Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
The Cloutier demotion makes me wonder why the Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t giving all-but-banished netminder Andrew Raycroft the same treatment.
With second-line center Kyle Wellwood out for a month (at least) thanks to his second sports hernia surgery in nine months, you’d think GM John Ferguson could use Raycroft’s $2 million in salary cap space to help plug the pivot hole.
read on and more NHL notes…
from The Spin, the blog of Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
So the Leafs lose a key player at centre when they’re thin, and the Bolts lose their best defenceman off a relatively thin blueline. In a similar way, another Eastern Conference playoff hopeful, Atlanta, has to be terribly worried about early season groin problems being experienced by No. 1 goaltender Kari Lehtonen. If Lehtonen’s out, only Johan Hedberg stands between the opposition and big-time trouble.
The salary cap, of course, dictates that every team has to make decisions where to spend and where not to spend, leaving most teams with a part of their roster they just have to hope and pray won’t be hit by injuries. It’s a judgment call, but right now, for example, the Senators are looking pretty smart for hanging on to goalie Martin Gerber, with starter Ray Emery’s immediate future still cloudy due to ongoing post-surgical wrist issues.
from the National Post via the Ottawa Citizen,
After Wellwood missed 33 games with a sports hernia last season, head coach Paul Maurice instructed the third-year forward to hit the weights and get stronger this summer.
According to Wellwood’s father, the 24-year-old took a different approach.
“He likes to take the time off to rest himself mentally,” Rick Wellwood said in a telephone interview yesterday. “In the past, that has worked for him. But maybe he’s now going to have to do more in the summer; he’ll decide to take care of himself better when he decides to do that.”
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
The Leafs believe they are set in goal and that, by having Toskala and Raycroft combine forces, have strengthened themselves considerably.
It’s just that there’s no concrete evidence, really, upon which to base such a belief.
Indeed, when you looked at the goaltending depth chart of the lowly Phoenix Coyotes this week and saw David Aebischer, Alex Auld and Mikael Tellqvist, could you honestly say that group is significantly inferior to that of the Leafs?...
So if the weak Desert Dogs have questions in net to be answered, well, the Leafs are in exactly the same position.
It’s just that the Leaf goaltending questions will be asked much more loudly. Every day. Over and over. Under a white hot light of scrutiny powered by 40 years of Cup-less play.
from the Toronto Sun,
Surgery might be a realistic option for the young forward, who already underwent a sports hernia operation earlier this year.
Because tests revealed yesterday that Wellwood might have a potentially significant problem in the same area again, expect the Leafs to take every precaution in their quest to discover whether another operation is in the cards for Wellwood, who has experienced similar symptoms to those that caused him to miss almost half of the 2006-07 season.
added 3:57pm, Sportsnet reporting Wellwood out 3-4 weeks.
From David Shoalts at the Globe & Mail,
You have to go back to Ed Belfour in 2002 to find a Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender who had a worse debut than Vesa Toskala.
Eddie the Eagle coughed up a goal on the first shot of the Blue-and-White intrasquad game, which drew some boos from the fans at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton. A few nights later, in his first real game, Belfour — the replacement for the sainted Curtis Joseph — did it again. Belfour gave up a goal on the first shot by the hated Ottawa Senators in the Leafs’ first exhibition game, then gave up two more before leaving partway through what turned out to be a 7-1 drubbing by the Senators.
Toskala, who managed to survive his Blue-White debut without too much embarrassment last Sunday, was channelling Belfour last night against the Phoenix Coyotes in his preseason debut.
from the Toronto Star,
Welcome to the club, Jason Blake, the Fraternal Squadron of Mats Sundin Wing Men.
Remember Mikael Renberg? Steve Thomas? Alex Mogilny? Gary Roberts? Eric Lindros? Freddie Modin? Lately, everyone from Tie Domi to Darcy Tucker, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Nik Antropov have flanked Sundin, with mutually less than Cup-calibre results.
Now, it’s Blake’s turn, circa training camp ‘07. Is he the one, the missing link in the magic combo?
from the Toronto Sun,
The Maple Leafs are rumoured to be on the short list should the NHL again choose to open the 2008-09 season in Europe.
“I have heard about it,” general manager John Ferguson said yesterday. “No question, the Leafs are a team with global appeal.”
Stockholm would be a strong possibility for the Leafs, who have Swedes Mats Sundin—for this year anyway—as well as Alex Steen. A perfect match would be the Vancouver Canucks with the Sedin twins and Markus Naslund.
more... hmmm, I know another NHL team that would be even a better fit to play in Stockholm than either the Leafs or Canucks…
from the Toronto Sun,
Although it is not on the agenda for next week’s board of governors meetings in Chicago, Peddie, the president of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., will arrive in the Windy City looking once again to pursue a format that would see the Leafs face western Canadian teams every year.
“That’s our unofficial plan,” Peddie said last night. “We feel its important. The last time around, I think we were the only team that voted for every proposal that would see us play every team each season.
“We hope to discuss it again. We feel it’s important to get back into a rotation that allowed us to face Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and even Detroit every year.
from the CP via TSN,
Here it is Leafs fans, direct from the mouth of the head coach.
‘‘We’ll make the playoffs and compete for the Stanley Cup,’’ says Paul Maurice.
The pledge was made on the opening day of training camp Thursday.
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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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