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TORONTO - It was very early in the Maple Leafs tenure of Jonathan Bernier and he had
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TORONTO - It was very early in the Maple Leafs tenure of Jonathan Bernier and he had noticed that his new goaltending coach, Rick St. Shane Vereen Jersey . Croix, was lingering quietly in the background, doing his best to thoughtfully calibrate an assessment without much interference. "At one point, I told him Rick, You need to tell me things that you see that Im doing wrong," Bernier recalled in conversation with the Leaf Report. "Some goalies dont like to get judged or anything like that, but I like to know where Im at in my game. I like when the goalie coach will push me to get better." No single aspect of the Leafs season at the midway point has been quite as reliable, and at times brilliant, as that of the goaltending. And the quiet, driving and highly influential presence behind the recently found success is the 58-year-old St. Croix, now in his second season with the team. Between Bernier and 25-year-old James Reimer, the Toronto tandem ranks fourth in the NHL with a .924 save percentage - after finishing seventh-best last season - and third-best with an even stingier .942 mark at even-strength - of critical importance considering the bloated number of shots the team has allowed this season. Years of futility, which plagued the Leafs crease following the departure of Ed Belfour (see table below), are finally being forgotten under St. Croix, who captured a Stanley Cup with Belfour in Dallas in 1999 and found later success with the Vancouver and Winnipeg organizations. "He really understands the position because he played it," Reimer told the Leaf Report of St. Croix, who played in the NHL with the Leafs and Flyers, "and thats really valuable." The goalie coach is equal parts teacher, motivator and therapist, a sounding board for the games most solitary position, a leaning post in times of turmoil and success. "A goalie coach is a resource to help the goaltender in his area of need and it might be off the ice, it might be on the ice, it might be just going post to post, it might be how he reads the game, maybe its stuff related to flexibility," said St. Croix, shortly after he replaced Francois Allaire as the teams goaltending coach in the fall of 2012. "Im a resource to help them become a better version of themselves." He has found quick success in that regard where his predecessor could not. Dubbed at one point by former Leafs President and GM Brian Burke as "the best goaltending coach on the planet," Allaire, who owns two Stanley Cup rings, never found much success during his three years in Toronto. His rigid style of goaltending - a blocking approach that was highly successful in the slower pre-lockout era - rarely translated into fewer goals against with the Leafs. It also allowed for little in the way of creativity or athleticism. [Allaire is currently working as the goaltending coach for the Avalanche, where has rediscovered considerable early success with Semyon Varlamov and former Leaf Jean-Sebastien Giguere.] St. Croix, in definite contrast, employs a considerably more accommodating approach to the position, a hybrid style that is dependent on accentuating the strengths of the individual. "I think with his style of coaching maybe theres more flexibility in there, a little less rigidity," said Reimer, an Allaire loyalist who is careful not to compare the two coaches. "You can play around with stuff a little bit more maybe [under St. Croix]. Maybe it allows you to be a little bit more athletic." "Its all your style of play and hell see your game and see those little things that will affect your game and itll be different than what he might tell Bernier in essence." Bernier, who worked with the highly lauded Bill Ranford previously in Los Angeles, agrees that St. Croix is "pretty open on techniques" and will advise, rather than demand, his goaltender on potential tweaks for game situations. "He wont change my style, wont change my position - thats who I am," said Bernier, whose .938 even-strength save percentage ranks behind only Ben Bishop among regular NHL starters this season. Unlike Allaire, who could be unyielding in his approach to goaltending, St. Croix is intent on molding the shape of the individual to a better version of itself. Reimer, who finished eighth in the NHL in save percentage last season, his first with St. Croix, and sits 12th this season, concedes that his goalie coach has "just allowed whatever it is that makes me good to rise to the top per se". "Its like a skilled player being able to make a few mistakes," Reimer explained of the increased flexibility being afforded under St. Croix, who was not made available to be interviewed for this story. "If you tell him as soon as he gets across the red line that he has to dump the puck youre going to take away a bit of his [talent]. He might be a solid player and he might still be great, but when you allow [him] to cut back or toe-drag every now and again then something [special] comes out. With Ricky, I think maybe thats what its allowed me to do." Goaltender and goalie coach meet after every game to review that nights work, determined to assess the good and bad on video. St. Croix, in such situations, is looking not just at the individual goals allowed but at the bigger picture, intent on finding tendencies and trends that may need strengthening. "If you let in a goal here," Reimer said, "you look at it and say, Was it a freak thing? Did you do something wrong? And if it was, is it because we havent practiced it or is just because you made a mistake? Either way you work on it." Prior to games, he and the two goaltenders will assess the incoming opponent, trying to better understand how they generate offence and what situations may be on deck that night. In addition to the teaching and advisement is the equally important role of motivator and therapist. "Its funny that you say that because I think thats the biggest thing for a goalie coach," said Bernier. "Hes almost a therapist in a way just because hes there for you mentally and keeps you positive. You dont want to be too high or too low and hes there to help you find that right level of emotion." Bernier needed such a pick-me-up from St. Croix earlier in the year, the losses piling up in rapid succession for the Leafs despite continued performance in goal. And because he has a history of playing the position at the NHL level, St. Croix carries a certain credibility for his two young netminders, an understanding of the often solitary life in goal. "You can say stuff to him because hell understand," said Reimer, "whereas if you said it to somebody else [they] would be saying Oh my goodness, youre thinking that? but in the goalie world thats just normal." A big believer in the role of a goaltending coach, Bernier actually approached Leafs VP of Hockey Operations, Dave Poulin, early in the season and requested that St. Croix be with the NHL club more often. "I think its important as a goalie to have a goalie coach," Bernier said, "and talk to someone about [goaltending], bring your confidence up. He helps you to get that routine in your game and in practice which is really good. "Hes been really good mentally to keep me positive … And working on little things he sees in my game. I think more and more were going to get adjusted to each other, more comfortable. I think were making a big step." A look at the considerable leap in Toronto goaltending under St. Croix in the past two seasons. Season Save Percentage 2013-14 .924 2013 .917 2011-12 .901 2010-11 .907 2009-10 .896 2008-09 .887 2007-08 .897 Michael Strahan Jersey .  