Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,
Based on his performance thus far, Phil Kessel could be in contention for the Hart as MVP and the Maurice Richard Trophy which was introduced in 1999 and goes to the player (or players) who leads the NHL in goal-scoring.
With seven goals in eight games, Kessel is right in the thick of things where the Maurice Richard is concerned. Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Patrick Sharp of the Chicago Blackhawks are tied for the league lead in goals with eight apiece while Kessel, Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks and Marian Hossa of the Blackhawks trail by one with seven each. For what it’s worth, Kessel has a game in hand on Sedin and two on Hossa.
There are some players that get off to good starts in a season, but you just know they will eventually hit the wall. For instance, does anyone really expect Clarke MacArthur of the Leafs to continue scoring at nearly a goal-per-game pace? Even Sharp and Sedin have both managed career highs of 36 goals in their careers so it would be a shock if they were to challenge for 50 this season.
It is abundantly clear that if he remains healthy, Kessel will be the driving force behind the Maple Leafs’ offence. The 23-year-old Madison, WI, native is on pace for 72 goals this season.
Goalie interference on Colton Orr?
Phil Kessel scored late, Leafs win 3-1.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
So let’s go through the missing persons list on offence: Kris Versteeg, Nikolai Kulemin, Colby Armstrong, one goal; Tyler Bozak, Mikhail Grabovski, Fredrik Sjostrom none. Brent has been silent since getting two in the first two games, though to be fair, he and fellow third liners Armstrong and Sjostrom aren’t paid to score with regularity.
General manager Brian Burke and coach Ron Wilson might tell you they would have been ecstatic if you told them last month the Leafs would be 4-4 after eight games. But Toronto could have done better by sticking to the formula, certainly in the past two games. Their worst defeat of the three consecutive losses was Saturday in Philadelphia, where the Flyers blocked more shots (18) than the Leafs got on net (14), captain Dion Phaneuf was a minus three and the Leafs breakout went from order to chaos.
Everyone wanted to be in the book, but no one was on the same page and the Flyers bagged two or three goals right off turnovers.
MacArthur said that was a likely consequence of having too many forwards with ones and zeroes beside their name as November approaches.
If you’re looking for an update on Aunt Bessie’s cow, or information on last summer’s harvest, look on.
If, however, you’re looking for news and information on the top minor league affiliates of the NHL’s Southeast Division clubs, you’re in the right place.
In years past, I would run News from Norfolk as a regular feature on Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate and now, News from the Farm will feature the Charlotte Checkers, Chicago Wolves, Hershey Bears and Rochester Americans along with the Admirals, to follow the progress of the Southeast’s future stars at the AHL level (and, at least for now, Michael Nylander and Sheldon Souray too).
We’ll look at game results, standings, league and team-leading scorers and goaltenders, pick a player of the week, have a glance at the schedule ahead and keep you abreast of any other developments for these players and their clubs.
Thursday seemed as good a day as any for this weekly feature, so that’s where it will be slotted in to start (and this week, as the first installment, there’s plenty of AHL action to catch up on).
Without further delay, News from the Farm:
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, d, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, Non-NHL Hockey, Minor League, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: andrew+gordon, andrew+hutchinson, bill+thomas, binghamton+senators, blair+jones, braden+holtby, brian+fahey, chad+johnson, charlotte+checkers, chicago+wolves, chris+clackson, chris+terry, clay+wilson, dale+weise, darren+haydar, drew+macintyre, dustin+tokarski, edward+pasquale, garrett+stafford, geoff+walker, hartford+wolf+pack, hershey+bears, jacob+markstrom, jacob+micflikier, jamie+hunt, jeremy+williams, jerome+samson, jhonas+enroth, jim+o'brien, jon+matsumoto, justin+pogge, keith+aucoin, kyle+greentree, maksim+mayorov, mark+parrish, mathieu+beaudoin, matt+fornataro, michael+duco, michael+nylander, mike+angelidis, mike+murphy, nathan+paetsch, nick+crawford, norfolk+admirals, oklahoma+city+barons, oskar+osala, portland+pirates, riley+holzapfel, rochester+americans, ryan+hollweg, san+antonio+rampage, sheldon+souray, simon+gysbers, spencer+machacek, springfield+falcons, steve+pinnizzotto, teemu+hartikainen, toronto+marlies, troy+milam, ty+wishart, wilkes-barre/scranton+penguins
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
...there are very few NHL players who are gifted at the art of the verbal riposte. Look at the example of New York Islanders defenceman James Wisniewski. He was suspended for two games earlier this month because the best insult he could manage on Avery was an obscene gesture.
