Kukla's Korner Hockey
This should answer some of the emails I received today asking if Burke was behind the Leafs trade today. As I responded to many of you, he is still employed by the Ducks and would not anything unethical.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The popular sentiment, at least until Brian Burke’s cellphone started ringing, was that his fingerprints were all over yesterday’s Toronto Maple Leafs trade.
“This is the fourth call I’ve had and you all have the same question,” he barked down the line from Boston, where he is visiting family for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. “No one from the Leafs talked to me about this, nor would it be appropriate for me to have any input. I am still officially an employee of the Anaheim Ducks.”
That could change by the end of the week, since an offer has landed in Burke’s hands.
Burke plans to stay in Boston until the end of the week but he will be talking to the Maple Leafs by telephone.
from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Winger Lee Stempniak was the rarest of commodities, a real offensive threat drafted and developed by the Blues.
So his departure for underachieving Maple Leafs Alex Steen, a versatile forward, and Carlo Colaiacovo, a rangy defenseman, is a bit of a head scratcher….
How could the Blues give up on a home-grown shooter who scored 27 goals two years ago and was producing at a point-per-game pace this season?
We’ll need some convincing in this corner of cyberspace. This deal sounds suspiciously like a Ron Caron trade, moving a potential standout for depth.
We’re not saying Colaiacovo is Murray Baron and Steen is Ron Sutter, but . . .
Nick Kypreos on Fan 590 reporting the follwing trade: Alex Steen and Carlo Colaiacovo for Lee Stempniak.
added 1:50pm, St. Louis Blues President John Davidson announced today the team has acquired defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo and center Alexander Steen from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Lee Stempniak.
“We feel we have improved our club today for both the short and long term by adding Carlo and Alex,” said Davidson. “Carlo is solid two-way defenseman and will provide depth to our blueline and Alex can play center or wing and can score at the NHL level.” “Lee has done a tremendous job in St. Louis. He is a classy individual and we would like to thank him for all of his work on and off the ice that he has provided to the St. Louis Blues.”
Tonight, Patrick Roy is standing on the podium in Montreal accepting the great honor of witnessing his number being retired by the Canadiens. We’ll add his acceptance speech to this post later (assuming it becomes available) as well as a couple more photos. A special night for Habs fans, without a doubt.
*image is a screenshot from the CBC broadcast of Roy at the podium tonight
Tonight was also a special night in Toronto where Wendel Clark also saw his number retired. I thought I’d include a few images from that ceremony on this same post. You’ll find them below.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Prior to tomorrow night’s Maple Leafs-Chicago Blackhawks tilt at the Air Canada Centre, a banner sporting Wendel Clark’s familiar No. 17 will be hoisted to the rafters in honour of the contributions the rugged forward made to the Original Six team over the years.
In celebration of Wendel Clark Night, all fans attending the game will receive a special Wendel Clark moustache in recognition of No. 17’s trademark facial hair. The crowd will be encouraged to wear them, with organizers hoping to turn the capactity throng into 20,0000 Wendel lookalikes.
The fans might not be the only ones sporting those moustaches either.
“Maybe we’ll all wear them out for the pre-game skate,” goalie Curtis Joseph said, referring to his teammates.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun, ...
while Leafs coach Ron Wilson said he did not expect Colaiacovo’s ailment to be an issue, watching the defenceman limping around suggested otherwise….
Acknowledging that Colaiacovo was en route to having X-rays taken, Wilson suggested that Colaiacovo’s injury-plagued history is related to less-than-ideal physical conditioning.
“The big thing with Carlo — and I tell him that every day — is that ‘You’re not in very good shape. It leads to all the other issues in the past’,” Wilson said, adding the organization is working with Colaiacovo to improve his preparation.
from The Spin, the blog of Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
If Burke does sign on this weekend, it appears increasingly likely he won’t be coming alone. His visit to Vancouver this week will include a meeting with Dave Nonis, who worked with Burke in B.C. and was hired by Burke to work in Anaheim during the summer. Nonis had meetings with the Leafs last summer over their vacant executive position, but couldn’t come to an agreement, so clearly he’s already seriously considered re-locating east.
How that would affect the Leaf front office isn’t clear. Fletcher would likely stay on a consultant capacity at least until the end of the 19-month contract he signed last January, and Joe Nieuwendyk appears likely to be part of a Burke team. Burke didn’t immediately clean house when he took over in Vancouver or Anaheim, so he may be content with bringing Nonis in without dumping those already working in Toronto.
from The Spin, a blog by Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Yep, the kid who scored Vancouver’s pretty first goal on Saturday night was given away by Fletcher.
If you agree Wellwood looks reborn in Vancouver, then you’d have to say it was a bad deal by Fletcher.
Yet nobody, but nobody, covering the Wellwood story seemed to bring that point up.
It was, really, yet another example of the extra layer of teflon assigned to Fletcher in his second go around with the hockey club. Nothing bad that has happened since he arrived in January is attributed to him, and anything positive is wildly exaggerated.
Even now, with the team having won only seven of 18 games and having lost five of its past seven matches, the tributes to Fletcher’s work are just pouring in by people who have been around the game for a long time and should know better.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
For starters, Burke doesn’t despise small players, but he doesn’t want many of ‘em. Maybe one or two. Maybe Mikhail Grabovski can stick around, but not Grabovski and Alex Steen and Jiri Tlusty and Jason Blake and Matt Stajan.
He doesn’t terribly mind Europeans. Right now, the Ducks have two, Teemu Selanne and Sammy Pahlsson.
The Leafs have 11 Europeans, only two of whom, Niklas Hagman and Jonas Frogren, really fit into Burke’s gritty ideal of an NHL player.
The Ducks led the NHL in fighting majors two years ago when they won the Stanley Cup and are second this season with 18 scraps already. Nine Ducks have been in at least one scrap.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
TSN has learned that Carolina Hurricanes’ general manager Jim Rutherford was formally offered the dual position as president and GM of the Leafs in August of 2007, at which time John Ferguson Jr. was still in place as the GM of the team.
Sources close to the MLSE board told TSN that the Leafs went through a prolonged dialogue with Rutherford that started in August of 2007 when the Leafs requested and were granted permission from Carolina owner Peter Karmanos to talk to Rutherford, the Toronto-area native.
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