The Toronto Maple Leafs "stumbled on" Connor Brown a few years ago and are pleased with their discovery. Fake Nike Air Max Replica . The Erie Otters captain was named the Ontario Hockey Leagues most outstanding player for 2013-14 on Tuesday. Brown led the league in scoring and set a franchise record with 45 goals and 83 assists in 68 games. Chosen near the bottom of both his OHL and NHL drafts, the 20-year-old Toronto forward has played himself into a strong pro prospect. He was the 251st pick out of 301 players four years ago in the OHL draft. The Leafs chose him in the sixth round, 156th overall, in 2012. His buddy Matt Finn, captain of the Guelph Storm and a fellow Leafs prospect, recently said "With Connor, its always been about proving people wrong." But Brown says his motivation is more about the pursuit of his dream than spite. "I definitely dont think much has come easy, being late picks in both drafts," he acknowledged during a conference call. "Its just more incentive to work hard. "I think I wanted to work hard not to prove people wrong, but I know I needed to work harder to have a shot at signing an NHL contract and having a shot at making the NHL one day." Brown has signed a three-year, entry level contract with the Leafs. He caught their eye in 2011 when scouts went to Erie, Pa., to evaluate Leafs prospect Sondre Olden. "Each time we went down to watch this Maple Leaf pick, wed stumble on Connor Brown," Leafs director of player Jim Hughes said. "Erie was having a difficult year and the scores, the deficits, never changed Connors desire, never changed his moods during the course of the game. "He was always focused and it didnt matter if he was winning 5-1 or losing 5-1, his personality never changed. He always played for the love of the game. He always played with passion. We obviously have big plans for Connor moving forward." Brown led Erie to the best season in its 18-year history with 52 wins and 106 points. The Otters lost this years Western Conference final to Guelph in five games. Brown had eight goals and 10 assists in 14 playoff games. The five-foot-11 170-pound right-winger is currently practising with Torontos American Hockey League team -- the Marlies -- at the MasterCard Centre. He intends to spend most of the summer there building strength and working on his skating skills with former Canadian pairs figure skater Barb Underhill. Hughes says Brown needs time to develop "man-strength." "Come September, I think my game and my physical state, I think Ill be ready to play with better and stronger players," Brown said. Brown is the first Otter to win the OHL scoring title and the second to earn the Red Tilson Trophy as league MVP after Brad Boyes in both 2001 and 2002. The trophy is named in honour of Albert (Red) Tilson, who was a former Oshawa General killed in action during the Second World War. Brown led the league in power-play points with 54 and carried a plus-minus of plus-44 through the regular season. In a poll of Western Conference coaches, he was voted the best in a shootout, second in penalty killing and third in the smartest player category. "Whoever is preparing to play hockey anywhere, will not outwork Connor Brown and his will to prepare," Otters general manager Sherry Bassin said. "Whatever work ethic is necessary, whatever that measurement is, hell do more." Media members vote on the award and Brown was the clear winner with 321 points tabulated from 80 ballots. Oshawa Generals centre Scott Laughton was the runner-up with 120 points and top NHL draft prospect Sam Bennett of the Kingston Frontenacs was third with 68. Previous winners include New York Islanders forward John Tavares (Oshawa, 2007), Nashville Predators defenceman Ryan Ellis (Windsor, 2011) and Florida Panthers defenceman Brian Campbell (Ottawa, 1999). Vincent Trochek, the centre who won the award last year with the Plymouth Whalers, split this past season between the Panthers and their AHL team in San Antonio, Texas. Brown is the OHLs candidate for the Canadian Hockey Leagues player of the year. Hell be up against Sam Reinhart of the Western Hockey Leagues Kootenay Ice and Anthony Mantha of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey Leagues Val-dOr Foreurs. The winner will be announced May 24 during the MasterCard Memorial Cup in London, Ont. Wholesale Nike Air Max From China . - Defensive end-linebacker Mike Neal apparently is returning to the Packers. Discount Nike Air Max Wholesale . -- Adrian Peterson remained in a walking boot to treat a high ankle sprain on his left leg on Wednesday, and coach Leslie Frazier said he will not play on Sunday against Atlanta if he cant hit the practice field in the next two days.NEW YORK, N.Y. - John Wall is fast and flashy, a showman who practices 360-degree layups and then pulls them off in games.And when he gets pushed, he pushes back.Wall had 24 points and 11 assists, eluding the Knicks all day until getting knocked to the floor by a flagrant foul that sparked an altercation, and the Washington Wizards beat New York 102-91 on Thursday.Wall toyed with the Knicks for 3 1/2 