Kukla's Korner Hockey
from John McGourty of NHL.com,
Leave it to the Toronto Maple Leafs to spoil a good party.
The 27th annual “What’s Wrong With the Leafs?” luncheon will be held at a Toronto restaurant in a couple days and if the boys in blue can top their recent 5-1-1 streak with road victories tonight over the Atlanta Thrashers and tomorrow against the Montreal Canadiens on Hockey Night In Canada, there will be precious little downside to talk about at the negativity-in-perpetuity shindig.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Kaberle admits he had trouble adjusting to the coach’s adage of keeping it simple. Once he did, things got better, although part of that was Maurice reuniting him with McCabe, his familiar partner for so many years. That move made both of them better, mainly because they’re comfortable with each other on the ice.
“We know everyone has to start with himself,” Kaberle said of efforts to improve as a team. “Then everyone looks better afterward and that’s what we did. We simplified our game in our zone and tried to play in [the opposition’s] zone. And keep it simple.
“Sometimes, the big play is not there and the simple play is just getting the puck out of the zone and keep it simple in the neutral zone.”
from the National Post,
Sundin has pledged to end his career with the Leafs, even though all eyes around the league could look his way if Toronto falters near the NHL’s trade deadline on Feb. 26. His contract expires after the season which, combined with his productivity, could make him the most attractive commodity the market has seen for some time.
“Points or not, I’m not sure how much better a guy can play for us,” Maurice said. “If he hits that plateau, fine. If he’s under it, he may have actually played better.
“I don’t think the numbers will tell us how important he is to our team in the end.”
more on Sundin…
Pat Hannigan, who played his first National Hockey League game for the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1959-60 season and then enjoyed a second career broadcasting Buffalo Sabres games, has died. He was 71.
But in Fort Erie, he was better known for his social justice efforts, helping refugees new to Canada through Casa el Norte, a safe house for newcomers.
More on Pat Hannigan’s life and career at Legends of Hockey
from the Toronto Star,
“I always thought Nik Antropov was a great hockey player from the first year I saw him,” Sundin said, referring to the fact Antropov has gained votes, among the media at least, as the Leafs’ best player so far.
“I saw that he was big and strong, that he had a reach and a great shot. I thought he had all the tools to be a great player.”
Antropov is now within four goals of eclipsing his previous career high of 18. He is also on pace for 40 goals, 42 assists and 82 points – all of which would smash his previous bests.
What a difference two weeks makes.
Fourteen days ago, the Toronto Maple Leafs hit rock bottom with a dismal 5-1 defeat in Phoenix. The loss, Toronto’s third straight, dropped the team to 8-11-5 and had fans and media alike waiting — some hoping — for the axe to fall on general manager John Ferguson and head coach Paul Maurice.
Fuuny how some MSM folks and one particular “entertainer” told us the end was near. Now what do they have to say?
from the Globe and Mail,
“When you’re down you sit back and wonder what’s ahead, but that has made my time here that much more enjoyable,” said Devereaux, who has a modest two-game point streak going. “With Toronto, as a player on the outside, you always wonder what it is like to play in this hockey-mad city. It’s turned into a special experience.
“It’s been a crazy ride sometimes, but I’m so thankful to be playing here in this city where it is exciting every day, win or lose. It’s a challenge, but a challenge you relish daily.”
From the CP,
If noted New York Rangers agitator Sean Avery made disparaging remarks toward Jason Blake the last time they faced off, the Toronto forward never heard them.
A Toronto radio report following the teams’ previous meeting last month in Canada said a pre-game scuffle between Avery and Leafs counterpart Darcy Tucker was fuelled by a comment that Avery made toward Blake regarding his current battle with leukemia.
FAN 590 reporter Howard Berger had claimed Avery made “cancer-related remarks” to Blake, citing an unidentified Rangers player. Blake was diagnosed with a rare form of the disease in October but has continued to play while being treated.
From the CP,
“When Wade Belak gets a point, we win,” Belak said. “It’s been proven.
“You look back at all my goals and see if we won or not. Usually it’s a bad night for the other team.”
He was asked if the stick he used in practice was the same one with which he’d scored his rare goal.
“No, no. That’s in the Hockey Hall of Fame now,” he replied.
more… *an entertaining read as Belak gets on a roll with the one-liners. As the writer notes, “That’s Wade Belak: often lost near the net but never lost for words.”
from the Spin, the blog of Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
A week ago, Rome was burning, or at least the Maple Leafs were in freefall, candidates were openly lobbying for John Ferguson’s job, Richard Peddie was saying all kinds of silly things and major organizational change seemed imminent.
Then came a credible performance in a shootout loss to Montreal, followed by a solid victory in Atlanta and an impressive triumph against the struggling Pittsburgh Penguins on home ice Saturday night.
So can the alarm be turned off now? Or should it never have been turned on in the first place?
Well, no and no.
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.
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