Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Erin Pollina of Sabres.com,
When George ‘Punch’ Imlach accepted a job as manager of the Buffalo Sabres in 1970, he did so for two very distinct reasons:
First, he wanted to establish a winning hockey club and take on the unique challenge of building an expansion team from scratch.
Secondly, he desperately wanted to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Prior to joining the Buffalo staff, Imlach served as the head coach of the famed Canadian squad for 11 years – from 1958 until 1969 – claiming four Stanley Cup Championships during his tenure.
He did so by maintaining an unwavering policy of loyalty with both his players and the personnel around him, preferring to build around a core group of athletes.
Unfortunately for Imlach, that mentality also led to his downfall in Toronto.
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
So Burke is serious when he says his next move is to take his family to some beach in Southern California where he can dip his toes in the water and sip on a drink with a tiny umbrella in it. After that, he is heading off for his annual fishing trip with right-hand man Dave Nonis and some other friends.
The BlackBerry will be on the whole time, but Burke does not expect to receive any calls.
The question then is: What if the phone does not ring again between now until the start of the season. What if this is it?
Is this team significantly better than the one that finished last in the Eastern Conference last season? Is the penalty kill and power play, which ranked last in the league, better? Is the goaltending, which ranked second-last in the league, better? Is the offence, which ranked tied for 25th in the league, better?
“This is Toronto,” Burke said yesterday from Boston, where he has just picked up his kids from yoga. “There’s question marks over everything. And they’re fair ones. But we’re comfortable with our back end and we’re comfortable with our goaltending. Now, we’ve tried to upgrade our forwards.
from Kevn McGran of the Toronto Star,
The defenceman essentially tutored under the likes of Nik Lidstrom, Chris Chelios and Brian Rafalski in his time with the Red Wings.
As great as it had been to play with them, and win a Cup, Lebda believes it’s time to fulfill the promise of his youth when he signed as a free agent out of Notre Dame.
In Detroit, ice time was limited for the slick, puck-moving defenceman, largely because the Wings had a great cast on the blue line. He played just about every game, but only about 15 minutes or so per game in his five seasons in Detroit.
He believes he’ll get his shot with the Toronto Maple Leafs after signing a two-year, $2.9 million contract.
via Toronto Maple Leafs twitter,
Leafs have signed unrestricted free agent D-man Brett Lebda to a 2 year contract.
from Bruce Arthur of the National Post,
On the 156th day of the rest of his life, Brian Burke woke up and he tried to keep another promise. He would march, he said. So he marched.
And marching was easier, in a way. Not that it was easy. As Brian Burke walked the streets of Toronto, sweating in the sun and waving at the sea of people at one of the world’s grandest Pride Parades, he thought about his son. He thought about Brendan, his beautiful boy. How could he not? Brendan was why he was here.
thanks to a KK member for the pointer
Brian Burke mentioned earlier today that the Tomas Kaberle talks have been shutdown for the long USA Holiday weekend.
Plus, I heard Darren Dreger on 640am in Toronto earlier today and he said the whispers continue of Tampa being interested in Kaberle and the name Ryan Malone has been brought up.
Just something to think about over the weekend.
The Toronto Maple Leafs locked up one of their top six forwards on Friday, signing winger Nikolai Kulemin to a two-year, $4.7 million contract.
Kulemin, 23, scored 16 goals and 36 points in 78 games in 2009-10.
Taken 44th overall by the Maple Leafs in 2006, the Russian forward has 31 goals and 67 points in 151 games.
via TSN TV, Armstrong signs for $9M for 3 years.
from Damien Cox of The Spin,
The tradtionalists in the game, or those without imagination who believe a championship team can only be built one way, are either pulling their hair out over Burke’s insistence on developing his own methods for constructing a winner in the salary cap era, or tut-tutting him for refusing to buy into their philosophies.
You just gotta love that.
So, with the announcement, “The Boston Bruins are proud to select Tyler Seguin” still ringing in their air, with people still insisting that Burke’s decision to trade two first rounders for Phil Kessel was pure insanity, what does the Leaf general manager do but go out and buy another player at the cost of more futures.
This is a GM who just loves to thumb his nose at conventional wisdom.
“I’ve been trying to warn our fans that this team that we’ve fallen in love with isn’t going to stay the same, but no championship team does. It’s kind of the nature of the world that we’re in.
“We’re doing the best we can to keep our core together.”
-Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman after trading Kris Versteeg last night. More on Versteeg from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star.
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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