Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Prior to tomorrow night’s Maple Leafs-Chicago Blackhawks tilt at the Air Canada Centre, a banner sporting Wendel Clark’s familiar No. 17 will be hoisted to the rafters in honour of the contributions the rugged forward made to the Original Six team over the years.
In celebration of Wendel Clark Night, all fans attending the game will receive a special Wendel Clark moustache in recognition of No. 17’s trademark facial hair. The crowd will be encouraged to wear them, with organizers hoping to turn the capactity throng into 20,0000 Wendel lookalikes.
The fans might not be the only ones sporting those moustaches either.
“Maybe we’ll all wear them out for the pre-game skate,” goalie Curtis Joseph said, referring to his teammates.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun, ...
while Leafs coach Ron Wilson said he did not expect Colaiacovo’s ailment to be an issue, watching the defenceman limping around suggested otherwise….
Acknowledging that Colaiacovo was en route to having X-rays taken, Wilson suggested that Colaiacovo’s injury-plagued history is related to less-than-ideal physical conditioning.
“The big thing with Carlo — and I tell him that every day — is that ‘You’re not in very good shape. It leads to all the other issues in the past’,” Wilson said, adding the organization is working with Colaiacovo to improve his preparation.
from The Spin, the blog of Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
If Burke does sign on this weekend, it appears increasingly likely he won’t be coming alone. His visit to Vancouver this week will include a meeting with Dave Nonis, who worked with Burke in B.C. and was hired by Burke to work in Anaheim during the summer. Nonis had meetings with the Leafs last summer over their vacant executive position, but couldn’t come to an agreement, so clearly he’s already seriously considered re-locating east.
How that would affect the Leaf front office isn’t clear. Fletcher would likely stay on a consultant capacity at least until the end of the 19-month contract he signed last January, and Joe Nieuwendyk appears likely to be part of a Burke team. Burke didn’t immediately clean house when he took over in Vancouver or Anaheim, so he may be content with bringing Nonis in without dumping those already working in Toronto.
from The Spin, a blog by Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Yep, the kid who scored Vancouver’s pretty first goal on Saturday night was given away by Fletcher.
If you agree Wellwood looks reborn in Vancouver, then you’d have to say it was a bad deal by Fletcher.
Yet nobody, but nobody, covering the Wellwood story seemed to bring that point up.
It was, really, yet another example of the extra layer of teflon assigned to Fletcher in his second go around with the hockey club. Nothing bad that has happened since he arrived in January is attributed to him, and anything positive is wildly exaggerated.
Even now, with the team having won only seven of 18 games and having lost five of its past seven matches, the tributes to Fletcher’s work are just pouring in by people who have been around the game for a long time and should know better.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
For starters, Burke doesn’t despise small players, but he doesn’t want many of ‘em. Maybe one or two. Maybe Mikhail Grabovski can stick around, but not Grabovski and Alex Steen and Jiri Tlusty and Jason Blake and Matt Stajan.
He doesn’t terribly mind Europeans. Right now, the Ducks have two, Teemu Selanne and Sammy Pahlsson.
The Leafs have 11 Europeans, only two of whom, Niklas Hagman and Jonas Frogren, really fit into Burke’s gritty ideal of an NHL player.
The Ducks led the NHL in fighting majors two years ago when they won the Stanley Cup and are second this season with 18 scraps already. Nine Ducks have been in at least one scrap.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
TSN has learned that Carolina Hurricanes’ general manager Jim Rutherford was formally offered the dual position as president and GM of the Leafs in August of 2007, at which time John Ferguson Jr. was still in place as the GM of the team.
Sources close to the MLSE board told TSN that the Leafs went through a prolonged dialogue with Rutherford that started in August of 2007 when the Leafs requested and were granted permission from Carolina owner Peter Karmanos to talk to Rutherford, the Toronto-area native.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
The dilemma, of course, is the whopping Blake contract they are shackled with. The veteran forward is in just the second-year of a five-year, $20-million US contract, a deal that will end when Blake is 38.
Blake does not have one of those irritating no-trade clauses in his pact like the famed Muskoka Five sported last season. But as one Eastern Conference general manager said last night: “That ridiculous salary makes it a no-trade contract. So does his age. And so does his reputation.”
If the saga continues to decay, don’t be surprised if the Leafs ship Blake down to the minors. According to sources, it’s a concept that theoretically has been kicked around behind closed doors.
Press release from the NHL:
Montreal Canadiens forward Tom Kostopoulos has been suspended for three games, without pay, as a result of being assessed a game misconduct during NHL game #197 against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 8, the National Hockey League announced today.
“While it is my determination that Kostopoulos did not deliver a check to an unsuspecting opponent, his actions caused injuries,” said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Kostopoulos is considered a repeat offender. Accordingly, he forfeits $32,926.83 based on the number of games in the season (82), rather than the number of days (186). The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
added 7:35pm, from Habs Inside/Out,
A statement from Kostopoulos released by the Canadiens:
“First and foremost, I sincerely regret the injuries suffered by Mike Van Ryn. This is an unfortunate turn of events. I was just trying to get in on the forecheck and get the puck. I didn’t anticipate him turning and couldn’t stop.
“I was trying to finish my check and obviously it did not end up well. I never intend on injuring another player. I feel bad. I hope he is going to be all right and resume playing as quickly as possible.”
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail,
It figures to be an interesting goaltending match-up Tuesday night when the Toronto Maple Leafs open their western Canadian trip in Calgary to play the Flames. Not only do the Flames’ Miikka Kiprusoff and the Leafs’ Vesa Toskala both hail from Finland, they were both groomed in the San Jose Sharks’ organization and both traded away so that Evgeni Nabokov would be that organization’s clear-cut No. 1 netminder.
Kiprusoff and Toskala are considered among the NHL’s goaltending elite, but their numbers don’t reflect that at the moment…
from Damien Cox at his Spin Blog at the Toronto Star,
Unless you want to change the rules, there’s not much that could have been changed about the hit on Mike Van Ryn on Saturday night.
Van Ryn was doing his job, trying to make the toughest, most courageous play in the game, which is hustling back to get the puck in your own zone knowing you’re going to get drilled into the end boards.
Don’t tell me about the “tough guys” of the games, the guys who scrap. Tell me about the Van Ryns who make that play night after night. Those are the tough guys. Those are the players you need more of to make a tough hockey team.
So Van Ryn was making the right play. So too was Tom Kostopoulos, a 29-year-old winger from Mississauga who isn’t in the league to be fancy and score but to skate hard, finish his check and be a grinding forward.
In case you missed the hit, you can see it here...
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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