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yyys123
yyys123
Posts: 30


30.05.2019
yyys123
yyys123
Posts: 30
TORONTO – Two times in the past three seasons, the hockey team from Toronto has collapsed under city-rattling circumstances, including a rapid descent from near-certain playoff entry last season. JJ Redick Jersey . In between was a valiant stab at the first Leaf post-season series win in years from a feisty, competitive group – albeit, one that probably benefited from the 48-game schedule. Looking to recapture some of that magic, Leafs management made character, attitude, leadership and qualities of mental fortitude high priorities in their bid at roster reconstruction on July 1st. Led by president Brendan Shanahan and incumbent general manager Dave Nonis, the club reacquired two players from that 2013 squad – Leo Komarov and Matt Frattin – also adding 37-year-old Stephane Robidas to a defence that recently replaced the steady Carl Gunnarsson with edgy-type Roman Polak. “Part of it is always about character,” said Nonis, shortly after 5pm et, when the Leafs first crack at free agency ended. “I dont think that we have a character issue with our team or our players, but I think adding people like Leo and Robidas to [the roster] only strengthens it. The compete level that we had two years ago, I think was at or near the top of the league. We got more out of our players – the coaches did – the players, themselves, did in terms of pushing each other, than we did last year. No question about it.” Randy Carlyle couldnt summon much in the way of explanation as to why things unraveled for the Leafs so epically months earlier, but did notice something amiss with the attitude of his group. “We lacked the compete,” he said, while at the draft in Philadelphia this past weekend. “I look at compete as part of the character flaw.” It was clear management sensed something similar, though character and leadership would hardly encompass the Leafs woeful defence and penalty-killing, targeting players in free agency or on the trade market who were known for their high compete level. In addition to Komarov and Robidas, the club also made pitches to keep gritty, but soon-to-be overpaid, Dave Bolland, 38-year-old former Team Canada defender Dan Boyle and long-time Montreal heart-and-soul type, Josh Gorges. Robidas, who was signed for three years at $9 million, offers the Leafs a much-needed veteran upgrade in their top-four, a long-time Dallas Star whos physical, blocks shots and has the ability to play in every situation. A right-handed defender, in short supply for the club a year ago, and veteran of 885 regular season games, Robidas brings a savvy that was lacking on a mismatched back-end last season. “It was a factor,” Nonis said of character when it came to Robidas, who suffered two separate, broken right-leg injuries last season, but will be ready for training camp. “The people that I know that know him, that Brendan knows, speak very highly of the way he handles himself, on and off the ice. I dont think were looking at a guy thats going to come in here and be terribly vocal or anything like that, but in terms of playing the game the right way, taking care of yourself and leading by example, that coupled with being a right-shot and his playing ability, he was the guy we targeted right away.” Komarov bolted for the KHL after that 2013 campaign, but was eager to return to the NHL-lifestyle this fall. He garnered considerably more than the club appeared willing to pay just one year earlier, four years at $2.95 million per season, and quite a bit for a player who was limited offensively as a Leaf. It was clear, however, that Nonis and company valued the Finnish wingers scrappy play and were also hopeful of more upside with more opportunity next season. “Hes a very competitive guy,” said Nonis of Komarov, who had nine points in 42 games with the Leafs. “Hes going to give you whatever he has … He has compete. He gets under peoples skin by the way he plays, not because hes a chirper or anything like that, but he finishes every single check and, sometimes, I think people dont really enjoy the way he does that. But for us, he brought that element; he brought some character to our group. He was very well-liked by his teammates. All the things that you look for in a player, he ticks a lot of boxes.” Polak, too, was added from St. Louis earlier with an eye toward the “edge” he would bring to the Toronto defence, a quality infinitely enduring to the head coach. But for the all the focus on injecting the Leafs dressing room with more bite, increased leadership and character, its Carlyle and the still-yet-to-be-named coaching staff that bear the most watching next season. For whatever the Leafs lacked in determination and persistence last year – and there was a noticeable difference – it was their inability to defend with any degree of success that instigated their downfall last season. No team, as widely known by this point, allowed more shots than Toronto and only three teams allowed more power-play goals. It was a house of cards that was bound to collapse and did when Jonathan Bernier went down with injury in mid-March. And for all his drum-beating about the troubles, and he was quick to point flaws as early as October, Carlyle and his since-deposed trio of assistants could not find the right answers, instill a defensive mindset onto a sometimes immature roster, employ top line-ups and align the talent in place with a suitable style of play. All that will have to change and its up to Carlyle to adjust accordingly. The coming season wont be about leadership concerns or questions of character, but whether a head coach can adapt to a younger and faster league. Robidas, Polak and Komarov should help to address some of the defensive deficiencies