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31 мая 2016 г. 07:35

the Kings are the NBAs only team that features three 20-

MONTREAL – It was an unusually new experience for Mikhail Grabovski on Saturday night. Russell Martin Jersey . The 28-year-old scored twice to snap a 14-game goal drought, also adding an assist in Randy Carlyles first game behind the bench with the Leafs, a 3-1 victory over the Canadiens at the Bell Centre. "Feel like I play with a new team," he told TSN.ca following the game. "I never had that before in my life, never changed the coach in a season so for me I feel like Im traded." A willful and speedy presence between Matt Frattin and Clarke MacArthur, Grabovski scored for the first time since January 31, adding a second marker to hit the 20-goal plateau for the third time in his career. More importantly for the Leafs was the two points gained in the win, just their second in the last 12 games (2-9-1) and first under Carlyle, who replaced Ron Wilson on Friday evening. "Its obviously a nice way to start," Carlyle said, noting the defensive performance which saw Montreal limited to 22 shots. "I thought our team put an effort and they put it on the line for us…I asked them to skate, to be themselves, to not worry about anything other than what our focus is and that was the hockey game tonight." The win was badly needed. Suffering from a dramatic decline which saw them drop 10 of the previous 11 games – ultimately spelling the end for Wilson in Toronto – the Leafs desperately needed something positive to break their recent spell. Still 12th in the Eastern Conference (67 points), the club sits three points back of the Jets for the eighth and final playoff spot with 17 games to go. "Im so happy for our team because [its an] important game and important win for [the] new staff," Grabovski concluded. "We cant give up right now. We have [a] chance. We need to keep going." Five Points 1. Carlyle had one primary objective in his first game behind the bench with the Leafs. "Theyre a skating hockey club and theyve got to get on their horse and start to skate," he explained Saturday morning. Speed was evident throughtout the victory over Montreal, an urgent debut in front of the new head coach. "Message to the players was You got a chance to make a first impression. Dont leave anything in the box here." Carlyle said before the game. "Were looking for people that are going to stand up and come out and play with a lot of heart, a lot of determination. Play the game the way we want you to play it and you will be rewarded." One such group on Saturday was the newly formed trio of David Steckel, Tim Connolly and Nikolai Kulemin. "The one thing that weve asked of that group specific," Carlyle explained, "took them aside and talked to them about, Hey, we need some safe minutes out of you. We need some grind minutes out of you. Youre going to play up and youre going to get more minutes probably tonight than youve had in a while, but youve got to deliver on your end. This is your opportunity. You have a new coach and his expectations are a little different than the last person, thats just the difference in the way it is." All three players logged over 14 minutes in the win. 2. One players first impression of Carlyle: extremely positive on the bench and unfailingly aggressive matching lines, specifically the Grabovski unit opposite the Canadiens top line of Erik Cole, Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais. 3. Carlyle joined Brian Burke for a meeting with players at the team hotel on Friday evening, a conversation that was described by those who spoke to TSN.ca as tense and not without emotion. Players were caught off-guard by the timing of the firing, also well-aware of Burkes history with Wilson and the difficulty of his decision. "Initially the tone was not too great," Joffrey Lupul said of the meeting. "We take full responsibility for Ron losing his job. A lot of guys in this room like Ron a lot and have played for him for a long time so its tough to see him leave. But Randy came in – it was just a short meeting – talked about some changes we were going to make from a systems standpoint, talked about it being a good chance for a lot of guys to make a first impression...I think a lot of guys are looking at it as a real good opportunity for them." Mike Komisarek is likely in that boat. A healthy scratch 12 times this season, Komisarek logged over 16 minutes in his first game under Carlyle. 4. One notable and immediate difference between Wilson and Carlyle was the latters decision to speak with the team afterward. "I always do," Carlyle said. "I want them to leave the rink [and] know how I felt about their performance." Schooled under Pat Quinn – who operated in a similar manner – Wilson rarely if ever addressed his team following a game, win or lose. Said Frattin of Carlyles message post-game, "He thought we played a pretty good game, but weve just got to get back at practice and start working on our systems." 5. Earlier this season, Lupul told TSN.ca that the trade from Anaheim to Toronto last season – just months after his return from a serious back injury – left him hurt and surprised. "I came back and was kind of just an afterthought there and didnt really get the chance that I felt I deserved," he said in late October. "They thought other players were better than me. I look at those players now and I can tell you theyre probably not." Carlyle was the head coach of the Ducks at the time of Lupuls departure. The two have looked to mend fences quickly, speaking briefly on Friday. "We had a fine relationship for the most part, but we said whatever happened in the past is the past," Lupul explained Saturday morning. "This is a new team for both of us, a new opportunity for everyone…I know hes fine with the situation and Im definitely excited about it too." Carlyle conceded that he failed to utilize Lupul properly upon his return from injury. "Thats a mistake that we made and I made and I take responsibility for that," Carlyle said. "Ive talked to Joffrey Lupul about it. That is water under the bridge." Bonus Points Grabovski now has four goals and nine assists in 11 games as a Leaf at the Bell Centre. "Hes a small guy, but hes got a lot of heart," Frattin told TSN.ca. "Hes one of those guys that will never back down and he definitely didnt do that today and [the team] got a couple points off of it." Added Carlyle, "Hes like the energizer bunny, he just keeps going."…Jonas Gustavsson made 21 saves for the win, his first since January 24. "I think the goaltender gave us the goaltending thats required to win," Carlyle said. "And thats what we ask of our goalies; our goaltenders dont have to win you hockey games, they just have to give you a chance and thats what I thought he did."