Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bill Lankhof of the Toronto Sun,
When the Maple Leafs missed the playoffs last year it was the closest thing to a national disaster to hit Toronto since Mel Lastman spotted a snowflake over North York.
But even that does not come close to the travesty and abuse of a public trust being perpetrated by this season’s Maple Leafs, who are closing in on becoming the first NHL team in Toronto to miss the playoffs three consecutive years since 1927-28.
How embarrassing was that? Don’t know, but they changed the name from St. Patrick’s to Maple Leafs. These days fans just walk around with paper bags on their heads.
from Spector’s Blog,
...But apparently for Sundin, playing for a Cup contender isn’t as important as being a Maple Leaf.
One would think he would be applauded for his loyalty, instead, he’s being criticized and vilified by some pundits and fans.
His critics suggest he’s merely being selfish for not agreeing to a trade, that he’s not putting the needs of the Leafs above his own, that he’s seriously hurting the franchise’s attempt for a strong start to their rebuilding program.
His refusal is being considered a prime example of how a player with a “no-trade/movement” clause can hold a team hostage and handcuff their efforts to rebuild.
from the Toronto Sun,
With defenceman Tomas Kaberle insisting he is not going anywhere, echoing the same sentiments as the other four members of the Maple Leafs “no-trade clause” fraternity, Antropov might very well be the most legitimate candidate to be moved by the Feb. 26 trade deadline.
In the prime of his career at age 28, Antropov’s value never has been higher. He’s managed to stickhandle his way around the injury bug for a change while reaching a career-high 21 goals, attractive traits for teams in the market for a hulking power forward.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
At some point between now and next Tuesday, Maple Leafs interim GM Cliff Fletcher will go to captain Mats Sundin on bended knee and ask him in the nicest possible way to waive his no-trade clause so Toronto can begin the long task of rebuilding its rotted vessel.
No one knows what Sundin will say when this offer is presented to him, but the Leafs’ course of action should be very clear if he maintains his stated position that he has no intention of leaving Toronto.
First, Fletcher should immediately strip Sundin of the captain’s “C”. Then, Fletcher should make it very clear he will not re-sign the unrestricted free agent this summer or strongly recommend to the next full-time GM that Sundin not be re-signed.
After all, what kind of role model is Sundin if he refuses to commit the ultimate act of leadership by helping the team he professes to love get better?
from Bill Lankhof of the Toronto Sun,
Vesa Toskala says he’s “comfortable” playing the rest of the season. Of course, when he was losing 7-1 to Washington and platooning with Andrew Raycroft he said he was “comfortable” too. He leaves the impression someone could put him on a bed of nails and, if there was a reporter around, he’d give him a bemused grin and insist that he was, indeed, “comfortable.”
So, we’ll bite: Just how does a team keep its comfort zone when it can win three like Toronto did in January and move all the way up to 13th. Or beat Detroit, Montreal and Ottawa, and not gain an inch?
via Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Tomas Kaberle could be on the move.
Two league executives told the Sun talks to send the Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman to the Philadelphia Flyers have intensified in the last 24 hours.
The belief is Kaberle may have been asked to waive his no movement clause and if he agrees a deal could be completed.
added 5:04pm, from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
“Tomas Kaberle is not going anywhere,’’ agent Rick Curran told TSN. ‘‘He signed a contract to be a Toronto Maple Leaf and while he’s disappointed with the way things have turned out this season in Toronto, he has no intention of leaving. He’s fully committed to the Maple Leafs. That’s why he signed a long-term contract (three more seasons after this one at $4.25 million per season) and that’s why he’s not waiving his no-trade clause….”
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Last February, 50 trades were made in four weeks prior to the deadline, but there has been no such flurry this winter, only a single deal that sent Cory Stillman to the Ottawa Senators. The best bet is that once one Western Conference team makes a significant move, others will quickly follow.
Dallas, Anaheim and San Jose are eyeballing each other closely, and Detroit has got to be thinking a lot more about making a bigger move with the way Mike Babcock’s club has floundered of late.
Fletcher, then, really has to wait and watch the west. That’s got to be more interesting than watching games that don’t matter.
from the Toronto Sun,
McCabe, for one, was intrigued by the implication in the Post story that the Leafs are “engaged” in getting him to waive his no-movement clause.
“That’s interesting since no one from the Leafs has even approached me about such a thing,” said McCabe, whose deal averages $5.75 million per season. “Besides, like I keep saying, I want to be a Leaf.”
Interim general manager Cliff Fletcher backed up McCabe’s claim.
“I haven’t approached anyone on the subject of no-trades,” Fletcher said.
“Quite frankly I would only approach someone if something tangible was (on the table).”
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
If Mats Sundin is to be taken at his word, that he truly bleeds blue and white, then in the best interests of the Maple Leafs he must act accordingly.
He must waive the no-trade clause in his contract and allow Cliff Fletcher to trade him at the Feb. 26 deadline.
That way, he can impact the next decade of the Leafs, just as he impacted the past decade. That way, he can enable the Leafs to build for next season and beyond, and if he chooses to return as a free agent in July, then he returns to a team that has a Steven Stamkos or a Drew Doughty, a team with fresher, younger legs, a team he can resume his captaincy and leadership of, while surrounded with a better cast and crew.
via George Gross of the Toronto Sun,
One player he (Fletcher) won’t be able to move—if I can believe a rival club’s executive—is Darcy Tucker.
“I wouldn’t give my last draft choice in order to get him,” was the way the fellow put it to me.
“It’s not because he isn’t an honest, hard-working player, but because he has lost it. The many wars against much bigger and tougher fellows are telling on him. He is trying hard, but he can’t get there anymore.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org