Kukla's Korner Hockey
"If you had told me I was going to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs and get a 10-game suspension, try to get back into the good books and battle... It's been catch-up all year, I haven't been myself. I'm not happy with the way things have gone.
"But, to be a professional, you have to go out there and work hard and try to find a way around it. It's easy to complain about it. I've got to find a way to get back to work and do what I'm asked. Whatever role that is that Randy (Carlyle) wants me to go out and play, I have to do that. That's the bottom line. .Am I happy with the way things have gone? No.
"There's no way I'm happy. A 10-game suspension and you're behind the eight-ball. I'm a big believer in first impressions and mine was sitting in the press box while everyone gets 10 games in. Then you're trying to catch up. The first 10 games of the season is really when the season gets going. It's been a very tough year, but that's part of sports."
-David Clarkson of the Toronto Maple Leafs. More on Clarkson and the Devils too from Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
So, unless you believe Leaf history should just keep repeating itself, let’s just end this conversation that Carlyle should go, OK? Ditto for the chatter about these players quitting on this coach. If that’s the case, it says a lot more about the quitters than the coach.
Whether Carlyle is or isn’t liked is simply irrelevant. It’s about whether he can get the most out of this team and is given a reasonable opportunity to do so.
Let’s start with a realistic look at what he has to work with at this time.
He’s got some good scoring forwards, but that gets thin outside of the top six. One of those players is Nazem Kadri, a 23-year-old centre who has yet to play more than 48 games in a single NHL season. In general, the club lacks size and toughness on the wings.
On the back end, Carlyle doesn’t have a single reliable pair, and he’s working with 23-year-old Jake Gardiner and 19-year-old Morgan Rielly, two blueliners who are very much in the apprentice stage of their NHL careers.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
No compete. No consistency. Nothing.
We seem to be watching the Toronto Maple Leafs season unravel right before our eyes. Sure, it has essentially been trending in the wrong direction for the last two months, but during that spiral down the standings the players could always point to the fact that they remained in a playoff position.
Well no more.
The Leafs now have to look up in the Eastern Conference, which is going to be awfully tough to do since so many of them seem to be hanging their heads. The talk after a win at the Winter Classic on Jan. 1 was all about how it should serve as a springboard to new heights for this team. In the eight days since, they’ve stumbled through what should have been a relatively each stretch of schedule with an 0-3 record – getting outscored 18-5 in the process.
There are still 93 days and 37 games left to go before the post-season positions are crystallized. That’s an awfully long time and an awful lot of hockey. However, it doesn’t minimize the suddenly precarious position Toronto finds itself in, especially considering that it marched through October with a 10-4-0 record.
from Curtis Rush of the Toronto Star,
... it was only recently that the Leafs finally made Bernier the de facto No. 1, giving him six straight starts.
That experiment appears to have blown up in their faces.
All bets are now off after two dreadful performances in which Bernier allowed a toal of nine goals in a 7-1 collapse against the New York Rangers and a 5-3 loss to the New York Islanders.
The tension bubbled up in Bernier’s post-game response Tuesday when he was asked if he thought he would be pulled after giving up a few soft goals against the Islanders.
In that moment, he glared at the reporter. “Why would I be pulled?” he asked. When he got an answer he didn’t like, he coldly stared down other reporters lest they dare to continue the line of questioning. The area around his locker went quiet.
The incident also appeared to gnaw at Carlyle after practice on Wednesday when he laughed off a reporter who wanted to know what he thought of Bernier’s reaction.
“I don’t react to what reporters have (to say),” he said. “Imagine if I reacted to everything you said about me.”
Jonathan Bernier may want this one back...
Rangers/Leafs and Senators/Canadiens
from Simon Houpt of the Globe and Mail,
The National Hockey League may want to consider including a Canadian team in every Winter Classic, after this year’s New Year’s Day matchup attracted record ratings in Canada and a near record in the United States.
On Friday, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation said 3.57-million viewers tuned in to the Toronto vs. Detroit game in Ann Arbor, Mich., which ended in a shootout win by the Maple Leafs. That is almost 90 per cent higher than the previous record of 1.91-million viewers, set during the Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins game in 2011, which aired in prime time after poor weather forced the postponement of the afternoon-scheduled game.
STAMFORD, Conn. – Jan. 3, 2014 – The 2014 NHL Winter Classic on NBC, in which the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout on New Year’s Day, tied as the highest-rated NHL regular-season game in nearly four decades, became the second-most watched such game in 39 years, and is up nearly 20% in both household rating and viewership as compared to the 2012 NHL Winter Classic. The game, which featured only one U.S. team, delivered a 2.5 HH rating and averaged 4.404 million viewers, according to Fast National data from The Nielsen Company.
View the hit here...
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
Winter? Sure. The NHL’s game of the year was postcard pretty, with the falling snow clashing brilliantly with the bright red and blue sweaters of the Red Wings and the Maple Leafs.
But a classic? Not quite.
Toronto’s 3-2 shootout win over Detroit at the Big House was heavy on the spectacle that draws in the casual viewer — which, of course, is the primary focus of the event — but it was a miserable display of hockey. For most of the contest, this was two middling teams playing to prevent goals rather than score them. Even the Red Wings’ sublimely gifted Pavel Datsyuk was reduced to playing dump-and-chase rather than showcasing his skills in front of the largest crowd in NHL history and a massive TV audience.
Not even a late game-tying goal by Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader — which sent the contest first to overtime, and then to a shootout — could save this from being arguably the worst Winter Classic in history.
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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