Bortuzzo will also sit out Thursday after receiving a two-game suspen

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CHARLOTTE, N. Ozzie Smith Cardinals Jersey .C. - The Panthers say theyd like to find a replacement for longtime No. 1 wide receiver Steve Smith in this years NFL draft. The big question is when theyll do it. The Panthers have the 28th overall pick, but the NFC South champions have a variety of needs after getting hit hard in free agency, and could go in a number of directions with their first-round choice. General manager Dave Gettleman said recently that wide receiver, offensive tackle and cornerback are among the teams top needs, but qualified that statement by adding he wont got out of his way to land one. "When you reach for a position of need youre in trouble," he said. Gettleman said he has some reservations about drafting a receiver in the first round because it often takes them longer to adjust to the NFL game than those who play other positions. "History tells you that its a very difficult position to assimilate into (the NFL), especially with the current game being played at the college level," Gettleman said. Gettleman called it a "wide receiver heavy" draft that includes several players whove put up big numbers. He said the trick is finding guys who can easily make the transition to the next level. "Ill look at a guy and hes caught 90 balls ... but of those 45 were flash screens," Gettleman said. "The other 45 he caught, he ran to three spots. So, do they understand coverage? Theyre going to have to learn the whole route tree. How long is it going to take them to assimilate? Its an issue. Its a problem." Smith was released in a salary cap move earlier this off-season. Replacing his toughness and production wont be easy. He caught 836 passes for 12,197 yards and 67 touchdowns for the Panthers in 13 seasons. However, after averaging 76 receptions for 1,284 yards receiving and 5.5 touchdowns in his first two seasons playing with quarterback Cam Newton, Smiths numbers fell off in 2013. He caught 64 passes for 745 yards and four TDs. The Panthers signed free agents Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Avant and Tiquan Underwood, but none is expected to become the next No. 1 receiver in Carolina. Five things to watch from the Panthers in the draft: ON THE FRONT BURNER: Jordan Gross retired this off-season, leaving a huge hole at left tackle — one the Panthers potentially could address in Round 1. Gettleman said there are some tackles in the draft dont have "left tackle feet," but said that doesnt necessarily matter. "There are only so many elite tackles," he said. "There are plenty of guys playing left tackle in this league that dont have classic left tackle feet." Finding a left tackle might take on added importance given Newton is coming off ankle surgery this off-season. FIRST ROUND SUCCESS: The Panthers have had tremendous success with their first-round picks the last three seasons. They grabbed defensive tackle Star Lotulelei from Utah at No. 14 in 2013, and he looks like hes going to be around the league for quite a while. They drafted linebacker Luke Kuechly at No. 11 in 2012 and quarterback Cam Newton first overall the year before that. Kuechly was the 2013 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, while Newton was the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2011. BLUE GOOSE: Last year, Gettleman said the Panthers needed to add some "hog mollies," or big linemen. This year, the Boston native switched gears, saying if there is a "blue goose" pass rusher available at No. 28 he wouldnt pass on him. Tough to know what a blue-winged bird native to Ethiopia has to do with building a football team, though. CORNERBACK ON RADAR: The Panthers lost starting cornerback Captain Munnerlyn to Minnesota in free agency. While they signed free agent Antoine Cason, dont rule out cornerback as an option with one of the teams top three picks. The Panthers have one pick in each of the seven rounds. DONT BE REACHING: The Panthers are determined not to reach for picks at positions of need. They followed that plan last year and took defensive tackle Kawaan Short from Purdue in the second round — even after selecting Lotulelei in the first. "Last year, K.K. (Short) was obviously the best value in that second-round pick," Gettleman said. ___ AP NFL website: and Enos Slaughter Jersey . Unfortunately for Toronto, that surge was too much to handle as the Stars scored six straight goals and ended the Marlies season with a 6-2 victory on Tuesday. Toronto had built a 2-0 lead on goals by Frazer McLaren and Peter Holland, but Texas charged back with a wild rally late in the second period to spark its trip to the Calder Cup final. Vince Coleman Jersey . 1. CAVALIERS: At 19-20, theyre a mess. Watched the game Tuesday night vs. Phoenix and their defence was poor (107 points and 52 per cent for Suns). Where is the high level play from Kyrie Irving and LeBron James (13 turnovers!)? Kevin Love looks like a man thats wondering what he got himself into. .Mallais and his team out of Saint John defeated James Grattan 5-4 in Fredericton.The 2015 Tim Hortons Brier from Feb.The Vancouver Canucks hope their dynamic offence can take advantage of the Pittsburgh Penguins thin roster as they look for a fifth win in six games tonight. Listen to the game live on TSN Radio 1040 Vancouver with coverage beginning at 2pm pt. Vancouver has been led by Henrik and Daniel Sedin, who are tied for tops on the team with 24 points. Daniel Sedin scored two power-play goals in a 4-3 win at Washington on Tuesday, helping the Canucks rebound from a 5-3 loss in Detroit on Sunday. Thats what good teams do, Daniel Sedin told Vancouvers official site. In this league, you start losing a few, all of a sudden youve lost four or five, and thats tough to get back from. I think were a group that realizes that, and were usually strong when we come off a loss. Ryan Millers steady play in net has been a significant factor in the Canucks success. He owns a 2.45 GAA - his best since 2009-10 - but has allowed seven goals in consecutive losses to Pittsburgh. Millers 3.28 GAA against the Penguins is his third-worst mark against any team. Fleury has won his last four matchups against the Canucks, with the last three coming in shootouts. The Pittsburgh Penguins regularly dispatch opponents with their high-powered offense. Lately, however, the victories have come through their goaltender. Marc-Andre Fleury looks to continue his strong play when the Penguins host the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night in a matchup between two of the NHLs top teams. Fleury recorded his league-leading fifth shutout Tuesday in a 1-0 win over visiting New Jersey. His 2.08 goals-against average is a career best for the 11-year veteran, and his shutout total matches a career high. Its nice to have five shutouts in December, Fleury, who haas a 1. St. Louis Cardinals Jersey. 23 GAA in his last four victories, told the Penguins official website. It hasnt happened too often in my career. Its nice. Fleurys play has been a welcome plus for the offensive-minded Penguins, who have finished as a top-five scoring team each of the past three seasons and rank near the top of the NHL with 3.33 goals per game. Such is the benefit of having two of the leagues leading scorers in Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Malkin scored Tuesday and has picked up a point in eight of the last nine games, but Crosby has been held off the scoresheet in the past two after recording seven points over the previous three. Still, with 33 points, Crosby is on pace for the sixth 100-point season of his career. I think we can get better, Crosby said. Guys are working hard, theyre focused on trying to get better. You have to evaluate yourself based on making sure you execute on all the little things within the game. Weve done a good job being honest about that and making sure we improve in certain areas. The Penguins (17-5-2) will be tasked with replacing Chris Kunitz, who will miss at least two weeks with a fractured foot. Kunitz has nine goals and 11 assists and joins Pascal Dupuis (blood clot), Beau Bennett (lower body) and Kris Letang (groin) on the injury list. Defenseman Robert Bortuzzo will also sit out Thursday after receiving a two-game suspension for a hard hit Tuesday on Devils forward Jaromir Jagr. You cant dwell on the fact that guys are out, Crosby said. You need to make sure that you rally and find a way to win games. Some guys may have to accept more of a role or elevate their game. Were all in it together. So weve got to find a way to make sure we keep playing well. 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