SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco 49ers know Aldon Smith still has plenty of work to do in order to repair his tarnished image and stay on track away from the football field. They want to be an integral part of his self-improvement project, exercising their 2015 fifth-year contract option for the star linebacker on Friday. The team made the decision despite Smiths long list of legal trouble that included an arrest at Los Angeles International Airport just more than two weeks ago. San Francisco faced a Saturday deadline to decide on Smiths immediate future, and general manager Trent Baalke suggested last week the team would keep the fearsome pass-rusher around for the near future at least -- for 2015, "and 16, and 17 and 18." The 49ers will provide Smith with the support he needs to deal with his rash of off-the-field issues. Yet Baalke has made it clear there must be positive change, and soon. San Francisco realizes Smith still could face a suspension from the NFL for his DUI last September, and is expected to look for depth at linebacker during next weeks NFL draft. "Well, that remains to be seen. You prepare for the worst and hope for the best," Baalke said of a potential suspension for Smith. "There are still a lot of things that are going to factor into that decision at the league level and the club level. Were working very diligently in the background trying to make sure the right decisions are made long term, not only for Aldon but for this club." In his latest run-in with the law, Smith was arrested April 13 at Los Angeles International Airport. Police say the 24-year-old NFL star was randomly selected for a secondary screening and became unco-operative with the process, telling a TSA agent that he had a bomb. The district attorney has referred the case for misdemeanour consideration. That followed Smiths five-game absence last season to undergo treatment for substance abuse after a September DUI arrest. In November, he pleaded not guilty to three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon, stemming from a June 2012 party at his home. Investigators say several shots were fired, two partygoers were injured and Smith was stabbed. In the subsequent investigation, prosecutors say detectives found five unregistered, illegal weapons in Smiths house, including two Bushmaster rifles and an Armalite AR-10T. Yet, what Smith brings on the field makes him one of the NFLs best at chasing down and pressuring quarterbacks. Smith emerged as one of the leagues most-feared pass rushers in 2012. He had a franchise-record 19 1/2 sacks that year, but failed to record a sack in his final six games including the teams post-season Super Bowl run. Smith finished with 8 1/2 sacks and 34 tackles in 11 games last season, making eight starts. His 42 sacks are second-most in the NFL since he entered the league. He and former teammate Delanie Walker were named in a lawsuit last September filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court by a Northern California man who said he was shot at a party at Smiths house on June 29, 2012. The players charged a $10 admission and $5 per drink, the lawsuit said. Smith and now-Tennessee Titans tight end Walker were allegedly intoxicated on Smiths balcony when they fired gunshots in the air while trying to end the party, the lawsuit said. Smith, selected seventh overall in the 2011 draft out of Missouri, had previously been arrested on suspicion of DUI in January 2012 in Miami shortly after the 49ers lost in the NFC championship game. Baalke and the rest of the 49ers hope Smith will learn a lesson at last, and become a better person because of it. Smith said during a January interview with The Associated Press he was encouraged by his strides and confident he had made positive changes in his life. "Im a firm believer in the humanistic approach to everything. You continue to work just like you would with any family member," Baalke said. "Were a family. You dont just open the door and toss people out of it. You continue to work until they leave you no choice. Thats what were going to do. Were going to continue to work with him, were going continue to find ways to support, not defend, we cannot defend the actions of others, all we can do is support." Cheap Custom Jerseys Store . His chance at winning a Stanley Cup in Philadelphia is over. Same with Jeff Carter. And Brian Boucher. Throw in Ville Leino and Dan Carcillo. Wholesale Custom Jerseys . Each day, TSN.ca provides the latest rumours, reports and speculation from around the NHL beat. Keeping The Captain? Brian Giontas agent Steve Bartlett told La Presse on Tuesday that the Montreal Canadiens want to keep their captain - an unrestricted free agent on July 1 - in the fold, while sources tell the paper that the two sides will start talks this week. http://www.customjerseyschina.com/ . Every. Single. Game. Thats 1,230 in total to cover the regular season. The man is Corey Sznajder, a soft-spoken 23-year-old Salisbury University grad who lives in Annapolis, Maryland and has been charting zone entries and zone exits throughout the NHL. I love big projects, he said. No kidding. At the 2013 Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, I met Eric Tulsky, who presented research on the value of controlled zone entries (short answer: about twice as valuable to enter with control of the puck rather than dumping it in) and Sznajder had charted a couple hundred games that were included in that study. Custom Football Jerseys China . -- Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew practiced in a limited capacity Friday, a positive sign he might be able to play against the Tennessee Titans. Cheap Custom Jerseys From China . -- Center Max Unger