Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dave Hodge at TSN,
Let’s start with thumbs down to the makeover of the Maple Leafs, which hasn’t started yet - and so it’s really thumbs down to the effect the uncertain future is having on certain players.
General Manager Brian Burke is known to dislike European-born players and small players - sounds like a sweeping and quite irrational generalization, but the proof appears to be in the statistics.
Free agent-to-be Nik Antropov, who would have reason to believe he’d be traded no matter where he was born, has been in a plus-minus free fall since Burke took over. he has gone from plus two to minus 12.
Same with the other Nik - Hagman - who’s European and small. Before Burke - plus three - now, minus nine.
more thumbs down and ups…
One of the most eminent sports psychology experts in the country, Paul Dennis has a PhD in sports psychology and teaches at Toronto’s York University. The Leafs player development coach, Dennis has worked for the club for 19 years.
Mapleleafs.com’s Mike Ulmer visited with him to talk about what everyone wants: a return to the winner’s bracket for the Maple Leafs.
Ulmer: What are the impediments, other than talent, to winning?
Dennis: The individual’s mindset: self-doubt, self-criticism, worry. These are all aspects the athletes is in control of.
Ulmer: Are athletes more or less insecure than the average person on the street?
Dennis: I think they are considerably more insecure. A lot of people would see the glamour and not agree with my assessment. They see hockey players as successful and skillful. That is true and the term we refer to is ‘self-efficacy.’
from Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,
One of the things being discussed is the future of Ottawa Senators netminder Martin Gerber. He’s been waived by the team and is expected to meet today with Sens GM Bryan Murray to figure out what happens next.
The Flames are rumoured to be considering bringing the veteran in as insurance in case workhorse Miikka Kiprusoff succumbs to a late-season injury.
According to a colleague in the nation’s capital, the belief is the Flames might be interested if the Sens are willing to pick up half of the $1.5 million left on Gerber’s salary.
via Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
We said it before the season started and we’ll say it again now: Enjoy Michael Cammalleri the rest of the season, because on July 1, he’ll be a Toronto Maple Leaf, making almost as much money as Jarome Iginla.
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
“When I talk about having a hard-nosed team, I want to make it clear that I love skill, first and foremost,” he said. “If you look at the teams I had in Vancouver, we had a ton of skill and a lot of hard-hat guys.
“I draw a line right through the top six [forwards] and bottom six. The bottom six guys have to bring a pick and a shovel to work. They have to do the penalty killing, block the shots, they have to win the fights and deliver the bodychecks. The top six have to put the points up on the scoreboard.
“We have a lot of work to do. There are a bunch of holes on this team. The one motto I have with my players is: no complaints, no excuses. I’m not going to complain.
“I don’t have this and I don’t have that. We’ll get things fixed here, but it will take some time.”
more on the Leafs…
Rookie sensations Luke Schenn (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Drew Doughty (Los Angeles Kings) are guests on today’s edition of NHL Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman.
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from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Taking fighting out of the National Hockey League will “rip the fabric out of the game” and empower “the growing rat factor in our league,” Brian Burke says with emotion but not apology.
He is not about to change his view on fighting in hockey.
He believes in it. He welcomes it.
“First off, it’s an important part of our game historically,” said Burke, the president and general manager of the Maple Leafs. “It’s not like I came into the NHL five years ago. I see no reason to change that. That’s No. 1.
“To me, fighting is the mechanism that allows players to regulate the level of violence in the game ... There are already a number of players in our league who flaunt the system. Fighting brings accountability to that ... To me, there is a growing rat factor in our league right now. You know who those players are. I don’t have to name them. But do you want to turn the league over to them?”
from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,
With the Maple Leafs struggling badly on their own ice – they haven’t scored a goal at home in more than 127 minutes of play – Matt Stajan has asked for a little more life and energy from the Air Canada Centre crowd to help the team get over the hump.
“We want our crowd to be as loud as it can be from the start of the game to the finish…we want the fans to cheer as loud as they can. We would love to have that on a nightly basis here,” he said this morning.
“We get it some nights but, obviously, we would like it more nights. We have to do a better job of giving them some excitement but we hope they can bring some excitement and energy to this building as well.”
Thomas decides to make the ‘aggressive’ save against Jason Blake. The Bruins win the game 4-3 in a shootout tonight after being down 3-1 at the start of the 3rd period.
“I try to tell our guys we’re making the equivalent of a 60-foot putt, which Tiger Woods can’t even make, instead of simplifying our game which in golf would be a three-foot putt and in hockey a 10-foot pass,”.”
“We continually try to look long. It looks pretty, but it’s totally ineffective.”
-Toronto coach Ron Wilson after losing to Carolina last night. More on the game from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun.
“The politically correct thing that most coaches would say is that it’s just like any other game. But it’s absolutely not. It’s absolutely personal. You get fired, you want to see that team lose every game for the next ten years.”
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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