Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: toronto maple leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs signed a player that more than a few teams' fans viewed as a simple low-cost option in 37-year-old Stephane Robidas (he signed a 3-year, $9 million contract), but the Toronto Star's Kevin McGran reports that Robidas' right leg--which was broken twice last season, once while he was playing for the Dallas Stars and once while he was playing in the playoffs with the Anaheim Ducks--isn't quite good to go yet:
Robidas had surgery to replace a screw in his knee after the season and has not been cleared for contact.
Training camp opens Sept. 18.
“I feel great, I have been skating on my own,” said Robidas. “But I am not cleared for contact yet. I will probably do the first few practices with the team but I won’t do any scrimmages. The goal is to play in the last couple of pre-season games and get ready for the start of the season.”
According to the Toronto Star's Mark Zwolinski, new Maple Leafs assistant GM Kyle Dubas is working very hard to learn the ropes in Toronto...
“It’s been a busy summer,” said the new assistant GM. “It’s been an interesting time to come in. In a way it worked out perfectly in that August is a quiet month in the NHL, and it let me get my feet under me. Get to know Brendan (Shanahan, the team president) and Dave (Nonis, the general manager).”
Dubas has spent the majority of his time this summer rounding out the Marlies staff, signing a few players, getting ready for training camp next month, finishing an ECHL agreement with Orlando as well as scouting Canada’s under-18 camp.
“It’s getting a sense of what everybody is doing,” said Dubas. “What each department is doing. Following the guidance of Dave and Brendan.”
And Dubas also has this to say about the "fancy stats" business:
“Hockey is behind other sports for a number of reasons, including the nature of the sport,” said Dubas. “There’s a lot of people that seem to me to be rushing the magic formula and how it all works. A lot of people are trying to sell that.
“The key for me is, if you rush, you’re going to be chasing down a rabbit hole, not really knowing what you’re looking for. We’ve got to determine how we’re going to go about that, how we’re going to develop it internally and not have to outsource that.”
If you don't follow Paul on Twitter, you should for many reasons, including the fact that he posts a significant amount of content that doesn't quite make blog standards, generally because it's more "talk" than "news" (and we want you to get the news here on KK, not the fluffernutter). Three of those kinds stories follow:
1. Tomas Kaberle is 36, he posted a less-than-enthralling 4 goals, 20 assists and a -8 in 48 games with HC Kladno of the Czech Extraliga this past season (and 3 assists and a -5 in 5 games for the Czech Olympic team; I'm not sure if the pass-first-past-second-and-pass-third defenseman ever shoots the puck), but he showed up at Biosteel Sports' pro camp in Toronto on Monday, and in addition to reminiscing upon his time spent in Toronto, Kaberle told the National Post's Michael Traikos that he's got a try-out deal in the works...
“It’s not in Ontario,” Kaberle said Monday at the BioSteel Pro Hockey Camp at St. Michael’s College. “I’m planning to stay around here if possible, so we’ll see what’s going to happen in the next few weeks.”
Kaberle discussed his decision to spend a year with his hometown team...
Today, NHL.com's "30 in 30" series profiles the Toronto Maple Leafs, and NHLcom discusses "advanced stats" angle as it applies to the Leafs' roster (see: Kyle Dubas' hiring as the Leafs' assistant GM), Jake Gardiner's contract extension, the Leafs' top prospects and the team's front office and roster turnover--as well as the goaltending issue--but there are other questions which remain very pertinent that don't involve Babcock-to-TO rumors or jitters about Phil Kessel's lack of social graces, as noted by NHL.com's Sean Farrell in "five questions" form:
3. What role will forward David Clarkson play? -- A rebound or not from a disappointing debut season in Toronto will tell the tale.
With the depth that the Maple Leafs have added up front, it may prove difficult for Clarkson to find playing time in the top six. That said, if Clarkson brings the kind of two-way game he is capable of, he would be a formidable third-line presence.
Clarkson was spotted training with Sid-the-no-longer-Kid, Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, John Tavares and Kyle Okposo under the guidance of Darryl Belfry last week, in the sunny locale of Esthero, FL...
To his credit, the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons' weekly notebook includes exactly one mention of the "advanced stats" community, and it's one that voices a thought many of us have considered since Extraskater.com went "offline"...
When the analytics website @extraskater disappeared on Friday, my assumption was that creater Darryl Metcalf had been hired by an NHL team
(or the NHL itself, given that its new "terms of service" all but ban the kind of activity Extra Skater and Behind the Net engage in)
And Simmons issues a pretty dang solid set of NHL-related tidbits and observations:
The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons spends a significant portion of his Sunday notebook fighting the anti-advanced stats fight (again). In doing so, however, he does make one astute point about new Maple Leafs assistant GM Kyle Dubas, and it's a point that the "Boy Genius, Master of Advanced Stats" narrative has ignored.
Dubas made some very "gusty" calls in terms of both coaching and player personnel while turning the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds from a bottom-feeder into a perennial contender, including making a very risky coaching pick:
Against almost everyone’s advice, Dubas hired Sheldon Keefe to coach in Sault Ste. Marie when Keefe was persona non grata in the OHL because of his personal behaviour and his longtime involvement with the pariah David Frost. People knew Keefe could coach. But no one would touch him. Dubas found a way to finesse that and now he’s on the rise and so is Keefe. And lingering there are many people in the OHL who have no use for either of them.
