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Already wise beyond his years at the age of 20
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TORONTO -- Morgan Rielly probably wont read this. Already wise beyond his years at the age of 20, the Toronto Maple Leafs rookie defenceman learned during training camp that he cant check Twitter as often as he used to. That lesson has served him well during a season-ruining losing streak, but its still almost impossible to avoid the chatter in a hockey-mad city. "When youre out eating at Earls or something, its on a TV and theres people talking about (us), whether its the skid were on, trade rumours or how weve been playing," Rielly said Tuesday. "Playing here in Toronto there are people that arent afraid to have a chat with you if youre at the mall or something. Youve just got to learn to deal with that and cant worry about it too much." Roommate Jake Gardiner tries to take his mind off things by seeing movies, like "Noah" on the teams most recent off day. Coach Randy Carlyle doesnt try to put on sunglasses and a hood to hide from the attention because "thats not me." Even if the Leafs wanted to, theres no real way to escape the pressure -- something area natives and former players know all too well. "Its not fun for them right now, I know that," said Calgary Flames forward Joe Colborne, who spent the past three years in Toronto with the Leafs and minor-league Marlies. "Obviously theres a lot of attention, even out West, on the Leafs, so its well-documented, for sure. You definitely feel for those guys." Empathy was in short supply for Colborne with his Flames at Air Canada Centre seeking to extend Torontos season-worst skid. But even before his Detroit Red Wings sent the Leafs to an eighth loss in a row Saturday night, Mimicos Brendan Smith expressed some sadness at how friends Gardiner and Dave Bolland have to deal with the extra criticism that he called "nonsense." "I think for everybody its difficult," Smith said. "I feel bad for them with all that pressure. Its tough. Every professional athletes going to feel pressure in some kind of way, but its definitely tough here." Red Wings goaltender Jonas Gustavsson looked at the Leafs and recalled a "similar scenario" he went through in Toronto. That was the infamous run in the winter of 2012 that then-general manager Brian Burke compared to "an 18-wheeler going right off a cliff." Gustavsson went 0-3-1 during that 1-9-1 stretch that cost coach Ron Wilson his job. But as a Swede, he managed to avoid a lot of the negativity surrounding the team because he read coverage from back home, not in Canada or the United States. After experiencing that, hes quick not to make any blanket statements about how playing in such a big market affects players. "I think thats very individual," Gustavsson said. "I think some guys have no problem whatsoever with it because they dont really care about media and TV, things like that. Maybe some guys follow it more than others and maybe have tougher times with it." Flames forward Matt Stajan, who played five full seasons and parts of two more with the Leafs, brushed off the emphasis on the extra attention that comes with being in what some consider the centre of the hockey universe. "Its not easy. In Calgary if we lose eight in a row its not easy," Stajan said. "I think the pressure from the outsides one thing, but in the dressing room you have expectations as a team and you feel that pressure anyways. "People look too much at the pressure outside. I think youre in the NHL. As a team you have pressure on yourselves to win games and be at your best every night, and when it doesnt happen, youre feeling it." Theres no doubt the Leafs are feeling it, even if its not something players would like to admit. Assistant general manager Claude Loiselle said Tuesday on Toronto radio station Sportsnet 590 The Fan that players have been squeezing their sticks during this skid. In talking to reporters, players tend to shift the focus back to hockey and away from the white noise. "Its just a matter of keeping concentrated on just playing the game and not what everybodys saying," Rielly said. "You cant be too concerned about whats going on out there, you just got to worry about what youre able to control." No ones denying the talk is out there. Captain Dion Phaneuf conceded that in a results-oriented business, theres bound to be some heavy "scrutiny" on the Leafs. A losing streak like this in a place like this ratchets it up even more. "You look on Twitter or TV, its pretty much what everyones talking about right now," Gardiner said. "But were kind of used to that. ... You just got to have fun with it and try to ignore what people are saying." Hines Ward Youth Jersey . Anderson shook off some unusually poor shooting and hit two clutch 3-pointers in overtime that carried the New Orleans Pelicans to a 111-106 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night. James Conner Jersey .C. -- Authorities say the brother of Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White has been shot and killed outside a South Carolina nightclub. http://www.steelersrookiestore.com/Steel...am-Jersey/ . The Twins announced Thursday the 28-year-old Albers cleared waivers. He will join the Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization. Terry Bradshaw Jersey . The victory strengthened Liverpools position in the top four after Tottenham lost 1-0 at Norwich in the days late kickoff, cutting the north London club six points adrift of fourth place and the final Champions League slot for next season. Louis Lipps Steelers Jersey . Diego Costa headed in Gabis corner seven minutes from time to secure victory ahead of the return match in Madrid on March 11. "We know that at Madrid it will be another game, which will also be important and very difficult," Milan coach Clarence Seedorf said.NEW ORLEANS - California authorities have been ordered to turn former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper over to U.S. Marshals in New Orleans, where he faces state and federal charges that he drugged women so he could sexually assault them.Sharper is jailed in California on charges that he drugged and raped two women there. He also faces charges in Arizona and is under investigatiion in other states.dddddddddddd State and federal charges in Louisiana were filed in December.Sharper has denied the allegations.Mondays federal court order to the sheriff of Los Angeles County says Sharper must be surrendered to federal marshals in New Orleans by 2 p.m. Feb. 23.Sharper played on Super Bowl teams in Green Bay and New Orleans. He retired in 2011. ' ' '
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