Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
Just when you think he has gone under the waves for good, weighted by the fat contracts he doled out for defencemen, his free-agent forays or tangled in the twine of three controversial goaltender moves, his team gets hot or his boss tosses him a life preserver.
Such fluctuations make it hard to judge Ferguson’s impact, other than the Leafs have had two close calls with making the playoffs. Is this season already a write-off as one broadsheet columnist boldly claimed, or is this modest December indicative of a better second half?
from the Toronto Sun,
Leafs coach Paul Maurice, obviously frustrated at losing a 27-minute-a-game defenceman until at least the all-star break, snapped during his post-game press conference, accusing Kostitsyn’s hit of being “a cheap shot” and “a bulls—- play.”
Toronto general manager John Ferguson and Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau were far less critical of Kostitsyn, a sentiment echoed by McCabe.
“I don’t even know exactly what happened,” McCabe said. “We just seemed to get tangled up. It was a freak thing, that’s all.
“I knew something was wrong right away. At first I couldn’t move my hand. Then, when I could start moving it, I could feel bones moving around in there. That’s never a good thing.”
from the CP via TSN,
But worse news for Toronto was that workhorse defenceman Bryan McCabe will likely be lost for at least six weeks after breaking three bones in his left hand midway through the third period after falling awkwardly into the boards after a check from Andrei Kostitsyn.
Toronto coach Paul Maurice was livid, saying Kostitsyn horse-collared McCabe and threw him into the boards.
“He’s too good a player to miss that much time after a (expletive) play like that,” he said.
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
They’re back, so once again you can expect to hear about the Canadiens-Maple Leafs “rivalry.” The Rocket and everyone wearing a Leafs sweater. Eddie Shack and any Canadien who was within a stick-length of him. Dickie Moore and Frank Mahovlich.
“Hey, remember the time Dickie led a charge off the Canadiens bench after the Big M intentiallly shot the puck into Henri Richard’s face?” That was then and this is now - so what rivalry? The rivalry as we knew it was at its height in the six-team league and continued after the NHL’s first expansion and into the 1970s. Since then, it has gone the way of the grus Americana.
Featured on the current issue of The Hockey News is the Leafs’ Mats Sundin.
Last week it was Nick Lidstrom and the week before that was Henrik Zetterberg.
It has to be a first, three Swedes on back-to-back-to-back covers!
from Damien Cox at ESPN,
It’s a classic example of how enamored NHL clubs can be of teenage players one moment, and how anxious they can be to dump the same players soon after.
And how there’s absolutely no guarantee that young players pressed into NHL service before their 20th birthdays are so talented that they’ll turn into stars like Sidney Crosby, or so hastily promoted that they’ll end up enormous busts like Alexandre Daigle.
The truth is, it usually takes years for either scenario to play out.
Both Vincent Lecavalier and Nik Antropov, you may recall, were drafted into the NHL the same year (1998), one a Quebec-born Canadian and the other a prodigy from the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan.
From Neil Stevens at the CP via Yahoo,
One of the most X-rated interviews of a coach ever recorded has finally made its way into print.
Get ready for a four-letter John Brophy barrage in “Tales From The Toronto Maple Leafs” by David Shoalts. The actual recording, made by Lance Hornby after a Toronto loss in Minnesota on Feb. 22, 1988, has been discreetly played for some of his pals over the years, but nobody ever dared to have it published - until Shoalts, like Hornby a Leafs beat writer, waded in with this hilarious look at some of the hijinx associated with the storied franchise during the last 50 years.
Don’t let the kiddies near this book. It is for adults only, and any Leafs fan who doesn’t mind the uncensored truth will love it.
Brophy used what Shoalts terms “the f-bomb” 72 times during the infamous interview way back when.
*book available at Amazon.com, a KK affilliate link.
from John McGourty of NHL.com,
Leave it to the Toronto Maple Leafs to spoil a good party.
The 27th annual “What’s Wrong With the Leafs?” luncheon will be held at a Toronto restaurant in a couple days and if the boys in blue can top their recent 5-1-1 streak with road victories tonight over the Atlanta Thrashers and tomorrow against the Montreal Canadiens on Hockey Night In Canada, there will be precious little downside to talk about at the negativity-in-perpetuity shindig.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Kaberle admits he had trouble adjusting to the coach’s adage of keeping it simple. Once he did, things got better, although part of that was Maurice reuniting him with McCabe, his familiar partner for so many years. That move made both of them better, mainly because they’re comfortable with each other on the ice.
“We know everyone has to start with himself,” Kaberle said of efforts to improve as a team. “Then everyone looks better afterward and that’s what we did. We simplified our game in our zone and tried to play in [the opposition’s] zone. And keep it simple.
“Sometimes, the big play is not there and the simple play is just getting the puck out of the zone and keep it simple in the neutral zone.”
from the National Post,
Sundin has pledged to end his career with the Leafs, even though all eyes around the league could look his way if Toronto falters near the NHL’s trade deadline on Feb. 26. His contract expires after the season which, combined with his productivity, could make him the most attractive commodity the market has seen for some time.
“Points or not, I’m not sure how much better a guy can play for us,” Maurice said. “If he hits that plateau, fine. If he’s under it, he may have actually played better.
“I don’t think the numbers will tell us how important he is to our team in the end.”
more on Sundin…
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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