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CORTINA DAMPEZZO, Italy -- Defending overall World Cup champion Tina Maze finally got her first victory of the season, winning the prestigious Cortina downhill Saturday to signal a return to form just in time for the Sochi Olympics. The Slovenian clocked 1 minute, 37.79 seconds down the Olympia delle Tofane course, which was bathed in sunshine, then performed her trademark handstand celebration during the podium proceedings. "There were a lot of emotions," Maze said. "It was a really long time. ... When I find the right feeling like I found it today I can ski fast." Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden of Switzerland finished second, 0.27 seconds behind, and Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein was third, 0.38 back. Maze had a record-breaking season a year ago with 11 wins. This season, she had only three podium results -- until this race. "When you win a lot you dont learn much," Maze said. "With my ups and downs its a lot of learning." Two weeks ago, Maze made a staff change in her personal team, which is run by her boyfriend and coach Andrea Massi. They replaced Walter Ronconi with former Switzerland coach Mauro Pini. The switch seems to have paid off and the timing couldnt have been better -- in the final downhill before the Sochi Games, where the womens downhill is scheduled for Feb. 12. Pini urged Maze to put more emotion into her skiing. "That was really good because Andrea was always saying to ski without feelings," Maze said. "But sometimes thats not possible. "(Pini) brought a lot of peace to our team because compared to Andrea and I hes one step in front of us," Maze added. "And thats what we were expecting from someone in that position. He came really motivated and that makes us easygoing and we have more energy for ourselves." Pini was formerly Lara Guts personal coach and he led the Swiss mens squad at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, when Didier Defago won gold in downhill. He then coached the Swiss womens team and more recently was a TV commentator. "I could sense a good feeling from the first words we shared with each other," Pini said. "Tina never forgot how to ski. She was always capable, she just needed to focus her energy better and get rid of those negative vibes." "At this level a couple different words here or there can create all the difference," Pini added. "Its not like we had to start over from scratch." With the skies perfectly clear to show off the jagged peaks that provide some of the most spectacular scenery in the Dolomite Range, Maria Hoefl-Riesch finished fourth to follow up her victory in Fridays downhill. The German said she felt some pain in her left knee after landing a jump awkwardly a day earlier. Still, Hoefl-Riesch maintained her lead in the overall and downhill standings. In another strong showing from the U.S. Ski Team without injured Lindsey Vonn, Stacey Cook matched her fifth-place finish from Friday and teammate Julia Mancuso placed seventh to match her best result of the season from a super-G two days earlier. "It always stings when you are so close to the podium, but I know this is a positive move heading toward Sochi," Cook said. This was the third of four races in four days. Elisabeth Goergl won a super-G on Thursday and another super-G is scheduled for Sunday. Weirather finished fourth and second in the opening two races this week. "Its hard to have four good races in a row but I will try," she said. Two of the races were originally scheduled for last weekend in Cortina but were wiped out by heavy snowfall. The other two were moved from Garmisch-Partenkirchen due to a lack of snow in the German resort. The womens circuit then moves to Kranjska Gora for a giant slalom and slalom next weekend -- the final races before Sochi and Mazes home event. 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Dennis Rodman Jersey .com) - Ben Bishop turned aside 34 shots to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.TORONTO – You could say that Stephane Robidas became a Texan. Having spent more than a decade of his professional life in Dallas, Texas became a bona-fide second home for the native of Sherbrooke, Quebec. It was almost like I was a Texan, Robidas says. I was part of it for so long. This is not a hockey story, but instead a story on the reverberations of a life within hockey. So often in sports – and perhaps rightfully so – we focus on player movement through the lens of the team but rarely through that of the individual. Robidass exit from Dallas, where he first landed in the fall of 2002, was painful. He played more than 700 games there with the Stars, but it was leaving the place where he and his family built a life that was particularly tough and not without a few tears. -- Drafted by his hometown Montreal Canadiens in 1995, Robidas always figured hed finish his career in Dallas, but that was not ultimately to be. He signed a three-year deal this summer to play in Toronto. Its like moving away from home, he said of leaving the Lone Star state. Its the same thing because I can honestly say Dallas was home for me. Obviously Im from Quebec, Im proud to be French Canadian and I will always go back home in the summer, but my life was in Dallas for the longest time. Hed built his family there. He was at his best as a professional there. His friends were there. And then suddenly he was gone, sporting a Ducks jersey three weeks after he was first approached about leaving. -- It was a Sunday in March earlier this year when the world first shook for the Robidas clan. Still fighting his way back from the first of two broken right leg injuries, Robidas was practicing with his Stars teammates that day in Dallas. He grabbed a bite to eat after the on-ice session and was on his way