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TORONTO – On draft day in the summer of 2012, the Maple Leafs parted with a defenceman they once viewed as an anchor of the future, a top-five overall selection they traded up to land in the first round of the 2008 draft. Luke Schenn was picked 12 spots ahead of Jake Gardiner. Looming this summer for Dave Nonis and Toronto management is a decision similar to the one faced when it came to Schenn - deciding when to cut bait with a high-upside, but potentially flawed prospect. Then-Leafs general manager Brian Burke made the choice at just the right time with Schenn, who is back in town on Saturday, sending him to Philadelphia for James van Riemsdyk, the one-time second-overall selection who had yet to blossom as a Flyer. Gardiner has stalled in his third NHL season, only sparingly resembling the emphatic, change-of-pace defender he was in the playoffs last spring and before that, as a rookie, under then-head coach Ron Wilson. Like Schenn, the 23-year-old was viewed very recently as a concrete piece of the Leafs future, a status that has muddied with each game gone by, his performance wavering uncertainly in each of the past two seasons. Gardiner, whose name has been floated in trade rumours constantly, is a restricted free agent this summer and its at that point that a choice will definitively be made on his future with the Leafs. Though he still leads the team in even-strength ice-time this season, he has seen his opportunities consistently plummet; from a season-high of nearly 24 minutes nightly in December down to less than 21 in January to fewer than 19 in February and now to a season-low of about 17 in early March. Theres upside there – his elite skating ability most prominent – and the Leafs know it, but in some doubt now is whether that upside can be unlocked or whether the former Wisconsin star is too flawed in other areas to make him worth hanging onto, especially with younger defenders like Morgan Rielly, Stuart Percy and Matt Finn already in the prospect chain. Unlike Nazem Kadri, who tested the organizations patience, but eventually offered sustained stretches of development, Gardiners play has been mostly erratic since his rookie debut. There was a six-game spell in the playoffs against Boston with other hints proving infrequent. Its well established that defencemen typically take longer to mature than forwards – Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson among the notable exceptions – all of which complicates the decision-making process when it comes to Gardiner. His inconsistent play in the past two seasons may be just be part of the development curve. Once a defenceman himself, head coach Randy Carlyle joked that it took "too long" for him to finally mature into a well-rounded NHL defender, offering insight into why the process lingers at the position. "I think because you handle the puck more," said Carlyle, who won a Norris Trophy in his fifth season. "Theres more pressure on a defenceman in the game to handle the puck and make the right decision with the puck and youre constantly under pressure from the opposition trying to strip you of the puck, body-check, all of those things…" Tim Gleason, a 31-year-old and member of the 2010 U.S. Olympic team in Vancouver, said it was only a few years ago that he found his bearings at the NHL level. His response as to why it took as long as it did mirrored Carlyle. "The more you do it the more used to it you get and it slows down a tiny bit," he told the Leaf Report. "Its different than being a forward; you have pressure on you instead of giving pressure. As a forward, youre taught to pressure the puck as quick as you can, as fast as you can. As a defenceman, your job is to protect the puck, get the puck out being under pressure. I think thats a big deal." Gardiner has struggled in that regard. His decision-making with the puck and, even without it, has been flawed. Hes made wholehearted attempts to make "smarter plays with the puck," "not making so many turnovers and or, at least, not in bad areas," but its remained an ongoing issue anyway. At Carlyles prodding, hs also tried to become a stiffer defender, stating his intent to work on things such as "having one hand on my stick, body position, finishing checks." Hes watched a lot of video, too, even pulling his performance from that memorable series against the Bruins at one point earlier this year. Its tantalizing performances like that – when he had five points in six games – that surely give Nonis and his team pause when it comes to moving on from Gardiner. Schenn was dealt only nine months after he signed a rich, five-year deal with the Leafs. It was determined that his shortcomings – foot speed specifically – would ultimately keep him from reaching the promise that saw the club move up two spots to select him in the 08 draft. With his value still at a point where it could seemingly fetch some sort of return, Gardiners shortcomings could force another such decision in the months ahead. The Toronto defence has been a source of instability all year and will certainly require an upgrade or two in the offseason. Whether Gardiner and Cody Franson, a fellow restricted free agent, fit into that mix remains to be seen. Four members of the Leaf back-end are signed beyond this season – Gleason, Rielly, Dion Phaneuf and Carl Gunnarsson – all seemingly on more solid ground within the organization than either Gardiner or Franson. Theres upside there with the Minnesota native. In question is whether the Leafs will keep waiting for it. