Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Mike Zeisberger at the Toronto Sun,
For the record, Andrew Raycroft did not spend yesterday afternoon chucking blue-and-white darts at a photo of Vesa Toskala.
Nor did he retreat into the woods near his native Belleville and start burning the official flag of Finland, the country Toskala calls home.
On the day the Maple Leafs made a candid statement about the state of their goaltending situation by acquiring Toskala from the San Jose Sharks, most observers figured Raycroft would be oozing with bitterness.
But Raycroft wasn’t about to give his critics the satisfaction of hearing him whine. That wasn’t about to happen.
From Adam Proteau of The Hockey News via Toronto Star,
In dealing for Vesa Toskala Friday, Maple Leafs GM John Ferguson admitted that Andrew Raycroft, his draft-day acquisition at the 2006 entry draft, hasn’t panned out as he had hoped. A natural-born pessimist might fault Ferguson for that, while an optimist might at least give him credit for not stubbornly sticking by his alleged No. 1.
But Ferguson’s insistence on signing Toskala to a contract extension makes no sense whatsoever.
From Tim Wharnsby at Globe & Mail,
The Leafs were close to acquiring capable goalie Vesa Toskala from the San Jose Sharks this morning.
The deal will likely cost the Leafs their first-round selection (13th overall), but is conditional on whether the Leafs can sign Toskala to an extension. There could be another player moving from the Sharks for more Toronto draft picks.
Toskala, 30, will enter the final year of his contract that will pay him $1.375-million (all figures U.S.). The Finnish product made a career-high 38 appearances in 2006-07, enjoyed a 26-10- record, 2.35 goals against average and .908 save percentage.
Update 12:40pm EDT… Deal Confirmed
Again from the Globe,
The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired capable goalie Vesa Toskala from the San Jose Sharks.
The deal, which includes forward Mark Bell going to Toronto, has cost the Leafs their first-round selection (13th overall), second and fourth-round picks.
From Damien Cox at the Toronto Star,
In an ideal hockey world in which people were fairly recognized for their diligence and hard work, this would be Dave Morrison’s day.
In case the name doesn’t ring a bell, Morrison is the chief scout of the Maple Leafs, hardly a position that has been repeatedly crowned with glory over four decades of generally mediocre Leaf drafting, but a notable posting all the same.
Somewhere around, oh, 9 p.m. tonight, after 12 other teams have hemmed and hawed and thanked the city of Columbus for its Ohio hospitality and congratulated the Anaheim Ducks on winning the Stanley Cup, Morrison will call out a name of some young man who will immediately be deemed the newest next great hope.
For a fleeting moment, Morrison and that young man will matter. But only for a fleeting moment.
Damien Cox in The Spin,
Tomorrow night in Columbus, the Maple Leafs will acquire a player who will, possibly, join their roster by the 2009-2010 season.
In 10-12 days, however, Leaf fans are sure hoping the club will announce the acquisition of a significant player – or maybe two – that will have a defining impact on the team starting in October.
There’s no question this is John Ferguson’s biggest off-season as GM, one in which he doesn’t have to sign a bagful of unrestricted free agents on July 1st, but one in which he must, through his decisions and player moves, articulate a bold vision for this team beyond waiting for Jiri Tlusty and Justin Pogge to develop.
continued… *the challenges for Toronto, plus this week’s mailbag
“I haven’t spoken to anyone in the Leafs’ organization since the end of the regular season,” Mc-Cabe said from Long Island, N.Y. “I have absolutely no inkling that they would ask me to waive my no-trade clause. All of my [postseason] meetings with the club were positive; there was no indication that anyone on the team is unhappy with me….
Some believe the McCabes would waive the no-movement clause if the defenceman was to end up with the New York Islanders, as Roberta is from Long Island and the family spends its summers there.
“Oh, there’s nothing to that at all,” McCabe said. “Lots of husbands go to live where their wives are from in the off-season, just like the wives move to live where we play during the winter.”
more.. so all the folks who have emailed me about this when the damn rumor was started, just relax like I told you too…
from the Toronto Sun,
For most of his illustrious career, the man known as Cujo has been the top dog between the pipes.
But the veteran goalie, who has been a starter for most of his playing days, admits that he would accept a supporting role if it meant donning the blue and white again.
“To be back here again? Ya, absolutely I would, for sure,” former Maple Leaf Curtis Joseph revealed during a phone interview last night.
Leafs officials have publicly stated that they would like to find a backup to “push” incumbent Andrew Raycroft, who endured an inconsistent roller-coaster season en route to tying Ed Belfour’s franchise mark for victories with 37.
from the Barrie Advance,
While admitting Raycroft did have some bad moments, Tucker believes Raycroft may have been a little overworked, and needs to get a solid backup – someone who has the confidence of his teammates and who can fill in without the quality of the team’s performance suffering.
“I think obviously you’ve got to find somebody that can jump in and win us some hockey games when Andrew’s not in the lineup. When he’s in there, we need him to be great. Every team needs good goaltending. We had it for the most part last year, but there’s games where Andrew could be better, as well as a lot of the rest of us who could have been better,” said Tucker.
“I don’t think you can ever create good chemistry on a team if you’re blowing it up constantly. And I think that our team needs that sort of chemistry to be a good hockey team, especially in the City of Toronto,” he asserted. “We’ve got a good group of guys, and if we can augment that with some good young guys and some free agents, I think we’re fine.”
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
The Maple Leafs quietly are attempting to lure an experienced senior executive to head up their hockey operation, Sun Media has learned.
Two high-profile National Hockey League executives have confirmed they were contacted by associates of the Leafs, seeking their interest in taking over the hockey operations of the struggling club.
Both said they weren’t interested and both asked that they not be named for obvious reasons.
At the same time, it has been learned that Maple Leafs CEO Richard Peddie recently met with legendary ex-coach Scott Bowman in Buffalo to discuss a senior position, quite possibly as team president with the Leafs.
While Bowman denies having met with Peddie and denies having interest in a position with the Leafs—“I have no interest at all,” he said in a telephone interview—Peddie was given the opportunity to deny he met with Bowman for several hours and chose not to.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Unrestricted free-agent winger Ryan Smyth would be a perfect complement to flank Sundin, but keep this in mind: If he was looking for a five-year deal worth $5.5 million, then his demands aren’t about to drop. Daniel Briere? Chris Drury? They might very well be too pricey.
How about what’s referred to as “The Wilbur Plan” in reference to former Leafs executive Bill Watters, who yesterday floated the idea of pursuing free-agent forwards Scott Hartnell and Paul Kariya.
Or, perhaps, do they take a flyer on Alexei Yashin at a bargain-basement price?
Then there is the issue of whether free agents even want to come to Toronto and be under the spotlight 24/7.
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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