get those regional channels, and ESPN3 is available in about 90 million households.Most of the leagues players were cut by NFL teams before the season, and a handful wound up on NFL rosters or practice squads even as the FXFL was playing its short season. That, after all, was the idea in the first place.At the end of the day, we are a developmental league, Woods says. If some players needed current game film, they got it. There is real merit to having a developmental league.So much so that Woods envisions a bigger league in 2015, with more affiliations with minor league baseball teams and stadia. Hes targeting such cities as Memphis, Austin, Oklahoma City and somewhere in Florida. Woods also expects Brooklyn and Omaha to return.I want it to be a manageable expansion, ensure the product on the field will remain solid and something the fans will have an interest in, he says.OUT OF THIN AIR: Miami Dolphins defensive lineman Jared Odrick prepared for Sundays game at mile-high Denver with a hunting trip to Utah.Odrick and a friend shot coyote and hiked last weekend in the mountains near Randolph, which is at 6,300 feet — higher than Denver.Ive played in altitude before, Odrick said. It can be different if you want it to be. Its just another thing to overcome.Odricks mini-vacation was possible because the Dolphins had last weekend off following a Thursday night win over the Bills.CHAMPS TAKE: Although the only football Champ Bailey plays now is fantasy, he still has a scouts eye on the game he played for 15 seasons. He has faith in his former team getting right back on the Super Bowl Express.The Broncos (7-3) have lost two of their last three in large part because their makeshift offensive line cant keep Peyton Manning upright or jumpstart the ground game.Bailey, who officially retired this week, starting the countdown to his likely Hall of Fame speech, said angst-ridden Broncos fans should relax.Well, I think up front, theyre going to find something theyre comfortable with. They have to. Obviously, theyve made some changes. But theyll be good, Bailey said. I know the defence looks better than what we had last year. So, thats really the key: Dont turn the ball over, and get turnovers. They do that, they win. Too much talent not to.Theres never a good time for a slump, but better now than later, Bailey said.Its happened at the right time, not in the playofffs, Bailey said. Henry Waechter Jersey. This league, its about as tight as it gets. I swear, six or seven weeks ago, youre talking about Seattle is the best thing you ever seen. Now, what do you think?New England was in trouble then, too.Exactly: Whats wrong with Brady? They cant keep plugging guys in, Bailey said. Its week to week. Cant get too high or too low — on anybody, I dont care who they are.Therefore, Bailey still likes Denvers chances to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, warts and all.Very good chances, Bailey said. There are a lot of teams with good chances, but if theyre playing the best they can play, they can win it, easily.PREPPING FOR SPEED: Tennessee defensive co-ordinator Ray Horton has never coached against Philadelphia with coach Chip Kellys fast-paced offence. So he tried something a little different to help prep the Titans for visiting the Eagles on Sunday.He went to the tape. No, not the coaches version with all the breaks between plays edited out. He showed them a copy of the TV broadcast, complete with Troy Aikman, from the Eagles 53-20 loss at Green Bay last week.So they get the tempo and how fast everything goes, Horton said. I think if you havent seen it, and I havent seen it in person, I think our guys now have an idea of what it is because theyve seen it actually like they were there just watching it on TV. They wont be surprised or shocked. I dont think they will be. I think we have a great game plan in how were going to do it and what we do and well be ready to go.Defensive coaches will watch a copy of the TV broadcast to pick up a quarterbacks cadence. But with the Eagles, Horton didnt care about the words, simply the speed and tempo that offence runs so none of the Titans are caught off-guard by just how quickly Philadelphia moves.But you still have to experience how fast it is, Horton said.ELI-TIKI TIFF: Eli Manning didnt like it a couple of years ago when former teammate Tiki Barber took a shot at him over his leadership abilities. And he didnt like it when Barber said in a recent radio interview that coach Tom Coughlin should be fired.Thats very nice of him, Manning said. Its good to hear from Ol Tiki.The Giants (3-7) have lost five straight games and are in danger of missing the playoffs for a third straight season.Manning said he didnt hear all of Barbers comments but got the gist of what he was saying, noting everyone has the right to his opinion.The 33-year-old Manning said the comment wont affect the players or the coaches.Well, I think it depends on kind of what your opinion of the player is, Manning said. I think that can make a big difference in how you react to it.Barber has fallen into disfavour with Giants fans for saying that Mannings leadership was somewhat comical. Barber later added that Coughlins tough coaching style led to his decision to retire, which he announced in the middle of the 2006 season.The Giants and Manning won Super Bowls after the 2007 and 11 seasons.___AP Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner, Teresa M. Walker and Arnie Stapleton, and Sports Writers Tom Canavan and Steven Wine contributed to this notebook.___AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL ' ' '