Simmons also believes that Leafs president Brendan Shanahan's decision to fire Dave Poulin and Claude Loiselle might have a positive effect upon the NHL's Department of Player Safety:
The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons offers a little less time to hockey notes in the middle of the summer, and aside from his weekly anti-Corsi rant, here's the gist of his hockey commentary from his Sunday notebook:
What happens if David Clarkson is as inept in Year 2 with the Leafs as he was in Year 1? Do they want a $5-million player on their fourth line (who isn’t Mike Richards)? Or will Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment swallow hard and send him to the minors, even if there is very little salary-cap help for doing so. In the end, performance will be up to Clarkson. One NHL scout makes a Michal Handzus comparison to Clarkson: “Los Angeles signed him to a large free-agent contract in ’07. And he sucked the first year. They were kind of frantic about that. But after that, he played OK for them. He really did."
Still available in free agency: Martin Brodeur, Tim Thomas and Ilya Bryzgalov ... Went over the list of 234 unsigned free agents: The only one I had semi-interest in was Daniel Winnik, banging winger, formerly of the Anaheim Ducks
Simmons continues and discusses his usual myriad of topics...
One really begets the other here, so bear with me:
Via Chris Nichols, Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher spoke with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo about the free agent wining and dining period, which is clearly very good in terms of sensing the "fit" for players with various organizations, but isn't necessarily fascinating in terms of the way that it's driving players' "market values" into the stratosphere...
Cue Fletcher: “I’ve had the opportunity to speak with several agents of pending UFAs and try to get a sense of who may have interest in coming to Minnesota and talk about different roles and whether what we have to offer them fits from a role and an ice time standpoint with what they’re looking at. There’s been some ones that may work out, there’s been some ones that clearly won’t work out. But that’s good. I wasn’t really involved in the shopping period last year, but it’s been great. It gives you the sense where instead it used to be July 1 it was such a battle to sign guys. You were competing with other teams to sign players. It wasn’t like you were spending time interviewing players to get their idea of an ideal role. We weren’t having these conversations you might assume we were having. A lot of times you had to make quick decisions and you were throwing money around. So the great thing about the shopping period is you can say, hey this is what we have. This is the type of role. This is the type of fit. Does that interest you?”
And the lack of consensus as to who-goes-where from picks 1 to 4 to the utter mess of players who could be drafted anywhere from 5th to 40th means that we could see a flurry of trades to move up and/or down (and a first round that takes four or five hours starting tonight at 7), as NHL.com's Dan Rosen notes...
Some things never change. Ahead of the Board of Governors meetings, quite conveniently so, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president Tim Leiwicke made some rather heated comments suggesting that the Toronto Maple Leafs are slighted by the NHL on a regular basis, as the Toronto Sun's Mike Zeisberger noted in Twitter and now article form...
“Why there hasn’t been a Winter Classic in Canada is, in my opinion, a mistake and shows a lack of respect to this city...” Leiweke said.
In confirming his attempts to woo all these events to Toronto, Leiweke followed by perhaps making the boldest statement of many bold statements: The NHL would reach unparalleled heights if and when the Leafs compete for — and, in his mind, hopefully win — a Stanley Cup.
“As Toronto goes, so goes the (business) success of the National Hockey League. I firmly believe that,” Leiweke said. “If we could ever lift up that silver shiny thing, the impact we would have on this league would be phenomenal — like nothing we’ve ever seen before. No offence against New York. And no offence against L.A. (But) if the Maple Leafs play for the Stanley Cup, we are going to have 20 million people watching that game.”
"John McDonough is in my ear all the time for anything," Bettman told the Tribune. "He's very passionate about doing as many things from a league perspective with the Blackhawks in Chicago as possible."
That includes the Hawks hosting the NHL All-Star Game or NHL draft. Chicago has not been the site for the All-Star Game since 1991 and never has been the location for the draft.
That could change if McDonough gets his wish.
"There's always the possibility," Bettman said. "We haven't focused on where we're going in the long term but obviously we know there are a lot of great fans in Chicago and the Blackhawks are part of the heart and soul of the city."
Kuc also continues...
Updated with LeBrun stuff at 6:57 PM:
TSN's Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie discussed pre-draft trade and free agent discussions in an edition of Insider Trading that lasts for nearly four minutes. TSN usually posts a summation thereof, but if you don't want to wait until 7:30 or 8...
1. McKenzie says that there are 3 teams in the Western Conference (Anaheim, St. Louis +?) and 1 "mystery team" in the Eastern Conference who are talking to the Ottawa Senators about Jason Spezza (who has a no-trade list of 10 teams, incl. Florida, Carolina, Columbus and the Islanders). McKenzie says the Senators want a 1st-round draft pick as part of the compensation package.
2. Dreger says that David Bolland wants "maximum value," and he wants an 8-year deal at $4.9 million to remain with the Leafs. Toronto probably won't give him the term he wants, but Bolland believes he'll be healthy by training camp;
3. Dreger says that the Oilers are looking for a center and a defenseman, and they're willing to trade the 3rd overall pick and/or Sam Gagner in their efforts to improve the team, which may include trading for the Panthers' 1st overall pick;
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Tags: anaheim+ducks, chicago+blackhawks, dale+tallon, dan+boyle, edmonton+oilers, florida+panthers, jason+spezza, joe+thornton, paul+stastny, ryan+kesler, sam+gagner, san+jose+sharks, st.+louis+blues, toronto+maple+leafs, vancouver+canucks
The Score's Katie Flynn reports that Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president Tim Leiweke held a press conference regarding MLSE's sporting plans, and the Toronto Sun's Mike Zeisberger caught some...outspoken...comments from Leiweke:
Leiweke says Shanahan will be patient, won't buckle to public pressure to make changes.