of last year – also fitting Carlyles harder brand of hockey – particularly a penalty kill that fell right back to the bottom of the league last season. Roster holes still to be filled include a centre capable of playing in a third or fourth-line capacity – Peter Holland is in line for regular opportunity, but a security blanket for Carlyle is likely preferred – perhaps another defenceman, with Cody Franson likely on the way out, some scoring depth and a backup goaltender, though, Nonis continues to insist that James Reimer could be back next year, despite clear indications of his desire to move elsewhere. Some of those changes could come internally with a round of Marlies keen to take the next step into the NHL. The Leafs additionally have about $15 million in cap space to work with a group of restricted free agents, Jake Gardiner most prominently among them, still to sign. Ben Simmons Jersey . They all do actually — Joel-Hans Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) July 22, 2014There is no confirmation that the date is actually happening, but that didnt stop Embiid from getting dressed up. Fresh cut..... Getting ready for dinner http://t.co/NNIfKyZQzx — Joel-Hans Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) July 23, 2014 Almost 930.. Moses Malone Jersey . Vincent Lamar Carter is no longer the lean, athletic dynamo who dazzled Raptors fans with eye-popping dunks that posterized even the leagues best defenders.MINNEAPOLIS -- Matt Cassel was polished. Teddy Bridgewater was poised. The Minnesota Vikings have yet to pick a starting quarterback, but their passing game has sure been productive in the preseason. Bridgewater gave the giddy fans chanting his first name a pair of go-ahead touchdown throws to cheer for in the fourth quarter, propelling the Vikings past the Arizona Cardinals 30-28 on Saturday night. Wide receiver Greg Jennings shouted, "Teddys world!" as he walked out of the locker room. "Its not. Im still the young guy here. I still have a lot to prove," Bridgewater said. Cassel has taken the majority of the turns with the first-team offence, and the veteran has done nothing but solidify his status. Coach Mike Zimmer said he hasnt reached the date hes had in mind for a decision. Bridgewater at least gave him more to think about with his second-half performance, albeit against backups and guys bound to be cut in a couple of weeks. "Im very pleased. Im just going to continue to try and get better from here," said Bridgewater, who finished 16 for 20 for 177 yards, much better than his debut. Less than a minute after the Cardinals had gone ahead on a bizarre fourth-down score off a loose ball, Bridgewater floated a back-shoulder fade pass from 2 yards to Rodney Smith with 18 seconds remaining for the lead. "Teddy was calm. He was smart. That whole series was a lot of blitzes," Zimmer said. On that final drive, Bridgewater completed six of seven passes for 77 yards. "I give Teddy a lot of credit. He was impressive. It was a very nice drive he put together," Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. Bridgewater found Allen Reisner for a short touchdown and Jarius Wright for the 2-point conversion with 7:57 left, giving the Vikings a 24-21 edge. "He does it every day in practice. I wasnt surprised at all. He always puts the ball on the money," Smith said. Kyle Rudolph had four catches for 89 yards and a scoring toss from Cassel as the Vikings kept their first team in for the whole first half, and Bridgewater and the backups picked up where they left off. Ryan Lindley, who played the whole second half at quaarterback for the Cardinals, threw three straight incompletions after a 33-yard pass interference penalty on Derek Cox put the ball at the 6. Timothe Luwawu Jersey. Lindley dropped the fourth-and-goal shotgun snap, and in the scrap for the ball, centre John Estes got down on his knees and batted it behind him. Zach Bauman scooped it up and ran in for the score with 1:11 remaining. The ruling was that because there was no possession by Lindley, advancement was allowable. "I saw a play I hadnt seen in 22 years, that touchdown," Arians said, deadpanning. "It was designed." For the first time since training camp started, the Cardinals actually breathed some fresh air while they tuned up for the regular season. After playing their exhibition opener and holding every practice inside at their covered home stadium just outside of sultry Phoenix, they finally left the air conditioning. The temperature at kickoff was 85 degrees, steamy for Minnesota, but practically a cold front for the Arizona desert in August. Drew Stanton threw a scoring pass to basketball-player-turned-tight-end Darren Fells for the Cardinals in the second quarter. Carson Palmer led the Cardinals on a 93-yard drive to start the game, and Jonathan Dwyer ran around left end untouched for the score. Palmer played two series and finished 4 for 8 for 91 yards. Cassel was sharp in his only series last week against Oakland, and this time over a bigger sample size he was just as good, going 12 for 16 for 153 yards with one touchdown and no turnovers. Cassel even ran three times for 30 yards when nobody was open, but the middle of the field. His go-to target was Rudolph, the tight end who has returned for his fourth year much richer, a little slimmer and poised for a breakout season in the new scheme under offensive co-ordinator Norv Turner. After failing to hang on to a high throw in the back corner of the end zone on third-and-goal at the end of the first drive, Rudolph finished the second possession with a 51-yard catch and run into the end zone. "I want to have a big role in this offence, especially in the passing game. For me, its why you put in all the work," Rudolph said. 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