and tight end Zach Miller are both probable for the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday against the New York Giants and Percy Harvins recovery continues to be slow. TORONTO -- Relief came in the form of James Reimer lifting his arms after making a shootout save on Antonie Vermette. By beating the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 in a shootout at Air Canada Centre on Thursday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs shook off the gloom and doom of recent struggles. "It hasnt been a good feeling around here the past couple days," said winger Joffrey Lupul, who scored the shootout winner. "Its funny how even with an ugly, grind-it-out win like that, you come to the rink tomorrow feeling a lot better about yourselves." The Leafs (18-16-3) can feel better about themselves beyond shootout goals by Lupul and James van Riemsdyk and a couple of stops in that competition from Reimer, who made 34 saves in regulation and overtime. Instead, this was a victory to savour for stronger play in regulation and the elimination of the kind of mistakes that led to 10 losses in their previous 13 games. "I thought individually guys really limited our turnovers and the chances we gave up for them to try and get opportunities," said centre Peter Holland, who assisted on Troy Bodies first-period goal. "It just goes to show that when we do execute what we plan on doing, things will fall into place for us." Maybe it was about time. Coach Randy Carlyle spent eight-plus hours at the rink Wednesday with the coaching staff on a day off for players devising what he hoped was a plan to turn the Leafs fortunes around. Presented at the morning skate was a blue print that included a harder forecheck and more aggressive defensive zone play. For the most part, the Leafs followed that against Phoenix (18-10-6). A strong forecheck was evident on Bodies first goal of the season and first in a Leafs uniform, thanks to work from Holland and Jerry DAmigo. The puck got out to defenceman Cody Franson at the point, and Bodie was in a perfect spot to put the rebound in on Canadian Olympic candidate Mike Smith. "(Forechecking is) something weve been stressing," Bodie said. "I think we did a good job of it on the goal. We got a good dump and we had two guys in on it right away and then the third guy joined. We were able to come out with it." Tighter defence than Toronto displayed in a loss two days earlier to the Florida Panthers helped the lead stand up until Martin Hanzal scored 15:08 into the third. Reimer, who started only because Carlyle said Jonathan Bernier was dealing with an unspecified "ailment," was satisfied with how his teammates contained the Coyotes and rebounded from a frustrating loss to Florida. "We all make mistakes," Reimer said. "We sometimes dont show up in a way we want to. I think youre judged on how you respond. I thought we did a great job tonight. We really came collectively and everyone bought in." Reimer turnedd aside attempts from Radim Vrbata and then Vermette in the shootout, but it was Smiths almost-save on van Riemsdyk in the first round that caused a lengthy review.dddddddddddd. Referee Paul Devorski assured Coyotes coach Dave Tippett that "110 per cent" it was in the net, and video review found it inconclusive so the goal stood. "Youve got to take him for his word," Tippett said. Devorski never signalled that it was a goal on the ice, which caused Smith some confusion. "He came and whispered it in my ear like its a goal, and he didnt really give a signal that it was," Smith said. "He made the call, he said he saw it go in. Its unfortunate, but thats the way it goes." Like the Leafs, the Coyotes were satisfied with an improved performance, despite this being their third straight loss. "We definitely took some good things out of that game," said Smith, who made 26 saves. "Its not all bad. We did a lot of good things well in the third period there to give ourselves a chance to get a point. As long as were in games, were giving ourselves a chance to win hockey games, I think well be pleased with it." Toronto didnt play perfectly, but players were nonetheless pleased with not only the result but the five-on-five play throughout regulation. "I thought we were pretty strong for pretty much the full 60 and we did things the right way, so that was definitely an improvement," van Riemsdyk said. "We stayed patient, kept it simple and guys did their job, guys battled hard. It was a good two points." Reimer was critical of his teammates after the loss to the Panthers, saying that some or all of the Leafs players dont show up for the entire game. Given how long he paused before delivering that answer Tuesday night, it was well thought-out. "Obviously I was frustrated, but I try and always answer (with) the way Im feeling -- in an honest way," Reimer said Thursday night. "Whether Im frustrated or whether Im happy, I try and answer objectively. I just answered how I thought I saw it." Relief was all over Reimers face after beating the Coyotes, and his words backed that up. "Really proud of the way the guys worked," he said. "They put in an honest effort. It was just a good game all around. I thought we played solid for 60 minutes." NOTES -- Gilbert Brule was in the lineup for the Coyotes, his first NHL appearance since May 15, 2012. Tippett said Brule, who played 12:39, was "flying" in his Phoenix debut ... Defenceman Mark Fraser and Paul Ranger and tough guy Frazer McLaren were healthy scratches for the Leafs. ... Phoenix recalled defenceman Rostislav Klesla on Thursday morning to replace Zbynek Michalek, who returned to Arizona to undergo further evaluation of a lower-body injury. 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