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Category: Toronto-Maple-Leafs

Kyle Dubas Believes In His Leafs

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

... But after a season where the Leafs finished first in the North Division, produced two all-stars in Matthews and Marner and made improvements in defensive play, Dubas isn’t bringing a sledgehammer to the main roster, at least to those under contract. Also, Jason Spezza, Wayne Simmonds and Travis Dermott have been re-signed and Dubas made the Jared McCann trade with Pittsburgh to keep Alexander Kerfoot and defenceman Justin Holl safe from the Seattle expansion draft.

“I understand some may look at it and say ‘this group hasn’t gotten it done’ and ‘why aren’t there significant changes?’,” Dubas said.

“But for better or worse, I believe in this group, believe they’re going to get it done and believe that they’re going to win. I believe in them as players, I believe in them as people. I understand that comes with a certain doubt because of the fact we have not broken through in the playoffs, but it’s my belief they will. I know that decision lies on me and what the risk is for me.

“We’re going ahead that way, so I’m comfortable with it. I believe we’re going to see the best version of this group next season that we’ve seen yet and I’m willing to bet everything on that.”

more

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Afternoon Line- Kyle Dubas

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Jason Spezza Staying In Toronto

via the Toronto Maple Leafs,

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that the hockey club has signed centre Jason Spezza to a one-year contract extension. The value of the contract is worth $750,000.

Spezza, 38, skated in 54 regular season games with the Maple Leafs during the 2020-21 season, recording 30 points (10 goals, 20 assists). The Toronto native has registered 970 points (351 goals, 619 assists) in 1,177 regular season games and 75 points (28 goals, 47 assists) in 92 playoff games between the Ottawa Senators, Dallas Stars and Toronto Maple Leafs. He has skated in the NHL All-Star Game on two occasions in 2008 and 2012.

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Examining The Toronto Maple Leafs

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

This isn’t so much about whether a team can succeed when it commits 49.7 percent of its cap allotment to four forwards in what has become a flat-earth NHL. It is about what happens when the forwards who embody your vision and around whom you have built your team flame out spectacularly in the crucible. It is about what happens when you might have given the money to the wrong people.

It is about what happens when Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, neither of whom has a particularly appealing public persona, fail to produce after a season of producing zany numbers. It is what happens when there isn’t enough support to compensate for a series-ending injury sustained early in Game 1 by John Tavares. It is what happens when Willy Nylander becomes the lone member of the remaining amigos to elevate his game.

This isn’t quite the same as the Capitals’ repeated failures last decade to get through the Penguins. It is not tantamount to the Rangers running into the Islanders wall in the early 1980s or the original Jets’ inability scale the Edmonton mountain later in that decade.

The Maple Leafs have lost five consecutive opening-round series (including last year’s qualifying round under the bubble) to four different teams. They have been beaten by the Caps, by the Bruins (twice), by the Blue Jackets and now by the Canadiens. Eight times, the Leafs have skated into potential clinchers. Eight times, they have lost. Five times over the past three years, they played a winner-take-all contest. Five times, they were on the wrong side of the handshake line.

continued

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Auston Matthews And Mitch Marner Have No Answers For Their Series Loss

from Kristen Shilton of TSN,

The Maple Leafs have run out of excuses for their postseason shortcomings.

Perhaps it’s because losing has become all too familiar. When Toronto fell to Montreal in Game 7 of its first-round playoff series on Monday, it was the fourth time in five years that the Leafs had been jettisoned from the opening round, and third time it happened in a decisive Game 7.

The Leafs were coming off an impressive regular season where they won the North Division, and were facing a Montreal team they finished 18 points ahead of in the standings. Toronto had a 3-1 series lead over the Canadiens too, and then blew it in stunning fashion. 

“The end result is terrible, it's not what we wanted,” said Mitch Marner on Wednesday during the Leafs' locker clean-out. “This year we had the talent, we had the will, we had the fight. It just didn't come through, and it’s always the same words at the end of the year. We had three cracks at it, and we’re all very disappointed because we had such high confidence that we were a team that was meant to do a lot more.”

No one has taken more heat in the wake of Toronto’s latest loss than Marner and Auston Matthews. Playing together on the Leafs’ top line, the duo produced only one goal and nine points through seven games, and they were a non-factor offensively in Toronto’s final three losses with a paltry three assists combined. 

It was baffling to see the two rendered so ineffective, given how strong their regular-season performances were. 

continued

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Obsessed With The Toronto Maple Leafs

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

Most franchises just exist, in their own markets, within their own fan base, in their own quiet way, but it seems so much of the hockey world is engaged and rather obsessed with what is right and what is wrong and what is next for the Maple Leafs.

The Leafs spend more than other teams on their operations. They overpay their players. They coddle them. They provide them with layers of support. They have more middle management with titles than almost any team in hockey. And they get more coverage, locally, nationally, especially on the two sports networks in Canada, than anyone else in the game.

So they are liked and loved and loathed by those who work in and around the game — and they are watched and studied, like it’s the latest release from Amazon, and by the way, there is a documentary coming out this season, one of the really dumb ideas to be part of for a team that doesn’t need any more dumb ideas.

This is the time of year to scream. This is another body blow to the solar plexus. And this is complicated, which makes it all the more confusing.

Normally, you look at the upper management of the team and wonder who pays the price for the latest Leafs failure. Isn’t that how it usually works? That’s what hockey people want to know.

Who’s getting fired and who’s getting traded and whose contracts aren’t being renewed?

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Video- Recap Of The Series Between Montreal And Toronto

A bit over 7 minutes to watch.

 

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Video- Checking In With Steve Dangle

Poor Steve Danlge, a life-long fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  The rant starts around the 1:19 mark and goes for about 1/2 hour.

 

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Game 7 Notes, Toronto Maple Leafs/Montreal Canadiens

via the NHL PR department,

Game 7 Trends 

* The team that scores first is 136-46 (.747) in the 182 all-time Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (1-0 in 2021).  

* Home teams own a 106-76 (.582) advantage in the 182 all-time Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (1-0 in 2021). 

* Ninety-one of the 182 all-time Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (50.0%) have been decided by a one-goal margin, including one of three in 2020. 

* Forty-five Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs have required overtime (24.9%), including one of three in 2020. Home teams have a 23-22 edge in those contests (0-1 in 2020, played at a neutral site). 

Continue Reading »

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The Toronto Maple Leafs Face Another Epic Crash

fromLance Hornby of the Toronto Su,

The Maple Leafs had a dream they were starting their first Stanley Cup journey since 1967.

It’s fast becoming a nightmare from 1987, the last and only Toronto team to blow a 3-1 series lead when the other 11 finished the job. And though they still have their emergency seventh game option against the Montreal Canadiens on Monday, the longest-serving members of his team have lost the last three since 2018 with everything on the table.

After the Leafs were in command of this series, they’re trying to avoid becoming the 30th team in NHL history to suffer such a fate. There has been role reversal as the course of the week, the Leafs going from a pro-active game plan that produced three straight victories to sitting back too much with little room for their skill players.

“I believe in this group,” insisted Nick Foligno. “You look around the room at our guys with the ability they have, I feel confident.

“This happens for a reason, Sometimes this is what catapults you.”

continued

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,

Pucker factor.

That’s the military term for it.

How do you respond under duress? When the stakes are higher than the resale prices for the first fan-attended Canadian hockey game in 14-plus months? When history and past trauma and 2,500 Olé, Olé, Olés are cracking your amour if not your psyche?

continued

from James Mirtle of The Athletic,

Continue Reading »

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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.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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