Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Deep Digging On Both Sides Of The Border

Ahh, the Leafs are back in town. For one night, there should be some blood pumping at the Joe. Helene St. James/Detroit Free Press But they're an Original Six team, and for Toronto-area native Kris Draper, it doesn't get much better. "I really enjoy playing Toronto," he said Friday. "I think my dad gets a little bit more excited for this game than I do, taking on all his buddies back home in Toronto. It's fun. I've said it before: It's unfortunate that we don't play these guys more often. I know there's a pretty good buzz going around the Joe with the Leafs coming in."

Toronto is sucking right now, and that suckage has led to depression, which has led to forced togetherness and more sadness.

Terry Koshan/Toronto Sun

They filed out of the dressing room one by one and some in pairs yesterday, looking dour and appearing as though they were headed to a funeral.

With the difference, of course, that at funerals, fun times often are recounted. That’s not what is happening with the Maple Leafs, who had a mid-afternoon practice yesterday at Joe Louis Arena that was sandwiched between a couple of lengthy team meetings.

How bad is it?  Well, it’s December and the idea of trading the franchise is rearing its head.

Yes, Sundin has a no-trade clause, but if he was faced with the possibility of moving to a Stanley Cup contender, who is to say he wouldn’t waive it?

In February, he will be 36 and it’s a safe bet, given the current state of the Leafs, that he won’t be a part of any Stanley Cup run here. Before he runs out of gas or decides to retire, it might be wise for the Leafs to try to get at last something for the future.

The schedule.  Ahh, the schedule.  I’ve already posted once today about the travesty that a once-every-three-years Toronto/Detroit game is.  But, it bears repeating.  16 games against Nashville and Columbus. One against Toronto.  Horrible.

Ted Kulfan/Detroit News

“There’s no right answer there,” said Babcock of the scheduling dilemma.

But, apparently, fans can’t get enough of watching the Maple Leafs or any of the other Original Six opponents.

“I hate to sound like I’m whining again, but the people running the league right now don’t understand that,” Chelios said.

On that note, the Toronto Sun did some geneological research last night and came to the conclusion that Chelios is aging well.

It has to be something tangible, because Chelios turns 45 on Jan. 25 and there is nothing logical to explain why, at his age, he remains an effective NHL defenceman.

“There are just some things—impact exercises, quickness—that I can’t do physically to train anymore,” Chelios, who recently skated in his 1,500th NHL game, said after practice yesterday. “I really can’t believe what mountain-biking has done for my legs and knees and joints. I literally have thousands of miles of trails right across the street from my house. It makes it so easy.”

A few notes on tonite:

*Franzen and Kronwall still out
*Hasek is the only starting goaltender with a GAA under 2.00 (1.88)
*Wings have improved to 19th and 26th, respectively, in PK and PP

 

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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com