Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ken Peters of the Hamilton Spectator,
The Toronto Maple Leafs have threatened to sue the National Hockey League if a franchise is located in Hamilton, the lawyer for Jim Balsillie has advised.
In a brief to a Arizona bankruptcy court Richard Rodier said the Maple Leafs believe they have power under the NHL constitution to veto another southern Ontario franchise.
Indeed Rodier said the Leafs received a $150,000 payment from Hamilton sports promoter Russ Boychuk in 2006 to allow a exhibition game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“I have been advised and it has been reported in Canadian news media that the Maple Leafs have threatened to sue the league and its constituent members is a team is located in Hamilton,” Rodier’s brief states.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Burke would rather deal with the reality of his position than anyone else’s supposition. He isn’t shy about listing his priorities of the next five weeks, which represent his first real opportunity to put his fingerprints all over the Maple Leafs.
Priority 1 is getting an answer from Swedish free agent goaltender Jonas Gustavsson. “We really like him,” Burke said. “If we can’t get him, we’ll have to trade for a backup goalie or sign one in free agency.”
In other words, see you later, Justin Pogge.
Priority 2 is the NHL entry draft on June 26 and 27. The Leafs have the seventh pick but Burke already has been on the record saying he would like to move up and select John Tavares. That’s his public stance. Fat chance. Privately, others insist he wants a top 4 pick—which would get him one of Tavares, Victor Hedman Matt Duchene or Luke Schenn’s brother, Brayden.
Update 7:12pm ET: From Tim Wharnsby at the Globe & Mail:
Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke and his Tampa Bay Lightning counterpart, Brian Lawton, were seen this week deep in discussion in the dining room at the hotel where the NHL was holding its annual prospects combine.
But Burke hasn’t made headway in his desire to move up in the 2009 NHL entry draft. The Leafs have the seventh overall selection. The Lightning has the second pick.
“I’ve knocked on a lot of doors and talked to a lot of other teams, but I’m not optimistic at this point. I hope it will heat up, but right now I haven’t had much success,” said Burke, who said that deals to move up in the draft usually don’t occur until draft day.
“You have to remember that I’ve been able to move up twice in the draft and both times it was done on the draft floor,” Burke added.
That John Tavares to the Toronto Maple Leafs story may have legs after all.
Pierre LeBrun of Hockey Night in Canada says the New York Islanders may be leaning toward choosing Swedish defenceman Victor Hedman with the first pick in the NHL amateur draft in Montreal on June 26-27.
If that happened, LeBrun said on Saturday night’s Hot Stove segment, the Tampa Bay Lightning, holders of the second pick, might be interested in either trading their choice outright or choosing Tavares and then flipping the London Knights’ star.
Damien Cox of the Toronto Star tells us all about it…
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
He rises every day by around 5:30 a.m., works hard and lives hard, creating the impression he’s plotting 24 hours a day how to beat the other guy.
How much of the Burke image is reality, and how much is perception, depends on whom you talk to.
But there’s this palpable sense of momentum, of pushing, of aggression, that is undeniable.
With the Maple Leafs wrapping up their season tonight, it’s as though Burke began next season several weeks ago. Right now, he’s calculating ways to move up in the June entry draft, chasing highly touted U.S. collegiate defenceman Matt Gilroy and sending reverberations throughout the Swedish Elite League with his urgent pursuit of 24-year-old Farjestad goaltender Jonas Gustavsson.
It’s not at all clear that the Leafs will be a better hockey team next season, or that in April 2010 they’ll play their first Stanley Cup playoff game in six years.
But Burke and his lieutenants sure create the perception that they’re striving to improve, and that ultimately they will compete with the best teams in the league.
via Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Canadiens defenceman Mike Komisarek yesterday ripped into Grabovski for his actions, insinuating Grabovski is a coward.
“You are enraged and you are pissed off that a player like that, when the game is out of hand, runs one of your top players like that,” Komisarek told reporters in Montreal. “He knows (Markov) is in a vulnerable position. There’s no need for that.
“Early on in the game, there was a scrum and Grabovski wouldn’t even look you in the eye. (He) runs away from any confrontation with his tail between his legs. So for him to hit Markie like that, it’s something you don’t like to see.”
The hit in question came in the third period of the Habs’ lopsided 6-2 victory over the Leafs at the Air Canada Centre Saturday. While the check itself did not seem dirty, it did come late, something the Canadiens immediately took notice of.
When I first posted this topic a few days ago, the majority of KK readers thought it was a clean hit. Has anything changed since?
via Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Toronto GM Brian Burke was pounding his chest after signing college UFAs Tyler Bozak (Denver) and Christian Hanson (Notre Dame). The Leafs might want to keep expectations low. On April 1, 2006, Burke signed Cornell G David McKee for Anaheim and gave him a huge signing bonus. He is currently with the Bakersfield Condors in the ECHL.
Mikhail Grabovski of the Leafs hits Andrei Markov of the Canadiens early in the thrid period.. Grabovski received two for boarding and a misconduct. Markov did not return.
from Joe O’Conner of the National Post,
It was not his fault. Not entirely. He did not start it. He was just trying to defend himself from an angry mob of Boston Bruins. They were coming at him in waves: Terrible Teddy Green, Johnny (Pie) McKenzie, Johnny Bucyk and Gerry Cheevers. Everybody. The Boston bench was empty. Even the Bruins fans were coming at him, throwing punches and beers and God knows what else over the glass at the old Boston Garden.
It was hockey mayhem on April 2, 1969. It was the last NHL game Forbes Kennedy would ever play.
added 3:36pm, Thanks to a pointer left in the comments, I have added a video of the start of the incident below…
The Toronto Maple Leafs have agreed to terms with highly-touted free agent forward Tyler Bozak from the University of Denver Pioneers, sources tell Sportsnet.
A strong two-way centre, Bozak has been generating league-wide interest since his freshman year with as many as 25 NHL teams trying to get his name on a contract.
continued and a highlight reel of Bozak can be watched below…
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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