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Category: Toronto-Maple-Leafs

Playing in Honour of Burns Tonight

As much as I’d enjoy watching the Leafs whoop the Habs by a score like 6-0, I really hope it’s a close game. Heck, I’d take a close game where the Habs win even than a blowout where the Leafs win.

I know there are Leafs fans out there who threw up in their mouth as I said that. I don’t care.

Because tonight is not about the Leafs. Nor is it about the Habs. It’s about Burnsie.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: pat+burns

“My Dad Hates Losing”- Katie Burke

As Brian Burke prepared to mark his 1,000th game as a general manager in the National Hockey League this weekend, his daughter Katie Burke wrote to The Globe and Mail in response to media columnist Bruce Dowbiggin’s article on Friday. Dowbiggin reported a debate as to whether the media in Toronto is holding back criticism of the Maple Leafs General Manager out of sympathy, as Brian Burke continues to grieve the loss of his son Brendan in a car accident last year.

As Brian’s oldest daughter, I wanted to take a moment to clarify some of the assumptions made in the ongoing conversation within the Toronto media:

First and foremost, my dad hates losing. Hates it. He hates losing at Scrabble, he hates losing a bet, and he really hates losing hockey games.

Growing up, the first thing you told any friend who attended a hockey game with you was that if the team lost, they would be well advised not to speak to my dad after the game. I can guarantee you that there is nothing the media could write or say about the Leafs’ performance that my dad hasn’t thought himself, and no one is more critical of his own work than my father.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brian+burke

Kessel Or Kovalchuk?

from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,

So why Kessel over Kovalchuk? That’s easy.

For starters, Kessel is only 23-years old compared to Kovalchuk, who is 27. Also, there is only four more years left on Kessel’s contract after this season compared to 14 more for Kovalchuk. There are kids just learning to skate who could be Kovalchuk’s teammates if he plays the entire duration of his contract.

Also, Kessel may not possess leadership qualities, but I have never heard him referred to as a dog. The same cannot be said for Kovalchuk who often seems disinterested, especially when he doesn’t have the puck.

That much was evident Thursday night. In a game that could be described as life or death for both clubs, even though it’s early in the season, Kessel thoroughly outplayed Kovalchuk.

Kovalchuk played 22:50 and had an assist to go with four shots on goal. However, he often seemed lethargic and there was no desperation in his game to get the Devils back into the contest when they fell behind. Kessel, on the other hand, played 20 minutes and finished with one goal—the game winner. He had six shots on goal and hit the goal post on another. He was engaged on virtually each and every of the 21 shifts he skated.


Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ilya+kovalchuk, phil+kessel

Take It Easy On Brian Burke?

from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Globe and Mail,

With the Maple Leafs floundering, it’s hard not to find fault – okay, a lot of fault – with the lack of progress since Burke grabbed the wheel. But The Fan 590’s Howard Berger has blogged that Burke’s heart doesn’t seem in his work since his son’s death, a suggestion Burke rejects.

So should media mitigate the barbs? Thursday on Andrew Krystal in the Morning on The Fan in Toronto, Krystal interviewed Todd Kays, co-author of Sports Psychology for Dummies. Krystal confessed he was having a hard time dissing Burke in light of his grief. So what’s a talking head supposed to do?

Kays’s response was simple. While we must be sensitive to people’s grief, the Ohio State University professor said the world moves on. “At some point, life goes back on. That’s the sad thing that when somebody dies in our lives, we think the whole world should stop. The reality is, it doesn’t.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brian+burke

Can Versteeg Keep Playing Like This?

Kris Versteeg’s 2-Goal effort against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday was the first time the Leaf winger has scored more than once in a game this season – not exactly a surprise considering he has only 4 goals on the season thus far. In fact, this was only the 4th moment in his 186-game NHL career that Versteeg has found the back of the net multiple times, and the first since November 19, 2009.

It is safe to say, then, that on Tuesday, Versteeg had one of the better offensive nights of his career in the regular season. His effort was a sigh of relief to Leaf fans, who have been waiting for the former Chicago Blackhawk to provide some much-needed secondary scoring.

Missing in the glory of a comeback victory, however, is the fact that a calamity of factors contributed to how well Versteeg played against the Predators.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kris+versteeg

No Email Trail In Burke’s Days With The NHL

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

Brian Burke figured if there had been e-mail when he was the lord of the NHL’s office of discipline, the current firestorm over Colin Campbell’s indelicate messages to staffers would look like a single sparkler on a windy day.

