Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun,
It has become pretty clear that Maple Leafs management dropped the ball when they fired Randy Carlyle on Jan.6.
That’s one victory in 11 games since Carlyle was axed.
Say what you want about the Leafs under Carlyle, but at least they were in position to make the playoffs, or at least fight for a playoff spot. Why didn’t Dave Nonis and Brendan Shanahan wait until the end of the year before deciding on what to do with their coaching situation?
Saturday’s 1-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers — a team that certainly doesn’t look like world beaters — represents the Leafs’ ninth straight loss, and fourth time in January they were shut out. Some fans are taking some kind of pathetic joy in the defeats, something about how it’s all a big tank job to get a better draft pick.
added 9:01am, from Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star,
from Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star,
Ten games into the Peter Horachek era, the Maple Leafs have one win. They’re averaging a meagre 1.4 goals a game.
And after Thursday night’s 3-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes, they should have zero delusions about the reality of another squandered season. Fifty games into the campaign, Toronto’s NHLers find themselves 10 points removed from the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Going back to 1993-94, when the NHL moved to a conference-based playoff format, no team has overcome a double-digit deficit this late in an 82-game season to earn a berth in the Stanley Cup tournament.
Given the Leafs’ current list of problems — they only can’t score a goal and also can’t stop enough — it’s difficult to imagine them becoming the first.
Brendan Shanahan, in other words, can feel free to unveil the Shana-plan. Everything that’s done from this day forward should be about building for the seasons ahead, not the season at hand, even if more than three agonizing months lie ahead before the local heroes can count themselves free to take the ceremonial playoff-time fishing trip.
Oliver Ekman-Larson with a 'blooper' of a goal...
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
Maybe the Toronto Maple Leafs are playing better under Peter Horachek and perhaps there will eventually be a payoff for their improved defensive play, but right now it's painful to watch.
The Maple Leafs lost their seventh consecutive game, this time 2-1 in the shootout to the New Jersey Devils. That's how bad it's has gotten: the Devils team that couldn't buy a shootout win last season beating the Leafs in shootouts.
Toronto team president Brendan Shanahan was in attendance and, if nothing else, he's learning a lot about his team during this stretch with the only reasonable conclusion that they are much worse than we originally thought.
read on for Burnside on Hawks/Kings, LeBrun on Spezza returning to Ottawa, Strang on the Capitals and Powers on the Blackhawks...
added 3:50pm, Reports say Phaneuf was injured on Ottawa, perhaps in a fight. Watch below...
from Mike Johnston of Sportsnet,
Phaneuf doesn’t have an easy contract to move because he’s being paid like a franchise defenceman despite the fact he isn’t playing like one. His salary cap hit is $7 million annually until 2021, which means if the Leafs were to move the 29-year-old, they might have to retain some salary to get a deal done — depending on what Dave Nonis and Co. get in return.
Anaheim Ducks: This one might seem like a long shot, but consider this: Ducks GM Bob Murray has made 13 separate trades with the Maple Leafs since 2009. Francois Beauchemin is set to become an unrestricted free agent, and the salaries of Sheldon Souray, Eric Brewer and Ilya Bryzgalov are coming off the books at season’s end. The Ducks will have room on the blue line and money to spend. Phaneuf could do great things playing beside Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen or Cam Fowler – three of Anaheim’s outstanding young defencemen. Phaneuf would also add some muscle to complement a smooth-skating defensive corps.
Potential trade chips: Matt Beleskey, Devante Smith-Pelly, Nick Ritchie, Shea Theodore, Nick Sorensen
four more trade destinations...
13:49 Toronto Dion Phaneuf - Fighting - 5 minutes
13:49 Toronto Dion Phaneuf - Slashing - 2 minutes
13:49 Ottawa Milan Michalek - Slashing - 2 minutes
13:49 Ottawa Milan Michalek - Fighting - 5 minutes
What a season this has been for the Leafs. At one point, adding Eric Staal seemed like a dream scenario, maybe even for both sides. Now? If you’re Eric Staal, why on Earth would you want to bother getting involved with Toronto at this time?
-Jeff Blair of Sportsnet where you can read more on this topic.
Ah, the timeline. In Edmonton, they’re still in about Year 2 or 3 of a successful rebuild. The problem being, they started five or six years ago.
In Toronto, they’ve painted themselves into a corner where they may have to start completely over. That means a good year of getting rid of assets before beginning at rock bottom again.
-Mark Spector of Sportsnet where you can read more on both teams.
from Jonas Siegel of TSN,
Phil Kessel plunged his head in his hands like he had so many times in the past.
These astounding runs of futility have become all too familiar in Toronto.
The only question left to determine in that regard this season is whether another such stretch of failure costs the Maple Leafs a spot in the playoffs for the ninth time in 10 seasons. It's looking with more and more certainty like that will be indeed the case.
"It's similar, isn't it," said Kessel, seated in his stall with an air of exasperation. "Same stuff keeps happening. I don't know what to make of it anymore."
Still astoundingly punch-less offensively (and increasingly losing an edge in goal), the Leafs lost for the 13th time in 16 games (3-13-0) Monday night, clocked by the second-worst team in the Eastern Conference. Toronto has been outscored 59-29 during the month-long unraveling, which started, oddly enough, against these same Hurricanes on Dec. 18.
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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