Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
When the Toronto Maple Leafs make their way out West in March and play the Vancouver Canucks, the game is scheduled for 4 p.m. locally as usual, but that should change.
And for very good reason. While the following is a small, perhaps even niggling thing to some degree, it’s important.
Over the past few years, that game has always been at that time, but now things are different. Before this season, those Saturday television rights were owned by CBC, and as an independent party to the game and contractor with the league, the network was given the right to ask Vancouver to move the game from the traditional 7 p.m. start on a Saturday night to 4 p.m. to increase the audience in the East.
Why the Canucks ever agreed to it in the first place is a mystery, but it’s almost certainly been put into in the contract at some point.
But now Rogers owns those rights, and for those who may not have noticed, Rogers is also part-owner of the Leafs. If the game were allowed to go ahead at 4 p.m., which always takes the home-team Canucks out of their usual routine and is certainly an advantage for the visiting team, it would mean that the owners of the Leafs were able to demand that Vancouver change the start time to the advantage of their team. It gives them an unfair competitive advantage.
This is a clear conflict of interest which the league should not let stand.
from Mike Johnston of Sportsnet,
It’s no secret David Booth struggled during his time with the Vancouver Canucks.
Much of that can be attributed to various injuries—Booth missed a total of 68 regular-season games in less than three seasons with the Canucks after being acquired from the Florida Panthers in 2011—but being on a Western Conference schedule also had its drawbacks.
The Detroit native thinks playing in the Eastern Conference again will benefit his game.
“It really is tough [playing in the West], and for me personally the amount of rest I get is the most important thing for the way I feel, the amount of energy I have,” Booth told The Jeff Blair Show on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Thursday. “Travel kind of wears you out. Those are things every team has to deal with. I just think some guys adjust to it differently, and I think that’s one of the reasons I’m excited to be in Toronto and to be in the East. Hopefully [travel fatigue] doesn’t play such a big role as it did in Vancouver.”
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
As the NHL expanded toward 30 teams and the Cup race intensified, so the masthead of assistant coaches and managers increased. Now they’re often referred to as associate coaches with more say in team strategy and dressing room climate than ever before. The AGMs, meanwhile, juggle everything from contracts, cap management, scouting, trades, free agents, farm teams and media.
Which leads to Brendan Shanahan’s hiring blitz of support staff with the Leafs. Rather than swing the wrecking ball completely through the Bay St. hockey office, the new president supervised a surgical strike. He lopped off both of GM Dave Nonis’ wingers, Claude Loiselle and Dave Poulin, in favour of youth and numbers. Enter 28-year-old Kyle Dubas, a proponent of analytics as part of his player-evaluation duties, and long-time NHL central registrar Brandon Pridham, 40, who will handle cap and contracts.
Behind the bench, Randy Carlyle’s long-serving lieutenant, Dave Farrish, was let go, along with Ron Wilson holdovers Greg Cronin and Scott Gordon. Steve Spott was promoted after his first-year success with the farm team, joined by Peter Horachek, whose career climb in the minors included a recent mop-up role as head coach of Florida.
It’s certainly unusual that Shanahan took the lead in changing what is usually the province of a GM or coach. Yet few will argue if it sets the Leafs back on a contender’s course the next couple of years.
Three weeks after Ted Kennedy was named the inaugural member of the Toronto Maple Leafs' new Legends Row, longtime captain Darryl Sittler and legendary goaltender Johnny Bower became the latest players on display outside Air Canada Center.
All three were honored with statues designed by noted sculptor Erik Blome. Kennedy was announced as the first former Maple Leaf to be honored in the display on Aug. 14. As part of the Leafs Nation Fan Fest activities taking place during the weekend, Sittler and Bower were added to the latest tribute to the franchise's long history.
"My favorite thing about this initiative, this way to honor our past Maple Leafs, is the fact that it is in fact Legends Row. It is not an individual," Toronto president Brendan Shanahan said. "When you talk to a lot of players that are going to be bestowed this great honor, I think they're excited by the fact that they're going to be surrounded by teammates. This is a team game and they're going to be surrounded by teammates."
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
The Maple Leafs will add two more player statues to Legends Row on Saturday, working towards a total of nine to mark the club’s centennial in 2017.