A Champions Cup final place is the prize on offer when Saracens face Wasps in Saturdays all-English semi-final, live on Sky Sports 1 HD. Pelicans Jerseys 2021 . So far this season its honours even between the two Premiership sides. Saracens beat Wasps 26-16 at the Ricoh Arena in December thanks to a 21-point haul from fly-half Owen Farrell, but Wasps claimed revenge when they went to Allianz Park and smashed their hosts 64-23 in an eight-try mauling that saw Jimmy Gopperth contribute 23 points.Gopperth is in superb form after converting Charles Piutaus 80th-minute try for a thrilling 25-24 win over Exeter Chiefs in the Champions Cup quarter-final earlier in the month, while Farrell slotted five penalties and two conversions to guide Saracens to a 29-20 win over Saints in their quarter-final. The two fly-halves face off for the third time this season and their battle will be key in deciding the outcome, but it wont be the only one. We take a look at five head-to-heads as the two Premiership giants clash live on Sky Sports...Owen Farrell v Jimmy Gopperth Owen Farrell has been in fine form for club and country High-level performances are now the expected watermark for Farrell. The Saracens fly-half has been string-puller and goal-kicker supreme for the Premiership leaders this season - and from the tee for England - playing with the kind of confidence that has made him a consistent match-winner.But Gopperth has reasons to be confident too, after hitting that late winning touchline conversion to defeat Exeter in the quarter-finals. He described that kick as one of the highlights of his career but if hes to add to that story then its vital the New Zealander comes out the right side of this battle with the sure-footed Farrell. Watch highlights of Wasps thrilling Champions Cup quarter-final win over Exeter Gopperth wont be fazed by the challenge; hell be focused only on how to release Wasps dangerous outside backs. But Farrells polished style could prove the difference.Maro Itoje v Joe Launchbury Maro Itoje beats England team-mate Joe Launchbury in the lineout Its only a few weeks ago that Itoje was being tipped as an emerging international star. Now, after less than a handful of performances for England he already feels firmly established.Its an intriguing duel that pits his athleticism, growing form and enthusiasm against the experienced Launchbury.Saracens look to have the edge come lineout time, especially with their set piece anchored against another England lock, George Kruis. But its the damage Itoje is capable of doing on the opposition throw that will be of most concern to Wasps. Maro Itoje v Joe Launchbury 21 Age 25 48 Tackles 60 2 Missed tackles 11 51 Carries 51 25 Lineouts won 18 Alex Goode v Charles Piutau Charles Piutau has had a debut season to remember with Wasps Goode has been sensational this season and for many hes the form full-back in England. But if thats the case then Piutau is only a whisker behind.As Wasps showed against Exeter, they will attack from everywhere and Piutau has the strength and fleet-of-foot to beat the last defender, and the first defender too, for that matter.Goodes attacking style has been slightly more graceful but its been no less devastating. Alex Goode v Charles Piutau 59 Carries 77 484 Metres gained 714 7 Clean breaks 15 12 Defenders beaten 31 3 Tries 4 Billy Vunipola v Nathan Hughes Billy Vunipola will get Saracens over the gainline The two wrecking-ball No 8s will be in direct competition for a starting spot with England come the autumn internationals, with Fiji-born Hughes qualifying on residency grounds in June.George Smith insists the pair could forge a devastating combination at international level despite their similar strengths. Sky Live: Saracens v Wasps Mark McCall vows his players will attack the game Both players have been key performers in their respective clubs quests for a domestic and European double. They have scored two tries apiece in the Champions Cup and are the primary gain-line carriers for their sides, Hughes making 303 metres from 83 carries and Vunipola gaining 207m from 73 carriers. Nathan Hughes has beaten 20 defenders in this seasons Champions Cup Hughes has beaten 20 defenders in his six European appearances, two more than Vunipola, and the 24-year-olds offload ability will keep opposition defences on their toes.The battle of the breakdown could well decide which of these players have the greater influence. Deliver quick ruck ball in the right areas of the pitch, and this duo will thrive. Billy Vunipola v Nathan Hughes 23 Age 24 73 Carries 83 207 Metres gained 303 18 Defenders beaten 20 2 Tries 2 Chris Ashton v Christian Wade Chris Ashton has scored four tries in six European appearances this season One has registered six tries in a single outing. The other, five tries since returning from suspension.This is a fascintaing battle pitting two in-form finishers against each other, and theres an added dimension too with both keen to catch the interest of Eddie Jones ahead of Englands summer internationals. Ahead of Wasps European semi-final we found out the secret to the clubs return to the European top table Ashton relishes the big occasion and has become accustomed to delivering on those occasions too. Wade has his eye in after that six-try performance however, and both look certain to be involved heavily.In a straight head-to-head, Ashtons experience could well prove a determining factor.Watch Saracens v Wasps live on Sky Sports 1 HD on Saturday from 2.55pm. Catch the match for £6.99 with a NOW TV day pass Also See: Sky Live: Saracens v Wasps Will Greenwoods verdict Wasps return to European elite McCall: Saracens in confident mood New Orleans Pelicans Pro Shop .com) - Joe Pavelski scored twice to lead the San Jose Sharks in a 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers to split a home-and-home set. P. J. Brown Jersey . -- Albert Pujols is thrilled to have a reason to forget about his first two disappointing seasons with the Los Angeles Angels.LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- Serbian tennis player Victor Troicki says he will appear at sports highest court next week to challenge his 18-month ban for skipping a doping test. Troicki says in a statement he is "confident" ahead of his Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing on Oct. 9. The 2010 Davis Cup winner says "I will attend in person for sure. I am fighting for the truth and I will do it as hard as I can. Zylan Cheatham Jersey . " The International Tennis Federation banned Troicki until January, 2015 because he refused to provide a blood sample, after also giving a urine sample, at the Monte Carlo Masters in April. A tribunal dismissed Troickis claim that an anti-doping officer at the tournament advised him to write to the ITF citing illness for not giving the sample. ' ' '