Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
A candid Olli Jokinen suggests Dion Phaneuf may have been railroaded out of Calgary because of the loathing of disgruntled Flames supporters.
Speaking just minutes after he had made his New York Rangers home debut Thursday night, Jokinen strongly rejected the notion that Phaneuf was shipped to Toronto last Sunday because he was a cancer in the Flames dressing room.
“No, no, no. Not at all. He’s a great teammate,” Jokinen said after the Rangers’ 6-5 loss to the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden.
Okay, then why did general manager Darryl Sutter trade the young defenceman?
“The biggest thing is, (Phaneuf) wasn’t accepted by the Calgary fans, even though he was once a Norris Trophy candidate,” Jokinen said.
“It’s definitely tough news when you find out you’re not going to be playing hockey for four to six months.
“In the end it’s not an easy thing missing the Olympics—an opportunity like that doesn’t come around very often—but more importantly the Leafs have made a commitment to me and the best thing at this point is to have this surgery and have it take care of by arguably one of the best shoulder guys.”
-Mike Komisarek of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Team USA. More from Jonas Siegel of am640.
from Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star,
“It’s not over yet,” Phaneuf said after practice. “There’s a lot of games left. We are where we are, but we have to do our best to get points and make a push for the playoffs. ... If teams lose and you win a few, you’re right there.”
The Leafs have 47 points, 10 behind eighth-place Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference, and somehow need to total somewhere in the 93-point range, the norm for an eighth-place team in the East the past few seasons.
It’s a tall order, to be sure, but the recent eye-popping trades have instilled new hope and confidence, bolstered by the team’s 3-0 win over New Jersey on Tuesday in its first post-blockbuster outing.
from Sean Fitz-Gerald of the CP at the Globe and Mail,
Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Mike Komisarek is facing the possibility of having his season come to a premature end, with his immediate future hinging on another meeting with medical personnel Wednesday.
The 28-year-old has been sidelined since Jan. 2 with an undisclosed upper-body injury, which has been widely reported as a shoulder. His spot on the U.S. Olympic team is also hanging in the balance.
“I’ve tried not to think too much about it,” Komisarek said Tuesday. “If you dwell too much on something like that, you sort of lose track of the focus and what you need to be doing. I’ve been working hard with the strength coach and been talking with the doctors a lot, doing exactly what I need to do to get back.”
He acknowledged the possibility of having to end his season.
from Chris Young of Toronto Star,
Dion Phaneuf’s arrival as the newest Maple Leaf in town means it won’t be long before main squeeze Elisha Cuthbert shows up at the Air Canada Centre, a place that hasn’t seen a power couple like this since Vince Carter and his mom left town.
The 24-year-old Phaneuf, acquired from Calgary on Sunday, and Cuthbert, the 27-year-old Calgary native best known for her role in the TV drama 24, have been an item for nearly two years.
They will have to do some hard training, though, to catch up with the power play going on in Ottawa. Singer Carrie Underwood and her Senators centreman Mike Fisher are coming off their cute-and-cuter Grammy Awards appearance Sunday night as they move toward a planned wedding that will be the most sought-after invitation in the game this summer.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
All season long, Brian Burke has remained steadfast in his support of head coach Ron Wilson – and that’s a good thing.
Few coaches have a fair shot at success – or survival – without the explicit backing of their GM.
Still, some have suggested repeatedly, and snidely, that only Wilson’s position as head coach of the U.S Olympic team, with Burke also his boss there, has protected him from dismissal.
The implied accusation is that Burke is putting the welfare of the American team ahead of the needs of the Leafs.
It certainly has created a peculiar dynamic and Wilson’s overt praise of various U.S. Olympians in recent days has made it even more uncomfortable as the fortunes of the Leafs have plummeted.
from a Toronto Sun Editorial,
Watching the Toronto Maple Leafs over the past few months, fans have witnessed a stunning display.
This team became world class in inventing new ways to lose.
Any Leafs fan could see president and GM Brian Burke needed to head out, buy some explosives, and blow the team up.
The amazing part is Burke found willing partners to pick up players that clearly weren’t going to take this team anywhere.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Finding a way to unload Jason Blake’s albatross contract probably won’t net Brian Burke the NHL’s executive of the year honours when all is said and done.
Maybe it should.
At first blush, it would have been easier to work out the square root of pi by hand. Or, figure how they get all that caramel inside the Caramilk bar. Or, logically explain how Burke’s Maple Leafs actually lost to Andrew Raycroft on Saturday night.
But peddling the 36-year-old Blake and that inflated deal, one that will pay him $4 million US in each of the next two seasons? Talk about Mission Impossible.
Yet, somehow Brian Burke found a way to do it Sunday.
And after the Maple Leafs general manager had finished the heart transplant of his moribund roster by shipping six players out and bringing four new bodies in, he proclaimed he was not finished.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
If you subscribe to the theory that the team that gets the best player wins the trade, it’s pretty obvious who won the seven-player blockbuster deal between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames.
That would, of course, be… the Flames—because right here, right now—the best player in that group of seven is none other than Ian White.
You were probably waiting for me to say Dion Phaneuf, weren’t you?
Well, it’s all a matter of how you frame the question.
from Mark Whicker of Ducks Blog,
“It worked out differently from the way I thought it would,” Giguere said. “He is obviously the one they wanted. I’m 32 years old and I still have a lot of hockey left, I think. Toronto has made a lot of changes just today, so it will be exciting.”
Giguere will partner with Jonas Gustafsson, whom the Leafs signed as a free agent before this season.
One of the reasons Giguere wanted a no-trade clause in Anaheim was the eye condition of his son Max, who was born just before the 2007 playoffs. Max had a defective right eye and wasn’t guaranteed he’d have vision in his left. Giguere wanted to make sure his son could continue to see the same UCLA doctors.
“Max is doing great,” Giguere said Sunday. “I’m sure he can get very good care in Toronto, but he’s only a short flight away (from L.A.) if he needs something.”
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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