Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
This collection of players doesn’t have the right stuff to succeed under the glare of the Toronto spotlight. Maybe they would be able to make it in Raleigh, Sunrise or Newark, but they don’t have the hide to take on the challenge of being Maple Leafs — certainly the alleged leaders don’t.
Maybe Dion Phaneuf would be the right guy to lead a small-market U.S. team, but his endorsement/approval of the infantile, tone-deaf stunt his team pulled on Thursday makes it pretty clear he should not be captain of the Maple Leafs.
It is as if general manager Dave Nonis and his immediate predecessor, the bombastic, never ignored (even if always to be ignored) Brian Burke, somehow put together the hockey equivalent of a team of Eddie Lee Whitsons, the one-time Yankees pitcher whose personality was not made for New York.
more plus numerous NHL related topics...
from Cathal Kelly of the Globe and Mail,
You can understand why Shanahan is keeping out of this. This season was always lost. All he wants to do is get to April. By then, he can torch Carlyle and maybe Nonis, and hire Detroit head coach Mike Babcock.
Babcock is his finish line. In the interim, he needs Carlyle and Nonis to wear this wretched season, but he also needs them to survive it.
Those two objectives only align if the team is mediocre, rather than embarrassingly awful. They’re sliding from the former to the latter.
The pressure is mounting on Shanahan to do the thing he least wants – give in to public frustration and fire Carlyle now.
Then he’d have to hire an interim coach. What if that guy won? And the fans fell in love with him? That would screw everything up.
So Carlyle is left dangling, with no word at all from his bosses. Shanahan can’t be seen supporting or denying him. Any presser he holds right now is going to be perceived as a vote of confidence or a kiss of death. Probably both. It’s an impossible bind.
In the end, all Shanahan can do is hide.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
Most notably, the Maple Leafs decided to buck tradition by skipping the customary salute to fans following a 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. During the last couple seasons every win at Air Canada Centre has been celebrated in the same way: With players skating to centre ice and raising their sticks in the air.
At least every win until this one.
While one member of the team told me afterwards that the group was simply looking to change things up and didn’t intend to offend the paying customers, the gesture certainly left plenty of room for another interpretation.
It has been a trying season in Toronto, with fans often booing the team and throwing sweaters on the ice repeatedly during games. Already the Leafs have been beaten by three or more goals in their building on four occasions.
added 9:41pm, Well okay then, a semi-stick salute.
added 10:00am, Oh, and then there is this...
from Lyle Richardson of Spector's Hockey,
There’s no pleasant way to say this: the Leafs suck. I don’t mean that to trash talk. It’s simply the way it is. They’ve missed the playoffs every season but one since the end of the season-killing lockout of 2004-05, and then only made the playoffs in a lockout-shortened season.
Over the past three years the Leafs have been among the league’s worst puck-possession and defensive teams. Those figures quoted by the hockey analytics nerds might piss off some fans and pundits, but they’re not wrong. They weren’t wrong last season and they’re not wrong this season. By the way, nerd is no longer an insult. They rule the world now. Deal with it, jockstrap.
What is it about the Leafs over the past decade which has thwarted the otherwise shrewd hockey men brought in to manage and coach this team?
Then Bob McKenzie with the takedown.
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
It doesn’t sound like any massive change is coming any time soon to the Maple Leafs, despite the team’s three-game losing streak.
Leafs GM Dave Nonis addressed the media, saying coach Randy Carlyle’s job is safe and no trades are in the offing.
“No one was here after the Boston game when we were 6-1-1 asking about his job security,” said Nonis. “We’ve got some things to work on. We just need to get back to where we were a week ago.”
Nonis said he was frustrated and embarrassed at the Leafs’ 9-2 loss to Nashville on Tuesday night.
continued and you can watch Nonis meeting with the media below...
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
The first crisis of the Brendan Shanahan era has arrived with the futures of general manager Dave Nonis and coach Randy Carlyle clearly in doubt.
Exactly how Shanahan will respond — or if he will respond in any meaningful way — will say much about the managerial style going forward of the first-year Maple Leafs president.
Carlyle could be fired. Nonis could be fired. Both could be fired. Or nothing can happen. Or Shanahan may prove himself to be unemotional after horrendous back-to-back drubbings against two of the lowest-scoring teams in the National Hockey League.
The next day or three will be more tense than usual around the Leafs — with no one certain as to what direction the team is heading in.
It's not going to be a good night in Toronto, the Leafs are down 8-0 to Nashville at home with about 12 minutes to play in the 3rd at the time of this post.
The Wings play in Winnipeg on Thursday night then head to Toronto for a Saturday night game.
Babcok may want to lay low until the puck drops.
from Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post,
Burke, now president of hockey operations with the Calgary Flames, spent parts of five years as general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs before he was fired last year. The Leafs dominate the headlines like no other team in Toronto, and their relationship with the media became a talking point after a blowout loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, when winger Phil Kessel told a reporter seeking comment: “Get away from me.”
“Look, it’s a different experience in Calgary than it was here in Toronto,” Burke said on Tuesday. “You have 100 outlets covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. So if they have a game like they had in Buffalo the other night, where they didn’t play particularly well, now those 100 people have to single out a target.
“So 20 of them go after the (general manager), 30 of them go after the coach, 30 of them go after the captain, and the rest go after Phil Kessel because he refused to talk to the media after.”
Burke was the executive who acquired Kessel’s rights for the Leafs, a highly scrutinized trade that sent two first-round draft picks (and a second-round pick) to the Boston Bruins in 2009. Kessel has been notoriously hesitant to speak with the media since he arrived.
“Why should Phil Kessel have to talk to these pukes every day?” Burke asked the room.
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.
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