Kukla's Korner Hockey
“We stunk. We had no offence at all. I mean, that was almost embarrassing from seven or eight guys who we are counting heavily on. They only showed up when it was too late (a third-period Matt Stajan power-play goal).
“Playing on the perimeter, not wanting the puck, not willing to take a hit to make a play. Jittery when we do have the puck. We need a much better effort.”
-Toronto Coach Ron Wilson after losing to the Senators last night. More on the game from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
So what we think we might know about the Leafs after two games – Lee Stempniak looks much improved, added toughness doesn’t mean much if the other team won’t engage, Viktor Stalberg clearly does belong – really doesn’t mean much.
Nothing, you see, can be known until the goaltending is sorted out.
When you allow only 51 shots in two games and give up 10 goals to lose twice, you know you have a problem.
By comparison, Detroit is admitting it may have a problem between Chris Osgood and Jimmy Howard after losing twice to St. Louis in Stockholm, and the Wings goalies gave up only nine goals on 53 shots.
Some of it is about goals-against averages and save percentages, but goaltending is also a feel, something that creates an atmosphere around the team. If the netminding is sound or even better, excellent, players compete in a comfort zone, knowing they can make an error here or there, and they tend to relax and gel better as a unit.
The boys at Orland Kurtenblog use the zoom feature on their TV.
OK, we can start the season now.
from Bruce Arthur of the National Post,
Brian Burke loves it here. The pressure, the pace, the weight on his broad shoulders, it’s all fine with him. Being the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs has worked out, off the ice, exactly as he wanted it to.
“It’s awesome. It’s the Vatican. It’s everything,” Burke said on the eve of his team’s 2009-10 National Hockey League season opener against Montreal. “This move has worked out from a family standpoint—all the things that we thought would be better in our lives as far as our family and distance to see children [in Boston] and stuff, all of that has come true. We’ve fallen in love with this city.”
The city, meanwhile, seems to have fond feelings for him, too, as he has gone about remaking the city’s chief sporting obsession. Nobody is really doubting Burke, not yet.
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said his franchise would again talk to the NHL about an incident involving a Maple Leafs executive making comments about Vancouver players.
“We’ll talk to [the league] about it and see what their position is but this, in my mind, is another example of the Toronto Maple Leafs trying to upset our team,” Gillis said from Calgary, where the Canucks begin their season with a game against the Flames.
Vancouver’s latest complaint stems from a video on the Maple Leafs website, entitled Behind the Draft, where general manager Brian Burke discusses the possibility of trading up into the top five slots.
“Vancouver has made a major effort to get the second pick out of Tampa Bay,” Burke tells his scouts at a pre-draft meeting. “We heard they offered - again, this is all second-hand, so we’re not sure - [Alex] Burrows, [Kevin] Bieksa and their own pick. Those are two pretty good players.”
Don’t miss the newest episode of NHL Network’s ‘Off the Ice’ featuring Henrik Lundqvist, Niklas Backstrom, and Jonas Gustavsson.
from Damian Cox of the Toronto Star,
Over the course of the past 10 months, Burke has reconstructed the Leaf front office, keeping some elements that were there when John Ferguson was in charge – chief amateur scout Dave Morrison, assistant GM and Marlies GM Jeff Jackson – and dumping others. Trying to figure out who does what isn’t easy, although Burke is the front man, Nonis the pseudo-GM and Poulin nominally in charge of pro and amateur scouting.
“In a single line? Well, my job is to help make the Toronto Maple Leafs better,” said Poulin, who left a Chicago headhunting firm to join the Leafs. “For the most part, the job is creative. How are we going to get better?”
from Jason Botchford of The White Towel,
In a new special on Leafs TV called Behind the Draft 2009, Burke is essentially caught rumour mongering. In the documentary-styled, multi-chapter feature, which was filmed at June’s NHL Draft, the general manager, who has described members of the media as “maggots” and “scumbags,” makes an unsubstantiated, admittedly speculative claim, alleging the Canucks made a strong push for Victor Hedman. He is the Swedish defenceman who the Tampa Bay Lightning drafted second overall.
Burke is filmed in June at the beginning of the draft in the Leafs war room where he is seen addressing his scouting staff. “Vancouver has made a major effort to get the second pick out of Tampa Bay,” says Burke on Part 1 of the series which can be seen on the Leafs’ web site. “We heard they offered, again this is all second hand so we don’t know if it’s true. We heard they offered (Alex) Burrows, (Kevin) Bieksa and their own pick. Those are two pretty good players.”
He’s right. They are two pretty good players whose inclusion in the alleged deal make the rumour sound pretty outlandish.
It’s one thing for Burke to make the comment in his war room. That’s fair game. It’s another entirely to allow it to air.
Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau and Bob Gainey.
George Armstrong, Dave Keon and Darryl Sittler.
These are just some of the names that have been honoured to be captain of two of the most storied franchises in the NHL. But which names will be added to that list for this season.
With the Canadiens and Maple Leafs set to begin the regular season on Thursday, both teams have yet to name a captain. So who would be the leading candidates to take on this all-encompassing responsibility?
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.
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