Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Maurice has a serious hockey problem on his hands: The Leafs, through seven games, are getting fine goaltending, killing penalties well—two things they didn’t have a year ago—but are giving up goals against in mind-boggling numbers.
Numbers that indicate this roster may be ill-suited to compete at the NHL level.
Numbers that indicate this coaching staff may not be able to fix what is wrong.
from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
Among hockey broadcasters, speculation has Toronto Maple Leaf general manager John Ferguson fired in November if the team continues to lose more than it wins.
Who would replace him? Colin Campbell, the NHL’s Toronto based head of hockey operations, seems to be a favourite. But would the league allow him to leave his job in mid-season?
Would Scotty Bowman take the job?
Two views Bowman:
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Maybe the ACC boo-birds will take sensitivity training and back off, or perhaps McCabe will again start playing with confidence and win back popular support.
But there’s blood in the water, and McCabe looks like one rattled hockey player right now. If his troubles continue, does GM John Ferguson, like Fletcher did 10 years ago, fix the issue by shipping McCabe elsewhere?
JFJ would need the defenceman’s permission, of course. But as this lurches into Larry Murphy territory, such permission may not be hard to get.
from the Toronto Star,
Before your eyes begin to glaze over because this column deals with media access, be warned that it’s something all sports fans should be concerned about.
The latest skirmish in the ongoing war between the media and sports rights holders involves the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have banned hand-held video cameras from their dressing room both here and on the road.
From the CP via TSN,
Mats Sundin, displaying the classy modesty that has marked his tenure as captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, was quick to thank the team’s loyal fans after he made franchise history.
With his 390th goal and 917th point in the blue and white, the Leafs’ 36-year-old Swedish captain moved past Darryl Sittler to set both club records during an 8-1 rout of the New York Islanders on Thursday night.
Air Canada Centre announcer Andy Frost announced the three stars, and it was Sundin, Sundin and Sundin as more than 19,000 roared their approval.
From Steve Simmons at the Toronto Sun,
In the most telling moment of a season already in crisis, the highest paid Maple Leaf skated behind his own goal Tuesday night and proceeded to trip over the net.
Maybe Bryan McCabe had done this before. Maybe not. But the symbol was clear and not at all comical.
This is the player John Ferguson has chosen to build his team around. This is his Chris Pronger, his Nick Lidstrom. Ferguson cannot trade McCabe, cannot send him to the minors, cannot place him on waivers, can probably not look at him the wrong way and cannot keep him on his feet.
from the Toronto Sun,
When the coach doesn’t even try to sugarcoat an effort, you know it’s bad. When the best players on the ice are the guy with cancer and the goalie, you know it’s bad.
The Leafs got away from everything they’ve tried to do all year. They tried to skate with the Hurricanes and ended up looking like Perdita Felicien hitting the first hurdle.
“We tried to play someone else’s game,” Maurice said. “We don’t have that kind of speed. (Darcy) Tucker got a penalty for hitting a guy just because there hadn’t been (any hits) before. It just was so much out of place in the game.”
From Tim Wharnsby on the Globe & Mail blog,
So the Leafs-Hurricanes game has an opening puck drop of 7:07 p.m. tonight to accommodate the U.S. network, Versus. We love it. Thirty minutes earlier translates into finishing sooner and possibly having an extra post-game beverage.
Seriously, though, the earlier start does help us newspaper guys. Even though there have been so many technological advances in the past 30 years, newspaper deadlines have been stuck in the same rut. On most occasions when the Leafs weekday home games begin at 7:30 p.m., I don’t have time to stick around to hear the wisdom of Toronto coach Paul Maurice because I have to return to the press box to file my rewrite by 11:05 p.m.
continued… (*Wharnsby finds out what some Leafs fans think)
From David Shoalts on his Globe & Mail blog,
Blake has the good fortune, if you can call it that, that it was caught in the chronic, or earliest stage, and can be treated with a drug called Gleevec and he is not expected to miss even one game for the Maple Leafs.
But he had the misfortune of having Damien Goddard of Sportsnet attend his press conference.
Goddard asked Blake if cancer put his “mini-slump” into perspective. Blake, who scored 40 goals for the New York Islanders last season, had yet to score in three games for the Leafs.
As jaws in the Leafs’ media centre dropped, Blake looked incredulous.
From Scott Morrison at CBC,
Every now and then, reality intrudes in to the world of fun and games, offering us a reminder that professional athletes are really no different than the rest of us.
They laugh, they cry and, sadly, they get sick.
Just like the rest of us.
The latest reminder of how some times we forget, in all the excitement of the games, in all the angst over the winning and losing, that the players are just people, too, came in the troubling news Monday that Maple Leafs winger Jason Blake has been diagnosed with cancer.
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