Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,
(Jason) Blake was not a stranger to new coach Ron Wilson. Wilson had coached him on U.S. national teams and knew the level at which he should be performing. Wilson also watched him on TV last season and it was a different Blake than the one he remembered. He spoke to the winger about it during camp.
“The Jason Blake that I knew on national teams and when he was scoring went hard to the net and competed,” said Wilson.
“Last year, I thought he kind of circled the wagons all the time and took a lot of perimeter shots that were a waste of time. They looked good on paper. He’d come of the game with five shots, but they’re all 50-foot wrist shots. He’s going hard to the net and he’s starting to score now.”
from Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun,
So while Hollweg brings an edge and willingness to fight, nobody on the Leafs squad at this moment will strike a sense of fear or dread into the opposition.
“I think it could be a concern,” Wilson acknowledged yesterday, when asked about his club’s lack of toughness. “But, again, we haven’t had our full lineup all together.”
Wilson insisted that an NHL team does not need the big heavyweight any more, as the game has changed and a mid-sized scrapper, who can also skate and hit, like Hollweg, can be just as valuable.
“A lot of times, that’s just sideshow—heavyweight fights heavyweight. What’s that got to do with the game?” the veteran coach said. “If you just got a guy who plays two or three minutes and can’t skate or do anything, I don’t know if that serves a purpose. (But) we’ll see how our team is this year and if we have to address that, we will.”
Defenceman Jeff Finger, who has only played one pre-season game, will likely miss the first week of the season as a foot injury is taking longer to heal than originally expected.
The 28-year old, who signed a four year deal worth $14 million with the Leafs in the summer, suffered the injury in the Maple Leafs pre-season opening game against the Sabres.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Along with Kaberle and Kubina, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Jason Blake, Jeff Finger and Vesa Toskala all could potentially be dealt. You know, for something more than nothing, the return for excising Darcy Tucker and Andrew Raycroft from the roster.
Nik Antropov, meanwhile, will be an unrestricted free agent in July and moving him by February sure seems more appealing than signing him to a lucrative, multi-year deal at $3 million to $4 million (U.S.) per season.
So Kaberle, primarily, and Antropov to a lesser extent, become the Leafs to watch this season, but mostly to see if they can enhance their value and thus their appeal on the trade market.
from Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star,
...As it is, Wilson’s Leafs are going to be hard-pressed to be the Columbus Blue Jackets of hockey.
In any event, Wilson clearly is smart and studious, so it’s obvious what he is doing – he’s buttering up the locals, and it is an astute move.
In that spirit, we humbly offer our short list of More Erroneous Analogies That, If Ron Wilson Speaks Them, Might Win Him The Brownie Points He May Need Should His Reportedly Caustic Demeanour Accidentally Emerge Later This Season.
Erroneous Analogy No. 1: “Richard Peddie is the Sir Winston Churchill of inspirational speakers.”
Sir Winston once said: “We make a living from what we get. We make a life from what we give.”
Seven-time Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette will give a special performance via satellite from Montreal as part of NHL Face-Off Rocks™, the NHL’s opening day viewing party and concert spectacular at Fox Theatre in Detroit on Thursday, Oct. 9….
Fans at Fox Theatre will enjoy the Red Wings game broadcast, including the championship banner-raising ceremony, an in-person performance from Def Leppard and Morissette’s performance via satellite. A deejay will entertain the audience throughout the event.
“From an ownership level we look at the long term,” we want to be absolutely competitive, super competitive each and every year.
“If you asked us if you were to pay for a Stanley Cup team this year, but you were to be lousy for the next five years, would you do it? The answer from the ownership point of view, absolutely not.
-Leafs co-owner Larry Tanenbaum. More by Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star.
added 2:13pm, from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Tanenbaum said Yzerman, a vice-president of the Red Wings who is learning the hockey business under general manager Ken Holland, need not apply. He said the Leafs will not be hiring a second consecutive rookie GM, given the team’s decline under John Ferguson, who was fired last January.
“Steve needs to be a general manager some place (else),” said Tanenbaum, who stopped by the Leafs’ practice on Thursday. “We don’t want a rookie.”
from James Murphy at NHL.com,
After a tumultuous first season in Toronto both on and off the ice, Maple Leafs forward Jason Blake has found a new lease on life and his career. Blake took time recently to discuss his up-and-down season, what he learned from the experience and how he plans on using these lessons both as a hockey player and a person.
from Damien Cox at the Spin,
Depth and experience? Really?
This is the same chatter we heard last fall when some suggested the Leafs had such depth on defence that they should trade some of it away to help in other areas.
Now we’re hearing it again. Folks, it’s about more than just having lots of names.
What I see is a defence with two proven blueliners - Tomas Kaberle and Pavel Kubina - and a pile of question marks.
It might be the weakest defence corps in the entire league. Certainly one of the weakest five.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
Born in California to a father of Brazilian-German heritage and maxing out at 5-foot-11, Ryan Hollweg knows all about overcoming the hockey odds.
Whether he can help turn around the fortunes of the Maple Leafs this year is unknown, but he certainly has the right attitude. Hollweg got off to a rousing start with several big hits in a 7-4 win over the Buffalo Sabres Monday.
“If you want to go through somebody, just do it. It’s how I’ve lived,” Hollweg said yesterday at the Air Canada Centre. “I’ve never worried about how big I am. It’s a mental thing. It hasn’t stopped me yet and it won’t stop me now.”
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