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. .Currently no, Tatjana Haenni, FIFAs deputy director of the competitions division and head of womens competitions, said Tuesday in an interview from Ottawa. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. . -- Howie Kendrick had a two-run single in his first game batting leadoff this season, Chris Iannetta hit a pair of RBI singles and the Los Angeles Angels beat Cleveland 6-4 Tuesday night, sending the Indians to their fifth straight defeat. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link.. "Thank you for the warm welcome," Beckham said on an 80-degree February morning. In this case, it was soccer weather. The sport moved a step closer to returning to South Florida on Wednesday, when Beckham confirmed he has exercised his option to purchase a Major League Soccer expansion franchise in Miami. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. . - Tom Brady and the Patriots routed the Bengals and quieted the doubters. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. . Formula One Teams Association secretary general Oliver Weingarten says the organization collapsed over unpaid subscription fees and a failure to strike an agreement for 2014 with all 11 teams.Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan agreed that the lure of representing England in this weeks World Cup of Golf was impossible to resist despite both players having to postpone their holidays. The Ryder Cup stars were scheduled to take an extended break from the game following the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, but they have changed their plans to compete at the superb Kingston Heath course in Melbourne.But Danny Willett, who had chosen Lee Westwood as his partner, opted to pull out to protect his suspect back and Wood was the next highest-ranked player to be given the option of teeing it up with Justin Rose unavailable. Chris Wood chose to play with Andy Sullivan in Melbourne Wood decided to bring in Sullivan rather than retain Westwood for the competition, a move that prompted the latter to express his disappointment during the European Tour finale last week.Wood responded on Sunday by hinting that Willett was in the wrong for choosing Westwood in the first place, with four other English players higher up in the world rankings. Lee Westwood was disappointed to be left out having initially been chosen by Danny Willett I went down the rankings and I did it in as fair a way as I could, Wood said after his final round at the Jumeirah Golf Estates. There wasnt this much fuss when Danny jumped myself, Tyrrell Hatton, Fitzy (Matt Fitzpatrick) and Sully to get to Lee.I totally understand Lees frustration, youre ready to go, but myself and Sully are hungry to go and play and surely thats what you want. Willetts withdrawal opened the door for Wood to chose his partner And on their arrival in Australia, Wood and Sullivan insisted they were happy to interrupt their breaks as they bid to become only the third English pair to win the event after David Carter and Nick Faldo in 1998, and Paul Casey with Luke Donald 12 years ago. Sky Sports Black Friday sale Upgrade to Sky Sports now and get 12 months half price! I was having six weeks off just to chill out a little longer, said Sullivan.dddddddddddd But Im not sure how many World Cups Im going to be invited to play, so when you get the opportunity to come and play, the only answer I was going to give was yes.Wood added: I had a holiday planned with my wife, so she went home instead of being on holiday with me in Dubai. I had to deal with that gently! Wood and Sullivan are long-time friends and practised together during the Ryder Cup But the chance to play in a World Cup and the golf courses down here are so good. These sort of sandbelt courses I could play for the rest of my life, so the opportunity to come down here and play, Im always going to take it.Weve got a height difference to overcome for the week, but it will be great. We both play the same ball so it will be pretty easy for us. Weve both had pretty good years, both played Ryder Cup. So this is a great end to the season for both of us. Live World Cup of Golf November 24, 2016, 1:00am Live on Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass Wood and Sullivan are one of only two teams featuring two players ranked inside the worlds top 50, the other being the American Ryder Cup pairing of Rickie Fowler and PGA champion Jimmy Walker.Thomas Pieters, the leading points scorer on his stunning debut at Hazeltine, plays alongside former Ryder Cup star Nicolas Colsaerts for Belgium, while the home nation are represented by Adam Scott and Marc Leishman.Upgrade to Sky Sports now and get 12 months half price. Hurry, offer ends December 4! Also See: Wood snub disappoints Westwood Willett apologetic Golf live on Sky Sports 4 European Tour Schedule Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. ' ' '
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