Leiweke says Kessel one of 10 best players in #NHL. "We've only seen a (bit) of how good he can be .. We need 2 build infastructure ard him"
ESPN's Scott Burnside penned a fascinating article about the NHL draft as witnessed through the eyes of general managers and assistant general managers, including Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Claude Loiselle, Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen, Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon, Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald and Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill.
Nill suggests that, at some point, the management staff has to relinquish control to the amateur scouting staff and hope for the best:
Nill was at the Detroit draft tables when the Wings repeatedly came up with the proverbial diamonds in the rough: Datsyuk with the 171st pick in 1998; Zetterberg at 210 in 1999; Tomas Holmstrom at 257 in 1994. The Red Wings rarely drafted anywhere near the top of the first round thanks to their winning ways during that time, but the mandate was still the same, Nill said: Find good players who could help the team, no matter where the Wings were drafting.
"Those were special players. But at the time we didn't know that. You don't know it until three or four years down the road," Nill said.
This year's draft will be Nill's second as the GM of the Dallas Stars. It has been a period of evolution for someone who used to be one of the guys who put eyes on hundreds of youngsters at hundreds of games every season. Living in Detroit, he could see junior, college, AHL and NHL games all within a few hours' drive. Not so in Dallas, and his job description precludes those kinds of trips anyway.
Just as longtime Detroit GM Ken Holland had to trust Nill and his scouting staff to identify the right players for the Red Wings, Nill now has to step back and convey that trust to the Stars' staff.
"I had to hand over the reins," Nill said. "If you're going to be a manager, you're going to have to let it go."
As noted during the GM's meetings post, ESPN's Pierre LeBrun tends to issue a set of "Rumblings" in conjunction with an episode of TSN's Insider Trading, and that is most certainly the case this evening. TSN's Darren Dreger, James Duthie and LeBrun spent three-and-a-half minutes discussing hot topics, and TSN conveniently provided a transcript of the video.
The Stanley Cup Final is on but GM's are already focusing about next season. We expect Brad Richards to be bought out by the New York Rangers - what about Mike Richards by L.A.?
Darren Dreger: Well the Los Angeles Kings don't plan on buying out Mike Richards because then they would have to replace him. But Mike Richards doesn't want to be a fourth-line centre next year for the Kings. The Kings are expected to push Richards in the off-season to improve his conditions and get a little bit stronger. But we also know that Richards is a strong and confident young man and he may not want to follow the path that the Kings want him to follow. So this could get very interesting.
Is current Philadelphia Flyer Vincent Lecavalier soon to be an ex-Flyer?
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Tags: dan+boyle, david+poile, garth+snow, los+angeles+kings, mike+richards, nashville+predators, new+york+islanders, philadelphia+flyers, ron+hextall, shea+weber, toronto+maple+leafs, vincent+lecavalier
Updated 2x at 9:19 PM: Paul did a helluva job of covering the "gist" of the GM's meetings, but here are some items that I noticed on Twitter and feel merit mentioning, starting with Craig Custance's chat with Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman...
In Penguins and Maple Leafs news, from Sportsnet's Chris Johnston...
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Tags: brooks+orpik, bryan+murray, buffalo+sabres, chicago+blackhawks, dale+tallon, dan+bylsma, dave+nonis, david+poile, florida+panthers, gerard+gallant, james+neal, jason+spezza, jim+rutherford, jonathan+toews, marc+crawford, matt+niskanen, nashville+predators, ottawa+senators, patrick+kane, pittsburgh+penguins, ron+wilson, shea+weber, stan+bowman, tim+murray, tom+renney, toronto+maple+leafs
The Toronto Sun's Mike Zeisberger posited a pair of speculation-based columns on Friday evening, wondering aloud whether Dan Bylsma might be a "fit" for the Canucks, and he also suggested that the Toronto Maple Leafs and several other teams have inquired as to the availability of San Jose Sharks forward Joe Thornton:
It should come as no surprise, then, that the Leafs are among at least six NHL teams who have kicked tires concerning Thornton’s availability.
And why wouldn’t they? With centre being a position of need for the Leafs ever since Mats Sundin left, why not make an inquiry if someone of Thornton’s ilk might possibly come on the market?
Leafs general manager Dave Nonis has often said that GMs often ask each other about the chances of players being on the block. As he has pointed out in the past, it’s part of a GM’s job to do his due diligence.
That doesn’t mean that it has gotten anywhere near the point of offers being exchanged. So, those of you who already have a Thornton deal worked out in which Dion Phaneuf goes to San Jose to replace the recently traded Dan Boyle, slow down.
George here on the late shift, and I feel the need to identify myself because I'm going to get a little "snippy" here:
If Dion Phaneuf played a little less like Mr. Heavyfoot on the Maple Leafs' blueline, Jason Spezza and "potential" intersected a little more regularly, their teams wouldn't have conveniently floated the, "These guys are available" lines when just enough teams have been or are about to be eliminated from playoff contention to drum up some significant interest (I'm starting to believe that Thomas Vanek is more modern-day Ray Sheppard--i.e. a "finisher" who doesn't have great individual skills--than a free agent prize, but that's another story).
