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 nk its neat. This time of year you want to play in front of an excited crowd, an arena where everything is close. Theres just so

The rink where?Josh Harding?now works is five minutes from?his house in Edina, Minnesota. A road trip now means a drive to a different local high school. Every day includes lots of quality time with his 3-year-old daughter and 3-month-old son.Even over the phone, you can sense that Harding is at peace with the fact that this is where his career path has led.When the doctors say enoughs enough, you kind of have to listen to them, the former Minnesota Wild netminder said.Just before he picked up the phone to call an reporter, Harding, 32, spoke with?Carolina Hurricanes forward Bryan Bickell.Bickell, 30, was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and is taking time away from the game to try to figure out how best to deal with the disease, the same incurable one that ultimately ended Hardings career in 2015.By sharing some of his experiences in dealing with MS, which attacks and scars the protective covering of nerves in the brain and spinal cord, Harding gave Bickell at least some sense of what lies ahead. He also shared strategies, things that worked and things that didnt work for him.Anything I can obviously do for him to kind of help him along, Harding said. I was just telling him that one of the things I felt was very tough was when youre trying new medications but trying to play and practice through those. That was pretty tough for me. But I think Bryans handling it great.Apart from his hands-on advice, Harding has also helped simply by being a sounding board, someone who understands intimately the nature of the now-competing narratives that will dominate Bickells life moving forward -- battling the disease and fighting to stay in the game.When Harding was diagnosed in 2012, he spoke with Jordan Sigalet,?another netminder whose playing career had been derailed by multiple sclerosis. Both Sigalet and Harding have been or plan to be in touch with Bickell, a kind of unspoken pay-it-forward mentality that springs from the shared experience of being diagnosed with MS.Just coping with it and accepting that there isnt a cure right now, but the sooner you can kind of wrap your head around it and really get what works for you, the better its going to be, Harding said.The one thing that Harding cannot give Bickell is the answer he wants to hear: that he will definitely, at some point, return to being an NHL player.If there was a blueprint for what you have to do, I really think Id still be in the league, Harding said. Thats obviously another tough thing with this disease, that there isnt this exact handout that you can follow to get it out of your body.Harding knows the difficulty of that fact all too well.The native of Regina, Saskatchewan, was diagnosed with MS in September 2012. That fall, NHL players were locked out in a labor dispute for several months and the season was ultimately cut almost in half.Harding wrestled with how to deal with his diagnosis. The Wild were aware, but he considered keeping his condition from becoming public knowledge. That ultimately didnt seem workable, given that he was going to need to take time away from the team for rest and treatment.Harding ultimately decided that sharing his story -- letting people know that multiple sclerosis wasnt something to be ashamed of and that he was going to work to continue his job while dealing with the disease?-- was an important part of his new reality.That mindset has never changed, even if Harding did have to make concessions to his health.He registered a shutout in his first game after the lockout but appeared in just five games during the shortened 13 season. That spring, Harding was pressed into service in the first round of the playoffs when starter Niklas Backstrom was injured before Game 1 against the?Chicago Blackhawks. Harding was excellent in an overtime loss in the Wilds first game against top-ranked Chicago and played in every game of the series before the Wild were eliminated in Game 5.Later, Harding would receive the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy in recognition of his perseverance and dedication to the game.But the reality was that Hardings best opportunity to keep the disease at bay was at odds with being a player -- and, specifically, an NHL netminder.Im not going to sugarcoat it: It was very tough for me, he said. Right when I thought that I kind of had it under control, it just seemed like something would kick my legs out from under me again.For Harding, taking as much stress out of his life and having an orderly schedule of rest allowed him to function as close to normal as possible. And that meant an end to his life as an NHLer. I feel like Im in a lot better place now, healthwise, he said.Maybe Bickell will find that his experience with MS is different. Harding, for one, is rooting for Bickell to find something that eluded him.I would give anything to be back playing hockey, Harding admitted. Thats kind of what weve done for our entire life. Its kind of a diagnosis that you know