Kukla's Korner Hockey
From David Shoalts at the Globe & Mail,
You have to go back to Ed Belfour in 2002 to find a Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender who had a worse debut than Vesa Toskala.
Eddie the Eagle coughed up a goal on the first shot of the Blue-and-White intrasquad game, which drew some boos from the fans at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton. A few nights later, in his first real game, Belfour — the replacement for the sainted Curtis Joseph — did it again. Belfour gave up a goal on the first shot by the hated Ottawa Senators in the Leafs’ first exhibition game, then gave up two more before leaving partway through what turned out to be a 7-1 drubbing by the Senators.
Toskala, who managed to survive his Blue-White debut without too much embarrassment last Sunday, was channelling Belfour last night against the Phoenix Coyotes in his preseason debut.
from the Toronto Star,
Welcome to the club, Jason Blake, the Fraternal Squadron of Mats Sundin Wing Men.
Remember Mikael Renberg? Steve Thomas? Alex Mogilny? Gary Roberts? Eric Lindros? Freddie Modin? Lately, everyone from Tie Domi to Darcy Tucker, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Nik Antropov have flanked Sundin, with mutually less than Cup-calibre results.
Now, it’s Blake’s turn, circa training camp ‘07. Is he the one, the missing link in the magic combo?
from the Toronto Sun,
The Maple Leafs are rumoured to be on the short list should the NHL again choose to open the 2008-09 season in Europe.
“I have heard about it,” general manager John Ferguson said yesterday. “No question, the Leafs are a team with global appeal.”
Stockholm would be a strong possibility for the Leafs, who have Swedes Mats Sundin—for this year anyway—as well as Alex Steen. A perfect match would be the Vancouver Canucks with the Sedin twins and Markus Naslund.
more... hmmm, I know another NHL team that would be even a better fit to play in Stockholm than either the Leafs or Canucks…
from the Toronto Sun,
Although it is not on the agenda for next week’s board of governors meetings in Chicago, Peddie, the president of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., will arrive in the Windy City looking once again to pursue a format that would see the Leafs face western Canadian teams every year.
“That’s our unofficial plan,” Peddie said last night. “We feel its important. The last time around, I think we were the only team that voted for every proposal that would see us play every team each season.
“We hope to discuss it again. We feel it’s important to get back into a rotation that allowed us to face Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and even Detroit every year.
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.
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 email@example.com