Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
With the March 3 trading deadline less than six weeks away, 30 NHL clubs are starting to look at moves they would like to make. Burke’s annual frustration is that swaps that will be made in the final hours before the deadline could be made now, but aren’t.
“It’s a bizarre psychology,” he said. “On February 3rd, general manager `A’ will not give me a second-round pick for John Doe, but on March 3rd, he will give me a second-rounder when he could have had that player for a month already helping his team make the playoffs.
“Why not pay deadline prices on February 3rd instead? But everybody waits until five minutes before the store closes.”
more on the Leafs…
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
Gustavsson is called The Monster, but often resembles a lobster when he gets into the pressure cooker of game situations and starts flailing around, over-playing angles or mishandling pucks.
He must be given some leeway for adjustments to a new league, new country and two heart procedures, yet he’ll turn 26 this year.
As good a goalie guru as Francois Allaire is, five months of tutoring has not made Gustavsson a Kwai Chang Caine to his Master Po, snatching pebbles from his hand to show the teacher he’s ready to take on the world. There are technical deficiencies that Gustavsson’s size haven’t yet compensated for, but might with patience.
Toskala’s three-year tenure in Toronto has produced 62 wins. That doesn’t make him a washout, but does nothing to prove the San Jose Sharks were wrong to keep Evgeni Nabokov and deal the Finn here.
Tough one to call, but with Colton Orr involved, questions will be asked.
Orr received 2 minutes for interference on the call plus five for fighting with Shaone Morrisonn. You can see the penalty log below…
There are those of us who thought the Leafs would take a shot at a playoff spot and maybe sneak in but who were also under no illusions as to the lack of talent on the team. We just thought the conference stunk so much that even the Leafs had a shot.
-Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail. More on the Leafs from Jeff.
from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,
As low as the Leafs have tumbled in recent weeks, defenceman Tomas Kaberle still has “no interest” in waiving his no-trade clause in order to be moved to a Stanley Cup contender, according to his agent.
Kaberle wants to help rebuild the 28th-overall Leafs, not by allowing himself to be dealt for draft picks or prospects but by staying and continuing to play well.
“As corny as it sounds, he believes he is part of the solution,” Kaberle’s agent, Rick Curran, said Wednesday.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
The Leafs have sent down skilled rookie forward Viktor Stalberg to the American Hockey League’s Marlies in order to call up pugilist Jay Rosehill, whose muscle likely will be front and centre against the modern-day version of the Broad St. Bullies tomorrow night at the Air Canada Centre.
In 23 games with the Marlies, Rosehill has two points and 122 penalty minutes. It’s easy to see he hasn’t be recalled for his playmaking skills.
The Leafs obviously are attempting to send a message after their fight-filled 6-2 loss to the Flyers in the City of Brotherly Loathe seven days ago.
The primary target for most of their bitterness was Flyers superpest Dan Carcillo, who irked the Leafs when, after scoring a beautiful goal, looked at them in a mocking fashion as he skated past their bench.
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
Our fans have to understand I’m as frustrated as they are,” said GM Brian Burke. “Way more so.”
If there’s change to come, it won’t be the coach. Ron Wilson’s job is “100 per cent safe,” said Burke.
Change is more likely to come in the form of call-ups – Tyler Bozak and Jay Rosehill at the top of the list – followed by trades.
“I’ve been moving heaven and earth on the trade front for some time, I would be more concerned if there were deals going down all around me. There aren’t,” said Burke. “We’ve looked at call-ups. No one at this point has kicked down the door to the point where we have to give them a recall. Bozak and Rosehill have been strong the last couple of games, so we’ll think about giving them a look.”
Fans of a team on a 2-6-2 slide are understandably frustrated, but have yet to entirely throw in the towel. One site, boycotttheleafs at ipetition.com, is urging fans to stay away from the Air Canada Centre, to send a message that fans are sick and tired of losing. As of Sunday, there were only 18 signatures.
via Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
A quick Brian Burke report card. His team stinks.
His friend, the coach, can’t get the Maple Leafs to kill penalties or play anything resembling team defence. His big acquisition, Phil Kessel, has gone soft and sour. He won’t be drafting Taylor Hall in June or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins the year after. And his college free-agent signings are nowhere to be found while David McNab, who signed Andy McDonald and Dustin Penner for Anaheim, has come up with another good one for his former team in Dan Sexton.
Outside of goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who has had two heart procedures and a groin injury in his rookie season, little has gone right in Burke’s world and, knowing him, that has to driving him to absolute frustration.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
There’s no question Gustavsson is agile and quick and aggressive. But a No. 1 goalie? That’s unclear, and there’s just no way the Leafs can go into next season just wishing they have quality netminding.
They hoped Vesa Toskala would bounce back strongly from off-season surgery, and Burke was as wrong on that as John Ferguson was on banking that Andrew Raycroft could replace Ed Belfour.
They can’t just hope Gustavsson can do it next fall. They have to know. That means the final 36 games have to include at least 25 Gustavsson starts, assuming he’s healthy enough, and then a cold, realistic assessment has to be done over whether he’s ready.
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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