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> Whose Sides Grand Slam Bid Was Ended By England
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PHILADELPHIA – One year ago at the NHL draft in Newark, the Maple Leafs picked Frederik Gauthier with their first selection, a hulking centre with likely third-line potential and a low offensive ceiling. They swung for a much higher fence with the eighth overall pick on Friday night, landing the "electrifying" William Nylander from Sweden. A speedy, highlight-reel winger, he is the son of longtime NHL centre Michael Nylander and the first European Toronto has drafted in the first round since Jiri Tlusty in 2006. Nylander is also the first draft pick of the Brendan Shanahan era and an injection of homegrown game-breaking ability, long-starved within the Leaf organization. "Hes got high, high-end skill," gushed general manager Dave Nonis, shortly after the pick was made. And that fills a need within the prospect ranks of the organization, considerably deprived over the years. Though hopeful that the likes of Carter Verhaeghe, Connor Brown and Andreas Johnson may eventually make an impact of sorts with the big club, the Leafs simply did not boast a game-breaker with Nylanders ceiling beyond the NHL club (and have not historically). They havent landed many at all from the draft. Vincent Damphousse, picked sixth overall in 1986, was the last homegrown player to register at least 80 points in a season as a Leaf. Toronto has, additionally, sent only two homegrown players to the All-Star game in the past 20 years, neither of whom was a forward (Tomas Kaberle and Felix Potvin). Dealing first round picks – as they did five times from 2003-2011 – certainly didnt help the matter. Nylander may or may not make it, but he, at the very least, represents the kind of high upside, homegrown talent the organization has mostly lacked, especially up front – Nazem Kadri, who scored 20 goals as a 23-year-old last season, was a recent exception. Nonis wouldnt go as far as to say that adding skill was a priority, but labeled it "an area of weakness". "He might be the most skilled player in the draft," said the Leafs GM of Nylander. Nonis saw that skill firsthand at the Under-18 tournament in Finland this past April. Nylander, playing for Sweden, led all players with 16 points in seven games, notching six goals along the way. As a teenager, he spent part of last season in Swedens top league, totaling a goal and seven points in 22 games – notable given his age and size (5-foot-11, 169 pounds). "He has NHL speed, NHL hands, an NHL shot right now," Nonis said. "Its whether or not the rest of his game can catch up." Unwilling to pay Dale Tallons price for the first overall pick and rights to draft Aaron Ekblad, Nonis said he actually considered moving down if one of two players – Nylander among them – wasnt there to be had with the eighth pick. Nylander grew up around the NHL, his father totaling 920 NHL games for seven different teams. That kept the younger Nylander in North America until the age of 14 when he moved to Sweden, eventually playing alongside his 40-year-old dad last year (with Rogle in the second-tier league). "I like to score goals and make plays," Nylander said, projecting an aura of confidence and cool, noticeably unfazed by all that surrounded him. A free agent and thus able to come to North America next year if he and the organization so choose, Nylander will audition for the Leafs in the fall. "Hell definitely have a chance to make our team," Nonis said. "[But] I really dont care how skilled you are, its very difficult to make the NHL as an 18-year-old. I think itd be a long shot for him to do that, but hes going to be given that opportunity and if hes good enough to stick and play and contribute then we would keep him. If not, well decide at that point whether its best to keep him over in North America or to have him go back to Sweden to play in the Elite League." Nylander boasts a "VERY high ceiling" according to Mark Seidel, chief scout for North American Central Scouting, but has been trailed by attitude questions, something Nonis brushed aside as outward confidence. Like most draftees, the new Leaf prospect will have to get bigger and stronger before he is likely to make the leap to the NHL, additionally requiring some acclimation to the North American ice surface. "It may take him a month to acclimate, it might take him over a year – I dont know that," said Nonis. "But the skill-set is very high end." Cheap Air Max Plus China . -- Barry Bonds is all set to return to the San Francisco Giants. Cheap Lebrons From China . But that changed when he committed a five-minute major penalty and helped pave the way for a comeback by the Philadelphia Flyers. Vincent Lecavalier scored at 2:45 of overtime and the Flyers rallied from a two-goal deficit for a 5-4 victory on Sunday. .Y. - The New York Islanders are brimming with confidence these days, thanks to a standout goalie and a newfound winning attitude. Buy Air Max 270 Black . -- Brady Heslip scored a season-high 