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Category: Toronto-Maple-Leafs

Party Is Over For Burke

from Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun,

Last season, you made noise about making the playoffs, and the Leafs finished dead-last in the Eastern Conference and second last overall in the NHL. So I guess it’s natural that you aren’t making any bold predictions this year.

Instead, Leafs fans should be content in the knowledge that it’s the organization’s “intention” and “goal” to make the playoffs.

So strike up the band and unwrap the cheese.

Personally, I believe Burke has been given a pretty easy ride in these parts since taking over two years ago.

He’s very smart and very intimidating.

But the party is over.

more

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New Goals For Dion Phaneuf

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  Tags: dion+phaneuf

Can The Leafs Be A Surprise Team In The East?

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

Ron Wilson wants the Maple Leafs to be one those “surprise teams” in the Eastern Conference, such as the Canadiens and Flyers were in shoe-horning into last year’s playoffs.

Yet this club remains a mystery to its own coach with a few days to go before the start of 2010-11 regular season. At least the lineup will be set, with a few more cuts Monday morning to get at or close to 23 men ahead of Thursday’s opener against the Montreal Canadiens.

On paper, the Leafs should be better, but that didn’t always play out in their nine exhibition games, see-sawing their way to a 5-3-1 record.

“There are a lot of teams in the same boat as us,” Wilson said Saturday after a 4-2 win over a low-grade Detroit Red Wings lineup. “In the East it will be interetsing. There are already some teams missing, some important people, for example Montreal with (Andrei) Markov out for awhile. We have to try and find a way of taking advantage of that.

continued

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Enough Suffering In Toronto

from Jason Kay of The Hockey News,

Most years about this time, I find myself developing a soft spot for a team, one I quietly pull for, one typically cast in the underdog mould.

A while back it was beleaguered Buffalo, after the Sabres lost Daniel Briere and Chris Drury. Chicago became attractive as it showed signs of emerging from a black hole. Montreal felt like a Cinderella story waiting to happen in its centennial anniversary season. And the Flyers helped me win a playoff pool, so I owed them some allegiance.

This year? Turns out I’m headed back to my roots as the hometown Maple Leafs are drawing me in.

This isn’t because I think they’re poised for greatness. Rather, it’s time. Gawd, it has to be time, doesn’t it? Time for them to do something, even if it’s just qualifying for the playoffs. Toronto needs it.

The Leafs haven’t participated in the post-season since 2004, haven’t won or appeared in a Stanley Cup final since 1967. That’s not breaking news. It’s just breaking hearts in hockey’s most fervent fan base. The masses have suffered enough.

continued

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Can MLSE Win?

from Michael Grange and David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

“This notion MLSE doesn’t want to win is bull,” says Brian Burke, the president and general manager of the Leafs. Burke is 22 months into a six-year, $19.5-million (U.S.) contract, awarded with the expectation that he’ll deliver a Stanley Cup to Toronto as he did with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007.

“They gave me complete support and independence and have given me the resources to fix it,” Burke says. “If we can’t turn this thing around, you can blame me. It’s the best-run company I’ve ever worked for. I’m proud to work for MLSE, I’m proud to work for Richard Peddie.”

Fans have no choice but to take Burke’s word for it, but the problems on the ice, floor and field seem to drown out his defiance.

What price losing? Have Greater Toronto Area sports fans finally had enough?

much more

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  Tags: mlse

You Won’t Often See This

Alex Kovalev and Francois Beauchemin dropped the gloves tonight.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+kovalev, francois+beauchemin

The Leafs #1 Line

from Michael Traikos of the National Post,

Are Kris Versteeg, Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel a legitimate top line that other teams will fear? Will Tomas Kaberle and Mike Komisarek complement each other? Do Mike Brown, Christian Hanson and Colton Orr provide anything other than fighting majors?

We will soon find out. Until then, here is a look at the forward lines and defence pairings:

KRIS VERSTEEG, TYLER BOZAK, PHIL KESSEL

Why it works? Combining Toronto’s most talented forwards is a no-brainer. The trio possesses tons of speed, skill and scoring ability. Already they have combined for five goals and 11 points in four pre-season games.

Why it might not? Putting all your best players on one line could be trouble if they get shut down. Also, as head coach Ron Wilson indicated, Kessel and Bozak are sometimes just as dangerous in their own end as they are in the offensive zone.

more on the Leafs…

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Can The Leafs Play Wilson’s Way?

from Damien Cox of The Spin,

Right now, the Leafs are scouring the league for a centre, knowing that nobody has to be under the salary cap until opening night so bargains may not become available until the middle of next week.

But given what the Leafs have, it’s not at all clear that this team has the capability to play the way Wilson wants them to, as laudable as that approach may be.

They put a lineup out against Buffalo on Monday night that looked very close to the group likely to open the regular season, and the result was another spotty effort, albeit a winning one. You can’t draw conclusions from exhibition games, but at the same time, while it was crowd-pleasing to see Phil Kessel and Nik Kulemin show some flash and dash, this still looks like a team that’s going to have a hard time keeping the puck out of its net.

Burke has loaded up with veteran D-men, and maybe they’ll tighten up starting next week. But the group of Dion Phaneuf, Francois Beauchemin, Mike Komisarek and Tomas Kaberle is anything but formidable when it comes to defending and loses a startling number of one-on-one confrontations, while the Leaf crease remains an area that enemy forwards don’t mind visiting.

more

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Evening Line

“This business is all about parades and jewelry.  If you get those things, you don’t have to explain one thing.”

-Brian Burke, GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  More from Burke and the Leafs by Damien Cox of the Toronto Star.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brian+burke

Leafs Need Help At Center

from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,

With both Nazem Kadri and John Mitchell struggling at camp and veteran Wayne Primeau unable to prove he still belongs, the Maple Leafs have a yawning need for help at centre.

So much so that Toronto’s scouts are analyzing the waiver wires and watching other camps in the hope a useful addition might present itself.

“No one has ever said we’re going with this group,” general manager Brian Burke said when asked about his centres during a media conference call Sunday.

“We’re still in a great position for waiver claims. We still have our scouts out scouring. We haven’t ruled out doing something. . . . We may need to go out and grab a centre.”

continued

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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