Leafs head coach Ron Wilson, who claims he was never much of a trash-talker in his playing days but admitted to supplying teammates with material, lamented that it is a lost art. Political correctness in society in general means “the things you used to say, you can’t say anymore. It’s as simple as that,” Wilson said.
His players, on the other hand, said there are limits on what can be said on the ice but trash talking is still alive in today’s NHL. A player’s race, for example, is an obvious taboo and so is family, particularly wives and girlfriends, although there is much evidence the latter restriction is not especially respected.
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
After five games, the Leafs have nine of them now, a nice jump out of the starting gate that, if the effort and attitude that has led to it continue, will be huge when the playoff math starts to get interesting.
That’s right, just five games into the season, we are going to use Maple Leafs and playoffs in the same sentence.
Ridiculous? Perhaps, given the sample size is still a little light at just five games and the book on the new, improved (and fast) Maple Leafs is rapidly circulating around the NHL.
Relevant? You can make a case for it.
Again, with a caveat that it is only five games, you can make the argument that the Leafs need only to play .500 hockey the rest of the season to make the Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time in what then would be six seasons.
We will round down and say, for example, that Ron Wilson’s crew wins 38 of their remaining 77 games. With the nine points they have right now, that gets them to 85, plus whatever they accumulate in overtime or shootout losses.
Today’s salute to the performances of yesternight, honoring those who shined in leading their clubs to victory:
***Cheers to Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, who is showing marked improvement early this season and who was named first star in Tampa’s 5-4 win over the visiting Dallas Stars last night. Hedman managed a pair of assists and led all skaters in ice time, sparking an offensive rush on several occasions and, most importantly, playing adept defense in his own end. It is early, as we must continue to note for all who have had fast starts, but Hedman’s growth in year two will play a major factor in the Lightning’s fortunes. So far, with few hiccups, they must be pleased. (Note: They are. Coach Guy Boucher singled Hedman out with post-game praise after the Dallas game.)
Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: cam+ward, dwayne+roloson, joe+thornton, john+tavares, justin+peters, marian+hossa, michael+neuvirth, patrick+sharp, phil+kessel, semyon+varlamov, victor+hedman
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
Kris Versteeg hadn’t lost a real game since winning the Stanley Cup with Chicago, and the taste of defeat was much different than champagne.
But Leafs Nation did find out their new first-line winger truly hates to lose.
“It’s crappy,” Versteeg said after his goal was taken away on a controversial call, he was given a rough ride and took a retaliation penalty and, especially, after he lost control of an overtime breakaway on bad ice, all in the course of a 2-1 loss to the Islanders. “We controlled the game the whole way, it wasn’t even close.”
He didn’t take the gracious way out either, when it was suggested that New York’s 41-year-old fountain of youth, Dwayne Roloson, was just too much for his team.
“I don’t care about how Dwayne Roloson plays. I care how we play,” Versteeg snapped.
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
The general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs turned 55 early this summer. His once red hair – bulrushes for follicles – has turned the colour of spring ice. His big, glowing Irish face remains set in what appears to be constant fury, belying both the wit that lies not far beneath the surface and the sentimental sob that hides somewhat deeper. He is almost as complicated as his job description.
In a team that polarizes fans – lionized and loved by half the country, resented and ridiculed by the other half – Burke, far more than any individual player, has become the face of hockey’s most powerful franchise.
And given that the Leafs began the season as the NHL’s hottest club – currently sitting 4-0-0 – that polarization has risen to levels not even imagined by the Ignatieffs and Harpers of the country.
Burke is, for hockey circles, a bit of an enigma: an American who prefers Canadians; a journeyman player who chose school over dreaming; a man who is both gruff and articulate in a culture known for politeness and clichés.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org