Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
In a Maple Leafs dressing room too often stuffed with inflated egos, personal agendas and a greater concern for personal stats rather than the overall standings, the arrivals of Mike Babcock and, now, Lou Lamoriello, are a sobering reality check for all concerned.
In being introduced as the 16th general manager in Maple Leafs history on Thursday, Lamoriello was candidly clear about that as he stated his mandate in this, his new hockey home.
He doesn’t care about how many points you accrue. He couldn’t give a rat’s rump over how many individual awards are shoe-horned into your trophy case. If you aren’t contributing to the greater good of the team, there really isn’t any room for you.
As an analogy, Lamoriello, 72, compared the makeup of a hockey team to that of a successful symphony orchestra.
“It’s all about music,” he said. “If the music isn’t good, no matter how good each and every instrument is, everybody leaves.”
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
from Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star,
In a sentence nobody ever expected to read, Lou Lamoriello is now the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Like Dave Nonis before him, he says he has autonomy; like Nonis before him, the final vision and decisions rest with team president Brendan Shanahan. Lamiorello drafted Shanahan as an 18-year-old in 1987. This will be a different thing, for both of them.
“He’s much more nimble than people think. He’s much more flexible than people think,” Shanahan said. “I’m not afraid of very talented, strong-willed individuals. I actually think it’s an asset to have that in the organization. I think as long as the leadership is right, it can work.
“I just don’t see the logic in saying, just hire less competent people because they’re more likely to get along. I want winners. Winners know how to adapt to win. Will it be a challenge? Yeah, sure. It’s a challenge to have a great hockey team. It’s not easy to have a team full of superstars.”
Shanahan was criticized by some for moving too slowly; maybe now he will be criticized for doing too much. But he has assembled a fascinating array of strong voices for the Leafs, and it’s up to him to manage them.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
If you are going to sweep out the country-club atmosphere, as Shanahan and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president Tim Leiweke promised, along with a lot of their predecessors, then there are no better people to do it than Lamoriello and Babcock. Both have definitive Type A personalities, both are demanding taskmasters and brook no nonsense.
When Lamoriello was asked about potential changes, he said change will come only if he decides it’s necessary after examining the organization. Then he said this: “The one thing that fundamentally will not change … is the word accountability.”
That was followed by something anyone who ever played for the Devils during Lamoriello’s 28 years that saw 21 playoff appearances, five conference championships and three Stanley Cups had heard many times. The kind of player he wants are those “willing to give up their own identity for that logo and never [mix] what’s on the back of the jersey for what’s on the front.”
Lamoriello, 72, also represents the missing piece of the picture Shanahan has been painting since he took the first year of his tenure to sit back and study this dysfunctional franchise. He is as old school as it gets, demanding shirts and ties at all times of team employees, but he is also one of the most respected men in the NHL. A long list of hockey people cite him as their primary mentor, from Shanahan to former Leafs GM Brian Burke and former Leafs head coach Ron Wilson, who both played for him at Providence College. There is no one in the NHL from commissioner Gary Bettman down who dares not to take Lamoriello’s calls.
added 5:39pm, from Chris Stevenson at NHL.com,
The press conference is scheduled to begin at 2:00pm ET, watch it below....
from the Toronto Maple Leafs,
Brendan Shanahan, President and Alternate Governor of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced today that Lou Lamoriello has been named the 16th General Manager in the Club’s history. Lamoriello joins the Leafs after previously spending the last 28 years in the New Jersey Devils organization.
from the HHOF,
Red Kelly was a unique player - versatile and talented enough to be one of the National Hockey League's best-ever defensemen early in his career and a high-scoring center at the end. The red-haired gentleman was cool and calculating on the ice and never swore, but there was no doubt about his ability to take care of himself. He had been a championship boxer at Toronto's St. Michael's College, skills the four-time winner of the Lady Byng Trophy wouldn't often display during his 20-year NHL career.
Born in Simcoe, Ontario, in 1927, Kelly was 20 years old when the Detroit Red Wings brought him up to the big league directly from St. Michael's. A solid but mobile and skilled defenseman, he quickly found a home on the team playing with such superstars as Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and Sid Abel. Kelly was an effective checker, at home on the blue line or on the left wing, where he was sometimes used due either to injuries or to add a little muscle on the offense.
Kelly earned enough All-Star votes in 1950 to win a spot on the NHL's Second Team and the chance to play in the All-Star Game. The Red Wings, well on their way to being the league's dominant team, won the Stanley Cup that year, as they would in three of the next five seasons. And Kelly was an integral part of Detroit's winning formula. His puck-carrying ability allowed the Wings to move from their own zone quickly and provided them with a quick transition game.
Watch the Legends of Hockey feature on Red Kelly below...
Summer is the time for me to look back at some of the greats from our game....
from the HHOF,
He was best known as 'The Big M.' Exploding down the left wing, Frank Mahovlich would strike fear in the souls of goalies, from the moment he made his NHL debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1956-57 until the day he last untied his skates as a member of the WHA's Birmingham Bulls following the 1977-78 season.
By the time the 1972-73 season began, Frank had played on five Stanley Cup championships, had been named to the NHL's All-Star Team eight times and had already played 15 sterling seasons of professional hockey — 1 with Toronto, 3 with Detroit and a season-and-a-half with the Canadiens. Something else had also transpired — a victorious but unsettling tournament known as the Summit Series. Although Mahovlich played in six games, scoring a goal and an assist, he had been ill before traveling to the Soviet Union. "I developed a bad allergy that forced me to seek medical treatment," Frank admitted. "I stayed back in Canada for a couple of days before rejoining the team. This allergy hit me hard and both my eyes were swollen shut. It wasn't until two or three years later that I found out that the enemy was ragweed."
Legends of Hockey video on Mahovlich is below...
Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock has high expectations for Nazem Kadri, who has this next year to prove he’s an elite player before he gets paid like one.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
The Maple Leafs insist Leo Komarov has “co-operated” with Finnish authorities regarding criminal charges stemming from a “sensationalized” 2014 traffic accident.
Komarov, who rejoined the Leafs last season on a four-year deal, is facing four total counts brought by the city of Espoo’s District Court. Finnish media outlets say the 28-year-old was accused of causing a “traffic hazard” and of “falsifying information to police” about personal income related to undisclosed fines for the incident.
The Helsinki Times reported the Leafs forward could face up to six months in jail for his alleged part in the accident and an additional three months if he wasn’t truthful to investigators. A trial date has been set for August.
“We are aware of the circumstances surrounding Leo’s traffic violation,” Leafs assistant general manager Kyle Dubas said in a statement on Friday. “Reports overseas have been sensationalized due to Leo’s celebrity status, but he has co-operated with the authorities and we are confident this matter will be resolved soon.”
continued plus more Leafs talk...
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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