Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Speculation abounds, for example, that Darcy Tucker is first on the buy-out list for this summer.
But what if the new GM wants to keep Tucker, or believes that given time, he could trade the veteran and get something for him?
The only sensible approach would be to put every important decision on hold, and to get a permanent somebody in by mid-June.
But that’s not the Leaf plan.
So while Peddie was ostensibly doing damage control, all it really did was make it abundantly clear that the dazed and confused Leafs are pursuing the future with continued maximum dysfunction as their guide.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Sundin is going to keep people waiting for his decision on whether he’ll re-sign with the Leafs, go somewhere else or simply retire and get ready for his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Many NHL insiders believe after what’s been a taxing season full of disappointment, Sundin might decide to hang up his sweater and walk away, comfortable in the fact he’s had a tremendous career.
Given all the bluster about not wanting to be dealt at the trade deadline, it would seem unlikely that Sundin would sign elsewhere unless Detroit D Nicklas Lidstrom and fellow Swede does a full-court press to get him to sign with the Red Wings.
more NHL talk…
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
“It’s simply not acceptable,” said Peddie, indicating that the accountability for the Leafs’ shortcomings runs from himself to the board of directors all the way down the ladder.
“It’s very disappointing and very upsetting. We’re smart people, people who are very savvy in business. We thought we had a solid plan to move ahead but that’s not the case. In fact, we’re not set up that great for next year either.
“It’s very humbling to know we failed.”
Peddie said simply reaching the post-season is not the goal.
“It’s more than making the playoffs,” he said. “It’s about moving toward a championship. And, frankly, we made no progress toward that end.”
from Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet,
The next move by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment will determine just how long this funk lasts. It is the most important organizational hire, in my opinion, since the Leafs lured Cliff Fletcher away from the powerhouse Calgary Flames in 1991. Don’t need to spell out what that did to revive the Leafs’ organization.
Now they need a 2008 version of that Fletcher while the present-day Fletcher helps caretake in the meantime.
Once the season is over, the obvious names must be sought after: Brian Burke in Anaheim, Ken Holland in Detroit, Jim Rutherford in Carolina, Doug Wilson in San Jose, Doug Risebrough in Minnesota, David Poile in Nashville and Colin Campbell, the NHL’s executive vice-president and director of hockey operations.
From Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet.ca,
Not since the spring of 1986 has every single NHL team in Canada made the playoffs in the same season. That’s right—22 freakin’ years.
The Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs, apparently putting rocket fuel in their cereal these days, seem determined to help end the streak.
With just under two weeks left in the regular season, the two Canadian clubs, written off by the hockey world long ago, are waging quite the campaign to get into the playoff dance against all odds.
Update 3:17pm ET: Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail adds some more thoughts on the Oilers “Cinderella Story” as they race to make the playoffs.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Since Sundin was lost on March 15, the Leafs have a 3-1 record, which sets up this week’s home-and-home series against the Boston Bruins as the key to their NHL season. Since they are four points behind the eighth-place Bruins with six games to play, the Leafs have to win both games in regulation time to have any hope of making the playoffs. It is still the longest of long shots.
But it’s a shot, which is good enough for this group. They might even get Sundin back for tomorrow’s opener against the Bruins. Sundin plans to test his injured groin in practice today, and if the improvement he felt on the weekend continues, he might play.
Ask Maurice who is responsible for holding the team together in Sundin’s absence, and he says he can name just about everyone on the team. From goaltender Vesa Toskala, who made his 27th consecutive start to beat the Senators, to defenceman Pavel Kubina, who seems to have a hand in every winning goal lately, to young centres Matt Stajan and Alex Steen, who both have picked up the scoring slack.
A drive from the bottom of the circle…
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
For Maple Leaf head scout Dave Morrison, however, there’s a professional poignancy to that concept given the status he shares with the rest of the club’s management, coaching and scouting staff. Morrison’s job, come June, will be to correctly identify the teenage prospect most likely to brighten the team’s future in the NHL entry draft, all the while knowing a new boss will arrive in the next few months and possibly clean house.
“To say we as scouts haven’t talked about that would be a lie,” said Morrison. “But we can’t control that, and we’ve got a chance to do something special in this draft.”
Given those circumstances, you might think Morrison would be hoping for the Leafs to sink as low as possible in the standings by season’s end to maximize their chances to select one of the high-profile prospects.
From Tim Wharnsby at the Globe & Mail,
Along the hallway to the New York Islanders dressing room, there are nine plaques commemorating key people from the franchise’s Stanley Cup seasons. From left to right, the wall of fame reads: Bill Torrey, Al Arbour, Denis Potvin, Mike Bossy, Billy Smith, Bob Nystrom, Clark Gillies, Bryan Trottier and Bob Bourne — and this morning Jason Blake.
Somebody placed a 10th tribute this morning, a picture of Blake , the former Islander and current Toronto Maple Leafs forward. Under the picture, it read “40-goal scorer.”
“Yeah, I have my sources as to who did it, but I’m not going to say,” said Blake…
from the Toronto Sun,
Asked to describe the effect of his injury, just when his team was getting back into the playoff hunt, Sundin candidly replied: “Devastating.”
Does that sound like a guy on the verge of returning to the lineup? Not really. In fact, don’t be surprised if the parties involved are cautious and hold him out until at least Tuesday when the Leafs visit the New York Islanders in Uniondale.
With so much still up in the air, this much is certain: Coach Paul Maurice said the decision to play will be up to Sundin, and Sundin alone.
“Mats knows what is best for Mats,” Maurice said. “If there are still questions, sitting out one game is preferable to this thing turning into a three or four (game absence.).”
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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