Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Only four forwards (Jason Blake, Niklas Hagman, Mikhail Grabovski and Colton Orr) and four defencemen (Mike Komisarek, Francois Beauchemin, Luke Schenn and Kaberle) have contracts with the club for next season. No goaltenders are committed beyond this season, with Vesa Toskala poised to become unrestricted next summer.
Right now, there seems to be little urgency on the part of the hockey club to get any of these players signed, although it’s possible centre John Mitchell could be an exception. If Mitchell has the kind of season the Leafs hope he can have, he could demand significant dollars next summer, so signing him now might be the smart move for the Leafs.
Hockey idealism, of course, suggests all any red-blooded player wants to do is win a Stanley Cup, but of course, reality is different. Establishing full-time NHL credentials or achieving salary ambitions are understandably motivations for many players, which means playing through the final year of a contract sometimes motivates some athletes to deliver their best performances.
from Damian Cox of the Toronto Star,
It’s believed he wants to join the Leafs and he’s already familiar with Burke and head coach Ron Wilson through his association with the U.S. Olympic program.
But the fact he doesn’t want to play for the Bruins doesn’t necessarily make it any easier for the Leafs to get their mitts on him.
For starters, the B’s can match any free agent offer sheet for Kessel, something Chiarelli has said he would do. The Bruins’ GM is apparently no longer crazy about dealing Kessel inside the Northeast Division, and Kaberle can no longer be included in any trade proposal now that his no-trade clause has kicked in again.
Burke and Chiarelli have held trade talks and it’s believed the Leafs are willing to pay more for Kessel than the compensation required if he were signed to an offer sheet. If a contract offer came between $3.9 million and $5.2 million per season, the Bruins would receive first-, second- and third-round draft picks as compensation.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
We’ll say this: if the NHLPA pulls its collective head out of its butt before this deal sneaks past, they should be making some phone calls. Considering Burke’s complaints that Lowe overpaid for Penner, thus raising the salary bar for those of his ilk, then the PA should be eager to know if any discussions between GMs involves establishing a perhaps more cost-effective level for Kessel.
In fact, we’re e-mailing this column straight to our choice as the next union leader, Bonnie Lindros.
Burke is one of the most competitive men we’ve ever met. He sweats while watching a rugby game on TV — we’ve seen it.
But does warning a fellow GM that you intend to legally acquire one of his players have any place in the same sentence with the word “competitiveness?”
In this case, might the words “honourable” and “collusion” amount to the same thing?
An animated Brian Burke discussed the rumours with reporters Tuesday at the team’s training facilities in Toronto.
“I do not contemplate an offer sheet to Phil Kessel at this time,” Burke told reporters.
from Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun,
Being a first-round draft pick of the Maple Leafs comes with enough pressure. Nazem Kadri didn’t need any more heading into his first NHL rookie camp this week.
Fortunately, a potential controversy that could have involved Kadri, the seventh overall pick in June, has been cut off at the pass, and all the 18-year-old forward has to worry about here this week at the Memorial Auditorium is playing hard and impressing the Leafs.
This year’s rookie camp is scheduled at the same time as the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, an annual observance that calls for practising Muslims to refrain from eating, drinking, smoking or anything considered ill-natured, from dawn until sunset.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
The Toronto Maple Leafs today re-acquired their own much-travelled 2010 second-round pick from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Toronto’s third-round pick in 2011 and a 2011 second-round pick that was previously acquired by Toronto from Calgary.
Why would the Leafs effectively pay a net price of a third-round pick to get a second-round pick in the 2010 draft instead of the 2011 draft?
Well, the move now gives Toronto their own first, second and third-round picks in the next NHL entry draft, which is the prerequisite for any team that would want to submit an offer sheet on a top restricted free agent player this summer.
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
As an American, why not try a team in his homeland, especially since there were ample suitors? Only Original Six franchises for this guy?
“I had opportunities to go elsewhere, markets where hockey may not be the number one sport,” Komisarek said in a telephone interview from his off-season home in Long Island, N.Y.
“But I sort of shied away from playing in a non-traditional market. It’s a unique situation to play in such a hockey hotbed with everything that goes with it, but it’s something I wanted a lot. I can’t wait for the opportunity to get up there and help get that team back to the playoffs.”
Komisarek and Francois Beauchemin, a Stanley Cup winner with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007, figure to be the cornerstones of a rebuilt and strengthened Leafs defence, the most fruitful harvest from a busy off-season for general manager Brian Burke.
from Bruce Arthur of the National Post,
As the possibility of present and future litigation over the Phoenix Coyotes continues to widen, there is another battlefield that is waiting to erupt. The war thus far has been between the National Hockey League and Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie. But the next fight could be between the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Court filings filed late Friday night show a disagreement between the league and its most powerful franchise, dating back to 2006, over whether the Leafs have a veto over another team playing in their territory.
The NHL had taken the position that a franchise transfer into the home territory of an existing franchise would only require a majority vote among the league’s board of governors. The Leafs, in a letter hand-delivered to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, strenuously objected, and wrote that the club would “reserve all rights to take whatever actions are necessary to protect their exclusive rights to their home territory.”
Excerpted from Leafs Abomination: The Dismayed Fan’s Handbook to Why the Leafs Stink and How They Can Rise Again.
from the Globe and Mail,
There is nothing that prepares you for it. You’re grinding away in your hockey career, pulling yourself up each rung of the ladder. The toast of small- town Canada in junior. Riding the buses in the anonymity of the American Hockey League as a young pro. Waiting for a shot.
Then you make the League, and while the money is good, playing in Nashville or St. Louis or Phoenix is a lesson in humility. You’re a big shot at the arena on game nights, but on Thursday afternoon at ShopRite? Not so much.
But then you get traded, or you sign as a free agent.
And overnight you’re a Toronto Maple Leaf. In an instant, your life changes.
If interested in the book, it can be purchased at Amazon.
from Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com,
Toronto, once the epicenter of hockey, has missed the playoffs the past four seasons, including last season’s 81-point debacle. Nobody knows if the near-term future holds a playoff berth for the Leafs, but Burke promises that his team will give its all to return the Original Six franchise to its former glory.
“Our goal is to make the playoffs next year; we’re going to have to make some changes to do it. We’re going to be a different team,” Burke said this summer. “I like a lot of hitting. I like a lot of fighting. We have a passive group. All year long, when a trainer was on the ice—it was always our trainer—that really bothered me.
“It will be a more hostile group in the fall.”
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.
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