The fact that Phaneuf's 29 and was just signed to that massive 7-year, $49 million contract extension (per Capgeek), and that Spezza's entering the final year of a contract with a $7 million cap hit (though his salary's only $4 million in real-world dollars next year) at 30 also play into the equation, as do suggestions that, at their respective ages, the players may be in fact at the age where "diminishing returns" fare into overpaying to acquire their services (and if we are to believe what we read, both teams plan on moving said players to Western Conference teams).
Accoring to the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch, Spezza's drumming up significant interest. Garrioch believes that Spezza will probably be moved at or around the draft in Philadelphia (on June 27th and 28th), and he reports that several Eastern Conference teams and one with-division team are interested in Spezza:
Cue the, "Story blowing up this morning" title for this one from TSN:
The captain of the Ottawa Senators could be on the move this off-season.
According to TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie, Jason Spezza is "very much in play on the NHL trade market."
McKenzie says the rumors stem in part from Spezza's exit interview with the Senators this season when he reportedly informed Ottawa ownership that he may look favorably on a move.
The 30-year-old had 23 goals and 43 assists for 66 points in 75 games played this season.
Spezza, who has played his entire 12-year career in the nation's capital, has a year left on his seven-year, $49 million contract signed ahead of the 2008-09 season.
And Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos countered with the following:
Ontario captains on the way out soon? Independent sources say both #Sens and #Leafs shopping Spezza/ Phaneuf to west conf #NHL teams
Hearing lots of interest in #Leafs Phaneuf @ right price. Some clubs tell me they value him btw 5m -6m, meaning Tor must cover remaining $.
Update: Cue the video:
The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons goes over his usual wide array of topics in this Sunday's column, but his "lede" involves a suggestion that the San Jose Sharks' decision to retain Todd McLellan's services prevented the new Atlantic Division from including a trio of current or former members of the Red Wings' coaching staff behind its teams' benches:
At least four NHL teams, two not necessarily looking to replace their coach, were prepared to make a pitch to McLellan, had he been made available.
One of those teams is believed to be the Maple Leafs, who have been silent on Randy Carlyle’s status since their season ended and Brendan Shanahan was anointed as team president.
And at the same time, had Carlyle been let loose by the Leafs, there were two other teams interested in hiring him to coach.
Now, with McLellan probably staying in San Jose, the likelihood is the Leafs won’t wait long to confirm that Carlyle will return in his position as coach: He has one year left on his contract.
Simmons continues at length...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The Tampa Bay Lightning made it clear to Ryan Callahan’s camp that they want the player past this season.
The pending UFA's agent, the veteran Steve Bartlett, told ESPN.com Tuesday that he chatted with Steve Yzerman in Buffalo over the past weekend, at which point the Bolts GM made it clear they'd like to talk extension after the season.
Yzerman, also reached Tuesday, said for now the focus is on hockey, on making the playoffs and on doing well in the playoffs. The GM will focus on Callahan’s future later.
"He’s just going to play hockey and we’ll talk when the season’s over," Yzerman told ESPN.com.
continued plus topics like John Tortorella, Andrei Markov, Jagr signing again with New Jersey and the future of Randy Carlyle and even more than that.
George here on the late shift...
The Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa's notebook covers a myriad of topics, and its thrust involves the roles Rob DiMaio and Tim Taylor play in the St. Louis Blues' organization, but this quip about the Toronto Maple Leafs coach's relationship with his captain...Is probably a more astute analysis of the ways in which a coach can manage a team's most meaningful player's play than anything coming out of Toronto over the next six months:
Phaneuf isn’t a bad defenseman, but he’s not a smart one. As captain, Phaneuf recognizes he’s surrounded by deficiencies. So he tries to do too much — pinch low in the offensive zone, sprint into center ice to throw a big hit, pursue the puck carrier in the corners. None of that helps his team.
It is Carlyle’s mandate to keep Phaneuf collared to his position. If he played a simpler game, Phaneuf would be a much better defenseman. Phaneuf is strong, fit, and mobile. Those attributes benefit a stay-at-home defenseman.
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch ponders the fates of Dany Heatley, Andy MacDonald, Andrei Markov, Dmirtri Kulikov and others in his weekly rumor column, but he's been talking about executives for some time and I haven't paid those quips much heed, so it's time to talk about the gents in suits. In addition to wondering about the shelf lives of Dallas Eakins and Mike Yeo, Garrioch says that the Carolina Hurricanes' only general manager may be moving on up...
While Carolina GM Jim Rutherford is expected to move upstairs into a full-time role as president at the end of the season, the word is owner Peter Karmanos has to sign off on the decision to elevate Ron Francis. You’d have to think it is a rubber stamp and if that’s the case then coach Kirk Muller will likely be thanked at the end of the season.
And I can't deny that I've had this thought as well:
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch delivers a significant amount of player personnel, front office and team intrigue in his weekly rumor roundup, but I believe that we call the following "going to one's wheelhouse":
Dave Nonis is described as patient.
His is being put to the test big-time by the Toronto Maple Leafs. After falling out of a playoff position, league sources say the club’s GM has been working the phones hard trying to find some depth up front to help the struggling club.
