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#1 08-05-2015 09:19:44

yuguhun
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Date d'inscription: 04-05-2015
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ccessful marriage proposal on the court

MONTREAL The question was posed to Jonathan Bernier, perhaps the busiest netminder in the National Hockey League this season and a man who has witnessed the strength of terrific defensive hockey in Los Angeles firsthand en route to a Cup in 2012: Can his Toronto Maple Leafs, currently the top wild card in the East, threaten a deep playoff run without raising their substandard level of defensive play? "Goalies got to be good," Bernier said with an almost uncomfortable laugh. cheapnfljerseyschinastore . "I personally dont think so," he continued frankly. "Because some games [the goalie] wont get those bounces and [the puck is] going to go in somehow. But we know weve got it in this room. Weve just got to pay the price to play better defensively and, if we do, Im pretty sure we can be one of the top teams in this league." Its an uncomfortable truth for a team that wrung up 11 wins in 14 games before the Olympic break and has designs on making noise in the playoffs after a long-awaited return last spring. This is a hockey club that struggles badly to defend and relies most nights on terrific goaltending and an incredibly potent offence to win. Its a formula that might yield success in the regular season, and it has for the Leafs thus far, but is unlikely to gain much steam when the hockey tightens in mid-April. Head coach Randy Carlyle has been beating the drum loudly on the topic all season, but doesnt have much to show for it. His group remains a work in progress. "Weve been trying and stressing that defensive hockey is whats going to give your team the best chance to qualify for the playoffs," said Carlyle after an instructive practice in Brossard, Quebec. "[But] were in the qualification mode. Were not in the playoff mode [yet]." Only five teams have been worse than the Leafs defensively this season and only one of those teams, the Ottawa Senators, has any hope of qualifying for the playoffs. Toronto has allowed a bloated three goals per game despite boasting some of the finest goaltending in the league with the 25-year-old Bernier. No team, in fact, puts more pressure on their goaltender to be great than do the Leafs. Only Mike Smith in Phoenix has faced more shots than Bernier thus far and hes started 10 more games than the native of Laval. "I think weve seen it," said Bernier of sturdy defensive play. "I think everyones seen it, but I dont think weve seen it consistently enough." Hurting the effort is a bad penalty kill, one thats allowed the most goals (tied) in the league this season, an unstable defence which includes young and growing parts like Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner and a high-end forward group that has shown only spotty attention to defence. A pile of goals and timely goaltending have been required most nights to win. That was true during an 11-2-1 run before the 18-day Olympic stoppage. Running, then, behind the all-world efforts of Phil Kessel, who has been the hottest player on the planet in 2014, the club scored 51 goals 3.64 per game but also allowed 41 on the other end. Theyve won despite being outshot in 36 of 48 games they have a record of 21-10-5 in those games and despite the fact that theyve allowed a league-high of more than 36 shots per game. Cody Franson, second on the back-end in minutes, believes the instability is tied to confusion in the defensive end, too much thinking rather quick instinctual reaction. "I think were still a little indecisive on things sometimes," he said. "We try and play a quite aggressive style of defence and sometimes when you think too much you end up being a half second slow compared to where you should be. That comfort level just isnt quite there with us yet. I think we still think about things too much." They allowed five in their most recent affair against the Islanders on Thursday night, an overtime loss to a struggling club that was without its best player and leading scorer, John Tavares, and their third leading point-getter in Frans Nielsen. Two of the goals came by way of short circuiting on the power-play with Michael Grabner scoring twice shorthanded in a span of 48 seconds on the same power-play. Another found the back of the net via the aforementioned penalty kill with two more coming on defensive breakdowns, including the overtime winner. "Gifts," said Carlyle after the 5-4 defeat. "Ive got no other word to describe the goals that we gave up." A drastic reversal at this late stage in the year seems unlikely, though Carlyle and the coaching staff continue to push and prod. They did so with any available ice during the Olympic break and continued at practice Friday, narrowing their sights on a tighter neutral zone and improved forecheck efforts aimed at spending less time in the defensive zone. But with just 21 games to play, including a division clash with the Canadiens on Saturday, its probably safe to say that this is what these Maple Leafs are. The question now is whether they can, as currently constructed, make a little noise in the postseason (assuming they get in) or whether their defensive liabilities will prove too onerous to overcome. Last spring, they nearly toppled a Bruins giant, but required some lightning in a bottle and forgotten brilliance from James Reimer in Games 5 and 6. History points emphatically in the direction of those that can defend. In fact, the last three Stanley Cup winners finished the regular season as either the best or second-best team defensively. And though the Leafs are not yet in the Cup conversation, that remains the goal somewhere down the road. Dave Nonis and the Toronto management team have to be mindful of that fact as it relates to the larger construction of the roster, both now with the Mar. 5 trade deadline looming and over the longer term with the core thats being put into place. Are these the foundations of a club that can eventually win the ultimate prize?  "You always see it every year, strong defensive teams win," said Jay McClement. "I think we have the make-up for it. But not without being strong defensively. Obviously, youre not going to win a lot of games 5-4 in the playoffs. We have the goaltending for it and have had it all year. Weve just got to cut down on these mistakes and well be fine. "Were not changing the way we do it, weve just got to do it better." http://www.cheapnfljerseyschinastore.us.com/ . Louis Blues will try to remain undefeated against the defending Stanley Cup champions this season when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks for Wednesdays Central Division showdown at United Center. www.cheapnfljerseyschinastore.us.com . Canada had opened Day 2 at the tournament with a 24-0 loss to New Zealand in the Cup quarter-final before beating Samoa 27-0 to cruise into the Plate final. The loss in the Plate final means Canada finished sixth in the rugby sevens tournament.GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- With strands of net behind their ears, Florida seniors Casey Prather, Scottie Wilbekin, Will Yeguete and Patric Young stopped at midcourt and kissed the floor. They stood up, started walking toward the locker room and then paused at the edge of the court. With their arms draped around each other, they took the last stride in unison. It was the first step toward the next goal -- winning it all. Young scored 18 points in his home finale and No. 1 Florida routed 25th-ranked Kentucky 84-65 on Saturday, becoming the first team in Southeastern Conference history to go 18-0 in league play. "This is the way to go out," Young said. "You couldnt have scripted this one any better. ... What else could you want?" Prather (15) and Wilbekin (13) also reached double figures for the Gators (29-2, 18-0), who have won 23 straight and 32 in a row at home. Coach Billy Donovan called timeout with 36.9 seconds remaining to get his four seniors another standing ovation. They certainly deserved this one, especially since it was Floridas largest margin of victory in series history. "When you invest four years likes these guys have invested, it means something to them," Donovan said. "Theyre going to carry this with them for the rest of their lives. Theyre going to have their children and theyre going to come back here and theyre going to be remembered for what theyve done. "Theyve done something thats not happened here before." Prather, Wilbekin, Young and Yeguete have now won 113 games in four seasons, four shy of tying the school record held by Walter Hodge. They have the SEC tournament and the NCAA tournament to break the mark. The latest victory seemed a lock early but was in doubt for a while in the second half. That was until -- no surprise -- the seniors took over. Wilbekin hit a 3, Young made a running hook shot and Prather started making plays at the rim. "Those guys answered the bell," Donovan said. "They made some plays." Julius Randle, who had his right knee treated during the first half, led the Wildcats (22-9, 12-6) with 16 points and 10 rebounds. James Young added 14 points, and Aaron Harrison chipped in 10. Kentucky trimmed a 22-point deficit to 53-47 with 12 minutes to play, but couldnt get any closer and ended up getting blown out. &"Theyre that good," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. cheapnfljerseyschinastore.us.com. "And if you dont come and play, youre going to get smashed." With Floridas ranking, the finale for four popular seniors, history at stake and the opponent, it was the biggest home game in school history. Single tickets to the nationally televised matchup were going for as much as $500 on the street, and there even was a successful marriage proposal on the court beforehand. The Gators delivered for their fans. Florida made 14 of its first 21 shots and recorded assists on its first 11 baskets. Young, who scored 14 points in the first half, did most of the damage inside. Michael Frazier II, a sophomore who made a school-record 11 3-pointers Tuesday at South Carolina, got hot again from outside. Fraziers consecutive 3s pushed the lead to 19 and had the ODome rocking. The Gators were up 22 after Dorian Finney-Smiths third 3 of the half and led 49-28 at the break. But Calipari got his team focused, and the Wildcats opened the second half by pounding the ball inside and getting Randle more involved. Kentucky used a 15-0 run to quiet the arena and give the Wildcats confidence they could pull off the upset. Wilbekin responded with a huge 3. Prather followed with several driving layups, none bigger than the one that turned into a three-point play and pushed the lead back to 17. "We took the fight to them a little bit," Calipari said. "We made a game of it. All of a sudden we take the worst shots weve taken all season. Like, youve got to be kidding me. But thats what freshmen do." Florida coasted from there, and shortly after the final horn, Young announced to the crowd that they would cut down the nets. The Gators opted not to do that after clinching the SEC regular-season title last week, but wanted to do it Saturday. It was a fitting end to what was an emotional day for the seniors, who have national title expectations. They were honoured at midcourt before the game and presented with framed jerseys. But the postgame ceremony topped the pregame one. Prather and Yeguete got the remnants of the cut-down nets. Young and Wilbekin were planning to get theirs from the practice court. "Im going to take a shower with it and everything," Prather said. "I cant believe we got it done." cheap jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys ' ' '

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