Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• Ron Wilson has every reason to hate the schedule that Brian Burke and ownership have saddled him with in training camp. Wilson’s backside is on the line as this season begins and the Leafs have played five pre-season games in the past five days. That’s five days where he can’t practise with his full roster, work on what needs to be worked on: It’s wasted time for a coach with the clock ticking.
• The New York Rangers missed an opportunity Saturday. They placed defenceman Wade Redden on waivers. They should have done the same for the retired but still working general manager, Glen Sather.
a few more hockey notes…
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
In less than a week, Nazem Kadri has gone from the hot story of Maple Leafs training camp to its most burning question.
Even with coach Ron Wilson openly calling him out again on Thursday, Kadri failed to make a mark, this time at his hometown rink, the John Labatt Centre, where he was a star with the London Knights the past two seasons.
The result of the continued flat play was a third-period demotion off the line he has skated with all camp thus far—prized off-season acquisitions Colby Armstrong and Kris Versteeg—to what looked like an all-Marlies unit between wingers Marcel Mueller and Darryl Boyce.
With Tyler Bozak, Mikhail Grabovski, Christian Hanson and John Mitchell all in the fight for centre spots, Kadri has been less effective than all of hem.
We have Philadelpia taking on Toronto right now on NHL Network-US from London, Ontario and then the Kings face the Coyotes at 10:00pm ET via streaming which is embedded below.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
“It’s not entertaining,” harumphed Burke, a trap hater.
“You can dumb this game down and make it successful. We could have five guys stand in front of our net. But we’re in the entertainment business. I believe that our goals against can come down with improved goaltending and better defensive play.
“And yes, I care deeply about our (Leafs) history. But those two, Burns and Neilson, were defensive-oriented coaches. Both of those guys, I admire. Both guys I have or have had good relationships with. It’s just not my cup of tea (trapping).
“First and foremost, I’m in the entertainment business. I make no bones about that.
“We do not trap. We hit in all three zones. We trade chances. We fight. I like the style Ron plays.
“I need people to feel that the team is a good investment on nights we win and on nights we don’t.”
from Howard Berger of Fan590,
Though the Maple Leafs left an ugly first impression on Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre, I might give it until after tonight’s second exhibition tilt — or maybe even Thursday’s match-up with Philadelphia in London — before writing off the entire season. An e-mail arrived late last night from a distraught Leaf zealot wondering how much time Ron Wilson has to “turn this thing around.” Another message bemoaned a “typical Kaberle effort… how [Brian] Burke saw fit to keep this guy is beyond me.”
Such knee-jerk reactions, of course, are commonplace in this apprehensive hockey market, and the Nervous Nellies had plenty of ammunition after the 5-0 stinker against Ottawa.
from of Vinay Menon the Toronto Star,
Then Burke starts talking about something he calls “blue and white disease.” And suddenly, as a lifelong Leafs fan, I question my devotion.
“The absolute insistence on winning was not here,” says Burke, who put together the Anaheim Ducks club that won the Stanley Cup in 2007. “If you need to be a championship team, success has to be something that’s desirable and attainable at any price. I really believe when I got here that the team had blue and white disease.”
This sickness, he explains, is caused by contradictions and market realities. No matter how poorly the team has played the organization thrived as the NHL’s most lucrative franchise. Win or lose, to be a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs meant you were paid handsomely, in the media and league spotlight, and lionized in the public as a demigod.
from Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun,
Still, the opening day of training camp is generally a feel-good type of deal, with optimism for the upcoming season running high and Wilson not yet agitated by the Toronto media.
When Wilson finally does make an appearance, he’s immediately surrounded, and a blond bombshell opens the questioning with: “Another season begins. Are you excited about today, medical day?”
Nobody’s sure how Wilson, a noted wisenheimer, is going to respond, but it’s clear that the coach is in a relaxed frame of mind when he refrains from answering with something like: “Yeah, there’s nothing more exciting than watching a guy ride an exercise bike in his pyjamas.”...
Team captain Dion Phaneuf, who spoke to the media during informal workouts in Toronto during the week, pops out and asks if anyone needs him (clearly with the hope that nobody does).
One reporter, and one reporter only, says, yes, he needs to ask him one question. Phaneuf steps over to the question area and, suddenly, is surrounded by 16 or so media types, and quickly the one question turns into many questions.
At one point , Phaneuf reveals that Phil Kessel is “a good guy.”
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
The crew became a little ornery, but the captain couldn’t have been happier.
When Saturday’s first day of scrimmage ended with 6-foot-3 Jay Rosehill and 5-9 Mike Liambas throwing some punches, they had the Dion Phaneuf stamp of approval. This camp isn’t supposed to be about war on ice, but neither can a 29th place team be passive in game situations.
“There was a physical edge today,” Phaneuf said of the whole day’s work. “Guys weren’t trying to kill each other, but there was a high compete level. Anytime there’s a fight with two guys like that, it’s good to see. They’re bringing what they can bring, trying to make a mark, trying to get noticed.
“If you’ve played one game or 800 games, there are guys pushing you. It was a real good day and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
from Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail,
And so once again the trumpet call to truculence is sounding, on this particular morning cutting its way through the coughing and random expectorating of fluids and clichés that signal Toronto Maple Leafs training camp physicals.
It is to be hoped that this season Mike Komisarek can filter some of the nonsense out. There is an unnerving inevitability to Komisarek, whose lost first year of a five-year, $22.5-million (U.S.) contract ended in February with shoulder surgery and left him with no goals, four assists and 40 penalty minutes to show for 34 games. A seventh overall pick in 2001, he has the size and attitude that suggests he’s at home in the hurly burly of the game.
At times with the Montreal Canadiens, his former team, there were glimpses of offensive awareness. But here’s the thing: watching Komisarek wade into the thick of things or line up an opponent is cringe-inducing, because too often he’s the movable force or the movable object. That’s what happened with the Canadiens, when he was beaten mercilessly by Milan Lucic in a fight in November, 2008, injuring his shoulder, then targeted during the 2009 playoffs by Lucic again and also Zdeno Chara.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
When Wilson was asked if the much anticipated summit with the defenceman had taken place after a summer of salvos across the Atlantic between Brian Burke and Kaberle’s father, he warmed to the topic.
“We’ve sat down and talked,” Wilson said ” All our talks have been really positive, as I expected them to be.
“I’ll get this out there now so there are no issues, he may only play one of the first five exhibition games (next week). Because I know what he can do and I know he can play with other people. Kabba is 32 years old. At the end of training camp I need to have him fresh. You don’t want your team dead after one week.
“I know (a feud) is a nice story for you guys to hang your hats on,” he said added with a smile, “but there really isn’t an issue. I just wanted to get that out there and be on the offensive and give you the information so you aren’t running around thinking (he’s benched) and there is something else going on.”
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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