To get assistance, Nonis will likely have to move a defenceman and since Dion Phaneuf just signed a seven-year, $49-million extension he isn’t going anywhere. The names of Carl Gunnarsson and Jake Gardiner could be trade bait.
At the very least, it’s all intruiging.
The second most-active GM to trying make a deal: Pittsburgh’s Ray Shero and he has been dangling prospects because of all the injuries the club has had. He is looking to move a young defenceman for a forward.
We often hear various versions of how hockey is just a game.
That these players should let go of some of their egos because they are playing a kids game for a living that people become too passionate about JUST a game; but hockey is much more than just a game.
Darren Helm acknowledged my existence..... I love my life.... pic.twitter.com/5NAwo6VAJJ— Tascherflow (@Taschereau17) January 1, 2014
After waiting for an extra year due to the lockout it is finally here. Today legends from the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings will lace up the skates once more. The event became so huge they had to make it a double header.
The first game will start today at one o’clock in downtown Detroit at Comerica Park (weather permitting) and it is sure to be yet another cold day.
I have spent most of my day driving around Lower Michigan. Made my way to Ann Arbor this morning where in just a few more days the Detroit Red Wings will face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2014 NHL Winter Classic.
Took a few shots from around Michigan Stadium (The Big House) while I was there.
The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons offers up his usual smorgasbord of Sunday observations, including an explanation as to what went wrong between himself and Brian Burke, but this paragraph's worth of thoughts stood out to me:
Question that wasn't asked after Carlyle admitted he was spotted in a Swiss Chalet in Parry Sound over the break: Did he order half-chicken or quarter-chicken? ... Not surprised that tickets for the outdoor game in Los Angeles between the Kings and Ducks aren't moving. Part of the charm of these over-hyped events is the back-to-roots element of the game. It's hardly back to roots when fans are wearing short-sleeved shirts at Dodger Stadium ... The Sunday assignment: Go through every NHL roster and make a list of defenceman you'd rather have than Phaneuf. It's not as easy you might think. I got to 15 and then started arguing with myself ... The new contract, when it's officially signed, will make Phaneuf the sixth-highest-paid defencemen in hockey, tied with Drew Doughty and Zdeno Chara. The top three paid defencemen in the NHL are Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and this year's Norris Trophy favourite, Duncan Keith ... Why Jamie Benn will be on Canada's Olympic team. His coach is Lindy Ruff. Ruff is one of Mike Babcock's assistants with Team Canada. All Ruff has to explain is what he sees every night with Benn
(Yes, Saturday's HBO's 24/7 episode basically revealed that Phaneuf and the Leafs have indeed agreed to a 7-year, $49 million contract extension)
You may most certainly read the rest; the Burke stuff really is fascinating.
You know your team's becoming familiar with the NHL's Department of Player Safety when it receives an, "It's okay, guys" Tweet:
With James Neal enjoying a 5-game suspension and a remorseful Deryk Engelland set to visit Sheriff Shanny and crew on Wednesday (and there is a department of player safety) to discuss his hit on Justin Abdelkader, Pro Hockey Talk's Cam Tucker notes that Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Robert Bortuzzo did this to Jerry D'Amigo, and received a 2-minute "check to the head" penalty as a result:
D'Amigo was fine and so was Bortuzzo, who, as PHT's Tucker noted, had a very busy game.
Paul noted that ESPN's Pierre LeBrun tossed off a set of "Rumblings" with Olympic ramifications--and, "Lemme tell ya, kids, them Russkies are gonna be furious that the IIHF won't let them revise their rosters until right before the 'Perfect Olympics'"--and LeBrun's comments were made in parallel with TSN's latest epsiode of Insider Trading. LeBrun, Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie touched on a set of topics that included some bona-fide trade talk and this intriguing topic:
Commissioner Gary Bettman talked about expansion and said nothing was imminent. What is happening?
McKenzie: Bettman said there was no formal process in place but you have to believe there may be an informal process that is in the works. We know the NHL wants to get to 32 teams, the question is when it could happen. The absolute earliest you could add teams to the NHL would be the 2015-2016 season, just less than two years away. The league needs a one-year lead time on that, therefore if anything is happening, it will escalate over the next ten months.
As Paul noted, Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Bolland suffered an, "Erik Karlsson-type injury" that will require surgery during the Maple Leafs-Canucks game on Saturday. The Toronto Star's Dave Feschuk clarified Bolland's status while noting that Bolland was in fact wearing Kevlar socks, but still suffered what is probably a torn Achilles tendon:
Toronto’s biggest loss on Saturday promises to be felt for weeks to come in vital man games. That’s because Leafs centre Dave Bolland, cut in the ankle region by Zack Kassian’s skate in an early-second-period collision, departed Rogers Arena strapped to a stretcher. Carlyle said Bolland had suffered a cut “similar” to the Achilles tendon injury that kept Ottawa Senators all-star Erik Karlsson out of action for most of three months last season. Unlike Karlsson, Bolland had been wearing Kevlar-type socks on Saturday, according to a club source. But the socks are cut-resistant, not cut-proof.
“He will have surgery (on Saturday night),” Carlyle said.
Toronto GM Dave Nonis called the setback “accidental.”
“It would be hard for me to imagine how that was on purpose,” Nonis said. “Hopefully we’re getting (the injury bug) out of the way early. You’d like to think we’ve prepared well, guys were in good shape coming in, and they’ve all been freak injuries. Now we have to deal with ’em. But a lot of teams have to do it so I don’t think we can cry about it.”
