Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Ron Wilson feels head shots should be banned, even if contact is made with the shoulder.
And that goes for the hit delivered by Andrew Ladd of the Chicago Blackhawks, who flattened an unaware Matt D’Agostini of the Montreal Canadiens during the Hawks’ 3-2 victory Friday.
“(Ladd) was trying to rip his head off,” Wilson, the Maple Leafs coach, said yesterday.
“You should not be allowed to target the head. That’s not a clean hit.”
via Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
But the losing and the Phil Kessel speculation is clearly grating on Wilson.
“Phil hasn’t played in six months,” Wilson said after Saturday night’s loss in Montreal, when innocently asked a legitimate question about Kessel’s status. “I know everybody is going to think he’s going to score six goals on the first night. I don’t expect that, if he does play on Tuesday. We’ve just got to remember that he hasn’t played in six months. He hasn’t even had an exhibition game or anything under his belt, so we’ll be very patient when he does play.”
Wilson knows that no one expects Kessel to be much help for the first month, much less that he would have a Darryl Sittler night in his debut as a Leaf. But the coach is on edge.
So, what’s really bugging him?
How about the fact his general manager, Brian Burke, made way too much noise about the Maple Leafs being a playoff team. But then the season started, and now it’s Wilson who has to stand in front of the microphones every day and answer for a roster that Burke oversold.
from Jonas Siegel of am640,
Phil Kessel is taunting the possibility.
He taunts it with a no-look pass.
He taunts it with a bullet from the left circle.
He taunts it with his bursts of speed.
But make no mistake that for all the taunting possibilities, the Leafs would be simply foolish to rush Kessel back this soon.
from Gary Loewen of the Toronto Sun,
Vesa Toskala: Don’t you get the feeling this guy would be really good at dodgeball?
Lee Stempniak: A capable point man on the power play ... who knew?
The Frat Pack: A sharp-looking line during pre-season, Viktor Stalberg, Tyler Bozak and Christian Hanson have been reunited ... with the Marlies. For now they’re the Drat Pack, but they’re in the right spot.
Tomas Kaberle: Say what you like about his teeter-totter play from one game to the next, but don’t you just want to pinch those rosy cheeks?
Mikhail Grabovski: Has the tremendous ability to go 100 m.p.h. without actually getting anywhere.
Colton Orr & George Parros battled last night and Orr basically ‘tells’ the linesman, don’t break us up yet.
I was watching the Ducks TV feed of the game and they pointed out the officials didn’t make a big deal of the push from Colton Orr.
I will let the video tell the story.
from William Houston of Truth & Rumours,
The Leafs will get an occasional victory this season. They’ll put together a good effort, and the opposing team will mail it in.
When the rookie Jonas Gustavsson gets healthy — he’s expected to start tonight against Anaheim Ducks — he could make a bit of a difference.
Phil Kessel will score some goals when gets into the lineup, but don’t count on a lot of production from him given the caliber of forwards he will be working with.
The guess here is Toronto will win between 25 and 30 games. That will give them a lottery pick, perhaps No.1, which will go to the Boston Bruins as part of the Kessel trade.
And Burke will continue scramble to sign free agents.
That’s no way to build a championship team.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
So, what is wrong with the Leafs? More to the point, what isn’t.
At this stage, the Leafs likely would need to post a .620 winning percentage to reach 93 points and the final playoff spot in the east….
This team has serious issues, including overrating its talent base. It has become the butt of jokes around the NHL. And Burke knows it.
“I’ve had sleepless nights the past 2 1/2 weeks because I hate to lose,” Burke said yesterday here in Anaheim, where the former Ducks general manager returned to face his ex-team tonight for the first time since becoming Leafs president last year.
Burke reiterated that he is not about to tear up the blueprint. Eight games, he said, is not enough time to evaluate. He pointed out that, during his first year running the Ducks, his team went through a seven-game losing streak and still made it deep into the playoffs.
“But for some reason, losing streaks seem to be magnified at the beginning of the season,” he said.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
...as the club flew to southern California after the game and contemplated four more contests on the road over the next seven days, there was at least a smidgen of hope that perhaps, like receding flood waters, the worst is over.
That, of course, may be a mirage. Good teams playing bad teams often play down to their level, and the Canucks are considered one of the better squads in the Western Conference and didn’t deliver a virtuoso performance last night. Luongo did, however, making 35 saves and adding a new wrinkle of frustration for Leafs head coach Ron Wilson.
“Tonight (Luongo) found his game,” said Wilson. “If we’d played him two weeks ago we might have scored six goals.”
Easy now, Ron. With his team having scored just three pathetic goals in the past three games, the circumstances necessary to produce a bucketful of scores from his stone-handed group would go beyond a so-so goaltending performance at the other end of the rink. Try soccer nets.
via the Sporting News,
Jim Thomson played for Ron Wilson in Anaheim, and the former Duck thinks Wilson is the reason for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ early-season struggles. He was a guest on Off The Record, and ripped his former coach.
“Ron Wilson is not a good coach,” Thomson told OTR in an interview picked up by TSN.ca. “Where it breaks down is he can’t motivate players, he doesn’t know what to do with players when there’s controversy and they are losing.”
Thomson was especially critical of Wilson’s handling of sophomore defenseman Luke Schenn who has struggled this season.
“When he calls out Luke Schenn three games into the season, a young player who’s their future, and starts beating the hell out of him ... You don’t call a player out in the media, you go behind closed doors,” Thomson said.
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 email@example.com