TORONTO – In each of the past two offseasons Cody Franson and the Maple Leafs disagreed on the worth of the now 26-year-old defender. Michael Ferland Jersey . Contract disputes lingered for days, weeks and months in the winter of 2012 and once more in summer of 2013 before the two sides finally compromised on an unhappy middle with a pair of one-year contracts. Franson, not surprisingly, feels he has something to prove in his third season in Toronto. "Definitely," he said in conversation with the Leaf Report on Tuesday afternoon. "Thats the way my dad raised me was live by proving people wrong, have that motivation and drive to make people that say youre not eat their words." Franson believed that hed established himself as a viable top-4 defender last season, when he broke out with 29 points in 45 games, but Dave Nonis and the Leafs management group wanted to see more. They werent sure what the Sicamous, B.C. native was (the half-season sample size undoubtedly a factor) and balked at committing the sizeable term and dollars he desired in free agency (hence the one-year deal worth $2 million). Soon to be a restricted agent once more in the summer of 2014, Franson is out to prove that hes worthy of such an investment. Entrenched with the significant role and responsibility he always wanted upon landing with the Leafs via trade from Nashville, Franson is only half-satisfied with the season hes had to date. "Its going okay, but I can do more," said Franson, who will assume top pairing duty in the absence of suspended captain Dion Phaneuf. "I feel like I can do more. I feel I can help produce more. I can be a bigger part in our group turning things around." The Leafs have stumbled into December, struggling to generate offence and adequately defend amid a stretch which has seen them win just twice in regulation in 17 games. Now without their captain and leading minute-eater for the next two games – against top teams from Los Angeles and St. Louis no less – theyll need others, Franson most prominently, to step up their game. "The challenges are bountiful as we go forward into the season," said Randy Carlyle of a year thats seen an increasing number of injuries and suspensions, "but somebody else now gets an opportunity to fill those minutes." Be it offensively or defensively, Franson feels his game could stand to rise on a number of different fronts. The scoring leader of the Toronto defence once again this season – he has 14 points – Franson is nonetheless concerned by his inability to find the back of the net. He had four goals on 70 shots in 2013, but has yet score on any of the 40 attempts hes fired so far this year. Directing more pucks on net, thus creating not only goals but rebound opportunities for teammates, will aid in the teams struggling offensive attack – the Leafs have just 23 even-strength goals during this lasting 17-game run. "Obviously not having scored a goal is in my head," he said, noting a desire to increase his overall offensive production. "Its been a tough year to try and get shots through to the net and really help our forwards in that sense. Thats bothering me a bit." Amongst the best at his position in producing offence at even-strength last season – he had 16 points, tied for 12th most among NHL defenders – Franson has just three such points this season, the majority of his production coming on one of the leagues top power-plays. Because the Leafs have struggled to move the puck effectively for the better part of the opening two-plus months theyve been ineffective with a forecheck from which theyd like to initiate offence. One of their better puck-movers, Franson can help in that regard with some measure of improvement. "I havent got enough of those this year," said Franson of even-strength points, 11 of his 14 assists coming with the man advantage. "Thats something Ive been trying to focus on in getting better at and try to help our team win." Already second in ice-time among Leaf defenders – 21 minutes per game –Franson is poised to peg, if not more minutes, than more difficult minutes with Phaneuf suspended for tough tests against the Kings and Blues. He was paired with Carl Gunnarsson on the top pairing of Tuesdays practice. Though hes made strides in the right direction in Toronto, Franson remains a work in progress in the defensive zone. Part of that growth lies in his assertiveness and physicality. The 6-foot-5 defender has always been prodded to employ the requisite physical game his size is said to demand. Under the direction of Carlyle he has improved considerably. Franson actually leads all NHL defenders with 98 hits (entering Tuesdays action), quite a shift for a player who had 55 in his first 61 NHL games with Nashville. "Ive gotten better," said Franson, "but theres always room for improvement. Ive watched the video clips of myself after a lot of games and I see spots where I know I couldve at least bumped a guy there or a guy takes a shot and I was more worried about the rebound than finishing [him] into the wall. Just some things that I need to get back into the habit of doing and itll help me." Habit has also been forced to change with a steady mix of defensive partners. Unlike last season, when he played with Mark Fraser almost exclusively, Franson has