Kukla's Korner Hockey
from William Houston of Truth & Rumours,
It’s hard to know how much to blame Wilson or the players for this mess. As (Bill) Watters has said, correctly, the team is woefully short on talent, as well as toughness. And this is where Burke will be held accountable.
The Kessel trade appears to have been a mistake. The free agents Burke signed over the summer haven’t panned out, although the goalie Jonas Gustavsson may develop. Burke tried to make the team tougher, but hasn’t.
When a caller pronounced Burke a failure on “every count, period,” Watters replied, “You said it well. Brian Burke’s record to date is nothing short of abysmal. I recommended this guy for the job, and I think there’s more good in him than there is bad. So far, we haven’t seen much good, but I think he deserves another kick at the can.”
Burke is a likeable, but blustery guy who can also be intimidating. It will be interesting to see who, if anybody in the Toronto print media, takes him on if the Leafs stay buried at third last in the NHL standing.
Now you can watch it.
Funny, really, to hear Ron Wilson bleating today about how unfair it is that the media is allowed to watch his practices and report on them.
This is the very same coach, ladies and gentleman, who upon coming to Toronto last season ripped the very same media people for not taking the time to watch practice carefully and to ask questions specifically related to drills and practice techniques.
-Damien Cox of The Spin. More on Wilson from Cox.
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.
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