Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Gary Lawless of TSN,
So what does Matthews have over Laine? Is he a better skater? On the whole, yes. Matthews is also more physically mature and closer to his athletic peak.
Laine’s upper body features pipe cleaners rather than pipes. His frame is unfinished. He’s skinny. His upside in terms of speed and power are difficult to ascertain, but he will improve and close the gap with Matthews.
Matthews has loads of game. He’s going to be a star. Laine, however, has more wattage despite playing in a small market in comparison to Toronto.
In the end, this will be about the highest of ranges. They’re two great players trying to climb into the rarest of air.
Matthews was No. 1 in the draft, but Laine will prove to be No. 1 in rarity.
from Damein Cox of the Toronto Star,
Perhaps somewhere along the way somebody should have sent a scout to Denmark.
Maybe that would have shortened the process of looking for a replacement for Ed Belfour in the net of your Toronto Maple Leafs.
As it was, it’s taken 11 seasons (!!!), five general managers, six coaches and 17 goaltending candidates to find someone capable of doing something approximating the job Belfour did for three seasons in the waning years of his stellar career.
But, it appears, the Leafs finally have located such a netminder.
Frederik Andersen has managed to erase those ugly first impressions he made in October, ones that made many wonder if he was just a rerun of Vesa Toskala or Jonathan Bernier, and in so doing likely set himself up for a lengthy run in the Toronto net as the club’s No. 1 goalie.
from Peter Goffin of the Toronto Star,
Leaf fans threw the NHL in the penalty box after learning the league’s online store couldn’t ship custom Centennial Classic jerseys to Canada.
Leafs fan Chris Gumbert said he tried to order himself a Mitch Marner Centennial sweater from a page on shop.nhl.com billed as the Toronto team’s “official shop.”
After entering his Hamilton, Ont., mailing address, Gumbert was confronted with an error message telling him his order “contains manufacturer direct items that cannot be shipped to addresses outside of the continental United States.”
NHL customer service representatives confirmed to the Star that the jersey, which will be worn by the Leafs when they take on the Detroit Red Wings in a Jan. 1 outdoor game at BMO Field, could not be mailed to Canada.
Call your shot...
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
Tuesday night McDavid was brilliant in setting up Milan Lucic for a glorious opportunity in the second period. He scored one of the greatest goals of his young career on a partial breakaway early in the third. He also won a faceoff to pick up an assist on a second-period goal by Andrej Sekera.
It was the ninth multi-point game of the season for McDavid. And that made it 30.4 per cent of the games so far in his career.
If the team that head coach Todd McLellan says too often waits around for McDavid to do it had shown up with him for this game, he’d have owned the day against the hometown team he grew up cheering for as a kid in Newmarket, Ont.
Instead it was a tale of a visiting team outscoring the Oilers 4-2 to win only its second away game of the year and the home team that has now dropped to 5-6 in their brand new building despite a 7-4-2 record on the road.
Edmonton fans came to the game last night expecting a big night from No. 97, considering the frustration involved in his first NHL game against the Leafs in Air Canada Centre, a 3-2 overtime loss back on Nov. 1.
As the NHL season hits the quarter pole, people are producing their first lists of the season for NHL Award leaders and most have Carey Price and McDavid 1-2 for the Hart Trophy as most valuable player.
Game highlights are below...
Includes Babcock's chin, lips and nose...
from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,
It’s not really Toronto we hate. It’s huge and bland, but Toronto is only a place and it’s more colourful than it used to be. And it’s not the fans. The crowds for Leafs games at the Bell Centre are the most placid in hockey, but Toronto fans certainly don’t behave worse than the Montreal fans who regularly invade the Senators arena to bully Ottawa fans into silence.
No, the Toronto problem lies almost entirely with the national media. Sportsnet’s Hockey Central is a perfect example. For the past few years, I’ve made it a habit to watch Hockey Central at lunchtime. I’ve now switched to That’s Hockey 2Nite because Craig Button is terrific at breaking down plays, but also because Hockey Central had begun devoting a full 20 minutes to the Leafs off the top of each hour-long show.
The last time I watched the program, I gave up after 20 minutes, but went back at the 40-minute mark to find the panel was talking about Toronto’s goaltending. When Nick Kypreos finally said: “enough about the Leafs.” Doug MacLean offered that sickly courtier’s smile and said: “but they’re Canada’s team.”
“He would just sometimes look up and make one comment that cut through all the bullshit and had the whole room in stiches.
“His humour, which comes across in a really witty sarcasm, was pretty legendary and earned him the nickname ‘Cutthroat.’”
-Brendan Shanahan on Steve Yzerman. Ryan Dixon of Sportsnet has more on Yzerman in The Big Read.
from the CP at Sportsnet,
To help Auston Matthews through the first offensive slowdown of his early NHL career, Mike Babcock has been employing video of Sidney Crosby and Henrik Zetterberg.
The Maple Leafs head coach has professed utmost confidence in Matthews throughout a November offensive slide, noting the difficulties of handling the centre-ice position as a first-year player. Matthews stormed out of the gate with six goals and 10 points in his first six games, including a historic four-goal outing in his NHL debut. He’s since slowed, at least production-wise, with no goals and only two assists in the past nine games.
The 19-year-old is still tied for second among all NHL rookies in scoring (12 points), four points behind the early leader Patrik Laine.
Babcock has observed subtle adjustments from Matthews over the past couple weeks, specifically the Arizona native’s dramatic improvement in the faceoff circle. Matthews went 43 per cent on the draw in the opening five games, 53 per cent in the following five and 61 per cent in the last five outings.
That was an indicator of rapid adjustment from a player who was just getting his bearings in hockey's most competitive league.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Look, I understand it’s hard to weigh in on this subject without sounding like a complete homer but, really, who cares at this point? The hit made contact with Sedin’s head. It also came from behind, it was late and it was delivered by a repeat offender.
In short, it satisfied any criteria for a dangerous play. And for the NHL to hide behind its interpretation of the rulebook and some precedent that’s unfamiliar to anyone outside the department of player safety is the worst kind of joke.
This is precisely the kind of hit the league has been trying to take out of the game for over a decade but, with this decision, they’ve sent the clear message that maybe it’s not that big a deal; that under some circumstances, you can track a player from behind, launch yourself at him and contact his head when he’s at his most vulnerable.
If you want to review the hit, watch below...
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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