Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
...even today, Burke has no qualms about the price he paid to get Kessel out of Boston last month—a pair of first-round picks and a second-rounder.
“Well, if I had known we’d be 0-6, I still would have done that trade,” Burke told ESPN.com on Wednesday. “I can’t draft a player who is going have that kind of impact this year in this draft. This is about being better this year. But I’m not annoyed at any reaction from the fans. When you’re 0-6, you should be grateful they’re still coming to the games.”
Because the Bruins do own that first-round pick this year, you can forget the Leafs pulling the plug early, if at all. No point making that pick look even better for Boston. Instead, I suspect Burke will continue to try to improve this team. One NHL GM told ESPN.com on Tuesday the Leafs boss had contacted him and undoubtedly others. But when your team is winless in six games to start the season, great deals are hard to find.
“The ones that are calling, it’s not a helpful group,” Burke said of talks with other GMs. “I haven’t got anything but anchors thrown at me. We’re not in a hurry. If I didn’t think this group could get the job done, I’d be more concerned. But I believe in the group.”
They’ve looked very ordinary, there is cause for concern.
-Kevin Allen on Fan590 this morning talking about the Detroit Red Wings.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that Burke has traded away one of the early picks in June’s entry draft. And it’s one thing to trade away a first-round pick, it’s another when that pick could be converted into Taylor Hall or someone of that ability.
And the more the Leafs lose, the more focus there will be on Kessel to make certain the deal is not the embarrassment that it’s starting to look to be.
Yes, the draft watch already has begun in earnest, and yes, with 76 games still to play, with almost everything about this Leafs team looking wrong, there is little even an optimist can believe after a promising pre-season.
This team can’t score, can’t defend, can’t kill penalties, can’t stop pucks, and can’t pick first in the draft.
from Daryl Reaugh of Razor With An Edge,
• Grab your water bottle and enjoy a refreshing celebratory swig of H2-Oh am I sick at this!
• Take a moment to wink at irate fan banging on glass behind net if on the road. Give a knowing nod to elated fan behind net when at home.
• Shoot it where the goaltender is not.
• Look back at the just schooled goalie to remind him who owns who.
• Do a tight fly-by the opposing teams bench with a cock-sure grin on your face (add a verbal or physical taunt if your name is Ribeiro or Kovalchuk) then glove punch glide along your own bench.
read on for some serious tips…
from Mike Rucki of On Frozen Blog,
For the second year running, the Washington Capitals hosted their annual Season Ticket Holder “Meet the Caps” party at Six Flags America. Once again, the team provided fans with a night of fun for all ages.
The timing of the event was impeccable—a perfect Autumn evening, perhaps our last before a spate of rain and cold arriving tomorrow. The crowd was large and enthusiastic, though the autograph lines were far longer than those for the many rides. It’s easy to forget how exhilarating a good rollercoaster can be when one doesn’t wait in an hour-plus queue, melting on an August afternoon. Waiting two minutes to fly 20 stories high at 75 mph? Sign me up!
The Capitals sure do an awful lot for their fans. What other NHL teams go the the extra-mile with their fan group?
from Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers,
Blue Jackets defenseman Jan Hejda is expected to miss 4 to 6 weeks with a sprained left knee, The Dispatch has learned.
Hejda was injured with 1:24 remaining in Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Calgary in Nationwide Arena, when he and Flames winger Curtis Glencross inadvertantly collided—left knee on left knee—as they crossed through the slot in the Flames’ end….
It’s a huge blow for the Blue Jackets, who already are without defenseman Mike Commodore because of a groin injury. Hejda and Commodore formed the Blue Jackets No. 1 defensive pair last season.
Hejda has a plus-8 rating in five games this season, tied with Dallas Nicklas Grossman for tops in the NHL.
a bit more...
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles at the Chicago Daily-Herald,
It’s way too early to give up on Cristobal Huet less than two weeks into the season.
But the clock is ticking.
Huet has made four starts and been shaky in all of them. His exit seven minutes into Monday’s game against Calgary after he allowed 3 goals on 5 shots was the right move by Hawks coach Joel Quenneville even if the defensive play in front of the goalie was shoddy.
It’s a goalie’s job to come up with big saves after defensive breakdowns, especially the goalie on a team that’s supposed to contend for the Stanley Cup.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
If Wade Redden looks like a different player in his second season with the Rangers, and he does, much of the improvement can be credited to the fact that he is now playing in a system that maximizes his skills as a skater and puck mover while minimizing his deficiencies in defensive zone coverage and reading the rush.
Redden might as well have been on an island last year, so lost was he playing coach Tom Renney’s safety-first system, in which the defense invariably seemed to be backing up or battling for survival in its own end of the ice.
But now, six games into Year Two on Broadway, which continues tonight at the Garden against the Kings, Redden appears liberated by the puck-pressure system installed by head coach John Tortorella.
from Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail,
Here’s the thing about the Maple Leafs’ close-to-historically – and for some of you no doubt hysterically – lousy start to the season. Forget about the Phil Kessel trade, at least until the guy takes a shift. Kessel? Draft picks? Lottery picks? The Leafs’ crisis is much more immediate than that.
Mike Komisarek, who started to hear the boos Tuesday night before the rest of the Leafs, said it was a matter of “winning 1-on-1 battles and making five-foot passes.”
Still, it’s tough to see where individual battles will be won with this group. The only professional, non-panicky game they’ve received from a goalie this year came from Jonas Gustavsson and he’s hurt. He is the only one who can save this thing from becoming even more pear-shaped and, considering his lack of track record, ought to scare the crap out of you.
The Leafs have forwards who think truculence means taking a holding or hooking penalty in the offensive end – the Avalanche’s first power-play goal came with Alexei Ponikarovsky in the penalty box for a holding call behind the Avalanche goal. They have lots of guys who can fight – but that’s kind of a non-starter when the other team is kicking your butt playing within the rules, no?
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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