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TORONTO - Six spots after the Columbus Blue Jackets selected Rick Nash with the first overall pick in the 2002 draft did then-An

in Wolfblood 18.07.2019 10:15
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TORONTO - Six spots after the Columbus Blue Jackets selected Rick Nash with the first overall pick in the 2002 draft did then-Anaheim (Mighty) Ducks general manager Bryan Murray decide upon Joffrey Lupul with the seventh overall selection. Custom Arizona Diamondbacks Jerseys . That fall, at his first training camp, Lupul, still just a teenager, recalled the error of his youthful ways. Though the memory was hazy more than a decade later, he believes a there may have been a tussle of some kind with Shane Doan, also picked with the seventh selection by the Jets franchise seven years earlier. "That was a bad call," said the now 31-year-old Lupul of the choice to fight Doan, laughing at the thought 14 years after the fact. Like William Nylander, the Maple Leafs top prospect, Lupul burst out of the draft with the highest of expectations, coming off a year in junior which saw him pot 56 goals in 72 games. But unlike Nylander, who is vying for a spot in the NHL right away this fall, Lupul was given no illusions about his future with the Mighty Ducks or where he stood at that point. He was going back to Medicine Hat in the Dub and that was that. "I dont think it was even a possibility of me being on the team," Lupul remembered. "I got to play some exhibition games and that was cool and I was going back to junior." Lupul observed the NHLs evolution since that point, a stunning change under the cap system which has seen players as young as eighteen leap right into the NHL and contribute. Expectations of first round draft picks have really sky-rocketed, their progress – daily, monthly and yearly – picked apart by eager fan-bases, scrutinizing media and impatient organizations. The "bust" label gets thrown around a lot quicker in this landscape. "Its changed that way," Lupul said. "The league is getting younger and younger and theyre trying to get these prospects in as quick possible. But by all means if a guys ready and earns a spot he deserves it." And that will be just the question with Nylander in the coming days. Is he ready right now to be an NHL contributor or is he better served with further seasoning and development elsewhere? Much of the question will come down to his smallish build, which lacks in the way of noticeable heft or man-strength. Viktor Loov, a Leafs prospect who played with Nylander in Sweden last year and is also rooming with him at training camp this fall, says that despite Nylanders look, hes actually "really fit". "He seems lazy, but hes not," said Loov of Nylander, who just happened to stroll by, clad in a red baseball cap turned backwards. Nonetheless, Loov conceded that Nylander struggled some with the physical burden in the Swedish League, sometimes outmuscled by bigger defenders in the corners. As a 17-year-old – he turned 18 in May – Nylander mustered just one goal and seven points in 22 games on a Modo squad led in scoring by former NHLer Kyle Cumiskey. "Hes fast on his skates so when he gets [his] speed up he handles it well," Loov observed. "He doesnt play the same way as anybody else. Hes so skilled. He does things that other players cant do. Maybe people expect that everyone should do the same thing, but hes a different player." But can he do it at this age for an 82-game season and possibly beyond? Is he ready for the nightly battles, bumps and bruises which linger from September to April and test not only the body but the mind and spirit? Jumping from the second tier of Swedish hockey to the top league, as Nylander did last year, is one thing. Making the leap to the NHL is another. The speeds are faster. The competition is better. The players hit harder. A thick 20-year-old, James van Riemsdyk stepped into the league after two seasons at the University of New Hampshire. He jumped from 30-plus games opposite college kids to nearly 80 in the NHL opposite talents like Crosby and Malkin. "Its definitely tough," said van Riemsdyk, scoring 15 goals as a rookie that year. "It was the most games Id ever played in a season. I think the most I played before that was maybe 65 [games] or so. Obviously thats an adjustment and youre playing against the best players in the world too so mentally if you can just get ready for every night its a lot easier to be ready physically." "Hes got a ton of skill obviously," Lupul added. "Probably physically [he] needs to mature a little bit, but that doesnt mean you cant play." Beyond the physical and mental hurdles are challenges not so obvious to the eye. The details of the game – can he handle himself defensively? – are difficult to absorb at any age let alone as a teenager. Lupul believes that can some of that can be overcome with simple energy and enthusiasm, but then theres also the re-acclimation to an NHL-sized rink. "Ive been practicing on this ice for now a month," Nylander said, "so I dont think my thinking process will be a lot different." Nylanders skills are NHL quality; his bursts of speed, vision and creativity, ability to change gears, all that cant denied. "I think hes got some of the quickest hands Ive ever seen," van Riemsdyk said. "He can stickhandle in a tollbooth. He makes stuff happen out of nothing it seems like." To make the team Nylander will have to not only demonstrate his readiness, but oust one or two of the depth forwards (with one-way contracts) added in the offseason. And if hes landing a spot its likely in a prime position alongside some of the teams higher skilled players. The Leafs have and will continue to give him every possible avenue to succeed. Theyve paired him with Phil Kessel since camp opened last week, adding Mike Santorelli to the mix at centre for his exhibition debut Tuesday against the Flyers. In doing so the club is able to measure his abilities alongside high-end talent and opposite the evenings toughest competition. Nerves were noticeable for him against Philadelphias split-squad and predictably so. Henrik Tallinder, a fellow Swede and 35-year-old vet, tried to ease them as best he could beforehand. "He said before the game started," said Tallinder of Nylander, "what have I got myself into? I was laughing and I said thats a normal reaction