quarters, highlighted by his spinning layup, before Quincy Acy knocked him down with a forearm shove with 5:31 to play. Wall got up and pushed Acy, who responded with what appeared to be a punch that hit Wall behind the neck. Acy was ejected in the Christmas Day dust-up, and Wall received a technical foul.Im just a feisty guy that likes to compete, Wall said. And I want to win games.Washington won this one easily, leading by as many as 22 and never trailing. Bradley Beal added 17 points for the Wizards, who had their top five of Wall, Beal, Paul Pierce, Nene and Marcin Gortat in the starting lineup for the first time this season.We came out with a lot of energy, ready to go from the start, Beal said, and its just going to continue to get better and better as the season goes on.Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points for the Knicks, who fell to 5-26 and have the most losses in the NBA. They have dropped six straight and 16 of 17.The fans are dying. Were dying. Were out there not producing, Anthony said.Wall was dazzling in what could be a warmup for a trip to Madison Square Garden for the February All-Star game. He was the leading vote-getter among Eastern Conference guards when the first returns of fan balloting were released earlier Thursday.He might expand that lead after a national TV audience got to see him make 10 of 17 shots, the prettiest his layup where he spun completely around in the air before scooping it in.Acy found a way to slow him down, though he denied he threw a punch or did much else to warrant punishment.I mean, its jusst a foul and he got up and reacted, Acy said. Cheap Nike Air Max Outlet. Wall largely shrugged it off after the game.Like we always say: If you dont like physicality, go play golf, Pierce said.The Wizards avoided their first three-game losing streak of the season. They have won five in a row against the hapless Knicks, who had Amare Stoudemire back in the lineup after he missed two games. J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert remained out.New York fell to 22-28 in a league-high 50 Christmas appearances.Knicks President Phil Jackson tried to tell Knicks fans better times were ahead with a couple of holiday Twitter postings, in which he wrote, Please be assured your hopes and wishes are getting through to Santa. He will bring you a better 2015 than 14.Maybe, but first Washington added to this years misery.After a pregame moment of silence for Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, the police officers who were shot to death Saturday, the Wizards made their first four attempts and raced to an 11-2 lead.TIP-INSWizards: The Wizards are 15-7 on Christmas. It was their first time playing on the holiday since a loss to Cleveland in 2008. ... Washington is 10-3 in December.Knicks: Madison Square Gardens Garden of Dreams Foundation gave the Curtis family of South Salem, New York, a new car Thursday morning. Knicks centre Samuel Dalembert presented the 2015 Kia Soul to the family, which has struggled since Maria Curtis was involved in a car accident last spring, leaving her without transportation to take her three sons to music classes. The Garden of Dreams is also paying the insurance for the first two years.PRACTICE MAKES PERFECTWalls spinning shot wasnt just something he made up: Its something I practice all the time, so its pretty fun, he said. I was happy to pull it off. In the Garden, cant get no better.UP NEXTWizards: Host Boston on Saturday.Knicks: Visit Sacramento on Saturday.___Follow Brian Mahoney on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Briancmahoney ' ' '
CHARLOTTE, N. Miami Marlins Gear .C. -- Carl Edwards said NASCAR is taking the wrong approach in its effort to draw more fans to the race track. If NASCAR really wants to create better competition and higher interest in the sport, Edwards said it needs to focus on changing the setup of the cars and not the championship format. NASCAR will announce its Chase for the Sprint Cup championship format on Thursday. It is expected to be to a 16-driver field whittled down through eliminations to four drivers and a winner-take-all season finale; it would be the fourth significant change to either the points or championship format since the Chase debuted in 2004. Edwards said drivers are already doing everything they can to win and the proposed changes that NASCAR chairman Brian France laid out two weeks ago wont change that. "I dont think you can take the top 15 guys in this sport and make them race any harder for wins. I dont think you can," Edwards said Tuesday. Its a sentiment shared by 2012 champion Brad Keselowski, who initially showed public support of the new format but is now reserving judgment until he sees exactly what NASCAR wants to do. France has been adamant he wants drivers to race at 100 per cent at all times and to value winning, and he preached most of last season that the frantic, door-banging battle to the checkered flag at California between Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano is the kind of racing he wants to see. "From a drivers