Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Risto Pakarinen at Hockey.com,
I would also want you to acknowledge that a great player can end up on a bad club, and nothing can save him. That winning the Stanley Cup is not the only yardstick against which players can be measured. That a player like Mats Sundin can play on a line with Scarecrow and Tin Man, and still have enough heart and brain for the three of them.
more on Sundin…
from the National Post,
Paul Maurice doesn’t check the NHL standings every second of every day, because that way madness lies. No, the coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs has a far more sensible approach to his team’s dying whisper of a playoff chance. How often do you check the standings, coach?
“No more than three or four times a day,” says Maurice, deadpan. “When I get in; probably once before I go on the ice; certainly after, though nothing usually changes much. And then, between 7 and midnight I wouldn’t check the scores more than 30 or 40 times.”
from Dave Pratt of the Vancouver Province,
According to TSN, Anaheim Ducks general manager Brian Burke will be the new president and GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs if he wants to.
Does Burke want to work in the No. 1 hockey media centre in the universe? Does Homer like beer?
Neither Burke nor Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment president and CEO Richard Peddie are talking publicly about this rumour, for good reason—if it’s true, it’s tampering.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
It is just far-fetched enough in this crazy, tumultuous, and controversial Maple Leafs season that making the playoffs no is longer out of the question.
Actually, with all that has gone on, a near calendar of calamity, the Leafs may be just astonishing enough to finish eighth in the Eastern Conference.
added 7:09am, from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The prospect of the Leafs finally making good on their third consecutive late run at a playoff spot is a semi-interesting thought in an idle moment or two. But that is all it is. This is never going to happen. There are just too many things going against the plucky lads.
NEW YORK – Toronto Maple Leafs center Mats Sundin, Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas and Philadelphia Flyers right wing Mike Knuble have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending March 2.
More on each player below, plus video available at this link.
from the Toronto Star,
It hasn’t worked the past two springs, but they’re at it again. Just when it appeared the only bit of drama left for Leafs’ fans would be found in the draft lottery ping-pong balls, Toronto has ratcheted up its game.
Taking 13 of a possible 16 points since mid-February has brought the Leafs from the back of the pack to within shouting distance of the playoffs.
They sit six points behind Philadelphia, the team that currently holds the eighth and final post-season berth in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers have a game in hand.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Toskala did not immediately win over the Leafs’ fans, who were certainly clamouring for a new hero in goal after Andrew Raycroft wobbled badly. But Toskala was playing in the Eastern Conference for the first time and he also had to grow accustomed to being the go-to guy every night.
“When I changed teams, it takes a little time to get comfortable, but [playing a lot] makes you mentally stronger,” he said. “I think every time you play it makes you better.”
In that case, he should be Superman pretty soon. There is no end in sight for Toskala’s consecutive starts, not with the Leafs having to win almost all of their final 15 games to have any hope of making the playoffs.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Now with that part of the task having ended in defeat, the Maple Leafs are going to allow the interim decision-maker to acquire players and upcoming draft selections whom he will immediately hand off to his successor. What if the incoming GM doesn’t like the talent assembled by Fletcher? Shouldn’t the Maple Leafs’ next GM shape the future?
Is there any reason to wonder why this dysfunctional organization hasn’t been able to construct a Stanley Cup champion or finalist since 1967, the end of the Original Six era?
more and other NHL bits too…
from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
Reacting to criticisms from Bill Watters, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the company that owns the Leafs, has expunged from the Air Canada Centre all references to the Toronto broadcaster.
Advertisements promoting the Watters afternoon radio show on AM640 Toronto have been removed from the arena’s electronic display panel.
Posters publicizing the show have disappeared.
“We provided them with new material once we were told the Watters stuff had to come down,” Gord Harris, AM640’s program director, said yesterday.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
So while Fletcher fumes over the unwillingness of his stars to leave town and vows to use the rest of his tenure to throw more bodies overboard to change the “face” of the team, Maurice is aggressively rewarding the Muskokas with extra work while apparently declining to use the remaining portion of the schedule to play young players or the backup goalie.
Maurice, understandably, is just trying to win hockey games. But there are other organizational priorities here, like getting meaningful experience for Tlusty, Stralman, Earl, Newbury and Williams and perhaps trying to increase Raycroft’s trade value.
Fletcher couldn’t lean on his rich vets to waive their no-trades, however, and apparently has no control over what the coach does with the roster.
The hockey office says “Charge!” in one direction, and the team itself ignores the command and roars off to attack another hill.
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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