A question that was repeatedly posed last season, and the season before that and in the 2011 campaign before that. Phil McConkey Jersey .The Williams siblings, with 25 Grand Slam titles between them, will have a couple of Madisons joining them, too.Madison Keys had a 6-4, 7-5 upset win over two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova on Saturday night, and Madison Brengle beat Coco Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-2 in an all-U. http://www.giantsauthenticshop.com/ . None of them was better than playing with LeBron James again.KAMLOOPS, B.C. -- B.C. Lions head coach Mike Benevides wants his players to embrace the role of being Grey Cup hosts. He told them as much before CFL training camps got going Sunday. "I was pretty honest about it. You know what? Its additional pressure," said Benevides. "Every team across the country is saying the same thing -- we want to win a championship. Im not going to be dishonest and say Well its at home so its no big deal. It is a big deal." The Lions started a string of three straight host teams winning the title in their own backyards with their victory at B.C. Place Stadium in 2011 and will be looking to make it a four-peat for host cities this November. "We want to win it in front of our fans," Benevides continued. "Last time it was here thats exactly what occurred, and thats what we get paid to do. Distraction, focus, motivation -- call it whatever you want. Thats the No. 1 goal." The Lions have not won a playoff game since raising the Grey Cup three years ago, but running back Andrew Harris said he believes they have the horses to get it down in 2014. "The expectation for us every year is to be in the Grey Cup. Obviously theres maybe a little more added pressure, but last time it was here we won and that was a great year for us," said the Winnipeg native. "Were looking to do the same and I definitely think looking around and seeing the guys that we have solid chance to do that." That chance could rest heavily on Travis Lulays surgically repaired shoulder. The Lions quarterback was injured during last seasons 11-7 campaign and returned for their playoff loss before going under the knife. Lulay said Sunday "it remains to be seen" if he will be ready to go when B.C. opens its regular season on June 28. "Im still in a stage where camps going to be a continued progression for me, but it has steady upward progression throughout the off-season," said Lulay. "Im actually really anxious to see how it recovers on a day-to-day basis coming out here." B.C. traded for veteran quarterback Kevin Glenn at the CFL draft as an insurance policy, and while Benevides and Lulay were both adamant the Lions No. 1 quarterback is on schedule, the head coach added its his job to make sure his star gets back to 100 per cent. "All these guys that are elite athletes, theyre champions and MVPs," said Benevides. "You have to make sure you help them in understanding the overall picture. Hes intelligent, he understands it, hes been through this before but theres no doubt that well have various conversations and discuss it back and forth." Added Lulay: "Sometimes you think you can be Superman and overcome some of that stuff. Carl Banks Jersey. Managing expectations is one of the biggest parts of coming off an injury and thats one of the things Ive learned and you have to learn to deal with that." The Toronto Argonauts won the Grey Cup as hosts in 2012, while the Saskatchewan Roughriders took the title on the Prairies in 2013. Both teams loaded up through trades and free agency in the off-season leading up to the CFLs marquee event, but the Lions had a quiet winter by comparison. What B.C. does have is a lot of fresh faces at camp both on the field and the sidelines. A number of veteran players were either traded, retired or moved on through free agency, while the club also has new offensive and defensive co-ordinators. Khari Jones has been brought in to kick-start an offence that was criticized for being too predictable, while Mark Washington was promoted to run the defence after six seasons coaching the secondary. "We have a lot of open positions," Benevides said of the competitions for spots at camp. "Were going to have a young team and we have to evaluate and find that talent. "Our football team is going to play fast. Everything we do is fast." Apart from a lot of new blood and fresh schemes, the Lions who have been around awhile believe theyre also wiser as hosts because of what they went through in 2011 after starting that season 0-5. "The biggest thing for us is just coming through adversity and staying on that one track and definitely building as a team," said Harris. "I think we did that in 2011 and we have some components this year to make that happen again. Its being persistent and staying at it. Its a full 18-game season and you never know how it ends." Benevides was the defensive co-ordinator with that championship team and will be looking for his first playoff win as a head coach in a season he hopes will culminate with a victory for the Lions in Vancouver on Nov. 30. "Its a long, long journey. Its a long, long season," he said. "Its about making critical plays at critical times and winning that critical game. "Nobody can tell you how the script is going to be written, but its going to be written and someones going to stand on the podium." Notes: The Lions had a meeting with CFLPA representative Paul McCallum before Sundays first practice, a session the veteran kicker said helped clear the air of any questions players might have with regards to the threat of a strike. The leagues collective bargaining agreement expired on Thursday night. ... The Lions first pre-season game is scheduled for June 13 on the road against the Edmonton Eskimos. Nike NFL Jerseys China Wholesale NFL T-shirts Cheap Jerseys 2019 China NFL Hoodies Cheap NFL Hoodies China NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys China ' ' '
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