Continued, and no level of protection can prevent every injury--those socks can shift, and they can be cut--but it's still better to wear them than not, just as players who wear visors are much less likely to suffer eye injuries.
Welcome to the morning after! A recap of the games from the night before and quick hit hockey news.
In Case You Missed It
New York Rangers at New York Islanders
Twenty-four hours after their home opener the Rangers were on the road again. This time just a short trip to the neighbors the Islanders.
After losing at home long time starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist sat out last night while rookie netminder Cam Talbot got the start.
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Tags: anaheim+ducks, chicago+blackhawks, edmonton+oilers, lundqvist+sits+in+win, montreal+canadiens, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+sports+daily, phoenix+coyotes, st.+louis+blues, teemu+selanne+stick+to+face, toronto+maple+leafs, winnipeg+jets
After hearing about little other than the Buffalo Sabres' former co-captain and his former goaltender over the past week, it was refreshing to hear TSN's "Insider Trading" panel, a.k.a. Bob McKenzie, Pierre LeBrun (who touched upon several of the below-mentioned topics in his "Rumblings") and Darren Dreger discuss non-Sabres topics--after touching upon the obvious Vanek and Miller angles.
[A]nother goalie is trying to get back to the NHL. Rick DiPietro got the second largest buyout in NHL history, $24 million. He'll never see that kind of money again, but will he get another shot in the NHL?
Bob McKenzie: It's a possibility. The Carolina Hurricanes are having problems in net. Obviously, Cam Ward is out for the next few weeks with an injury and Anton Khudobin is out for at least another week. So, they signed DiPietro to an AHL tryout contract on the weekend and what's going to happen now is that they want to see him in action. On Wednesday and Thursday night, DiPietro is scheduled to play for the Charlotte Checkers in the American Hockey league, on the road in Grand Rapids and Rockford. How he performs in those games, coupled with how Justin Peters plays for the Hurricanes in their next game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night will determine how quickly or if Rick DiPietro can get back up.
The CBC's Elliotte Friedman's graced our Monday evening with a "30 Thoughts" column. He begins with the P's and Q's of a shootout spin-o-rama (see: Mason Raymond) vs. ettiquette (If you "snow" a goalie, should that be a penalty? And the Globe and Mail offers a superb visual explanation of what constitutes an "illegal" shootout move), and he continues from there.
Among his thoughts:
1. Looked a little bit into Ken Holland's overtime suggestion: four minutes of four-on-four, followed by four minutes of three-on-three if still tied. Then a shootout if necessary. I love the idea, which was tried at the Traverse City rookie tournament the Red Wings host. One of the reasons against it is the league doesn't want longer games.
Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean was not amused by Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mason Raymond's spin-o-rama, snow-and-score goal against Craig Anderson, and I guess this falls under the, "Ask a prickly question, receive an equally grumpy answer" category.
NHL senior VP of hockey operations Colin Campbell replied to MacLean's, "Should this be allowed?" question with an answer whose tone hisses through NHL.com's webpage:
"If the puck stops, or if the player's momentum stops, and particularly reverses, then there's an issue," Campbell said. "The problem is if you're skating forward, you can pull the puck back, or stickhandle, and that will stop [the puck] at times, or a curl-and-drag sometimes will stop it. There is some confusion and misinterpretation."
During the summer, the Competition Committee recommended the removal of the spin-o-rama move from the shootout and during penalty-shot attempts. The NHL Board of Governors approved the recommendation, but it was not passed by the executive committee of the NHL Players' Association.
"We've had this discussion at the general managers' meetings on a couple of occasions," Campbell said. "There wasn't a lot of appetite for spin-o-ramas. When you spin around and put your butt into the goaltender or if you go [into] the crease, you are dangerously close to being called for goaltender interference; particularly if you do make contact with the goalie in his crease, it would be disallowed."
(So blame the players)
But wait, there's more, and it's a, "You've all been warned" quip:
The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons always offers up a juicy Sunday notebook, but sometimes the best parts are one-liners. The thrusts of today's column involve the tiff between Jake Gardner and Randy Carlyle, Steve Yzerman's take on fighting and the Toronto Raptors' wooing of the 2016 NBA All-Star Game, but these quips piqued my interest:
Welcome to the Edmonton Oilers, Dallas Eakins. That 4-2 lead ended up as a 5-4 defeat on opening night. Old Oilers habits don’t die easily ... There is a tension around the Philadelphia Flyers that belies the early schedule. When they lost their home opener to the Leafs in a game they had no business losing, there was a sense around their dressing room and management staff that there is already deep concern about this group.
The $10 million Phil Kessel will be paid next season is the highest single-season salary in Leafs history. The previous high: Mats Sundin at $9 million. Kessel’s salary-cap hit comes in at $8 million beginning next season ... For those who keep track of such important matters, Kessel will be paid $40,650 per period next season. If he plays all 82 games, that is ... The day after the frightening George Parros incident in Montreal, the NHL sent out a memo to teams asking them to de-emphasize fighting on their arena scoreboards. The tone of the memo: Let’s try and tone things down, people
George Parros did indeed hit the ice face-first while attempting to fight Colton Orr during the Canadiens-Leafs game, but Parros' status matters more than anthing else at present, and here's the Canadian Press's update:
Parros suffered a concussion early in the third period of the Montreal Canadiens' 4-3 home-opener loss to the rival Toronto Maple Leafs after slamming face first into the ice during a fight.
Parros was knocked unconscious after a tussle with Colton Orr -- their second fight of an unruly game -- brought him tumbling to the ice. He fell hard on his chin while attempting to punch Orr, who was tugging at Parros' jersey.
The hard-hitting Canadiens forward spent several minutes motionless on the ice, attended to by the teams' medical staffs, before being taken off on a stretcher. He was taken to the hospital where he was reportedly alert and conscious.
"You never want to see a guy get hurt like that," said Orr. "It was a scary situation. I just hope he's all right. It happened fast. I slipped and he came on top of me. The ice isn't going to give."
According to the Montreal Gazette's Pat Hickey, Parros will be kept in hospital overnight for evaluation.
It looks like Phil Kessel's going to have a very good Tuesday or Wednesday, per TSN's Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger:
The player who was once the "x factor" in the Phil Kessel trade just got shuffled out of Toronto, per the Maple Leafs:
The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded centreman Joe Colborne tonight to the Flames in exchange for Calgary’s own fourth-round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. The pick can be upgraded to a third-round pick in 2014 if certain conditions are met in the upcoming season.
And the Flames...
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel has a disciplinary hearing scheduled for 4pm et Tuesday. The hearing will concern Kessel's participation in a brawl that erupted between the two Maple Leafs and the Buffalo Sabres Sunday night.
Forward John Scott dropped his gloves and went after Kessel just seconds after a fight between Leafs forward Jamie Devane and the Sabres' Corey Tropp.
Kessel would not drop his gloves to fight Scott, but instead swung his stick twice at Scott. His actions resulted in both slashing and fighting penalties.
The 25-year-old Kessel received a match penalty for his retaliation on Scott, a ruling imposed for deliberate attempt to injure another player. The NHL Rulebook states that any player given a match penalty "shall be automatically suspended from further competition" until a ruling is handed down by the Commissioner.
added 9/24/13 at 8:40am,
Sorry for the misleading headline, the meeting is by phone.
The proprietor and I were sort of hoping for a nice, quiet Sunday night on KK, and that seemed to be the case until about 9:30, when the Maple Leafs and Bruins engaged in massive amounts of dumb and/or exciting fighting. Hockeyfights.com posted what may be the longest and most context-setting clip of the bouts (and you will all be shocked, of course, to find out that John Scott was chirping at the Leafs' bench before he tried to fight Phil Kessel, David Clarkson hopped off the bench and five minutes of adventures in knuckle-punching took place)...
And while the Toronto Sun's Lance Hornby and Toronto Star's Dave Feschuk did a fine job of capturing the Leafs' post-game reaction, and the Olean Times-Herald's Bill Hoppe told the Sabres' side of the story (not-so-shockingly, neither team chose to make the principals in instigation and jumping off the bench, respectively, available to the media), Sportsnet's Chris Johnston noted that the incredibly high likelihood that prized free agent signing David Clarkson will be suspended for ten games makes the Leafs' cheek-to-cheek dance with the salary cap quite complicated:
When I go to my local NHL rink, I've become quite accustomed to seeing fans wear jerseys displaying the names of Swedes, Russians, Czechs and even Michiganders, but the NHL was once explicitly the realm of Canadians and only Canadians (as opposed to only in Don Cherry's head). As such, the Toronto Sun's Lance Hornby's marking the 40th anniversary of a true trailblazer's journey to the NHL:
Leafs scout Gerry McNamara was sent to Sweden during Christmas of ’72, ostensibly to bring back slick winger Hammarstrom from a tournament that included the great Barrie Flyers senior team. But he widened the scope when he saw [Borje] Salming trade jabs and hacks with the belligerent Flyers. The lanky defenceman showed off an effective checking game, blocked shots and covered so much ice on breakouts. Just as noteworthy to McNamara was Salming in the thick of the scrums.
“Yeah, things got a little rough that day,” Salming reminisced on the phone, grinding laughter into his distinctive nasal tone. “My brother Stig and I knew the way the Canadians played (both were in the national squad’s chippy ’72 exhibition against Team Canada) and we decided we’d stand up for ourselves. I don’t remember the Canadian guy’s name I got into it with, but Stig and I weren’t going to be the ‘Chicken Swedes’ everyone talked about.”
Salming wound up with a game misconduct (one report said he’d shoved the referee) and was taking his equipment off when McNamara suddenly appeared in the dressing room.
“I don’t know how he talked his way inside the door,” Salming said. “But he gave me his card and asked right away, ‘Do you want to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs?’ ”
The Ottawa Sun's Tim Baines reports that Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Fraser was skating with the Ottawa Senators' players at the Bell Sensplex on Thursday (as was some Alfred-something guy), and as Baines discusses Fraser's love for the Toronto Maple Leafs despite his status as a born-and-raised Ottawan, I would like to posit the reason that Senators fans are...different:
He was surprised at the intensity of the Battle of Ontario when he returned home with the Leafs last season.
"It was always really special to come home," said Fraser. "But it's a different thing playing for the Leafs. The loudest game I'd ever played in, maybe except for the playoff games this year, was in Ottawa when Eugene Melnyk tried to encourage fans not to give their tickets to Leaf fans. It was a phenomenal experience because the fans were into it, we were into it and you see the amazing rivalry it's become in Ontario.