20 points to help Baylor beat No. Fake Air Max 270 For Sale . The group of Slava Fetisov, Igor Larionov, Vladimir Konstantinov, Sergei Fedorov, & Slava Kozlov were a dominant force for The Wings at one point in the 90s.New Zealand and South Africa were made to weather bruising onslaughts by France and Wales before launching their end-of-year European tours with victories as the autumn internationals began in earnest on Saturday. The All Blacks ended a 26-19 win in Paris camped on their own line and thankful for second-half tries by Charles Piutau and No. 8 Kieran Read to maintain their unbeaten record in 2013. The Springboks emerged 24-15 winners in Cardiff after making the most of limited possession to score tries through Jean de Villiers, Bismarck du Plessis and Fourie du Preez in a 14th straight victory over the Welsh since 1999. Australia completed a southern hemisphere sweep by crossing seven times to thrash Italy 50-20, while England blew hot and cold in beating Argentina 31-12 in preparation for the visit of New Zealand next weekend. Ireland outclassed injury-hit Samoa 40-9 in Dublin, and Scotland beat Japan 42-17 in Edinburgh. Also, Fiji defeated Portugal 36-13 in Lisbon, Georgia pipped Canada 19-15 in Tbilisi to remain undefeated against teams from the Americas, and Romania beat visiting Tonga 19-18 in their first meeting to round off an action-packed weekend. France-New Zealand contests rarely disappoint and this one was no exception, with the All Blacks dropping their level sufficiently to give the Tricolors a chance of an upset at Stade de France. The hosts went 12-9 up two minutes into the second half but Piutau raced onto a kick through, hacked on and grounded for a score that knocked the French cold in the 46th. And when Read ran onto Piutaus wonderful offload for a 64th-minute try, it looked all over at 26-12 but Brice Dulins score kept France within a converted try for the final 10 minutes. "Two proud nations, and there was no quarter given today," said New Zealand captain Richie McCaw, whose team need to beat England and Ireland to go through the year with a 100 per cent record. At the end of a full-blooded test in the Welsh capital, it was the same old story for the Six Nations champions. So often they come up short against the southern hemisphere juggernauts -- in Warren Gatlands five-year reign, they have won only once against a SANZAR team. The Springboks were ruthless when they got a sniff of the tryline, with De Villiers finishing off a length-of-the-field move started by Bryan Habana in the 11th minute and Du Plessis crossing from close range six minutes later. Leigh Hallfpenny kept Wales in the game with five penalties in a flawless kicking display but the hosts were hurt by game-ending, first-half injuries to prop Adam Jones and backs Jonathan Davies and Liam Williams.dddddddddddd Du Preez scored the killer try in the 65th following good work by Jaque Fourie and South Africa now heads to Scotland. "They had possession but its important what you do with it," De Villiers said. "Were not happy with the performance, it was a bit iffy, but were happy with the win." Nick Cummins (two), captain Ben Mowen, Tevita Kuridrani, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Joe Tomane and Israel Folau were the tryscorers in Turin for Australia, which scored 33 points without reply after a strong start by Italy. "I think a lot of things are back on track," said Australia coach Ewen McKenzie, whose sides Grand Slam bid was ended by England at the first hurdle. "It was a really good scoreboard for us particularly when we were 10-0 down. The guys worked through that and even in the end there we showed some character." Luke McLean, Lorenzo Cittadini and debutant Tommaso Allan crossed for Italys tries. The All Blacks visit Twickenham next and assessing Englands form going into that match is proving tricky. Following an inconsistent 20-13 win over Australia, Stuart Lancasters side was excellent in the first half against Argentina. Joe Launchbury, Billy Twelvetrees and Chris Ashton scored tries to set up a potential thrashing of a team that came to London with a new coach and off the back of six straight losses in the Rugby Championship. But there were errors aplenty after the interval by England, and the Pumas threatened to get back into the match through Nicolas Sanchezs penalties, only for replacement No. 8 Ben Morgan to crash through for a clinching fourth English try in the 78th. "Second half, we were a bit loose and it wasnt good enough overall. But I would have taken that scoreline this morning," Lancaster said. "Weve got to get that consistency for 80 minutes." Samoa had the opportunity to climb to an all-time high of fifth in the IRB rankings by beating Ireland, but the islanders injury-plagued side was dispatched in a record win in the fixture. The Irish only led 14-6 at halftime thanks to Peter OMahonys try but ran away with it in the final 40 with Sean OBrien, Dave Kearney (two) and Fergus McFadden grabbing tries. ' ' '
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