Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun,
The door has been open to a possible trading of Phil Kessel for a while now.
The Maple Leafs’ all-star winger nudged that opening a little wider on Thursday night.
Asked following the Leafs’ 3-2 loss against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum whether he is worrying about the future for himself or the team.
“No,” Kessel said. “You know, I go where they want me. I love Toronto, but (if) it’s not here, it’s not here.”
The Leafs lost for the 13th time in regulation in 16 games since Randy Carlyle was shown the door and Peter Horachek took over as interim head coach.
It’s one part of another terrible run for the Leafs’ core of players that has been part of disasters in each of the past three seasons. The Leafs have lost 21 of their past 25 games, with 20 of those losses coming in regulation. That’s nine points of a possible 50.
Then, Mike Babcock. The best coach in the NHL still hasn’t re-signed with Detroit. People who know Mr. Babcock say one important thing about him – he badly wants to succeed in the most difficult, high-stakes circumstances. That would be Toronto. He could probably win now in a city such as San Jose. But why would he care?
There’s also the allegiance he feels to fellow coaches. Moving to hockey’s most lucrative market would make Mr. Babcock far and away the highest-paid coach in league history, a rising tide that floats all salary boats.
-Cathal Kelly of the Globe and Mail where you can read more on the plans for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
After Toronto's 5-4 loss to the New York Rangers,
How unimpressed and disappointed was interim Leafs head coach Peter Horachek with his team’s effort on Tuesday against the Rangers? His answer had to be censored.
Watch the full post-game from Horachek below...
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
No one will come out and say it out loud: That the tear-down of the Maple Leafs is about to begin.
That for the first time in the modern history of the club, the Leafs are headed to a bare-bones, strip-the-engine, long-term rebuild.
The expectation from inside Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment is that the Leafs will make at least five deals between now and the NHL trade deadline of March 2 and that the larger, maybe more controversial moves — in what could be a four- or five-year project — will be considered and worked through after the season has ended.
Almost every player on the roster is considered to be in play for the Leafs and the rest of the NHL. According to a variety of sources, teams in the hotly contested Western Conference are expected to be the most active at the deadline, with so much at stake come the post-season.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
The situation has already turned awkward and seems destined to become ugly.
Not yet two full seasons into a monster seven-year deal, neither David Clarkson nor the Toronto Maple Leafs can believe where they find themselves right now.
Clarkson was nowhere to be seen when the Leafs ended an 11-game losing streak on Saturday night after being made a healthy scratch. That could soon become a trend with interim coach Peter Horachek hinting that he’s inclined to stick with the same lineup against the New York Rangers on Tuesday.
While it’s not unprecedented to sit a well-paid NHL player — Clarkson’s $5.25-million cap hit is tied for third-highest on the team — it is unusual to do so when he has this much term remaining on his deal.
“I don’t really look at the contract,” Horachek said after Monday’s practice. “I know it, I understand the political ramifications of everything that goes on. I have to try to push myself into just staying as a coach and doing what I think is best for the team.”
This is where it becomes tricky.
The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Edmonton Oilers 5-1.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
- Since Horachek took over, in the first 13 games, Phil Kessel has two goals and three assists and is minus-13. His linemates, James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak have combined for 10 points and a minus-21. The coaching change hasn’t exactly gotten Nazem Kadri going either: Four points in 13 games, and a minus-11.
- For the record, Kessel is being paid $10 million this season, which is more than any Leafs player in history. Too many people say he is being paid $8 million, which is his cap hit not his salary. The only non-playoff performers paid more than him this year: His friend, Ryan Suter, at $11 million and Suter’s teammate Zach Parise, also at $11 million.
- The only defencemen being paid more than Dion Phaneuf this season: Suter and his former teammate, Shea Weber
more Leafs and a few other hockey topics...
from Jonas Siegel of TSN,
The Maple Leafs didn't much resemble a team that had lost a pile of games and that greatly troubled both the interim coach and backup goaltender on Friday night as the winless skid struck 11.
"We just need to smarten up and really play the way we can, with passion and like men," James Reimer said with frustration after the Leafs 19th loss in the past 22 games (3-18-1) and 11th in a row, a 4-1 downing by the Devils in Jersey. "We've got to find a way to play with resolve no matter what kind of breaks go against you."
Peter Horachek didn't dispute the assessment, the steam evident as the words spewed out after another defeat. Conviction was lacking, he said. The urgency of a club that's tumbled to the nether regions of the NHL standings just wasn't there. And that was greatly disappointing, frustrating, and quite honestly, inexplicable for the 55-year-old charged with running Toronto's bench.
"You have to have that conviction and it wasn't there," said Horachek, who has just one win in 13 games behind the bench. "We weren't winning 1-on-1 battles. We played soft."
Toronto's been outscored 33-11 during the 11-game slide and even more astoundingly, 76-38 since the middle of December, opponents exactly doubling their offensive output.
from Darren Dreger of the Dreger Report,
There has been much speculation on Nashville's interest in Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Cody Franson.
However, general manager David Poile is as much or more interested in one of Toronto's forwards to strengthen his lineup. Poile isn't looking to add a major piece and risk disrupting what he has up front, but there could be a fit with centre Mike Santorelli or winger Daniel Winnik. Poile and Leafs GM Dave Nonis met in Nashville on Thursday night, but neither appears to be in any rush to make something happen.
The Maple Leafs did have some discussions with Santorelli's agent J.P. Barry about re-signing the pending unrestricted free agent, but the Leafs have not made an offer to extend. It's believed Santorelli is looking for a three-year term with a minimum of $3 million per season to stay in Toronto.
read on for Evander Kane and Mike Richards talk...
It was rumoured that Florida was asking for JvR+ or Kessel+ for the 1st OA pick. Leafs weren't interested then, but maybe they are now.
JvR + Gardiner
Florida needs help on the wing and they could use size up front. JvR provides both of those needs. Gardiner has been given a hard time this season but has been playing well and settles in as a good 2nd pairing D-man who can play the PP. There were rumors before that Florida was interested when Gardiner was available. Toronto overpays but gets a core piece to build around and begins blowing it up.
Kessel + Bozak(or Holland)
Jones + 1st
Poile has recently said how highly he thinks of Kessel, he saw him be the best forward in the Olympics (not my opinion, he just won the award for best Forward at the olympics). Also Nashville has a need for a top line RW. And honestly 8 million for a top scorer is a solid deal, not sure why people hate on it so much. Kane is get 10+, Stamkos is apparently asking for the same etc... He's a top scorer locked up through his prime for a deal that will look really good in a couple years. Bozak shores up their C depth if they still need it, and someone who can play the PK win draws and play with Kessel. If they want a cheaper option Holland has been having a good year. Right now Nashville's D is stacked and Jones won't get the minutes to best utilize him.
Anyways, think it fits the teams needed and value isn't terrible.
Leafs go forward with a D core of Rielly, Jones and Ekblad and build around that from the blue line out.
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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