…The Leafs had given up four or more against in eight of the previous 11…Frattin logged a career-high 18:23, scoring his sixth goal of the season, also adding an assist on Grabovskis second of the night…Mike Brown played only four shifts after a first period fight with Brad Staubitz, bothered by neck stiffness...All six defenceman played at least 16 minutes, Luke Schenn finishing on the low-end at 16:17, Dion Phaneuf leading the way at 26:25.   Jose Bautista All Star Jersey . Atletico is tied on 70 points with Madrid, which hosts Barcelona later Sunday. Barcelona has 66 points. Gabi Fernandez opened the scoring in what had been a hard fought contest until Bryan Rodriguez was shown a second yellow card for blatantly swiping at the ball with his hand in the 55th minute. Jose Bautista Grey Jersey . - Dax McCartys goal in the 21st minute lifted the New York Red Bulls to a 1-1 tie with the Chicago Fire on Sunday.TORONTO - In his brief 10-month stint with the Raptors, Rudy Gay averaged just under 20 points per contest, accounting for the bulk of Torontos offence while hitting some big, game-winning shots before he was whisked away to Sacramento. His tenure wont be remembered for any of that, rightly or wrongly, and the Kings forward has mostly come to terms with that. He wont be remembered for the shots he made. No, "Rudy the Raptor" - as Kings coach Mike Malone refers to Gays previous incarnation - will be remembered for the shots he missed. All 530 of them. Even Gay himself, given the opportunity to sugarcoat his shooting woes ahead of Fridays return to Toronto, wouldnt put lipstick on the pig that was his horrid field goal percentage. It was bad, and he knows it. Surrounded by the sizeable Toronto media army he left behind for small-market Sacramento following Kings practice on Thursday, Gay was asked if he feels slighted when hes been called inefficient. "I was inefficient when I was here," he admitted, to the surprise of those who may have expected him to dance around the obvious. "Im not anymore. I was when I was here." Fridays game will mark Gays first visit to Air Canada Centre since he was sent to the Kings, along with Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray, on Dec. 9 in exchange for Patrick Patterson, Greivis Vasquez, John Salmons and Chuck Hayes. He was acquired from Memphis less than a year earlier, a trade engineered by former Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo in the hopes of landing a star player that could dig the team out of its playoff hole and, in doing so, save his own skin. The experiment was short-lived. "He was put in a tough situation where he was looked on to be the saviour," coach Dwane Casey said of Gays time in Toronto. "Thats not his role as far as [the] type of guys we had. Hes a dynamic player, a big-time talent. He was brought here for the right reasons. It ended up turning into something that wasnt meant to be." After he and the Raptors closed out last season on a high note, the team opened with a record of 6-12 as Gay struggled, putting up some of the worst numbers of his eight-year career. "For whatever reason in Toronto he was only shooting 38 per cent, taking over 18 shots a game and everyone wanted to say he was the most inefficient player in the NBA," Malone said. "All I can base his play on is as a King. Hes been shooting the ball over 50 per cent, 20 points a night and hes a proven playmaker and rebounder as well." Nearly three months removed from his time in Toronto, Gay is enjoying a career resurgence as a member of the Kings. Hes scoring more points, taking three less shots per game while getting to the free throw line at a higherr rate. Aaron Sanchez Blue Jays Jersey. . He has shot 50 per cent or better in 23 of 37 games as a King, something he accomplished once in 18 contests with the Raptors this season. Whats responsible for his turnaround? It has a lot to do with the space occupied and the attention drawn by the Kings beast of a centre. "If you go back to his time in Memphis. when he had the luxury of playing with a very talented frontcourt in Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. he was much more efficient with that line-up," Malone pointed out. "So we felt that he and DeMarcus (Cousins), especially the inside-outside combination, would be very tough to guard." With Gay, Cousins and breakout point guard Isaiah Thomas, the Kings are the NBAs only team that features three 20-point scorers. Although the record hasnt necessarily reflected it - Sacramento is 16-26 since the trade - that trio has co-existed better than expected. As a team, the Kings rank 12th in offensive efficiency, despite dropping to the bottom of league in assists. For a collection of reasons, many of which are probably too tough to explain or quantify, Gay has found a home in Sacramento and he seems to fit. Of course, he is not the only one with a new lease on life in the aftermath of the trade. The Raptors are now 27-14 without Gay in the line-up, jockeying for playoff position in the Eastern Conference as the Kings toil in the basement of West. Gay is genuinely happy for his old teammates, many of whom he considers close friends, but the Kings forward doesnt necessarily buy into the correlation between his departure and his former teams success. "We dont know if that would have happened if I were there, too," said the 27-year-old. "It happened early in the season. Nobody knows. Its one of those things that it has happened now, the trade happened, now theyre a playoff team. Of course, Id like to be a part of that, but Im in Sacramento now and I have to build this team." However, Raptors fans remember the missed shots, they remember the isolation-centric offence that torpedoed their teams overall watchability for the first month of the season, but, most of all, they remember the losses. In Gay, the Raptors got what they paid for and their inevitable break-up should not have come as too much of a surprise. He probably doesnt deserve to be booed when he returns to the ACC wearing visiting purple Friday night, but he will be and when he is, he wont be caught off guard. "I dont care," he said. "Im just going out there and doing my job. Honestly, I joke with these guys all of the time. I say, If you put two rims up in the kitchen, Ill go out and play. It really doesnt matter what happens, whos booing, whos cheering. It doesnt matter." Cheap Jerseys Wholesale JerseysWholesale Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys China Wholesale Jerseys ' ' '

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