Kukla's Korner Hockey
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
But if the past is similar, the future looks entirely different for the two men and their teams, the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs.
“They both have mediocre current situations,” said one NHL executive, who wished to remain anonymous.
“But Ferguson put the Leafs in a situation where they have a terrible future and Gainey put the Canadiens in a situation where they have a great future.”
from the CP via TSN,
The Toronto Maple Leafs will have two more familiar faces back in the lineup when they travel to Buffalo to play the Sabres on Friday night.
Forward Darcy Tucker and defenceman Bryan McCabe are each ready to return from injury.
From the CP via TSN,
“In a perfect world, we’ll take this team as an offensive-minded team and teach it to make the right decisions defensively,” said Maurice. “It’ll be a painful process for them.
“But then you have the chance to be a very, very good team.”
The Maple Leafs should also get better with the return of Tucker and defenceman Bryan McCabe, who has missed six games with a groin problem. Both would like to play Friday night in Buffalo or Saturday night at home against the New York Rangers.
*Leafs currently have the highest goals-against in the NHL with 62, but are 2nd in the league for goals scored, with 53.
from Pierre LeBrun at Sporstnet,
Given Monday’s setback in Sweden when Forsberg left practice with the national team after feeling some discomfort in his right foot, who knows what it means for his NHL future?
Which brings things back to Sundin.
His contract is up after the season. He’s the perfect rental. Whether or not Sundin would want to leave Toronto and whether or not Ferguson would want to trade the big Swede is a question no one has the answer for at this point. Sundin insists he wants to win in Toronto and doesn’t want to leave. Time will tell.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Richard Peddie continues to insist that John Ferguson’s performance as Maple Leafs general manager will be evaluated at the end of the season.
The question is: Why wait that long?
In the wake of Ottawa’s signing of Jason Spezza for seven years and $49 million US, it is even more apparent what a mess Ferguson has made of the Leafs’ salary situation for this and the coming years.
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.
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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