you didnt ask for and you didnt want. Theres really not much you can do except to battle through it. But I really miss [playing].The extra time Harding gets with his young family is a treasure that is denied most NHL players, given the travel demands of the sport. And coaching alongside former NHLer and highly successful high school coach Curt Giles at Edina High School has given Harding a welcome connection to the game.Sometimes the kids on the Edina Hornets will ask whether Harding is going to put on the pads at practice. But he doesnt. Harding is aware that even something that seemingly simple could upset the balance that he has established in his life, could add unneeded stress.Plus, he joked, there are pretty good shooters among the high schoolers and his confidence might take quite a beating. He figures that he can live without that. Hes focusing on the positives and happy that he still has a tie to the sport he loves.I try to take the positives out of it, he said. Rollie Fingers Jersey . Pierce was ejected in the third quarter of Indianas 103-86 win Monday. George Hill stole a bad pass and was going in for a layup, and Pierce hustled back and appeared to be trying to wrap him up. Jhoulys Chacin Jersey . The Nashville Predators were glad their captain was still on their side. Weber had a goal and two assists, and Roman Josi scored the shootout winner to lift the Predators to a 4-3 win over the Flyers on Thursday night. . Reigning world champion Eve Muirhead of Scotland opened with a 12-2 rout of Winnipegs Jennifer Jones in a battle of teams bound for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Randy Jones Jersey . 24 Baylor in a Big 12 clash between teams trending in opposite directions. Andrew Wiggins made 10-of-12 from the foul line and scored 17 for Kansas (14-4, 5-0 Big 12), which capped a stretch of four straight games against ranked opponents unscathed. Wil Myers Jersey . He just needed to be his best twisting, turning acrobatic self. "I didnt need to be anybody else, I just needed to be myself and be aggressive," said Burks, who scored a career-high 34 points to spark the Utah Jazz to a 118-103 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night. LAHAINA, Hawaii -- The Lahaina Civic Center sits on a hill above Honoapiilani Highway in western Maui, barely visible among the tropical trees and police station.The outside of the building is nondescript even up close, looking more like a school auditorium than a basketball arena. Same thing on the inside, with its upstairs, YMCA-style lockers and cage-like windows overlooking the court.Yet every November, the Lahaina Civic Center transforms into something else: one of college basketballs most raucous venues.Its like a high school gym being there, Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said Sunday, the eve of the Maui Invitational. The noise is loud, people are close to you. I think its neat. This time of year you want to play in front of an excited crowd, an arena where everything is close. Theres just so much you can gain from an experience like this and in a building like that. Theres really nothing like it.The Maui Invitational has become the top in-season tournament on the college basketball schedule, annually luring some of the best teams from across the country to the second-largest island in the Hawaiian chain.This years eight-team field has combined for 14 national championships and 40 Final Fours, and three teams are ranked in the top 10 of The Associated Press poll : No. 4 Oregon, No. 5 North Carolina and No. 9 Wisconsin.The three-day tournament, which starts Monday, also includes Tennessee, Oklahoma State, UConn, Georgetown and host Chaminade.At the center of this basketball-topia is the 2,400-seat Lahaina Civic Center.Built in 1972, the building is used as a public civic center 50 weeks out of the year, hosting high school basketball leagues, volleyball games, karate practices and community events.The two weeks of the Maui Invitational brings some changes to the civic center -- signs and banners, TV lights, cushioned chairs in front of the bleachers -- but its still nowhere near matching the massive, modern arenas found across the rest of college basketball. It didnt even have air conditioning until the 2005 tournament -- after North Carolina coach Roy Williams complained about condensation on the floor.Its hard to adapt an old building with such character into a 2016 basketball arena that everyones used to, said Mark Starsiak, director of events for KemperLesnik, which operates the Maui Innvitational.ddddddddddddI tell teams every year: `Its the most unique experience youll have walking from the locker room all season. If you have any questions, Ill try to answer them.Calling the Lahaina Civic Center quirky is like saying basketball players are tall.The court, outside of the massive Maui Invitational logo at midcourt, is like a high school hardwood, with volleyball court and vertical basketball lines crisscrossing the court.The seats are like something out of Hoosiers, old bleachers that are practically

t123, 28.03.2018 14:55
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