to the gym for a workout when the still newish general manager of the team, Jim Nill, approached. Nill invited Robidas into his office for a chat. Do I work out first? Robidas asked. No, Nill said, come and see me before you work out. Long the second in command to Ken Holland in Detroit, Nill started by saying how much the Stars appreciated everything that Robidas had done – he was in his 11th season with the team – adding how much they loved him in the process. Then he told Robidas that two legitimate Stanley Cup contenders – teams with more certain playoff hopes than the Stars – were interested in his services for the remainder of the year. Robidas was confused. He hadnt played since the end of November and was uncertain of when hed be back. But he understood the opportunity that was being presented, an opportunity to perhaps capture a Cup in his twilight years. He put it up front, Robidas said glowingly of Nill. He said hey, I think for you and your career, this is the best thing. Youre not going to be rushed to come back [from the injury] and you have a chance to win a Cup. It will be good for your career. The Stars – with whom hed first been traded to more than 11 years earlier – were doing him a favour, he thought. They were offering him a prime chance to chase the Cup in one of two places, neither of which Nill would divulge at that point. Robidas had his 37th birthday the following day, a Monday. His thoughts raced. He had no idea what was to come, only that it wasnt going to be in Dallas, the place hed made his home for so many years. The whole day, Im thinking Im going to get traded, but I dont know where, Robidas recalls. My head is spinning 100 miles an hour. Later that night, the Stars – minus Robidas, who would sadly never play another shift with the team – hosted the Sabres at the American Airlines Center. Theyd win the evening on a third period power play goal from Alex Chiasson and were due to fly out immediately afterward for a date in Coluumbus the next night.dddddddddddd Knowing a trade was coming – though he didnt know where – Robidas decided hed better say his goodbyes. I might not be back, he told them. The next morning, he arrived at a mostly quiet rink. He was there to skate with the teams skills coach, now more than three months after he first broke his knee against Chicago. Robidas was just about to take the ice when Nill approached, once more, in the Stars dressing room. It was Anaheim, he said of the team which had emerged for his services. You okay with that? Nill asked. Robidas responded affirmatively. Nill told him not to tell anyone yet. He would call up Ducks general manager Bob Murray and make the deal – which sent a fourth round pick to Dallas. In shock, Robidas grabbed his phone and already there were a rush of texts from everywhere. They all wanted to know if it was true, if hed been traded away from the Stars one more time. Per Nills instruction, Robidas kept quiet. Instead, he dialed up his ex-wife, Marie-Eve, who proceeded to pick up their two kids, Justin and Lexie, from school. Trades, we forget, affect not only the player, but his family and in this particular case, news of the trade was devastating. Justin, you see, had been born in Texas, was raised in Texas. All he really knew was Texas. And so out came the tears when the elder Robidas pulled into his driveway and found his son playing hockey in the garage. Justin was getting rid of his Stars jersey, he told his dad. Hed erased the Stars app on his phone, too. That Friday, the Stars were due to honour their all-time leading scorer, Mike Modano. Justin was among the nine kids due to take the ice for the ceremony, but upon learning of the trade, heartbroken, he didnt want to do it. He was crushed, Robidas said, still noticeably pained by the memory. Now with his third organization in a matter of months, Robidas is doing his best to adjust. His kids have moved back to Quebec with his ex-wife, a reality thats made day-to-day life different and admittedly difficult in Toronto. As a Star, hed wake up in the morning, drive the kids to school, hit the ice for practice and then pick them up from school again afterward. Now, hes mostly alone. Thats the toughest thing for me, he said. Now I wake up every morning, Im by myself. I get off practice, I go home. Its a different lifestyle. He isnt complaining. Its a reality of the business, he knows, and not ultimately all that unique. He calls Justin and Lexie every day, FaceTimes with them often, and when theres a break in the schedule, Robidas hops a quick early morning flight to Quebec, if only to spend the day with them. Theyll see their dad when the Leafs visit the Canadiens. Theyll visit in November. Hell head back to Sherbrooke for Christmas. Its an adjustment. Im not the first guy that it happens to and Im not the last guy either, he says. Youve just got to deal with it the best you can. The kids are still adjusting to the drastic cultural shift from the big lights of Dallas, where theres lots of money, Robidas says, to the working-class norms of Sherbrooke. His son still misses Texas plenty. He chats with his hockey buddies there all the time, tells his dad he misses those friends, misses Dallas. This will be their first winter, Robidas says, their first chance to live in the snow. He worries for them, but knows the new experience will do them good. More culture, more life experience, can only be a positive. Kids, they adjust, Robidas says. Its amazing how they adjust to things. A lot of the time, we worry about them, but as long as they feel like theyre loved and you take care of them and you spend time with them and theyre not alone, theyll adjust. And he will too. Though its clear, Dallas will not be forgotten. cheap jerseys cheap jerseys china cheap jerseys wholesale jerseys wholesale jerseys ' ' '