Kukla's Korner Hockey
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
Maybe it’s an omen of a lucky season ahead.
Keith Acton, an assistant coach with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and co-owner of Stouffville’s Boston Pizza, came into a lucky windfall last week after taking home $98,500 in the Aug. 5. Lotto 6/49 draw.
Mr. Acton, a former NHL player, said he had to check his ticket a few times.
“I didn’t believe I won at first,” he told lottery officials.
from Damian Cox of the Spin at theToronto Star,
Tomas Kaberle may be coming back to at least start the season with the Maple Leafs, but despite speculation in some corners, it won’t be to become the next Leaf captain.
Ditto for newcomers Mike Komisarek and Francois Beauchemin. In fact, GM Brian Burke is setting the bar awfully high in terms of finding the player who will next wear the “C” in Toronto, making it a virtual certainty the club will again not have a captain this season.
“Look, we’re Big Blue,” he said yesterday. “We’re not naming a captain until we have someone who can rank with the captains that have come before.”
continued & some Team USA talk too….
via Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
Attention K-Mart shoppers, don’t bother looking for that last-second Tomas Kaberle deal.
Asked yesterday just what time today the defenceman’s trade window closes, general manager Brian Burke e-mailed: “It doesn’t matter when. We’re not moving him.”
A post-season opportunity to trade Kaberle opened in his contract when the Leafs missed the playoffs. But outside of discussions with Boston for Phil Kessel at the draft, nothing developed and Burke decided to see what Kaberle can do this year when protected by a tougher Toronto defence.
Burke’s hope to trade another defenceman for help at forward remain unfulfilled to date.
How many times did we hear from supposed experts that Kaberle was about to be traded? It is now over, until the talks start up again near the trade deadline…
from Dave Perkins of the Toronto Star,
Judge Redfield T. Baum has denied Jim Balsillie’s attempt to have Richard Peddie testify at the Phoenix Coyotes’ bankruptcy case.
But a guy can dream, can’t he?
Attorney: Mr. Peddie, what is your current position?
Peddie: I am the lord high exchequer of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and I sitteth at the right hand of the almighty Ontario Teachers Pension Plan.
Attorney: You sitteth at the right hand? What about Larry Tanenbaum?
Peddie: The Plan is the father, I am the son and Larry is the Holy Ghost.
Attorney: Thank you. Now, Mr. Peddie, what is the stated goal of Maple Leaf Sports?
Peddie: To win the Stanley Cup.
Judge Baum: Mr. Peddie, I remind you that you are under oath. ... Bailiff, please instruct the spectators to stop laughing or I will clear the court.
from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen via the National Post,
Nazem Kadri can’t possibly know what’s in store for him.
Not just because there are always questions about a teenage prospect’s future in professional hockey, but because the 18-year-old centre from Komoka, Ont., southwest of London, is on the verge of becoming just the second Muslim to reach the NHL. (Ramzi Abid played 68 NHL games after being selected in the second round of the 1998 NHL entry draft by the Phoenix Coyotes.)
Unwittingly, Kadri, drafted seventh overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in June, is entering the NHL at an interesting time for a player of his ethnic background. Kadri’s father, Sam, left war-ravaged Lebanon in the late 1960s, emigrated to Canada and married a Canadian woman of Lebanese descent.
The NHL and especially Hockey Canada are on the prowl for a new face - a player such as Kadri - to represent a rapidly changing demographic, to attract new Canadians to the game.
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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