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TSN Radio 1050 Maple Leafs reporter Jonas Siegel addresses five questions as training camp unfolds this week in Toronto. Discount Salomon Shoes . First up, the defence. Perhaps the greatest unknown on the roster – as to its assembly or construct – the Toronto defence remained more or less intact from 2013, save for added depth in the form of Paul Ranger and T.J. Brennan. Stability with this group will therefore hinge (in all likelihood) on the revival of Jake Gardiner and to a lesser degree, the continued ascension of Cody Franson (as yet unsigned). Gardiner is the variable who could in some ways make or break the Leafs blueline. The 23-year-old rode the waves of turbulence a year ago, battling the lingering undercurrent of a concussion and its after-effects. He re-emerged as a bright spot in the playoffs, busting out with five points in six games against the Bruins. That player, the one who made noise with his legs, aggressiveness and unpredictability, is the one the Leafs need to return this season. Its that Gardiner who can dictate the action and alter a shift in an instant with an icy swagger, elements that are unseen elsewhere on this roster (Morgan Rielly not withstanding). His efforts will still require and certainly receive much prodding from Carlyle, primarily as it relates to his assertiveness and positioning in the defensive zone, but that ability to make something out of nothing with the puck is what the Leafs desire and missed last season. Franson saw his role grow and grow last season, from under 14 minutes in January to upwards of 22 in April, and the now 26-year-old delivered, finishing amongst the leaders at his position in scoring. In addition to his increased responsibility, which included first duty power-play, Franson also showed more assertiveness defensively, with prodding from Carlyle paying dividends. A breakthrough 2013 continued in the postseason, with the B.C. native and unsigned restricted free agent adding three goals and six points in nearly 23 minutes against the Bruins. He and Gardiner teamed together in the final three games of the first round against Boston – with Fraser sidelined – and proved Torontos most effective pair, a preview perhaps of what Carlyle may opt for this season. If the Leafs can achieve stability beyond their predicted top pair of Dion Phaneuf and Carl Gunnarsson from a second pair of Gardiner and Franson then the assembled group may just be deep enough with NHL experience to get by. Beyond the aforementioned, the final three spots figure to be assumed initially by some combination of Mark Fraser, John-Michael Liles, Paul Ranger, Korbinian Holzer, T.J. Brennan and perhaps, though it would seem unlikely – considering the risks and cap crunch – Morgan Rielly. While by no means a certainty Fraser would seem to have locked up a spot considering the rarity of his skill-set in this group – an edgy stay-at-home defender – and performance in such a role last season. Ranger too, would be inclined to hold a spot. The former Lightning defender impressed Toronto brass in his stint with the Marlies last season, his gifts of old – easy mobility, NHL-caliber first pass, sturdiness defensively – rediscovered in relatively short order following a lengthy absence from the game. That would leave one spot to Liles, Holzer, Brennan or Rielly. The Leafs would be thrilled if the Liles from two years ago flourishes once more – though his fit under Carlyle will always be in question. Holzer struggled in his NHL duties last season though he was miscast for a role on the top pairing with Phaneuf and may perform more effectively on a bottom pair. Brennan meanwhile, joins the organization from Florida and projects as more of a depth defenceman at this point. Rielly is the wild card in many respects. The organization can opt to keep him with the NHL club – with a nine-game trial period – or send him back to junior in Moose Jaw. Regardless of his apparent readiness in training camp, the decision is complicated both by the cap considerations (Rielly is due significant change with the Leafs tight under the cap) and the inherent risks of holding onto a teenager and thus burning a year of his entry-level eligibility. Carlyle kept Cam Fowler as a teenager in Anaheim so hes evidently not against the prospect if he deems Rielly ready for the challenge, especially in the defensive zone. With a Gardiner revival, Franson progression and the likelihood of an improved third pairing with greater NHL depth, the Leaf defence may prove steady. Gardiner is ultimately the key; his return to previous performance allows the likes of Fraser, Ranger, Liles etc. to fall into suitable positions within the lineup. Cheap Salomon Shoes Free Shipping . He will be practicing with the Norfolk Admirals (AHL) on a conditioning assignment. - @AnaheimDucks Corey Perry has a knee sprain and will miss the next three to four weeks. Salomon Shoes Outlet Store . Fellow Argentina forward Gonzalo Higuain also had a brace for Napoli. And Samuel Etoo scored for his fourth different team. On a night of standout individual performances Wednesday, Schalke goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand had a game hell want to forget. http://www.wholesalesalomon.com/ . The Wild, playing their first game since leading scorer Mikko Koivu broke his ankle Saturday at Washington, have won three straight for the first time since Nov. 1-5. Koivu underwent surgery on Monday and is expected to miss at least four weeks.South Bend, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Jerian Grant scored 23 points and handed out eight assists to help No. 12 Notre Dame shake off a slow start and top Miami, 75-70, on Saturday. The Fighting Irish (17-2, 5-1 ACC) trailed by as many as 12 in the second half but had enough time to recover and shoot their way out of their hole. V.J. Beachem added 13 points on 3-of-7 shooting from 3-point range and Pat Connaughton contributed 10 points and 11 rebounds. The Hurricanes (12-5, 2-2) were led by Sheldon McClellans 17 points and JaQuan Newton chipped in 16. Tonye Jekiri scored eight with a game-high 13 rebounds, but star Angel Rodriguez had just four points on 1-of-10 shooting. Notre Dame came into the game leading the nation in field-goal percentage at 53.0, but made only two of its first 16 attempts from long distance. After Miami got back-to-back 3s from Davon Reed and McClellan to go up 43-31, the Irish broke out of their slump. We were down against Georgia Tech and were down against these guys, said Notre Dame coach Mike Brey. Theres really not panic or worry or discouragement. They really have a strong belief that they will find a way to win. Demetrius Jackson connected from beyond the arc on Notre Dames next possession, and the Irish got triples on their next three trips down the floor to cut Miamis lead to five points. They shot 7-of-15 from 3-point range in the second half. The Irish soon went on a 7-0 run that tied the game for the first time since it was 5-5 early in the first half. Connaughton missed the 3, but Jackson crashed the boards and hit the follow-up basket to even the score at 50. On their next possession, GGrant passed to Steve Vasturia from the floor and Vasturias running layup gave Notre Dame its first lead of the game. Wholesale Salomon Shoes China. We just never responded to the second-half run they had with the threes and the twos, said McClellan. At one point it felt like they couldnt miss. After some back-and-forth play, the Irish took the lead for good on Grants triple with less than 6 1/2 minutes to go. James Palmer responded with a jumper to cut Notre Dames lead to one, but the Hurricanes would only hit three more shots from the floor the rest of the game, including McClellans dunk as time expired. Miami never trailed in an uncharacteristic first half for Notre Dame. Averaging the fourth-fewest turnovers per game in the country with 9.2, the Irish committed two in the first minute and five in the first 7 1/2 minutes. They shot just 40.7 percent from the field in the first half. The Hurricanes still only led by one at the break. After Palmers 3 with 7 1/2 minutes to play in the half put Miami up eight, Notre Dame scored on four straight possessions and would go into the break trailing 30-29. Game Notes Notre Dame now leads the all-time series, 9-8 ... Notre Dames Zach Auguste returned after a one-game absence due to a reported academic issue and scored four points in nine minutes ... Miamis Ivan Cruz Uceda scored two points in his Hurricanes debut after sitting out the first half of the season with a suspension issued by the NCAA ... The Hurricanes fell to 10-1 when leading at halftime ... Notre Dame inducted Tom Hawkins, the schools all-time leading rebounder, into its Ring of Honor. ' ' '

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