Kukla's Korner Hockey
Jason Spencer of the Brampton Guardian reports on a talk Ken Dryden recently gave.
Most of it was non-hockey related except for this...
Seeing as Dryden was president of the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1997-2003, Benmergui couldn't help but ask right out of the gate about the flailing hockey club.
Dryden suspects the continual poor play is a result of the club being haunted by former team owner Harold Ballard, describing him as an "irascible" and "provocative" character.
"When things weren't going well, his way of dealing with it was bravado. When the Leafs would lose, instead of sounding a little bit contrite or determined or something his way would be to kind of laugh at the bad news and say, 'Ah, it doesn't matter, I still go to the bank every day,'" said Dryden, 67.
"(Ballard) had this public persona that really stayed with the Leafs and stays with them to this day of where, that when you get down to the crunch moment, and it's an extra point in the standings or an extra dollar in the bank, that you go for the extra dollar in the bank."
He added that the public comes to resent the message about money over championships.
from Mike Strobel of the Toronto Sun,
Nashville Predators are selling out home games faster ’n a scalded hound.
They’re at 26 already this season, a record. Those Tennessee hicks are making the storied Leafs look sick.
Likely, you remember guffawing in 1998 when the NHL expanded to a small city best known for Hee Haw.
Well, he who laughs last ...
The Predators were expected to draw 17,113, a full house, for their game against Montreal Tuesday night — not all of them there just to see forward Mike Fisher’s wife, country star Carrie Underwood, and their new baby.
It’s a raucous crowd, too, known for being in their seats when the puck drops and for frequent standing ovations.
The Leafs, on the other hand, suffered their worst attendance ever at the Air Canada Centre against Minnesota on Monday night.
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
The Leafs don’t always get these things right, but the pre-game tribute to honour veteran Eric Brewer for playing in his 1,00th career NHL game was a nice, well-deserved touch. Sure, he has only played 10 games with his latest team, but any NHLer who makes it to the thousand mark should get his due — and the traditional silver stick that goes with it. The video tribute was first class, playing tribute to a defenceman who has represented Canada eight times in his career, including a member of the gold medal winning squad at the Salt Lake City Olympics.
more on the Leafs and watch the ceremony below...
from Jonas Siegel of TSN,
Kessel scored twice on the 16th of December. He doesn't have a multi-goal game since, totaling only seven in 42 games. That's a paltry 14-goal pace for a player who's topped 30 goals in each of the previous five full seasons.
His production in that time-frame (Dec. 17 – Mar. 21) is stunning to behold. Entering Saturday's play Kessel ranked:
• 247th (tied) in even-strength goals (3)
• 336th (tied) in even-strength points (7)
• 142nd (tied) in total points (20)
• 158th (tied) in total goals (7)
The numbers are even less flattering when narrowed down to just the New Year.
Kessel has just three even-strength points in 2015 – a stretch of 35 games. He does not have an even-strength assist since the calendar flipped over from 2014.
He has as many even-strength points in that same span mind you as fellow Leafs Brandon Kozun, Trevor Smith and Roman Polak and less than Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli, who were traded just before the Mar. 2 deadline.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
Peter Horachek has tried everything to light a fire under the big-name, small-effort Maple Leafs.
Now the heat is really on them, starting with a game against an old rival with playoff aspirations on a Saturday night. If the highest-paid Leafs aren’t pumped when they skate out on Canadian Tire Centre ice to face the Senators and their Hamburglar goalie -- with some diehard fans on hand -- then they truly have no pulse.
“We’re NHL players,” said winger Phil Kessel after Friday’s practice. “You’re paid to do that job and you’re held to that standard. It’s your job to work hard and try your best. Obviously, lately, it hasn’t been great. But we’re paid to work hard, try your best and I think guys do that.
“It’s an important game for them and you always want to try and knock teams out of a playoff spot.”
The Sens need a win to sustain their late-season drive and add to the Hamburglar hype of Andrew Hammond, now with a record of 12-0-1.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
• I asked a scout earlier this week about what the trade value of Rangers’ backup/late-season hero Cam Talbot is likely to be. The answer won’t thrill New York’s fans. “Best-case for the Rangers? If they find someone really desperate? Maybe a second rounder,” the scout said. “More likely, though, a third and a little something on the side. Depends on where the [acquiring team] is picking.” He also said that unless he was blown away by the offer, he’d be inclined to retain Talbot if he was Rangers GM Glen Sather. “He’s cheap [$1.45 million] and reliable. You never know what can happen. He’s quality insurance.”
• The same scout on Toronto’s Phil Kessel: “He's a unique talent, but I don’t know about him. I think he’d excel as a supporting player on a top team, but if that’s true do you want to assume the risk that comes with him? You’d have to have faith in your leadership’s ability to bring him into the mix [and] find him a place where he fits in. It would take him a long time to get out from under [this] cloud, you know? I'd prefer a guy with a lower ceiling who was lower maintenance.”
many more hockey topics...
A clip of Peter Horachek post-game after Toronto's 4-1 loss to San Jose.
Watch the full, post-game Q & A with Horachek below...
Numerous report of Nazem Kadri receiving a four game suspension for a bad hit a few nights ago.
I will update this post as soon as the official NHL suspension is released, but in the meantime, here is the hit.
added 12:59pm, NHL suspension video is below...
Two minutes for illegal hit to the head for Kadri on this hit...
Andrew Ference with a message for Kadri, watch below...
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
- Early in the 2005-06 season, the Boston Bruins stunned the hockey world when they traded Joe Thornton to San Jose for Brad Stuart, Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau. On the surface, the deal made no sense. Thornton was then a 26-year-old centre who’d averaged over 80 points a season over the three previous seasons in the middle of the dead-puck era. The three players the Bruins received in return were all second-liners.
In search of illumination, I asked a Bruins insider why they’d make that deal.
“Because Joe’s not a leader and he’ll never be a leader,” said the insider.
Thought about that last week when the feud between Sharks GM Doug Wilson and Thornton became public. Thornton has put up big numbers in San Jose but the Sharks have never made it out of the West with him as the team’s leader.
The Bruins, you may be aware, won the Stanley Cup five years after the trade.
- Spot quiz. What do Zach Sill, T.J. Brennan, Andrew MacWilliam, Joakim Lindstrom and Brandon Kozun have in common?
Class? Anyone? Anyone?
No, they are not five people who’ve never been in my kitchen. They all played for the Maple Leafs on Saturday night. It’s sad, really.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org