“I felt exactly like Colie felt,” Burke told ESPN.com on Wednesday. “There were divers and clowns in our league and I called them that.”

The only difference is Campbell provided such assessment in electronic mail that lived on long past the moment that spawned the comments which ultimately ended up as evidence in a wrongful dismissal suit and fodder for the media.

“If I’d used e-mail, I’d have used the same language,” said Burke, who was vice president and director of hockey operations for the NHL from 1993-98. “Only I didn’t get caught because there was no e-mail trail.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brian+burke, colin+campbell

Phaneuf Talks About His Leg Injury

from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,

“When you pull your pant leg up and you can see inside your leg, it’s not a very good feeling,” said Phaneuf, speaking expansively about his injury for the first time Wednesday.

The captain of the Leafs, with his intense glower and hard-nosed play, is accustomed to seeing trepidation in others. That night, he admits, he was feeling fear himself as he wondered whether his season had come to an end.

“When you’re sitting there on the trainer’s table and the orthopedic surgeon says we’ve got to go to the (operating room), you’re definitely wondering. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t (feel scared),” he said.

While exploring the wound, doctors found Phaneuf’s medial collateral ligament had been knicked by Regin’s skate. It had to be stitched up. So did the other internal damage. Phaneuf, though, was fortunate. Regin’s skate missed an artery — “Close; I got very lucky,” Phaneuf says — and the outside of the wound was stapled together in what, in total, was almost a three-hour procedure at Mount Sinai Hospital.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dion+phaneuf

Live. Love. Leafs.

Help me welcome Shiv to the stable of KK bloggers.  A well educated youngster in my mind, but some of you may have to ‘rope him in’ from time to time but he does know his Leafs.

Shiv basically forced himself on me, submitting blog after blog in the KK Members’ Section and I finally caved and felt he deserved his own blog.  Good luck Shiv! -Paul

Go Leafs Go.

I can’t think of a better way to introduce myself to KK followers than with that phrase. It is what I am: The common Leaf fan.

My name is Shiv. I am 23 years old and have never been old enough to legally watch a Leaf playoff game in a bar. Yet despite this tragedy, I still bleed blue and white; I still plan the parade route every year.

I realize this attitude is the reason Leaf Nation gets such a bad rap from the hockey universe. But this attitude is exactly what I hope to bring to KK.


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Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Would Praying Help The Leafs?

from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,

Legendary goaltender Johnny Bower recalls that it was as ugly as anything Toronto fans are suffering through now with the Leafs’ run of losses at eight.

“I was fighting the puck. I depended on my defencemen so much and they had their problems too. And the forwards couldn’t score worth a hoot, just like they way they’re going right now,” Bower said Monday.

But those Leafs eventually won again. In a game against Boston in which Bower was supposed to back up, he was conscripted to start when Bruce Gamble couldn’t go because of a sore shoulder. Bower played the game of his life, stopping 30 of 31 Bruins shots en route to a drought-snapping 2-1 victory.

“I went to church, lit candles and we won,” said Bower with a chuckle. “Maybe our (current) players should do that. Get ’em to go to church and say a little prayer.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Kadri Call Up Show Leafs Are Desperate

from Bruce Arthur of the National Post,

“You’d rather not bring in a young player, two young players, on Hockey Night [in Canada],” Leafs general manager Brian Burke told the media after Friday’s practice. “It’s a carnival atmosphere and everyone knows it’s a special thing; you’d rather do it on a weeknight, frankly, but again it’s not an ideal world, this is what players have to deal with, and young players have to learn that.”

Sink or swim, kid. There as always going to be a spotlight on Kadri when he was called up, but to bring him up now is like adding a giant magnifying glass to the equation. The team is in danger of falling through the ice, sure, but they won’t be this bad all season, since that’s almost impossible to do.

But there just isn’t enough offensive talent on this team, bereft as it is up the middle. Bringing up Kadri now, as the forest burns, means there isn’t room for any other storyline. Maybe Kadri will be like P.K. Subban, who was thrown into the cauldron by the Montreal Canadiens in last year’s playoffs. Due to injuries, though, the Canadiens had no real choice. The Leafs did. Or at least, could have.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nazem+kadri

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com


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