Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Spin at the Toronto Star,
The concepts, objectives and goals around the Maple Leafs are like shifting sands, more now than ever before. Clearly, much has changed in a calendar year, and while Ron Wilson was clearly being honest and straightforward through his “wins and losses don’t matter” mantra for the season, that’s not going to be easy for proud, veteran players to ingest before an 82-game season even starts.
It’s a little different than “Win One for the Gipper” or “You Gotta Believe.”
From Mike Ulmer at Maple Leafs.com
The Leafs Nation Mobile Fanzone will put fans first.
“I think the dressing room is an inner sanctum people don’t get access to,” Hosford said. “ It’s something where people can feel what it’s like to actually be there. That’s why we wanted to replicate it and take it out into the community for all the people who are such a big part the Toronto Maple Leafs.”
The Leafs Nation Mobile Fanzone will be driven to locations all over the GTA over the next six days. Some of those events will include Leaf players and alumni handing out Leafs gear. Everyone gets free swag as well as a walking tour of the rolling room.
from the Globe and Mail,
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Ryan Hollweg has been suspended for the first two games of the regular season.
The suspension is tied to a hit from behind during a game last week and for two similar incidents last season when he was a member of the New York Rangers.
added 5:24pm, Official NHL release on the suspension below…
Numerous sources reporting Toronto has waived Mark Bell.
Anyone want him for $2.5M?
added 1:10PM, via TSN,
The Toronto Maple Leafs placed forward Mark Bell on waivers on Monday, while the Calgary Flames have put defencemen Anders Eriksson and Rhett Warrener and forward Jamie Lundmark on the waiver wire.
Ole-Kristian Tollefsen of the Blue Jackets lines-up Toronto’s Jason Blake…
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.”
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