Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
The Leafs won six games since the Olympic break. Six games. Six of 20 — that’s 53-point pace. That’s disgraceful.
Before the Olympics, demonstrating many of the flaws that have plagued them in the last quarter, they played at 95-point pace. The difference in results, the same team, same players, getting little out of anything, unable to find a way.
Now they limp towards the end of the schedule seeming so weak, so vulnerable, so lost. Up and down the roster. All the way to the bench and the coaching staff. They got by, as one NHL scout pointed out last night, with terrific goaltending. And when the goaltending was no longer terrific — they had no real response.
It isn’t just that. It can’t be just that. It’s not any one thing, even if the analytics zealots continue to beat the drum. More possession would not have changed everything, that’s just one element in a laundry list of woes that added up to total collapse.
“If you look at us, it really sucks because for 85% of the year, we were one of the top 10 teams in the league. I think that’s something to be proud of. But it also kind of hits you even lower when you fall out of that playoff spot. We definitely know we can be one of those teams to be reckoned with. It’s just a matter of keeping it together.”
-Nazem Kadri of the Toronto Maple Leafs. More on and from the Leafs by Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun.
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
It’s a shame, really. At this point in the season, we should be talking about how Phil Kessel is closing in on 40 goals and has thrown his name into the mix for the Hart Trophy. We should be debating whether Jonathan Bernier’s numbers are good enough for a Vezina Trophy nomination and how James van Riemsdyk, Nazem Kadri, Morgan Rielly are all taking steps towards stardom.
With three games left in the regular season, this should have been a time to celebrate individual achievements and start thinking about playoff matchups. Instead, after finally rinsing the bad taste of a Game 7 collapse from their mouths, the Toronto Maple Leafs are once again back at the sink and reaching for the mouthwash.
The Leafs, who can be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs as early as Tuesday night, wasted an 80-point season from Kessel, which is currently good for fourth in the league. The last Leafs player to finish in the top five in league scoring was Mats Sundin in 2001-02.
The 2013-14 NHL Regular Season wraps up this Sunday.
Remaining games left for teams in the Eastern Conference Wild Card race...
Detroit- at Buffalo on Tuesday, at Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Carolina at Detroit on Friday and at St. Louis on Sunday.
Columbus- Phoenix at Columbus on Tuesday, at Dallas on Wednesday, at Tampa Bay on Friday and at Florida on Saturday.
New Jersey- Calgary at New Jersey tonight, at Ottawa on Thursday, NYI at New Jersey on Friday and Boston at New Jersey on Sunday.
Toronto- at Tampa Bay on Tuesday, at Florida on Thursday and at Ottawa on Saturday.
Washington- at St. Louis on Tuesday, at Carolina on Thursday, Chicago at Washington on Friday and Tampa Bay at Washington on Sunday.
At this point int time, do you care to make a prediction? What teams take the two wild card spots and in what order?
After the Toronto Maple Leafs lost to the Winnipeg Jets last night, Don Cherry and Ron MacLean talked Toronto and their fans and little on the Canadiens too.
added 9:28am, from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
An MRI on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier has revealed an MCL strain and the goalie is expected to be out of action for three weeks.
Head coach Randy Carlyle delivered the news after practice on Friday.
Bernier was hurt during Toronto's 4-3 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night. He left the game midway through the third period after teammate Paul Ranger pushed Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron on top of him.
If you missed the play, you can watch it here...
from Jonas Siegel of TSN,
Bernier, who missed the aforementioned five games in March with a groin injury, put no weight on his left leg as he was helped off the ice in front of a stunned ACC crowd. Labeled a lower-body injury – Carlyle wouldn't say if it was a re-aggravation of the groin issue – he was due to go for an MRI as soon as possible.
more on the Leafs 4-3 OT win over Boston...
from the CP at The Hockey News,
"We like to know what spot we're in and what position we're in," Kadri said. "We understand where we're at and where we need to go, so tonight's an important building step in that direction, so we've got to make sure we come out ready to go."
Kadri reiterated what defenceman Jake Gardiner said Wednesday: that the Leafs feel they match up well against the Bruins. If nothing else, winger James van Riemsdyk knows Boston is a measuring stick.
"I don't know if I'd use that wording, but, yeah, I think whenever you play a team like them, they're a good team, you know you have to have your best game to give yourself a chance," van Riemsdyk said. "I think we rise to that challenge in that regard."
friom Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun,
The question remains whether Bolland will be a Leaf past this season. He’s headed for unrestricted free agency this summer and there have been no contract talks between his agent, Anton Thun, and Leafs management, since early February.
“Nothing is happening right now,” Thun said. “We exchanged proposals prior to the Olympics and we were significantly apart.”
At that time, Bolland was recovering from a lacerated tendon in his ankle, but returned to the Toronto lineup on March 22 after missing 56 games. When negotiations broke off, Bolland reportedly was seeking upward of $40 million over seven or eight years.
While that kind of contract is unlikely to happen in Toronto, Bolland isn’t being unreasonable to seek a deal in the neighbourhood of what David Clarkson is getting from the Leafs. In fact, since Clarkson, who has zero Stanley Cup rings to Bolland’s two, is going to have a salary-cap hit of $5.25-million US for the next six seasons — a contract, that for one season at least, has haunted the Leafs — then certainly Bolland should expect as much, if not a shade more.
Injury trouble has shadowed Bolland, and his durability likely will continue to be challenged as the seasons pass by. But it’s his heart that makes it that way, as he never has had a problem putting his six-foot, 184-pound body into the fray. The guy’s a gamer and we figure he will be until he skates off an NHL rink for the final time.
Christine Simpson of Sportsnet talked with Brian Burke last night between periods of the Flames/Leafs game
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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