Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.”
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
The new goaltending consultant for the Toronto Maple Leafs says he was never a goaltender. Back when he played hockey, Francois Allaire says the position did not really exist.
Sure, there were players who wore pads strapped to their legs and wore a blocker in one hand and a catching glove on the other. Yes, their objective was to stop shots. But compared to the modern-day goaltender, Allaire and his brethren were as disadvantaged as a forward trying to score with one hand on his stick.
There was no instruction. There was no technique. And the only things that coaches seemed to care about was that the puck stayed out of the net and that the goaltender stayed off his butt.
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
The Toronto Maple Leafs have granted a tryout to veteran forward Jason Allison.
The 34-year-old will attend the Leafs training camp without a contract next month, even though he hasn’t played in the NHL since his 2005-06 season. That season with the Leafs was cut to 66 games after he suffered a hand injury….
“I’m physically and mentally as healthy as I’ve been in five years,” Allison said. “I’m excited and ready to go.
“I had a lot of personal stuff to deal with last year - just getting my life re-organized and dealing with family issues. It’s been a good year for me, even though I didn’t play hockey and people were wondering where I was or what I was doing ... It was important for me to just get feeling good about life.”
from Ryan Pyette of the London Free Press,
The NHL draft-day drama remains so fresh.
London hockey agent Brian MacDonald of Siskinds Sports Management was sitting alongside his Knights client Nazem Kadri’s sizable clan at Montreal’s Bell Centre in June.
Suddenly, Ottawa Senators GM Bryan whipped past toward the Toronto Maple Leafs table, obviously to try to swing a last-minute deal with Buds boss Brian Burke.
“That was exciting,” MacDonald said, reflecting on the first round nail-biter. “We knew the Leafs were really high on Nazem so we were waiting to see which way it went (with Toronto and the seventh pick) and it always takes two sides to make a deal.”
And, often, a lot of ups and downs along the way.
from NHL This Morning at NHL Home Ice,
Team USA hopeful Mike Komisarek of the Toronto Maple Leafs joined Scott Laughlin from the USA Olympic orientation camp in Chicago. Mike talked about representing his country and joining the Maple Leafs this off-season
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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