Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,
You can toss out the form chart. Forget the odds. Pay no attention to the fact the Toronto Maple Leafs lost 3-2 last night in New Jersey, or that the Canadiens are coming off a superb performance against the Philadelphia Flyers Thursday night.
The Leafs also absorbed a 7-1 pounding on home ice against the Capitals Monday. That matters about as much as the price of chai in China.
When the bell rings tonight, the two teams stepping into the ring might as well be fighting a unification bout for a heavyweight title, because when the Canadiens and Leafs hook up on a Saturday night, it’s playoff hockey.
from the National Post via Canada.com,
They first met two years ago while playing for opposing hockey teams in Finland. But it took a month of sharing the net for the Toronto Maple Leafs this season for Vesa Toskala and Andrew Raycroft to become off-ice friends.
The two goaltenders dine together, swap iPod playlists and cheer for the same Formula One driver. Even their girlfriends seem to be getting along.
“It’s nice to have a guy there that you can relate to and be friends with and cheer for,” Raycroft said. “I want him to do well. Especially, through good times and bad, you can sit there and kind of go through it with someone else.”
from the CP via TSN,
The 27-year-old forward will have served his 15-game suspension after Toronto plays in Montreal on Saturday night. Bell will make his Maple Leafs debut on Tuesday in Ottawa.
Practice has taken on a different feel as his debut draws closer. Bell has been around the team all year and looked downright giddy on Thursday as he contemplated actually getting into a game.
‘‘It’s been a long time since I played,’’ said Bell, who last saw the ice for San Jose on May 7. ‘‘I’m just looking forward to getting out there with the guys.’‘
from the CP via NHL.com,
Maurice didn’t say very much to his team Wednesday. The punishing skating drills spoke for themselves.
“On a day like today where it’s a very physically demanding day for the players, there’s not a lot of talking,” he said. “That’s not an easy day for the fittest of athletes so you don’t try to do four or five things all at the same time.
“Today was to get our legs burning and get a conditioning skate in.”
The second-year coach has preached conditioning since taking over the Leafs job but this seemed to be taking that message to another level.
From Damien Cox at the Toronto Star,
Folks, something is going to have to give here. Whether it’s a big trade or a management shakeup, it seems unthinkable that even MLSE and its barely engaged board of directors will simply allow another season to limp along with two wins here, a couple of blowout losses there, an overtime triumph and then a couple more defeats.
This is the last two non-playoff seasons being played over again one more time. This is Groundhog Day, the hockey version.
It was the fifth time in nine home games the Leafs have allowed five goals or more to the opposition, an outrageous record. They’ve only acquired eight of a possible 18 points so far at the ACC, a home mark that will guarantee another missed invitation to the Stanley Cup playoffs if it doesn’t turn around dramatically. That’s not an opinion. It’s a fact.
From Stan Fischler via hockeyjournal.com,
John Ferguson deserves better than the relentless attacks from such human verbal howitzers as Steve (Toronto Sun) Simmons and Hockey Night in Canada’s Scott Morrison. As long as we can remember, Steve – otherwise a friend of ours – has been trying to pull the plug on Fergie. The Simmons fixation is troubling and it must pain the dear boy that Toronto has climbed above .500 (5-4-3). Meanwhile Morrison has the unmitigated gall to suggest that existing GMs, such as Jimmy Rutherford, up and leave their jobs to displace colleague Ferguson. How ridiculous can you get? Just for the sake of common decency, it would be neat if Ferguson’s Leafs ran off a six-game winning streak. That would shut these jackals up – for about a week.
read on… for Stan’s take on the NHLPA and other NHL news
From the Toronto Sun,
Wearing a navy blue nylon training suit and a determined look on his face, Darcy Tucker glided around the Lakeshore Lions Arena ice with relative ease yesterday.
Not bad for a guy who, according to some reports, had little more than mush inside his right knee.
“I was pleasantly surprised at how well it went,” Tucker said. “I just wanted to see how it felt.”
from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
Internal financial statements show MLSE generated profit of $83 million on revenue of $383 million in the year ended June 30. The internal documents also show the company forecasts a profit of $105 million by 2011 on revenue of $477 million. Over the same period, ticket revenue is expected to increase 30 per cent, to $166 million.
The documents also reveal that, for every dollar Maple Leaf Sports generated in fiscal 2007, 21.8 cents was profit. (By contrast, Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest bank, reportedly had a profit margin of 13.3 per cent for its last fiscal year.)
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
...But what happens if you dispense with all the hysteria and hype surrounding both stories and apply the realities of today’s NHL — with its salary cap and entry-draft regulations — to Sundin and Tavares?
Are there any practical applications to be found that might actually advance the Leafs’ cause, now or in the near future? Or is it really all pie-in-the-sky?
For starters, consider the Sundin story, which gathered momentum after Toronto radio host (and former Leaf assistant general manager Bill Watters) suggested that the time was right to trade the team’s all-time scoring leader.
read on and other NHL bits too…
from Scott Morrison at CBC,
...But what about Jimmy Rutherford?
OK, he has a job as general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes, who won the Stanley Cup a couple of seasons ago. But in the world of high finance anything is possible. Money talks and the Leafs have plenty of it.
Rutherford would be a perfect fit in Toronto. He played in Toronto and understands how dreadful the teams have been and how horrible the drought has become.
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