Yearly Archives: 2011
The Leafs meet the Capitals. Last time these two teams met, the Leafs brought the world of hurt and won 7-1. Colby Armstrong returned to the lineup, while Connolly got injured so we brought the hurt this time around too. As far as the score is concerned the story was very different. I suggest reading the 7-1 Game In 10 instead.
It’s a Friday night, and the Leafs are playing! Capital!
I’m not actually sure which usage (“capital” or “capitol”) is correct there. Is anyone? People apparently used to say that as an exclamation of being pleased with something. And by “used to say that”, I actually mean that Pete Campbell may have said it once on Mad Men (so I assume it’s true). And since Mad Men features a lot of people wearing suits, I consider that vague connection a decent enough excuse to use an oddly-Presidential Photoshop for the GDT. Definitely not just because it’s funny, or the first one that comes up in our media library when you search for ‘Ovechkin’.
Photo: MARK O'NEILL/QMI Agency
We may be on the verge of one of the most significant business transactions in Canadian history. The rumour broke last night that Ontario Teachers Pension Plan is nearing the sale of its majority, 79.8% stake in the Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment consortium to a tandem of telecommunications giants in Bell Media and Rogers Communications. Andrew R will be stopping by with an in-depth look at the prospective $2 billion sale in the next few days. For now, he gives us a quick reaction below:
“Simply one of the more significant business transactions in Canadian history. The games that have gone here – from fake interested buyers in the US with Gretzky, to “oh, the deal is off and MLSE is not for sale,” etc, etc, etc – this has been a soap opera hidden in a massive and game-changing business transaction. The back room politics here, the level of corruption, the sheer extortion that has gone on, it’s amazing..
This Bell/Rogers co-operative thing has thrown me for a loop. I just can’t see this happening and, if it does, it’s a left field type of thing and I have not yet wrapped my brain around it. Rest assured, though, a $2B transaction for MLSE is based on future value which is based on the value of media and content. No one does this without leverage for content and direct-to-market advertising for the broadcasts. Sales needs to be finalized before this portion can be understood fully.”
Photo: Mike Ivall/kylethereporter.com
The Marlies continue to churn out wins. They’ve collected 13 of their last 14 points as Nazem Kadri, Marcel Mueller, Mike Zigomanis, and Mark Owuya have led the way. An excess of depth has forced Owuya back to Reading in an unfortunate demotion after the Swedish summer signing posted a 4-1-1 record with a 1.73 GAA and a .939 save%, statistically making him the second best goalie in the AHL prior to his return to the ECHL. With Reimer’s return bumping the rest down the goalie chain, Owuya finds himself back with Reading as Ben Scrivens and Jussi Rynnas take over the Marlie duties for now. Owuya has definitely made a statement and left Leafs management with something to think about, but the wise asset management at this point was to return him to Reading as originally planned and give Scrivens and Rynnas the AHL starts.
In other news, the Marlies will receive a boost in the form of Joe Colborne, as the AHL’s player of the month in October was returned to the Marlies today Â to make room for the now-healthy Colby Armstrong. Onto your weekly release from the Marlies:
photo: kulas korner
photo: kuklas korner
Or, “How I learned to stop worrying and love MLHS titles that are way too long.”
Every so often, an opinion thoroughly disguised as a mainstream news article presents itself – one that is so ridiculous, so utterly without basis, that the most appropriate response is to simply ignore it. In these situations, we are encouraged not to â€œsink to that levelâ€ by dignifying the position with a response. You know, to rise above – behave with a level of superior maturity. This is not one of those times.
Tonight marked James Reimerâ€™s first game back at the ACC, and maybe heâ€™d have preferred the comforts of the pressbox as a shaky start and finish sunk the Leafs.Â In his first appearance at the ACC since October 19th, Reimer had an off night and a 50/50 penalty kill led to your Toronto Maple Leafs losing 3 – 2 in overtime to the New Jersey Devils.
Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
The Leafs return home to host the Devils in their second game in as many nights. The Leafs last met the Devils in the first half of a back to back, won 5-3, and ended up beating the Blue Jackets the next night to sweep the four points. The Leafs have split their other two back to backs this season.
Joffrey Lupul finished as the NHL’s points leader in the month of November. The Leafs’ last meeting with the Devils played a big role in that as Lupul netted a hat trick in a 5-3 win on November 2. The winger put up 19 points in the month and the Leafs, a week into December, still own two top five NHL point scorers in he and Phil Kessel. What started out as a seemingly hot start has turned into a sustained period of amazing production for the pair.
As you no doubt aware, the NHL Governers agreed Monday night to Commissioner Gary Bettman’s plan for realignment, in an effort to reduce team travel and shake up the structure of the playoff system. Gone would be the two-conference, six-division setup that fans have grown accustomed to since the mid-90s, to be replaced by a four-conference system in which each team is guaranteed home-and-home matches with all other teams.
The recommended format — which must pass the NHLPA approval process before becoming official — also promotes inter-conference rivalries, while preserving traditional rivalries which built up under the former (er, current, for now) system.Â While there are several advantages to the new system, which addresses many concerns voiced by fans throughout the years, there are a few disadvantages to adopting this approach also. And since this is a Toronto Maple Leafs blog, I’m sure you’re all wondering how exactly these changes will affect the boys in blue. We’ll get to that a bit further down.
As you no doubt have heard, the NHL will look radically different starting next season. Â Originally, the Board of Governors were considering a simple interconference swap of Detroit or Columbus with Winnipeg. Â Instead, they largely voted in favour of a much grander realignment that has created four separate conferences. Â Let’s take a look at some of the ramifications of this realignment that apply directly to the Maple Leafs.
1. While the format of the final two rounds of the playoffs have not yet been clarified (the GMs will decide the matter in March), it is quite likely that Toronto could end up playing a team from the former Eastern Conference for the Stanley Cup. Â While this will not include anyone directly within our new unnamed “conference”, the possibilities of a seven game series with the likes of the Penguins, Rangers or Flyers is certainly exciting. Â The Penguins, Flyers, and even the Capitals are successful new-era teams stacked with young talent. Â On the other hand, facing off against New York for the Stanley Cup is an original six matchup that most never thought we’d see in this day and age.
The boys visited the MSG tonight, a place where we were already successful once this year. Oh, and Grabo made another baby. Congratulations! Good coaching by Ron Wilson is evident off the ice as well.
Photo: Kathy Kmonicek/Associated Press
From the league’s hottest team to the league’s second hottest team, the Maple Leafs are in New York in hopes of getting back on the winning side of the ledger against the red-hot Rangers after a back to back sweep at the hands of the Boston Bruins last week. With 33 points in just 23 games, the Rangers could easily be tops of the East soon with some points in their games in hand.
The Leafs handed the Rangers one of only five regulation losses this season on October 27, when they earned an ugly 4-1 road win and took advantage of a rather human-looking Henrik Lundqvist on the always shitty Madison Square Garden ice. Jonas Gustavsson earned the W and will get the start tonight, unless Wilson and fellow bully/”local embarrassment” Brian Burke pull another fast one on Damien and Steve.
Photo: Toronto Star
If the Toronto Maple Leafs ownership group was one person, it would be pretty safe to say that win or lose, that one person is not losing any sleep over it at night. I’m okay with that. And you should be, too.
Full disclosure is necessary, and that’s to say the John Ferguson Jr. hiring was terrible. There is no hiding behind that, and it is far and away the worst decision MLSE has ever made.
To their credit though, they turned it around and signed one of the premier General Managers in the NHL to follow that up, Brian Burke.
Whether you like Burke or not, from an ownership perspective, they’ve done their job. Beyond hiring Brian – who is not only a big-money acquisition, but one with a worthy resume of managing the Leafs – they’ve also stepped up financially in almost every department of Leafs management.