perspective, theres nothing left," Keselowski said Wednesday. "Theres no set of rules to make me race harder than I do." Keselowski passed on a chance to move Kyle Busch out of the lead at Watkins Glen last August in what could have been a last-ditch effort to win the race. That victory would have likely ensured Keselowski a spot in the Chase; instead, he failed to qualify and was unable to defend his championship. Keselowski also doesnt think any changes will hurt six-time champion Jimmie Johnson. "No matter what format you put out there, hes the favourite," Keselowski said. "Until thats not the case, I dont see how theres any format that could be wrote, unless its the slowest guy wins, and I dont think theyre going to do that." Edwards said taking away the downforce on cars and making the tires softer is a good place to start. He said it would go a long way toward increasing competitive racing at the front of the pack. "No matter what format we race under I cant just try harder and go up and race with the guy or pass him," Edwards said. "I think the thing we have to focus on as a sport is making sure the cars can race one another. ... Right now, if Im staring at the guy in the front window it doesnt matter if (Im racing) for a billion dollars and 10 championships -- if I cant catch him, I cant catch him." Its not necessarily that Edwards is against the format. But he said if Frances proposals -- with the emphasis on winning races to get into the Chase for the Championship -- come to fruition, it will change the way drivers approach the season. "Things will get really, really interesting around Richmond. That will be insane," Edwards said. Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he wasnt excited about the proposed changes at first, but has begun to warm to the idea. "Lets change it all. Im all for it," Earnhardt said. "A lot of times we change things for the fans, and I think the drivers are going to enjoy some of this stuff as much as the fans are." Team owner Richard Petty said proposed changes are a "PR deal" by NASCAR designed to drum up more interest in the sport. He still thinks the best drivers will come out on top regardless of the format. "They just want to shake things up," Petty said. NASCAR is essentially borrowing a page from other major sports such as the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball where teams -- or in this case, drivers -- are eliminated from playoff contention while the season climaxes with one championship event at the end of the year. Earnhardt Jr. called it a "bold, aggressive" move by NASCAR. "When you look at other forms of sport, theres an elimination factor in the playoffs that we dont have," Earnhardt said. "We, as drivers, dont feel the intensity of an elimination factor being over our shoulders every race. I feel like weve had it easy in that regard where we just tally up points. Coming down to Homestead with four guys (racing for the championship), thats crazy -- but its exciting." However, driver Ryan Newman doesnt necessarily agree with the elimination-style system. "I dont think we can take everything the NFL or NBA is doing and say, We need to do it like this because theyre doing it like that and its working," Newman said. "This is still stock car racing. This is NASCAR. A certain per cent of change is good, but we do not need to copy the playoff system." Adam Conley Jersey . -- Michael Bennett gambled last off-season that playing on a one-year deal in Seattle would pay off in the future with the long-term contract he always wanted. Brian Anderson Jersey . 1-9 on TSN. With more than 65 hours of exclusive live coverage, TSN delivers all the action beginning with Draw 1 on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 2 p.EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Top choice Odell Beckham Jr., and three other draft picks have signed with the New York Giants on Monday. That leaves only one unsigned player for the Giants from this months selections, defensive tackle Jay Bromley, taken in the third round. In addition to Beckham, a wide receiver drafted 12th overall, centre Weston Richburg (second round), linebacker Devon Kennard (fifth round) and cornerback Bennett Jackson (sixth round) signed with the team Monday. Beckham joins another LSU receiver, Rueben Randle, in New Yorks passing attack, which lost veteran Hakeem Nicks in free agency. Beckham set an LSU record with 2,315 all-purpose yards in 22013, completing his career with 15 touchdowns and 4,118 all-purpose yards, which ranks No. Jordan Holloway Jersey . 5 in school history. "He has great speed. Hes polished. He has great hands and played at the top level." Giants coach Tom Coughlin said when the team drafted Beckham. "Hes someone we could count on putting the ball in the end zone and we can also feature him in the kicking game as well." Richburg was a four-year starter at Colorado State who made 50 consecutive starts, a school record. He was first-team All-Mountain West in 2013. On Friday, the Giants signed fourth-round running back Andre Williams and fifth-round safety Nat Berhe. ' ' '