shifted from partner to partner amid the teams struggles on the back-end. Gunnarsson will be the fifth partner hes been paired with already this season. The adjustment is as subtle as thinking versus reacting instinctually. "[I]t makes you think a little more and sometimes Im thinking too much and its making me read things a little slower than I should be and in turn making me not quite as aggressive as Id like to be," said Franson. "Ive got to get that down a little quicker and itll help." Such improvements will go a long ways toward proving the "naysayers" wrong while helping the Leafs turn a much-needed corner. Karri Ramo Jersey .com) - Top seed Klara Zakopalova reached the second round, while former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone came up a loser Tuesday at the inaugural Rio Open tennis event. Sam Bennett Jersey . -- Jesse Lussier scored 8:24 into overtime as the Halifax Mooseheads erased a four-goal deficit to beat the host Val-dOr Foreurs 6-5 on Tuesday in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoff action. http://www.jerseyofficialhockeyflames.com/mike-vernon-hockey-jersey/ . PAUL, Minn.PHILADELPHIA -- Jonathan Papelbon lost the lead and then lost his cool. The Phillies closer made a lewd gesture to fans and was ejected after giving up four runs in the ninth inning during Philadelphias 5-4 loss to the Miami Marlins on Sunday. Papelbon grabbed his crotch as he walked to the dugout and was ejected by crew chief Joe West. He jogged out of the dugout and got into a face-to-face argument with West, who grasped the pitchers jersey to hold him off, and Papelbon then argued with first base umpire Marty Foster. Papelbon threw a cup of liquid on the field before leaving the dugout. "I told him Youve got to go," West said. "And then he charged out of the dugout and his head bumped into my hat. And I grabbed him and I said, Get off of me. "The whole thing started because the fans booed him and he made an obscene gesture. He had no business doing that. Hes got to be more professional than that. And thats why he was ejected." Papelbon denied gesturing lewdly toward fans and said boos had no impact on him. "This is baseball," Papelbon said. "I had to make an adjustment and I did it and by no means am I directing anything at any fans. . When Im out there and in the moment, the fans are irrelevant to me. I dont see them. I dont hear them. To me, this is pretty stupid, to be totally honest with you. "They pay money, they want to see a good game and they have the right to boo and do whatever they want to do, but when an umpire gets caught up in that and starts trying to look for extra things he may think are going on -- just umpire the game." Papelbon (2-3) had converted 14 straight save chances since July 22 when he entered with a 4-1 lead. He allowed five of his first six batters to reach, giving up Jarrod Saltalamacchias double, Kike Hernandezs walk, Adeiny Hechavarrias infield single, Jordany Valdespins RBI groundout, Christian Yelichs run-scoring infield single and pinch-hitter Justin Bours tying single. After Casey McGehee struck out, Papelbon bounced a wild pitch past catcher Carlos Ruiz as Yelich scored the go-ahead run. Calgary Flames Jerseys. Papelbon retired Marcell Ozuna on an inning-ending groundout. Papelbon blew a save for the fourth time in 41 chances this season. He had been 18 for 18 in career save chances against the Marlins. Anthony DeSclafani (2-2) got the final out of the eighth for the win. Steve Cishek walked Freddy Galvis leading off the bottom half and allowed Cody Asches single, then struck out Ben Revere, Maikel Franco and Chase Utley for his 35th save in 39 chances. Revere and Utley took called third strikes. Miami stopped a four-game losing streak. The Marlins had not won since Giancarlo Stanton took a fastball to the face on Thursday. "Its probably the biggest win of the year for us," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "Its been very emotional the last few days. We needed a win." Francos RBI single in the third put Philadelphia ahead, but Hernandezs homer tied the score in the fourth. The Phillies opened a 3-1 lead in the fourth on Domonic Browns run-scoring, double-play grounder and Ruizs RBI single, and Utley hit into a run-scoring fielders choice in the eighth. Phillies starter David Buchanan allowed one run and five hits in 6 1-3 innings, and Marlins starter Tom Koehler gave up three runs -- two earned -- and seven hits in six innings. TRAINERS ROOM Phillies: SS Jimmy Rollins sat out a sixth consecutive game and has not played since straining his left hamstring on Sept. 8. UP NEXT Phillies: RHP Jerome Williams (3-1) takes the mound in the opener of Philadelphias 10-game West Coast trip. He faces San Diegos Andrew Cashner (3-7). Marlins: RHP Jarred Cosart (13-9), who has won four of six decisions since he was acquired from Houston, gets the ball in Miamis series opener with New York. He opposes RHP Jacob deGrom (8-6). GLOVE WORK Yelich slid on the warning track in left-centre near the 387-foot sign for a sliding backhand catch of Ruizs drive in the second. ROUNDING THE BASES Revere swiped second base in the first and eighth innings, giving him a career-high 45 steals. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '