Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
He called out Phil Kessel for his lack of offence and then zeroed in on the meek response the Leafs gave after falling behind 4-0 to the Flyers and letting Philly enforcer Daniel Carcillo rub their noses in it. Kessel, who has just one goal the past 10 games, declined to talk to reporters afterwards.
“Ooh, he gets singled out in professional sports,” a caustic Wilson said of the stir his speech created. “He hasn’t played well the past 10 games. I could single out a lot of players, but he’s our best player and a lot of times that needs to be the message.
“We (criticize) it here (in public) because I’m ticked off. You do need a kick in the rump sometimes and then we’ll see how people respond.”
Wilson also ripped the team for its penchant for allowing early goals, lack of special teams’ success and their general compete level, after the Leafs teased everyone the night before with a come-from-behind win over Florida.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
“It was a bit unsportsmanlike,” defenceman Ian White said of Carcillo’s act. “He’s known a bit for that. But, hey, he scored a goal and got a fight.”
Carcillo had a simple explanation for his actions.
“I just looked at (Colton) Orr a bit,” the Flyers pugilist said. “He had been running around at us doing his thing. I tried fighting him on that shift. When it didn’t happen, I scored.”
Then came Carcillo’s post-goal antics, aimed at Orr.
“It doesn’t even deserve a comment,” Orr said.
While his players may have been angry at Carcillo, Wilson was more steamed at his own team.
more and if you missed his goal and the post-goal skate past the Leafs bench, watch it below…
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Gustavsson, this young into his career, doesn’t yet look the like real deal but he is more than inching his way in the right direction. His personal coach, Francois Allaire, thinks he is only scratching the surface of the kind of goalie he can be. He would like Gustavsson to be more steady, less spectacular, more focussed avoiding the bad goal against, less reliant like he was last night of having to be spectacular when it was necessary.
“After the first two goals against, he just took care of the rest of the business,” said Allaire, talking about his 3-2 win last night against the Florida Panthers. “He made a lot of special saves. Jonas is starting to understand how to win and in the NHL that’s a long process.”
This is just the beginning. The assumption is he will get better, which bodes very well for the Leafs future in goal. The assumption is, this is only the beginning of the learning curve. But that’s the rub with goaltenders. Just when you think you know, you don’t. Just when you think Jose Theodore is a most valuable player, he becomes unwanted in two other cities. The Patrick Roys and the Martin Brodeurs only come along once or twice in a lifetime.
from William Houston of Truth & Rumours,
Generally, the Leaf players are given a soft ride by the reporters covering the team and also by most of the commentators in the city. Too many reporters — not all — carry on as fans rather than journalists. See Leafs TV, for starters.
So, when Burke signals to his players, by way of the movement freeze, that they’re receiving preferential treatment compared with those on other teams, he’s just giving them another reason to think they’re special, when they don’t deserve to be. Special? Precious might be a better word.
“I’m trying personally to eliminate pre-game skates,. For lack of a better word, they are retarded. They are from the dark ages. Physiologists will tell you, you can’t get that energy back if you waste it in a pre-game skate.”
-Leafs coach Ron Wilson. More on this topic from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun.
from Mike Ulmer of TorontoMapleLeafs.com,
Imagine you are Ron Wilson. Your team is three points out of the playoffs after being left for dead. You want to develop Gustavsson at the right pace. His talent, and his shortcomings, jump out. But do you ride Toskala in consecutive days, easing the load on your rookie while pinning your playoff chances on a veteran often trying to rebound from ineffective play and injuries?
Or do you throw Gustavsson in and hope he negotiates the dangerous ground between becoming less active and more poised?
In professional sports, fairness isn’t a frequently used word. Maybe that’s because no matter what you do, it seems impossible to reckon who you are being fair to.
from Jonas Siegel of AM640,
Could Ian White’s career year be the tipping point for Tomas Kaberle’s exit out of Toronto?
It certainly seems that way.
White, a restricted free agent at season’s end, will command a big-time raise from the $950,000 he’s earning this season, something perhaps in the neighbourhood of $2.5-3 million per season.
And that’s where it gets tricky for Burke.
from Jeremy Sandler of the National Post,
Optimists among the Toronto Maple Leafs faithful can look at the team’s standing exiting the NHL’s brief break for Christmas and find reasons to smile.
Since losing 12 of 13 games to start the season, coach Ron Wilson’s team is 12-10-3, basically a .500 record.
In one stretch of 17 games, the Maple Leafs went 10-5-2, a run that made “We’re right where we want to be” a theme among many of Toronto’s players before the team travelled to New York for its pre-Christmas 3-1 loss to the Islanders.
But parse the standings any way you like, the overall numbers give a stark reminder of just how bad the Maple Leafs have been.
from Joe Warmington of the Toronto Sun,
He may have lost his NHL shutout record this week but now the family of the late Terry Sawchuk would like to find his two stolen Stanley Cup rings.
The guy who beat this long-held record earned it. But whoever stole the rings not only didn’t earn it, but also fleeced a nice family of some very special memories.
It would be a great Christmas present to see them returned.
“It has been a mystery for almost 40 years,” said Sawchuk’s 55-year-old son, Jerry, one of seven children. “We feel the rings are still out there somewhere.”
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
Three games without a point - his worst stretch as Leaf - doesn’t mean a Kessel benching is imminent, but Leafs coach Ron Wilson would like to see more soon from the team’s designated sniper.
“I agree he’s a little off,” Wilson said following Tuesday’s practice at the Mastercard Centre. “He’s not skating, he looks like he’s a little tired. He’s played a lot of games ... that’s as far as I will go.”
Kessel was willing to take it a little further while trying to shake off one of his least memorable nights with his new team. A mediocre minus-four in his past four games, Kessel was held to just four non-threatening shots on goal in Monday’s 3-2 loss to the Sabres.
To add misery to the miserly attack, the winger was on the ice for Derek Roy’s game winner in overtime. Rather than help earn the valuable extra point, Kessel contributed to it going the other way.
“I just haven’t been playing as well as before,” Kessel said bluntly before the team hopped a flight to New York for Wednesday’s game against the Islanders.
“Lately, I just haven’t been the best. I haven’t been terrible, but I know I have a lot better in me. I have to pick it up.
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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