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Hows that for lofty expectations

  • 30 Jan
    导出博客文章BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Mitchell Marner was the latest rookie to lead the Toronto Maple
    Leafs to victory.Marner scored both goals in a 2-1 defeat of the Buffalo Sabres
    on Thursday night. It was the Maple Leafs first road win of the season.He made
    the right plays at the right time, said Maple Leafs goaltender Frederick
    Andersen, who made 42 saves. It was cool to see him bury a couple there. Some
    big goals on the road here.The 19-year-old Marner scored for the first time
    since Oct. 15 and had his first two-goal game.He was playing great and focused
    on doing everything right, Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. And then when he
    scored, then he probably wanted to score a little bit and focused on scoring and
    didnt score. Focus on doing things right, and everything works out for
    itself.Marner is fourth among NHL rookies in scoring with three goals and five
    assists in 11 games. His 20-year-old teammate, William Nylander, leads all
    rookies with four goals and seven assists. Auston Matthews, the 19-year-old
    center Toronto selected with the No. 1 pick in last Junes draft, is second with
    six goals and four assists.Matthews had four shots on goal and didnt record a
    point for the fifth straight game.Andersen followed up a 44-save performance in
    Torontos 3-2 overtime victory over Edmonton on Thursday with another big game
    and improved to 5-0 against Buffalo. Andersen spent the past three seasons with
    Anaheim.Hes been amazing for us, Marner said. Hes been our best player on the
    ice every night and hes been giving us a chance to win. When you have a
    goaltender like this, you have confidence up front to do things.The Maple Leafs
    improved to 1-3-3 on the road. They also ended an eight-game winless streak in
    Buffalo.Marcus Foligno scored for the Sabres and Robin Lehner made 27 saves.
    Buffalo had a four-game winning streak snapped.The Sabres 42 shots on goal were
    a season-high.Were shooting a lot, creating a lot of chances, but weve got to
    score more than one, forward Tyler Ennis said.Marner opened the scoring 4:08
    into the first period. Tyler Bozak carried the puck from behind the net and fed
    Marner for the tip-in from the right slot.Marner netted his second goal 1:50
    into the second period when he stripped Foligno in front of the net and flicked
    a wrist shot around Lehners left skate.Foligno atoned for the turnover four
    minutes later, scoring his second goal of the season on a backhand from the left
    edge of the crease.Andersen had 15 saves in each of the first two periods. He
    slid across the crease to kick away a point-blank shot from Zemgus Girgensons
    and stopped Girgensons again on a rebound late in the first period. Midway
    through the second, Andersen dived in front of the net and reached across his
    body to make a glove save on a slap shot by Foligno.He was definitely the reason
    they came out of here with two points, Foligno said.Game notesMaple Leafs:
    Scratched D Matt Hunwick (lower body), D Frank Corrado, C Peter Holland and C
    Seth Griffith. ... Folignos father, Mike, attended the game as a scout for Las
    Vegas. He played for both the Sabres and Leafs from 1979-94. ... Torontos last
    victory at KeyBank Center came on Jan. 29, 2013.Sabres: D Zach Bogosian will
    miss several weeks with a sprained ligament in one of his knees, coach Dan
    Bylsma said before the game. Casey Nelson replaced Bogosian on the Sabres second
    defensive line, playing for just the second time this season. ... The Sabres
    were also without top-line forwards Jack Eichel (sprained left ankle) and
    Evander Kane (broken ribs), LW Nicolas Deslauriers (knee) and RW Hudson Fasching
    (groin).UP NEXT:Maple Leafs: Host Vancouver on Saturday.Sabres: At Ottawa on
    Saturday
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    played two periods in his first game since left hip surgery in early May.
    Gabriel Bourque scored 3:07 into the second period and Austin Watson tallied
    5:15 later for Nashville. COLUMBIA, South Carolina -- Steve Spurrier, never one
    to mince words, is pretty honest about how his last season with South Carolina
    went.Spurrier, now an ambassador and consultant for athletics at Florida, his
    alma mater, says he believes theres only one direction for the Gamecocks to go
    under new coach Will Muschamp.It was such a lousy year last year, Spurrier said.
    Theres no way he could do as poorly as the outcome last year.Muschamp, 45, will
    be looking to begin to rewrite his coaching legacy, starting with Thursday
    nights opener at Vanderbilt (8 p.m. ET, ESPN). He was fired after four seasons
    as Floridas coach from 2011 to 14. He spent last season as Auburns defensive
    coordinator before taking the South Carolina job.I think you live and learn each
    year, whether youre a head coach, coordinator or business manager, Muschamp
    said. You learn different things that work and different things that
    dont.Muschamp wasnt the Gamecocks first choice to replace Spurrier -- they had
    their sights set on Georgias Kirby Smart, North Carolinas Larry Fedora and
    Houstons Tom Herman before hiring him -- but hes out to prove he was the right
    one.With a rare do-over as a head coach, Muschamp insists theres more to him
    than the screaming, maniacal sideline character that helped earn him the
    reputation as one of the sports best defensive coordinators.Im not worried about
    that, Muschamp said. Perception is not always reality in life. Im not overly
    concerned about the perception of things. I think people who know ball and know
    me know that Im a good coach.There havent been many head coaches who were
    afforded second chances to prove their critics wrong, especially in the SEC.
