Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star, AMaple
Leafs general manager Brian Burke, a Stanley Cup winner with Anaheim in 2007, has his own ideas on how to build a winner.
And he’s sure to be watching Wednesday night when the Chicago Blackhawks, on the cusp of their first Stanley Cup championship since 1961, take on the Flyers in Philadelphia in Game 6. A Chicago win means the Leafs would take over the dubious distinction of being the NHL team with the longest Cup drought (43 years).
The game is ever-changing and there are lessons the Leafs can learn from the Blackhawks and Flyers about how they made it to the finals:
Atmosphere matters. From their rocking pre-game theme songs to spine-tingling cheers for the anthems to post-goal celebrations, the fans at both Chicago’s United Center and Philly’s Wachovia Centre are having a good time.
At the Air Canada Centre, any attempt at cheering — especially that “Go Leafs Go” chant after a whistle — is immediately interrupted by an in-game advertisement or some lame promotion that basically sucks the life out of the building. The Leafs tried a theme song this past season — “Free To Be,” by Alan Frew, the former front man for Glass Tiger — but it was kind of slow and kind of preachy.
The Hawks are 8-3 at home in the playoffs and the Flyers 9-1 because their buildings are hard to play in….
from Michael Traikos of the National Post at the Montreal Gazette,
Ever since Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke sent a note to the National Hockey League’s 29 other teams explaining how Tomas Kaberle’s no-trade clause works, interest has reportedly grown for the puck-moving defenceman.
But while the Leafs are free to move Kaberle at the upcoming NHL entry draft, the 32-year-old’s agent suggested that teams might want to first find out whether his client wants to play for them.
Kaberle, who has repeatedly expressed his desire to remain in Toronto, has one year remaining on his current contract. That means that if he goes to a team that he does not approve of, he might end up being nothing more than a rental player.
“As of the draft, we don’t have a no-trade (clause),” agent Rick Curran said. “But it’s almost effectively a no-trade, because unless Tomas wants to go there most general managers that I’m familiar with are not giving up asset value for a one-year player who may not even want to come to my team. Especially with what Brian wants in return.’’
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
The two loudest and most stubborn men in hockey are claiming that all is well in their apparent war of words, while evidence to the contrary may indicate the opposite.
One day after Brian Burke said he was “sour, I can tell you that” about comments made about his Toronto Maple Leafs on Don Cherry’s Coach’s Corner segment on Hockey Night In Canada, Burke said he spoke to Cherry Thursday afternoon by telephone and indicated that “it’s no big deal, I promise.”
After Wednesday’s general managers meetings in downtown Philadelphia, Burke, the president and general manager of the Maple Leafs, appeared put out about what Cherry has been saying about the Leafs and Burke on Hockey Night and indicated he would have something to say after the Stanley Cup final was over.
Never one to hold back, Burke said: “We have been getting a lot of shots on Hockey Night In Canada and I don’t think the Stanley Cup finals is the appropriate place to start throwing hand grenades back.”
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
Brian Burke appeared on Sportsnet’s Hockey Central at Noon on Tuesday. And the bombastic Toronto Maple Leafs general manager did not disappoint.
On roster needs this summer
“We’ll have to try to acquire that piece through trade — the conventional old-fashioned way and give up assets to get it — or we’re going to try to sign that player as a free agent. Our biggest need is we need a forward who can score, preferably a good-sized one.”
Translation: Chicago’s 6-foot-1 Patrick Sharp or Anaheim’s 6-foot-2 Bobby Ryan would make great additions.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Bettman has plans to double the number of NHL outdoor games, one in the U.S. dedicated solely to NBC and therefore American-based teams, and one in Calgary next February that won’t involve the Maple Leafs but will, like the first Heritage Classic in Edmonton, include the Montreal Canadiens.
The NHL awards? Had those moved from Toronto to Las Vegas because the new fair-haired boy at NHL headquarters, John Collins, envisioned something bigger and glitzier — headlined by geezer Chaka Khan, no less — than the GTA, apparently, was capable of delivering.
All-star game? Minnesota’s Twin Cities next year. Entry draft? L.A. this June, then Raleigh.
Next fall, the league will play exhibition matches and regular-season games in Helsinki, Stockholm, Prague, Riga, Mannheim, Belfast and St. Petersburg.
Just none involving the Leafs. Can’t compensate MLSE, apparently, for the lost gate, and the league doesn’t view the Leafs as a worthy flagship franchise capable of selling the brand.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
Memo to would-be Maple Leafs draft picks: Know what kind of car your dad drives, who gave you that nice watch, and for goodness sake, brush up on the American League standings.
Those everyday questions are the ones general manager Brian Burke likes to throw at the kids who will be attending this week’s NHL scouting combine at a Toronto hotel.
Burke leaves the left-field queries and psych evaluations to his scouting staff, team psychologist Dana Sinclair and a small army of league-approved fitness and medical experts, believing he can get a good read on a player through some casual talk covering more mundane topics.
And though Burke’s team has no pick in the first or second round at present, he has already interviewed some of the potential first-rounders in case he pulls a draft-day doozy on June 25 in Los Angeles.
“You want to be ready,” Burke said on Wednesday.
from Patrick Rishe of Forbes,
I undertook a simplified statistical analysis of data from the 2005-06 through the 2009-2010 season in an effort to answer this question quantitatively.
I presumed that managerial inefficiency was akin to spending the most money for the least amount of victories and postseason appearances. Thus, the metric used to assess managerial inefficiency was to identify teams with the highest average payroll cost per win AND with no more than 1 post-season appearance in the last 5 years.
Using this metric coupled with the postseason filter, the 3 most inefficient franchises of each league from the last 5 years are:
1) Edmonton Oilers, 2) L.A. Kings, 3) Toronto Maple Leafs…Oh no, Canada. To hockey lovers north of the border, it is probably disturbing that 2 of the 3 least efficient NHL franchises reside in traditionally strong hockey markets. These 3 teams were each between $1.1 - $1.2 million in player costs per win over this stretch.
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
The next time you hear Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke talk about his blueprint for success, look no further than the Philadelphia Flyers.
A chassis built from the net out? Check.
A fleet of skilled, top six forwards not afraid to bang when that duty calls? You got it.
The difference, of course, is that Burke’s ideal roster is on paper right now, but at least Leafs fans can see how it all works in theory.
It’s been a long time since the Leafs last won the Cup.
via a Darren Dreger tweet,
Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a two year contract with the Maple Leafs.
added 10:42am, via TSN,
The contract still needs to be signed, but it’s believed to be in the range of $1.3 million to $1.5 million per season.
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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