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. "Im really excited to ski that slope," Maze said Swell Vattenflaska Sverige . -- The Chicago Bears have agreed to terms with safety Brock Vereen and QB David Fales on four-year contracts. Swell Flaska Sverige . Wheeler scored two goals, including the winner, as the Winnipeg Jets beat the Minnesota Wild 6-4 on Friday in a game that featured a seven-goal first period. http://www.swellbottlesverige.com/ . 5 Trade Deadline is drawing closer and teams will be deciding on whether to buy or sell while figuring out which players can make the biggest difference and hold the greatest value. Swell Sverige . LOUIS -- David Ross never expected to be on a World Series podium. Swell Bottle Sverige . At this rate, the Flyers captain is set to be remembered more for a fantastic finish.This has been unquestionably the worst season in the history of the Colorado Rockies. They are in last place in the National League, have the worst record in the Senior Circuit and are tied with Texas for the worst record in the Majors at 47-74. To make matters worse, they lost their two biggest stars, Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez this week on back-to-back days to season-ending injuries. Tulowitzki, who turns 30 in October, needs surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip. The 28-year-old Gonzalez is a former batting champ and Gold Glove outfielder who needs an operation to repair a partial tear of the patella tendon in his left knee. While not directly demanding a trade, a couple of weeks back Tulowitzki strongly hinted at one by saying he was sick and tired of all the losing in the Mile High City. With he and Gonzalez in their line-up this season the Rockies were 28-27. Without them they were just 19-47. Colorado, barring a trade of one or the other or both in the off-season, will be paying them a combined $36.5 million next season or roughly a third of their payroll. But this story isnt really about Tulowitzki and Gonzalez. Its about their teammate, 35-year-old Michael Cuddyer. You may have forgotten, as I did, that he won the National League batting title a year ago with a .331 average. He was off to a decent start this year as well when he injured his left shoulder making a diving play at third base. Right now, hes finishing off a rehab assignment and should be ready to rejoin Colorado shortly. In the midst of a dreadful Rockies season, Cuddyer will still be motivated. Hes in the final season of a three-year, $31.5 million contract. He claims to want to stay in Denver and definitely doesnt want to retire. But he could be the perfect rental player for a team like, say, the Blue Jays. Though primarily an outfielder, he has played third base and first base and could DH. Hes also a right-handed hitter who would help the Jays out against left-handed pitching - something Toronto has struggled against this season. Cuddyer would be relatively cheap as well, since he is owed somewhere around $3 million for the remainder of this season. Its just a thought. But if the Jays arent motivated to check out any big ticket items before the August 31 waiver trade deadline, they might want to check out Cuddyer in the bargain bin. Another man the Blue Jays maybe should be interested in is Cubs reliever Carlos Villanueva. The 30-year-old right-hander actually spent two years with the Jays before moving on to the Cubs as a free agent. CCarlos filled a valuable role with the Blue Jays as a spot starter and long reliever, but ultimately he jumped to Chicago for a little more money than the Jays wanted to pay and for the chance to be a starting pitcher - something the Blue Jays werent willing to let him become.dddddddddddd In that regard, maybe the Jays were right. Villanueva hasnt been all that effective as a starter with Chicago, but has been doing a great job since they basically cemented him in a relief role. Villanueva, like Cuddyer, would be a relatively cheap rental. Hes only owned around $1.6 million for the rest of the season before he becomes a free agent again. Both of these guys are character players, and in Villanuevas case, he was a respected confidante in the clubhouse in his former role as the Blue Jays players rep. Id wager the Blue Jays could get both of these guys for a couple of lower to mid-range prospects. It sure wouldnt hurt. I guess youre always rolling the dice a bit when you trade prospects for established rental talent. Take the Texas Rangers. They picked up Canadian-born righty Ryan Dempster from the Cubs on July 31, 2012 to pump up their staff a bit for the stretch run. Dempster made 12 starts for the Rangers, but despite a 7-3 record got hit around a bit to the tune of a 5.09 ERA and needless to say Texas didnt win the World Series. Dempster moved on to Boston, and after a so-so 8-9 campaign for the Bosox decided to take this year off to get away from the game, spend some time with the family and determine whether he wanted to play any more. So what did the Cubs get in return? Well they landed a third base prospect named Christian Villanueva and a fringe pitching prospect by the name of Kyle Hendricks - not to be confused with the Phillies Kyle Kendricks. Two years later Hendricks is the talk of Chicago, at least on the north side. The soft-tossing 24-year-old 63" right-hander is 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA. Hes struck out 26 and walked only nine while utilizing a Mark Buehrle-like array of off-speed pitches including a great change-up. Texas could certainly use him now with practically their entire rotation on the disabled list including Yu Darvish, whos expected to miss a couple of starts with a neck issue. Speaking of the Rangers, ex-Jay J.P. Arencibia actually got to pitch an inning in a 10-1 blowout loss to Tampa Bay the other night. He threw all fastballs, averaging just over 72 miles per hour and peaking at just above 74. J.P. did pretty well, giving up just an infield single to the four batters he faced. ' ' '