    There have been only a handful of men who have coached two teams in the league,
    including Nick Saban (LSU and Alabama), Spurrier (Florida and South Carolina)
    and Paul Bear Bryant (Kentucky and Alabama). Most of them were successful at
    their first stop.Thats why Muschamp was somewhat of a surprising choice to lead
    the Gamecocks. After guiding the Gators to a 7-6 record in his first season in
    2001, they went 11-2 and played in the Allstate Sugar Bowl the next year. But
    then the bottom fell out, as the Gators went 4-8 in 2013 and 7-5 in 14 (Muschamp
    didnt coach in the bowl game after stepping down after a 6-5 regular
    season).South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner says Muschamp accomplished
    more at Florida than his record might reflect. When Muschamp took the Florida
    job, he had never been a head coach, and he replaced Urban Meyer, who guided the
    Gators to two national championships.Unlike a lot of people, I didnt think the
    Florida situation was a failed attempt by Will Muschamp, Tanner said. A lot of
    people say he failed at Florida. I know people say that, but I dont see it that
    way. It was four years, and there was adversity but there was also
    success.Former Texas coach Mack Brown, who hired Muschamp as his defensive
    coordinator in 2008 and later designated him as UTs coach-in-waiting, said his
    former assistant coach should be more prepared in his second stint as a head
    coach.?Hes at a great place, Brown said. When you walk into a place like Florida
    or Texas, without any head coaching experience, the learning curve is so steep
    and youve got a short time to get there. After youve done it, it gives you a
    totally different experience as a head coach.More than anything else, Muschamp
    knows hell put more emphasis on his teams offense.dddddddddddd. His Florida
    teams lack of production on that side of the ball was his ultimate undoing. In
    his final three seasons with the Gators, they never ranked better than 12th in
    passing or 10th in scoring in the SEC.Every place is different, and at the end
    of the day I knew we had to be productive offensively, Muschamp said. If you go
    back and look at Florida, we did try different things, schematically and
    coordinator-wise. We went through some things and we werent productive. That
    falls on my shoulders, and I feel much more comfortable about our staff and the
    buy-in from our players right now.Muschamps last offensive coordinator at
    Florida, Kurt Roper, will direct the South Carolina offense, and he retained
    offensive line coach Shawn Elliott, who coached the Gamecocks in their final six
    games after Spurrier resigned last season.While senior quarterback Perry Orth is
    expected to start against the Commodores, freshman Brandon McIlwain is expected
    to play in the game. Another freshman, Jake Bentley of Opelika, Alabama, who
    skipped his entire senior year of high school to enroll at South Carolina this
    summer, might be the teams best passer.That future at that position at South
    Carolina is as good as anywhere in the country, Muschamp said.But South Carolina
    has plenty of holes everywhere else, which is why fans might not see immediate
    results. The Gamecocks are expected to start only two seniors (left tackle Mason
    Zandi and Orth) on offense, after finishing 12th in the SEC in total offense
    (362.1 yards) and scoring (21.9 points) in 2015.South Carolina has five seniors
    starting on defense, but star linebacker Skai Moore will miss the season while
    recovering from neck surgery.The Gamecocks dont have a lot of depth. For all the
    good Spurrier did at South Carolina, such as guiding the Gamecocks to three
    consecutive 11-win seasons from 2011 to 2013, a first in the programs history,
    he didnt exactly leave behind a wealth of talent.The drop-off at running back,
    receiver and defensive back is pretty scary for us, Muschamp said.At least help
    might be on the way. South Carolinas recruiting class this past February was
    ranked 10th in the SEC and 27th nationally. The current class of 21 committed
    players for 2017 is ranked seventh in the league and includes seven players in
    the ESPN 300.I really believe that our fan base is educated and pays attention
    to recruiting, Tanner said. They understand the situation were in right now,
    where recruiting had taken a step back. We all want to win the next one, but I
    think theyll be extremely patient with Will if thats what it takes.If the
    Gamecocks stay healthy and a handful of young players contribute, they might be
    able to finish 6-6 or better. Country singer Darius Rucker, a lifelong South
    Carolina football fan, has promised a free concert in Columbia if the Gamecocks
    make a bowl game.Hows that for lofty expectations?I think fans will be patient
    because Steves time didnt end up well, Brown said. Everybody feels like theyre
    down. I dont think the expectations are very high. Its kind of a new birth.
    Steve had a good run, but its over. Steve had a fun run, and now its time for
    Will to start over with realistic expectations.
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