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Category: Toronto-Maple-Leafs

Can The Leafs Play Wilson’s Way?

from Damien Cox of The Spin,

Right now, the Leafs are scouring the league for a centre, knowing that nobody has to be under the salary cap until opening night so bargains may not become available until the middle of next week.

But given what the Leafs have, it’s not at all clear that this team has the capability to play the way Wilson wants them to, as laudable as that approach may be.

They put a lineup out against Buffalo on Monday night that looked very close to the group likely to open the regular season, and the result was another spotty effort, albeit a winning one. You can’t draw conclusions from exhibition games, but at the same time, while it was crowd-pleasing to see Phil Kessel and Nik Kulemin show some flash and dash, this still looks like a team that’s going to have a hard time keeping the puck out of its net.

Burke has loaded up with veteran D-men, and maybe they’ll tighten up starting next week. But the group of Dion Phaneuf, Francois Beauchemin, Mike Komisarek and Tomas Kaberle is anything but formidable when it comes to defending and loses a startling number of one-on-one confrontations, while the Leaf crease remains an area that enemy forwards don’t mind visiting.

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Evening Line

“This business is all about parades and jewelry.  If you get those things, you don’t have to explain one thing.”

-Brian Burke, GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  More from Burke and the Leafs by Damien Cox of the Toronto Star.

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  Tags: brian+burke

Leafs Need Help At Center

from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,

With both Nazem Kadri and John Mitchell struggling at camp and veteran Wayne Primeau unable to prove he still belongs, the Maple Leafs have a yawning need for help at centre.

So much so that Toronto’s scouts are analyzing the waiver wires and watching other camps in the hope a useful addition might present itself.

“No one has ever said we’re going with this group,” general manager Brian Burke said when asked about his centres during a media conference call Sunday.

“We’re still in a great position for waiver claims. We still have our scouts out scouring. We haven’t ruled out doing something. . . . We may need to go out and grab a centre.”

continued

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Late Saturday Night Hockey Notes

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

• Ron Wilson has every reason to hate the schedule that Brian Burke and ownership have saddled him with in training camp. Wilson’s backside is on the line as this season begins and the Leafs have played five pre-season games in the past five days. That’s five days where he can’t practise with his full roster, work on what needs to be worked on: It’s wasted time for a coach with the clock ticking.

• The New York Rangers missed an opportunity Saturday. They placed defenceman Wade Redden on waivers. They should have done the same for the retired but still working general manager, Glen Sather.

a few more hockey notes…

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Kadri Struggling

from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,

In less than a week, Nazem Kadri has gone from the hot story of Maple Leafs training camp to its most burning question.

Even with coach Ron Wilson openly calling him out again on Thursday, Kadri failed to make a mark, this time at his hometown rink, the John Labatt Centre, where he was a star with the London Knights the past two seasons.

The result of the continued flat play was a third-period demotion off the line he has skated with all camp thus far—prized off-season acquisitions Colby Armstrong and Kris Versteeg—to what looked like an all-Marlies unit between wingers Marcel Mueller and Darryl Boyce.

With Tyler Bozak, Mikhail Grabovski, Christian Hanson and John Mitchell all in the fight for centre spots, Kadri has been less effective than all of hem.

continued

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  Tags: nazem+kadri

Want To Watch Some Hockey Tonight?

We have Philadelpia taking on Toronto right now on NHL Network-US from London, Ontario and then the Kings face the Coyotes at 10:00pm ET via streaming which is embedded below.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, d, Los Angeles Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Why Not Play The Trap Brian Burke?

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

“It’s not entertaining,” harumphed Burke, a trap hater.

“You can dumb this game down and make it successful. We could have five guys stand in front of our net. But we’re in the entertainment business. I believe that our goals against can come down with improved goaltending and better defensive play.

“And yes, I care deeply about our (Leafs) history. But those two, Burns and Neilson, were defensive-oriented coaches. Both of those guys, I admire. Both guys I have or have had good relationships with. It’s just not my cup of tea (trapping).

“First and foremost, I’m in the entertainment business. I make no bones about that.

“We do not trap. We hit in all three zones. We trade chances. We fight. I like the style Ron plays.

“I need people to feel that the team is a good investment on nights we win and on nights we don’t.”

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Give The Leafs Some Time

from Howard Berger of Fan590,

Though the Maple Leafs left an ugly first impression on Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre, I might give it until after tonight’s second exhibition tilt — or maybe even Thursday’s match-up with Philadelphia in London — before writing off the entire season. An e-mail arrived late last night from a distraught Leaf zealot wondering how much time Ron Wilson has to “turn this thing around.” Another message bemoaned a “typical Kaberle effort… how [Brian] Burke saw fit to keep this guy is beyond me.”

Such knee-jerk reactions, of course, are commonplace in this apprehensive hockey market, and the Nervous Nellies had plenty of ammunition after the 5-0 stinker against Ottawa.

continued

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What’s The Cure For This Disease?

from of Vinay Menon the Toronto Star,

Then Burke starts talking about something he calls “blue and white disease.” And suddenly, as a lifelong Leafs fan, I question my devotion.

“The absolute insistence on winning was not here,” says Burke, who put together the Anaheim Ducks club that won the Stanley Cup in 2007. “If you need to be a championship team, success has to be something that’s desirable and attainable at any price. I really believe when I got here that the team had blue and white disease.”

This sickness, he explains, is caused by contradictions and market realities. No matter how poorly the team has played the organization thrived as the NHL’s most lucrative franchise. Win or lose, to be a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs meant you were paid handsomely, in the media and league spotlight, and lionized in the public as a demigod.

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  Tags: brian+burke

All The Good Guys

from Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun,

Still, the opening day of training camp is generally a feel-good type of deal, with optimism for the upcoming season running high and Wilson not yet agitated by the Toronto media.

When Wilson finally does make an appearance, he’s immediately surrounded, and a blond bombshell opens the questioning with: “Another season begins. Are you excited about today, medical day?”

Nobody’s sure how Wilson, a noted wisenheimer, is going to respond, but it’s clear that the coach is in a relaxed frame of mind when he refrains from answering with something like: “Yeah, there’s nothing more exciting than watching a guy ride an exercise bike in his pyjamas.”...

Team captain Dion Phaneuf, who spoke to the media during informal workouts in Toronto during the week, pops out and asks if anyone needs him (clearly with the hope that nobody does).

One reporter, and one reporter only, says, yes, he needs to ask him one question. Phaneuf steps over to the question area and, suddenly, is surrounded by 16 or so media types, and quickly the one question turns into many questions.

At one point , Phaneuf reveals that Phil Kessel is “a good guy.”

more

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

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