for playing your first NHL game." "The pregame warmup I was just looking around and I was like this is crazy and then the nerves started kicking in even more," Nylander said afterward. "This is the first time Ive played in front of so many people. In Sweden we only get like 5,000 people to the game. It was a surreal feeling." Nerves pumping throughout his nearly 16 minutes, Nylander did manage to create a chance or two. He was robbed by a sprawling Steve Mason on a power-play in the middle period before breaking out with a goal in the 19th minute of the third. "I think he was an energetic, nervous, young hockey player," head coach, Randy Carlyle said following the 4-0 win. Noting the obvious package of skills, Carlyle also observed "some things wed like to see him change", including his awareness on the defensive side of the puck. But, he added, judging a player his first NHL game wouldnt be quite fair. "Any young player playing in his first game in the NHL is going to be somewhat nervous," said Carlyle. "Well really [have] more of a deeper evaluation of where hes at [Wednesday] night." Ultimately, theres no reason for the Leafs to rush. If Nylander isnt ready right now thats fine – they can also employ the nine-game window early in the NHL season. A year with the Marlies (less likely) or back home in Sweden will only help him develop. Jarrod Dyson Diamondbacks Jersey . Siddikur, who led on all four days and took a four-stroke lead going into the final day, bogeyed four out of six holes starting at the sixth and continued a forgettable last round in which he returned a three-over 75 to finish with a 14-under 274. Wilmer Flores Jersey . The same for both the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers. . The top-ranked Williams carried her winning momentum from 2013 into the new season, beating No. 2-ranked Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 7-5 on Saturday to defend her title at the Brisbane International and set the tone for the Australian Open.( - Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks will take aim at a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference second round series when they host the Minnesota Wild in Sundays clash at United Center. You can watch all the action LIVE on TSN and online with TSN GO beginning at 3pm et/Noon pt. The defending Stanley Cup champions recorded a 5-2 win in Game 1 on Friday to grab an early lead in the best-of-seven series. Despite the final margin, the game was deadlocked early in the third period before Kane and his teammates took control of the contest for good. Chicago carried a 2-0 lead into the third, but Clayton Stoner and Kyle Brodziak scored under five minutes apart early in the frame to even the score for Minnesota. Thats when Kane kicked his quest for a second straight Conn Smythe Trophy into high gear. Kane scored the first two of Chicagos three unanswered goals in the third period to help the Blackhawks win going away. The 25-year-old American now has five goals in this postseason, tying him for the most in the NHL during the 2014 playoffs. Los Angeles Kings forward Marian Gaborik also has five goals as does Paul Stastny of the Colorado Avalanche, who were eliminated in the first round by Minnesota. Kanes first goal on Friday was of the highlight variety. The Chicago winger carried the disc down the left side and into the Minnesota zone before cutting through the high slot, where he faked a drop pass. Given room to work, Kane held off his defender and worked into the low right circle before lifting a filthy backhand over the short-side shoulder of Wild goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. "It was one of those plays where I was about to drop it to (Patrick Sharp) but I saw both defencemen kind of go to him," Kane said of his tie-breaking goal. "I just tried to get in on the backhand and made a good shot." Kane doubled Chicagos lead at 16:47 when Sharps shot from the right point deflected off Ben Smiths stick in the circle and ricocheted to the low left side, where Kane was waiting to send the puck home for a 4-2 lead. Bryan Bickell added an empty-netter with 2:41 remaining to arrive at the ffinal margin. Eduardo Escobar Diamondbacks Jersey. Bickell had opened the scoring with a power-play goal in the first. Corey Crawford registered 30 saves for the Blackhawks and Marian Hossa also scored. Bryzgalov started in net for the Wild in place of an injured Darcy Kuemper, who was forced to exit Minnesotas Game 7 victory over Colorado after sustaining an undisclosed injury late in the contest. Bryzgalov stopped the only shot he faced in relief against the Avalanche, but turned aside just 17-of-21 shots in Fridays setback. With Kuemper expected to miss another tilt, the situation in net will likely remain unchanged on Sunday. John Curry, a 30-year-old journeyman, suited up as Bryzgalovs backup on Friday and could do so again in Game 2. Curry has seen action in six career NHL games and none in the playoffs. The Wild, holders of the first of the Wests two wild card spots, are trying to avoid being eliminated by Chicago for the second time in as many years. Minnesota, which is in the second round of the postseason for the first time since 2003, lost to the Blackhawks in five games during the opening round last spring. Although the Wild appeared to be the better team at times in Game 1, Minnesota head coach Mike Yeo knows his team needs to play a more complete game to pull off an upset of the reigning champs. "There wasnt enough urgency in the details and the little things that add up to make the difference at this time of year," Yeo said. "We slipped a little bit from last game. We didnt bring the same level and so well rectify that." Minnesota was playing Game 1 in Chicago on the heels of winning a road Game 7 in Colorado on Wednesday. On Friday, tHe Wild fell to 1-7 all-time in the first contest of a series and havent won a Game 1 since their first-ever playoff game, a 4-2 win against Colorado on April 10, 2003. On the injury front for Chicago, forward Andrew Shaw left the game in the first period after absorbing a hit from Stoner and did not return. He is day- to-day with a lower-body injury and will not play Sunday. Game 3 of this series is scheduled for Tuesday in Minnesota, with the Wild also set to host the fourth meeting on Friday. ' ' '

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