Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
Ultimately, I expect any initial round of boos Sundin will hear Saturday night quickly will be drowned out by cheers of fans who are well within their right to appreciate the 13 years of loyal, classy service he provided to the team.
But I don’t fault any Leafs fan for tossing raspberries and profanity-riddled verbal bon mots Sundin’s way. They’ve got the right to do anything they want to do, just as Sundin, the great libertarian, did less than a year ago.
And if they choose to jeer him, they’ll be looking out for their own interests first – precisely what Sundin’s last lesson taught them.
“I don’t want Justin Pogge to be what Carey Price is today, a shell of himself…”
-Leafs coach Ron Wilson this morning. Wilson did go on to say Price will get out of his slump. You can listen to the whole Wilson interview at Fan590 in Toronto. The Pogge talk starts around the 2:30 mark.
from Damien Cox of the Spin at the Toronto Star, T
he Leafs, it’s needless to say, have only one untouchable on their roster, and that’s Luke Schenn. Otherwise, any player could be had, with different trade values assigned to them all.
The four players believed to be most in play, however, are rearguards Pavel Kubina and Tomas Kaberle, and forwards Nik Antropov and Dominic Moore. Kubina and Kaberle both have no-trade clauses and time on their contracts beyond this season, while Antropov and Moore are both pending unrestricted free agents.
Interestingly, the approach on all four is likely to be very different.
For Kaberle, don’t listen too closely to what Burke is saying publicly. He’s trying to set a market.
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
Tomas Kaberle isn’t likely to go anywhere.
While Kaberle has provided the Leafs with a list of 10 teams he’d prefer to be dealt to in exchange for waiving his no-trade clause, Leafs GM Brian Burke sounds as if he’d rather keep the skilled, puck-moving defenceman….
“Two keys,” Burke wrote in an email. “One, Kaberle wants to stay. He could not be clearer. Two, (it’s) hard to believe I will get what I need to move this guy. (He’s a) quality person, great stats, good salary.
“I did not ask him to waive no-trade. (His) agent suggested looking at this vehicle because it allows him and Tomas to retain some level of control over where he goes. If we miss the playoffs, he has no control over where he goes.”
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Brian Burke has the list.
He knows the teams that Maple Leafs defenceman Tomas Kaberle will waive his no-trade clause to go to.
Burke knows that Kaberle wants to stay in the Eastern Conference.
Burke also knows that Kaberle would prefer to stay in Toronto and failing an offer that stops Burke in his tracks, keeping Kaberle may make the most sense.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Ready or not, Toronto, here comes Mats.
In just five days, Mats Sundin returns to the Air Canada Centre, this time wearing a Vancouver Canucks jersey, not the familiar blue-and-white of the Maple Leafs.
And as the Saturday night tilt creeps closer, expect the type of pre-game hype usually reserved for a Super Bowl.
Know this: Sundin certainly won’t be sneaking into town—he comes back on Hockey Day in Canada.
from Jason Kay of the Hockey News,
If Curtis Joseph’s NHL career indeed comes to an end at the conclusion of this season, he’ll retire with the fourth-most goalie wins of all-time and a giant question begging to be answered: has he done enough to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame?
Most people I talk to instinctively say no. He was a very good goalie, who wove an excellent 19-year tapestry – at times he was stellar – but didn’t set himself apart enough to become an Honored Member. He never won a Stanley Cup or appeared in a final, never earned a post-season all-star berth, never captured a Vezina Trophy.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
With all the uncertainty surrounding this year’s trade deadline, you can really only be sure of one thing. From now until March 4, Burke will be a closet fan of the Blues, Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes and Columbus Blue Jackets. He wants them all to stay within a few points of eighth place in the West, so if they do anything at the deadline, they’re adding, not subtracting.
Because if it shakes out the way it looks - limited supply versus significant demand - that will make Burke’s handful of pawns look like shiny kings on that one crazy day when all reason disappears from the frontal lobes of NHL general managers.
more on the Leafs trade deadline planning…
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
As a waiver pickup last winter, Moore stands as one of John Ferguson’s better acquisitions during his time as Leaf GM. He’s making $900,000 (U.S.) on a one-year contract, certainly one of the cannier moves Cliff Fletcher made last summer.
Now it’s up to Burke. Trade Moore before the deadline with his value arguably at its peak? Sign him to a multi-year deal this summer? Let him walk as a 28-year-old free agent?...
Moore’s never had much relative financial security in the game, so maybe he’s thinking this is his chance to nail down a solid contract a great deal closer to the league’s $2 million average salary.
Then again, neither he nor his agent, Larry Kelly, has yet broached the matter with Burke.
Going to Harvard might make you smarter, but it doesn’t make you a soothsayer. As the Leafs try to figure what Moore is, he can only wonder where he’s headed.
In the blue and white corner this Saturday is Mikael Grabovski, a five-foot-11, 179-pound non-brawler who was a Habs’ prospect and is currently the most hated man in the Bell Centre.
In the bleu, blanc et rouge corner stands Sergei Kostitsyn, brother of Andrei and, at five-foot-11, 196 pounds, carrying a weight advantage over his Toronto opponent.
The two had to be restrained from fighting by the officials in January as both shoved at linesmen in what was interpreted as an attempt to get at each other.
Grabovski was the more aggressive of the two against a striped shirt, earning himself a three-game suspension. He left the ice to a chorus of boos, plastic cups and foul hand signals.
This week, the pair hyped up their possible battle as best they could.
“I think he is not Belarusian now, he is French, because I never fight with Belarusian guys,” said Grabovski, of Kostitsyn. “I don’t know why he wants to fight with me.
Update 3:22pm ET (alanah): From Mike Zeisberger via Sun Media—
For his part, [Guy] Carbonneau told Montreal reporters this week that he will not shackle Kostitsyn from participating in extracurricular activities in the event they arise during tonight’s Leafs-Habs meeting at the Bell Centre.
“I think it’s just great,” Carbonneau said, flashing a grin when asked about the feud between the two Belarusians. “You need emotion to play. For me and Peter Statsny, it wasn’t love.”
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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