Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kevin Nielsen of Sportsnet,
Tim Leiweke has been appointed president and chief executive officer of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. He will officially take over the post on June 30.
Leiweke is leaving a similar posting with Anschutz Entertainment Group to take the role. AEG owns the Los Angeles Kings, and holds a stake in the Lakers.
“I’m honoured and excited to be chosen to lead MLSE, a world-class sports and entertainment organization with the major league teams, premier facilities and employee team that rank with the very best across North America and internationally,” Leiweke said in a press release. “MLSE is woven into the character of Toronto. The loyal and passionate fans of MLSE’s teams want sports championships for this great city. They want excitement on the ice, on the court, on the pitch and on the stage. And they want MLSE to be an active part of their community. I am committed to delivering for them when I begin my new role as CEO of MLSE.”
from Cathal Kelly of the Toronto Star,
What the Leafs are counting on at this point is the cultural gravity of hockey itself. While some Canadians may not care for the game, it would be taboo to write off the sport in company. Being Canadian means, at the least, accepting how much it matters to your countrymen.
It may be that a society-wide appreciation and civic loyalty may be enough to keep the generations coming back to a team they can no longer afford to watch in person.
It’s certainly working so far.
If they’re wrong, then the tickets will get cheap awful fast.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
Nazem Kadri has already gotten the word out to friends and family who are looking to score some Toronto Maple Leafs playoff tickets: You’ll probably have to watch on television.
Even the players who will appear in Toronto’s first post-season run in nine years have limited access to the hottest tickets in town.
A technical glitch delayed the sale of the limited number of tickets the team made available Thursday for the first two games of the opening round. Seats in the lower bowl were priced as high as $800 apiece.
“It’s still going to be sold out regardless; that’s the good thing about Toronto,” said Kadri. “I mean I guess that’s what you’ve got to do to make some money.”
continue for more on the Leafs...
from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail,
The Montreal Canadiens tailspin couldn’t have come at a better time for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
After a 25-8-5 start, the Habs lost for the fifth time in six games and sixth time in eight on Tuesday night to give Toronto an opening to grab home-ice advantage in Round 1.
Montreal’s latest loss (3-2 to the New Jersey Devils) now means that if the Leafs win out in their final three games, they will be guaranteed to finish in the top four in the East.
from Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star,
After the longest gestation period in history, followed by a week of sweat-inducing labour contractions and anxious floor-pacing, the Toronto Maple Leafs have finally delivered: A little bundle of joy called Playoffs.
It took nine years rather than nine months.
Go ahead, pass around the cigars. Cue the cowbells and air horns too, pull the car antennae pompoms out of storage, gut the kids’ university fund to buy scalper ducats and dream as big as you dare.
On the 91st day of the 2013 schedule, in their 45th game, the drought ended — with a 4-1 win in Ottawa — and an “x’’ has been affixed next to Toronto in the NHL standings denoting post-season inclusion.
There was some talk about McLaren with a head-butt plus some hair pulling, but nothing was called. Both received 5 for fighting.
By Eli Epstein of TiqIQ,
To hockey diehards, from the New York area or outside of it, the New York Islanders are this season’s feel good story. The franchise, which hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2006 and advanced beyond the first round since 1993, was again pegged by many at the beginning of the season to finish at the bottom of the Atlantic Division, behind perennial contenders like the Devils, Penguins and Rangers.
The Islanders never got that memo. After beating the Panthers Tuesday night, they’re 22-16 and sit in sixth place, three points ahead of the eighth place Rangers. A rebuilding process in Long Island that began with drafting scoring phenom John Tavares first overall in the 2009 draft is beginning to reap dividends for the Isles. The Ontario-born center is joined upfront by Brad Boyes and Matt Moulson, who together form one of the NHL’s most underrated lines.,
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
Most of the Toronto Maple Leafs have no NHL playoff experience, largely because of the team’s past eight seasons of failure.
But none are particularly worried about it.
“We’re a young team, but there are a lot of guys who have played a lot even at their young age,” said forward Joffrey Lupul. “There’s a little more experience here than we’re given credit for.”
James Reimer, for example, will be expected to carry a heavy load in the playoffs. He’s been carrying the weight of Leaf Nation for the better part of three seasons, and he thinks that’s experience enough.
“As far as games played, I’m not that experienced,” says Reimer. “But I think when you play in a Canadian city with this much attention, you’re experience as a goalie is two-fold as compared to another city where there is no hype.
“You experience a lot more here than you would in other places. Maybe a little more experience in that sense.”
from Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post,
On winger Phil Kessel, who has eight points in his last four games:
“I just think that we’ve asked him to do some things differently. Again, it’s a tribute to the player. It’s not anything that is earth shattering. We just felt that there’s things that we have to do as a group to give ourselves the best chance to have success. And we didn’t really think that we could be a one-dimensional team, as far as a rush team. And I would say, last night, we had more chances on the rush than we have had all year.”
On who might have won, if Nazem Kadri fought Montreal forward Brendan Gallagher during Saturday night’s 5-1 Toronto win:
“I don’t know. I think Nazzy’s been involved in probably a few scraps in his day in junior, and in the American Hockey League. And I don’t know Brendan Gallagher. He’s a Western [Canadian] kid, so I’m sure he didn’t get to where he is not having to defend his honour.”
So far the opening is better than the game, Leafs up 4-1 after one period.
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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