"The fact that hometown players can get booed in their own building is a weird thing. All the Leaf fans come out in this town."
Baines continues, and the same thing happens when the Canadiens come to Ottawa. I'd imagine that it's annoying as hell. We get pockets of fans cheering for local players on other teams in Detroit, and when the Leafs come to town, I think a quarter of Southwestern Ontario buys up all the seats because they can't get into actual Leaf games (see: why there will never be another team in Toronto), but seriously, to get booed in your own rink a total of half-a-dozen times a year...That ain't fun.
Via Sportsnet, the Toronto Sun's Lance Hornby spoke to Toronto Maple Leafs restricted free agent Nazem Kadri about the state of his contract negotiations with the Leafs, and Kadri was apparently none too pleased with the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons' suggestions that Kadri's demands are unreasonable:
“I know I’m being pretty reasonable, taking all that cap into consideration, when really, that’s not my job to do,” Kadri said Tuesday after 15 Leafs had a pre-camp workout. "Obviously the closer it gets to camp, it’s becoming more and more of a distraction. But as I said, I’m being more than reasonable and it’s their decision to make.”
The Leafs would no doubt like to see their former first-rounder ink a bridge contract such as Montreal defenceman P.K. Subban, for $2 million to $3 million to set up that multi-year jackpot if he keeps flourishing. Yet the 22-year-old, the second highest Leaf scorer last season and Toronto’s likely No. 2 centre in 2013-14, believes he’s already making a strong case for future investment.
From Mike Brophy at Sportsnet.ca:
The points are starting to come.
Fourteen points is a decent total for a guy who prides himself on playing a solid two-way game. But the number that excited Tyler Bozak the most is four. Not four, as in the number of goals he has, but four, as in plus-4.
Last season Bozak was the Toronto Maple Leafs most unreliable defensive performer finishing a very chilly minus-29. Never mind the fact he started the year as the team’s No. 1 centre and wasn’t able to play at that level quite yet, or that his points-per-game average dipped from .73 in his first year in the league, to .40 last season.
Quite simply, there’s no way Bozak was going to command ice time commensurate with his skill and ability if he continued to be a defensive liability.
Click here for more on Bozak.
from Ryan Kennedy at TheHockeyNews.com:
Before the 2010-11 campaign began, I talked to numerous NHL personalities about what the ‘C’ meant these days and Rivet was one of the focuses. Teammate Jason Pominville told me that when Rivet arrived in 2008, he was a rarity on the team: a veteran willing to be vocal in the dressing room. The players took to him right away and voted him in as captain.
Two seasons later, I wonder about the optics of him being relegated to the sidelines. What does it mean for the leader of the team not to be on the bench during a game, imparting his wisdom to the youth or stabilizing a dicey situation? Maybe the Sabres are mature enough now that they can stand on their own without Rivet, but it doesn’t seem like a good situation to me.
The trend in the NHL recently has been for captains to be younger and often super-skilled. You’re never going to see Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews or Shea Weber benched. But based on the fact Toronto has eight legitimate NHL defensemen at its disposal right now, would it be crazy to think Phaneuf would be a healthy scratch one of these days if he continues to give the puck away or miss assignments?
Click here for more.
from the web staff at Sportsnet.ca:
Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Mike Komisarek is expected to miss 7-10 days after hurting his finger in a fight Wednesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Komisarek dropped the gloves twice in the game, fighting Penguins winger Arron Asham in the second period and then facing off with Michael Rupp in the third. A clearly frustrated Komisarek was a minus-2 as the Leafs lost the game 5-2.
Click here for more.
Per TSN’s Bob McKenzie’s Tweet:
Martin Skoula to New Jersey is confirmed. Done.
added 11:20am: Leafs get a 2010 5th round pick in return.
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment President and CEO Richard Peddie will be the guest on today’s edition of NHL Hour hosted by Gary Bettman.
The show is on from 4-5 p.m. ET today on XM (Channel 204) and NHL.com. NHL Hour is an interactive talk radio show that is hosted by a rotation of League executives, and co-hosted by XM sports host and former NHL player Bill Clement.
**Archived shows available for download via a podcast on NHL.com.
From Jim Barber at Simcoe.com,
The 31-year-old native of King City was without an NHL contract to start the season, and has spent much of the past few months trying to stay in shape on his own in anticipation of a potential offer from an NHL club.
But he missed being around a team atmosphere and so got in contact with the Colts.
“I am friends with (assistant coach) Drake (Berehowsky), and a friend of mine’s good friends with (head coach) Marty (Williamson). I just got in touch with them. I was looking to get back on the ice,” O’Neill told Simcoe.com after practice on Wednesday.
From CTV News,
The family of Keith Magnuson, who was killed in a drunk driving crash caused by former Toronto Maple Leaf captain Rob Ramage, is asking a judge to spare Ramage a prison sentence.
Magnuson’s son Kevin told a Newmarket, Ont. judge on Tuesday the Ramage family has been punished enough by the fatal accident and subsequent trial and conviction.
The Magnusons said they have forgiven Ramage for his actions, and would rather see him receive a sentence of community service instead of a penitentiary term.
*A surprising position for the family to take, considering they chose to take Ramage to civil court and were awarded $9.5 million in their wrongful death lawsuit.