Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Ryan Dixon at The Hockey News,
Try wrapping your brain around some of these absurdities:
• The Toronto Maple Leafs are a firing squad. Overall, the Leafs are averaging 34.1 shots per game, third-best in the league. But in its past five games, Toronto is putting an average of 40 pucks on goal, including a 48-shot effort Tuesday night against New Jersey.
There may be a dearth of talent among the Leafs forward group (hence the low goal total despite all the shots), but to borrow and alter the meaning of a phrase from Jay-Z, you can’t knock the hustle.
read on for more unexpected weirdness this NHL season
from Damien Cox of The Spin at the Toronto Star,
The improved Leafs.
Well, actually, they’re not. Paul Maurice had the team 4-2-2 out of the gate last season, good enough for 10 points.
...Against a slumping Ottawa team on Saturday, the Leafs were first to the puck all night and outskated a Senators team that used to outskate the Leafs with ease.
But was that more of a measure of the Sens or the Leafs?
The Boston victory was impressive because it was a comeback win, and in three games last week, the Leafs allowed just six goals, certainly evidence of enhanced defensive play.
But two games in an 82-game slate don’t prove much, and Wilson’s dilemma, just as it was for Pat Quinn and Paul Maurice and those that came before, is that the city is as easily satisfied as the players.
from Joe O’Conner of the National Post,
Some things you get over. You move on, and life goes on, and the what-ifs just seem to melt away with the years. Graeme Townshend wishes he had scored 500 goals and played 15 seasons in the National Hockey League, instead of three goals and 45 NHL games….
Lake Charles is in Louisiana, in the Deep South—the Old South—where a Confederate flag is still often viewed as a symbol of states’ rights and better days….
Townshend did not know this when he moved his family into the house on Comanche Street in the town of Sulphur, a suburb of Lake Charles, in the summer of 1997. He only knew Sulphur was where “the best schools were,” and he wanted the best for Seth. He had no idea he would be the only black man in the neighbourhood. And over the next two years the Townshends would learn an indelible lesson about race relations in the Deep South—the Old South—where simple, plain-as-day facts, such as the colour of a man’s skin, mean everything.
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
Responding to Hockey Night In Canada icon Don Cherry’s verbal punching yesterday on the Fan 590, in which Grapes ripped Wilson for, among other things, “throwing his players under the bus,” Wilson took the high road.
“I have no comment for that,” Wilson said.
But when informed later that Cherry called him “pompous and arrogant, one of those Americans that know everything,” Wilson couldn’t suppress a sarcastic chuckle.
“Me pompous and arrogant? Wow,” Wilson said implying it was a case of the pot calling the kettle black. “I just laugh.”
Update 4:57pm ET: From Mike Toth at Sportsnet:
You want a dirty little secret about the media?
We can be the biggest bunch of crybabies you’ve ever seen.
The war of words between the Toronto media and Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson is just the latest example.
*original post-time was 7:38am ET
Milan Lucic threw a big hit on Mike Van Ryn, shattering the glass, and cementing the two of them on this season’s highlight reel.
Update 1:18am ET— In the Metro West Daily News, a quote from Lucic:
“It felt kind of weird because you usually just bounce off the boards and this time you went through.”
Thursday’s matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins begs the question: Can a shootout game end in a tie by default?
Both the visiting Maple Leafs (1-2-3) and the host Bruins (2-1-3) have been sources of much shootout futility so far this season, each losing three of their six games in that manner.
It’s to the point that you’d half-expect coaches Ron Wilson or Claude Julien to pull their goalie toward the end of overtime in order to force someone to come up with a victory the next time a shootout looms.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
In the victorious Anaheim dressing room, goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere couldn’t quite believe the goaltending switch.
“I would be so pissed off,” he said when asked how he would react to being yanked for a shootout. “And you’re putting the other goalie in such a tough position.”
But it wasn’t just about winning the game. It was about accountability and pushing each and every player to think team first and improve his game, with no exceptions, no sacred cows.
“(Toskala) has to find a different way of stopping the other team in shootouts,” Wilson said.
Earlier today we linked to David Shoalts report in the Globe & Mail, which claimed numerous unnamed sources who suggested that a second NHL team in Toronto was not out of the question. Later, we also linked a Toronto Star article which refuted the initial reports, with their own source claiming it was “nonsense.”
Now Damien Cox weighs in on The Spin with his thoughts:
Sometimes, another media outlet publishes or broadcasts a report that is clearly off-base and speculative at best, but is sensational. It causes lots of conversation and water cooler talk.
Is it our job to follow up on that story? To dispute it? To prove it right or wrong? To ignore it?
That’s what the issue was for me today when the Globe and Mail published a patently bogus story about NHL governors considering a second NHL team for Toronto.
For starters, there was no attribution to any of the main parts of the story.
Read the rest for Cox’s perspective on the story and its coverage.
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
It promises to be an interesting week for the Leafs.
Up first is a home game tomorrow night against Anaheim, and much of the talk will be about Ducks GM Brian Burke and his signing with Toronto when his contract expires in July.
“It will be an opportunity for you guys (the media) to get things going,” Fletcher said. “We have to focus on what we have to do – try to beat Anaheim in a hockey game.”
While the Leafs work on their hockey skills, Fletcher will be putting his managing skills to the test. The league’s GMs meet at the end of the week in Chicago, and Trader Cliff anticipates the seeds of future deals will be planted.
from Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star,
Leaf fans lucky enough to have a view of the team’s bench from their seats will notice something new by the end of the month.
But they may need a computer handbook to figure it out.
Tablet PCs, hard wired into a Sling Box streaming device, will be mounted at both ends of the bench, lending a bit of Bill Gates wizardry to Leaf games.
“It’s all about getting information into a player’s hands quickly and efficiently,” Leafs assistant coach Rob Zettler said, making it sound easy.
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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