Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun via the National Post,
Toronto general manager Brian Burke says he sees no need to clear the air with Vancouver counterpart Mike Gillis over tampering allegations when the Canucks meet the Maple Leafs on Saturday at General Motors Place.
In fact, Burke isn’t even sure whether he and Gillis will speak at all this weekend.
“I know there was a lot of yapping going on in Vancouver the last little while, but you noticed none from Toronto,” Burke said in a phone interview Thursday when asked about the apparent bad blood between the two organizations. “I’m certainly not going to pour any gasoline on a fire that as far as I’m concerned doesn’t exist. When other organizations talk or complain about the Leafs, I ignore it by and large.”
from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet,
It should also fall on Burke to recognize that truculence is not a synonym for skill and that if you’re going to add toughness to allow your skilled players to play better, you better have the skilled players that will benefit from the added option. The Leafs didn’t have those players -or at least enough of them-before Burke got to Toronto. They don’t have them now.
If you want to stretch fact to the edge of opinion, I would argue that Burke is also wrong in assessing the Kessel deal with Boston. His argument is that he couldn’t get a player of that age and skill level for less than the three draft picks (two firsts and a second) he surrendered to the Bruins.
I admire and respect a man who stands by a belief, but that’s not the same as doing whatever is necessary to get what’s necessary to survive and prosper. I don’t steal, but I can’t say I never would, not if there’s a loaf of bread available and my family was starving. A person does what he or she has to do. Burke knows that, every man does.
And no matter how he chooses to defend the Kessel trade, he overpaid. He paid a price for Kessel with the idea that he wouldn’t be paying with the possibility of a first overall selection in the 2010 Entry Draft. It seemed both logical and defensible at the time, but it wasn’t exactly a given. Burke bet that he made enough moves in the free-agent market to assure he won’t put the franchise in that position. The standings could change, but for now at least it appears he could lose that bet.
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
They are still the engine that drives the ratings for Hockey Night In Canada, no matter how ugly it gets on the ice.
But for how much longer will the Maple Leafs be foisted on the majority of the nation each Saturday night?
The deeper the struggling team’s slump gets and the greater the level of anger rises in Leafs Nation, the closer CBC executives will look at how many homes the team reaches on Canada’s most-watched weekly sports program.
Much like the team itself, the broadcaster realizes it’s too early to panic just three Saturday nights into the NHL season. It doesn’t hurt that the Leafs continue to draw big ratings and will continue to do so in the immediate future with all-Canadian matchups coming up.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, since the start of conference play in the NHL in 1993-94, only five teams have won once or less in their first 10 games and still made the playoffs, two of those coached by Wilson.
His 2003-04 San Jose Sharks and 1996-97 Anaheim Mighty Ducks both faltered at the start with just one win, but Wilson took the Sharks to the Conference championship, while Paul Kariya came back after their slump to help Wilson and the team make the playoffs for the first time in Ducks’ history.
read on for the other teams that have made the playoffs…
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
The angry glare in Luke Schenn’s eyes spoke volumes when a reporter brought up his third-period stint on the bench Saturday night.
No, there wasn’t an injury behind the move and yes, he was humiliated about playing just three shifts in the Leafs’ seventh defeat (0-6-1). Welcome to Ron Wilson Roulette, where any Leaf might feel those splinters until this club wins a game.
“No one has stepped up and when you make a mistake, that’s the way it’s going to be,” Schenn said yesterday at the MasterCard Centre. “They’re going with the guys playing the best.”
That Schenn would be singled out shows how far the Leafs have slipped. Last season’s NHL’s all-rookie team member was among the most trustworthy in his own zone.
This year, first with veteran partner Francois Beauchemin and then others, Schenn has the same malaise that’s gripped the dressing room. Toronto has given up a league-high 28 goals, while four defencemen, Schenn, Tomas Kaberle, Mike Komisarek and Beauchemin are a combined minus-17.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
If the Maple Leafs are smart, they might want to get to Brendan Shanahan before the NHL Players’ Association does.
Could Shanahan fix all that ails the Leafs? No, not even close, unless he’s got a mask and some pads lying around his garage that he knows how to use.
But even after 21 seasons, with a lot of miles on his chassis, Shanahan surely could add something as an early-season pickup.
Can’t believe a lot of fans wouldn’t like seeing a boy from Mimico take his last meaningful strides with the team of his boyhood daydreams. It’d be a lot better than organizing tributes for ex-Leafs skating for other teams.
from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,
Two weeks into this fledgling NHL season and it’s like being told you’ve just won a month’s vacation in Tahiti - with Louise Harel.
You don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
If you’re a partisan of Les Habitants, you want to weep.
But if you also happen to hate the Maple Leafs, you’re collapsing in hysterical giggles every time someone hits the punch line: “Brian Burke.”
As this tale of two cities unfolds (and it’s important to remember that the season is still so young it has to be burped after every game) the rapidly eroding fortunes of the Leafs and Habs are a big part of the early-season story line.
from Robert Cribb of the Toronto Star,
For the first time ticket sellers can remember, Leafs tickets with face values of $100 to $300 each are routinely selling for as little as half that amount.
“In the past, they always said it didn’t matter what the Leafs produced on the ice because people will still pay top dollar,” said Shawn Brookes, director of operations with FanXchange, a website that connects buyers with sellers. “This is the first time I’ve seen customers finally getting fed up with these astronomical prices.”
Most of the Leafs tickets sold on FanXchange this season were snapped up for below face value, says Brookes.
For a home game against the Colorado Avalanche on Oct. 13, “there were tickets – dead centre golds – selling for $90 or $100 instead of the $203 face price.”
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
Like every coach in the NHL not named Bruce Boudreau, Ron Wilson can only dream of having an Alex Ovechkin in his lineup every night.
But failing that, the Maple Leafs coach feels he can use the NHL’s top sniper as a teaching tool for his struggling team.
As suspect as the defence and goaltending have been, Wilson knows that if the Leafs don’t start finding the back of the net soon, the six-game losing streak to start the season isn’t about to end.
So after watching the league’s deadliest sniper fire 12 shots at the San Jose Sharks and scoring twice on Thursday, Wilson hammered his message home yesterday.
“The best player in the league, he spends all night shooting,” Wilson said after practice at the Mastercard Centre for Hockey Excellence. “He shoots from everywhere and creates lots of opportunities.
“If we want to score more goals, we need more guys shooting and driving to the net.”
from Spector at Fox Sports,
The stumbling start of the Toronto Maple Leafs has Toronto fans and media whipped up into a near-panic over the club’s performance and lamenting the few options available for management to improve the situation.
Most pundits appear to have absolved Leafs general manager Brian Burke for his club’s struggles but their apparent willingness to give Burke a pass has drawn criticism from one of their one.
Author and former Toronto Globe and Mail columnist William Houston has in his retirement started up a new blog called “Truth & Rumours”. In his inaugural post Houston not only blames Burke for what he considers poor decisions on the part of the Leafs general manager but also scolds the Toronto sports media for their unwillingness to criticize Burke after spending months praising him.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org