Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the CP via TSN,
Here it is Leafs fans, direct from the mouth of the head coach.
‘‘We’ll make the playoffs and compete for the Stanley Cup,’’ says Paul Maurice.
The pledge was made on the opening day of training camp Thursday.
from the Toronto Sun,
As Blake, Toskala and the controversial Mark Bell join their teammates for medicals today, an optimistic Ferguson, much like second-year head coach Paul Maurice, have set lofty goals for a franchise that has missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons.
“I do not view this season in any way other than with confidence that we will make the playoffs and challenge for a Stanley Cup,” Ferguson said last night. “We have improved ourselves up front and in goal.
“There is a great deal of opportunity for all of us here.”
An enthusiastic Blake, for one, echoes those sentiments.
from the Toronto Star,
The Toronto Maple Leafs are the most popular NHL team in Canada, but enjoy the lowest percentage of hometown supporters, according to a study released yesterday.
Across the country, 26 per cent of people asked to pick their favourite team chose the Leafs. The Montreal Canadiens followed with 23 per cent.
But only 63 per cent of fans in the Toronto market picked the blue and white as their favourite team, giving the Leafs the smallest percentage of hometown support compared with the other five Canadian markets.
The Toronto Maple Leafs unveiled their own new RBK jerseys a few minutes ago. This post on HF Boards shows a screenshot from Leafs TV:
More on the history of the evolving Maple Leafs sweater can be found here.
Update 3:58pm ET: For another point of view… (ha! okay, sorry…)
Update 4:34pm ET: Here is the broadcast from Leafs TV that unveiled the jerseys earlier today. (opens in WMP)
Toronto Maple Leafs’ Mark Bell received a 15 regular season game suspension from the NHL on Wednesday.
added 12:07pm, Statement from Gary Bettman,
“Playing in the National Hockey League is a privilege, and with that privilege comes a corresponding responsibility for exemplary conduct off the ice as well as on it,” Commissioner Bettman said. “Mark Bell will serve jail time following the 2007-08 season after pleading to felony and misdemeanor charges stemming from an alcohol-related automobile accident that caused an injury. He also left the scene of the accident. Such conduct is a violation of our covenant with our fans, and to the game, and is prejudicial to the welfare of the League.
“However, over the past year, Mark has made extraordinary strides in his rehabilitation. This positive progress was a material factor in reducing what could have been a lengthier suspension,” Commissioner Bettman added. “The NHL supports Mark’s commitment to learning from his past mistakes and his efforts to move his life forward in a positive direction.”
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The optimism that abounds with every team as the NHL season approaches does not fit with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
You cannot shake the feeling that this is the calm before the storm, the final days of the latest administration that failed to turn the Leafs into a champion. The signals are everywhere that the board of directors of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment has the plunger poised to blow things up come spring.
First, there was no sign of the contract extension supposedly promised to general manager John Ferguson. He is entering the final season of his contract. Making the playoffs is the only thing that will save him.
from Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star,
Fans are captivated by the thing that makes Tucker tick, granting him latitude, more forgiveness than most athletes get, and an unabashed fidelity. “I don’t think it’s necessarily a love affair. But fans can see how much I want to win, for myself and for the city. I’ll do anything to win a hockey game.
“A lot of this city is blue collar. Guys get up in the morning, have their Tim Hortons, go to work. They understand that I have the same blue-collar attitude towards my job. Maybe I didn’t grow up in Toronto watching the Leafs. But I grew up on a farm in Alberta. When I wasn’t playing hockey I was working my tail off like the rest of the world.”
from Steve Simmons at the Toronto Sun,
The slow dance between the Maple Leafs and Scotty Bowman never seems to end.
Although the music has once again stopped playing.
Bowman recently had meetings with Leafs CEO Richard Peddie and board chairman Larry Tanenbaum while he continues to maintain a public stance that he has no interest in leaving his consulting role with the Detroit Red Wings.
The role the Leafs talked to Bowman about recently was not that of adviser to general manager John Ferguson, but to be the senior hockey voice in the organization.
from the Toronto Sun,
Eugene Melnyk has a novel idea to spice up the Battle of Ontario.
How about if the Maple Leafs got into the playoffs for a change?
“You would like to see the Leafs competitive,” Melnyk, the owner of the Ottawa Senators, said. “I think they are making changes that will make them more competitive. They have to. We’ll see what happens. (The rivalry) does lose a little lustre, but it is still there and it will continue. But hopefully it never gets reversed and we keep winning.”
from the Toronto Star,
“Is it as hard to play there as I’ve heard it is?” inquired Toskala, conjuring up the stories of media and fan pressure passed on by fellow Finns, and former Leafs, Aki Berg and Jyrki Lumme.
“It’s worse,” came the reply. “It’s an awful place to play. If you play well, you’ll be next to God. If you don’t – oh my God – they’ll stone you to death.”
There was a long pause at the end of the line.
“Good,” Toskala finally said, breaking the silence. “I look forward to the challenge.”
It is, however, one thing to be open to a challenge, quite another to be open about it.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
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