Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
No matter the state of the hockey team in the Air Canada Centre, from now on there’ll be solid bench strength just outside.
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment has begun construction on its long-discussed touchstone team monument. As revealed in the Toronto Sun in January, the concept will be an evolving art piece of famous players from nearly 100 years of franchise history, in various poses on a team bench in Maple Leaf Square.
A source familiar with the project says the first three players have been chosen, with details to be released Thursday morning at the chosen site, near the ACC’s West entrance. The first phase will place three life-sized statues along the bench, adding at least three more per year to a maximum of 10 or 11, leading to the club’s 100th anniversary in 2017-18.
from Don Fennell of the Richmond Review,
Mike Santorelli appears antsy.
During a drill with a small group of fellow pros Wednesday at the Richmond Ice Centre, it seems clear he’s over the injury that cut short last season’s promising campaign with his hometown Vancouver Canucks. But having recently signed a one-year contract to resume his NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the 28-year-old centre has to prove himself again.
“The game is so competitive you’ve always got to prove yourself. And you’ve always got to get better because there’s always someone who want to take your job,” he said following an intense hour-long workout under the guidance of renowned Vancouver Hockey School instructor Derek Popke....
“It’s like a job actually,” said Santorelli. “Some people think you just have the off-seasons to just enjoy, but we’re all coming out here looking to become stronger and faster. I usually start my off-season training in early July, but this year I started a bit earlier just because I got hurt and wanted to get back in shape. The game is about read and react and you’ve got to be sharp because everything is decided in seconds. It’s also a fast, high-tempo game now and you’ve got to be able to skate or you’re going to be in trouble.”
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
They have a forward who ranked in the top five in league scoring and a goaltender who was amongst the league’s best. But ask Stephane Robidas what attracted him to the Toronto Maple Leafs and he immediately says the team’s defence.
“Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner,” Robidas said from his off-season home in Sherbrooke, Que. “When we talked about my role and what the Leafs are looking for, they’d like me to help the younger defencemen. To me that’s a great opportunity. I’ve watched them play. I know exactly how good they are and everything. Having a chance to play with one of the two and try to help those guys is going to be good for me.”...
In his first year in the NHL, Rielly scored two goals and 27 points in 73 games. But the fifth overall pick in 2012, who had a minus-13 rating, could have used someone to pick him up after a bad game. Gardiner, who was arguably Toronto’s best defenceman in the second half of the season but often clashed with head coach Randy Carlyle because of his sometimes risky decisions with the puck, might have also benefited from a veteran to lean on....
“I think it’s the poise they play with,” he said. “If I’m speaking for myself, I was never a high draft pick or the type of player that they are. It’s not easy to play defence in the NHL. To do it at a young age, it always amazes me how younger guys can come in and play and play well with that kind of confidence. To me, it’s not easy. Some people overlook it. It takes time to become comfortable.
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
Perhaps the realization on both sides that the market for goalies is limited — there are still a number of unrestricted free-agent netminders available — and the return for Reimer would be small.
Perhaps it was the realization by Reimer that the opportunity to be a starter would be no better anywhere else.
Perhaps it was the realization by the Leafs that they don’t have much depth and another injury to Bernier without an adequate backup could paralyze the team.
So the conversation changed. The Leafs told Reimer they needed him. The Leafs told Reimer he could unseat Bernier for the top job if he plays well enough.
“That’s pretty much what I’ve been told,” said Reimer. “That’s all a guy can ask for. All you want is a chance, and I intend to make the most of it.
“My goal is to go in there and be the No. 1 guy. Worst-case scenario: Me and Bernier push each other and we get great goaltending.”
via the Toronto Maple Leafs,
David Nonis, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced Monday the hockey club has signed forward Daniel Winnik to a one-year contract.
Winnik, 29, played 76 games for the Anaheim Ducks in 2013-14, registering career highs in assists (24) and points (30) while adding six goals, 23 penalty minutes and a plus-six rating. He also posted an assist and two penalty minutes in nine playoff games with the Ducks last season.
The 6-2, 207-pound centreman has accumulated 150 career NHL points (49 goals, 101 assists) and 226 penalty minutes in 490 games with Phoenix, Colorado, San Jose and Anaheim. A native of Toronto, Ontario, Winnik was originally selected by Phoenix in the ninth round, 265th overall, in the 2004 Entry Draft.
from Kavitha A. Davidson at Bloomberg View,
After missing the playoffs for the eighth time in nine seasons, the Toronto Maple Leafs think it's time for a different approach. And the success of the Oakland A's this season should give them hope.
The Leafs have fired assistant general managers Dave Poulin and Claude Loiselle, replacing both with "boy wonder" Kyle Dubas. The 28-year-old stats guru -- dubbed the "Billy Beane of hockey," after the A's general manager -- is jumping to the big leagues after serving in the Ontario Hockey League. In just three seasons, Kubas turned around the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds from worst to first in the Western division, building a team around advanced statistics.
In addition to Beane, Kubas draws comparisons to Chicago Cubs general manager Theo Epstein, who embodied the youth movement in baseball's front offices.
via the Toronto Maple Leafs,
David Nonis, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced Tuesday the hockey club has signed forward David Booth to a one-year contract.
Booth, 29, played 66 games for the Vancouver Canucks in 2013-14, collecting nine goals, 10 assists, 19 points and 18 penalty minutes. The 6-0, 212-pound winger has registered 218 career NHL points (113 goals, 105 assists) and 181 penalty minutes in 443 games with the Canucks and Florida Panthers. In 2008-09 with the Panthers, Booth set career highs in goals (31), assists (29) and points (60) in 72 games.
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Booth was selected by Florida in the second round, 53rd overall, in the 2004 Entry Draft.
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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