Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Brian Burke can’t admit to the possibility of being intrigued by Bouwmeester because that would constitute tampering eight days before the free agent season officially begins. But he is thinking about it. He is thinking seriously about this 25-year-old defenceman. And the Maple Leafs will be among the bidders on July 1, no matter how silent he remains for now.
Just how high they are willing to go, how much money, how many years—and whether Bouwmeester would have any interest in playing in Toronto for a team on the rebuild—are all questions in need of answers for a player who has yet to define his career.
The Leafs, being where they are, have no choice but to take a shot at Bouwmeester. Because of his age. Because of his size. Because of his skill set. Because of all the possibilities he presents. Look how Zdeno Chara helped turn around a Boston Bruins team in terrible shape. Could Bouwmeester have the same kind of impact where he eventually lands?
Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke let it be known that the Leafs will not be in on the Dany Heatley sweepstakes, and he pulled no punches along the way.
In a phone interview with Deb Placey and Billy Jaffe on NHL Live! broadcast on the NHL network, Burke stated that the Leafs had no interest in the two-time 50 goal scorer, largely because of the way he has chosen to handle his trade request.
“We’re not going to be in on that,” Burke stated. “He’s a good player but I have certain guidelines on how players ask for trades.”
I was listening to the interview and one thing not mentioned in the above story is Burke was asked about the Phoenix/Hamilton issue. Burke said he cannot discuss right now, the league is handling the issue, but once he gets the OK to talk about it, NHL Live should book him for an hour, because he has a lot to say on that topic.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Yessir, the Maple Leaf hockey boss has been a busy man of late, hiring here and firing there. But he has yet to touch the actual player roster.
The next 14 days should, or could, be critical to Burke’s short-term ambitions. Then again, about 20 other clubs are saying the same thing. But here’s Burke’s four-pronged attack plan:
1. Sign goaltender Jonas Gustavsson. “The Monster” is expected to be secretly spirited into town this week to be wined and dined by the Leaf brass, including new goalie coach Francois Allaire, after first meeting with Colorado, Dallas and San Jose.
2. Try to figure out the uncertain equation between teams looking to dump expensive contracts and what they’ll be willing to pay to loosen the salary cap noose.
3. Move up in the entry draft.
4. Prepare to make an immediate, aggressive pitch for unrestricted free agent defenceman Jay Bouwmeester on July 1 or the Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik.
from the Toronto Maple Leafs,
Brian Burke, president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced Wednesday that Francois Allaire has joined the team. As Goaltending Consultant, Allaire will work extensively with the goaltenders at all levels of the Maple Leafs’ organization.
“We consider Francois to be one of the best in the world at his craft,” said Burke. “He brings a tremendous amount of experience and I know that he will make an immediate impact with our goalies. I would like to thank the Anaheim organization for making Francois available to us.”
Allaire, 53, spent the past 13 seasons as Anaheim’s Goaltending Consultant which included the 2007 Stanley Cup championship team
The Toronto Maple Leafs will not bring Curtis Joseph back for the 2009-10 season, reports the Toronto Sun.
General manager Brian Burke told the newspaper the Maple Leafs will look for another option as their backup goaltender in the coming season.
“Great service as a Leaf,” Burke told the Sun on Monday. “But we are moving on.”
*Original report from the Toronto Sun is here
from Ken Peters of the Hamilton Spectator,
The Toronto Maple Leafs have threatened to sue the National Hockey League if a franchise is located in Hamilton, the lawyer for Jim Balsillie has advised.
In a brief to a Arizona bankruptcy court Richard Rodier said the Maple Leafs believe they have power under the NHL constitution to veto another southern Ontario franchise.
Indeed Rodier said the Leafs received a $150,000 payment from Hamilton sports promoter Russ Boychuk in 2006 to allow a exhibition game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“I have been advised and it has been reported in Canadian news media that the Maple Leafs have threatened to sue the league and its constituent members is a team is located in Hamilton,” Rodier’s brief states.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Burke would rather deal with the reality of his position than anyone else’s supposition. He isn’t shy about listing his priorities of the next five weeks, which represent his first real opportunity to put his fingerprints all over the Maple Leafs.
Priority 1 is getting an answer from Swedish free agent goaltender Jonas Gustavsson. “We really like him,” Burke said. “If we can’t get him, we’ll have to trade for a backup goalie or sign one in free agency.”
In other words, see you later, Justin Pogge.
Priority 2 is the NHL entry draft on June 26 and 27. The Leafs have the seventh pick but Burke already has been on the record saying he would like to move up and select John Tavares. That’s his public stance. Fat chance. Privately, others insist he wants a top 4 pick—which would get him one of Tavares, Victor Hedman Matt Duchene or Luke Schenn’s brother, Brayden.
Update 7:12pm ET: From Tim Wharnsby at the Globe & Mail:
Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke and his Tampa Bay Lightning counterpart, Brian Lawton, were seen this week deep in discussion in the dining room at the hotel where the NHL was holding its annual prospects combine.
But Burke hasn’t made headway in his desire to move up in the 2009 NHL entry draft. The Leafs have the seventh overall selection. The Lightning has the second pick.
“I’ve knocked on a lot of doors and talked to a lot of other teams, but I’m not optimistic at this point. I hope it will heat up, but right now I haven’t had much success,” said Burke, who said that deals to move up in the draft usually don’t occur until draft day.
“You have to remember that I’ve been able to move up twice in the draft and both times it was done on the draft floor,” Burke added.
That John Tavares to the Toronto Maple Leafs story may have legs after all.
Pierre LeBrun of Hockey Night in Canada says the New York Islanders may be leaning toward choosing Swedish defenceman Victor Hedman with the first pick in the NHL amateur draft in Montreal on June 26-27.
If that happened, LeBrun said on Saturday night’s Hot Stove segment, the Tampa Bay Lightning, holders of the second pick, might be interested in either trading their choice outright or choosing Tavares and then flipping the London Knights’ star.
Damien Cox of the Toronto Star tells us all about it…
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
He rises every day by around 5:30 a.m., works hard and lives hard, creating the impression he’s plotting 24 hours a day how to beat the other guy.
How much of the Burke image is reality, and how much is perception, depends on whom you talk to.
But there’s this palpable sense of momentum, of pushing, of aggression, that is undeniable.
With the Maple Leafs wrapping up their season tonight, it’s as though Burke began next season several weeks ago. Right now, he’s calculating ways to move up in the June entry draft, chasing highly touted U.S. collegiate defenceman Matt Gilroy and sending reverberations throughout the Swedish Elite League with his urgent pursuit of 24-year-old Farjestad goaltender Jonas Gustavsson.
It’s not at all clear that the Leafs will be a better hockey team next season, or that in April 2010 they’ll play their first Stanley Cup playoff game in six years.
But Burke and his lieutenants sure create the perception that they’re striving to improve, and that ultimately they will compete with the best teams in the league.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org