Another game against the Bruins, another night of same olds. Next game against the Bs is March 6th,Â 2012, so this was a last chance in a long time to make an impression in what is fast becoming a really ugly two player rivalry. James Reimer returned, which given his record against the Bruins made perfect sense. The HNIC commentators would have you believe Chara is a mammoth shutdown angel on skates and Boston can improve fertility with their systems play.
Some might say the Leafs are casting Reimer in the fire by returning him to the crease against the Boston Bruins. Then again, the standards are low – if the Bruins score less than six, we’re making progress against these guys.
Further, it makes more than a little sense given Reimer has a 3-1 career record against the Bruins, and the Leafs could use any boost they can get against a team they’ve had no answers for this season.
The Leafs did themselves no favours on Wednesday by giving up seven powerplay opportunities to the league’s best team. If there’s any reason for hope, it’s that the Leafs played their best game against the Bruins so far, and if it wasn’t for the penalty parade and an empty netter, the game could’ve gone either way. It was the first game in which the Leafs made inroads offensively, using their speed and skill to control the play for significant spells. Hopefully they can build on that tonight while limiting the defensive miscues and penalties taken.
Photo: REUTERS/Mark Blinch
From Jonas Siegel at TSN1050:
Confirmed: Reimer starts.
This is the news we’ve waited on for what seems like forever. Reimer has been out of the lineup with whiplash, or concussion-like symptoms, or something, since late October when Brian Gionta decided to run him over (or, attack him, depending on how you look at it).
Talk about throwing him back into the fire. The Leafs face the Bruins tonight and are hoping that Reimer is the piece that solves the Boston puzzle in his first start back. Tough assignment.
To be completely honest, I was struggling to find a topic for today’s Mashup. Somehow, yet another recipe for beating the Bruins didn’t seem like a good conversation starter. Sure, we can beat the around the bush, or puck for that matter, but fact is this topic has been beaten so many times now a dead horse metaphor is a putting it mildly.
But even so, reality is, in light of back to back games against our yellow nemesis, that topic is hardly coming down from anyoneâ€™s lips. Since yesterday was a good day to relax – and what better way to relax than reading about hockey – I was reading the last issue of the Hockey News when I came across pure gold written by Ken Campbell.
Photo: Toronto Star
Photo: David Cooper/Toronto Star
It’s been no secret to a lot of Leafs followers, and hockey fans in general, that with a changing NHL comes a change in the way hockey teams will be structured going forward. Structured, built, laid out, however you want to put it, the makeup of a roster these days probably looks quite different than it did even five years ago.
Of course the game has always had stars and superstars. Even the worst teams have had at least some talent sprinkled Â through their top two lines. Â Where the line was drawn, for a lot of clubs, was when the third string stepped on the ice. This obviously wasn’t true for every team, as even now you’ll find differences in the layout of team A vs. team B. But one thing is clear, undeniable: speed and skill kill.
Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Unless you’ve been locked in a closet for the past few days, chances are you’ve managed to come across some Bobby Ryan trade talk in one way or another.
Well, what started as a quick hit rumor (or at least that’s what we thought) from Nick Kypreos has blossomed into full on hockey news. TSN made multiple mentions of the Ryan trade scenario on its national broadcast of the Leafs-Bruins game on Wednesday night, and Twitter has been abuzz for a couple days now. It simply won’t slow down.
Of course, what would a trade rumor be without mention of the Maple Leafs? Ryan has been mentioned among Leafs fans in the past, but now it seems they may have a legitimate reason to speculate.
From John Boruk at Comcast Sportsnet:
A spirited rivalry brewing? I swear, in 50 years time we will still be talking about the Kessel trade. Who won the trade? Who cares? All I know is we have Kessel, we love Kessel, and Seguin is a Bruin. We donâ€™t like the Bruins. All I want to know is, who poked the friggin’ Bear?
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