One more space on the granite players bench will be kept open, in the hope someone emerges from the 21st century to warrant selection. The only possible candidate on the horizon has not yet seen the new monument, but if he keeps scoring at his current pace, Phil Kessel might one day make the sculptor’s cut.
With 156 goals in 41/2 years, he’s more than halfway to breaking into the top five in club history. And he’s just 26, with an eight-year contract still in its infancy.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
“I’m not going to get into details, but we had a good meeting,” a cheery Phaneuf said Thursday, chatting with reporters after an informal team skate. “It was good to spend some time with him and have a conversation both ways.
“I’m looking forward to working for Brendan. He’s done a lot for the game, he’s been around a long time and he’s a big addition to our team.”
Phaneuf, who turns 30 the day before Toronto’s last regular season game against the Canadiens, will benefit from the presence of the 37-year-old Robidas. Newcomers Daniel Winnik and David Booth are also right around Phaneuf’s age.
“We brought in some guys with experience, veterans who will help not only on the ice but in the room,” Phaneuf said. “They’re excited to be here and we’re excited to have them.
“Robidas and Polak are experienced, Booth has played a lot of hockey, Leo coming back was a big piece of our team a couple of years ago. With experience comes leadership.”
from Ryan Dixon of Sportsnet,
Kessel will turn 27 in October, while Kane hits 26 in November. Which player would you consider a bigger gift to your team?
The case for Kane: In addition to his sublime skills, Kane loves the spotlight. The guy is a star, pure and simple, a fact exemplified by his Cup-winning goal in 2010 and his Conn Smythe performance in 2013. On the ice, his playmaking and vision are what really set Kane apart. Just seven NHLers have registered more total assists than Kane since he entered the league in 2007–08 and only three of those players—Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marty St. Louis—also have more goals. The Buffalo native may possess the softest hands on earth and when you combine that with the audacity to attempt ridiculous plays, you get things like his shootout winner against poor Niklas Backstrom of the Minnesota Wild. A born showman with talent to match; sometimes Kane makes it seem like things just aren’t fair.
The case for Kessel: It really starts during the 2011–12 campaign, when Kessel became the point-per-game player he’s been for the past three seasons. He also hasn’t missed a game since the beginning of the 2009–10 season, his first year with Toronto. That ability to avoid injury contributes to Kessel’s standing as one of the surest things in the league. With the Leafs the past few years, you’ve really never known what might happen from one moment to the next. But the one thing you could count on was Kessel showing up to the rink, skating really fast down the right side of the ice and firing deadly wrist shots to all parts of the net. In the past three seasons, the list of guys who’ve scored more total goals than “Phil the Thrill” is limited to Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos and Corey Perry....
Tim Leiweke is stepping down as President and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment as of June 30, 2015.
Larry Tanenbaum Chairman of MLSE announced today that Leiweke informed the board he will continue as of that date or until a new successor is found.
"Under Tim's leadership, MLSE has made a number of key moves to strengthen our organization on the path to championship success," said Mr. Tanenbaum. "We look forward to working closely with Tim to build on this foundation and further accelerate our momentum as we seek a new leader for MLSE."
This comes on the heals of...
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC on Tuesday,
The fairest thing to do is begin with the denial.
Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, denied my report that he would soon step down from his current job in search of his next challenge.
"Not true," he wrote via email. "Not here forever, but very focused and very committed for the season at hand. Not thinking about long-term yet."
from the Toronto Maple Leafs,
The Toronto Maple Leafs announced the appointment of Brandon Pridham today as the assistant to the general manager, David Nonis. In his new role, Pridham will assist with salary cap analysis, contract negotiations and collective bargaining agreement interpretation for the team.
Pridham joins the club from the National Hockey League where he most recently served as Senior Director, Central Registry and Senior Advisor, Central Scouting.
“For fifteen years, Brandon has played an integral role in the central scouting and central registry departments for the NHL,” said David Nonis, Senior Vice President and General Manager for the Toronto Maple Leafs. “His intimate knowledge of the complexities of the salary cap system and strong relationships around the league will serve our team well.”
via Elliotte Friedman tweets,
Hearing MLSE president/CEO Tim Leiweke will be leaving the company soon.
Not sure of where he's going, but hearing the reason is he is looking for a new challenge.
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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