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Canada Unveils Loaded Roster For Olympics

Steve Yzerman and the rest of Hockey Canada spent months looking at the country’s top players, trying to figure out the best way to blend talent into a team good enough to win Olympic gold.

The Hall of Fame player and Hockey Canada executive director kept asking himself the same question as months turned into days and then hours before decisions had to be made.

“I’m trying to cram 17 bodies into 14 spots and I couldn’t do that,” Yzerman said Tuesday about all those talented forwards.

Claude Giroux, Martin St. Louis, Joe Thornton — all among the NHL’s scoring leaders — didn’t make the cut.

“It came down to fit,” Yzerman said, declining to say exactly why some standouts were snubbed.

Sidney Crosby, of course, was a lock to make the star-studded team, and the Penguins’ standout will have plenty of help when Canada tries to win a second straight gold medal next month in Sochi, Russia.

Crosby, who scored the gold-medal winning goal in 2010 against the U.S., will be joined up front by Jamie Benn, the Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron, Jeff Carter, Matt Duchene, Ryan Getzlaf, Chris Kunitz, Patrick Marleau, Rick Nash, Corey Perry, former University of Vermont player Patrick Sharp, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares and Jonathan Toews.

Jay Bouwmeester, Drew Doughty, Dan Hamhuis, Duncan Keith, Alex Pietrangelo, P.K. Subban, Marc-Édouard Vlasic and Shea Weber will be on defense. Roberto Luongo, Carey Price and Mike Smith will be in goal.

Other players who could have made the cut include James Neal, Eric Staal, Milan Lucic, Taylor Hall, Brent Seabrook, Mark Giordano, Dan Boyle, Corey Crawford, Marc-Andre Fleury and Logan Couture, who is scheduled for surgery this week to treat an upper-body injury.

Kerrigan Added as NBC Analyst

New York — Nancy Kerrigan will serve as an analyst for NBC during the Sochi Olympics, 20 years after she was the story of the 1994 Games.

The network said Tuesday that the two-time figure skating medalist will contribute to figure skating coverage, along with the Today show and Access Hollywood. She will not be doing color commentary on the competitions.

NBC is also planning a long-form feature on the attack on Kerrigan before the Lillehammer Olympics and her rivalry with Tonya Harding.

College Football

Title Game Viewership Down

Pasadena, Calif. — The BCS title game’s wild finish couldn’t draw in more television viewers than last year’s blowout.

Florida State’s 34-31 last-second win over Auburn on Monday was watched by an average of 25.6 million viewers on ESPN. That’s down 3 percent from the 26.4 million for Alabama’s 42-14 rout of Notre Dame in a matchup of two big-name programs. Auburn’s last-minute victory over Oregon in 2011 averaged 27.3 million viewers.

As the BCS era comes to an end, the 14.4 rating is the third-lowest for the championship game, ahead of Miami-Nebraska in 2002 and USC-Oklahoma in 2005.

Ratings represent the percentage of homes with televisions tuned to a program.

NFL Football

Colts Sign Ex-Pat

Indianapolis — The Colts are getting some help from a former Patriot.

Six days before the two rivals meet in a divisional-round game, the Colts signed Deion Branch, the former New England receiver and Super Bowl MVP.

Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano pointed out Branch lives in nearby Carmel, works out at one of the city’s top training facilities and fills a need after Darrius Heyward-Bey injured a hamstring Saturday in the Colts’ 45-44 comeback victory over Kansas City. But Branch also brings something else to the locker room — deep knowledge of Bill Belichick’s playbook.

Earlier this season, Patriots QB Tom Brady reportedly lobbied the team to re-sign Branch as the offense struggled with the losses of Wes Welker in free agency, Aaron Hernandez to legal trouble and Danny Amendola to Rob Gronkowski to injuries.

Instead, it was the injury-plagued Colts who signed Branch off the street.